A to Z Challenge 2013

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reading Twilight - A Weird Experience

The book I mentioned I was reading (see previous post) is Twilight. If you haven't heard of it, you're either an astronaut who's been off planet for a while or you've been stuck in a log cabin in the wilderness with no phone or tv for way too long.

Now this book is a best seller, everyone is talking about it, movies are being made, and the author is in high demand for everything from interviews to advice. So with that in mind, I was expecting to be in awe of the level of writing in the book. I enjoyed the movie well enough, despite some questions regarding some of the characters that I felt were left unanswered. Oh, there will probably be spoilers discussed here, so if you don't want to know, don't continue reading.

The main character is a young girl who evidently is completely unhappy with everything and everyone. The problem is despite the author's "reasons" for this persons actions, none of it makes much sense so far. I haven't gotten all the way through the book yet, but I'd say I have at least a decent handle on who this person is.

For example, the girl decided to move in with her father despite the fact that she hates clouds, rain, and snow. And where her father lives there is evidently very little sunlight making its way down. She says her reasons for this is because her mom has a new hubby, a minor league baseball player who isn't at home much, and she doesn't want her mom to be unhappy because the mom misses her new hubby. Huh? You move to somewhere you hate, to live with a father you don't even respect or love enough to call him 'Dad' (except to his face, where you pretend to care), all because you want your mom to be happy with her new beau (even though you don't seem to really love or respect her that much either)? Yeah, suffice it to say I haven't really understood the author's motivations for creating this character who doesn't make any sense to me. It's either an incredibly brilliant crafting of someone who is completely conflicted and nonsensical or pure baloney. I haven't decided which yet.

Then of course there's the problem that it's written in first person. I've said before that I'm not really a big fan of first person. I don't like writing it, and I rarely like reading it. The problem I find within Twilight is how insightful this main character is. It takes her forever to figure out exactly what Edward Cullins is (a vampire), and yet she is able to read the emotions and reactions from everyone around her with incredibly accuracy. I would think if you don't really know a person very well (since you don't talk to people much), it would be pretty hard to guess what their visual cues. Some facial responses are obvious, like anger or happiness. But the level of knowledge she guesses about her fellow students is astounding.

All of this is not to say I am not enjoying the story. It is intriguing to say the least, but when I compare it to other authors I've read recently, I can't say I think she is the cat's pajamas. I will withold final judgement however, until I finish the entire series. There are four (so far I think) books, so we'll see how long they keep my attention.

Has anyone else read these? Or maybe I should ask who hasn't? For those who have, am I way off base here with my interpretations?


Karen Amanda Hooper said...

I read the series. I'm a sucker for any love story, so I did enjoy them. And I don't even really like vampires. But it does amaze me that even with all the broken rules, non-great writing, and character flaws, the story started a worldwide phenomenon. Just goes to show...you never know. It's all subjective.

MeganRebekah said...

I enjoyed the series, but I also walked away thinking that Bella is the most self-centered, bland, boring girl on earth (everyone around her falls in love with her and thinks she's awesome but it's all telling - I never once saw any level of awesomeness).
I was annoyed at Bella for being so one-dimensional until I read an article where somewhere suggested that her lack of depth actually adds to the books appeal. Because Bella has no personality of her own, millions of girls are able to insert themselves into her character without much effort. That made sense to me.
To be honest, I don't think that was some brilliant plan by Meyer. In her mind, Bella is interesting and wonderful, simply because she told us so. I think Meyer is an excellent story teller, with an almost nonexistent understanding of the overall craft of writing.

Jenna said...

Read 'em. Didn't like 'em much. But they were quick, easy reads that didn't really require thinking, so I can see why they're popular.


beth said...

Read the first one and quit. I found the writing very addictive--I was always asking myself what would happen next--but when I got to the end of the book, I realized: I don't CARE what happens next. Never read the rest of the series.

beth said...

PS: MeganRebekah: You are brilliant. That's exactly it.

Lost Wanderer said...

I haven't read it, and don't intend to for foreseeable future. I know everyone has been going on about it, but I picked it up, and it just doesn't appeal to me. Teenage romance isn't really my thing (had enough of that when I was a teenager), and this just didn't seem to have enough depth for me to bother with it.

Not to mention that the movie trailers put me off the book as well.

Perhaps one day I might give it a go, but for now, I have got plenty of "definite exciting reads"

Jamie D. said...

I'm not reading it either. I've heard enough around the 'net about the low quality of writing, and that's enough to turn me off. I lose interest pretty fast in bad writing, so I don't want to waste money on it.

I suppose if I got a free copy somewhere, I might be persuaded...then again, my to-be-read pile is already so huge...

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but I cannot read this series because well...I'm a big vampire fan. I like the classic vampire as depicted in Bram Stoker's book. These books just felt strange from the reviews I read and watching clips of the movie. I have heard many authors, notably Stephen King, address the lack of writing in this book. But like previously commented...you just never know what will take off.

Brittany Hansen said...

I really liked the first book, it was something to get my mind off of the crap that was my life at the time but then progressively, I began to hate Bella. She's stupid, that's a harsh word but I feel it's the best to describe her. Edward is a liar who feels that Bella is too immature for the truth and Jacob is just... ugh. Anyway, Stephenie Meyer isn't my favorite author. I read The Host and it took me forever to get into it. She's all about the love triangles, squares and octagons. Stephen King doesn't like her much either, I can't remember what he said about her but it wasn't nice. Stephenie Meyer has claimed that she got the idea for the book from a dream, I believe her but there are some things that remind me jarringly of the Sookie Stackhouse series, just little things that someone who wasn't detail oriented wouldn't pick up.

Hmm. Something to think about.

Glynis said...

Errr*she blushes*, does a home in the Cypriot vineyards equate to a log cabin or another planet?
I have read reports about this book, through various blogs, but that is as far as it goes!