Twilight?

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Kendo_Bunny
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Twilight?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sat May 24, 2008 5:42 pm UTC

So I've been dared to read this book, because a friend of mine wants to see me rip it to shreds. She's getting pushed by a bunch of her friends to read this book, and she wants to just hand them a copy of my review and tell her she's read all she needs to.

I've been reading up on it through Wikipedia and Amazon.com, here is the plot:

Girl who is GORGEOUS and WONDERFUL moves to a new town to keep house for her father after her parents divorce. Despite being very shy and totally unpopular in her old town, every male in Forks, Washington's high school immediately falls in love with her. All of the girls like her too. All the males in the school are handsome, but one is GODLIKE! She sits next to him in Biology, and finds him mysterious.

100 pages of her recording exactly what she has done each day (I woke up, ate a bowl of cereal, went to school- homeroom English, Geometry, sat next to mysterious godlike boy in Biology, had PE, French class, rode the bus home, cooked dinner for my unlikeable father. It was grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and green beans. I washed the dishes, did my homework, and went to bed. Tuesday, I woke up.....) and then she and MYSTERIOUS GOD BOY FALL DESPERATELY IN LOVE! Rather suddenly, as in, they weren't in love yesterday, but now she feels physically ill if seperated from him for five minutes.

They continue being desperately in love and she describes his physical perfection about 600 times. But he has a secret- he's a VAMPIRE! And the reason he doesn't go out in the sunlight is because sunlight makes vampires glitter and glow to attract people/victims. It's okay though, he's a "vegetarian"- he only eats animals. Plus, he has super-nifty powers, so he has all the perks of vampirism with none of the downsides. However, he has a major complex about being "soulless" even though he repeatedly swears that Tartlet (Bella Swann) is his "soul mate". She instantly begs him to make her his immortal lover, but not bride, because she doesn't believe in marriage because her parents got divorced. So turning her back on humanity and becoming a soulless drinker of blood to be with her pretty-boy boyfriend is apparently totally different than marriage.

Anyway, a few more people fall in love with her, some attempt to rape her, but Edward the Greek god Vampire shows up and vanquishes them. He then proceeds to basically forbid her from having an opinion or making a decision, then does "romantic" things like breaking into her house to watch her sleep.

This goes on for 400 pages, then some bad and not extremely attractive vampires show up and decide to kill Bella, apparently just to piss off Edward. He kills them all in about 20 pages, and then he and Bella go off to continue having the same argument about who loves the other more and should they get married and why oh why does Bella want to become a vampire and why does Bella still have male friends and why do you say things that make me have to hurt you, baby, I only want what's best for you, so don't make me mad and I won't have to hit you. And they don't have sex ever, only fleeting kisses, so it's nice and PG except for the abusive, controlling, obsessively co-dependent relationship.

Overall, looks like it's going to be way more fun reviewing than reading, because reading 489 pages of this is going to be roughly as fun as having unesthitized surgery. But look forward to the movie, coming soon to make a bunch of little emo girls have orgasms in the theater seats.

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kellsbells
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Re: Twilight?

Postby kellsbells » Sat May 24, 2008 5:52 pm UTC

The embarassing thing is that I've read this book, and both of its sequels. The fourth one comes out in like September or something.

And they really are just awful. They grow increasingly more absurd and self-indulgent as the series progresses. And yet I keep reading them. Why? I'm not sure. It's like when you start eating something that's really bad for you, and you don't even like how it tastes, but you just keep eating it because it's damn addictive and you can't stop. That's how Twilight is. Although I do get some pleasure out of it, the same way you will when you read it- it's absolutely hilarious in its badness. Maybe I keep reading because the concept is mildly interesting, and it's just the handling of the story that goes so very, very wrong.

Anyway, read it to be horrified and laugh. But I bet you'll buy the sequel.

On another note, though, I just read The Host, which is by the same author as the Twilight series. While some things remained the same (everyone is somehow in love with the protagonist, 200 pages of daily tasks described) I think it was much improved. Maybe sci-fi just suits that style better than gratuitous vampire love stories.
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Re: Twilight?

Postby Clumpy » Sun May 25, 2008 7:48 am UTC

I've heard that men tend to bash these books because they're threatened by a popular series geared toward women, but after reading your summary I can see that my knee-jerk chauvinistic dismissal was correct.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sun May 25, 2008 8:02 am UTC

Just say you're offended by the book on behalf of women, as the books encourage young girls to chase dangerous men for the sake of "love" and to consider obsessive control by that man as a sign of his love.

