A while back, I had a post chronicling the three best books I’ve ever read. So now, inspired by a fantastic post at World’s Strongest Librarian, I bring you the exact opposite of my earlier post:
A collection of books that, for one reason or another, I completely despise.
These are made up of books that I’ve tried to read and not have been able to finish. Of books I have finished and found out what a colossal waste of time they were. And books I loathe on principle that I will read just so I can have ammunition with which I can destroy them.
The final installment of Anti-Twilight Week is brought to you by my wife, Jennifer. She may have never read the first word of Stephenie Meyer’s “saga”—lucky her—but she certainly has some valid opinions on why the series is not all it’s cracked up to be. Enjoy!
When Beej asked me to write a post for Anti-Twilight week, I was hesitant. So many wonderfully insightful and snarky women have already tackled the issues of abuse, submissiveness, and crappy writing in the series—I’ve even heard academic presentations on the subject. And those women had a distinct advantage over me: they had actually read the series and could therefore make specific, informed critiques. I have read enough plot summaries and excerpts to know how I feel about it, and I haven’t brought myself to trudge through it simply for the sake of making my criticisms appear more legitimate.
As a relatively young woman, I frequently have other relatively young women approach me, eyes glazed over with eager anticipation, and ask me in a just-us-girls whisper:
“Have you read Twilight?”
I try to casually tell them that I haven’t without appearing to dismiss their taste, but they usually won’t leave it at that. “Why not?” they ask, alarmed. “It’s sooooo amazing!” I tell them that it’s just not my thing, elaborating that I have some problems with how it depicts relationships and that I’m not a fan of the story or the writing style. I probably say this with more of a sneer than I intend to, simply because I get so tired of being asked about Twilight every few days, not because I’m actually angry at the person talking to me.
But because I haven’t read the books and care nothing about seeing New Moon (I did see the first film), fans feel the need to convince me of why I would love them. Here, I’m going to lay out the two arguments I get most frequently and why they don’t work on me.
Let me say this first: I don’t particularly like fan fiction. I appreciate that it can be a terrific way for up-and-coming authors to develop their storytelling chops without dealing with the in-depth processes of characterization or worldbuilding; however, the writing is often lazy and uninspired, relying on tropes, clichés, and an nascent use of adjectives to “enhance” the prose.
Stephenie Meyer has made a career out of lazy prose. Her writing, while decent (at best) on the narrative side, lacks any other element that should have helped her rise out of the quagmire that so often is young adult fiction. Instead of using fanfic-inspired conventions and mechanics to springboard into a real writing career, Stephenie Meyer embraces the hackneyed elements instead of ever moving past them.
This post is brought to you by VampyChronicles, two 20-something, self-professed anti-fans of Twilight. They’re currently reading through Stephenie Meyer’s series, snarkily blogging as they go about chapters, bad merchandise, the movies, and whatever else comes to mind as being ridiculous and/or irksome.
Originally, we were going to write about the top five things we hate about the whole Twilight phenomenon. We were going to poke fun at the inspiration, complain about the abysmal writing and lack of plot, point out how unbelievable and un-relatable the characters are, ponder over the unhealthy relationship between Edward and Bella, and then wrap it all up by bemoaning how Twilight has infiltrated every aspect of popular culture.
But, along the way, we realized that, while things like Stephenie Meyer’s eighth-grade writing style and reliance on her trusty thesaurus bother us to no end, and we continually have the urge to punch Bella in the face, it’s really Edward Cullen that we have the biggest issue with. Every point we made eventually led back to him, and the fact that we cannot comprehend why he’s such a heartthrob.
So we scrapped our original idea, and decided, instead, to take a closer look at Edward and prove why no girl should want to date him, and no guy should strive to be him. Ever.
Today’s post is by Bonnie Norman, who analyzes speculative fiction works from a lesbian, feminist, and anti-racist perspective in order to foster discussion about the issues that plague SF and society in general. She can be found at her review blog, A Working Title, which also has links to her other writing pieces.
Twilight is the ultimate in deception. Posing as a love story between a girl and a boy, it’s really a rallying cry for codependence and misogynists.
The definition for codependency from Wikipedia:
“Symptoms of codependence may include controlling behavior, distrust, perfectionism, avoidance of feelings, problems with intimacy, excessive caretaking, hypervigilance, or physical illness related to stress. Codependence is often accompanied by clinical depression, as the codependent person succumbs to feelings of frustration or sadness over their inability to improve their situation.”
This definition describes the main relationship in Twilight almost word for word.