Let's Discuss Edward...

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Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby vickiconner » 19 Apr 2011, 20:29

I have a confession to make. I'm old enough to have a fifteen year-old daughter, and I'm in love with Edward Cullen (sigh), Stephanie Meyer's hero in the Twilight Saga. For all of you rolling your eyes and thinking I must be delusional, this post is for you.

Normally, young adult novels are not something I would choose to read, nor is science-fiction, fantasy, or anything else I can't close my eyes and see really, really happening. In fact, regardless of popularity, I wouldn't have read these if it hadn't been for my daughter--who usually limits her reading to the instructions on the back of a Hamburger Helper box--pushing, prodding, and begging. Hoping to encourage her reading habits, I gave in. (Okay, I wanted her to hush about it, too.)

For me, this was a big concession. Despite knowing the shelves at Barnes and Noble wouldn't be overflowing with vampire tales if someone wasn't reading them, I felt like I was being led to the guillotine, like I was being forced to fall in line with what big publishing (and my daughter) was telling me I had to read. I mean, vampires? Please!!! (Sorry, Edward. You know I love you.)

Even now, as I make a stand to defend Edward (be still my beating heart!) and Meyer, I have to admit, I laughed to the point of hyperventilation through most of the first book. (Mind reading, foretelling the future, mood control, Emmit fighting with a bear?) And yes, part of the second one, too. (Getting a paper cut and looking up to see "six suddenly ravenous vampires"?) But shortly after that, just as I'm starting to catch my breath, Meyer sneaks Jacob in, creating a love triangle. This is where my facination skyrockets, because under the weirdness (not you Edward, never you!) is now something tangible, romance and competition. Suddenly, I'm no longer laughing, but silently rooting for Edward. (my hero!)

So, can you imagine my shock (GASP!) when my daughter announces she's for Jacob? Even before Taylor Lautner lands the part in the movie?! What could she possibly be thinking? When I made the mistake of asking her that question, I was forced to endure a seemingly never ending list of "Jacob" attributes. Of course, I promptly responded with a sterling "Edward" review of my own.

I think, by now, you can see where I'm going with this. My daughter and I have had a LOT of fun with these characters. We still have fun with them.

That, people, no matter how you look at it, is entertainment.

And isn't THAT the point? I know that's my goal as a writer. When I can take the reader away from the hum-drum of their everyday life for a while, and entice them to really care about the fate of my characters, I feel like I have succeeded. To all you Stephanie Meyer critics out there, I have to say, so what if you don't think her writing is all it should be. As far as I'm concerned, she has done her job and done it well.

That's why I'm so facinated with Edward and his creator. And I bet you thought it was just because he's HOT!
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Falls Apart » 20 Apr 2011, 11:39

I'll be the first to admit that the books were entertaining. Well, okay, fine--maybe the second. Third. But they were; I read all of them, and found them reasonably enjoyable them at the time (I was thirteen). But, in retrospect, I couldn't help but notice the abusiveness in Edward's treatment of Bella, the rape-undertones in Jacob's, and the fact that a happy ending involves a guy who is stated to have biologically devoloped into a twenty-something-year-old falling in love with an infant. Whether or not it has a name attached to it and it's non-sexual, it's still creepy. And there's also a fact that the sizeable fanbase is being taught that a healthy relationship involves a guy who is either possessive, overprotective, and a borderline stalker or willing to use either physical strength or emotional manipulation to get what he wants sexually. If these were adult novels, this might be excusable, but impressionable teen/preteen girls are reading it and upholding it as an ideal. I do think that a mature reader can appreciate some aspects of the books without having her view on relationships forever scarred. However, I am concerned that the middle-school girls who tote the books around the corridors at school are anticipating a marital future that can simultaneously involve bruises recieved on the wedding night and true, enduring love. Because that is a fantasy I find to be far, far more frightening than vampires.
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby CharleeVale » 20 Apr 2011, 11:51

I'm finally going to say this, and I really don't care what people think.