I mean, the books show that his stalking of her, his controlling of her, his obsession with her, his total dependence on her presence, and his forbidding of her contact with other men as something admirable and proving of his love. He wouldn't stalk her if he didn't love her, and she should love him so much that she always agrees with him and that she doesn't need anyone but him and his family.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Clumpy » Sun May 25, 2008 10:59 am UTC

Yeah. I mean, replace "vampire" with "junkie neighbor" and it doesn't sound so romantic. I'm currently attending the school that the author graduated from (BYU) and I don't know a single person who reads the books. There's an entire shelf of her books in the bookstore, so somebody's reading them. I'd rather go over a couple of aisles and pick up a book from The Onion.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sun May 25, 2008 8:57 pm UTC

That's a good point about the junkie thing. But yeah- I've been reading the reviews on Amazon, and every negative review is being viciously attacked as 'Well, you have just never experienced True LoveTM, you nasty old bitch who's probably really a man!'

That alone tells me that it's overrated.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby fersrs » Sat May 31, 2008 4:36 am UTC

I had heard so many raving reviews (most of them remarks of Edward's godliness) so I read it. And then the next book, and the next. I now await the last in the series.
Truthfully, I don't hate the series, but it is definitely overrated and only meant to be read by hormonal teenage girls (such as myself). One of the guys in my history class is reading it and he finds it to be really bad. However, I find it good enough that I want to see the movie, and have bought one of the books for my younger sister.
Luckily for you, you have an option of cheating; just remark on Edward's hottness and your empathy for Bella when she doesn't become a vampire or lose virginity. :D

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sat May 31, 2008 5:37 am UTC

I don't care at all about fitting in... I'm really concerned with the messages these books are sending. The relationship sounds like it's really in the red zone for abuse- at the very least, it's extremely unhealthy.

A few friends are asking me to write one of my dissertation criticisms of the book- where I basically go in and rip everything to shreds on a page by page basis.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby kellsbells » Sat May 31, 2008 6:02 am UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:A few friends are asking me to write one of my dissertation criticisms of the book- where I basically go in and rip everything to shreds on a page by page basis.

That would be awesome. I mean, this book is scary-popular on the same scale as Harry Potter. That series was inundated with critiques and analyses. I would love to see some of the same done to Twilight.

It's not that I hate the books (I find them terribly addictive, like Swedish Fish), but I would love to see some honest discussion of the relationship between Bella and Edward and maybe convince all the teenage girls reading it that just being all waif-y will not make a mysteriously attractive vampire come to rescue/lust after/angst about you.
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Re: Twilight?

Postby fersrs » Sat May 31, 2008 7:42 am UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:I don't care at all about fitting in... I'm really concerned with the messages these books are sending. The relationship sounds like it's really in the red zone for abuse- at the very least, it's extremely unhealthy.

A few friends are asking me to write one of my dissertation criticisms of the book- where I basically go in and rip everything to shreds on a page by page basis.
Most definitely unhealthy, in one of the scenes, Bella tries to punch this other guy named Jacob and ends up breaking her hand.

A criticism would be great. I find the series captivating and exciting enough to keep me reading, but when it came to the life or death battle, I found myself rooting for the evil vampire.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Kallisti » Sat May 31, 2008 4:14 pm UTC

I blame the editor. I like the concept behind the books. I've read them (expected to hate them and took ages to get around to it, under severe pressure from other people), decided what kind of edits most desperately need to be made, and liked the hypothetical edited versions a lot. Sadly in real life they get painful to read because of seriously flawed excecution; they read like poorly written fan fiction.

The author appears to have fallen in love with her character(s) (especially the PERFECT!111 one, who I think is the most poorly written major character in the books [in large part because she's blindly in love with him] which makes me sad because I don't hate his actual character but just how it's written and he deserves better representation than that), and a good editor (or even somebody like me!) would identify and prune out the getting-really-carried-away-into-lala-land-and-consequently-not-at-all-well-written-or-believable parts and tell the author how to substitute in something no less satisfying to the infatuated fans but much better written for the rest of us.

It's a common problem in people starting to write and is usually easily stamped out before they get around to publishing books for sale so I see no excuse for the editors who haven't done this. The necessary changes I've identified while reading aren't that difficult/disruptive to make and I'm pretty sure I'd enjoy reading the books if they were made, so it annoys me that such easily fixable stuff hasn't been fixed.


I would love to see a criticism. There are an awful lot of pages for a true page-by-page, though, especially in the later books (where the author gets more and more carried away as the editor allows the books to become increasingly bloated. Bad Editor!)

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Re: Twilight?

Postby krick » Sat May 31, 2008 5:05 pm UTC

After reading some of this thread, I borrowed the first book from my sister's box set. I'm only a couple pages in, but I found what I read pretty funny. So far she is driving to live with her of course separated father, complaining about this "inconsequential town" she is going to be living in. I think I'm going to be treated to a lot of ridiculous adjectives and adverbs.

I guess I can understand why the target audience would enjoy it, but not why anyone would read it more than once.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Clumpy » Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:49 am UTC

kellsbells wrote:
Kendo_Bunny wrote:A few friends are asking me to write one of my dissertation criticisms of the book- where I basically go in and rip everything to shreds on a page by page basis.

That would be awesome. I mean, this book is scary-popular on the same scale as Harry Potter. That series was inundated with critiques and analyses. I would love to see some of the same done to Twilight.


