28 November 2011

Book Review: Twilight

Title: Twilight
Series: Book 1 in Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher/Year: Hachette / 2006
Date Finished: 17 November 2011
Source/Format: B&N / Print
Book #: 87

Buy | Borrow | Accept | Avoid

The Short and Sweet of It
Really? You don't know this story? Well, alright. Here's the quick version. Clumsy kind of pathetic girl with minimal social skills falls in love with a suave-but-sometimes-silly vegetarian vampire who can't decide if he wants to sex her up or drain her blood. And let the drama ensue....

A Bit of a Ramble
From my short summary it may seem that I don't like Twilight, but that is just not true. This is my second time reading the series, and while I'm not enjoying it as much as I did the first time around, I am still plowing through it and ready to move on to book 2. With some snicker-worthy characters and an eye-rolling love story, Twilight is definitely a bit amusing, especially to a 31 year old with a very small romantic side (I didn't really mind when Romeo and Juliet died...). Plus, I do find myself frustrated from time to time with Bella's hero-worship-I'd-die-for-you-I'm-nothing-without-you attitude.

And yet. Yep, there's an "and yet." I truly enjoy the story because it draws me in despite (or maybe even because of) it's delightfully ludicrous nature. The action is fast-paced, the motivations are simple and clear, the tension is high, and my brain can just turn off and enjoy. I read this book with a half-smile on my face, simultaneously charmed and bemused.

I've read - and pondered - many of the issues other readers have presented, and with most theories, I agree. There is definitely something scary about encouraging young girls to lust after boys who pose a real physical threat to their being. Rape culture = not good. And the very present idea of men having to maintain control over a couple's sexuality is rather annoying. Female as uncontrolled sexual temptress, male as careful locus of resistance and protection = not good. The list of "issues" goes on and on.

But damn me for a heartless reader, I just don't care while I'm reading. For me, those issues are irrelevant as I am old enough and experienced enough to recognize the danger of subscribing to the ideology presented in books like these. I do, however, hope that parents of pre-teen and teen girls are having some serious discussion with their kids who are reading or watching this series.

Speaking of watching... While I read these books with a healthy dose of chuckles, I can't watch the films without outright ROFLMAO. Oh heavens. Oh my sweet heavens. It's like the movies took the funniest (not-supposed-to-be-funny) bits and magnified them tenfold. I think I've only seen the first and possibly the third, and I'm not sure if I will watch the others. If the opportunity presented itself, I probably would just for giggles...

And now I will be moving on to book 2 in the series (and neglecting some of my more serious books which are waiting patiently).

This Book Around the Web
If I've missed your review, let me know!

About a gazillion reviews....


  1. I don't think you're a heartless reader. There's nothing wrong with appreciating the story while being well aware of all those very big issues. We all do it with certain books/movies/series.

  2. That's actually about how I felt about Twilight. It was the second book that killed me. I couldn't go on after that one. :D

  3. I agree with the fun nature of some bad ideas included. That's why they are successful after all ("that" modifying both "fun nature" and "bad ideas"). In fact, I generally seek out these massively popular books so that I understand what social patterns are being promulgated. I call it "sociological research." Makes it sound way better! :--)

  4. I've never read them but saw the first 2 movies. All I could think was, "I hope the books are a lot better than this." Maybe it's Kristen Stewart. I couldn't stand how mumbly and awkward she was. So I am relieved to hear that the book is better. :)

  5. Ana - Too true. I guess the controversy over this series was forefront in my mind while I was writing up my thoughts.

    Amanda - The series is definitely a downward spiraling one.

    Jill - I love it! I'm going to steal that....

    Chris - The books are definitely better. I honestly find the movies nothing but ridiculous.

  6. I read this one and the second book to see what all the fuss was about but in the end I just couldn't finish the series. I can understand the appeal but it just wasn't my cup of tea.

  7. I also devoured book 1 many moons ago, but disliked the series as I went on. Saw the movie and that was it for me. Too ridiculous!

    As for the issues, many of these never occurred to me while I read, because the reading of the book was so fast and enjoyable. I'm sure my age has something to do with it, but even as a young girl I knew books were fiction, and wouldn't let a book sway me to do something or think certain behavior is acceptable. I read Go Ask Alice and didn't end up a junkie or ho bag. just saying.

    I look forward to what your thoughts throughout the series.

  8. My daughter has read this series several times, and keeps hounding me to read them too, but so far, I have refused. I did see the first two movies, and was confused as to the popularity of them. They seemed sort of silly and strange, and the lead actors were just took themselves so seriously and were too melodramatic for me to enjoy. I don't know if I will ever read these books, but who knows, maybe someday!

  9. Yeah, I pretty much feel the exact same way. I've been thinking of re-reading these because I really don't remember much about Breaking Dawn at this point. I get supremely annoyed by Bella's hero worship, but I also find her MUCH more likable in the books than the film adaptations. She AT LEAST had a little bit of a sense of humor in the books, and the playful banter between Bella and Edward was one of my favorite parts of the books that got life-sucked right out of the films.

