.. and then I threw up in my mouth a little bit.
Last weekend while wandering around Target, I found myself in the book section. My tastes in literature run far, far away from most fiction (I have a raging nerd-on for reference books, history books, things that debunk other things, useless self-help books [how to be batman; how to survive a zombie apocalypse], gay porn and random trivia), but remembering my self-flagellatory promise to read Twilight to confirm my loathing, I stopped in front of the large display they had. I disinterestedly picked up the first book in the series, and started to listlessly flip through it.
Have I established how completely apathetic towards it all I was? I have? Okay, good.
I probably wouldn’t have bought the book if not for what I found between the pages: someone was trying to save my soul by means of trickery. Tucked into the middle of the book was a crumpled, folded piece of paper that looked like money. I knew it wasn’t, but I pulled out the “50” and took a closer look. It was a small piece of fake money made up to look like a US $50 bill, but on the reverse it said “Disappointed? JESUS NEVER DISAPPOINTS!” then went on about saving yourself before it was too late. The prospect of the irony laid out before me was far more interesting than the book I held – seriously, someone is trying to save my soul because I’m reading a book about vampires (clearly unholy) even though the book is about as “evil” as The Roly Poly Puppy in terms of stuff the church disapproves of (oh no! 400+ pages of ABSTINENCE! Save me, o lord!)? Delicious. Stuff like this never happens in Canada.
Bolstered by the thought of my book coming with a free helping of Jesus, I threw it into my shopping cart full of American underwear and Domo-kun dolls and went on my merry way.
The book lay untouched for several days, but eventually I found myself in bed and not wanting to play video games. I remembered that I had a book to read, and I settled in for a night of teen angst.
It wasn’t until I looked at the clock and realized that it was almost 4am that I remembered why I don’t open new books after midnight – they don’t get put down until they’re done, no matter the topic. This is another reason why I lean towards non-fiction books that address a wide variety of topics – with no plot to see through to the end, I am able to break the spell and set the book aside for later. With a story, there’s no hope. I will read until the book is finished and then I will go read some more online about it. I’m slightly obsessive that way; I have to know everything whether I like it or not.
You can probably see where all this is going, but:
Good god, that book was a steaming pile of crap.
That being said, I absolutely understand why people get sucked into it.
I read Twilight on Saturday night, and it completely broke my brain. Ask Ed – I won’t get into the gory details, but I engaged him in a spectacularly embarrassing conversation the following afternoon, the gist of which will never ever leave my fingers. My brain was broken. It wasn’t so much that I was into the story – my inner logic poked a thousand holes into it; the characters were wooden and pathetic; the inner monologues and clumsiness of the main character I identified with a little too closely; holy fucking shit lady why don’t you project more of your issues and bizarre idea of what constitutes “true love” onto an entire generation of girls who can’t yet discern between concern and emotional abuse – but at the same time, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It didn’t help that I have a raging girl boner for the guy who played the sparkly vampire either – dang, he’s pretty. The stupid book stayed in my head for days, and I was starting to think I was going crazy; that’s how bad it was.
There are a thousand things wrong with the story, most of which have been said before. Look up almost any review of the Twilight series and you’ll see the same arguments again and again: Edward is a creepy, borderline abusive stalker and Bella is a lame wet noodle of a protagonist. The recaps of the remaining three books make the entire thing sound even less appealing that the one I read, and I think I’ve finally realized what’s making me so angry about the whole thing: it’s the whole “I love you” “I love you too but I will leave you if you love me too hard” “that isn’t fair” “it’s for your own good” “oh look something happened and now I will leave you” “wah wah he left me now I am catatonic” “oh good here is a sexy werewolf to fill in the gaping hole my abstinent vampire left” “what she found someone else how dare she now I will come back and make her feel bad for getting over me” thing.
