TBR: Twilight

I’ve missed the last couple of TBR Challenges, but was inspired by Beth’s SBD about Twilight to pick it up for the challenge this month.  First I had to find my copy of the book — I bought it back in 2005 when the book was originally published, but never got around to reading it.  So it had only been sitting on a shelf for ~4 years.  Which isn’t that bad, comparatively speaking; there are some books on that shelf that were on it, packed to move into this house more than six years ago, and then unpacked right back onto the shelf.

When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn.  With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impententrable.  Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret. 

What Bella doesn’t realizes is the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk.  And, it might be too late to turn back…

My thoughts:

Holy crap.  What a monumental Mary Sue.  Stalker boyfriend who is totally telegraphing future abuse, beginning with the isolation and the faux warning away.  And the writing?  Ugh.  100 pages could’ve been chopped without damaging the story at all — a lot of sloppy, amateurish writing.  I’m hoping (guessing?) the later books were more polished.  There was a lot of telegraphing and predictable conflict set up in Twilight for future books; even without having been seriously spoiled, I’m guessing that Jacob is going to be a rival; Rosalie is going to be a problem; and so on.
Having said that, I totally get why a 15 year old would LOVE Edward and Bella.  It’s the total teen fantasy of being suddenly transformed, of having a dangerous boyfriend who would never in a billion years hurt you but instead struggles constantly with his own nature.
It’s like crack for teens.  And non-teens, I guess.  Rather like the BDB in that sense.  Except I’ve just weened myself off the BDB and am not interested in getting hooked on something else.  So as a gateway drug, Twilight has failed. 
I do like the pic  I saw the other day, of Kiefer Sutherland’s sneering vampire, captioned that vampires do not sparkle.  [I saw in on a reader blog, but cannot for the life of me remember which one; otherwise I would give credit.]


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14 responses to “TBR: Twilight

  1. Anonymous

    Oh no no no no no
    You don’t even know the meaning of Mary Sue until you get to the 4th book. It’s a whole new level of juvenile wish fulfillment, the likes of which have not been seen since I was 13 and imagined an intricately detailed Perfect Day that would end in my being on the pom-pom team, discovered by an agent and given a recording contract, and winning the eternal yet unworthy adoration of one River Phoenix, all while getting straight A’s and inheriting a million dollars and finding I’m the crown princess of a long lost European kingdom. And spectacularly. publicly humiliating the local meangirl by dint of my formidable wit. From my ancestral seat in suburban INDIANA.
    Honestly, the fourth book makes my adolescent fantasies look downright believable. Reading such cloying wish fulfillment has left me queasy for days.
    And I just watched the movie, in which one very unexpected thing happened: I discovered that something actually IS worse than the book.
    Ugh barf bleh.

  2. I didn’t like the way Twilight was written, but for some reason I had to keep reading. I didn’t think of comparing it to BDB crack, but you’re so right! I just read New Moon, and I actually think it’s better than Twilight.

    • Better how? I’m curious, but not curious enough to pick up a copy.

      • Bella didn’t annoy me so much, I felt the book generally was more emotionally honest than Twilight, and Edward doesn’t appear until the end of the book. That said, it’s by no means an excellent read, either.

  3. LOVE the Kiefer pic, thanks for the link!
    I have Twilight TBR, probably sitting around as long as your copy was, and the more I hear about it, the less I want to read it.

    • Isn’t that a great pic 🙂
      Now that I’ve read it, I want to be rid of it, and I’m vaguely embarrassed that I let it take up space on my shelf so long. My sister wants to read it, just to understand the fanwank, but can’t bear to pay for it (even used) or waste Book Mooch credit on it. So I’m going to pass it on.

  4. Anonymous

    I don’t think Edward’s behaviour telegraphs abuse: I think that’s reading adult values into the story that clearly aren’t meant to be there. Yes, it would be inappropriate if a young girl’s boyfriend broke in to watch her sleep – but I can live with the idea that the rules might be different for sparkly mind-reading vampires.
    And, working from the small sample of daughters I have available, by 15 they’re edging past that, and towards liking actual real-life boys. My (middle)daughter and her friends were 13-14 when they were Twilight-obsessed.
    I read an interesting article at that time, which talked about the reasons young girls put posters (of boys) in their room, and it argued that they used them as a focus to rehearse the emotions of love and attachment in a safe and age-appropriate way.
    I think that’s what Twilight is about – Bella is absolutely a Mary Sue, but that’s the strength of the book, because it allows teenage girls to safely rehearse those feelings.
    Mind you, that theory completely fails to explain why Twilight mums exist.
    My elsest daughter (17) who never read the books, having previously discovered Real Boys, watched the movie with some puzzlement and remarked at the end: “That was just like a rom-com but without the com.”
    Marianne McA

    • Edward breaking in to watch Bella sleep on her own would not have bothered me (much). But in conjunction with the listening to her conversations; the mysterious warnings that he wasn’t going to be safe for her; and, the secret keeping/isolation from her friends, it just seemed like stereotypical abuser behavior.
      Does it matter if the values aren’t meant to be there by the author, if a reader sees them there? I’m just playing devil’s advocate; sometimes a rose is just a rose for me, and not a symbol of anything else. But literary theorists might disagree.

      • Anonymous

        “Does it matter if the values aren’t meant to be there by the author, if a reader sees them there? I’m just playing devil’s advocate; sometimes a rose is just a rose for me, and not a symbol of anything else. But literary theorists might disagree.”
        As regards Twilight – yes, you’re completely right, you’re entitled to think Edward’s behaviour signals he’ll abuse Bella in future. I still disagree, though.
        My problem with Edward – which also reads something into the story that I think the author didn’t intend – is that I think the age difference is incredibly creepy. I did say that to my daughter at the time I read it, and she just didn’t see that at all – she read Edward as a 17 year old, and I imagine that’s how the author wrote it.
        As regards the wider point – and leaving literary theory aside – the reader sees what they see. So in that sense, no, it doesn’t matter what the author intends.
        However – and not particularly talking about Twilight – I don’t think the intention of the author, or the way the book would ordinarily be read, is irrelevant either.
        Can’t get my thoughts straight: I’m thinking of an incident where a local minister’s wife, who had enjoyed HP1 & HP2, couldn’t get past the dementors in HP3. She genuinely felt at the time that HP3 was a manifestation of evil.
        And that’s where I have problems: if I agree that the only thing that matters is what the reader sees in the text, I have to agree that her reading of HP3 was as valid as mine – and I don’t believe that at all.

  5. Anonymous

    My cousins (two very very smart women) were just telling me that I HAD to read this because even though it’s horrible it’s too good to miss. I think they’d agree that it’s crack. But I just … can’t.

    • My sister says the same thing, more or less.
      I’m not sure that I would call it “good” in any fashion…but it had a sort of train wreck vibe — I couldn’t put it down and was fascinated by the mess. Having said that, I have no interest in picking up the next book of the series.

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