Am I the only one who liked these books? I am so sick of people bashing Twilight. No the writing wasn't stellar, and yes the were fabulously entertaining! I still enjoy them when I read them!

But I am tired of having to be ashamed of saying that I enjoyed them. It has gotten so bad that i will make a point of avoiding all twilight displays at bookstores in public because the people around me might think I am one of those people. I just don't understand why there is such a negative stigma attached to liking the books.... I am not one of those obsessed twelve-year-olds who screams their heads off at the mention of Edward's name, nor am I a forty-something single woman who had the posters tattooed on her body. (http://www.geekosystem.com/full-back-twilight-tattoo/)

I'm not crazy, and I enjoyed the Twilight Saga. So sue me.

Sorry about that mini-rant. I feel better now.

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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby vickiconner » 20 Apr 2011, 14:48

I'm with you, Charlee. It's all about preferences, and we all have our own. I think we Twilighters feel we are being attacked or looked down on because the haters yell louder than the lovers. I fully understand what "falls" is saying, and of course all teenagers can't be grouped together, but shouldn't we give them a little more credit. I think my daughter is smart enough to understand this is fiction--meant to entertain. And I don't think one exposure to a less than perfect relationship will shape her complete outlook on love and marriage. I believe she has been exposed to far more situations on the other end of the spectrum, and it will all balance out.
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Moni12 » 20 Apr 2011, 15:12

vickiconner wrote:I'm with you, Charlee. It's all about preferences, and we all have our own. I think we Twilighters feel we are being attacked or looked down on because the haters yell louder than the lovers. I fully understand what "falls" is saying, and of course all teenagers can't be grouped together, but shouldn't we give them a little more credit. I think my daughter is smart enough to understand this is fiction--meant to entertain. And I don't think one exposure to a less than perfect relationship will shape her complete outlook on love and marriage. I believe she has been exposed to far more situations on the other end of the spectrum, and it will all balance out.


I wasn't going to step in, but something you said interests me. I always thought, based on my experiences and observations, it was the people who disliked Twilight who were looked down on. Nearly every woman I know is so into that it's a little obnoxious (because they're so obsessive). Personally, I don't like it, but I'm not going to criticize the people who love it. It's your own choice. However, sometimes I feel like I can't say why I don't like it because the people I know will get offended, but I have to listen to all the reasons why they love it.
I think the biggest turn off for me when it comes to Twilight is how popular it is. I don't like going to the library to borrow a book only to be associated with a particular group, I had to borrow the book from a friend. Anyways, as far as being bothered by people who love it I'm only bothered by the "Twi-hards" because they're obsessive. I'm also bothered by the "Twi-haters" because they're obsessed with hating it. It seems like with Twilight it's difficult to find a middle ground.
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Falls Apart » 20 Apr 2011, 16:57

Some of my best friends are teenagers! Okay, sorry, had to put that in. Actually, I'm a sophomore in high school. I give teenagers full credit since I, you know, am one. But the media has an effect on us as it does on everyone, and seeing a relationship that is, let's face it, downright unhealthy, not only normalicized but being portrayed as an ideal . . . now, that's just disturbing. It's like the manga Hot Gimmick--wonderful artwork, but I refuse to put up with a story about a girl who puts up with being kicked, insulted, and sexually abused by a guy that she ends up with. Is Twilight as bad as that? No. But that can make the undertones of abusiveness easy to miss.
However, I do respect that different people have different opinions, and I'm not an anti-fan. My life doesn't revolve around hating Twilight. However, as a feminist and also just as a member of society, I really can't help but be concerned.
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Sommer Leigh » 21 Apr 2011, 10:13

Twilight is its own double-edged sword - that it is so popular means we can't stop talking about it, can't stop either hating it or loving it, because it is all around us. And so people who love it get pulled into defending it and people who hate it attack it when it is in conversation. If it were any less popular, this would never happen, but you might not love it so much.

