I was challenged by my older daughter to read Twilight, a book that she has denounced for years for promoting a reprehensible view of women as totally dependent on their boyfriends and husbands. Therefore, I bravely borrowed the 500-page tome from the library and set out to read it over the weekend. My very low expectations were shattered. This is a terrible book, and not because of the dependent woman problem, which is indeed in evidence but is abundantly overshadowed by more basic issues, as in the story is (very!) boring, it’s completely unbelievable, and it’s badly written.
Let’s start with boring. The first 200 pages describe the first few weeks of high school of a not-so-bright senior, class by class and friend by frenemy. 200 pages of tedium, during which nothing happens, until the heroine suddenly and for no reason whatsoever falls in love with Edward the vampire (I’ll come back to that). Yawn.
Then, we have the little vampire problem. Somehow we are to believe that Edward and his ilk (apparently it’s not ilk, it’s coven) have lived in a tiny little town for years without anyone suspecting that perhaps there’s something a little different with these folks – like they suck animals’ blood (not humans’, probably as not to scare the readers). We are to believe that the same silly little senior will fall in love with someone who want to suck her blood (but will resist since he l-o-v-e-s her — what other silly things will she believe?) That Edward is 400-years old, which would make the series into a pedophile’s paradise. That vampires have all kinds of telepathic abilities but somehow need their cell phones to call each other. And it’s not just the vampire bits that are unbelievable. The girl’s father, who is the police chief of the small town and is smart enough to disconnect her battery on dance nights, somehow allows her to drive to school alone on the first day and does not question her returning with Edward from a trip she took with her girlfriends. What kind of small-town police chief is that?
And finally, let’s appreciate the quality of the writing. Here’s a sample dialog:
“- Charlie’s gonna be late.
- Oh. Well, I guess I’ll see you later, then, Bella.
- Take care.”
Exciting, huh? And the terribly flat prose is ornamented by random, fussy, SAT-grade adjectives (alabaster, yes, used exclusively as an adjective, verbose, convulsive) that recall a desperately empty college essay.
I cannot fathom how the series has become so successful. There’s nothing there.
I’m happy, though. I won my bet.