Thursday, July 31, 2008

What's so Right About Twilight?

PhotobucketWhat is it about Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series that is so right? After reading the first book, I've wanted to (and have on occasion) rant endlessly about everything that is wrong with the series. But the intensity of my emotional response to these books is too overwhelming. I recently stated that the only other piece of literature that has elicited such a strong emotionally ambivalent response in me was Toni Morrison's Beloved. And I assure you that my response to Beloved was for very, very different reasons. So, simply, about Twilight, I have too much to say. So I'll start with a list of the bads:
  1. No writer should use any form of the word smolder unless discussing a fireplace...and she uses it multiple times in each book. "His eyes smoldered." I literally cringed every time I read something to that effect in the books. Perhaps this was the first thing that bothered me about Twilight: It wasn't that well written.
  2. A reader should relate to the hero(ine) of the story but Bella is a complete and total twit. Slightly insecure klutzes can be endearing but Bella is completely lacking in self-awareness and self-preservation skills. Some readers like to feel as if they are Bella: beautiful girls who simply don't know that they are beautiful, who are loved by perfect men despite their imperfections. Ok, seriously, the chicks who are really like that are super annoying! Bella's not a bad person, I just know that part of the reason I got over my romance novel phase very quickly back in middle school was because I was tired of reading about these spunky, yet unavoidably helpless women getting saved and loved unconditionally by these perfect and condescending men. I like my romantic couples to be evenly matched.

But this is where the internal conflict comes in: I can't help but to love the Twilight series anyway. Each book has been better and better written and these insufferable characters are growing on me.

I'm trying to bite my tongue, which wants to blame Meyer's Mormonism for the obnoxiously traditional values that permeate the love story. But it makes sense. I can be considered fairly conservative myself when it comes to issues of love and marriage...but I can't help but feel nauseated by this common theme of Bella pressuring Edward for sex and him constantly telling her to show some self-control. Of course she's the out of control floozy and he's the mature, protective male full of restraint.

Sigh. I'm rambling. The final book comes out in approx. 36.5 hours. I'm looking forward to it. I can't decide whether or not I can stomach watching the film when it comes out, but we will see. No matter how much this series infuriates me for its shortcomings, what will always infuriate me the most is the fact that it is clearly doing something right.

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