Post-Twilight

3 Nov

I am 1/6 of the way through the Twilight Saga (for now… Smeyer better not write anything else). I’ve given myself a couple of days to think about the first book as a whole.

Never before have I read a novel that so explicitly and consistently glorifies dominance of man over woman, especially for a novel written by a woman. It disgusts me. It disgusts me that millions of girls (and women) worship this book. A bad novel with a bad message is one thing, but for such a message to be so obsessed over makes me deeply depressed.

The Mormon themes are more obvious than I thought they would be. The dominance of man and the submission of woman is one thing, but the abstinence-only theme is pretty thinly-veiled and awful, too. Abstinence has proved to be a pretty useless way to go about teaching kids about healthy relationships.

I really am trying to understand the worship this book gets from fans. I really am. Maybe I am completely the wrong type of person to be reading this book, and that is why I can’t see the appeal. I find love stories and romances appealing, but everything that appeals to me about romance is absent from Twilight: we don’t get to experience the couple getting to know each other; we don’t even get to experience the falling in love. We don’t even know what Bella and Edward love about each other, except that Bella smells good and Edward is handsome. That’s it. They just are in love, no questions asked.

And maybe that is romantic for some people, the love-at-first-sight thing. I don’t buy it. My relationship with Andrew grew slowly, over time. After a chance encounter in a little town we both happened to be visiting, we parted ways and continued to talk daily online. We wrote emails to each other every day for a month and a half when he was in Europe. Then we visited each other. Now we live together. I know this might sound strange to you, Smeyer, but Andrew and I got to know each other. Unlike Bella, I could fill a Smeyer-sized novel with all the things I love about my partner. What kind of fantasy romance does Bella have if my real-life, ordinary one is a billion times more interesting?

Maybe I’m not the target audience because I don’t buy this “destined souls” thing that everyone seems to cite when discussing why Bella and Edward are in love. “They don’t need a reason  to love each other; they are soulmates.” Seeing as I don’t believe in souls or destiny or fate, it’s a little difficult to accept that as a legit romance.

Besides the fact that the core of the story (the relationship) is absolute crap, the writing is totally abysmal. I was so bored. Over 100 pages were spent on the “mystery” of what was up with Edward, when the fact that he is a vampire  is revealed ON THE BACK OF THE BOOK.  For 498 pages, nothing happens. Nothing of any consequence or emotional weight happened. I was surprised once in the whole book, when we discovered James didn’t have Renée hostage. I never felt suspense, which is, according to Meyer, the strength of her writing.

The ending is so anti-climactic  because the plot “twists” have zero emoional weight. And that isn’t just because Meyer can’t keep secrets about her own story and couldn’t foreshadow her way out of a box (although that has a lot to do with it). It’s because we don’t give a fuck about the characters. Most of the characters are one-dimensional stock used as tools to propel some part of the story. Smeyer doesn’t even care about them. Jessica, Mike, Lauren, Angela, Tyler, Eric… I don’t know anything about any of them. How could I possibly care about them? I only care about Jacob and Charlie because of the characteristics I’ve given them in my own imagination. I should not have to do that. That’s the author’s job. Stephenie Meyer fails as an author.

There are some decent characters that I really hope become more fleshed out (is that too much to ask for? I mean, the protagonist is totally nondescript…). Bella’s parents seem like genuinely good people, although we know little about Renée. I still feel bad about what Bella is doing to them. You all know what a nice man I think Charlie is. And you all know how I feel about Jacob. Alice and Jasper seem okay so far and have actual backstories. But these few things don’t make up for all the awful. It’s too little too late.

I think I have already discussed Edward’s character enough through this blog. It’s clear that he is the worst boyfriend in the world, which scares and confuses me since he is being portrayed as the best boyfriend in the world. I mean, excusing Bella’s injuries by saying she fell down the stairs? That is the oldest one in the book. However, I haven’t totally written Edward off as a totally terrible person as well. He gets points for not turning Bella into a vampire, and wanting her to live a full life. I have a feeling that my feelings about Edward are only going to worsen, though.

What I haven’t talked a lot about is Bella. Here is the thing about Bella. For Smeyer, Bella is the glorification of the every-day, plain-Jane, non-perfect woman. Someone every girl and woman can relate to. Either Smeyer specifically wrote Bella so that even the most totally psychotic women could insert themselves into Bella’s persona, or the author (who is female herself) truly believes that every woman is Rush Limbaugh’s version of a selfish, demented, sexist, neurotic and manipulative whiny bitch who is utterly unable to function without a man. Bella is dead-set on being miserable. She actively avoids bettering her life. This is this generation’s feminist role model? This was inspired by Jane Austen’s beautifully independent, radical-thinking women? Austen and Stoker are spinning in their graves.

You might have noticed I didn’t even touch on the crappy vampire lore. You know what? It doesn’t matter. It’s crap, obviously, they sparkle and go to high school. It’s a non-issue at this point.

Edward says, “I want to kill you,” and Bella says, “I trust you.”

