Saturday, October 24, 2009

Stephanie Meyer: Twilight

My eldest girl is 14 and has long suffered from her friends' Twilight-mania - not having read the books she was forced to just hang around and be bored while they endlessly talked about Edward and Bella and bla bla bla. After seeing the film (meh, she thought) she wanted to read the book, but being a purist (oh I'm so proud) she wanted to read it in English, and to get it from the library you'll probably have to be patient for five years, the waiting list is so long - obviously she didn't want to buy it, in case she hated it. Enter our friend, publisher E, who had bought the book once (to read out of professional interest, natch). So, Maxima devoured it. DEVOURED. She tries to tone it down, but I can tell that she is quite smitten. And what teen, with a penchant for escapism, fantasy, science-fiction wouldn't be? I read it now in one sweep, most of the time with a stupid smile on my face, mostly due to a strong feeling of true connection with my inner teen or pre-teen (I was so precocious), in other words "aaawwwww I would have loved this", but also because it's just quite amusing how Meyer has managed to score so many emo points. A woman on an Internet forum I frequent said that she'd read it on holiday, and her only comment was "What a load of emo shite. SRSLY." And  yes, it is emo shite. But oddly appealing emo shite, I'll give it that. I can see why all these young girls were/are sucked into this world. Meyer is not an original author, her prose isn't truly poetic or anything even though she clearly likes to think so, rather more than a little repetitive (Edward chuckles, smirks, laughs silently ... A LOT).

Our heroine, Bella, is also possibly the ultimate Mary Sue. I just recently learned what a Mary Sue is, when someone on said forum up there resurrected a thread about My Immortal. That lead on to a link to Encyclopedia Dramatica, and in fairness to myself I didn't recall that the Encyclopedia does define Bella as a Mary Sue, but when reading I just laughed out (silently) to myself and clocked her as one. Bella is gorgeous - but doesn't realise it. She's always felt a bit different, as though she can't fit in anywhere. She has a "flaw" - she is very clumsy. Vampire Edward falls in love with her because he can't read her mind like he can with other humans, and because she smells so fantastic. Floral like. He is beautiful and muscled and possessive  - but only because his LOVE IS SO STRONG - and the whole thing is like one big sex fantasy of Meyer's that, yes, possibly, should never have made it to print. However, it is not the printing of Twilight I mind so much, it's the printing of the sequels. The first few pages of New Moon are included in this edition, so I can already tell. The usual suspects are lined up - repetitions of who people are, what they did in the previous book, what they look like (apart from gorgeous). Yawn and snore. Clunketty-clunk goes the prose. Sadly, I may feel like I have to get Maxima these for Christmas. How can I live with myself?

My husband is against Meyer because he feels that her message is anti-feminist. Bella puts herself in danger by staying near the vampires - indeed, in Twilight she is almost murdered by an evil one, leg snapping, ribs broken and shattered glass cutting her scalp. She makes herself into a martyr for Her Love. Her only assurance that Edward or any of his family (or coven) won't hurt her is that they promise not to. Really much. They love her lots, after all, because she's ever so special. Her life is worth nothing unless it's with Edward. I see what he means, and while I can shrug it off for the one book I don't know if I can for three more instalments... that said, if Maxima comes home with them I'll probably read them anyway. For the same reason that I saw Matrix 3. Some sort of masochistic desire to see the train wreck through to the end?

I can't in all fairness say that I recommend it, really ... not if you have to pay money to read it. This should be a free read. Especially if you read more than one.


E said...

I'm glad she liked it - I secretly thought that she would.
The sexual innuendo got to be a bit much for me, I might admit, and all the "saving yourself for the right man, fighting temptation" was a bit tooo obvious. However - as you said, I would have loved it as my fourteen-year-old self, being far from temptation and thus intrigued by the idea of fighting it. ;-)
Maybe her nice auntie E can buy her a sequel or two so you don't have to. ;-)

bani said...

Yes, if you're over the age of 18 and have had sex you just cannot FALL for this big-time.

Do you really want to line Meyers' pockets, babe?

E said...

No, but I want to suck up to your kids as they are a) lovely, dear girls and b) potential babysitters.

bani said...

You fiend.