Wednesday, April 28, 2010

#212: Twilight

I finally got around to reading Stephenie Meyer's idiotic vampire/romance/teenage story Twilight and I mean this with all sincerity when I say that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. And I went into it hating it with a passion. I still hate it. It stands for everything that's stupid in the world of literature but I'm sure if something I wrote that was stupid suddenly made enormous amounts of money and made a certain population of the world squeal with delight I'd be okay with it and wouldn't care what anyone thought of me or my writing. Anyway, first some preliminaries: Twilight was published in 2005 and, like the "Harry Potter" series, didn't really hit it big until a couple years after it started.  It was, of course, written by Stephenie (yes, with an 'e') Meyer and published by the Little, Brown and Company imprint Megan Tingley Books.

The book starts out with a Preface:  Bella yammering on about how she never really thought about how she would die while someone "saunter[s] toward [her] to kill [her]."  We then arrive in Phoenix where Bella is going to get on a plane to Seattle in order to get to Forks, Washington (which is a real town overrun by real vampires, I assume).  Forks is a small town where her father, Charlie, the best character in the book, is the chief of police or sheriff or something like that.  Anyway, Bella arrives in Forks and immediately receives a truck.  Granted the truck is approximately fifty years old but still, it's a truck and she's ready to go to school right after a night of crying.

Yes, crying.  Bella, who I assume is supposed to be based on Ms. Meyer, even loosely, isn't graceful, isn't beautiful and apparently had no friends in Phoenix.  Bella never mentions any of her old friends.  I'm guessing it's because her life before Forks and Edward is now meaningless.  Oh, yes.  We meet Edward in the first chapter so I'm glad we get this story going but, what's this?  Edward may not be that fond of Bella?  Of course not.  To Edward, she is beautiful and amazing and she smells really good.  She smells good?  I guess that's a reason to like somebody--not their personality or intellect.  I don't care if you are a vampire there's got to be something more than smell to keep the relationship going.

Luckily, Bella and Edward have all the life-threatening danger but I'm getting ahead of myself.  For about the first six chapters, every one goes through the normal motions.  Bella makes friends in Jessica, Mike and some other girl I am too lazy to look up but Bella also starts getting to know Edward more after he saves her life from being smashed by an out of control van.  Bella is very accident prone and that's another I don't like about her--and she's only accident prone when Edward is around so I'm not saying he's somehow mentally causing all this stuff to happen but it's a bit weird.  Again, the first six chapters or so are pretty decent.  Very teenage centric so everyone can really get on board but then something happens that shifts the focus of the book into a realm neither main character should really be in so soon and that is love.

Bella along with her girl friends go to Port Angeles to pick out dresses for some meaningless dance that's coming up.  Bella gets separated from her friends and is...what the hell?...possibly stalked by a group of guys?  Port Angeles has a population of about 18,000 people so I don't really think that's a place that's going to have much stalker/kidnapping/rapist crime.  In the book's defense, Port Angeles is a tourist city but I still think crime is pretty low there (and backs me up).  Anyway, Bella is saved from either being brutally raped or being told she has a Maxi Pad stuck to the seat of her pants by Edward and it is here the book begins it's downward spiral.

For the next two chapters Bella and Edward talk.  Just talk.  Something that could take a couple decent sized paragraphs is dragged out for two freaking chapters.  Those chapters also use the word "dazzle" too much.  This entire book uses it too much that I came to the conclusion that dazzle is one of the stupidest words in the English language.

Bella and Edward enter into a relationship and they are just so in love despite not really knowing each other, not spending time with each other and barely showing any sign of affection at all.  Which I guess, in all honesty is how high school relationships work.  Bella meets Edward's family including Carlisle, a vampire doctor who turned Edward into a vampire when he was 17.  Then, during an pretty pointless game of vampiric baseball, other vampires arrive and immediately want to kill and eat Bella.  Of course.

So the Cullens ship Bella off to Phoenix where Bella is tricked into going to one of the evil vampires.  Of course.  Anyway, Bella is beaten, a couple ribs are broken but everything turns out okay except Bella has to receive a blood transfusion which leads to the best quote in the book:
"You have a broken leg, four broken ribs, some cracks in your skull, bruises covering every ince of your skin, and you've lost a lot of blood.  They gave you a few transfusions.  I didn't like it--it made you smell all wrong for a while."
Yes, Edward said that while Bella is lying in the hospital after getting out of a morphine-induced coma.  "Gee, Edward, sorry my broken bones, bruises and loss of blood irritated your sensitive nose."  Bella and Edward's relationship seemingly borders on abusive because Edward constantly puts Bella in danger and even though he tells her to leave and that it won't work out, Bella remains because she's in love.  I have a two near-death rule:  if I love you I can nearly die twice because of you, after that I'm gone.  Also, you can tell just from the quote above that Edward wants everything to remain as is with Bella.  I haven't read the other three books but I looked them up on Wikipedia and school doesn't come up as much so I can only assume Bella either graduated from high school and immediately (SPOILER!!) gets married or dropped out all together.

I don't care that things that take up a majority of Bella's life like family and school are easily omitted from the story because it doesn't move the story along.  Hell, the Harry Potter books barely show the kids in class even though the series takes place in a damn school but that is the place where Bella and Edward get to know each other, not playing a stupid baseball game or at a restaurant in Port Angeles because they are 17 (except for Edward who is 104 or something).

Twilight started off decent but this book proves that the teenage girls I went to school with who wouldn't know a decent guy if he bit her on the neck (yeah, I'm looking at you every girl I ever asked out in junior high and high school!!) are still inhabiting the bodies of the teenage girls reading this dribble.  I can see the appeal, don't get me wrong but the character development is practically nil and the two main characters personalities are only based on how they act with each other and not with other characters, what few other characters there are.  The book had me right up until chapter seven.  Also, Kristen Stewart?  That's not who I pictured or even thought of while I was reading this book but that's a completely different rant.

Until next time, I remain...