Twilight

Twilight By Stephanie Meyer [LibraryThingAmazon]

When Bella moves to the dreary small town of Forks, she doesn’t expect to meet the love of her life – and she certainly doesn’t expect him to be a vampire. But Edward is exactly that, and his love for Bella may not be stronger than his thirst for her blood. And even if it is, can Edward protect Bella from the bloodthirsty newcomer who’s set his sights on her?

Warning: Minor spoilers behind the cut.

In this interest of full disclosure, I should mention that I’ve never been a big fan of vampires. I liked Buffy because it was funny and had rockin’ female characters, but I never bothered with Anne Rice or Laurell K. Hamilton, and I don’t find capes and Transylvanian accents sexy. At best, vampires make me roll my eyes.

But even if I’d loved vampires with an unholy passion, Twilight would still be terrible.

There are a bunch of issues that would be major problems in any other book:

1. It’s boring. Hundreds of pages go by with, essentially, nothing happening except a lot of florid prose about how pretty Edward is. It was so boring that I honestly wouldn’t have finished it if I hadn’t been reviewing it for AV, and I always finish books.

2. Yeah, it’s florid. Ludicrously so. (Edward sparkles in the sun. No, really.) This isn’t helped by Meyer’s somewhat bizarre relationship with punctuation (here’s a hint: you don’t need a semicolon, a dash, and an ellipsis all in the same sentence!).

3. Bella, the ostensible heroine, is a terrible character. She’s utterly devoid of personality in order for the reader to be able to map herself into the starring role. For example, the boys back in her hometown of Phoenix don’t notice her (she’s so ordinary! just like you and me!), but counting Edward, she has five boys vying for her attention in Forks (omg so popular!). The sole exception to her utter lack of personality traits is her completely over-the-top clumsiness, which was apparently added to give her an adorable quirk but actually just makes me think she has severe inner ear problems. (When she breaks her leg, ribs, and skull in a vampire attack, they tell her mother she fell out a window, and this is a plausible excuse because Bella is just that much of a failure at walking without falling down.) She’s also unbelievably passive; she spends the climax of the book barely conscious, unable to move or even see, listening to everyone else save the day.

All of these would be hugely problematic anywhere else, but Twilight has another issue that so overshadows those already mentioned that it renders them almost negligible: It reads like a do-it-yourself guide to abusive relationships.

I’m serious. Edward is moody, violent, prone to anger, jealous, and justifies any poor behavior towards Bella with excuses like “It’s just because I love you” and “It’s what’s best for you.” He works to sever all of her other social connections, leaving her entirely reliant on him – and in fact, she’s disturbingly codependent, with lines like “It would be physically painful to be separated from him.” She lives in terror of triggering one of his bad moods or making him want to leave. She describes his hands on her wrists as “manacles.” He stalks her and watches her while she sleeps and she feels flattered. He’s also insanely controlling; if he wants her to do something, she does it, and if she doesn’t hop to it, he picks her up or drags her where he wants her to be. I’m speaking very literally here – he both drags her around and pins or straps her down multiple times in this book.

Of course, since he’s a vampire, this is all compounded. He’s so much faster and stronger than she is that she is always at his mercy – she lives at his sufferance. (And he utterly delights in reminding her of this fact, which is disgusting.) Plus, since a vampire feeding is inextricably linked in the public consciousness to sex – seduction and rape simultaneously – there are some extra-disturbing undercurrents to all of this. See, Edward and his family have sworn off drinking human blood, but Bella is so extraordinarily tempting to him that he has to fight every second that he’s around her not to kill her. Uh, romantic. Plus, they can never have a sexual relationship, because as he tells her, if he ever loses control, “I could reach out, meaning to touch your face, and crush your skull by mistake.” That is some charming pillow talk there, Ed. First of all, this means that Bella can never make any romantic or sexual overtures towards Edward for fear of disrupting his control; when they kiss, she has to essentially lie back and think of England (or Forks). But more importantly, I’m sorry, but I don’t find a guy having to concentrate fiercely every minute to keep from violating or destroying me romantic. I find it creepy and terrifying.

Now, all of this would have been mitigated if even one person in the book had expressed any concern about the relationship based on something other than the fact that she’s food to him. But no. A few people, Edward included, tell Bella that he’s dangerous to be around because, duh, vampire, but no one – not Bella’s parents, not her friends, no one – says that it’s a bad relationship because he’s an abusive, moody, controlling stalker with rage issues. Bella herself never twigs that the relationship is mind-bogglingly unhealthy, but Bella can barely stand upright, so you can’t expect much from her.