I'm familiar with some of the analyses of the HP novels written by fans concerning some of the elements of the series (notably character arcs through the novels), but haven't really seen a lot of negative criticism of the series itself, except from the type of folks trained to rail against anything popular. Twilight has more than its share of haters who don't know the first thing about the series ("Ain't those the vampire love stories? Bleh!"), but seems to engender from readers as well.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Sun Jun 01, 2008 8:35 am UTC

Well, if I have a romantic bone in my body, it's probably one of my metatarsals. So, no, I'm definitely not in the target audience- I don't like romance and I'm not into love stories. However, I do think I'm well-suited to giving true scholarly critiques, and it does sound like this book is crying out for one. Or I could write a rather mean-spirited, snarky, sarcastic review.

I enjoy Harry Potter as fun fluff adventure novels but I could write a scholarly critique of the series. I don't already hate 'Twilight' because it's popular, I'm hating it because of it glamorizing behavior that can really get young women into trouble. This is a subject dear to my heart because my ex-best friend married an abuser who's behavior was very reminiscent of what I've read of Edward (demanding to always be in the right, telling her to give up her friends because he was the only one she really needed, limiting contact with her family, being emotionally manipulative, expecting to be in charge, telling her she didn't understand things if she was arguing with him, doing his absolute best to make her completely emotionally dependent on him, making her feel like less in comparison to him... less intelligent, less attractive, less desireable, less important).
Young women need to understand that that sort of behavior can not be excused by a kiss and an 'I love you, really' once in awhile. Enough women already have a reformer fetish- they want their love to be the saving grace that totally changes the 'bad boy' to 'Prince Charming'. If she just loves him more, he won't hit her. If she just proves how devoted she is, he'll pay more attention to her. If she just works a little harder, he'll stop calling her stupid. If she just puts more money into fixing herself, she won't feel ugly standing next to him. If she just sheds her friends and family, it'll be just them and their love, because why does she need anyone but him?

Reforming doesn't work- women can not "change" their men, and there are already far too many things out there that encourage this fantasy. This one just takes it a step further- not only can Bella reform the cold-hearted and loveless sociopathic control freak, she gets to tame a literal mass-murderer and make sure he doesn't kill again (except for her- she begs him constantly to kill her). It's one thing to see a cutesy romantic comedy where the heroine's love makes her loser boyfriend get a great job and finally marry her (good luck on that one!). That message is bad enough. How much worse is it when the message is that you can change an abuser with a constant urge to kill into a good man?

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Roland Lockheart » Mon Jun 02, 2008 3:04 am UTC

From what I've read of the books and about them they seem to be pretty standard pre-teen pulp; nothing to worry about.
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Re: Twilight?

Postby Sebeka2 » Tue Jun 03, 2008 9:46 pm UTC

Roland Lockheart wrote:From what I've read of the books and about them they seem to be pretty standard pre-teen pulp; nothing to worry about.

A little better than most of the vampire/romance books for teens (and much of the adult ones, though they tend to be shorter), I think. Some of them are really awful. I give the author major kudos for writing a book for the vampire/teen/romance genre and making it seem fresh. Toss-your-brain-on-the-nightstand-while-you-read fluff, but good fun if you're into that.
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Re: Twilight?

Postby bbctol » Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:19 am UTC

I despise these books with a burning passion, because I swear to god that every single girl in my school has read these. And loved them. And always, always talk about how good they are. My response is usually "Those books are crap" followed by "You've never read them!" followed by "Well, judging only on your description, which, since you're a fan, is probably better than the real thing, they sound like senseless pampering to teenage girls who are looking for someone seeeensitive, only not." followed by a rant about how I don't like books that are for girls because I'm not a girl. I should probably read one at some point, so as to better combat people who love them so, but frankly, even the premise nauseates me enough that I won't.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby krick » Wed Jun 04, 2008 3:22 am UTC

You dislike the books because many people have read and enjoyed them? That doesn't seem very sensible.

It is silly to dislike something because it is popular, and just as silly to claim to dislike something you haven't experienced.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Sebeka2 » Wed Jun 04, 2008 4:55 am UTC

Eh, I dislike poking my eyes out with a dull spoon, although I've never tried it myself and I understand it's what all the cool kids are doing. :P

It sounds like Bbctol dislikes the books' overly-ardent fans and their soppy praises more than anything else, but isn't keen on the basic plot, either. That's a good enough reason to decline to read it or be sick of it. Although I do think that it makes for a better argument if you read a book before attempting to trash in its fans' eyes. Quotes are wonderful things when you're poking fun.
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Re: Twilight?

Postby Cassi » Sun Jun 08, 2008 2:14 pm UTC

I've heard Twilight, and similar books, compared to Twinkies -- essentially substanceless, and you don't really get anything from them, and you know you can get something better -- but sometimes, dammit, you just want a Twinkie.

