Saturday, June 21, 2014

Thoughts from Books: on Bashing, Twilight and New Moon

Now this is gonna be interesting.



Yes, I finally read it.

I've heard about extreme reviews on this series. On one end, people (mostly teenage girls, perhaps,) simply LOVE it-- they are crazy about every part of the series like Bella being crazy about Edward. (Perhaps loving Edward a bit more than Bella. ) You know, typical Twihards.

On the other end are the people who hate it -- they said that the Twilight Saga was the worst book series they've ever seen, take the story apart make fun of every single detail of the book..

It's like, either fangirling or bashing.

I've read the first book when I was about ten years old (that age of innocence!) I read it because, let's be honest, everyone was RAVING about it at that time; I wanted to know how amazing it is.
I read the first book, but I didn't continue to read the second. I felt quite uncomfortable and squirmish while reading it. Perhaps it's just that I wasn't ready for the concept of romance at that age. I stopped thinking about it and threw it to the back of my mind.

Through these years, I've gained and seen much more perspectives and opinions; those for Twilight are extremely interesting. I really want to join the conversation, but I don't think I have a say in anything before I finish the series. Also, I'm still freaking curious why it was so famous and popular.
Therefore, I picked up the series again and reread it.


Book 1
41865Title: Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Blurb: 
 About three things I was absolutely positive:
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him - and I didn't know how dominant that part might be - that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

When Bella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret.

What Bella doesn't realize is the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk. And it might be too late to turn back...


Book 2
49041Title:
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Blurb:
I knew we were both in mortal danger.
Still, in that instant I felt well. Whole. I could feel my heart racing in my chest, the blood pulsing hot and fast through my veins again. My lungs filled deep with the sweet scent that came off his skin.
It was like there had never been any hole in my chest. I was perfect - not healed, but as if there had never been a wound in the first place.

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning...




What I think about the books:

1. Bella's not that dumb. Well, at first.
I have to admit, she's pretty likable.
She helps her dad a lot! Although I can't see why her dad can survive with ham and eggs only, she's the savior. There are criticisms that said that it's sexist to let Bella do all the housework, but I think there are plenty of reasons for it. First, she has time. I mean, I do housework after school, too. I think it's not only the parents' responsibility to take care of the household. Second, Charlie (that's her dad) can't do anything. It would be better if she teaches him how to do all the chores though. Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish, and you have fed him for a lifetime. (Who says that now, Melody? You nerd.)
She's also a lot more observant than any of her friends. Her friends had been at school with the Cullens for a time longer than Bella and no one thought about how strange they are? Well, okay, so Bella comes to Forks, and she found out the truth about the Cullens right away. She might have gotten more clues and resources than her classmates, but at least she knows how to question the "norm" and to look for the answer, despite how unlikely it could be. Give her a big hand for this, eh?

2. Nice scenery description.
I've never been to Forks, Washington, but the description captured my imagination. Just look at that:
.....in the darkening forest......while the rain made it dim as the twilight under the canopy and pattered like footsteps across the matted earthen floor.
....extending white-blue from horizon to horizon, barely interrupted by the purple volcanic rock.
The dirt road wove in and out of the forest--sometimes there was nothing but trees, and then there would be suddenly be a breathtaking glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, reaching to the horizon, dark gray under the clouds. We were above the shore, o top of the cliffs that bordered the beach here and the view seemed to stretch...
 The fire crackled, settling lower toward the sand. Sparks blew up in a sudden puff of brilliant orange against the black sky.
Now let's see how it really looks like, shall we?

source

 
source


I found these photos from the Internet; again, I've never been there but the place appeals to me. What? I like cloudy and rainy places!


These are all quoted from New Moon. Which leads to the next point.

3. It gets better.
I enjoyed reading New Moon a lot more than reading Twilight. Partly because of the scenery, which gives me more to see than vampires and people. But I think the main reason has to do with the pace-- in Twilight, the first 200 pages? are pretty much all about Bella falling in love with Edward and Edward saying they couldn't get together because she's too delicious for him. The second book has more development. First Edward dumping Bella, and then Bella knowing more about Jacob and forming a great friendship, and then some Cullens coming back (which made me really relieved) and then the St. Marcus Day and the Volturi and....well, just so much more than Twilight!
Or maybe it's just because I had read Twilight already?
  
4. You want to know what happens next.
 I wasn't really into romance novels (I'm still not), so I really wondered what happened to me when I found myself sitting in the chair for an entire morning reading the book. It's engrossing and just....in John Green's words, you want to know when they...I'll just say it, do it! (By "do it", it's just "do it". It's all up to your imagination...as for mine, "it" means kissing. And admitting love to each other.... WHAT were you thinking?) There I said it.


And ........you know what follows. What I don't like about it:

1. Fixed models for "perfection" and "beauty"

I found Bella talking about Edward all. the. time. She always describes him as "perfect" and "beautiful" because of his appearance. I know she's just in love and I know the idiom "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" well. (Again, Melody? Again?) But really, being beautiful isn't just that. Super pale skin, golden eyes, sparkling under sunlight, being slender or slim, having lots of stone-hard muscles and pricey cars isn't the only one definition of beauty, let alone perfection. (I personally believe that there's no such thing as perfection.) It's not that this only appears in Twilight, but I think as a international best-seller, Meyer should tell Bella to get a grip or something since the success of Twilight because having the readership of millions of teenage girls who are still searching for their personal values and their perspectives on life, including body image means that perhaps somewhere in the world, someone would see Bella and as wells as Edward as, although unlikely, role models. And the descriptions may be a bit misleading.
Oh gosh, I didn't mean to be so harsh.