I am not a fan of Twilight. I read all four books, I thought the first one was great and entertaining, but they progressively got more and more troubling until the fourth one offended me so strongly that it retroactively ruined anything I liked about the series. If I would have just stopped at book one I'd been fine.

But you know what? To each their own. I don't begrudge anyone liking it. I still secretly listen to New Kids on the Block and Vanilla Ice on my iPod. As far as I'm concerned, I'll step in front of a bus before I allow any of my real life friends/husband to find out this embarressing piece of information, so I don't get to judge anyone else on what they like.

I even got into a big argument at a convention once where some writers turned their panel into a Twilight bashing contest which made most of their audience very, very uncomfortable and for as nice and respectful as I try to be online I sometimes can't hold my tongue. I never thought I'd end up publically defending the books, but there I was. I wrote about the whole thing on my blog a while back in a post called Vampires Don't Sparkle http://sommerleigh.com/archives/685
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Claudie » 21 Apr 2011, 10:34

I haven't read Twilight -- well, I stopped after three paragraphs. I have a lot of novels to catch up to, and as I already had a good idea of the storylines (it's all over the internet, after all) and had seen the movies, so I decided to pick something that'd fit my tastes better.

It should be said I almost never read any romance, and that romance subplots irk me as often as they draw me in.

What I know is that I have a lot of friends and family that like/love the books. I don't begrudge them. Neither do I frequently get into argument about Twilight (once was enough for me).

But I have to say, I have always been uncomfortable with Bella's character and I'm always afraid of what message it sends to all the girls out there. This might be my perception, but I wouldn't call her relationship with Edward healthy. It rubs me the wrong way.

As Moni12 said, though, it's hard to strike a middle-ground. It seems if you speak for one side or another, you get tagged with "Twi-hard" or "Twi-hater", no matter what you actually said. It's a shame because it prevents any solid and serious discussions on the books. Most of the time, now, I just shut up and let it be.
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby vickiconner » 21 Apr 2011, 11:28

"As Moni12 said, though, it's hard to strike a middle-ground. It seems if you speak for one side or another, you get tagged with "Twi-hard" or "Twi-hater", no matter what you actually said. It's a shame because it prevents any solid and serious discussions on the books. Most of the time, now, I just shut up and let it be."

I fully agree with this statement. When I wrote this post, I had no idea it would stir up such a stink. As I originally stated, I think it's about entertainment. I simply wanted to defend Meyer against all the critics out there who trash her work. Maybe it's jealousy that fuels them, or maybe not. But we are not talking the great american novel here, and I think the pile of money she is making from Twilight is a true indicator of her success.

On the big scale, just look at what else is out there. As I said before, the supernatural is not even my thing. I mean, how many people out there really, really believe in Vampires? Probably the same number who really, really believe Edward and Bella's relationship is idealistic.
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Cookie » 22 Apr 2011, 13:04

I have my issues with the book, mainly all the things everyone already pointed out. Although, I will say that I did enjoy reading it. Edward and Bella may have a terrible relationship, the writing may not be the best, but it is entertaining. Even if I did spend the entire series mad at least one of the main characters.
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Jenemb » 10 May 2011, 03:48

Twilight was not my thing at all, but only because I love scary vampire stories, and the Cullens just weren't scary. At all.

And, like Falls Apart, I didn't really like Bella as a heroine. She spent way too long pining over a boy, and I personally dislike stories where the doomed (or not so doomed) romance is the only thing that the girl cares about. I want to take those heroines and shake them by the shoulders and remind them there's a whole world out there. Having said that, not every character has to be a role model, right?

And whatever people say about her writing style, well done to Meyer for creating a series that people are so passionate about.
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Emily White » 10 May 2011, 17:30

Okay, I'm probably going to say something shocking here: I don't see how Bella's and Edward's relationship was as terrible as some people are saying. I have read SO many YA books lately that have portrayed female MCs who treat their male counterparts like crap while the guy essentially worships at her feet, and yet these books are touted around as great reads for impressionable girls because they portray strong female characters. Um...as the mother of two boys, I find it disturbing that strength is defined by how well someone beats someone else down, and I don't think any girl should learn that.

