50BC09: Book Number 26


I’m so very angry at this book.

I’ve actually wanted to read Twilight for a while now (sorry, I’m not going to link to any page that will allow any of you to buy this one; I just won’t). Even though it’s from a “young people” series, I figured what the hell? I so thoroughly enjoyed diving into Harry Potter’s world that I didn’t see anything too odd about trying out another young adult fictional world.

I’m so very angry.

I don’t have children, but if I did—and especially if I had daughters—I would want Stephenie Meyer’s head on a stake for writing one of the most offensive “tween/teen” female characters to ever exist. EVAR! Bella Swan (Beautiful Swan? Get it? Because she was gawky and awkward at her old school, but now she’s mysterious and alluring at her new school! The cleverness makes me want to wretch) is a moony-eyed, bubble-headed klutz who fulfills every horrid stereotype about how girls need saving. It doesn’t matter that Meyer tries to set Bella up as book smart…that’s just overcompensation in a way that doesn’t matter in the real world. Bella is 17 years old and should be far more street savvy and in possession of a greater level of common sense, not in desperate need for rescue every time she turns a corner (literally).

What makes this even more offensive is the fact that this character was portrayed in the movie by Kristen Stewart. I’ve not seen the movie (and believe me when I say there’s no way in hell I’m seeing it now), but I have been a fan of Stewart’s since I first saw her in Panic Room. Maybe because she played the daughter of a character played by Jodie Foster, I now associate Stewart with Foster (not a bad association at all, if you ask me).

Therefore, I tend to think of Stewart as holistically intelligent (I may very well be wrong, but I’d like to think that I’m not). Plus, of the other roles I’ve seen her play, they’ve all left me highly impressed, including her performance as another literary heroine, Melinda Sordino, in the movie Speak, which left me utterly speechless at the end (no pun intended, honestly).

[And let me say here that she gets extra points for being cast as Joan Jett in the upcoming Runaways movie.]

Needless to say, Kristen Stewart is not who I envision as Bella Swan. Instead, I see…a younger, original hair color, no fake-tan version of Paris Hilton. Yeah. Now do you understand how totally wrong Bella Swan is as a character? I know girls like Bella actually exist. I even knew a few girls like Bella when I was a teen. They weren’t heroines and when they looked back on their teen years, they were more mortified than proud of their behavior.

And I don’t even know where to begin with Edward. A sparkly vampire? It sounded stupid in the book. I can only imagine it looked equally stupid in the movie. Plus, let’s not forget the fact that, even though he’s “only 17,” he’s been 17 since 1918. That would make him slightly more than 100 years old, and he’s still sniffing after teenage girls (and I do mean sniffing; how many times did we have to read about how Bella smelled to him?)? Seriously, Kristen, run from continuing in this role and take Robert Pattinson with you. You were Cedric Diggory, dude! You were a Hufflepuffian! Stop sparkling and go do a play on the West End. I understand that there’s an opening in that horse play ever since Harry…er, Daniel left.

Another book complaint now: Get a decent editor. This book was 498 pages. It took almost 400 pages to finally get to the action (you know, beyond setting up your shitty characters and coming up with ever more insipid ways of describing how beautiful and perfect Edward looked). Really, just because your book is as long as a Rowling novel, that doesn’t automatically make it as good as a Rowling novel. Also, the action that finally fires up is so ridiculous and contrived and predictable, it was like watching a clown car coming at you while stuck in first gear.

Also, is it just my imagination, or is Bella Swan the type of girl who interprets roughness and pain as “He just treats me that way because he loves me”? How many times did Edward have to stress to Bella how easily he could kill her or cause her serious harm. When a guy has to tell you that all the time, don’t translate it as “Look how much he loves me; he’s withholding from hurting me.” It means “One day he’s going to drink too much Maker’s Mark and back over me with the John Deere tractor.”

Oh, and let’s not miss the abstinence overtones from this author who is a right and proper graduate of Bringem Brigham Young University. Edward and his family/coven all abstain from their natural “hunting” urges to the point that you’re just expecting him to smile and have some kind of strange purity ring banded around his fangs. Oh, but wait. Never once is there mention of fangs. In fact, there’s very little mention of the actual act that makes vampires vampires. Mormons apparently really do hate fangs.

AND! Vampire baseball? WTF! It was stupid when you had the Cullens playing it, but to then have other vampires attracted to the game, wanting to play?

Ugh. I’m still so very angry. I wanted to like this book. Instead, I ended up realizing that it’s nothing more than literary detritus that should be scooped up and deposited at the bottom of the deepest landfill.

I’ve recently finished watching the first season of True Blood. All I can say is vampires should thank Jesus for Alan Ball (there’s a statement I bet hasn’t been written many times before). Everything that Meyer gets so offensively wrong, Ball gets right. Sookie Stackhouse is what Bella Swan could have should have been. Yes, it is for an adult audience, and a lot of it is inappropriate for girls of the age to which Meyer’s books are meant to appeal. Then again, Meyer’s book is equally inappropriate for different reasons.

Final score: -5/5. Your sparkly vampires may not suck, but your book does. Avoid reading this book. Don’t waste your time on the movie. Go rent True Blood or pick up an Anne Rice novel if you need a vampire fix.