So you’ve got this friendly User’s Guide to Setting Up Your Home Abusive Relationship – and it’s being stuffed into the hands of every teenage girl in the country, if not the world, and touted as romantic. That’s incredibly irresponsible and reprehensible. It’s not a writer’s job to raise the youth of America, but it damn well isn’t her job to tell them behavior like Edward’s is love, either.

Without this last horrendous aspect, Twilight would probably get one cupcake – maybe one and a half, if I were feeling generous. As it is, Twilight gets zero cupcakes. It’s infuriating, disturbing, and just plain bad, and I’d cut out my own tongue before recommending it to anyone, especially the girls it’s marketed to.

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    172 Responses to “Twilight”

    1. Nobara says:

      I agree with Jenna in that I think of Twilight as fluff. Not necessarily the best work ever written (heck, I can think of a few authors whose prose blow Twilight out of the water!), but as far as a piece to read when I feel like reading about an improbable love story, it’s great. It was only after the Twilight boom that I actually began to examine the work for the things mentioned in this review. Before the Twilight boom, I was in middle school so my maturity level has definitely increased since then. My reticence to read as the books were criticized (fairly or unfairly) increased, and I have to say that it’s harder to read my copy of Twilight now since I notice all the flaws. The thing is, when I was a middle schooler, I didn’t notice any of the issues with Edward’s behavior, and that worries me. A lot of teenagers think that they have life all figured out, and if they’re reading this book they might absorb the ideas in the way that people are describing here. Even looking at some of the fans, it seems that they do have the mindset I just described. (Disclaimer: I am still a teenager, albeit being a legal adult, but I am aware of the fact that I don’t have everything together in my life and I have a lot to learn as I continue to mature. I am not trying to be rude in saying that teenagers tend towards thinking that they know more than they do but I have experienced this firsthand and notice it in others.)
      Also, I did read Meyer’s unfinished manuscript of Midnight Sun which is now available through her website, and I found that besides being much more interesting to me than Twilight, the insight into Edward’s character provided was rather interesting. Meyer never really gives an explanation as to why it is that he “loves” (the use of that word is debatable here) Bella, even in this manuscript. Basically (spoiler!) she writes that he just knew he was going to fall in love with her without any concrete reasons as to why that is. I don’t think the way she smells is a valid reason to say that he loves her. As such, I really do see that the relationship seems like it is not founded on much more than physical attraction.
      It really does seem like we should be watching what we read and how it is affecting our actions. This definitely extends to parents–I feel that the responsibility to be involved in their children’s lives is on their shoulders. Kudos to Jason for caring about his daughter enough to do this. Thanks to Jessica for writing the review.

    2. JohnR says:

      I’m curious…I’ve read many opinions on Twilight, both the novel and the movie. There are two sides: those who like it and those who don’t. As a school teacher, I encourage reading. Period. I also encourage dissemination of the literature on different levels.
      However, my question is this:
      Why is there a consistent comparison to the Harry Potter series when people defend their opinion? Harry Potter is quite different and aimed at a different audience. For example, Jeannie says that: “Didn’t you know that this is bigger than Harry Potter?”
      This is quite premature. Longevity of any story will attest to “how big” anything gets. Twilight has got big very fast – how long will it last along with the sequels?
      I have read none of the books in either series. Purely out of choice; they’re not my preferred genre`. But I don’t begrudge anyone reading them. See? I play nice :))

    3. Kate says:

      Thank you thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou

    4. Andrew says:

      This is a great review, I’m glad I found it. However, even this does not go into the worst part of the book (for me, at least): the grammar. She abuses every part of the english language like a stereotypical 7th grader with a dictionary. It makes me worry for humanity that this book is so popular, and I really think that its presence in the home of almost every teenage girl is disturbing. The content – and the setup of the content – are terrible. I hope that the readers find some /real/ literature while they grow. Harry Potter is better than this (even the last book), and if you want to go way above that, read something classic. Anything by Tolkien is a grand example of the English language.
      Thank you for braving the fury that is the Twilight Fangirls. Your sacrifice will not go unnoted 🙂

    5. Mary says:

      I haven’t read the book myself, mostly because I’ve been reading all my life. I grew up on Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and Tolkien, and as such have developed what I consider to be good taste in literature.

      That being said, I have read a lot of reviews and none of them have been good. Most of them have something (usually quite a lot) to say about the relationship between Bella and Edward.

      I have been there. I had a relationship with a man who was controlling, and by the time I managed to get out of it, I had virtually no willpower, survival instinct, or personality. I was terrified of the thought of being without him, and I couldn’t bring myself to see any of his flaws until almost a year after I had been away from him.