So, let's get back to Edward.

He's protective. This has been seen as controlling and overbearing. But let's take a look at that. Bella tended to get into trouble. A lot. And Edward lives forever. If you've ever been in love (and I mean truly, found-your-soul-mate in love), the idea of living your entire life without said person is horrific. Stephanie Meyer tried to portray this relationship between Edward and Bella as that soul mate kind of love. And I think she succeeded BECAUSE Edward was so protective and Bella not only accepted it, but kind of understood it. Also, the boy saved her life countless times, so it was a good thing he was so protective.

He's jealous/possessive. Um...I don't know many guys who are truly in love who are actually capable of tolerating the "other" guy being around. And let's be honest here: Jacob never hid his desire to steal Bella away from Edward. And even so, Edward stopped getting in the way of their friendship. He stepped back so Bella could have that friendship even though he knew Jacob was doing everything he could to get her. By the way, I hated Jacob. I have no respect for guys or gals who go after a taken lady or gent.

He stalks her. Okay, now this is silly. Teenage girls the world over frequently fantasize about their super crush standing outside her bedroom window because that freakin' hot guy just couldn't bear to stay away from her. It was fantasy and one of the major reasons so many girls and women swoon over him.

Now, this is why I loved Edward's and Bella's relationship: Boys are naturally protective and need to be needed. They need to be the hero, and they need the girls around them to value their worth. Bella did just that. She praised and adored Edward, and I think it's a good thing for boys to see that their natural instincts are worthy of adoration.
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Sleeping Beauty » 10 May 2011, 21:06

Jenemb wrote:And whatever people say about her writing style, well done to Meyer for creating a series that people are so passionate about.


I think the issue peopla may have is with the combination of Meyer's florid style and average skill level. I did read all the books when I was younger and I did enjoy the first one for a time, but let's just say I feel very differently about the series today. I'm still glad I read the books, though, because it means I can discuss them honestly with other people and always back up my opinions with canon fact.


I'd love to direct anyone that does't quite understand why people dislike this series to a Tumblr blog called Reasoning With Vampires. Basically, an extremely sardonic, intelligent woman called Dana has been going through the books, draw attention to the numerous issues with the crafting, plotting and characters. She's very snarky and I love a bit of snark, and she does not going easy on Meyer at all. A healthy sense of humour is required. :)

The best thing about RwV is that everytime I check it, I learn something. I've leared so much about grammar, punctuation and characterisation - more than I ever learned in my creative writing classes at university!

So I highly recommend you visit and click 'archive' in the top left. It'll take you back to the start. She's currently about mid-way through New Moon.

http://reasoningwithvampires.tumblr.com/

Kudos to Meyer for creating something so popular, though.
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Jenemb » 11 May 2011, 15:42

Thanks, Sleeping Beauty!

I will check it out. I also love a bit of snark!
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Re: Let's Discuss Edward...

Postby Cookie » 11 May 2011, 16:32

Emily White wrote:I have read SO many YA books lately that have portrayed female MCs who treat their male counterparts like crap while the guy essentially worships at her feet, and yet these books are touted around as great reads for impressionable girls because they portray strong female characters. Um...as the mother of two boys, I find it disturbing that strength is defined by how well someone beats someone else down, and I don't think any girl should learn that.


Oh, those girls drive me nuts too. All I can think of when I read them is: girls aren't really like that, are they? No, they can't be. I'm certainly not like that. Am I not normal? I'm not normal. Why are girls like that?!

Yea, I've shaken many a book. Add a love triangle into the mix and I'm surprised I have any hair left.

Too me, I think Edward's personality bothers me because I was in an abusive, controlling relationship, so it's off putting to me. Although, Edward is no where near as bad as my ex.

And Emily, you are right. Girls DO fantasize about their lovers watching them while they sleep. Teenage girls are nuts. And dramatic.
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