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Too Boring to Live

A few random thoughts on Twilight.

My first thought is - boy, thirteen year old girls are weird! And - there's no accounting for taste.

There has been much commentary lately about this whole series of books, most notably on cleolinda's blog, which saves me both from repeating all the riffs about how ... just ... bad they are, and also frees me from the need to read any more than the first book. I wouldn't have wanted to anyway, but now I have absolutely no desire to.

So I don't need to write about what a complete Mary Sue Bella Swan is, and how annoying Edward is, and how flat and unconvincing their relationship is, and how anti-feminist it all is and yadayada.

I found myself really annoyed by some quite howling errors, that either Meyer herself or her editor should have caught: first, Bella says that it takes an hour to fly from Seattle to Port Angeles. Um ... more like ten or fifteen minutes. You could almost _drive_ from Seattle to Port Angeles in an hour. One morning, Bella gets up to discover that there has been a heavy snowfall. She drives to school in her truck, surprised that she manages so well in the snow. When she gets out of the truck, she is surprised to find that her father has put chains on the truck - no wonder she drives so easily! Um ... chains make a lot of noise. Bella is a self-absorbed dope, but even she would probably notice the crunch and crash of them on her tires. Also, they make the feel of the vehicle very different. Doesn't it snow where the author lives?? Bella goes to the beach and sees a driftwood fire for the first time in her life (giving Meyer the chance to do some nice writerly description of the colours of the flame). Um ... didn't she more or less grow up here? Is it _likely_ that she would have spent her childhood and summer visits there and never before see a driftwood fire? Then, in the climactic escape from the stalker vampire, Alice apparently drives her from somewhere in the Pacific Northwest to Palm Springs overnight. Bella wakes up in Palm Springs with no recollection of how she got there (thus freeing Meyer from having to explain how she managed to compress maybe a 12 or 16 hour drive into - what - eight?)

All this, of course, is quite apart from the long, stultifying passages of banal conversation, the totally unconvincing "voice" of the narrator, the peculiar sense that Bella and Edward are valued and valuable simply because they are beautiful... (and you have no idea how annoying I find Bella's "cute" clumsiness).

It's sad. Of course, there have been wildly successful best sellers that were pieces of shit before - The Da Vinci Code anyone? And there really isn't any accounting for taste. But. Sigh. I wish they had been good. And there is so much that is good that doesn't get anywhere near the attention.



( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:12 am (UTC)
My grizzle with this whole Vampire craze is that it ignores the horrific origins of the legends (I mean, Vampires are really dead people - teenage necrophilia, anyone?) and has somehow made Vampires into innocent victims: nice guys (and very sexy, of course) who just happen to lack a heartbeat, Pur-leese!
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)
Well, and even that I think I could tolerate had it not been done so well before. What I find disconcerting in this book is the almost prurient curiosity Bella shows towards the vamp lifestyle - she wants to go and watch them _feed_ for heaven's sake! The writers in Buffy explored with so much more depth Buffy's dual attraction/revulsion for both Angel and Spike, and we are never really allowed to forget that Spike is a monster, no matter how attractive he is...
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
When my friends lent the books to me, my initial thought was, "Oh boy, another plotless vampire love-story which drags on for too many pages." Still, my friends seemed to love it so much, I thought I'd give it a go. I shouldn't have. Reading those books were hours of my life I will never get back. Turns out for once, I could've judged a book by it's cover... Or at least, it's back cover, as far as Twilight is concerned.

What adds to the annoying-factor of the books is the fans reactions. I see icons all over the internet saying things like, "I like my men cold, dead, and sparkly!" That's just gross AND stupid.

But, yes, I'll have to cut myself off. My dislike for these books is rather strong.
Aug. 7th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
I'd really like to know what it is that attracts people, and where the divide is, particularly in the target age group, between love and hate. My friend's daughter, who is exactly the right age and very bright, liked the books quite a lot, and her best friend, who is reportedly brilliant and sophisticated, absolutely adored them.

Do you think it's readers who have been exposed to Buffy and other fantasy novels that are much better that really hate the books? Because, for example, I think you're more likely to dislike Eragon if you know all the books it's derivative of. Or Harry Potter, for that matter, though to give JK Rowling credit I think the Potter books are superior to the Twilights.

Edited at 2008-08-07 03:33 pm (UTC)
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:13 pm (UTC)
I wish I could figure out what it is that makes people enjoy it. I think it probably does have something to do with exposure to other things. Also, if someone is prone to liking certain sorts of stories, like stuff with vampires, or romance stories, then they can sometimes find things to like while overlooking imperfections.

One reason I liked Harry Potter was because I was still really young when the first book came out, so I wasn't look for as much of an in depth plot, and once I got older, I already liked the books. That doesn't really apply to Twilight, though, because the books all came out in fairly rapid succession.
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
As the mother of the daughter, I can only speculate that it's that age group's (she's 13) complete ignorance and deep curiosity about relationships and sex that draws them in. I'm surprised that people are shocked at the books' popularity, though. After all, someone out there has made The Bachelor a hit and made the Olsen twins household names . . .
Aug. 7th, 2008 09:42 am (UTC)
I'm in a similar position -- a friend who LOVES them loaned them to me, so I feel obligated, because how can I say that they are Mary Sue in the worst way? Who would want a relationship like that?

Oh -- and that whole 'driving to Seattle via Olympia' thing? WTF?? No, that's what happens if you aren't paying attention and forget to get off at 16 and take the Narrows Bridge. And then it takes a couple of hours or more (having made this mistake once going from Federal Way). BUT -- if you're going to Seattle, why on earth would you drive further than Bremerton? Or Pt. Townsend if you wanted a slightly prettier, but longer drive?
Aug. 7th, 2008 03:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah - all those totally WRONG geographical details pissed me off! Why bother to create a relatively accurate setting and then get the details wrong. I mean, these days, all she'd have to do is throw out a question to the intahwebs!
Aug. 7th, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah...Bella even smells Special.
Aug. 7th, 2008 03:34 pm (UTC)
Aug. 7th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
Um, one more thing. Now I'm feeling a little self-conscious about having livced on the west coast for fifteen years without seeing a driftwood fire. Maybe I'll go start one this afternoon!
Aug. 7th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
Heh. Thinking about that, I realize that perhaps that IS a generational thing. When I was growing up, it was routine to build a fire on the beach and roast hot dogs for a picnic. And of course, I've been on backpacking trips on the West coast trail and such, where you had to gather wood for fire. Now everything is prohibited. But people with fireplaces still gather driftwood to burn in them, so for her, in a small US town, rural, it's unlikely that she would have NEVER seen driftwood burn...
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )


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