Remember a couple of weekends ago, when I totally zoned out and told you all to blame mommamammoth, but then I forgot to tell you why?
Would you believe I've been trying to get my thoughts in order?
It started many moons ago, when a sometimes participant of a blog I read, SBTB (warning: language), had a dream and decided to write a book. Several people on the blog read the book and complimented her in the comments, but easily half the people who hang out there are authors, so I didn't pay super close attention. Some time after that, one of my Young Women started ranting about this amazing book and "OMG Edward! Drool! Gasp!" and I thought: Cool, Stephanie's book is getting read by the target audience.
Yes, THAT Stephanie.
Before I knew it, this little dream book was being talked about everywhere, and everyone said I should read it.
I'm perverse. When EVERYONE tells me to do something, that's when I dig in my heels and refuse to do it. (So there.)
In January I joined a book club. Slated as the October book was Twilight, so I decided I would read it with the book club--in OCTOBER (despite all the pressure to read it NOW, NOW, NOW). Then Lain and the ScrapHappy Book Club chose it as their April book, so I caved and reserved it at the library. And I waited. And waited. Finally, at the end of JULY, New Moon (the second book in the series) arrived for me, but still no Twilight. At this point, mommamammoth, who is a BIG fan of the series, broke. She went out and bought another copy of Twilight and mailed it to me. (And she's been waiting since then for my review.) By the time it arrived I was getting tired of all the hype, but I had also read reviews like Sue's and the poll at The Jet Set that made me think that I wasn't really going to like this book after all. Then I remembered that mommamammoth is the genius that told me about Firefly, and I should trust her.
Here's the short version: It was bad but I liked it anyway.
I started reading it on a Sunday afternoon when there didn't seem to be much else to do and the guilt was getting to me.
I had to finish it before I could sleep. Just gobbled it up like candy, and, like candy, wasn't really satisfied when it was over. In fact, I asked myself what I had just done.
That didn't stop me though. A book bulimic on a binge, I woke up the next morning and immediately picked up New Moon. I made my kids snack on fruit and yogurt all morning until I finished and made a late brunch. (Ok, it was past lunch time. Sorry. They didn't suffer.) I felt a little sick from over-indulging, but euphoric too. Whee, what a ride!
Listen; it was a fast, easy read. It was a fun adventure. I enjoyed myself tremendously.
HOWEVER; when I tried to think seriously about it to write a review, I couldn't really tell you why I liked it or was compelled to read it without pause. The prose was clunky and repetitive. It was a very long book (both books) but the plot summary would be very, very short. I hated helpless little Bella, even as I felt sorry for her. Edward, heretofore known as McAngsty, irritated me with his brooding and his mood swings and his stalker-like personality. You might be able to find some themes to discuss (I minored in English and majored in Psychology. I can ALWAYS find themes to discuss.) but you're going to have to work at it and you'd mostly be making it up. Oh, and forget profound.
So why did I like it? In the beginning, it read a bit like the really old school romances, which I can still enjoy if I'm in the right mood. Then I stuck around to see how long it would take Bella to get a CLUE. Then I just wanted there to be a bad guy or two (there was). And so on. The entire time I was reading it, I was just going to read until....and then it was the next until, and so on. I think, in the end, it fed into those early prince-on-a-white steed fantasies that fuel Disney so well. (Disney Vampires? Why not?) Bella was helpless, hopeless, and in swooped Edward to save her from herself and anything bad out there. And why? Because he lurrrrrrrved her so much--her and no other! She is irresistible to him! She's Special! For me, that was the appeal. I think there's shared fantasy that we'll be uniquely loved and irresistible to ONE person in the world, and that that person will love us no matter what (even if we're a vampire). For women, the secondary ideal of a hero who will swoop in and save us is also appealing. If that fantasy wears thin, there's the building reveal that Bella will be special in more ways than just the ones Edward is aware of. Superpowers! Who wants some?
Will I read the next two? I just don't know. There's enough story to make me curious about what happens next, how certain issues are resolved, but there's just NO character development. I haven't seen anyone growing or maturing at all. This especially goes for McAngsty. I won't be the first to say this, but how do I trust someone who CHOOSES to spend eternity hiding out in HIGH SCHOOL? Vampires I'll believe. Perpetual teenagers I have problems with.
So, are you on the bandwagon? I'm huddled in the back, trying to decide whether to enjoy the ride or make a jump for it. You can say hi any time!
P.S. For the best review and discussion I've seen (posted right when I thought I'd go ahead and post mine--hence more delay) check out SB Sarah's thoughts and the follow-up. I don't think I could possibly add to that, but some people had asked ;)