2. The problematic relationship.
Many people had addressed this issue, but I think it's important to re-emphasize them:

The age gap. Really, it's kind of pedophilic.

Edward is creepy. You know who watch me sleep? Only my stuffed animals are allowed. (They don't bite.) I can't even stand letting my parents watch me sleep, partly due to my unwillingness to display my various abnormal postures (believe me, you wouldn't want to see that), but mostly because I feel exposed and vulnerable when sleeping, and a pair of eyes staring at you just increase the uneasiness. Sorry, animal instincts. 


Bella can't live without Edward. Like, literally.
While I said that Bella is pretty likable in several ways, she's hopeless in relationships. I think the author is trying to show how much Bella loves Edward and how desperate she wants to be with him, but to me, it seems overdone. Sometimes I just really want to shout at Bella and tell her to get another life. A life where she can do much better.

3. The writing

Despite the nice scenery descriptions, those of the creatures aren't so pleasant.  
There are Bella's descriptions on how beautiful Edward is and the effect it had on her all over the book, she does it every time she sees him. If you ask me, it's redundant. (Confession: I skim-read.)

Loooooottttssss of   l o n g     c o n v e r s a t i o n s. (Confession: this I skim-read too.)
Just. I skim-read, okay? And I felt really guilty doing this. However, in no way did skim-reading affect my understanding of the story or the development. Yes, I had to go back a few times to make sure that I actually missed nothing, but turned out that I didn't need to. Again, much of the conversation is quite redundant.

Predator-prey relationship. I put this here instead of "the problematic relationship" is because it's way too unrealistic to me. Their love is so strong that Edward is willing to overcome his desire to swallow Bella every time he smells her and Bella is not afraid to be near to him and his blood-thirsty family. But WHO DOES THAT? If I knew my crush was actually a serial killer (or creatures of sorts) I wouldn't go near him even if he was melting hot. I can't imagine a lamb falling in love with a lion. I just can't.

All in all:
It's not my type of book. There are some parts that are good but not enough to balance out the parts I don't like. I always get all squirmish when reading mushy romance...but I will continue to read the rest of the series. It's just the hmm-I've-read-so-far-so-I'd-better-finish-it kind of series, and I kiiiiiinda want to know how it ends and what happens in between. (Not that I haven't heard spoilers. I want to focus on the in-between stuff.) So yeah, I'll manage to finish it eventually.

That said, these books must be famous for some reasons, and those who love them shouldn't be judged or even worse, bashed. As a lover of books, I encourage almost any kind of reading; to many people, this series is even their gateway book to the magical world of books and reading! How wonderful is that?

 Recently an article against YA has aroused quite a great amount of resentment; people are enraged because the writer of the article claimed that adults should be embarrassed about reading young adult novels, which they shouldn't in any way. And who is the writer to judge people by the books they read? 

Well great, seems we have reached an agreement, so from now on can we stop judging people because they read Twilight? I mean, we're fighting against those who are kind of bashing YA, so why are we bashing specific YA ourselves?

I'm no writer of any sorts (I know, I'm a bad blogger who hardly updates), but knowing some writers, at least I understand how much hard work it takes to write books, mushy vampire romance or not. The books are even qualified to be published, so they're quite good in some other aspects (which unfortunately unrelatable to me).

For me, the utmost intolerable bashing are those towards the author. Yes, Stephenie Meyer wrote about "perfect" sparkly vampires. So what?

This one is quite irrelevant, I just thought it was funny.
 
The romance is problematic,  yes, but those aren't everything about Meyer herself. I'm sure she has a life besides thinking about vampire romance. People, stop assuming because assuming makes an ass out of u and me.

Overall, just don't judge people by what they're reading, what they write or judge the book itself. You can have opinions on them, but don't bash because others are allowed to have their own opinions too.


Actually, I'm pretty terrified to write this post, because many people had ranted or swooned over this series, and many points in this post has already been presented numerous times. It sometimes seems to me that me writing this is not necessary since all of this has been written before and all I did was repeat repeat repeat repeat repeatrepeatrepeatrepeat (I'll stop). But HEY, I'm allowed to have MY opinions, too.
-peace out-

P.s. This is my first ever Thoughts from Books. Like I said before, not so much as a review, huh? What do you think about it? 
Any thoughts on Twilight? 

2 comments:

  1. I think you gave this an awesomely fair review! I'm SO sick of people bashing Twilight. :| I read it when I was like 19, so definitely not the target 13yrs age range...I didn't loathe it. But I didn't love it either. I just thought the writing and conversations were a bit tedious. But Bella as a person? I liked that she was clumsy! I found that relatable. I don't understand why anyone would bash on a book so hard...there are much worser written books than Twilight out there. They don't get bashed! I gave it 3-stars, I think, and I do plan to read at least one more to see what I think. Otherwise? It's just a romance. What's with all the hate?!
    Thanks for stopping by @ Notebook Sisters!

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    1. Aww, thanks for saying that!
      I think the main reason why people bash on Twilight but not on other books is that it's world-wide famous, just the book that everyone knows. It's sad that part of the reason it's famous is that it gets bashed so much, though. :/

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