I’m not so far removed from my emotions that I can’t remember exactly how it felt to be so very, very head over heels stupidly obsessedly dangerously (to the point of – gasp! – skipping classes! O the danger!) in love with someone only for them to decide that it isn’t right and they have to go away now. Sure, it was much more benign than this fairy tale, but I still remember the helpless feeling of broken hearted rage and it’s a stupid, bad feeling. I hated that this book was making me remember how it felt to feel that bad, remembering how stupid I was and the little deals I made with myself to try to lure him back. The entire thing was .. stupid. There’s no more fancy word I need to use than that. I also remember feeling squishy inside and terribly happy that this boy I liked was visibly angry that I was talking to other boys, because at that stage in the crush it means everything that they’re angry because of you. It’s such a terribly unhealthy and horrible thing – I’m glad it doesn’t last long, but what if you think that’s how things should be? That love means nothing unless you’re ALL THEIRS all the time and unless he’s angry, he doesn’t mean it?
I hate that this book makes girls want to be helpless and bland in the hopes that someone will find them distressed enough to protect them from the real world. I hate that this book made grand leaps in logic – he watches me sleep; that means he loves me! he threatens other boys who talk to me! he took it upon himself to arrange my life so that we are never, ever apart! – and wraps up all the creepy, stalkerish, rude, downright ridiculous behavior and slaps a shiny red bow on it, calling it love. I hate the non-stop descriptions of Edward’s beauty and Bella’s quickness to accept that she is nothing more than a snack who is eternally destined to sacrifice herself and her potential to be available should the flaky, sparkly son of a bitch ever come to terms with her. I hate that the entire book is one long, wordy pamphlet for abstinence – putting myself in Bella’s boring shoes, I would have jumped his beautiful, godlike, Adonis bones long before chapter 4 started – real life relationships rarely work like that and there is really nothing noble or upstanding about denying mutual attraction.
I could go on, but I’m on page three and I haven’t yet gotten to the biggest thing that pissed me off about the book:
It’s a watered down sex-free kiddie version of Laurel K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter books.
I fucking *hate* those books.
When I learned that a secondary character was a werewolf, I started mentally counting down the pages until Bella *needed* to have sex with Jacob, then Edward, then Emmett, then Alice, then Billy, then Charlie, then Jacob again, then all together now, to save her own soul. Not that there’s anything wrong with random group sex – quite the contrary; what’re you guys up to this weekend? – but the Anita Blake books will take a seemingly innocent situation (“my shoelace is untied”) and turn it into a compulsory sex scene that lasts for three quarters of the book. Introduce a new character, and three pages later your heroine is fucking that guy too under the guise of *needing* to do it or the world will end. She doesn’t want to, of course – she just *has* to. Or else. I hate you. Please fuck me until I can’t breathe.
Of course, the Twilight series has no sex in it until the 4th book and even then it’s wrought with Edward’s anger (GRAHHHH I AM SPARKLY EVEN DOWN THERE) and Bella’s self-effacing acceptance (why is he mad? am I bad at the sex? Am I GOOD at the sex which means I am unclean? does he hate me again? did I do something wrong? Why doesn’t he love me anymore?) and terrible messages about self-image (ohhh I get it, it’s not me it’s HIM and he is so conflicted about having sex with me because I am a delicate flower who cannot possibly handle his sparkly magnificence that’s so awesome he totally loves me and yet he must not for I am but a simple granola bar) and desire (swoon swoon I get sparkly kisses yet if I move AT ALL he will pull away in anger so I must not ever show my own desires, just sit here and accept his).
So the book, which is touted as a sexy romantic romp through every woman’s fantasy, is really not at all passionate or exciting or a good read. I’ve read STD pamphlets that were more arousing than this book that is admittedly meant for teenage girls which somehow makes it worse because there is nothing whatsoever healthy about Edward and Bella’s relationship.
Bad, bad book. It makes me upset, and I haven’t even gone into everything that is wrong with Stephenie Meyer’s version of what a vampire should be.
I don’t think any teenage girls read my website, but if they do, I beg you to know that real relationships don’t go like this.
And real vampires DON’T FUCKING SPARKLE.
That is all (she says, 1781 words later).