All Info About Teen Reading

A companion blog to All Info About Teen Reading

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thoughts on Twilight

I wrote the following on a personal journal to share my thoughts with friends, but I thought I should also post it here, as it is also relevant to the topic of this blog:
Note - I wrote this with the understanding that the person reading it would have a basic idea of the story, so there may be some minor spoilers.

I was just thinking that I never gave my final report on Twilight. And my final assessment is that it wasn't that bad. The bits of commentary I had read online were so extreme, either fangirling all over it or hating it for its writing and the gender relations behind it. I find myself falling squarely in the middle. I don't want to have Edward's sparkly vampire babies, but I was also entertained by much of the book.

I can remember reading complaints about Bella being so popular, and I had expected her to be a cheerleader sort. Instead, she was popular because she was the new girl in a small town that doesn't get many new residents. It didn't seem that far-fetched to me. If you're a teenage boy, and you've been looking at the same girls for 17 years, the new one might be kind of appealing.

When Bella's attention was instantly drawn to Edward and his family on her first day of school, it didn't come across to me as some cliched "love at first sight" thing, but as someone honestly in awe at a family full of supernatural beauties. I think I might stare, too.

When she was mesmerized by Edward's eyes, that seemed to fit in with basic vampire mythology. At least, I think that's fairly commonly used in vampire stories, isn't it, that vampires can seduce their victims through their eyes or voice? I also thought that a vampire finding a particular human's blood attractive doesn't seem outside the realm of possiblity, as a sort of mythical version of pheromones.

Bella's clumsiness was a bit far-fetched, even as someone who also hated high school gym class (In my defense, though, I never actually injured anyone,as she seemed to), and perhaps gave Edward a few too many chances to be protective of her.

However, thinking about her clumsiness made me think that Edward and Bella's beginning interactions were similar to those of shoujo manga characters. The girl will often be clumsy and/or stumble into trouble, giving the guy a chance to come along and save her. Love/hate relationships are often common (I mean, you wouldn't have much of a weekly series if the two characters got together right away). So maybe I'm not a good judge of this because I've come to accept this structure in some stories.

The book was due the day I finished it, so I don't have it around for direct quoting, but I do recall a couple of times when I thought the word choice was a bit off, in a "would a high school girl, even a purportedly well-read one, really talk like that?" way. One that comes to mind is Bella saying that she was looking forward to some estrogen therapy when she was planning a shopping outing with friends.

On a more random note, I thought it was kind of funny when Edward had to skip biology class during the blood typing lab.

As you may have noticed with my earlier post, it took a while for the sparkling to come into play. When it did, it wasn't quite as excessive as I expected. It actually kind of made sense as an excuse for why vampires aren't seen in sunlight. It did lead into one of the more boring sections of the book, though, where Bella just plain talked too much about his good looks and her overall attraction to Edward. I was starting to get sick of them.

But then it started to improve after that when Edward introduced Bella to his family. I thought this part was interesting just for giving some more background about the different vampires and how they were created and survived over time. When the outsider vampire decided he wanted to hunt Bella, I thought that things picked up even more, and it became a real page-turner as I waited to see what would happen and if they would be able to outsmart him.

It's probably because I know what's coming with the horrific vampire baby birthing and whatnot, but I like the ending of the book better if I can think of it as open-ended. Bella wants to become a vampire so she can be with Edward always. He's reluctant. Fade to black, with the reader allowed to guess whether Ella ever manages to convince Edward.

The tl;dr summary - If you're on the fence about reading Twilight like I was, I think it's worth a try if you can find a copy to borrow.

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