Thursday, January 6, 2011
Book Two: Twilight
I have a confession: I bit the bullet, and read Twilight.
Yes, I’ve now joined the hordes of other girls and women who have wasted their time reading about vampire romance. I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve even read this book, given that I’ve made scorching comments about the “sexy vampire” genre in the past. Of course, now I realize that I’m simply unable to resist the temptation of Edward Cullen and his godlike appearance.
We all know about the plot of this novel, right? If not, it’s pretty basic. Girl moves to small town. Girl is soooooooo beautiful and amazing that everyone falls in love with her, including a turn-of-the-century man/boy vampire. Girl and vamp become friends, and eventually get together to exchange some chaste kisses. Boy vamp thirts for her blood (symbolic much?) but avoids the temptation of “biting” her. Girl gets introduced to vampire culture, and learns that there are bad AND good vampires. Girl gets into danger, but escapes. Girl and vampire live somewhat happily ever after, but remain celibate. As I said, basic plot, and certainly didn’t introduce anything new into the literary world, but Meyers is able to sell lots.
Meyers does an apt job at creating a romance sans the great monster of premarital sex. The restrained nature of the relationship between Bella and Edward reminds me more of a Victorian gothic love story, such as Jane Eyre, than the modern love stories of today. The relationship of Bella and Edward is based off words, staring, and certainly lacks in carnal passion (except when they do a couple of kisses). These two teenagers have to hold their desires in check, and it doesn’t really seem to bother them. As former teenager, I know that the restraint is a rather unusual in relationships, and thus their relationship seems more of an ideal than a reality.
As you can guess, I don’t feel that Meyers doesn’t write great “literature”, but I will admit that Meyers is perfectly able to churn out a best-seller. The language is basic and accessible to anyone. In other words, you don’t have to be an intellectual to read this. Meyers does a great job, at describing things; although, her descriptions grow a bit old when she repeats the same phrases over and over again (such as “angelic”, “marble”, “godlike”, et cetera). There is enough tension, sexual or otherwise, to keep the reader wanting to go on. Despite these plusses, Meyers is unable to write a truly compelling story, I believe, given that her plot and character development are weak.
Bella Swann, the protagonist, was dull. At the start of the novel, we see a teenager with some rebellion and spark in her personality. She dislikes dancing, feels awkward, and views herself as being almost grotesque. She reminded me of myself as a teenager! Yet, magically in the town of Forks, Bella becomes a beautiful girl who the boys are unable to resist. I think her allure goes to her head, because by the time she and Edward get together, she’s an obsessive and infatuated shrew. In less than a hundred pages, she manages to turn into a girl who is weak-minded and boyfriend obsessed. Her life revolves around her boyfriend, so much so, in fact, that she’s willing to sacrifice her 17 year-old self in order to spend eternity with him. She is constantly thinking about him, and gazing at him admiring his beauty. Yawn. Needless to say, I feel sorry for her friends, and she bores me as a person.
In comparison, I found Edward Cullen to be the more compelling character. He whines a lot less than Bella, and seems to be more emotionally mature than our heroine. I suppose that this emotional maturity stems from the fact that he has been alive for more than one hundred years. Cullen is also an ideal man given that he is respectful, devoted, and dutiful to his love. I think these aspects of his personality are what sends hearts a-flutter.
It took me about four hours to tear through Twilight, and then, despite any reservations, I started reading New Moon. Apparently, I’m full-fledged member of the Stephenie Meyers’ fan club now.