Why oh why am I doing this?

When I was in high school, I was in an English class that was part of some sort of pilot curriculum. Because of this, we got tons and tons of new books; some of them in class sets, most of them young adult fiction. I tore through most of them, reading under my desk all day. One of the class sets we got was Twilight.

It was one of the few novels we got that was a fantasy. I love fantasy and science fiction best, and I think vampires are incredibly interesting. Naturally,Twilight looked like it was going to be a good read.

So I read it. More like, I skimmed it, because I remember deciding the writing was at about a grade 5 level, and thinking, “well, this is a trashy love story, may as well keep reading until they bang.”

But they never did. The novel was full of teenage awkwardness and frustration and bad writing, so I moved on to New Moon, hoping for something more entertaining. By the time I had finished it and read the first three chapters ofEclipse, I gave up, annoyed at Bella and Edward and my English class for ever giving me the hope it would be anywhere near as good as the vampire stories I loved.

Twilight had been published a few years before my skimming of the first two novels, but I hadn’t heard of them; there didn’t seem to be any fans. Until my class read them. The majority of my class lost their minds over Twilight. And suddenly, the world lost its mind over Twilight, too. I didn’t understand. I still don’t understand. I can deal with a trashy romance written at an easy level from time to time, but I just thought Edward was creepy, and Jacob bothered me for reasons I can’t remember. Why was the majority acting like they had just read a masterpiece?

So what am I going to do?

I’m going to read Twilight so you don’t have to. I’m going to summarize each chapter, post excerpts, and provide commentary and critique. I’ll do the films at the end of every book, too. I’m not too concerned about whether Stephanie Meyer is a good writer. I’m mostly concerned with what I have been hearing about the series’ overtones of sexism, misogyny, and unhealthy and possibly abusive relationships, just to name a few. To be honest, when I first readTwilight and New Moon, I skimmed them too quickly and too detachedly to notice anything more than Edward being creepy and Bella being plain. But what I know is that most fans don’t read them like this. They read them over and over. They are among the only novels some people read. They are revered as the greatest love story of all time. And I think that might be dangerous.

Why me?

I know what it is like to be in an unhealthy relationship, and I don’t want anyone else to have to experience what it is like. That is my most important reason for doing this. I also know what it is like to be in a healthy relationship, and I want everyone in the world to know what that is like, first hand. And I honestly do not believe that anyone acting like Bella or letting their significant other act like Edward has a good chance at that. Besides that, I’m a woman (specifically one who likes men), so I can speak a little as to whether or not Edward is the embodiment of the Perfect Man and if Bella is a worthy feminist icon like Stephanie Meyer insists.

I know of at least two people who have done a project like this before (both of which are hilarious and very well done), but both were done by men, and were more mockery than actual critique. I’ll add a lady to the critiquing Twilight blogs, with a little more critique to go along with my scathing, scathing mockery.

As well, I have no religious affiliation, so I think I can explore the suggestion that Meyer’s novels are “Mormon propaganda” like it has been suggested from a fairly unbiased perspective.

I am studying linguistics and literature at university. So I know more than a little about the English language, and about what constitutes a “good” piece of fiction. I even took a course on fantasy literature, so I know a lot about the theory involved in Twilight’s genre, and it’s a genre in which I’m well-read. Plus, I’ve been tearing through novels since I was two years old. Language is kind of my thing.

I will:

be thorough. I’m reading far too many interviews with Stephenie Meyer and infiltrating a few Twilight fan forums. You all know that I don’t like Twilight. I find the Twi-hards a little unnerving (although I find really hardcore fans ofanything disturbing). But I’m going to be fair. If Meyer writes something good, I’m going to give her credit and praise where it’s due. And anyway, I’m going to try to keep this all as hilarious as I can. It’s bound to be hilarious.

If you’re a Twilight fan, I hope you read this, I hope you comment, and I hope you send me emails. Feel free to be offended. Or not. Feel free to agree with me. Or disagree. If you’re a Twilight fan, know that I don’t dislike you, I just dislike something you like, and I want you to read this so you can know that these novels are not to be looked up to as a gleaming pinnacle of what love should be. From what I know already, Bella and Edward’s relationship is unhealthy, and Edward isnot an ideal boyfriend or husband. I hope I can show you why. By all means, enjoy Twilight. Enjoy the story if it’s your cup of tea. Just realize this is not the kind of relationship you should look for, and please, read some other novels to experience what good literature is really like. I can tell you what you might like to read; I read a lot. Although, if you think Twilight is a literary gift to the world, we might have some problems…

If you’re not a Twilight fan, I hope you find this hilarious. I hope you appreciate that I’m putting myself through this so you don’t have to. Feel free to comment and email as much as you want!

A few things: I’m reserving the right to post any email I get, be it positive or negative. I won’t include names or your addresses. I believe that love letters and hate mail are for sharing! Comments are not moderated, but I WILL delete anything racist, sexist, homophobic, and anything that qualifies as trolling or flaming, be it aimed at myself or at another commenter. Be a nice person; Santa Claus is watching.

Feel free to ask me questions using my formspring. Anonymous is okay.

Enjoy. I hope I know what I’m getting myself into.



2 Responses to “why?”

  1. jd lang June 7, 2011 at 6:05 am #

    Twilight is not literature, it will never be, its popularity shows that the majority of females are stupid, plain and simple.

    • Amy-jean July 20, 2011 at 12:14 pm #

      Wow, thanks for the misogynistic comment, asshole. Way to completely miss the entire point of this blog.

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