Monday, October 24, 2011

And Now the Purple Dusk of Twilight Time...

Oh, I am wading into dangerous waters. On my fourth attempt, I am actually reading Twilight. Instead of reading the whole thing and leaving a conventional review, I thought I'd post my comments as I went along. This particular post will refer to pages 1-57. First and foremost I had trouble getting into this book for a lot of reasons:

1. I taught high school for 8 years. If Bella Swan had been in my class I would have wanted to smack her for her snotty attitude and for constantly hiding behind her hair. And what's with the melodrama of "my exile to Forks"?
2. As a writer I'm righteously indignant that Stephanie Meyers got to keep her vague Prologue. You know, the one they tell all the rest of us to cut out?
3. There's a lot of emphasis on that truck of hers. Then here comes the hero with a last name of Cullen. You know what that means....I'm trying to read this book and all I can hear in my head is

And that, combined with Bella's original disdain for said truck then reminds me of this updated gem from my high school days....

Okay, so once I got past the truck thing and the whiny teenager thing, I had to get real. One of my friends asked me if this was going to be a "love post" or a "barf post;" so far, I stick with my answer that it's more of an "I'm bemused by this entire phenomenon" post. A couple of things actually kept me reading. First, Bella's description of the biology room really took me back to my own biology class. Second, she dislikes math and can't play volleyball without getting injured--I can't either, so I decided to stick with her just a little longer. Third, as a writer I have to admit Meyers has asked some questions I want to answer. No, I'm not talking about how vampires sparkle, either.

So, sure, Bella's melodramatic. And, sure, Edward Cullen is no Angel, but I'll stick with it just a little longer. If I can just get those damned truck commercials out of my head!


  1. I love that people love this book, but I never could get into. I've given away many copies to friends. I've tried and tried to read it. But it was like taking medicine. Only thing that should take that much effort is exercise. But I love how many of my friends and their kids love Twilight. More people should be reading! Thanks, Sally.

  2. I too have tried and failed to get through Twilight, but as Nicki said more people should be reading. I can't fault the woman for writing something that has struck a cord with so many people and that has converted so many non-readers to readers. : )

  3. Nicki, it really does feel like medicine--especially those first 50 pages. I've actually crossed 100, and it's improving. I'm with you. If it gets you to read, then good for the book and good for you. I don't like Nicholas Sparks, but other people swear by him. Just as long as you're reading.

  4. Chudney, I'm with you.I don't fault Stephanie Meyers at all. It's shaping up to be an interesting story and when she got to the part about blood typing, I actually remembered that day in physiology. Been there, done that. Of course, some folks like to relive high school more than others, I think.

  5. If I were Stephanie Myer, my skin would be so thick by now, I'd be a goat. But before I comment, I always think of her slaving away to writer her "dream." And I have to say -- 1)That's enough to make TWILIGHT a success. 2) Apparently, she has a very common dream and it strikes a cord with many folks. 3) The setting of Forks is wonderful and I love it. 4) I'd drive that truck. 5)Getting to start over as an intriguing new kid in a weird high school would have been cool.
    BUT...1)As an adult woman, I have trouble with identifying with a less than formed teenage girl. 2)Sparkly boys really kinda don't do it for me. 3)I wish she'd given Bella AND what's his face more depth. Like tell me his stories. He's been around a while, right? I know he's busy with the sparkling and the hunting, but there's been more to it, surely.
    So...I think my admiration for TWILIGHT is because she got so many things right. My frustration with it is that I'm a grown up and these characters are not. And in the end, I just wanted more from the story.
    Congrats on nursing baby readers along the path, Ms. Myers. May they grow up and discover...well, the rest of us authors. :)

  6. Aw, Kim. You are, of course, absolutely right that the biggest success of the book is that Meyer stuck with it and got it published. That's the dream for all of us right? The meteoric popularity being the gravy, of course.

    Best part of your response? I'd drive that truck. Yep, I would, too. I was actually partial to my Dad's 1978 Ford F-150, though.

    You mean I'm not going to get more of Edward's stories. Aw, man!

  7. Okay, here's a fan... come on, I'll take you on.
    #1 - Kudos to Ms.Meyers. If she really was picked out of the slushpile by an intern (her story, not mine) & then stuck through crits & editing while keeping her story mostly intact and is now a millionaire... more power to her. She gives all writers hope for success.
    Frankly, I think she either got mega lucky or sold her soul ... that might have been the time when her stars & moons all aligned the right way so she could do no wrong. But I digress.
    #2- We read as writers- others are simply escaping into fantasy. It's not perfect, but it IS original. And if you stick with the rest of the books, you'll come to know Edward's and all of their backstories. I'm not saying it's all good - I'm saying it's original.
    #3 - It would never ever fly or launch or even get an honorable mention in a writing contest. That said, it's accessible and succeeds on a popular, young adult & mom reading level. A middle school librarian turned me on to it at Scholastic Book Fair when it first came out - she couldn't keep it in stock, couldn't keep the book in her library - so many people clamored for it. So, it's gotten people turned on to reading. Hopefully their tastes will refine after the series is over & they'll discover better authors and their stories.
    But no, it's not sophisticated. It shouldn't be judged on that level.
    And my grandpa's 1st name was Cullen, so it was a huge surprise to see that name surface.
    Ruined a lot for me though!

  8. Pamela,

    I haven't completely formulated an opinion yet, but I think you're right that many writers are going to read this with a different eye than a reader. I have to admit there is a sort of charm to the simply prose that makes the story very accessible. I would never compare this to, say, Empire Falls. And I would read those two books for very different reasons.

    I think you're right about how this novel wouldn't do well in a contest, but I think that's good for those of us who write pistachio in a chocolate or vanilla world.

    There'll be more. I'm liking it better now that I'm past p. 57 : )

  9. Oh man. I know I'm going to get shot, but I LOVE Twilight! I think it is an easy read and knowing several teenage girls, I can totally see many of their traits in Bella. I am an Edward fan and totally wish she would have finished the Twilight story in Edwards POV. This is the story that one of her Beta readers leaked on the internet. Then she quit writing it because she said it kind of killed the muse. Yep, I read it, but only because after the person posted it, Stephanie Meyers posted it on her website. Said she felt that if the public was going to read it, she wanted it to come from her. It really lets the reader dig deeper into Edwards thoughts and I think if she had mixed the two throughout the book, it would have been much richer. JMO

    Sorry, but I have to admit that I've also read it more than once. I might even admit to having to use both hands to count the number of times I've read the series. But lets not go there. :)


  10. Tami, you read what you want to read. I am no expert. I can't stand Danielle Steele's books, but she's made a killing so she's obviously doing something right.

    I'm about to do my next segment pretty soon. I think the same thing that attracts some people repels others. It's a real love-hate relationship, a really strong voice maybe. And that strong voice gets confusing because I don't think Bella--at least not at this point--is a really strong character, but her voice is strong.

    Then you have that high school thing going on. Sometimes it draws me in as it did with the blood type scene. Sometimes, the high school parts really turn me off with some of the angst. And that angst probably turns me off because it reminds me of something about myself that I don't particularly like.

    I don't know. I'll just keep responding as I go along. . .

  11. I think if I was subbing HS with them in class one day I would have to pop her too! All the mortals in town much be a little slow if they don't notice some of the obvious signs!

    I was a hard core fan of the books, but I just can's get too into the movies. Krista as Bella was nothing like I had in my head when I was reading the books!

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    Ava Roxanne @MySKinCOncierge