Twilight Doesn’t Impress All Readers

Some people think that the Twilight series isn’t great literature. (That would be an understatement.)

However, I’ll just quote Mickey Spillane:

“Those big-shot writers never could dig the fact that there are more salted peanuts consumed than caviar.”

That said, I thought this was a funny post about Twilight and author Stephenie Meyer on the blog Not Overburdened With Subject: “I want to beat Edward Cullen with a stick.”

Okay, the author of that blog (“27-year-old associate editor who works mainly with fiction”) pokes fun at Stephenie Meyer’s writing, quoting lines like:

He lay perfectly still in the grass, his shirt open over his sculpted, incandescent chest, his scintillating arms bare.

And adds a little irreverent textual analysis, like noting the number of “References to Edward’s Beauty: 165.” In a book of 498 pages, that’s about every three pages. A bit excessive.

Here’s another negative review of Twilight, by Michele Catalano, from the blog Heretical Ideas: A Journal of Unorthodox Opinion.

But to better understand the issue, I love reading the many (and all over the board) comments to Catalano’s post, that really tell the story, like “Caitlyn’s”:

I’m 17 and last year all my friends were reading twilight and I got it as a christmas present. I read it and loved it. I devoured each book one right after the other. And when I finished the fourth and final book I went right back to start reading the original Twilight novel and couldn’t believe how idiotic and mindless I had become over it. I don’t understand what the hell made me think it was a good book. Bella Swan is the Mary Sue of all Mary Sues. I think the reason I became so attached is because everyone else was so in love with it and I wanted to be in love with it too, not to mention the word vampire instantly attracts me ( I was born into a family of Buffy addicts). But after rereading Twilight again, I honestly wonder how this can be considered a classic love saga.

Or, this comment that hits the nail on the head, by “Molly”:

Yes, it is poorly written. (. . .)

But really? No one is forcing you to read the book. So you don’t like it no one else really cares what you think.

It’s a fun book for teenage girls to imagine and talk about the hot guys in the movie. No one actually believes that a vampire and werewolf are going to swipe them off their feet and fall in love with them. (. . .)

So shut up.

Let’s face it, the book is a success not because of its literary merit, but because of its flat-out zeal for storytelling, with all its repetition and plots full of holes easily ignored. As romance author Jane Porter wrote on Harlequin’s Paranormal Romance Blog:

A week ago I attended a book club in Woodinville, Washington and every woman there but one had read one or more of the Twilight series. I was so impressed! These weren’t teenage readers, either, but women between 40 and 60, all neighbors and friends, many with teenage kids who turned their moms onto the series. (. . . )

For me, the charm is in the wonderful characterization, and Stephenie’s skill in making me believe this could happen, or want it to happen. I loved her very small town setting of Forks, Washington and her family dynamics of a teenage daughter living with her loving, but a little crusty, father. It’s storytelling at its best, which transcends genres and just becomes great reading . . . reading that tugs on your heart and captures your imagination.

Pass the salted nuts, please.

(Blog post on the Creeping Past Dragons blog by Philip Martin, director of Great Lakes Literary and author of A Guide to Fantasy Literature.)

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1 Comment

  1. This was interesting.

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