Customer Review

1,956 of 2,241 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Are you guys serious?, December 1, 2008
This review is from: Twilight (Hardcover)
I don't get it. I just don't get it. I thought young adult fiction had hit its low point with Eragon, but apparently I was wrong. Bella Swan (literally, "beautiful swan," which should be a red flag to any discerning reader) moves to the rainy town of Forks, and the whining begins on page 1. She goes to live with her father Charlie, and is quickly established to be a mopey, ungrateful, self-pitying little toerag. Bella then attends her new school, which turns out to be an all-out caricature of high school with about zero (rounding up) grounding in real life. Her classmates' reaction can be summed up thusly: "OMG. NEW STUDENT. OMG YOU GUYS, NEW STUDENT. STARE AT HER, FOR SHE IS CLEARLY SUPERIOR TO US." Bella Sue is promptly adored by everyone in the school, except the mysterious Cullens, who spend their time brooding, being pretty, smoldering, being perfect, and sparkling. No, seriously. NO, SERIOUSLY. Bella meets Edward, the Culleniest of the Cullens, (meaning he is more perfect and emo than the rest of them,) they fall in love within thirty pages, (much of this time is spent in Bella's head going back and forth between "Does he like me?" "Does he hate me?" "Do I like him?" "Why does he hate me?" and on and on and on AND ON. That is, when she's not being a horrible snobby twit to the boys at school who show affection in genuinely sweet ways, i.e., not breaking into her house and watching her while she sleeps. While she sleeps. Not knowing that he's there. IN HER HOUSE.) The plot shows up somewhere in the last fifty pages, which involves an EVIIIIIILL vampire named James who wants to eat Bella. James is the only character I like.

I generally try to find something redeeming about books, but I honestly have nothing good to say about this drivel. Meyer writes as if the reader is an absolute idiot who has to be told every sing tiny little thing; we are never given the chance to interpret what's going on in the characters' heads. There is no mystery, no intrigue, no suspense. The characters themselves are cut-and-dried, stereotypical, and maddeningly unoriginal. Bella's (supposedly) the clever, beautiful heroine, Edward's the dark, brooding bad boy, James is... uh, the guy that wants to eat Bella. Meyer clearly wants Bella to be a strong female character, but the horrible sad truth is that she's pathetic. Bella follows Edward's every word religiously, never sticks up for herself, has no spine to speak of, plays Suzie Housewife to her father, and has no existence outside of her "romance" with Edward. On that note, let it be said that Nathaniel Hawthorne got more romance into a few lines about a rosebush than Meyer managed to cram into 400 pages. Edward and Bella's relationship consists almost entirely of staring at each other dewey-eyed and arguing about who's prettier (NO I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.)

You know what? This could have been a great book if Meyer had focussed more on the relationship between the leads, (and treated it for what it is: unhealthy, creepy, pathetic, borderline psychopathic,) and less on how perfect Edward is (interesting note: the word "perfect" or related terms like "flawless" are used to describe Edward more than a hundred times. That's just bad writing, guys.) What burns me up most about this book is that Edward and Bella are obviously meant to portray the perfect couple. Yeah, I really want my hypothetical daughter to walk out on her family for a guy she barely knows, invite said guy to sleep in her bed, have absolutely no life outside of said guy, and turn into a sniveling wreck when this guy looks at her the wrong way. And I also really want my hypothetical son to break into his girlfriend's house and watch her sleep (SERIOUSLY, GUYS?) , abandon whatever life he has so he can stalk this girl, and be so possessive of her that he throws a fit whenever she so much as looks at someone other than him. And people think these two are good role models? WHAT. JUST WHAT.

This book really wouldn't bother me if it were being taken for what it is: a silly, sappy, shallow, juvenile, wish-fulfilling rag. The fact is, everyone is going on about how its literary merit rivals the frakking "Scarlet Letter" and how Bella Swan is the new Elizabeth Bennet (ARE YOU KIDDING ME?). "Twilight" should be rotting on some publisher's desk in a pile of rejection letters; not being lauded as the greatest novel since "Pride and Prejudice." I weep for literature.
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Comments

Tracked by 21 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 274 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 27, 2009 12:34:02 AM PST
Linda Phan says:
I LOVE your review. Everybody in my workplace has tried to bribe me into reading/watching Twilight so I decided to breakdown and read the free sample on Kindle. Unsurprisingly, the book was complete and utter crap. I'm glad to know that I'm not the only one out there that finds this book repulsive.

