Friday, December 05, 2008


this review is more limited and disjointed than i was hoping for. feel free to ask for clarifications.

i really liked this book. it was fun and refreshing. bella could be as dull as dirt but also infinitely interesting. her fallibility and poor decisionmaking skills were frustrating but completely appealing to me. her lack of personality was not. i completely related to her in her obsessive attraction to edward. who hasn't crushed on someone in high school(or college) and then looked for them or tried to glean more information about them every chance they got? or drove completely out of their way just so they could see if anybody might be in a particular parking lot at the foreign language housing dorm? anybody? anybody?
edward was by far my favorite character. i love a good strong, smart male lead. he was inherently flawed despite his vampire perfection. i love a male character who feels the need to take care or protect a female. that doesn't necessarily make the lead female weak or pitiful, but just proves that gallantry and chivalry aren't dead. his word choices and phrases were nice. there was a strong voice distinction. i am determined to use the word absurd more often as a result. though, i do wish he would have murderized those unwashed miscreants in port angeles.

i liked that bella was able to assess situations and try and determine her own destiny; pumping jacob for edward information, deciding to fight back her attackers in port angeles, becoming the sacrificial lamb of sorts for the vampire james and not involving others who might get hurt. other things i related to with bella was her overwhelming feelings of not feeling good enough for edward. i think this teenage emotional nail was hit right on the head. i also like bella because she wasn't good at things. she wasn't perfect at everything or anything so she makes us feel like someday a fantastic vampire could fall in love with us too or just have exciting things happen to us. and bella did dumb things. and she was dumpy. and annoying. and she fell a lot. though i have no room to judge on personal grace or poise. i think stephenie meyer used a great mix of normalcy and extraordinary--and showed how they can be the same thing.

i was never concerned about the final outcome of the book. obviously, since there are 3 more books besides this one, i knew not EVERYONE would die. but that would have been fun too. regardless, i was interested in the parts that i found predictable as much as the parts that i found completely unpredictable. twilight was sort of like a cigarette to me. i took the book everywhere trying to get a few paragraphs in at a time when i could. once i was done i almost didn't know how to complete simple tasks like sitting at stop lights or blow drying my hair. the book was always there. i may need a 12 step program just to get me back to real life.

major likes-
-a fun, fast, slightly silly, nicely chaste but still exciting read. it was even easier and faster to read the second time around.
-i would pause after certain passages and laugh at myself because i was reading a book about vampires. and it was silly but i was compelled to read more.
-it made thinking of being a teenager again not such a completely revolting thought. especially if i was a vampire and looked like rosalie.
-the random bits of sarcasm and humor. it was like stephenie meyer was putting her own personal jokes in there.
-the obvious simliarities between lds doctrine and vampire dogma. funny. i like a nice subliminal message. i hope some of the teeny-bopper readers took the self-control message to heart.
-i LOVE the fact that stephenie meyer never describes anyone with the word sexy. i despise that word. it is so over-used that it means nothing. plus, sexy is so fleeting, so one-note. there is no depth to that description and it sounds very generic and cheap.
-baseball scene-verging on ridiculous but light-hearted enough to make the vampires seems like they were once human with human interests.

major issues-
-the long khaki skirt that bella wears to meet the cullens. yuck. that description almost ruined the chapter for me. i just pictured a sister missionary in honduras with some birkenstocks. be still my lunch.
-the just-add-water "i love yous"- i think this could have been more interesting had the relationship tension built up over more shared experiences or a little longer period of time.
-jacob-i don't know what it was about his description and mannerisms, i just saw him as sort of a dumb, easily manipulated lump.
-stephenie meyer is a comma freak. i would have to read several lines over again so that i could have a better handle on her true emphasis and meaning.
-i wish there was more rosalie. if i were at a vampire crossroads i would feel very much like her. i don't pine to be a vampire. i'm possibly opposed to it. i would struggle back and forth about whether or not if was in bella's position, if i would want to become a vampire. being human is pretty great. i like sleeping. i love eating. crying has its perks. not to say that being a vampire wouldn't be fun too. running faster would be great.

final thoughts that may or not be related to twilight:
i'm totally fine with people not liking twilight. i don't like the lion king. different strokes for different folks. it irks me relentlessly when people don't like it because it isn't "literature". what's so bad about fluff reading? brownies are not the "literature" of food but they are pretty dang fantastic anyway. the people who shun reading fluff only see "films" and not movies and only listen to indie music and pretend that christina aguilera or mariah carey are untalented. they are pretentious and they think they are smarter than everyone else. and that cannot possibly be true because i am smarter than absolutely everyone and i thought twilight was a great book.


Paula said...

The things you like about Bella are the same things that annoy me. I get it-it's fluff reading and involves teenagers but Bella and Edward's relationship bugs. All they practically do is argue, lust after each other (one for blood so does that even count?), and then Edward saves her out of a sticky situations. While I say this I don't expect fluff reading to be super deep or serious. I just would have liked more substance to their relationship. Twilight, in my opinion, is the best book out of there series. After the first one it just goes down hill and fast. Let me know what you think of the others when you finish. I have a problem with Bella becoming obsessed with pushing the sex envelope and how much it is discussed. It just may be a personal problem with the books though.

Will and Natalie Giddens said...

Oh, me! me! me! As you well know, I was all about the drive by. I think we drove a well-worn path between our house, the foreign-language housing and J.O.'s place over by Brick Oven. So yes, obsessive/complusive behavior is totally believable high school (or college) behavior, but Bella was still dumb.

Loved the commentary though. You should get paid to give your opinions a la Stacy London or Miss Manners. Oh! Or maybe you could be Dear Abby and I could be Ann Landers?

Jessica said...

i TOTALLY know what you mean about that stupid khaki skirt! it was so incongruous with the rest of the BOOK in my opinion. seriously. for so much "fashion" stuff in there a la alice, i thought it was a VERY weird choice.

i am completely in your camp, when it comes to this book. i knew it was ridiculous that i couldn't put this book down, yet it didn't stop me from reading it and re-reading it and even making scott read it, too.

and actually i like your points about lds doctrine being subliminally intermingled in there. we had a book club discussion on breaking dawn (and ended up discussing much of the whole series), and there are tons of parallels, etc. that we found.

keep the reviews coming! i can't wait to see what you have to say about the rest.

and p.s. i actually thought stephenie meyer handled the whole sex thing REALLY well. but i could go on about that for a while, so i won't. hahahaha.

Katie Woods said...

Very good review - very astute! I agree with you about almost everything, except Edward. I actually DON'T like him all that much. I'm admittedly on Team Jacob, although I appreciate the Bella-Edward relationship for what it is: dramatic, full of angst, and a prime example of benevolent sexism. He just rubs me the wrong way, but that didn't detract me from enjoying the books. I'm just about done with Book 3, and then I'll finish Book 4 over Christmas break.

You are my Twilight guru, and I look forward to having awesome conversations in the future!


Livin' Single said...

i liked bella's hair in the movie. i haven't read the books, but good hair goes a long way with me. the "dumb lamb/lion" convo was hilarious and dumb, but i was still attracted to edward by the end. sigh. i am 13.