For years I’ve been recommending books to my daughter Brittany and encouraging her to read good stuff. As a result, she finished the entire Lord of The Rings trilogy (all 4 books!) by the time she was 13. I didn’t even pick up The Hobbit until I was 15!
So it should have come as no surprise to me when she recommended and encouraged me to read a book in a series that she’d come to really like: Twilight.
So, I asked her to get a copy for me (I still haven’t gotten a public library card here yet—and yes, I know that I should do it asap) and she borrowed a copy from one of her friends. It sat on my desk for several days before I could get to it, but I finally dove in under the scrutiny of Brittany’s ever watchful eye. Possible spoilers, so be warned.
She’d warned me that the first book started off slow but that it got exciting. I should have asked her exactly what she meant by “slow.” I read 350 of the 500 pages before it actually got interesting. And that’s what causes the writer in me to ask the question: how in the world did this book get published as is? It seems so many of the rules are broken—well, those pushed by the “writing” world—and yet the book has developed a cult type following with young girls. Anyhow, the book didn’t get real “exciting” until the “bad guy” vampire was introduced…and this was around page 350.
Twilight is decidedly a “chick-book.” It is filled with endless dreaming and daydreaming and la-la-ing over the main male character, who we learn is a vampire. If she called him “a bronze god” once, she did it twenty or thirty times! Gag-me-with-a-spoon even.
One problem I had with it was the overt sensuality of it all. It borders on foreplay or teasing even. The two lovestruck main characters are constantly rubbing each other so that their “breaths catch” or their “hearts stop.” If it were an adult romance book, they’d head straight for the nearest bed.
Bella, the girl who tells the story, constantly makes very stupid decisions. Thing is, she knows it, but does it anyway. She frequently thinks she’s making a bad decision or knows that she should tell her dad…but she doesn’t. It reminded me of those bad horror movies where the girl in the nightgown goes out into the backyard alone at night. Everyone watching quickly says “stupid girl,” or, more to the point—it isn’t realistic.
It’s easy to see why Bella reaches out to the closest evil, though—she comes from a broken home and doesn’t have the advantage of both parents in the home.
On a positive note—I don’t recall a single swear word in the entire 500 pages…AND, the characters—teenagers—do not run off and have sex. The author gives them plenty of opportunity to do so, but it never happens. Both decisions, I must applaud.
It’s certainly easy to see why this book appeals to girls: it’s the good girl drawn to the bad guy story that often works so well—like the movie Grease. Edward, the vampire, practically worships the ground Bella walks on. What lovestruck girl doesn’t want that?
I don’t, however, see this book making it on the reading list of very many boys. In fact, I’m not real anxious to get started on the second one…but Brittany has already asked me to read it. Just let me finish War & Peace first…