  10. I read the first three books when I was home sick for a couple of days and was hooked. It wasn't that they were marvelous pieces of literature, but they were hella entertaining and that was what I needed. I reread the first three before BD came out....and then read BD and set them permanently aside. I might reread them sometime in the future, if it doesn't hurt my cred as a classics blogger, but I'm not sure. ;)

    As for the movies, I have seen the first two. Both times I went with a friend, and we went more for the entertainment value of the crowd than the actual movie. The movies are pretty funny. In fact, I will sometimes turn them on if I need a laugh. :)

  11. Oh yes, I enjoy the books despite their issues and it frustrates me really that I can't even care WHILE reading, only AFTER reading. While reading I just can't pull myself away! Afterwards my blood can boil thinking about some of it! But the movies. Ohhhh the movies. Definitely hilarious and the best type of comedy - unintentional.

  12. I stopped reading this series after the first book because I was so disturbed by Bella's "I don't need a future, I just need you. Especially because I'm so clumsy" mindset and by the vampire's serious possessiveness. I didn't like it at all. I've never seen any of the movies, but I've heard much the same as what you say above!

  13. I'm so not a fan of these books but I have to agree with you they're very engaging and even though I was rolling my eyes and gritting my teeth I kept turning pages. The movies? So bad!

  14. I've avoided any great analysis into these books. I read them well before the films (which I think are awful) and I enjoyed them for what they are. Escapist reads aimed at people much younger than me! I read urban fantasy where much worse things happen to characters so can't say I thought it was a bad influence.

  15. These books are the guiltiest of guilty pleasures but DAMN i just gave myself over to them and enjoyed the heck out of them. The movies, though, are just awful. I went to see the third one in the theater and it was almost painful to watch. Bella is SUCH A LOSER in them.

  16. I was with you until the last book, which was unnecessarily ridiculous. And I STILL haven't forgiven Meyer for Renesme, or however you spell that asinine name.

  17. Yeah, I loved Twilight when I first read it too, but became HORRIFIED when my (at the time) fourth-grader daughter begged to read it, mainly "because all the other little girls were reading it." As you say, we older readers can roll our eyes but still enjoy the "first love" passion of it. But I just COULD NOT stomach 9 and 10 year old girls devouring it.

    We went round and round for a while, and finally came to agreement when I told her she COULD read Twilight (I always told her she could read it "later"), but only if she read GRACELING first. I explained that in GRACELING, the hero loved and respected the heroine's strength and spunk. After she read both, we would then discuss the different ways the leading boys treated the leading girls. She happily agreed and ended up loving Graceling. She also declined to read Twilight when she finally could, confessing that she liked being "the only girl in her class" that didn't get wrapped up in the Edward craze. It is a guilty pleasure but has a whole 'nother scary angle to it when you think about little girls consuming it as a model for their first romance book!

  18. I got mirthful tears in my eyes just remembering the film version of this book. Oh God. My favorite is when they are in the forest and Edward inexplicably climbs a tree and sits there like an orangutan while mansplaining to Bella why their love is doomed.

    Uh, but don't watch the fourth movie. It is seriously disturbing. I went to see it with some friends and a number of pomegranate martinis in me, and I can tell you for certain that there is no drunk enough to make that movie not disturbing. Just FYI.

  19. I read these mostly because it seemed every female within 1000 miles had read them, including two of my own. I read the first one and enjoyed it but HATED, HATED, HATED the 2nd one...I wanted to scream, "PUT YOUR BIG GIRL BRITCHES ON AND GET UP OFF THE GROUND!!!! The movie was almost unwatchable to me...Bella tried to kill herself the entire time!!!!! Eclipse had more action so I liked it better, but the 2nd half of Breaking Dawn (after you get past all the romancy schmancy stuff) is my favorite. I'm with Fizzy though...when they named the baby, I almost shut the book.

  20. I love that there's a book/series/dare I even say SAGA (ahem) out there that pulls in such a wide variety of opinions. For that, I think it's fantastic. For other reasons, I think it's that little itch in the back of my throat that no matter how many throat clearings I subject myself to the annoyance factor is still there. But it's only mildly annoying.

  21. My daughter and I hated this book. Just thinking about it puts my teeth on edge. But I've read most of the Southern Vampire series, so I cast no stones. :)

  22. The first 50 pages of this one were rough for me...but after that? Oh boy! I literally locked myself in the bedroom until I finished and then wanted to know if Scott would play Vampires with me (he did not). Bella is obnoxious but I couldn't help loving Edward (book Edward, NOT movie Edward).

    In terms of the issues--I think I skipped over them mostly for the reasons you mentioned. Not an issue for me...but had I a teenaged daughter, I'd probably feel differently.

    Enjoy Trisha--we all need guilty pleasures.


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