      Twilight defenders, there are some disturbing correlations between my experience and Bella’s “true love”. I wasn’t hit, I wasn’t raped, but bit by bit he took away what made me ME. From what I hear, Bella hasn’t got that much to start with, which may be why she fell into it so easily.

      This is not a healthy message to send to impressionable young girls. End of story.

    6. maryhappyface says:

      hah. this was a great review.
      while i liked the books as i read them and would reread them, i know there are serious flaws including the ones mentioned here.
      actually, while i’ve considered edward’s treatment of bella creepy, the fact that it is really abuse didn’t even pop into my head until i read this. this doesn’t set a good example for all the young girls who are reading this then go and are all like, “omgeeeee i want an edward!!!!1!” because who they want apparently? a stalker who emotionally abuses them.
      wow.

    7. Kathryn says:

      Oh my gosh. Even though I love Twilight (for some unknown reason) I completely agree with your review. Bella is completely useless and sometimes ridiculously annoying (especially in the fourth book), and Edward is utterly controlling and tries to put it off as just being overprotective. There really is something wrong with Bella if she thinks that Edward stalking her and watching her sleep is not creepy. And the movie ruins the book even more with it’s terrible screenplay adaptation and disastrous acting. I sincerely hope that other readers understand how unacceptable that relationship is and don’t actively pursue that kind of relationship.

    8. Kate says:

      Anyone who says that Twilight is not a series depicting an abusive relationship needs to go back and read again.

      I have read the entire series, and while I enjoyed the first in a “fluff” context– meaning that it was the same to me as picking up a romance novel with a cheesy cover and reading it to pass the time– I completely agree with your review, Jessica.

      Not only would I like people to truly evaluate and understand your textual examples as examples of an abusive relationship, but to also take stock of instances in the other three parts of the series. One of the most disturbing aspects of these books, in my opinion, are the religious undertones put in place by Meyer–who, it is rumored, passed every manuscript to the head of her church for approval before it went to print.

      I am speaking mostly of the poor treatment of Bella’s sexuality in all four books– as a 16/17/18 year old girl, Bella is teased, mocked, and even reprimanded for her burgeoning sexual curiosity. As the series progresses, Edward begins to dictate when and where (both in physical location and where on his body) she may touch him, as well as for how long. And yet, in many cases, he is the one egging her on– hitching her leg over his in one Eclipse scene while he lays on top of her on his bed, etc. And when she breaks the boundaries which he sets but refuses to discuss with her, she is penalized by his disapproval or by his disappearance from her presence.

      I beg readers to recognize that this is emotional– and yes, to an extent, sexual– abuse. When Bella makes her final desperate attempt at a bargain to exchange her virginity in return for marrying Edward (a ceremony she does not actually wish to partake of– and at age 18, who can blame her!?)– her virginity is placed at the same value as her life. In my mind, this is utterly reprehensible, and the ultimate reason that I cannot join the masses worshiping at Stephenie Meyer’s holy feet.

    9. Corinne says:

      Thanks for posting this, its great and i find myself agreeing with my majority of the things you say. I am however a big fan of the books, (and no I’m not 12 lol) They way you describe the characters of Bella and Edward are spot on, and they’re not really character you should aspire to be like, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying the book.
      I understand the issue of obsessed teenage girls modeling their lives around these two characters, people have to remember that it’s fiction, fantasy fiction for that matter, and people shouldn’t take this book so seriously. If you enjoy it, then great! If you don’t there are so many other books out there to enjoy, and they should focus their energy and time on things they actually like.
      Again, thanks for you’re review, very insightful 🙂

      Have a great day!

    10. Jessica says:

      Quick note: If you want to discuss the content of the books, fine, and if you want to contemplate the influence of Meyer’s religion on the books, that’s fine too, but this blog is not a place to mock or cast sweeping judgments on Mormons – or any group, for that matter.

    11. Marjorie Burns says:

      I’m not sure why I feel so compelled to chime in here so long after the fact, but I appreciate the critical eye you’ve adopted in this review. I can honestly say I “enjoy” the Twilight series, but that’s mostly because I love how truly sick and twisted it is that something like this can wind up not only published, but a worldwide phenomenon. The first book, despite the pervasive abusive creepiness and poor writing, had a sort of drug-like charm, and was compelling to read for me. The other three? A not-so-slow descent into the truly horrid pit of schlock in which the series ended.

      I do hope, as some younger commenters have expressed themselves, that young girls are not idealizing this type of relationship as much as we fear they are.

      That said, we all have our embarrassing pasts, and I confess myself an avid reader of the Vampire Chronicles in 9th grade, which seemed to me about the sexiest thing I had ever read. So yeah, I can’t judge too harshly here.

