Thursday, January 21, 2010

Reposting: Because I'm Lazy. Also, Related to Twilight

In honor of all of this buzz about a Twilight graphic novel (because why READ Bella moping around when you can SEE it in non-animated form?), I thought I would repost a blog I originally wrote on Maureen Johnson's ning.

Today's rant is about Twilight. I'm not bashing the book. I know a lot of people like it, and that's fine. I'm not a huge fan, myself, but we all have different tastes.

No, my current problem with
Twilight are the excuses people make for me about why I don't like the book. Even people who know me! (Well, kind of know me.)

Basically, people assume 1) I don't like romance, 2) I'm not into vampires, & 3) I'm closed-minded.

Now, the first two points just show that these people don't know me.

1) I AM a cynic. You know what? I'm smart enough to know that a lot of guys my age LIE to girls all the time. They lie to get a girl in bed, they lie because of societal pressure, they lie for fun. A lot of guys are really cool. A lot of guys are jerks. That's the way it is; that's the way it's always been. That doesn't mean I don't believe in romance.

Really, I believe in romance for other people. I'm not going to get super deep with this, but I will conclude this point with the fact that believing in romance for other people means that I like reading about romance - when it's well done.

2) Most romance is NOT well done.

It's just not. Go to any bookstore, walk to the section titled "romance." It's not that there aren't any good books in there, it's just that they're hidden by SMUT. Listen, I've read enough "romance" novels to consider the self-titled genre to generally be predictable, and to think that the only reason most people read them is for the sex scenes. To which I say - suck it up, and buy porn.*

The best romance novels, the ones with REAL romance in them? They're
literature, prose that uses metaphor and symbolism, because romance is poetry, and can't be communicated correctly if the writing is too literal.

3) The relationship between Edward and Bella is not a healthy one.

First of all, it's "love at first sight." Give. Me. A. Break. I'm one of those people who doesn't believe you can call it love until you get to know the other person. And Bella was considering herself "in love" before she'd really spoken to Edward. That's not love guys, that's obsession.

Secondly, Bella is AFRAID of Edward. While this makes sense, with the whole "he's a vampire, dude," thing going on, it's not cool to date someone you're afraid of. And Bella is afraid, repeatedly, in

Thirdly, Edward is a stalker. He watches her sleep, and her response is, "Oh, that's cute. I hope I didn't drool." I guess you could say that since they're both obsessed, it's all cool. The fact is, if I had been talking this way when I was sixteen, my parents would have sent me to a therapist.

4) I
adore vampire stories.

From the time I've been about ten until the time I was eighteen, almost everything I read was supernatural romance. Christopher Pike & L.J. Smith wrote vampire stories, and I really enjoyed those.

My mother was kind of exasperated, and thought something was wrong with me, because I liked vampires so much.

Short of going to the dentist to get fangs and drinking blood, I couldn't be MORE of a vampire fan.

5) I try really hard to be an open-minded person.

I went into my initial reading of
Twilight expecting too much, perhaps. I forced myself to read it again this year, to see if I really didn't like it, or if I had been being too harsh.

It's an okay book, but I think it's too long, and I don't think it's very well written.

It might be better than anything I ever write, but I don't purport to be a great writer. And neither, from Stephenie Meyer's interviews, it seems, does she. She wrote a book for fun. She liked it, her sister liked it, I think her editor should have forced her to pare it down a lot more.

I didn't get "sucked in" like a lot of people. It's not to my tastes.

I kind of like that Meyer inverted a lot of vampire stereotypes - she made the vampires in her stories her own. I can appreciate ingenuity. Saying, "Oh, well, maybe you don't like it because Edward's SPARKLY" really makes me angry. I thought it was kind of cool, though I thought it was an incredibly cheesy effect in the movie.

I don't wish any harm on the author, herself, I don't think her books should be burnt (I don't think ANY books should be burnt), I just didn't like the book.

I'm a literate person. I'm not stupid. I'm not against romance. I like vampires. I JUST DIDN'T LIKE THE BOOK!

I don't think that makes me a horrible person. I don't have a problem with people who like
Twilight, so why do my "friends" who like Twilight have such a problem with me not liking it?

*Frankly, this has been my opinion since I was in middle school. If you like romance, that's cool, so long as you admit that often, these books tend to be predictable and have many gratuitous sex scenes.

**A lot of people, when I mention this concept of Bella being afraid, say, "What are you talking about? I didn't get that impression." Well, not everyone reading Twilight took notes, either, and I'm not sure what that says about me, as a person, but it DOES mean that I can cite moments of fright. Bella explicitly mentions being scared on the following pages: 54, 89, 107, 251, 264. I stopped taking as many notes about halfway through the book, so there may be more references, but there are at least that many.


Possum said...

I remember reading this the first time around! I also agree with all your points, as I did before.

But oh my goooood. A Twilight graphic novel? >.< Kill me now.

Shelly Quade said...

Do you prefer suffocation or a knife in the back? ;)

Thanks for reading and commenting, Possum. You are an awesome girl. :)

Wombat said...

I agree with what you say in this post. I liked the Twilight saga UNTIL Breaking Dawn though. That just...was way too much. THE BABY ATE IT'S WAY OUT OF HER STOMACH! I guess you could say that I just don't like Breaking Dawn and I like the series, but it just messed up my whole perception of the books. After I read Breaking Dawn, I started realizing how unhealthy their relationship was to begin with and such. Anyway, nice blog!

Shelly Quade said...

Hey, Wombat. Thanks for commenting! I have not read "Breaking Dawn," and from what I've heard from those who have, I don't think I want to. It is definitely an unhealthy relationship - and it's okay if you like the series, as long as you recognize such flaws, I feel. I just hate to think of teenage girls wishing that their male peers would start stalking them. I'm glad you liked the post. :)