So, yes, that's what it is for me. I've read all 3 books (and read them in the space of a week or so), because they are just nice mindless fluff. Is it an unhealthy relationship? Undoubtedly, and I definitely see where possible concerns for the readers can be coming from.

That said, I do plan to read the next book when it comes out, and see the film. I don't mind admitting to liking a bit of trash now and then. :P
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Re: Twilight?

Postby Rowsdower » Mon Jun 09, 2008 2:06 am UTC

I've been wondering about whether or not I should read them, but I can't tell. Many people rave over them, and the haters are a vast minority. I'm guessing I would hate them because I dislike Chick books and Chick Flicks. Anyway, I've got a heck of a lot to read this summer anyway, and The Hitchhiker series takes precidence to Twilight. Maybe I'll go read the first page on Amazon. Wait a minute, and I'll tell you what I think.

Edit: The sample on Amazon was dull, typical boringness. Everything was so flipping PERFECT! Ugh, it's nausating. So I probably won't read it. At least, I won't put down Mien Kampf to read it.
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Re: Twilight?

Postby Kallisti » Sat Jun 14, 2008 3:11 pm UTC

I've recently discovered Twilight Guy, where a guy is reading Twilight for research purposes and posting his findings on each chapter. It doesn't rip it to shreads as has been suggested here, but gives a good idea of what to expect, and once you read the site you won't even have to read the book.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby flummerina » Sat Jun 14, 2008 9:39 pm UTC

The only upshot of reading these is the unintentional humor, of which there is plenty: the vampires sparkle, guys. And the author is definitely serious about her writing; the books are irony-free. And yet ,there is sparkling. Lots of it.

Oh, and they play baseball and eat the occasional bear.

Consider it a bring-your-own-sense-of-humor party.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby pshhness » Wed Jun 18, 2008 5:40 pm UTC

I picked up my copy of Twilight because on the back cover, some big review site has named it "Best Books of the Decade". So I thought, it's gotta be good for it to get that honour. But boy was I wrong. It was a sap-filled, melodramatic, clliched, teenage angst that could've been written by a 14-year-old girl with a thesaurus. I borrowed the sequel, New Moon, from my cousin to satisfy my curiosity of what happens to the star-crossed lovers, but decided after 200 pages or so that I really don't need to know. XD.

Honestly, I've read better things on FictionPress and FF.net than that. :?
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Re: Twilight?

Postby Roland Lockheart » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:48 am UTC

Edward Cullen should meet my good friend Van Helsing.
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Re: Twilight?

Postby Mr. Galt » Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:23 am UTC

Ive heard from several people around me in school as well as work about this series. Some people love it, and some people hate it. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground. Its one of those book series I see as having little literary merit, but still making oodles of money. (Harry potter, Eragon, most "young adult" series)

Personally, I would never read it as I'm not interested in vampires or romance, but If Stephanie Meyer has figured out how to cash in on pubescent hormones with a simple series, more power to her. Even if she is a horrible writer, she knows her target audience and it shows. Hopefully the popularity doesn't go to her head and she goes crazy like J.K. Rowling.

I wouldn't worry too much about the messages that the romantic plot sends, subliminal or otherwise. A single book series glorifying abuse in a relationship for teens is like lighting a candle in a house thats already ablaze and the roof is caving in. (compared to any other sort of media)

Besides, this series is clearly fantasy. Anyone who can't that make a distinction between that and reality has a head problem already.

That said, I wouldn't mind a criticism if it got my best friends sister-in-law to just shut up about it already.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Leetlebean » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:18 pm UTC

Cassi wrote:I've heard Twilight, and similar books, compared to Twinkies -- essentially substanceless, and you don't really get anything from them, and you know you can get something better -- but sometimes, dammit, you just want a Twinkie.


Cassi I know you probably won't read this but I wanted to tell you that this is BY FAR my favorite thing I've read on this forum! Kudos! :D

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Cassi » Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:59 pm UTC

Leetlebean wrote:
Cassi wrote:I've heard Twilight, and similar books, compared to Twinkies -- essentially substanceless, and you don't really get anything from them, and you know you can get something better -- but sometimes, dammit, you just want a Twinkie.


Cassi I know you probably won't read this but I wanted to tell you that this is BY FAR my favorite thing I've read on this forum! Kudos! :D


I can't take credit for the analogy, but it definitely fits how I feel about those books very well.
une see wrote:Cass, YOU are my favorite!

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Leetlebean » Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:56 pm UTC

Cassi wrote: I can't take credit for the analogy, but it definitely fits how I feel about those books very well.


No, I totally understand and feel the same way! :) I agree it fits well.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Cassi » Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:09 pm UTC

My boyfriend laughs at me, because I do read some utter trash, but sometimes that is just what I want to read! (I also find books like Twilight to be great reading for planes...I can't concentrate well, but I can follow simple predictable storylines.) Liking such mindless books doesn't mean you can't like other completely different (and by most standards, better) books.
une see wrote:Cass, YOU are my favorite!