Posted on Nov 28, 2009 11:08:25 AM PST
Me says:
You have restored my faith in humanity.

Posted on Nov 28, 2009 7:24:46 PM PST
Hazy says:
Your review - I love it.

Posted on Nov 29, 2009 6:23:35 PM PST
Pye Anderson says:
I am a middle school English teacher and I agree with you 100%. I read the first three books and about 20 pages of the last before I returned it to the library. I am saddened by the fact that so many young girls (and older women) are obsessed with these novels. I didn't realize that some people had the audacity to compare Bella to my beloved Lizzie Bennet. That fact alone makes me want to rip all the Twilight saga books off bookshelves across the world. Young adult fiction can be quite good. Fortunately my students are willing to explore other novels with strong female characters. (Sarah Dessen, Shannon Hale, Suzanne Collins, Kristin Cashore, and Tamora Pierce to name a few.) But this Twilight craze is pathetic. What also saddens me is that people compare the Twilight obsession with the Harry Potter phenomenon. Uh uh. Not acceptable. Meyers is a hack compared to Rowling. (She's a hack, plain and simple). In fact, I encourage my students to revisit Harry Potter. Hermione Granger would whip Bella Swan into shape in no time.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 8:11:44 AM PST
S. Vaughan says:
Your review is perfect!

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 8:52:33 AM PST
221bbaker says:
Thank you! I have tried repeatedly to defend my same thoughts to the hords of Twilight fans (adults, mind you). The obvious to you and me is not quite so obvious to those who do not demand more out of their literature. Dumbing down is what I call it. I felt like I was a 5 year old reading a book for the first time: the overuse of the simple sentence, the vocabulary of an elementary school child, the blatant misfortune of taking away the reader's ability to infer...c'mon. Silly silly silly. Thank you thank you thank you!

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 5:08:53 PM PST
hyblaean says:
Thank you. "unhealthy, creepy, pathetic, borderline psychopathic" that is a perfect summary

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 9:04:42 PM PST
KayBee says:
OMG. Thank you!!! When I read this book the first time, I didn't think it was as bad as people said, but then I read it a second time and I finally understood. Everything you said, agree 100%. I am so sick and tired of everything having to do with Twilight. It needs to fall into a hole and stay there for the rest of time...and then some.

Posted on Nov 30, 2009 9:20:30 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2009 9:30:58 PM PST
Rosie says:
I enjoyed your review & agreed with much of what you said. However, I believe that given what it is (a teen love story) you're being a bit severe. It's not pretending to be English literature, & the author isn't making any claims to fame. The character Bella Swan certainly isn't any kind of role model for girls: ill-mannered, tunnel-visioned & often boring, I can't imagine her having the maturity to maintain an adult conversation (what would she talk about? not interested in anything except Edward). The supernatural bits in the books are the product of a great imagination. I wouldn't compare Meyer and Rowling, like comparing apples to cheese. Both enjoyable & successful in their own way. But Stephenie Meyer has got kids of all ages reading a set of 4 huge books with no sex, drugs, swearing or gratuitous violence, a laudable achievement in this crazy 21st century world. And I bet (I do hope) she's laughing all the way to the bank. Opinions may vary on the quality of her writing, but she's the one with the $$$ in the bank. Good on her. She's not stealing any fans away from the greats. And one last thing about reviews and public opinion: haven't seen too many reviewers write 4 books themselves. Easy to criticise when you haven't done it yourself. (What's with Stephen King: why be so mean? must be jealousy).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 30, 2009 9:46:13 PM PST
KayBee says:
I'm sorry, Rosie, but she wrote 4 books with no sex or violence? Have you read the 4th book?
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