At least when I sparkle it’s lethal

I swore I wasn’t going to do this…I really swore I wasn’t going to jump on the bandwagon. But with Breaking Dawn pt. 1 out, the temptation is too great. Yeah, I know bashing Twilight is the thing to do these days, so it’s almost unfair to do yet another blog post about it. I think what frustrates me the most is that it actually could have been a really good series (in the genre, YA sense. I’m not operating on the mass personal opinions here. Popular things are not always good and vice versa.) Stephanie Meyer did have a lot of interesting ideas and if she would have spent any amount of time exploring those instead of what she’d chosen to put importance on, I truly think it could have been an explosive series. Before I get into my personal problems with it, I want to make it clear: I’ve read Twilight, I’ve tried to read the rest of the series and I just can’t. And seriously, it takes a lot to make me put down a book. I’ve also seen bits and pieces of the films, but again, the only things that would make me sit through the entire series would be 1. If I were paid a million dollars 2.if it would bring about world peace 3. if it would guarantee that any friends/family of mine that had some incurable disease or something would be guaranteed treatment. For me, personally, it’s not worth watching it even to make fun of it. But what intrigues (and disturbs) me is that it touches so many women and girls. I mean this is beyond a romance book following here. It really makes me wonder what is going on with my gender that there is such a big hole that can be filled up by something so…vacant. So here are my thoughts.

1. It’s not well-written. I don’t care that it’s YA or a “genre” book. It doesn’t matter. It breaks every single rule that is pounded into students: it tells and doesn’t show; the descriptions are so vague you only know characters by their hair color and how dreamy, adonis-like, handsome, or plain or hideous they are; the subplot and plot are reversed. That last one especially blew my mind. If it was a romance book (we’ll get to this in a minute), then yes the relationship should come first. But it’s not. Therefore, it should not take four hundred pages before actual events start happening. And how can you have a teenage protagonist that talks and thinks like she’s forty?   It is a terrible literary role model for young writers.

2. The vampire thing. Now I read a lot of vampire fiction and I watch a lot of vampire movies. I love the genre because there are so many interpretations and ways to take things. For me, I do appreciate when things fit the folklore, but it’s not a complete necessity if the concept is bold and well-executed. Some of the ideas here are bold, but they’re never well-executed.  There is no reason to fill up pages with showing off vampire powers in a baseball game when you could do the same thing by showing them being vampires. Again, the good ideas give way for Bella and Edward’s little whatever-fest. I do get that vampire romance is a very different genre than vampire fiction and there are different guidelines, but seriously, you can’t have a character calling himself a monster without in-your-face evidence that he is one. And evidence that happens within a hundred pages. There is absolutely no reason for Edward to be a vampire. He could be a male model, he could have issues with his sexuality, he could just be really, really hot or of a different social class. The only purpose the vampire thing serves is to put an obstacle in the whatever-fest between him and Bella.

And I really want there to be a new law that ends emo vampire characters. Anne Rice did it well enough to first time, can we please stop it now? It’s getting cliché to the point of being laughable – if that many vampires are unhappy with themselves and think they deserve to die or not exist, then why don’t they stake themselves or drink from people who are on antidepressants or something? I mean seriously, if that is such a huge problem for them, why are they vampires? Did every single one of this character type get turned against their will, because if not you would think they would understand that there were going to be some lifestyle changes once they agreed to things. And if they were turned against their will and can’t let go of the self-hatred, well…I don’t advocate self-harm but in a character direction that kind of seems the logical route to take.

3. The relationship thing – I get everyone loves to live vicariously through these two (I don’t know why, but okay…). I get that’s a very female thing to do. I read romance novels on occasion, I pick up chick lit, I get it. Here’s what really ticks me off: you are romanticizing what is basically a stalker/toxic relationship and packaging it up nicely to young girls and disenchanted women. I mean in the first book the entire “plot” is Bella and Edward are on/off/on/off/on/off…that is not a relationship. That is a freakin’ clapper.  The fact that the other books feature lovely plot points like Bella putting herself in danger so Edward will feel her and save her and the whole thing that he’s quite a huge deal older than her…am I the only one that finds that really creepy? And a turn off?  I mean I’m fine with dating older, but like a hundred years older? I don’t think I could handle that, even if he was undead. You’re basically saying ‘hey, this could turn abusive and you’re degrading yourself for someone who may or may not love you, but that’s okay because it’s obviously meant to be!” Yeah, I have a huge problem with mass-marketing that.

4. Bella’s self-esteem issues. When I went to read the first book, I thought it was a satire. And then about halfway through I realized it was being serious. Yes, teenagers have difficult times understanding their world, yes we’ve all seen angsty teenagers, but Bella’s self-hatred issues floor me a lot. Mostly because if the author made the choice to go this direction, it should have come from something. But really her home life doesn’t seem that bad, everyone seems to generally like her, she’s really good at school…Still, she could be depressed, she could be a whole lot of things. But instead of going with that, the author almost romanticizes it. And somehow, in the end when she marries up with Edward and becomes turned…she’s perfect. Everything’s wonderful, she’s beautiful, this was her sole purpose in life.

This is the reason why I fight tooth and nail whenever I see a younger girl reading this series. When I’ve brought this point up to older fans, I get blown off with ‘oh no one takes that seriously..” Uh, judging by the mass following of the franchise, they do. And I would be really, really concerned about something that glorifies not having a purpose or being that down on yourself.

 

5. It can’t decide what genre it is. Besides the characters doing things without any real purpose (yeah I know she gives reasons. But they’re more like half-attempted explanations to make the ‘relationship’ work.), this thing actually doesn’t fit within any real genre. It’s not a vampire story, because if it was we’d see them acting like vampires and that would be the featured thing. It might be urban fantasy…that would be the closest label for it. It’s not a romance series.

No it’s not.

Yes, romance series’ have problems, they have obstacles, but generally things are wrapped up for individual heroines in one volume of the series. And a romance book focuses on the love. The characters may start out in dark places, and they may have fights or misunderstandings or outside obstacles to overcome, but it’s generally about the two discovering and consummating their love. Twilight is more…an almost love. For all the talk about “love” it really isn’t that romantic in the “hey there are these two people being in love with each other” sense. It’s  a eunuch romance. A kind of “safe” romance with no emotional undertones. Which doesn’t make sense because teenagers generally feel things very hard. Their emotions are big, everything is the whole world to them. And yet the whole vibe of this series is angst and depressing. So no, not a romance book.

I feel like the whole freakin’ franchise is a vampire…it kind of sucks you in and keeps you coming back, whether it’s because you can’t stand it or can’t get enough of it. And it still never really quite gives you what you want. I mean the characters kind of fulfill their purposes, and I guess Bella’s an okay self-insertion avatar for the teenage girl of today (though I really hope not), but shouldn’t we be using YA lit to encourage young women to take charge of their own lives? Or at least seek out healthy and loving relationships? This whole finding a positive by using a negative blows my mind.

So there, I’ve said my piece, now I won’t blow up trying to hold it in. Carry on!

 

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~ by admin on November 21, 2011.

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