A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the book Twilight. At the time, the movie was about to come out and the stars from the movie were making their rounds to promote the movie. I couldn’t turn on the TV without seeing Cedrick Diggory, whom I have now come to know as Edward Cullen.
In that post I pretty much blasted the book, but I had not finished it. I have now finished it (and am almost done with New Moon), and I thought that in fairness, I should take another look at what I think about the book.
Let me be clear , not much of my opinion has changed. I feel of Twilight much as I did about Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. It was good, but it could have been about 150 pages shorter. The building romance between Edward and Bella was draining and incredibly redundant. Some have told me that the book was just “very descriptive.” No, I don’t mind descriptive. This book was agonizing in building up Bella’s devotion to this “boy” that was so dangerous.
Some told me that the ending was the best part, and I agree. It did pick up. There were dramatic events and unforeseen twists, and it became an exciting book over the last 100 pages or so.
On a readability scale, I would say the first 150 pages were good, the last 150 pages were very good, and the middle 200 pages were agonizingly bad.
On another level though, I still have the same problem with the relationship. Bella, as one of the commenters on this page said, has no identity apart from Edward. She begins the book as a strong, intelligent young woman, but degenerates into a needy and sort-of-stupid girl. In the end, her actions seem to be motivated by selfless courage, but could just as easily be interepreted as suicidal melodrama. Laying down one’s life for loved ones is dramatic and romantic and courageous. Walking willingly into your death for no good reason is stupid.
I still feel that if my daughter was very much a fan of these books, I would be a little worried. Yes, it is teen romance, so it is full of melodrama. It is certainly a dramatic love story – and the Romeo and Juliet motif gets played out even more in the second book – but I am concerned with Bella’s utter lack of self-love.
Bella is a woman that should be admired. She is smart, resourceful, well-read, witty, and apparantly beautiful. Yet despite all of her amazing attributes, she has nothing but self-loathing in comparison to her “love.” A true love should make you feel better about yourself. A true love magnifies your qualities and reflects them. A true love lifts up the individuals for the benefit of the pair. Unfortunately in the relationship between Bella and Edward, she is simply overshadowed, she loses herself, and she is constantly fearful that she “isn’t good enough.”
That’s not love. And that’s not what teenage girls need to think love is.