That’s all we really need to know.

Give me your thoughts on Twilight as a whole novel. Anything worth discussing that I missed? If you love/like/liked Twlight, please help me figure out what is so appealing about this novel. I really want to understand.

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18 Responses to “Post-Twilight”

  1. jmjbookblog November 3, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    I’m really interested to read your point of view of Edward after seeing Twilight. I liked the movie more than the book. Perhaps it was because I think Rob Pattinson did a very good job of making the character come alive on screen. Bella’s class mates were much more likable than they were in the book, especially Jessica. Can’t wait to read your review after you’ve seen the movie. :)

    • Amy-jean November 4, 2010 at 12:00 am #

      I’ll say this: I really didn’t mind Edward as much in the movie. He is a billion times less creepy. I LOATHED Bella more than I thought possible in the movie.

      I’ll have the movie review soon. I gotta film it! I’ve never done a video blog before.

  2. arallyn November 3, 2010 at 12:56 am #

    I believed in soulmates once. And not in a truly romantic way, either. But I trusted him completely.
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    Then he got me in a car wreck 900 miles away from home, with no way to get back, gave me drugs I didn’t understand laced with things I didn’t know, made me do things I didn’t want to, and flat-out destroyed over a year of my life. His previously latent schizophrenia came out, and at some point there was a 3-inch blade going through his forearm. That’s where trust gets you. That’s where this Mary Sue Fool would be in real life.

    Three fucking years ago. Feels like a lifetime. Still not over it. Never will be. At least I still have Bennett.

    • Amy-jean November 4, 2010 at 12:03 am #

      *monster hugs*
      Which is precisely why I am doing this blog. Maybe one less chick will end up with a guy like your ex from hell. Definitely worse than my ex from hell, and that one messed me up good.

      • arallyn November 9, 2010 at 5:50 pm #

        hahaha yeahhhh totally should clarify, definitely messaging you on FB

  3. arallyn November 3, 2010 at 12:59 am #

    Btw: totally agree with you that Edward gets points for trying to push her away (at least for a while) and trying to get her to live her life on her own, because he knows he wants to nom her flesh or some such.

    Also: Bella=PANTS!

    http://theoatmeal.com/story/twilight

    Which everyone has totally seen already but deserves another read.

    • Amy-jean November 4, 2010 at 12:04 am #

      The Oatmeal completes me.

      PANTS YOU COMPLETE ME

  4. Godless Girl November 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm #

    I delight when someone makes reasonable arguments for why these books are ridiculous and even harmful. What can I say–I love to hate them.

    It disturbs me how many older women have become ensnared by Edward/Jacob fantasies. These obsessed adults are much more frightening than the teenage fans who often don’t know better (better writing, better relationships, etc.). And these adults are the people who teach kids what healthy relationships should be like? Yikes.

    Gotta share my list of Twilight Quotes that Make You Go OMGWTF.

    • Amy-jean November 3, 2010 at 11:59 pm #

      This delights me because I sort of obsessively read your blog :)

      I agree with you on the older fans being even more unsettling. I want to understand, GG, I do. At least… I think I do.

  5. ship November 3, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    maybe if i write a horrible fan-fiction like book about all my horrific past relationships, 14 years olds and 40 year old women alike will make me rich, and they will think my exes are all prince charmings and want to marry them all. and then i will feed them to dragons.
    lets all write horrible novels and become questionably loved like smeyer.

    • Amy-jean November 4, 2010 at 12:08 am #

      Maybe, Shorp. I don’t even know. I don’t think any of us could write as poorly as Smeyer if we tried.

      Just make sure Greasy Boifrenn sparkles and plays baseball?

      Anyway for next year’s NaNoWriMo I have this idea where I will try to write an actual good Twilight. There must be some way to make it good… right???

  6. thatrandombitch November 4, 2010 at 10:33 am #

    Hear hear! Meyer set the feminist movement back by at least two decades and the worst part? The target audience is pre-teen girls. All they get from the books is that their lives are dependent upon their acquisition of a boyfriend and once you have him, you must cling on for dear life because God-forbid the psycho ass leave you!

    Was that coming on too strong? I really resent Meyer for making me spend a shit load of my money on this crap!

    Have you read the entire saga, by any chance?

    • Amy-jean November 4, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

      It’s just about impossible to come on too strong, as far as I’m concerned. I couldn’t agree more with you.

      I’m going to start New Moon next week! Stick around. I’ll make it through the whole series, and blog about it.

      • thatrandombitch November 7, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

        I’ll have to warn you then- if you thought Twilight was bad, you might have to jump off a cliff midway through New Moon!

        • Amy-jean November 8, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

          From the very few things I remember about New Moon when I skimmed it three years ago… there is a lot of jumping off cliffs involved D:

  7. cherriecola November 8, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    Twilight was so boring that I didn’t bother to read it again. The movie was so hilarious that I was laughing so hard and I wouldn’t mind watching it again just for laughs.

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