Thursday, November 20, 2008

Twilight: Final Review

Okay, I've had a day to calm down from yesterday's "amigahd!" moment.

And all I can think about is Twilight. The first thing I did this morning when I got to work was run over to Stephenie Meyer's website trying to find an inkling of what she did to sell this book, what her pitch was, so that I could maybe get a better understanding of what she intended when writing the book. (Which I didn't find, and I may try to email her about, because I am that curious. I want to know how she sold this thing.)

Instead, I head to the movie section. Proceeded to spend the next 20 minutes reading info and watching clips.

Despite wanting to punch the main characters in the face, despite feeling robbed of my uber climactic vampire fight there at the end, despite feeling somewhat cheated in my reading experience for various reasons including the lack of vampire fighting, I want to read more. I want to read the other three books. And I don't know why.

I mean, she obviously did something to grab me and suck me into the story as a reader. I think I'm so pissed because my writer side and my reader side are duking it out. My writer side tells me "look, she was inconsistent with Bella's character. She displayed a lot of TSTL syndrome and yet had brief flashes of true intelligence. She fluxuated between depressed and happy so much that she left the bipolar readers in total awe (the behavior of which was unrealistic). Bella's dad was not a chief of police no matter how many times Meyer mentioned it -- he was not a cop personality. Edward is downright creepy (he reminds me a lot of my very controlling and mentally abusive ex boyfriend, which is admittedly most of my problem with this book) and acts like he's eternally 15 years old with an unhealthy puppy love obsession despite being a very much in control 100 year old vampire before meeting Bella. There were too-convenient setups and plot twists everywhere. She sucked at scene transitions. The conflict of the story was internal and lead the readers around in virtual circles for 400 pages before finding external conflict that escalated so fast it stole my breath. Literally, I think the plot was 'they fall in love and shit happens.' (Okay, maybe there was something in there about Bella finding a purpose or something, but it wasn't a main focus.) Then she let the readers down by having Bella pass out DURING the climactic scene, which, while realistic, is a horrible way to tell a story. Oh, and they sparkle. SPARKLE. What the hell? Vampires do not sparkle!"

And then the reader part comes back and says "but it was damned interesting, wasn't it? Like a reality TV show. Why do people watch those? They know it's silly, they know it's contrived, they know the cast is always going to be so outrageously over the top because people become idiots when money is at stake and they're on TV... but it's so friggin' entertaining. And you were entertained, weren't you?"

To which I grit my teeth and mumble, "yes, damn it. I was. But you repeat that to anyone and so help me I will make you pay."

I still maintain that this is very much a Romeo and Juliet story. For those of you that might make a positive association with that play, let me tell you how *I* view it. It's my personal opinion that Shakespeare was making a statement about young love. He was telling us that yes, even in his time, teenagers could be raging idiots. In the span of three days these two teenagers fall for each other so hard that they can't stand the thought of bein apart and through some seriously effed up events end up committing suicide "for love." (A viewpoint which I didn't take until I was several years out of high school... because in high school, I thought it was the most romantic thing ever.)

This is basically how I view Twilight, and it's also the reason I want to punch Edward and Bella in the face -- because they freely admit to knowing their infatuation isn't healthy and they both agree the other would be better off without them. And yet, they don't care. They're like fuck it, let's enjoy our time together. Admirable. Enfuriating. Soap Opera drama at its best, and it sucked me in. I should feel ashamed of myself. But it isn't going to stop me from reading the other three books, is it?

No, no it's not. Damn it.

Then I go on to read about where Meyer got the idea and got Twilight published and stuff. Typical busy-mom writer story about how she wrote in her free time, someone encouraged her to publish the thing, and she did. That was the typical part. Here's the not so typical part: from the time she sat down to start the book and got it published, it was six months start to finish. SIX MONTHS. A few years later and she's a worldwide best seller with a huge movie deal.

I think I hate her now. Jealousy is clawing its way out of my cold little heart. Is my skin turning green? Do I have steam coming out of my ears? How did this become such a huge phenomenon in such a short time? I have bookshelves full of better material.

But it isn't the same material, is it? Meyer hit the nail on the head -- I don't know if she meant to, but she took a love story and a vampire story and made it mesh together in a very unique way. And what sells these days? Stories that stray from the norm. She strays really far from the norm in just about everything in that book. And it got her attention. She stands out. That is why these things are so popular.

I mean, look. Everyone talks about her book. There's reviews everywhere (hello, I just made how many review posts on it? Yeah, ELEVEN, including this one). Smart Bitches did four: one specifically about edward, one that reviewed the book and gave it a D-, one that showed a spoof trailer (which is so full of ossim and amazing it's ridiculous), and one that was trying to figure out the deal with the movie posters. There are hypothetical letters from Edward Cullen to Sarah Palin (coz the Cullens moved from Alaska to Washington), two comic strips (here and here) from headtrip comics, at least one major discussion thread on AbsoluteWrite by published and hopeful authors (which is just one set of forums I troll... and there is probably a lot more to be found, I'm sure) some of which is positive and some of which is fraught with WTFery, and even an MSN Movies article that does another spoof about Twilight: The Lost Script. There's anectdotal evidence everywhere of people loving the secondary characters, of showing up to Midnight Release parties. People that hated the book are spreading the word as fast as they can... which makes others want to read it despite the negative opinions (because we as people like to experience things for ourselves, especially if it's as fucked up as everyone says it is).

So yeah. I can hate this thing all I want, I can talk about burning it and punching people in the face, I can rant all day long about how much of an unhealthy relationship Meyer writes about and how no teenager should ever read the books lest they try to validate their own craptastic and possibly abusive relationships, I can rant for pages upon pages about just creepy Edward and I-need-to-validate-my-life-through-someone-else Bella, never mind any other issues, but at the end of the day...

I still want to read it. I have to. I have to know what happens, and how badly it all goes to hell. What the hell is wrong with me?


Basically: I don't get it. And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go cleanse my brain with some actual work.

Quote of the Day:

(Romeo and Juliette)
Romeo: Is love a tender thing? It is too rough, too rude, too boisterous, and it pricks like thorn.
Mercutio: If love be rough with you, be rough with love. Prick love for pricking and you beat love down.


1 comment:

Donna Sirianni said...

I was in the same boat. I would overblow my lunch hour to finish reading a chapter and at the same time I wanted to rip my hair out for how horrible what I was reading was.

Wait. Just wait. It get so. Much. Worse. Or better depending on how you look at it.

And you know, as jealous as I am of I am of the zero work she put into writing and learning the craft before she penned Twilight to the ridiculous popularity it's made, I wouldn't trade places with her. Why? Regardless of the popularity, I wouldn't want to be the author with the books that sucked so bad everyone had to read it for themselves.

I have Breaking Dawn looming in my TBR pile but I'm not jumping to get to it. I know what happens and believe me, if you don't know already and read up to it, you'll be left wondering why the fluck girls are still screaming over this.

Aliens. That's all I have to say. Aliens. Or Spaceballs diner special, depending on your mood.