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Fin Samar » Fri Jun 20, 2008 3:57 am UTC

As a rule, I avoid books from this century (or even, hell, the latter half of the twentieth) that show vampires as anything but fodder for humor. I have this hate for romanticisation of vampires, because these people break into your goddamn house and suck your blood and I'm supposed to think it's cool or some stupid crap. Not to mention every girl I've met that read this book thought it was such good deep greatness. You know what? Me and my friends rather like to pass around a copy of The Eye of Argon so I can say the only bad literature I read is classic.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Severus Severance » Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:27 am UTC

Fin Samar wrote:I have this hate for romanticisation of vampires, because these people break into your goddamn house and suck your blood and I'm supposed to think it's cool or some stupid crap.


The only good vampire book I've read that was published after the fifties is Thirsty, by M. T. Anderson.

Other than that, I tried to read Twilight, and I think I barely finished it. Where's the plot? With a plot, I could have ignored the sparkly vampires and 'zomg im nu riter hao u liek mai storee' vibe. But there is no plot, and the fangirls seem to be just about everywhere I go.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby namaize » Mon Jun 23, 2008 2:39 am UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:This is a subject dear to my heart because my ex-best friend married an abuser who's behavior was very reminiscent of what I've read of Edward (demanding to always be in the right, telling her to give up her friends because he was the only one she really needed, limiting contact with her family, being emotionally manipulative, expecting to be in charge, telling her she didn't understand things if she was arguing with him, doing his absolute best to make her completely emotionally dependent on him, making her feel like less in comparison to him... less intelligent, less attractive, less desireable, less important).


...what? I mean, maybe I'm just being dense, and I've never been particularly good with literary analysis and deep meaning and such, but what? :shock:

I am in the target demographic (19, female) and I read the book because it seemed hilariously bad and ended up actually liking it. Not that it's a Work Of Great Literature (overrated, yes-- but it is tasty fluffy fluff), and granted it's been about a year since I read the book, but I was totally not getting the emotionally-abusive-boyfriend vibe. And I'm trying to remember details and not coming up with anything. I didn't think it was anything more serious than any other teens madly in love with some serious (whoo fantasy) obstacles to work through, and I thought they were sweet. They're basically obsessed with each other to (or past) the point of co-dependence, and Edward is very protective of Bella, but given plot circumstances it's not so much of a stretch. Co-dependence possibly not one of the greatest things to have in a relationship, but... it's teenfic! Deathless romance! Eternal love! Isn't it ALL obsession/co-dependence in the end? Romeo and Juliet committed suicide for each other, but I don't think their relationship was terribly abusive. Bad example yeah, and same with Edward and Bella, but isn't that true for all teenfic?
...I thought it was sweet. c_c

[*]Limiting contact with her family? Her dad prefers Jacob and her mom's slightly concerned their relationship is too serious, but I don't remember any limiting contact.
[*]Emotional dependence... well yeah, she focuses on him, but I think that's more a part of Bella's character than anything Edward's manipulating.
[*]Giving up friends: I don't remember this happening. She did draw away from her other friends to spend time with the Cullens, but... college kids? Totally do the same thing. Again, I think it's more Bella's choice than Edward's abusiveness. As far as giving up contact with other men... er, he stops another kid from taking her to prom even though she never agreed to go with the other kid. And there was some conflict between Jacob and Edward, but it was Jacob who shut Bella out and not Edward who broke off contact. The way I read it, she's nervous about Edward knowing she's still friends with Jacob because ZOMG TEEN DRAMA.
Spoiler:
Jacob is in love with her, she's in a way in love with Jacob but in a best-friends way and chooses Edward over him; Jacob and Edward, like any two boys fighting over a girl... have a slightly tense relationship. Add in the age-old werewolf vs vampire conflict and they have yet another reason to be on edge, plus Jacob gets all cocky and keeps trying to win Bella back. They were almost-not-really-going-out at one point when Edward broke up with Bella for her own safety (see: Spiderman 2 et al.) and Bella got really depressed because of it. Her friendship with Jacob brought her out of the depression, and when Edward came back... ROMANTIC TENSION!

[*]Feeling less in comparison to him: Long story short, she thinks he's perfect and she's not. Did Edward encourage this train of thought? ...I don't think so? I mean, clearly he's physically more capable than her, having superhuman strength/reflexes/beauty while she is a total klutz, but I don't think he lords his superiority over her.
[*]Co-dependence yes. "Baby I won't have to hit you"... er. He mentions he doesn't want to sex her because he might physically injure her?
[*]Immortal lover vs marriage: there are people IRL who don't believe in marriage, and Bella's only a teenager. Marriage is a big thing at that age. She doesn't believe vampires are soulless, and the other Cullens provide ample evidence that vampires CAN be good. Besides, given immortality, you could have all the weddings you want later. Her current goal is not to out-age him too much because hey, when you're 53 and your lover is perpetually 18... ehhh. (No offense to couples with age differences, but as a teen? Hey, if my SO gets to stay young forever, I want in.) My own SO's parents only got married for the legal/financial benefits, and I'm pretty sure vampires don't get most of those anyway.
Spoiler:
Plus they do get engaged eventually.


