Eclaire Fare

Enjoying Pop Culture, One Bite at a Time

Twilight: It’s Not Just for Teens August 22, 2008

Filed under: Books — Emily @ 12:26 pm
Tags: , , , ,

A teenage girl falls madly in love with a strikingly handsome, mysterious boy at her school. The fact that he’s a vampire adds some complications to their relationship. That is the premise of Twilight, the first of a four-novel series for young adults by Stephenie Meyer. It sounds awfully similar to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (one of my favorite television shows ever), but it’s actually quite different.

I just finished reading the book, and while it was far from a Pulitzer award-worthy, there was a lot to like:

  • The Vampire Mythology – I have always been interested in the vampire genre, whether it be books, movies, or television. (Remember Fright Night from the ’80s? I was totally there. As I was for Buffy, Angel, and every vampire-centric episode of The X-Files.) The standard stuff of vampire legend doesn’t all hold true in the world of Twilight (such as has no reflection in a mirror, must sleep in a coffin, can’t stand sunlight). I was intrigued by the different spin that Meyer puts on vampire lore. I won’t mention any details here, since part of the fun of reading the book was discovering what Edward was capable of, how he became a vampire, etc.
  • The Teenager in Love Motif – As I read this book, I couldn’t help but see something of my own teenage self in Bella Swan. Since she is the narrator, we’re able to know what she’s thinking, and in typical teenager fashion, much of her thought process is over dramatic and obsessive. Especially in the first part of the story, when she’s trying to figure Edward out, she analyzes every move he makes, tries to interpret the slightest of movements or the briefest of conversations. That was totally me 15 years ago, and is probably most teenage girls. They tend to get caught up in their own little universe, and the drama that unfolds therein. This aspect of the novel was nostalgic for me, adding to the fun of reading it.
  • The Setting and Atmosphere – Most of the story takes place in Forks, Washington, a place where the sun rarely shines and the rain seldom stops. This sort of gloomy atmosphere is perfect for an angst-ridden vampire and the introspective girl who loves him.
  • It’s a fun, easy read – Sometimes you just want something mindless and escapist to read. This teen fantasy thriller is just that. Last night as I was finishing up Twilight, my husband was reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. He kept saying how depressing it was, and then he read a sentence aloud to me that rambled on about a falcon killing a crane and carrying its lifeless body over the barren landscape of post-apocalyptic America . Now I think McCarthy is a fantastic writer, and I plan to read more of his books (I started with No Country for Old Men). However, sometimes you want more feel-good thrills, and less disturbing carnage and mayhem. So while Twilight isn’t as elaborate and well done as another “not just for young adults” series – Harry Potter – it’s still worth reading.

I look forward to reading the second, third, and fourth installments of this trilogy in the near future. I also plan to watch the movie adaptation that will be released in November. Should be more escapist fun!

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5 Responses to “Twilight: It’s Not Just for Teens”

  1. lucidlunatic Says:

    Correction; there are currently four books in the series. Breaking Dawn, the fourth, was just recently released.

    Now, maybe I’m just picky (alright, I’m definitely picky) but I can’t bring myself to enjoy Twilight as much as you seemed to. I read the first three books due to the number of people who had recommended them to me, but just couldn’t get myself to like them. This is, in my mind, mostly the fault of Bella. I consider her to be among the most insipid protagonists I have ever read about.

    My problems with her began at, well the beginning, when she deems her move as voluntary exile. While I wouldn’t say it was contrived, it was not something I could sympathize with. She places far too much importance on her own role in her parents lives at that point.

    And then there’s everything after she falls head over heels for Edward.

    So maybe its just not the book for me. Maybe it’s because I’m male- there’s just an element that I don’t get- but I know others of my gender who’ve enjoyed it. I’ll be interested to see your thoughts as you read the rest of the series.

  2. Emily Says:

    Lucidlunatic,
    I kind of agree with you about Bella. Although I could identify with her obsessive analyzing of her situation with Edward, I also thought she was a bit self-centered at times (for example, she was always annoyed with having to listen to Jessica talk about frivilous stuff like dances and boys). And I got tired of her repeatedly saying how beautiful and amazing Edward was. It wasn’t necessary to mention it every time he entered the room. So yes, Bella is far from a perfectly likable character, but there was plenty else to enjoy. I think that Edward, Carlisle, and Alice were my favorite characters.

  3. Lindsay Says:

    I will agree that this series doesn’t really compete with Harry Potter, even though there have been a great number of comparisons. But I liked it for the same reason as you. I literally read Twilight JUST after finishing The Road, and it was a welcome relief. It isn’t the most amazing written story ever told. (I have completed the entire series, and I will save further discussion for when you are done with the remaining installments.) But I just liked letting myself travel into this other world for a bit.

    I understand Lucid’s annoyance with Bella. His points are valid. I just kind of let that stuff roll of my back. Maybe it IS a girl thing? I don’t know any guys who have read it. Plus, isn’t part of the appeal of the book just the fact that Edward seems like the perfect guy, and he chooses this imperfect girl to love?

  4. Stacey Says:

    I have been thinking about trying these books out for a while now. After reading your opinion along with someone else’s on another blog, I think I’ve decided to take the plunge! I love all kinds of fiction, including good young adult books. Thanks for the info and for being careful not to spoil the plot!

  5. lucidlunatic Says:

    In response to Lindsay, I’d question the degree of Bella’s imperfection. While (among mortal humans at least) no one’s perfect, Bella seems to have it pretty good, whatever she thinks. Specifically when it comes to boys though, Edward is (spoiler warning) far from the only one who falls in love with, or is at the very least attracted to, Bella. Ignoring the later books, there are the what, two or three of her classmates who seem to ‘crush’ on Bella. Edward falling in love with her is just the next logical step (ignoring the additional paranormal reasons it could only be Bella).


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