    12. Sarah says:

      Alright, while I understand some people’s adoration of this series, all I can really say is that it strongly reminded me of my stalker.
      He was controlling and abusive in the same ways Edward is portrayed to be, same explosive temper…the list continues. I had a very long, complicated relationship with this guy, ultimately resulting in legal threats. This is not the kind of relationship young women should be idealizing. My relationship with this guy was one of the most painful, frightening experiences of my life. No one should have to experience the same, or seek out the same.

    13. Mae says:

      What disturbs me most is that most of these fans commenting about how horrible you are for saying these mean things about the book are also the ones saying how much they want a man like Edward and probably have screen names like MrsCullen.

      It IS disturbing, having been in several abusive relationships myself… and it doesnt matter if he SAYS he loves you, because they ALL say they love you… even after hiding the car keys or kicking you in the stomach… they can say they love you after anything but, if he does this stuff HE DOES NOT LOVE YOU.

      If he loved you, he would not hurt you or control you in any way.

    14. Sophie says:

      I’m afraid to say I’ve read all of the books in this series as I got them for Christmas. They get worse and worse. In the second one she tries to kill herself as Edward leaves, and HE tries to kill himself because he’s just so dangerous for her.
      It’s hard to describe how bad these books are, but you’ve done a pretty good job 🙂
      (And have you seen the film?? I was literally too embarassed to watch most of it)

    15. SA says:

      Both sides of the abusive relationship situation have been argued quite thoroughly, so I won’t even get into that. What I’ve noticed in books that bothers me (even though I am a big fan, have read them all multiple times, and listen to them on audiobook at work) is the all-consuming nature of Bella and Edward’s love. They both have said that, were the other to die, they would kill themselves. Quite frankly, I don’t think that’s a realistic message to spread, that “true love” means not living without the other person. However, I don’t think this is a reason to dismiss the books. To me, at least, it’s still a good love story.

    16. fiona says:

      Wow, just wow, fabulous review, I nearly clicked the stumble button again when I saw the picture from the book but thought to chance a few lines and was delighted not to find fangirlish squealing. The comments are even better, such spirited discussion, and the sudden change from praise in the first few comments to a more defensive tone in the next few.

      One thing must be said, I found it rather hypocritical that some people said not to read the books if you don’t like them, but one could say the same for this review could they not?

      I had to say “oh my” at Rosa’s comment, to imply that people who disagreed had never experienced love was quite harsh and a wee bit presumptuous if not a lot. That is the only thing I actually found to be offensive in all the arguments here.
      Asides from that I think everyone who expressed their opinion made a number of valid points and it has been interesting to say the least.

      However, a word of advice to some individuals, when making a point I’d urge you to use proper English as you were taught, no text speak please. I find myself disregarding some comments merely because they use “u” in place of “you” or use “your” in place of “you’re”. It just helps for people reading your comments.

    17. Rose says:

      Ok, for starters, I have read ALL the books. I didnt exactly HATE them at first, but the more I think about it, the more it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. You actually made some excellent points. A few comments above said something about “respecting literature”. Let me make something clear. I have been an avid reader since I was six. I can literally count on my fingers the number of times I have truly despised a book. But I really cant stand the Twightlight series. As for respecting literature, these books dont count. They read more as some awful fan-fics never meant to be published. While I can try to respect those who enjoy the books, I will personally be sticking to real and better writing.

    18. sav says:

      spot on!

      the only touchy issue is the popularity at a new small school. in a tiny school in a tiny town the scenario is quite possible and even probable.
      but yes, marketing unrealistic and unhealthy relationships is abhorrent.

    19. Shane says:

      I just thought they were good monster books.

    20. Aikaterine says:

      This is in response to the (much) earlier comment about Gone with the Wind. In the movie, it seems like rape, but in the book, it’s obvious that she likes it. Seriously.

    21. Nicole says:

      Let me start by saying that I’m 17. I read the WHOLE series. I am not a fan. I agree completly with your review. This is not something young girls should be reading. It’s telling them, in a time when they are just figuring out who they are, that it is ok to be controled. It is not ok!
      I was never a big fan of the books. All of my friends were reading them and saying how amazing they were so I thought I would give it a try. At first it was just the way it was written but then someone mentioned that Edward could be seen as an abusive boyfriend so I thought about it and I couldn’t have agreed more. Bella does what he says, his way or not at all. She can only see the people he says she can see, which is pretty much his family, and can only go where he says.

    22. Dawn says:

      Love it! I thought I was the only person in the world who saw this stuff. I even ventured so far as to read New Moon, hoping, “it’s can’t get any worse, right?” Wrong, wrong, wrong! Awful series.