In a way, I feel this is a lot like the bad rap HP was getting with Satan-worship and witchcraft and magicz Oh me yarm... You read into it what you want to see. I'm willing to accept that Edward/Bella's relationship could be unhealthy, I'd just like to see more concrete details. Unless I'm missing something, I don't think you've read the books yet?


tl;dr: Read the book(s) and get back to me? I... don't think it's as bad as you're making it out to be.
I would like to hear your thoughts on the book/ read one of these dissertation reviews you mention for Twilight, but... in the least offensive way possible, I think you might be overreacting a little.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:15 am UTC

I plan on getting back to people after I finish reading the books- that was just the major red flags I picked up from reading positive reviews, so I'm worried that the actual book will be far worse.

And yes, killing yourself and becoming a drinker of blood to be with your boyfriend is a way more major commitment with marriage. She's not promising to be with him for a lifetime- she's promising eternity.

And Romeo and Juliet did have an extremely unhealthy relationship on all levels, considering that it was based on how horny he was and how much she wanted to live in romantic fantasy. He was using her for her body, she was using him for her play-acting, and they really had no choice but to both die, because they never could have lived with each other.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby namaize » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:31 am UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:And yes, killing yourself and becoming a drinker of blood to be with your boyfriend is a way more major commitment with marriage. She's not promising to be with him for a lifetime- she's promising eternity.

::scratches head:: Perhaps I'm reading this wrong, but I was getting bad vibes as far as non-marriage? I was pointing out that she is willing to commit. She's just wary of the traditional ritual. And hey, irrationality is what makes us human, yes?
Yeah, maybe (probably?) my taste is not as refined as many others', but I really liked how the characters were portrayed; motivations and quirks and everything. I will admit I empathized a lot with the characters (partly as I was kind of having relationship issues of my own when I was reading the book), and maybe this is why I liked them as much as I did.

I'm also going to point out that asking Edward to turn her isn't quite as traumatic as it sounds; Edward's "father" has performed it several times previously and is very capable of assisting. I guess I see it as kind of a medical procedure?
Spoiler:
Papa Cullen is a doctor and at some point most of the other Cullens decide to support Bella's decision. Bella wants Edward to turn her (how romantic) but Edward refused unless she agreed to get engaged, and Carlisle (the father) said he'd do it if Edward didn't. There were other stipulations, most of which I can't remember.

Oh also, it's not that Bella's tamed the serial killer, just that she's fallen head over heels for the reformed serial killer (who stopped killing because of his love for his "father," actually). Slightly different. He's already a "good man;" she's not trying to change him. Also, I think "serial killer" is a little extreme since he's not exactly killing for pleasure. The vampires HAVE to feed on blood, and I guess human blood is more filling/tasty than animal? In any case, there's a purpose to the killing. They joke about being "vegetarian," but... they kind of have a point.

While pledging her commitment for eternity is a bit more extreme than marriage, part of Bella's reluctance to get engaged is concern of social pressure and... well, it's kind of superfluous. Eternity > lifetime, as you were pointing out.
And yeah, fearing the social pressures of "You're engaged at 18?!" and possible parental disapproval is not healthy for a relationship you want to last for eternity, but... she's 17 or 18. And kinda dumb. I feel like Edward's actually helping her with his insistence on getting engaged, because she'd probably rather just leave her parents and go to Alaska (or wherever) with him. Edward's getting her to accept some responsibility by declaring her commitment to her family and friends instead of just him/his family. Plus within the bounds of the story, there's precedent for deathless love: the other six Cullens are paired off, which is partially why they're so supportive of Bella and Edward. Go go teenfic romance! Yeah. A lot of love-at-first-sight dealies, actually.

Kendo_Bunny wrote:And Romeo and Juliet did have an extremely unhealthy relationship on all levels, considering that it was based on how horny he was and how much she wanted to live in romantic fantasy. He was using her for her body, she was using him for her play-acting, and they really had no choice but to both die, because they never could have lived with each other.

My point bringing up R&J is that, even though they had an unhealthy relationship, I don't think the play's had much effect as far as encouraging women to stay with unhealthy relationships or sending negative messages to women. Of course, Twilight's being way hyped (especially with all the movie excitement) so possibly R&J is not that applicable.

