Twilight (and New Moon)

It was there, sitting on a sailboat in the middle of Lake Perez, that I first saw it.

It was resting in my boat mate Vasilisa’s lap, its pages flapping in a fresh gust of wind—wind that should have been sweeping our boat across the lake. Vasya’s eyes were cemented to the page, her usually effusive lips pressed together and her brow wrinkled into a frown. There would be no excited chatter today, I sensed, no pretending to be pirates, no jumping from the bow for a swim. Though she leaned against the mast in front of me, Vasya was with Edward in Forks, Washington—far, far away from the water lapping at her feet, the muffled laughs of our friends, the lake and the sun and the cool breeze we’d been waiting for.

“Watcha reading?” I asked.

Vasya sighed, tearing her eyes from the page for a split second to glare at me. She propped the book up on her knee so I could see the cover. Twilight.

Now, three and a half years later, everyone’s read it, or at least heard of it: shy girls and confident girls and nerdy girls and girls who don’t even read for English class all sit quietly at their desks before class, eyes boring into page after vampire-filled page. But when I bought Twilight three days ago, I wasn’t succumbing to fads. I was trying it out, like each of my friends before me, to “see the other side.” Twilight was successful and, as an aspiring writer, I wanted to know why.

That’s also why I couldn’t tear myself away until I finished reading, and why I rushed to get New Moon the next day.

I like it. I like it a lot. I might be addicted.

It’s not Stephenie Meyer’s faith in one-word sentences that I like, her fondness of the Caps lock key, or even the use of “…” that would make my AP English teacher cringe. Twilight appeals to me because it’s perfect for me, just like it’s perfect for almost any other female teenager.

Twilight and New Moon (I’m saving Eclipse and Breaking Dawn for after college applications.) are both written in first person, narrated by protagonist Isabella Swan. Bella is almost nondescript: all we’re told is that she’s pale and clumsy and has waist-length brown hair. We don’t know her weight or height, her economic status, what historical events she wishes she could visit, what she’d like to tell the President (Those are last year’s college application essay prompts.), or any other detail that might make her a unique individual. Bella is a shell, a one-size-fits-all baseball cap that almost any girl can wear.

Though some of my friends don’t like Bella’s lack of characteristics, I think it’s pivotal. Because Bella is such an easy spot to claim, the reader obediently puts herself in the story. Bella lives our dreams—a good relationship with both parents despite divorce, four boys wanting to take her to prom, and, of course, Edward—and when we put ourselves in her shoes we live them, too.

And, of course, Edward. Edward is hot: tall, lean, slightly muscular, tousled dark hair. He’s cold (literally and figuratively), unattainable for any of Bella’s friends or even the prettiest vampire chick. He’s smart, funny, emotional (but not in a bad way), and a vampire. The best part? He’s madly, undeniably in love with Bella—rather, with the reader. And what teenage girl doesn’t want a hot vampire boy?


~ by science cow on November 28, 2009.

8 Responses to “Twilight (and New Moon)”

  1. Great Post. Never really thought of why everybody is going crazy over twilight, but I guess that kind of sums it all. And maybe that means I have to alter the novel I had been writing.

    Well written; though that doesn’t alter my ‘why-all-the-hype-about-twilight’ stance. 😛 I mean, okay girls, you can like a novel very much, but really whats going on with twilight is really over the edge. I’m sure many guys feel the same way as I do.

    Face it ladies, he’s alive for a hundred years, he has emotions, he can read minds and he glitters in the light : he is not a vampire, he is a fairy!

    when you see a web page like this, you know that things are out of hand :

    In case if I offended anybody, I’m sorry – I didn’t intend to. Just my point of view. 😀

    • Hah! Great link! I’ll incorporate it if you don’t mind.

      And it’s okay–I, too, once shunned Twilight (before I actually read it).

      I like fairies…. 🙂

  2. Well… I should give you my review of Twilight. It’s on my own blog.
    I personally thought the story was interesting, the pacing left much to be desired, but the descriptions were a disgrace to the English language… but you should read my post to get the whole picture. Come see the musical!

    • It’s giving me a dead link…. =(

      I thought Twilight’s strengths were more in the strength of the world Meyer created and our need for it, and less the, um, quality of the writing. I actually found myself calmly ignoring the countless grammatical errors in the last two books because I really, really, really wanted it to stay real. I’d love to rewrite the Twilight series with a few corrections, but I guess that’s illegal.

  3. The first person perspective is certainly unconventional. Her writing is as you point out, technically sub standard. At least in my reading – or attmepted reading, of the first book.

    As for the theatrical releases, the expectations left by the first movie were not realized in New Moon. While we wanted to like it, there was not enough of anything there. 60 minutes of entertainment crammed into 2 hours and 10 minutes.

    Here is our take with lots of pics and a little wit if you are interested:

    • While Stephenie Meyer is certainly not F. Scott Fitzgerald, her writing does captivate readers like drugs obsess a drug addict (Maybe (hopefully), I’m exaggerating.). I think there’s merit in that–especially because so much of her audience otherwise might not be reading at all.

      • That is a thin but possible silver lining. We heard that argument regarding the Harry Potter books. I guess we would like to think that a slightly older target audience has not completely shunned books. Although we know many are indeed uninterested.

    • (WordPress won’t let me reply to an already double-nested comment, so I’m replying here.)

      “53 percent of Americans surveyed hadn’t read a book in the previous year”
      Source (from 2008):

      Also (from 2004):

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