Tuesday, June 24, 2008

i vaaahnt to suuuck your blooohd!

So, in "literary" news, I finished reading Stephenie Meyer's debut novel Twilight a couple of weeks ago. Published in 2005, it's the first in her series of books about teenager Isabella Swan, who is hopelessly in love with her classmate Edward Cullen. But oops guess what Edward is a vampire. Here's the twist: the book is almost impossible to read without one's eyes rolling so far out of one's head that they literally fall to the ground and roll away.

I may be reacting too harshly towards this novel. It is aimed towards young adults, and it was Meyer's first novel, but the writing style was just so laced with the aphrodisiac quality of teenage pheremones that I found it impossible to believe anything that was happening to the characters. I appreciate the high school setting of the classic vampire love story: he loves her, but can't get too close because he might hurt her; she loves him, and is afraid of being a mortal in love with an immortal. That said, the writing style was just so difficult to get through that I could hardly enjoy the story.

As someone who spent nine lonely years in all girls' school pining away for some boy to show any interest in me, I am very familiar with the genre of internet fan fiction. Very. Trust me. So believe me when I say that I have encountered Stephenie Meyer's style before, on message boards and web compendiums of fanfic written about every possible sort of thing that could ever be considered arousing. "And then Aragorn lightly traced his fingertips across Boromir's arrow-pierced chest. As a single tear slowly rolled down his chiseled face, Legolas chased it away with his smooth pink lips..." Oy. Twilight was not much better.

I couldn't help rolling my eyes each time Edward Cullen made Bella lose control of her senses, because their love was almost never explained. All of a sudden, after lusting after each other for five seconds, it is just evident that they should and will be 2gether 4eva. Now, I know this has been done before, famously, but even at all girls' school I didn't buy that Juliet wasn't just Romeo's Rosalind II. At least Shakespeare could write beautifully enough to make you not care about the stupid Tristan & Iseult rehash. And I know this was probably the point, but Edward seemed to love her only enough that he didn't try to kill her all the time. Every time he tried to explain his affection, it sounded like a dog professing his love for a steak. Edward was moody and boring and Bella was both petulant and impetuous, and none of those characteristics are appealing.

And finally, I must put forth my biggest problem with this whole thing. Sorry if it bothers you, but we're talking vampires here. Meyer establishes that a single drop of human blood from a papercut is enough to drive the vampires into a ravenous hunt, unable to control themselves. They are even driven wild by the smell of a human heartbeat. What the hell happens when women are on their period? I mean, really, Meyer has to have asked herself that. I know it's not the most appealing teen-novel fodder, but it's a valid question. If someone has an answer for me about how vampire fiction has dealt with this, if ever, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Anyway, here's the movie's teaser trailer, which looks slightly more entertaining than the book. Whatever.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBvOhfL4mYw (Feck; I still can't embed videos for some reason! Bah!)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I recently read "Twilight" too, and my two main reactions were: 1) How many different ways can she tell us that Edward is hot and sexy and Bella is frail and clumsy? I've counted 231657, now! STOP! 2) This reads like fanfic, shameless fanfic. I got about 2/3rds through before it was due a the library. I emailed a friend of mine who'd read it (but wasn't a fanatic), asking if I should check it out again and finish it, because maybe it's like some books that are slow and seemingly pointless until the climax, and then they get good. She didn't build my confidence. I may never finish it. I will see the movie though (it was filmed here.)