Since this novel was my primer, I had few expectations.  My high school friend Dawn had devoured Anne Rice novels in the 80s, and I'd once read a first page.  I hated the style and refused to read further.  When I opened Twilight on that first afternoon, I was only hoping it was a step up.  Little girls liked it.  My mother liked it.  It couldn't be that hard to get through.

True enough.  It was easy to read and the plot was interesting.  Or maybe it was just familiar, which translated into interesting.  Whatever the case, I wrapped it up quickly and was ready to engage in some serious discourse about the merits and horrors of what I'd read.

  • Easy to read
  • Page-turning enough
  • Moderately interesting characters
  • Bella.  She actually appreciates being abused.  In her twisted mind, Edward's complete control of her life is an outward sign of love--so much so that she's ready to give up her life to be with him for eternity.  What could be better than having someone tell you what to do and whom you can/cannot hang out with until the end of time?  (If her father had been changed, too, her dream could've been complete: she could make him dinner and clean up his house forever!)
  • Edward.  See above.
  • Creationism.  There is a dialogue between Bella and Edward during which Edward scoffs at the idea of godless evolution.  I guess he doesn't consider transforming from human to vampire without divine intervention an evolutionary act? 
  • Chastity.  This is where my mother and I really get into it.  She thinks that Twilight provides young girls with the message that a wonderful boy can love a girl purely, without putting sexual pressure on her.  I say HOOEY.  What could've been a sex-positive, teachable situation turned into propaganda.  It could've played up the rewards of sexual intimacy, helping to educate a generation of girls who've been convinced that fellatio is part of making out.  It could've helped alleviate the guilt of expressing desire--something totally natural.  But, no.  Instead, it tells girls that they must remain totally still when a boy approaches them, or else that boy may lose control and take from them all of their self-worth--indeed, they may be giving away their very souls.
  • No one close to Bella dies.  Great coming-of-age books include massive loss.  This one doesn't.  Bella doesn't experience enough to grow as a character, which means that I don't grow as her champion.
  • Descriptions of Edward.  How many times do I have to read about his smoldering eyes?  His perfect jaw?  His miraculous hair?  The worst:  the sweetness of his breath.  She really smelled his breath a lot.  I'd almost rather smell his pits.
Overall, Twilight scared and shocked me.  It made me angry, and I didn't understand what all the kids were raving about.  It's not like stellar writing saved it.  As I wrote in another small piece somewhere else, it must have been the author's reliance on romance formula's affect on naive readers.  Bitchy, I know. 

Still, I had to finish the story, so the next day, I rented New Moon and hunkered down.

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