I vant to…

Yep, I’m reading Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight.

I caved in after listening to a podcast about whether Meyer’s series was the new multi-generational chick lit.

I should just say that DH had, prior to this, brought it to my attention, suggesting we at least see the first flick. I had grunted my disinterest.

I was prepared to be thrown back to the days of Sweet Valley High with a spot of Buffy thrown in for good measure, but I have thus far been sadly disappointed. I’m just over half way through the first book, and I’m wondering if I’ll make it to see the dawn. It’s slow, it’s agonisingly slow, and every little facial expression or bodily gesture must be analysed and dissected in the way that only a teen can.

To top it off, there has been a feminist argument suggesting that Bella, our clumsy heroine, is submissive: from letting the boys drive her car to letting them save her, or decide where they’ll (she’ll) eat dinner. I’m waiting for a strong female character to emerge. So far there’s none. Even Bella’s mother (with whom she doesn’t live any more because her mother was having a hard time managing the conflict between her daughter’s needs and her boyfriend’s travel itinerary) is a bit of a tragic case – she’s disorganised, scatty, needs looking after.

I do remember that, as teenagers, my friends and I were prone to agonies over the tiniest detail of social interactions, so in that not insignificant way the book probably reaches its target audience. I do worry, however, as the mother of a rapidly growing daughter, whether DD will see Bella as just dealing with the swamping agonies of first love, or as something to aspire to. Nothing is ever read in isolation, of course, but it’s a mother’s prerogative to agonise about these things. (Does the agony never end?)

PS. IMHO, Buffy was much cooler. What she lacked in verbosity she made up for in physical and emotional strength. She had the Scoobies – a gang comprised of solid, meaningful friendships – and somehow walked the line between right and wrong with courage and style. She was the SLAYER!

7 responses to “I vant to…

  1. hi Libby-O, I read Twilight this year too. I too got incredibly annoyed at what I perceived as a sexist setup. And additionally I realised that Edward was really >100 years old when he was preying on whatsi… and she's underage … and it became very unsavoury in my mind… he was so dominant in everything, and she had to adjust thoroughly to HIM but he made no concessions to HER but that's OK because he was in LOVE with her and that's supposed to be so wonderful that she gives up her entire self & family for him UGH UGH UGH yukky messages for daughters indeed. My book club urged me to read on, saying that the power moves to HER in subsequent books, but I was thoroughly annoyed and refused to continue.

  2. Although I would have to agree with both of your comments from a modern woman's point of view, the fact remains that Bella, the teenager, is the narrator and therefore, in my humble opinion, can be forgiven for being naive, foolish, weak, dreamy, and yes, submissive (Remember how you felt when you had your first crush? Wouldn't you have done a lot to be just with him? Including pretending to be dumber than you really were and letting him take control of the relationship.) When I read Twilight, I felt like a teenager again, experiencing my first love, living fictitiously and vicariously through Bella. I can emphathize with Bella. Adolescence is a very exciting but also agonizing time, so it made me very nostalgic and appealed a great deal to my romantic nature. I mean, the reading of this book is about the suspension of disbelief, especially with the vampires and all. Even if the Edward is an over 90 years old vampire, at least, he does not look or an act like it (in the movies anyway). Everyone is searching for the fountain of youth. So what if vampires got it made there. And there's also no sex in it, so it's forbidden love. The best kind, you know, with all those sexual undercurrents. Reality just cannot compete with the fantasy. Well that's my take on it. I just enjoyed the ride. Twilight is the beginning, New Moon was even slower, but Eclipse is suppose to be the best of the series. I cannot say right now if that is true but I am going to find out.

  3. Right, I'm on it, Carnetta. Look out Uptown Video, here I come! I will let you know what I think as soon as I've seen the movie. Films are very different beasts than books, so it will be interesting to compare the two. Only comment I had otherwise is that if indeed there was an element of Bella's 'playing dumb' etc (and yes, many of us have been there) I'd have liked to see a flicker of acknowledgement, to somehow tip the scales toward a sense of choice or control over how she presents herself to the big E. I suspect that would be the more interesting demon story.Maybe I'm projecting expectations of a different genre onto what I've read of the series. From a 'story' POV, though, one has to question a 'protagonist' who is inactive and at the mercy of the supporting characters! Having said that, I hear you when you say you're in it for the ride. I mean, what's the point of books or films if you can't just immerse yourself and go with it?

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