[Editor's note: The following was originally posted Dec 1, 2009 on our old site, Film.IsPwn.com, but in light of the fact the new Twilight movie has opened and none of us are going to see it, we figured it was time to re-post Tom Stephens' delightful rant review of the first book.]
Yeah, I know. It’s a movie blog, not about book reviews. However, these books have created quite a sensation, and they have spawned a series of unfortunate movies.
Also, yeah I know, I did actually read a book with the target audience of 13 yr old girls, and short of a few things I’ll discuss further on I put it about on par with reading something like Clive Cussler.
Brian Alterman, one of our Film Is Pwn partners in crime, had bought the book a long long time ago based on the first “it’s the new Harry Potter” news and as he loved the HP series he picked it up. He made it 30 pages and couldn’t finish.
We happened to be talking about it Saturday and I mentioned my curiosity was getting the best of me and I wanted to read it so he gave me his copy of the first book. I read the whole thing in one sitting. About 4-5 hours, including talking to my wife about it as I went. Needless to say, it’s not a hard read at all.
Before I get too far into my thoughts I’d just like to say:
I can’t believe there are conservatives out there who won’t let their kids read Harry Potter but somehow, on some planet, consider this book to be acceptable. This book has soo much more to teach on bad morals and living an unhealthy life than the Harry Potter books came close to portraying.
The first chapter of the book (about 30 pages) happen to be the worst written 30 pages I’ve ever read. I don’t say that lightly however, I do read mostly classics so that could have something to do with it.
This book could have just as easily been called: Codependency 101
The relationship between Bella and Edward is insanely unhealthy. Edward is controlling, domineering, rash, temperamental, and erratic, to say the least. Bella is talking to him always of afraid of making him angry etc. Edward is a typical abusive male, top notch at finding a woman that will not only accept it but will thank him for it.
While there is no sex in the book this story and portrayal is intensely sexual. Edward is described as an almost entirely sexual being, with his looks dazzling people and a single kiss taking Bella to the point of trying to rip his clothes off. Also, I was very sick of the phrase “perfectly muscled chest”, how many times can an author use…
This story is like a text book abusive relationship. Bella is the perfect victim of this relationship, always thinks its her fault, feeling like she owes Edward, feeling like she can’t exist without him… Meyer all but says, “he hurts me because he loves me.” The thought of teenage girls reading this and imaging that it’s a depiction of the type of relationship they should have scares me. The thought of teenage boys reading this and trying to emulate Edward probably scares me even more.
Now to say a couple of good things about it (it’s not all bad…really).
It reads quickly. Once you get passed the first chapter the pace of the story picks up enough to be a tolerable read. It feels like reading instead of watching the typical teen movie. Meyer is a terrible writer but a tolerable story teller. Her story (though twisted) is engaging and interesting. The world and the rules she creates are close to traditional vampire lore but she brings her own twist. Meyer is not uncreative, just not talented as a writer. She would probably be more effective as the producer of a movie or television show where she can guide the story but the writing is left to someone capable.
The problem with her story telling though is that she leaves plot holes big enough to house the Milky Way. And she doesn’t follow her own rules, but with a good editor or someone else handling the writing for her these issues could be handled.
I could go on about the plot, or her bad writing, but I’m not going to beat a dead horse. I’m pretty sure Stephenie Meyer won’t be up for the Nobel in Literature. I just wanted to make the point that it poses a level of danger if people don’t notice or don’t mind the unhealthy relationships and think that perhaps they should emulate them. And also to point out that these books suffer much more in terms of moral stand point than the Harry Potter books by a long shot. In case anyone decides to try to point out the “abstinence message” in twilight, it’s vague and even one (what I consider) positive message isn’t enough to offset a mass of unhealthy ideas and precedence. Not to mention that Bella and Edward spend a night together and even sleep together (without having sex) after their first “date”. I’m pretty sure this isn’t the message that someone worried about abstinence wants passed to their children.
If we can all agree that Edward is unhealthy and Bella really shouldn’t be with him. Then all we have is a poorly written book, and I’d be bored with it already.
If I had children I would probably discourage reading it simply because there are so many good books out there, but if they insisted I would just spend a couple of minutes making sure they understand what makes many of these interactions unhealthy. Of course, being me, I’d much rather see my kids read the Harry Potter books than these.
Looking for something?
Use the form below to search the site:
Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!
Visit our friends!
A few highly recommended friends...