Emma,18, loves reading and playing the piano. She's on her way to university to study English literature. One day she'd like to be a journalist and write for a newspaper like The Independent or The Observer. She wants to travel to as many different countries as possible, especially Bolivia, to practice her Spanish.
Jake or Edward? Who cares? Emma can't see the appeal of Stephanie Meyer's best-seller Twilight and would rather fight a vampire than ever re-read it.
The insanity of the Twilight phenomenon has been described as reminiscent of Harry Potter-mania, with numerous comparisons between JK Rowling and Stephenie Meyer. While I agree there might be similarities between the two series fanatical fans, when it comes to the actual books, there's no comparison. The Harry Potter novels are well written, gripping, exciting and funny, and contain believable, complex, loveable characters. Twilight has none of these essential components.
What I find most astonishing is that there are so many devoted fans of this below-par series, when there's so much fantastic literature out there going unappreciated. Even people I know who generally have a discerning taste in literature rave about Twilight. But there are so many fantastic novels aimed at teenagers - the Mortal Engines series by Philip Reeve for example - without madly devoted fans and films based on them. Admittedly, the Twilight films, poorly acted but starring ridiculously good looking young actors like Robert Pattinson, have helped to propel the books to giddy new heights of recognition. But even before the films, the Twilight saga had no shortage of zealous followers.
Part of the reason I consider the series unworthy are the characters. They are unrealistic, one dimensional and annoying. Bella is a miserable drama queen who epitomises teenage angst and insecurity. She's clearly supposed to be someone every adolescent girl can relate to, but personally, most people I know are far less intense and a lot more cheerful. There's a part in one of the books when Bella is thrown a party by her vampire friend Alice, and all she does is moan about how she hates attention and how awful it is. And for a seventeen year-old, her relationship with her boyfriend always seems very lacking in fun. Why is this ungrateful, gloomy character considered one of the great heroines in modern literature?
Frankly, I dont enjoy being force fed Meyer's outdated and silly views.
Edward Cullen is even worse. He's meant to be perfect, but is actually very boring. He orders Bella about, not letting her see her werewolf friend Jacob and protecting her from her own clumsiness. His over-protective nature is not something many girls would find attractive in real life. Also, his role as male protector shows Meyer is old-fashioned when it comes to gender roles, not to mention slightly sexist. Her idiotic values when it comes to marriage are also blatant as Bella waits to have sex until she is in a devoted teenage marriage. This is unrealistic and gives an unhealthy implication that marrying young is a good idea, and that marriage is hugely meaningful and significant. Frankly, I dont enjoy being force fed Meyer's outdated and silly views.
The writing itself is, as Elizabeth Hand of The Washington Post said: banal mediocrity. Very little actually happens over the course of the four books, plus there's usually a massive anti-climax at the end of each story. Each time, Meyer manages to avoid describing any actual action, blaming it on the fact that our human narrator is unable to make out the lightning speed movements of the vampires.
I think for a few intelligent people who can appreciate a bit of good prose, Twilight may be something of a guilty pleasure. For a teenage girl, the idea of falling in love with someone who is also deeply and passionately in love with you is appealing, and so I am not attacking anyone who is drawn to the books, or enjoyed reading them for this reason. There's nothing wrong with that, as long as you dont succumb to Twilight mania, claiming it's your favourite book ever and that you are In love with Edward Cullen. Hopefully, once the current hysteria has subsided, people will be able to see the Twilight series for what it really is: a shrewd idea, poorly executed, and milked for all its worth.
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