    23. L.N. says:

      Thanks for making this review. I’ve seen a lot of people review and complain about the inconsistencies in the book, that it’s boring, terribly written and lacks true vampire quality. What I’ve wanted to see was exactly what you said. These books show an abusive relationship (and encourage it as “romance”?). I haven’t read them. Reviews alone have painted a clear picture and it’s appalling.

      It’s horrific to me how popular Twilight was/is. When I see young girls and teens reading it I worry about their sense of relationship. When I see anyone reading it I have to wonder what kind of entertainment or value they get out of it.

      I think it’s sick. People know I hate Twilight. I have trouble containing my disgust whenever I see it.

    24. Dracula says:

      Real vampires drink human blood and can’t go out in the sun. Twilight sucks.

    25. Sue says:

      I’m glad that my daughter is only 6; hopefully this whole Twilight fad will be over by then!

    26. Jaz says:

      I work at a bookstore, and the twilight fandom has been something of an unbearable journey. I never liked the series, even before all the hype got out of control. Every week now I feel like we have yet another Twilight-inspired piece of memorabilia hanging off our display.

      We actually had a midnight opening for the last book in the series like we did for Harry Potter. It was “prom” themed and we had our cafe make “Edward” vs. “Jacob” drinks. I was so glad I wasn’t working.

      Anyway I love that you pointed out all the inconsistencies n how creepy the book actually is. <3

    27. Amanda says:

      The really aggravating thing about Meyer’s is not so much Bella and Edward (though it is very disturbing). It’s that Meyer’s had never written anything before in her life. As an aspirant trying to become published, let me give you a little insight into the world of publishing. Most everyone else has to make a name for themselves through short stories and novellas before a major publishing company or top agent will even consider them. This process can take years. A dear friend of mine has been trying for 15 years and is only now on the brink of making it big. There are a few exceptions. Meyer’s, of course, is one. J.K. Rowling is another, though it still took Rowling upwards of 10 years before she hit the big time. She worked hard at it. I find Meyers’ approach reprehensible and rude, and certainly demeaning to the serious authors out there. I have read the books, all of them, and I have seen the movie. I find the books overly didactic and florid and the movie is just embarassing.

    28. Wren says:

      This review is just… great. Thanks for saying everything I have been thinking. I read every book in the damn series because people kept saying, “you don’t understand, you haven’t even read all the books!”
      Not only is her writing terrible, but her message is everything you say it is. Now we have a generation of girls looking for their own Edward. Their own controlling, emotionally abusive Edward. If you aren’t sacrificing your safety, it isn’t love. If you aren’t constantly struggling to keep him even if he is bad for you (to the point of physical harm), it isn’t love. My Mom read the books and recommended them to me for their pure awfulness. Once night we rented the movie to see how they interpreted the book. My husband was in the room for the scene in which Edward asks her to distract him so he doesn’t go back and kill her would be attackers. His comment was, ” Wow, a teenage guy with rage problems, just what every woman wants!”
      Incidentally, I have seen comparisons to Harry Potter here. The fact is, J.K. Rowling isn’t perfect, but she can write. She is also capable of creating characters that do more than fall on their asses or give “low chuckles,” which Edward does twice a page. I have a new appreciation for her after reading Meyers. I’ve never been a rabid Harry Potter fan, but I know what I would want my kids, of any age, reading.

    29. Mary Alice says:

      Uhh… hi, my name is Mary Alice, and i’m new to this active vioce… i have an accout on Sisters Grimm.

      Do you guys know if they’re gonna make breaking dawn into a movie?

    30. Mackenzie says:

      So, I don’t know if anyone has already mentioned this, but I wanted to put my 2 cents in. I totally agree with the abusive nature of Edward. But here’s what I wanted to point out: The worst part of it, is that Edward has been alive for HOW long? And he’s still an abusive imbecile? I don’t know, I don’t like books with characters that don’t grow and develop throughout the course of the story, and neither one ever seems to get outside of their own heads.

    31. LimeRoos says:

      Honestly, the books are like harlequin romance novels, you don’t take them seriously. They’re fluff and entertaining short reads, great airplane books. The scary part is that teenagers are now expecting guys to be like Edward. It’s not a good relationship and teenage guys now have to deal with girls asking them to ‘be more like Edward. Sparkle dammit.’ And the main problem is the lack of character development in the main characters. Bella doesn’t change at all and neither does Edward really. It’s actually the supporting characters that are developed the most. I’ve read the first three books and actually like Jacob because he grows as a character, even if he can be a stupid teenager.

    32. robb says:

      this is so true.
      twilight and its series are major disgrace to human history.

