Don’t you hate it when you’re trying to explain something to a friend and they don’t “get it”? Or when you really hate something, but your friend inexplicably likes it? Why don’t they “get it”??? Or you snigger at some weirdo walking by and tell your friend to look at how odd that person is and they don’t laugh and don’t GET IT.
This is when I make these noises: sigh, double sigh, arrgghhh, harumph. You have to give up, “getting it” can be beyond words sometimes and its SO frustrating when others don’t pick up on what you consider to be too obvious to explain.
So why have I described this awful feeling? Because you are about to feel it…
I didn’t really like the Twilight books.
They were ok I guess, average young adult fiction, pretty entertaining and somewhat original. But my expectations were Harry Potter high and they didn’t even come close. The first person narrative from Bella’s point of view made me think she was stupid, reeeeeeeally whiney, annoying, and undeserving of all the “speshul attention” she was getting. I graded Twilight and New Moon with a C- after finishing them, telling hubby there was no way I was going to read the last two.
I decided I just didn’t get it. Their “love” didn’t seem real or that exciting, their drama too petty, I didn’t get why their romance was such a big deal.
But then I took to the interwebs to do a bit of research beyond the usual “OMG SQUEEEE Edward Cullen is HOTT and sparkly” and take a gander at some of the more serious analyses and reviews. My first stop was Stephenie Meyer’s webpage so I could get a bit of the backstory on her and there I found **trumpets blare, angels sing helleluja** her rough draft of Midnight Sun.
I opened the 264 page PDF written from Edward’s point of view and saw the sparkly light. I GOT IT.
I spent almost 3 hours reading it at my desk, hey we’re in a hiring freeze, as the lone recruiter for my office I have NOTHING to do. And I CRIED at my desk. Just some little sniffles. But this excerpt hugely contributed to my about-face:
Page 217 of Midnight Sun
For one moment, the hag-faced fate I’d imagined, the one who sought Bella’s destruction, was replaced by the most foolish and reckless of angels. A guardian angel – something Carlisle’s version of me might have had. With a heedless smile on her lips, her sky-colored eyes full of mischeif, the angel formed Bella in such a fashion that there was no way I could possibly overlook her. A ridiculously potent scent to demand my attention, a slient mind to enflame my curiosity, a quiet beauty to hold my eyes, a selfless soul to earn my awe. Leave out the natural sense of self-preservation- so that Bella could bare to be near me-and finally, add a wide streak of appallingly bad luck.
With a careless laugh, the irresponsible angel propelled her fragile creation directly into my path, trusting blithley in my flawed morality to keep Bella alive.
In this vision I was not Bella’s sentence; she was my reward.
I fell in love with Bella right along side Edward. I finally saw her kindness, bravery, selflessness, maturity, intelligence, sensitivity, and warmth. All these qualities were not as obvious from Bella’s point of view because she was HUMBLE and let’s be honest, super niave. Reading from inside Edward’s head explained so much that I had overlooked in Twilight, so many nuances and depths to his character that I hadn’t picked up on or imagined.
This insight earned the books a B for me, still not an A and here is why:
Bella still annoyed me, how STUPID could she be not figuring out the werewolf thing for 3oo pages in New Moon???!!!!1! After I saw all her fabulous qualities through Edward’s eyes I liked her exponentially better, but then found her to be too much of a Mary Sue. I’m picky, I know, sorry!
I thought the books were too long, huge amounts of repetition describing characters’ outward appearance without spending time developing their personalities or character growth, the suspense plot in Twilight started way too late, so the conflict with James seemed forced, and lastly I recognize I’m not really the target audience. The drama about prom, who sits where in the cafeteria, meeting between classes, lying to her dad about who she’s hanging out with…I could see how that would all be immensely relate-able for middle and high schoolers reading the series, but the setting just didn’t do it for me. Related to that…I thought the writing seemed “dumbed down.”
I also didn’t think the myths and realities about vampires and werewolves were as creative as they could be. Here’s my Personal Paranormal Rating Scale for creativity, originality, and world building description:
Perfect 10 Harry Potter and Ann Rice
9 Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse
The world of Forks, Washington would be a 3/10 in my book. In fact, I just decided it’s insulting to JK Rowling to compare Twilight to Harry Potter.
Wow I have read a lot of vampire books I just realized.
I loved loved loved Ms. Meyer’s writing about Bella’s desolation, depression, and “zombie” like response to Edward leaving her in New Moon. Her descriptions and actions she had Bella take transcended any age group, ANY reader could relate to that and it gave so more depth to no only Bella, but to her relationship with Edward. Her pain was real, my chest ached for her, my heart clenched as I read her anguish. The writing of those chapters was the most real and powerful to me. As I said, the rest seemed a bit dumbed down.
With all that said I am going over to Hill Gal’s house tonight to watch the movie and borrow the two remaining books from her, all of which I initially told her I had NO INTEREST in doing (picture me with my nose in the air while saying this.) The title of my email to her today was “I Lied,” and I was appropriately contrite.