Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight is everything that I thought it would be and more.

And what I thought was that it was horrendous.

The language feeds into its young adult target audience. I went into reading it knowing it was trussed up LDS fanfiction, and it read like that. My opinion didn’t change when I finished it either.

I can see why it would capture the hearts and minds of readers everywhere. There is a little bit of everything: romance, horror, adventure, dysfunctional families, finding what you’re capable of, and feeling like an outsider.

Bella has yet to grow on me. Perhaps it will change when I read New Moon and Eclipse, but Bella – as a character – made me irrationally mad from one readthrough of Twilight.

I despised the rest of the series. It’s not even worth writing reviews about them. Blech.

Editor’s note

Her being clumsy seemed to be a hindrance rather than a cute byproduct of being Isabella Swan. Her being unaware of the power she had was silly. There is absolutely nothing spectacular about her other than Edward falling for her. I’m fully aware that the whole point of the Bella character is to be a tabula rasa – a blank slate – for every misunderstood girl who thinks nothing exciting ever happens to them because they’re hopelessly dull in real life.

Everybody can see themselves in Bella. She’s the mirror to which we hold our teenage girl’s innocence. She’s falling in love with the first time, falling for someone who loves her back for all her flaws. She’s unsure of her place in the world but slowly coming into her own about her sexuality, and so on.

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However, I like my female protagonists to be more than Bella’s presentation as in Twilight. She left a bad taste in my mouth. I’ve read interviews that Bella reflects Stephenie Meyer, a self-proclaimed “late bloomer.” All authors put pieces of themselves in their characters somehow, and anyone who tells you otherwise is a lousy liar. I’m also a late bloomer, but I was never a dolt. Clumsy, yes; incompetent; never. I never wanted anyone to take advantage of me. It’s almost as though Bella was expecting that to happen. But nothing in her past tells us of her expectations. Again, tabula rasa.

The writing in the first person was a bit tiring after a while. I didn’t care to hear the inner thoughts of Bella. An author can rarely pull off the first person correctly, and Twilight does nothing to convince me otherwise.

My one positive line of thought is that I find the Cullens and their backstory fascinating in their own right. Vampires fascinate me in general. I once saw an old book from the 1970s or something in my elementary school library that taught me the history of identifying and ultimately killing vampires. I like to think I was a vampire slayer from eight years old.

I genuinely enjoyed the unique spin Meyer put on the mythology of vampires, considering the LDS overture. As such, I would rather hear about the Cullens than Bella, to be honest. Meyer should write a book about them, and NOT in the first person.

The inclusion of James and his coven seemed a bit tacked on at the end, as though her editors said: “you need some tension, throw in another coven!” If she seeded in the drama earlier – rather than focusing on Bella’s clumsiness and Edward constantly saving her – I think it would have been a far more interesting read to me.

I rarely recommend not reading a book, but Twilight has to be that one for me.

Guilliean Pacheco (she/her) is a writer and editor of Filipino heritage and the host of the City of Writers podcast. Her work has appeared in TechTarget, Nevada Humanities, and Helen: A Literary Magazine. She has an M.F.A. in Writing from the University of San Francisco and is an Anaphora Arts poetry fellow. She’s a misplaced California girl who lives in Las Vegas normally, if one could call living there normal, on Southern Paiute land. Follow her on Twitter.

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