But I digress.
For those of you who haven't read (or...sigh...seen) Twilight - and for those of you who claim to, but actually haven't - here is a little summary. Bella Swan is a teenage girl whose mother has remarried; her new stepfather is a minor league baseball player, so he is on the move a lot during the season. Her mother stays in Phoenix with her, but Bella knows she'd like to be traveling with Phil; so she decides to move, to live with her father in Forks, a small town in Washington. At first, she hates it - the constantly overcast sky, the seemingly constant precipitation, the way everything is too green. And then she sees him. Impossibly beautiful, irresistibly mysterious Edward Cullen.
He ends up being her lab partner in biology, and as with many stories of romance, he appears to really hate her at first, though he doesn't actually speak to her. Then, after not showing up to school for a while, he returns and is unerringly charming. Anyone with any experience in romantic fiction can see where this is going, even without reading further in the book - obviously, they are going to end up together. The twist here is that Edward and his family are vampires. They don't, however, swoop around at night, preying on the townspeople of Forks - as Edward explains it, they consider themselves "vegetarians" - they only feed on the blood of animals.
So, Bella starts spending pretty much all her time with Edward, ignoring him when he tells her how dangerous it is to be with him. Then, the first time she officially meets his family, a trio of nomadic vampires comes through the area; they recognize that she's a human, and after seeing the way Edward and his family move to defend her from attack, one of them makes it his singular ambition to kill her (he likes a challenge).
Obviously, since there are other books, you know she doesn't die. But I won't give away details; for one, if you've only seen the movie, you should know that the events in the book unfold very differently from the film, and there are quite a lot of things that were left out.
So you probably want to know whether or not I like Twilight. The answer would be yes. Very much so. I'm no obsessed fangirl, but I thoroughly enjoy the story - it's fun and easy. It also used to be something a little different. When I was reading this during breaks in class, someone asked me what I was reading. When I answered, unashamed, he said "Really? You just lost some cool points." To which I told him the same thing I tell other people who react the same way: Nobody reads nothing but great literature. Everyone has something they read just for fun, even if it's just a magazine; and much of what we consider to be great literature now was, at the time it was new, basically the Twilight of its day. When the novel was a new form of writing, it was considered petty and unimportant; novels were generally looked down upon, and were often marketed towards women, because why would a female need to bother with reading anything of substance? And now, those same works are considered classics, are often required reading, and are held in great esteem.
I'm not saying Twilight will one day be at that level. It is not that well-written. But that doesn't mean it deserves the hate it gets from people who have likely never even opened a copy, let alone read it.
But yes, I really enjoy the story and the characters Meyer has created. I haven't yet read the rest of the saga (though I've seen all the movies so far except Breaking Dawn), but I want to. I want to know more about the Cullens and the Hales. I want to know what their stories are. Bella and Edward's romance somewhat wearies me, though, so I hope the rest of the books have much more to share. I'm all for strong and passionate love - but Bella and Edward are too intense. They suffer from a severe case of insta-love, though we don't see it necessarily at first, because of the way he reacts to her the first time he's near her. She becomes obsessed with him, and he becomes possessive of her. If a friend of mine were in a relationship like that, I'd be seeing red flags and telling her to be careful. I know she's a teenager, so her behavior is perhaps not a surprise - first love and all that. But I don't think Edward, in his human life, would have ever even considered getting into a girl's bedroom without her knowledge, to watch her while she slept. And I wonder if she would have been okay with that same behavior if it were someone else, someone human, she was infatuated with. That whole thing is a bit more creepy than romantic to me, and I know it is one of the things about this book and the movie that many parents take issue with, regarding their daughters reading this book and watching the movie.
And let's just look at our leading lady: lots of bird symbolism going on here, especially with her name - Bella Swan. Not exactly subtle. She starts off as an ugly duckling, then leaves Phoenix (a classic symbol of new life and beginnings), to emerge in Forks as a beautiful swan that all the boys want to go to the school dance with.
Okay, I know after reading some of this, it might sound like I actually didn't really like Twilight. But I do. I joke a lot that "trashy romance novels are my guilty pleasure," but I don't really mean that I think they're trashy. They're fun, and sometimes I need to vicariously get a little romance in my life, because much like pre-Forks Bella, I am very much lacking in that department. You will never, however, catch me saying that I want "my own Edward." That's a little too into it for me, and anyway, it's Jasper who's my favorite Cullen male.
Series Info: What came before this book? What's next?
* Twilight (Book 1)
- New Moon (Book 2)