    33. Nita says:

      I have been sent this link by my 20 year old son , who has constantly tried to pursuade me to stop his 12 year old little sister from reading the Twilight series of books. But although I agree with alot of the comments from a female point of view, I was also impressed by my childs determination to buy the books with her own pocket money and has read and re-read these books at least 5 times. I talked through these comments made on this site with her and she suprised me with her maturity by agreeing with some of them. But she says she is not going to go out and live the life Bella has (well why should she, she can read about it any time she likes and then switch the violence/lack of strength off at her own choice of time). I believe that we are not giving young teenagers the credit that they so blatently deserve and that the critics are only out to blacken the reputation of Stephanie Meyer. She has caught the imagination of the youth.They have put down their DS games and are off the computer social network sites and are reading. What is so wrong with Society , reading is knowledge and as a feminist myself, all information that informs us of the life that could be, if we let it is a good thing in my opinion.
      Hey ho! I am just a mum letting my child do what comes natural to some , get a taste of a life that is bad with out getting hurt in the process and growing in confidence as a varied reader of all books regardless of content.
      Thank god people did not listen to all of the critics of George Orwell of Animal Farm and 1984 would not have made it onto our shelves.(And no I am not comparing Stephane to George just the fantasy element of the Literature .

    34. Sierra says:

      I read twilight and the rest of the books and at first quite enjoyed them. Though once I finished them, my brother asked me why I liked them so much and I couldn’t come up with an answer. Compelling characters, no, most characters have maybe three defining traits at best.
      Bella – clumsiness
      Edward – aggressive, loving ( if possible ) and handsome
      Then I thought maybe it was a page turning plot…. No, the plot magically appeared in the last three chapters of Twilight, and was kinda boring. Though thankfully the plot improved as the series continued the best you could say about it is that it was mediocre
      Maybe it was the romance. I remember thinking that must be it, until I realized he watched her in her sleep before they dated, he wouldn’t let her interact with her BEST FRIEND, and broke into her house. How is any of that romantic? If anything it’s creepy. I am a fifteen year old, and am almost ashamed to say I ever enjoyed them. Thank you for once a review that is spot on.

      Oh and does anyone else find it disturbing that Edward is 100 years older than Bella. I don’t care if his body is 17, he should have a maturity of at least some one in their 40’s. He’s 117 for goodness sakes.

    35. LadySilence says:

      I’m an English teacher, in my 20s, and I’ve taught literature to grades 5-adult. I have read the entire Twilight series.

      While I agree that this could be a textbook example of an abusive relationship, I’m not so sure that young readers will pick up on the abusive factors of the relationship as something to be desired. I know many young girls who want a guy who will give up something important to him, sacrifice his wants for her benefit, and keep her best interests at heart at all times. These are the girls who grew up immersed in Disney princesses. While I normally despise the “princess” mentality (spoiled brat, anyone?), here it serves them well: the same girls who want all that self-sacrifice from their boyfriends are likely to have a “you can’t tell me what to do” attitude that they got from their childhood raised as princesses.
      What I see most tweens picking up from this book is “oh how romantic, he’ll do anything for her!”. Which, to be fair, IS a good thing to have in a healthy relationship: a spirit of self-sacrifice. The fact that Edward is NOT quite as self-sacrificing as he seems to be on the surface is not something that younger readers (specifically these “princesses”) are likely to pick up on. It’s like the Shrek movies which are full of adult content that younger kids completely miss. In this case, many tweens will completely miss the dangerous themes Jessica is pointing out.

      When I read the books, my opinion of the characters was that Bella’s insipid, and Edward is a jerk. However, it is rather common that strong personalities and weak personalities tend to attract each other. That part, while annoying, didn’t strike me as too unrealistic. There are several scenes throughout the series where Bella begins to show more backbone, at which points I (and many other Twilight readers I have spoken to) cheered her on gladly. As the series continues, Bella’s backbone begins to show more and more, especially in the last book once they’re on a somewhat more equal footing physically.

      This series is a classic example of the passive damsel-in-distress and her knight in shining armor (skin?) – she is frequently too foolish to keep herself out of harm’s way, and he has to drag her to safety: again, and again, and again. Sure, he should have found better ways to “protect” her most of the time, but he generally managed to save her without her incurring more damage. If anything, I find Edward’s character to be inconsistent: at times, he is the centuries-old vampire who knows better and is trying to protect her, and at other times he’s a hormonal 17-year-old… which would be fine except that Meyer makes it clear that vampires aren’t supposed to have those sorts of hormonal issues.

