Monday, October 26, 2009

Rant of a Book Snob

I finally read Twilight (by Stephanie Meyers). But I did not go willingly into that dark night! Oh no, I had to be dragged kicking and screaming by the rest of the book club who decided that it was too much of a phenomenon to ignore and chose it as our adolescent lit selection. Brief summary: Bella moves to the water-logged town of Forks and becomes obsessed with the gor-geous Edward, discovering along the way that he's a vampire, albeit a "vegetarian" vamp (only hunts animals, not humans, along with his "family"). Conflicts ensue, not the least that apparently Bella is the human version of filet mignon.

The book is not as bad as I thought it would be. That said, it wasn't fantastic, either. What it IS is compelling - as in, I got "sucked" in and read it in a couple of days. This kind of consumer fiction reminds me of The DaVinci Code - another quick, hard-to-put-down read.

Twilight is exactly the kind of book I would have been obsessed with as a teenager. Almost every teen lit heroine could fit this profile: average looks (or perceives herself as average), not a lot of friends, intelligent, reads a lot... This is (I believe) completely deliberate on the the author's part, simply because this could also describe most of the female READERS of teen lit. Bella fit this description, and yet Edward, this "god-like", mysterious, aloof boy, chooses HER as the love of his life. What girl (or woman, I'm not gonna lie) wouldn't fantasize about that?

A major point of our discussion revolved around this book as a "gateway drug". A big part of the conflict in Twilight is the sexual tension between Edward and Bella - in this book, at least (there are 3 more novels in the series), they do little more than cuddle and kiss, because of that teensy problem of Edward wanting to drink her blood. So although it's clean and moral, there's definitely a sexual element. Once girls are addicted to the sensuality of a novel like this, where will they look for their next fix? To the novels of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, whom Bella reads in the novel, which have a similar type of emotional pull? Or to Harlequin romance novels, which take the sensuality past the point of restraint?

There are lots of other points of discussion regarding this series, but I'll boil it down, in my personal opinion: Not as good as Harry Potter (by a long shot, actually), not as bad as Nicholas Sparks. If you like Twilight, read Jane Eyre.

Okay people. I read it! I did! And I don't hate myself or totally regret it. You win.


mama.nichols4 said...

Liz, I like Nicholas Sparks!

Humph! 8-)

Crystal said...

ba ha Tara! You crack me up. And good post, Liz :)

Ruth said...

i tried reading it and couldn't get past the baby-sitters-club-esque writing.

"i sat down. i stood up. i thought about this. i put my hair in a braid and pulled on my green coat with my brown shoes. i did homework. i listened to music."


i finally put it down because although it pulled you in, NOTHING EVER HAPPENED. boring and tedious.

as you can tell, i feel a bit strongly about this book. but, my impression of jane eyre is remakably similar: did i mention i'm plain? i'm plain. but i can draw! and i'll work hard! and i'm plain. don't forget that. very, very plain and undeserving of everything. plain and artistically talented. BLEH.

Lyz said...

Tara - I DID say I was a book snob.:)

Thanks Crystal!

Ruth - You are completely right. I seem to remember you loving the BSC books, though, right? All those inane details make it possible to BECOME the main character in the story yourself. (Also odd- all the details about what she made for dinner. One article I read said this is because girls LIKE to read about domestic stuff, even if they aren't domestic themselves. Feminists, discuss!:)

I will also admit that the beginning of Jane Eyre is v-e-r-y slow. I think the point of Jane repeating that she's plain is to demonstrate how well-adjusted she is? Like, she knows it and is okay with it? Whatevs, I'm still not there.:)

Ruth said...

interesting note about the domestic part of the character's life. yes, you rarely read that in male centered books i guess (although i would not be the one to confirm that).