Friday, July 31, 2009

Our Heroine Writes The Obligatory Twilight Post. You Probably Won't Like It

Last year, I read an article which announced that the Harry Potter books had been supplanted by the vampire-romance saga, Twilight. Teen girls and their mums both loved it, and the soon-to-be-released movie was sure to be a major hit. After I read that I thought, "What should I make for lunch tomorrow?"

Then the movie came out and all the ladies in my office took the day off to go with their daughters to the matinee, while admitting that they too were super excited to see this vampire Edward Cullen. And in my head I wondered, "Hmmm, would I look as cute if I bobbed my hair?"

That weekend, I checked Facebook, and almost every single female friend had a status in all caps like this, "OMG!!! EDWARD CULLEN IS THE HOTTEST! I LOVE HIM. NO MAN CAN COMPARE!" At which point Twilight finally forced it's way into my consciousness. It seemed this was not just a book about moody teenage vampires in love. Grownups, real grownups, were flipping out about these books. They must be awesome, I couldn't believe I'd missed them, and I suddenly wanted badly to see the movie.

So I went to see Twilight. And it was bad. I mean really, really bad. Laugh out loud bad. You know what it was about? Moody teenage vampires in love. Here's a piece of dialogue that made me guffaw (spoken by the heroine, Bella Swan):
"About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was part of him — and I didn’t know how potent that part might be — that thirsted for my blood. And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him."
Hoo boy. The whole audience (all grownups) groaned and laughed. But that's not even my point! My point, is that I went to work the next day or whenever, and told my coworkers that I'd hated the movie. And everyone said, "Oh, you have to read the books." Then, I saw my cousins and told them the same thing and they said, "Oh, you have to read the books." So, ladies and gentlemen, I went and read the books, and you know what? They're still about moody teenage vampires in werewolves.

I'm creepy and possessive, but it's sexy because I'm also a vampire

I really disliked these books. In fact, these books made me sad for girls everywhere. And it feels so weird to write that, because everyone else thinks they are the greatest.

It's not about the quality of the writing. I'm not the sort of snob who can't enjoy a great story unless the language rises to the poetry of The Iliad, it's the crux of the story itself, this ridiculous love affair between two of the most sullen teenagers evah. Their love for each other isn't really love. It's obsession. Worse, it's teenage obsession, and yet we're supposed to take it seriously - as some sort of romantic blueprint - and people do. Edward and Bella can't function or live without the other (literally. Edward tries to commit suicide when he thinks Bella's dead), and it's suggested that they actually have a biological need for one another because of Bella's blood? or something? I'm not sure, though it's clear whatever their connection it's supposed to be super romantic. Neither of them have any friends, nor do they wish to have friends. They have no hobbies, nor do they wish to have hobbies. They spend all their time together. They are each other's god. Before they begin dating, Edward follows Bella around unbeknownst to her, watching her sleep through her window. In real life that is called stalking. In the book it is called love.

The second book (New Moon) makes references to Romeo & Juliet, and draws frank parallels between the two couples. Yes, I get it, Romeo and Juliet were also teenagers and star-crossed lovers, and they are Western Civ's great romance, but I will never forget Professor Ray talking about them in college, and how they could only be so passionate and over- the-top because they never had to slog out the day-to-day drudgery of love. Since they practically die on their honeymoon, they never experience love as a duty, as an act of the will that one performs when the fire in the heart burns low. I think Professor Ray said specifically, "What would Romeo and Juliet have been like arguing over who takes out the trash out after dinner?"

And that's my problem. Edward/Bella love is not real love and never can be. Yet two people, two adults whom I know have told me this book made them discontented with their marriages, since their spouse will never measure up to Edward Cullen. Which, do I even have to say it? He's a vampire. You are comparing your mate to a mythical, undead, immortal being with magical powers, and you feel sad that your man can't measure up? But also, in an odd way, I get it. I get how Edward's strength, his protectiveness, his devotion and his chastity appeal to women of all ages, especially in these unchivalrous times. But still, let's get real about vampire love, ok?

Jacob Black, on the other hand, is a whole other story. If I cared enough to get invested in these books (which I don't), I would say that Bella was incredibly stupid to choose Edward over a perfectly fetching werewolf...

Our Heroine would be on Team Jacob if she were on a team, which she is not.

...who loves her in a much more normal way. But as it is, I'm an adult, and I'm going to go do something mature, like watch Gossip Girl on DVD.


Julie D. said...

Did you ever read Twilight in 15 Minutes? Cleolinda is dead on... here's a sample:


BELLA: Oh, wow, I spent like $60 at Sephora trying to get sparkle like that. What is that, Urban Decay?


BELLA: Oh, so it's a drugstore brand?


BELLA: FINE. WHATEVER. But the lipstick, that's gotta be Cargo, right?


Our Heroine said...

OMG, OMG, OMG!!! My keyboard, 'tis covered in Diet Coke. Cleolinda, that minxy genius, has NAILED it!

Julie, thank you so much! No need to check in here Saturday morning, I have found my Amuse Bouche!

Julie D. said...

Isn't she the greatest! :-D

viagra online said...

I think that romantic vampire -stories are a piece of garbage, I hate it, I prefer read about harry potter os something similar.