Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Friggin' Twilight Books

Friggin' Twilight books. Lessee: Auntie Soo-See handed over all four of them to me on Sunday, and today is Tuesday, so, yeah, I'm on the third one.

Friggin' Twilight books. That is all.

NOPE! Not all! I cannot stop reading them: they are page-turners. I simply must know what happens next. And yet, what happens next is sometimes (old papery-skinned European underground cabal of vicious vampire overlords?) what happened a long time ago in some books you might have heard of by .... Ann Rice? And! The opening chapter is always a little too Sweet Valley High in its recap of what's going on in the series? (I'm pretty sure about that: I've started three books in three days, and I'm getting familiar with the pattern.)

And worst! BELLA SWAN IS A ZERO! I had hopes for her. Strong-willed, pissed off and moving to Forks, perfectly willing to be miserable. Smart girl, reads a lot, not a looker, really, kind of a dork, seems interesting. But then, by page 50 of Book One, she turns into a zombie. Not the zombie she describes herself as in New Moon, affectless and hollowed out by loss, but a zombie from the get-go: after her Nancy Drew sleuthing with young Jacob Black and her dream-epiphany that Edward must be a vampire? HER WHOLE FRIGGIN' PURPOSE IN LIFE IS ... TO BE NEAR HIM. Consider all the conniving--street assaults, cliff-diving, motorcycle riding--she does in New Moon, willfully endangering herself just to hallucinate his precious undead voice.

Girlfriend needs hobbies. Something beyond cooking dinner for Charlie and throwing herself perpetually at Edward. She likes to listen to music ... oh wait, that's just to show how her taste is the same as Edward. She reads books ... oh wait, that's to show off Stephanie Meyer's English degree and to mark formal parallels between Twilight and Shakespeare. She likes horror movies ... oh wait, she's just trying to avoid watching romcoms that will remind her of Edward. I think she might actually like the truck. That's a pretty pitiful set of interests.

Bella! Damn you! Like a Disney princess, you are torn between the custody of a weak, waffling father and the perfect man. Your mother has been infantilized and moved to a purely offscreen role. Somehow, she is blameworthy and banished. Like a Disney princess your whole sense of self revolves around your sense that your love object loves you back. You will give up anything to be with him. Like a Disney princess all of your creative energy is devoted to securing and maintaining this relationship. You've got a little more nerve in expressing your sexual desire, but other than that (and the fact that you don't like to dress up all beeootiful-like) I don't see much difference. Between you and the Disney princesses, whose boxed set of books spent one day in this house before Pynchon and I, horrifed, made them disappear.

And yet. Can't stop reading them.

Am appalled.

Also, fascinated. Still, very very appalled.


Mad said...

Twilight: Erg. Meh. Blah!

And that was my entire response.

metro mama said...

Say it ain't so. I'm appalled too.

Kate said...

You are a stronger woman than I - I made it through only the first book and then was too paralyzed with horror at Bella to continue.

Redeeming humour can be found in Robert Pattinson's interview with Empire Magazine. Sample quote: "When you read the book," says Pattinson, looking appropriately pallid and interesting even without makeup, "it's like, 'Edward Cullen was so beautiful I creamed myself.' I mean, every line is like that. He's the most ridiculous person who's so amazing at everything. I think a lot of actors tried to play that aspect. I just couldn't do that. And the more I read the script, the more I hated this guy, so that's how I played him, as a manic-depressive who hates himself. Plus, he's a 108-year-old virgin so he's obviously got some issues there."

Bea said...

Okay, so here's what I've never been able to do properly - explain why it is that these novels are so un-put-down-able. I don't think the standard suspense tactics can quite explain it. I've read defenses of the series (like HBM's) that stand up for Bella, and for the series as not-nearly-so-antifeminist-as-it-seems, but those don't really come close to explaining the appeal. I'm pretty sure the appeal has something to do with how deeply unhealthy Bella is - I don't think I'd find the series so compulsively readable if she were making mature decisions about an emotionally healthy relationship.

Mimi said...

Bea: so it's the car crash on the side of the road effect? God help me, I'm nearing the crisis in eclipse, and I'm relieved at least that Bella is being clever for once. But this relief is counterbalanced by Jake and Edward snarling at each other about neither one of them will let the other 'have' her. Oh dear.

Kyla said...

I haven't read them yet, but after watching the movie and what I've heard about them, this is probably a perfect synopsis.

Beck said...

I haven't read 'em, but my husband's 13 year-old step-neice gave me an enthralled precis at Christmas.

Bea said...

Not exactly the car crash thing, because that implies dismay and curiosity. Maybe it's like Satan in Paradise Lost - you don't admire him, but you kind of envy him his sheer evil? In romance novels, I've always preferred the catastrophically unhealthy characters - the ones who wholly abandon the imperatives to be wise, reasonable, or practical but instead give themselves over to their unreasonably intense emotions for seriously unsuitable men.

the new girl said...

I know EXACTLY how you feel. How about he's ONE HUNDRED YEARS OLD, going after a girl who's A TEENAGER.

Just. odd. And she's so..self-sacrificing. (SM's *grown up book* The Host is equally difficult to put down and has the same thread of putting up with neglect/abuse/whatever to BE NEAR someone or to BE LOVED by someone.)

I think, too, that it is kind of that 'unpopular girl' is magically attractive to this super-desirable guy...The books also really, really, remind me of Charlaine Harris' books.

No Mother Earth said...

Right there with you, friend. Can't stand Bella, yet can't stop reading the books. It's like crack.