Just go into the book remembering it's fluffy teenfic? Don't expect too much of it I guess is what I'm saying. And... try to enjoy it maybe? This might be a bit much since you're reviewing it from a very serious standpoint, but... it's fluff. [Insert more of you-see-what-you-want here]. IMHO, the book isn't written to encourage unhealthy relationships (any more than Harry Potter was written to encourage devil-worship), but I guess it's all about context and perspective. And some stuff has more evidence than others, but... in the end, it's just a book.
Ah well, I'm sure you've heard my opinion on the series enough, and it's not going to hurt my feelings if you have a different one. I'm glad you're planning to read the books though; the "CLEARLY IT PROMOTES MORAL DECAY SO OF COURSE I'LL NEVER READ IT" crowd really really gets to me. I'm reasonably sure there aren't many on the xkcd fora, but... anti-Potter-mania has left lasting impressions on me ^^;; I <3 books and I wish everyone did. ::sigh::

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Kendo_Bunny » Mon Jun 23, 2008 3:15 pm UTC

But Harry Potter doesn't have a single instence of devil-worship, while Twilight does glorify an extremely unhealthy relationship. I've also talked to some friends who love the books, and they all said that if they ever attracted a guy like Edward, they would run the other way as fast as possible.

Although when I do read the books, it's the logical inconsistencies that are probably going to bother me the most, like if the skin of the vampires is ice cold and like marble, added to a few drops of blood makes them crazy, how is one of them a doctor? Why would Edward put up with going to high school every few years when he doesn't like humans, he's tempted to eat them, and he's already done it several times before? Why does he act like he's 17 when he's over 100? I've heard their obsession excused as being typical of first love (I wouldn't know, I didn't get obsessive with my first love), but was Edward asexual until Bella showed up? Don't they realize that when she gets turned, their reasons for loving each other will be gone? Why is it that the heroine looks just like the author and the hero is lifted directly from a fantasy she had one day?

I read that she spends most of the second book trying to have near-death experiences to hear Edward's voice, and getting pissy whenever anyone tries to stop her. That goes beyond unhealthy into sick- she's so completely obsessed that she can not believe she can function without him. I know perfectly well that heartbreak hurts, but anyone who would take it to those extremes needs professional help.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby Sebeka2 » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:30 pm UTC

Kendo_Bunny wrote:Why would Edward put up with going to high school every few years when he doesn't like humans, he's tempted to eat them, and he's already done it several times before? Why does he act like he's 17 when he's over 100? I've heard their obsession excused as being typical of first love (I wouldn't know, I didn't get obsessive with my first love), but was Edward asexual until Bella showed up? Don't they realize that when she gets turned, their reasons for loving each other will be gone? Why is it that the heroine looks just like the author and the hero is lifted directly from a fantasy she had one day?

Because this is vamp teen fic and Mary-Sueism isn't all that uncommon for an author's first novel? Yes, it would make a lot more sense (and less effort) for the vampires to pretend to be homeschooled or just claim they dropped out at 16 or whatever and yes, you'd think that 80-year-old-vampires would tend to go for cougars moreso than inexperienced goth teeny-boppers with overprotective fathers, but that's the genre's audience. I imagine that the vampires in the romance section books tend to go for mid-30's lonely professionals.
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Re: Twilight?

Postby namaize » Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:20 pm UTC

However, Harry Potter does have many many instances of magic use, children learning about magic, and adults teaching children about magic as if it's no big deal, which is enough for the fundies. "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" and all that. And yes, it has been interpreted as devil-worship (because clearly magic doesn't come from God because God disapproves, so it must be coming from Satan, ergo magic-users are glorifying Satan).
It's more of a stretch than Twilight, but... fundies. Ugh. It's better than "God hates homosexuals" and "evolution is a lie" but ugh.

As Sebeka mentioned... it's teenfic. MarySueism ahoy! The kids go to high school... because this is teenfic. You can't read the books expecting something serious. I mean, it's much better than other teenfic I have read, but it's like candy corn vs. a delicious cookie. Neither's particularly good for you.
And it's written by a Mormon. There's no sex and certainly no talk of masturbation (though seriously, it's not often you'll find a nonporny fiction book that DOES mention it... just usually doesn't make for that interesting a story). Edward may have been asexual prior to meeting Bella, but so was Bella. Same with all fairytale romances. Well, Disney anyway, because that's most prevalent. Disney romancers are presumed asexual before Twue WuvTM because America is prudish and puritanical and this hasn't changed. As far as turning removing all the things that attract them... it's Disney romance rules. Ariel and Eric are still in love when she gets her legs. Cinderella and Prince Charming are still in love when the glass slippers come off. Belle and the Beast, Snow White and Prince Nameless, Aurora and Philip, et cetera, et cetera. Reasons for loving each other... because they're soul mates (and it's only Edward who believe the soulless thing)? Because it's Twue WuvTM? Teenfic != reality. If you read this expecting great literature, it will be nothing but pain.
And the blood thing is an issue of control. Carlisle has perfect control (I believe it's his vampiric power) and is basically immune to the siren song of human blood. As far as cold hands... well, they're masquerading as humans; one expects they have to do some hand-shaking every now and then, but it doesn't blow their cover. Some people just have really low core body temperatures. And everywhere they live has little sunlight and tends to be cold.

