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I'm not sure how this even got published.
on 27 October 2008
I read Twilight both at my friend's enthusiastic recommendation and because of my own curiosity over the barrage of bad reviews it had. My reaction to it was a sort of horrified fascination, coupled with a strong desire to jab the protagonist, the utterly unlikeable Bella Swan, with a sharp stick.
For some reason that is never quite explained (not to my satisfaction, at least), Bella Swan moves to the town of Forks, a place she loathes with a passion, to live with her dad, a man she doesn't feel even warrants the name "Dad", and leaving her mom, a woman she claims to be closer to than anyone else on the planet but whom she actually ignores for most of the book. On her first day at her new school, which she also hates despite pretty much the entire student population - the male half in particular - making every effort to be perfectly lovely to her, she encounters a group of insanely beautiful students who ignore everyone; among them is Edward Cullen, who she freaks out over because it seems he might not love her like everyone else. Then he becomes passably friendly, and Bella is smitten. Bella is smitten. Bella is smitten. Bella finds out Edward and his insanely beautiful family are vampires. Bella is smitten. Bella is smitten. In fact, Bella is smitten for three-hundred-and-thirty-three pages of this four-hundred-and-thirty-four page novel before anything resembling a plot actually happens, and then not even particularly good plot.
Oh, don't worry, it's not one-sided at all - Edward is smitten too. Edward is so smitten that he sneaks into Bella's house and watches her sleep without her knowledge. If Stephenie Meyer had put in a twist in which Bella gets a restraining order slapped on him as a normal person would, that might have saved the book. However, Edward is, as I said, insanely gorgeous, and so on the contrary, she finds his stalker antics flattering. And isn't it alarming that so many young girls describe Edward as their "dream guy" or look to Bella as a role model?
On the back of the book, I am told that it "...encapsulates perfectly the teenage feeling of sexual tension and alienation." I can only imagine that the reviewer from The Times has long forgotten their teenage years, because I don't think that Meyer spoke to a single seventeen-year-old before writing this book. For the record, none of us feel any need to comment repeatedly on the godlike good looks of people we date. Some of us even look for something beyond godlike good looks in the people we date, but such a concept is apparently lost on Meyer and thus on Bella. And I like to think that if anyone behaved as creepily towards most seventeen-year-old girls as Edward behaves towards Bella, the alarm bells would start ringing pretty fast. The book encapsulates many things, such as pancake flat characters and How Romance Doesn't Happen, but it is certainly not something that I, as a seventeen-year-old girl, can possibly relate to. I find it quite laughable that Meyer claims she gave Bella the "vague" physical description of "slim" with "long mahogany hair" and "wide chocolate brown eyes" in order for readers to find it easier to 'step into her shoes'. I would prefer a complete profile of a character who was written in a believable way to a spineless Mary Sue who could possibly look like me, if I want to imagine her in such a way (which I really don't, thanks).
In short, don't waste your money. This is not a good book.