      The main reason that many people are so in love with the Bella/Edward dynamic is that she IS passive. People, at heart, are lazy. That’s why so many brilliant things have been invented, all as a means of lessening work. For the young tween girls, the B/E dynamic is ideal because as Bella, they don’t have to work at the relationship. They just have to sit back and be adored. Yes, this is a blow to feminism, yes, it puts them at risk for situations that they dont’ recognize it’s dangerous to just sit back, but especially in this culture of instant gratification and self-centeredness, this is what many people – and not just tweens – want. This goes for the boys too… while I’m not one myself and never have been, I have it on reliable authority that many guys fantasize about a beautiful girl who’ll let them do anything they want, and who relies on them completely. This fulfills two needs: the need to feel “manly”, and the need to be needed.

      I’d say that MOST teens and tweens are intelligent enough to be able to sigh over the actually romantic aspects of their relationship, and brush off the creepy stuff as wierd, and possibly only there because he’s a vampire. In fact, many of the comments I’ve seen in support of this book do just that. All of the creepy stuff in their relationship has to be there because he’s a vampire, and therefore most readers aren’t going to be looking for those aspects in their “ideal Edward”.

      Overall, I enjoyed the books. They’re fluff, they aren’t very well copywritten (yes, I noticed and cringed at the atrocious grammar and punctuation), and they don’t require a whole lot of thought. IN short, they’re popular because they’re easy and say nothing of use to anyone. 🙂

      Apologies for the somewhat rambling comment, I had several thoughts I wanted to include and I’m not sure I’ve got them all in.

    36. Oh man says:

      Think these comments are nauseating? Try having to live in the Forks area. I grew up around there, in the predominately Mormon town of Sequim, which Meyer inexplicably did not choose for the setting. Let me tell you. The Twilight tours out there are getting nauseating. The droves of stupid girls in skinny jeans, walking up and down the sidewalks of Port Angeles with their parents and hitting Bella Italia “because its where Bella and Edward had their first date”. I get a sense of glee in knowing what awaits them in Forks–that place is a dank redneck hole, and I grew up resenting the enormous amount of crime to pour out of there. I also resent Meyer for just plopping her story in this setting while knowing nothing of it. She’s an outsider, and knows nothing of the cultural difficulties of living there. I can’t stand what she’s done to my home…filled it with twinkly eyed teenaged girls with feathered hipster hair and ballet flats, clutching their commemorative Twilight landmark maps. Ugh.

    37. Jessica says:

      Nita: I have never and will never suggest censoring Twilight or any other book. Censorship is completely reprehensible to me. I merely said that I would not recommend the book to anyone.

    38. lexx says:

      i really hate this seris,and i have read all the books. its all about publisizing it. before the whole “twilight saga” movies,NOBODY read the books.i read the books before the movie came out,and i thought they were okay.now i realize that it was a terribile book(s).

    39. Sara says:

      it’s funny, i never thought of these points seriously until you pointed them out and you’re completely right. that said, i do still sometimes find myself in the mood to read a stupidly romantic and crappily written book, so i reach for twilight. the reason i used to love it so much is that edward reminded me of my boyfriend at the time [now ex] who, funnily enough, controlled me, cut me off from all of my friends, manipulated my emotions and whose family loved me. sound eeriely like the book suddenly? yeah, i think so too. so unhealthy.

      and as for all you people who say, ‘how could you do this to a book? it’s disrespectful, mean, blah blah, you should appreciate literature, blah blah blah.’ it’s called a BOOK CRITIQUE. there are authors… and then there are people who critique their work. people would never get better if they weren’t told what they were doing wrong, regardless of whether it’s someone’s opinion or not. you’d have crap books out there. and while this is not a crap book, it’s a… junk read. and DOES NOT, in ANY aspect, qualify as literature. if you think twilight is literature, you need to read actual books, like pride & prejudice, the bell jar and other such books. god. get an education.

    40. Chelsea says:

      I’ve noticed that the only defense anyone has been able to come up with is, just don’t read them if you don’t like them. That’s like saying, well if you don’t like terrorists, just ignore them! I have read all 4 books, and I read them when I was in a VERY controlling relationship, and loved them. Shortly after that relationship ended, I realized what a load of bull the books were dishing out to young readers, like myself. If you ask me, Bella’s character is as flat as a pancake, with a total of 3 emotions shown throughout the series, all of which are created by Edward, or Jacob. I hate to think that this is really the love life teenage girls want.

    41. Travis says:

      So, ya’ll are gods. You kick ass and keep kicking it till the ass is no more. I showed this article to my ex-girlfriend (because of this article) and she flipped the fuck out.

      I told her to look up cult.