And yeah, Bella's an idiot. Still doesn't mean Edward's an abuser.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby protocoach » Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:46 pm UTC

Namaize, the problem with using the "It's just teenfic!" to excuse away all the abusive overtones is that the fact that it is teenfic - literature geared towards younger, impressionable minds - is part of the problem. Now, before I go on, a disclaimer: I'm 19, a guy, and I haven't read the books. However, a good female friend of mine is certifiably obsessed with the series, and tells me about them on a regular basis.

That said, one of the biggest issues for teenage girls in modern society, as I see it, is that we tend to impose completely unrealistic values on them and then encourage them to punish themselves when they can't reach those values. This is not to say that women's (or anyone's) behavior is controlled by the society they live in, but it does shape mindsets. We present examples of fairytale romance, of perfect bodies and perfect minds, and then when those standards are exposed to reality, people inevitable fail to live up to them. Books like Twilight are part of that problem. They present an absolutely insane version of a romance. My friend has told me that, were she ever to run into a real man who acted like the leads in this story, she'd probably call the cops on him. Thankfully, she's intelligent and mature, but the same can't be said about a lot of teenagers. This isn't intended as anti-teenager (I am one) but the biological truth is that teenage minds haven't fully developed and sometimes aren't capable of separating fiction and reality. What scares me about this book is not the 20+ year old who reads them for fun on a plane flight, it's the 14 year old who reads them and thinks that a relationship like the ones described in the books is healthy and functioning. I've had friends in abusive relationships, and it's an ugly thing, not something that should be glamorized as this book seems to.

I'm actually considering reading the book at some point this summer, to see if the general impression I've picked up is accurate, but I might just use the Twilight guy website. The few samples I've read of the book make it seem pretty unbearable.

P.S. I'd like to strongly register a complaint against the romanticizing of vampires. Vampires are murderous creatures that drink blood. Unless you write them like Terry Pratchett or Christopher Moore, your vampire stories should end up with some undead rotisserie.
If I were a Viking god, I don't think I would fall for that.
But if I were a Viking, that's exactly what I would do.

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Re: Twilight?

Postby namaize » Mon Jun 23, 2008 11:12 pm UTC

protocoach wrote:Namaize, the problem with using the "It's just teenfic!" to excuse away all the abusive overtones is that the fact that it is teenfic - literature geared towards younger, impressionable minds - is part of the problem.

Teenfic does, however excuse MarySueism to the extent that MarySueism can be excused; it's not Great Literature and shouldn't be read for literary merit (There are probably books written for teens that do, but this isn't one of them). The abusive overtones people are so concerned about I think are coming from the obsessive nature of the romance. Which is because it's idealized star-crossed-lovers fantasy.
And hopefully this isn't going too off-topic, but... do you feel the same way about Disney? I mean, if you're going to throw out idealized romances shaping mindsets... I'd bet Disney has more of an effect on impressionable young minds that any given book.

Personally? I don't see that they're so bad. They're stories, and if we can't have idealism in stories then there would be no idealism.
And maybe I'm just another victim of society's rampage against teen girls, but I like happy endings. I like happily-ever-afters and perfect romance and the idea of Twue WuvTM that lasts. Meeting someone who is The One, knowing it, falling in love, and living happily ever after? Awesome. I enjoy being entertained by chick flicks and fluffy pink fiction. That book about that average-looking girl who just falls out of love with her long-term boyfriend (though they're still on good terms), utilizes birth control, is perfectly well-adjusted, and goes into the workforce after graduating from a community college? I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist.
I live in reality. I am intelligent but probably far from mature. I am in a relationship that is not perfect. We are working on it, and it is hard.
Fantasy? Not reality, much as I or anyone might wish. But I live with it. And I think the world would be a terribly depressing place without idealism.

protocoach wrote:P.S. I'd like to strongly register a complaint against the romanticizing of vampires. Vampires are murderous creatures that drink blood. Unless you write them like Terry Pratchett or Christopher Moore, your vampire stories should end up with some undead rotisserie.

...Perhaps I'm insane, but this is fantasy. People take mythological creatures and make them... human. A terrible word to use, but I can't come up with any others. And as vampires aren't real, authors can do whatever the hell they want with them. Including making them heroes. Including making them decent people. Including not making them typical pointy-fanged burns-in-sunlight sleeps-in-coffins vampires. Making vampires funny is okay but giving them love is not? I haven't read Christopher Moore (couldn't stand his writing style) but I adore Terry Pratchett. Pratchett's vampires drink blood too, y'know. They're just as much murderous blood-drinkers as Twilight's vampires, only they don't get taken seriously because satire isn't serious.
Sorry if I'm getting ranty, but my buttons are being pushed here. This is getting uncomfortably close to the "atheists/nonchristians are bad people because of what they are" vibe I've been getting from my conservative Asian Christian surroundings since I was young, and it makes me so very angry. Openmindedness is a thing to strive for. Flat-out condemnation is not.
Anyway, I'm guessing you're strongly anti-Buffy as well?

And as far as murderous monsters, what's your opinion of Remus Lupin? Or are werewolves okay with love?


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