      Probably didn’t help me any. Whatever though. Twilight sucks. And ya’ll, are gods. -nods-

    42. me says:

      omg, I LOVE your review! Your your review gets five cupcakes, lol.
      Everything you said in it was completely true. Know what? I think I’ll show this review to my twilight OBSESSED friends. Maybe that will make them realize the book sucks, and shut up about it!
      You just made my day! 😀

    43. Steph says:

      I’ve always refused to read this book because it is stupid and about vampires (not my thing). Now I EXTRA refuse to read it. It not only sucks, it’s dangerous for young girls. Cause what every young girl needs is MORE negative influences around her, obviously. Shit.

    44. ash says:

      I totally agree with chelsea, I loved the romance in the books a TON, but Bella has no character and is flat, and Edward has way too much character, and it is not a healthy relationship at all whatsoever. I’m not sure why this book is THAT popular, as big as Harry Potter, unless it is a sign of how unintelligent society is becoming… to not be able to see through the romance and realize it is a horrible story. (I have read an unbelievable amount of books, so i somewhat know what i am talking about).

    45. IWriteBadFanfics says:

      Okay, I must admit, guys: I write SMeyers-level crap every day: pointless romances loaded with Mary Sues and fantasy elements thrown in just for funsies. My friends do it, too. But we do it for our own entertainment, escapism, and maybe a little stress relief. We would never, EVER publish it, mostly because we realize our grammar, word-choice, and any and all other literary elements are horrid. It would be embarrassing to put my name on that stuff.

      I tried reading Twilight on multiple occasions. Every time I wrinkled my nose and put it back down. My mom read the whole thing, and her review was simple: “emo fluff.” Really, what’s so great about it that has so many people rising up to defend it? I’d honestly like to know: what was it about the Twilight “saga” that made teenage girls threaten violence upon those who really weren’t that into it?

      I watched the movie and thought it was so bad I laughed–no, howled! I busted a gut, guffawed heartily, snorted and giggled, and, best of all, literally fell off the couch. (In my defense, the couch episode was during the sparkle scene.) The characters were hideously underdeveloped, and while a few one-liners seemed rather witty, the dialogue was weak and unrealistic, and there was no plot… at least not one worthwhile.

      I have to agree about the abuse thing, though: I know people who think that kind of thing is romantic, and I fear for them. The last thing I want is for my friends to get hurt and think that it’s good for them.

      I can’t criticize SMeyers’ writing because I’m guilty of the same errors. However, I write for fun, not profit. If I wanted to get published, I would really hunker down and work my big fat butt off. It doesn’t seem fair that something so low-end can become so popular, while those that do work hard and really produce something that the world deserves to see don’t get any recognition whatsoever. Alas, such is life!

      But, yeah, those undertones SMeyers has in there… What would Freud say?

    46. Elizabeth says:

      Jessica, thank you so much for this review and your respectful treatment of the commentators. You totally rock girl!!

    47. Brittany says:

      Ok. I’ve read all four of the Twilight books and I could not agree more with this post. Everyone commenting and saying how terrible and disrespectful this is to the books clearly didn’t see what a horrible message this sends to young girls. It’s great that you’re 22 and can see where the relationship between Edward and Bella might be a little controlling but that it can be overlooked. 12-16 year old girls won’t be able to see past it so easily. This message can be seriously damaging to what they consider a safe, healthy relationship. I’m not saying this because girls that age are stupid, I’m saying it because they are impressionable, especially about things like this. Boys are a new thing, and it scares me that this is the message they are getting about boys. This is not a wonderful romance story, it’s a scary love triangle featuring to PHYSICALLY overpowering boys and a weak young girl-physically and emotionally. She is convinced she can’t live without Edward. Keep in mind this is a HIGH SCHOOL relationship. Not only is this condoning abusive relationships, but also marriage and a child straight out of high school. Good job Stephanie Meyer.

    48. Sadie says:

      THANKS SO MUCH FOR PUTTING THIS INTO WRITING!! Every single point you made are what I’ve been thinking since I read the awful book. I made a video series on YouTube about it, in fact (in the context of proving that Harry Potter is better than Twilight) and said many of the same things that you did. It’s nice to know that there are other females between ten and forty who are not obsessed with Edward’s sparkly … erm … perfection. Thanks again! =)

    49. Sadie says:

      Here’s the first of the two videos I mentioned in case anyone is interested. 🙂 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-3SoIjhXpQ

    50. Taiko says:

      I read the books and I thought they were Ok. I’m glad that even though the Twilight series has a huge fan base where the majority would be pissed from your thoughts that you had the courage to post them. I like to hear the negative and positive views of the story. Plus, it isn’t like you just said, “I hate it, don’t read it,” you fully supported your opinion and clarifies for me some of my deep down suspicions of Bella’s pathetic-ness and Edward’s abnormal relationship behaviours.

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