TWILIGHT - thoughts?

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abc
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by abc » February 17th, 2010, 8:44 pm

I read the Twilight series once--fast and furious, I might add. I couldn't put them down. I consider myself a reasonable adult woman. I consider myself a feminist. And I consider myself a fairly decent discerner (a word?) of bad writing, but I gobbled up the Twilight series like movie popcorn at a scary movie.

I've spent huge chunks of time trying to figure out what it is about Twilight--what makes us (many of us, at least) so insane over it. This is the best I can do: it's fun. It's romantic, but not a romance novel (I've never gotten into romance novels, nothing against them, of course). It appeals to that adolescent part of ourselves still wanting that person in the world who loves us above all us, who can't get enough of us, who finds all our quirks and ticks totally charming and lovable. We want to be wanted. During adolescence, when we were living in our frontal lobes, this desire for intense love was especially true (and all mixed up in lust and pain and loss, of course). Meyer takes us back to that place and gives us some satisfaction. We are Bella, aren't we? How many of use felt plain, alone, clumsy and invisible? How many of us wanted to be wanted for all that we were (and weren't) by someone who wasn't just the jock in the seat behind us or the charismatic class president, but by someone special and interesting and just for us? I'm sure some men can relate too, at least those adolescent boy part of themselves.

It is an escape that goes beyond the girl being completed by a guy. It is about intense, consuming, true love. Love that may not really exist (except, perhaps, in those first few months), but boy, don't we want it to?

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E McD
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by E McD » February 17th, 2010, 10:53 pm

Well said, abc. Well said.
-Emily McDaniel

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by tameson » February 18th, 2010, 1:13 am

abc- that might be why so many people hate it- we don't want a love like that. We don't want to be consumed. We want to retain ourselves, our hopes and dreams and sense of purpose when we fall in love. I have been in love (married to my love) and I have never wanted to have that kind of relationship. I am willing to concede that others may read the book and see it less creepy.

Another issue, for me, is the LDS thing. I am LDS and I see the relationships in the book as magnifying so many of the things wrong within my culture. Having someone take some of the worst aspects of a culture and glorify them is upsetting. This also may be why some of the statements stuck me as so very creepy- life experiences. Also, LDS feminists have often dreamed of having a famous LDS woman to represent us to the world, to show that we are more than just babymakers who blindly follow our husbands, and so Meyer was a kick in the face. A fantasy version of "Fascinating Woman" complete with a "woman" who never grows up, who gets to remain a child forever. Yay.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by dementedtinkerbell » February 18th, 2010, 5:50 am

I've so far managed to escape reading Twighlight and am pretty happy about it. The more people talked about it though, the more I thought that perhaps I should go out and buy a copy. Just to make sure I knew what I was getting into though, I checked out the Twighlight fan stories on fanfiction.net.

I can honestly say that, that was probably the worst (or best?) mistake ever. It's made me want to run screaming from the books and never return to that part of the bookstore. I guess I should count myself lucky that I've managed to avoid the horror that is Twighlight but somehow, I feel more disappointed now that I know what the story is about. I should've stayed away from the fan fiction :-(
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by Rhonda » February 18th, 2010, 12:33 pm

Twilight. Interesting topic. I did read the series. I read it mostly to see what all the hoopla was about, but managed to get sucked in (pun intended). I'm kind of embarrassed by that now, especially having seen the movies, which make it look way more cheesy than it did in my head. haha On the subject of what makes it so popular though, I really think it's that everything turns out exactly the way you would want it to always in the books. Every "Oh no" is quickly followed by a "Whew." Also, in these books, the female has two guys who would do anything for her: protect her, love her, but demand nothing sexual of her. I think girls and women like that aspect. Stephanie Meyers other book, The Host, follows the same formula, but for some reason is considered adult fiction. I read it too and didn't see much of a difference as far as who the audience would be. I have to say that it was nice reading it and knowing that, given the author, everything would work out in the end. I could read it with no concern about the characters and just enjoy the flow of action. Mindless reading. Maybe it shouldn't be a goal, but it was a fun little diversion.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by E McD » February 18th, 2010, 1:03 pm

My best friend calls the TWILIGHT saga "Candy Fiction." She says it tastes good, you know you're going to enjoy it, but they're empty calories. LOL

It was so much fun while it lasted, though!
-Emily McDaniel

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by taylormillgirl » February 18th, 2010, 1:31 pm

E McD wrote:My best friend calls the TWILIGHT saga "Candy Fiction." She says it tastes good, you know you're going to enjoy it, but they're empty calories. LOL

It was so much fun while it lasted, though!
That's funny. My favorite books are what I call "Pixie Stick Lit." Empty calories but mighty tasty.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by writeitsideways » February 18th, 2010, 7:08 pm

I'm an English teacher, and it drives me crazy that all students ever seem to read is Twilight. Seriously, they tote it around like a textbook.

I'm sure I'm the only person on the face of the planet who hasn't read the series or watched the movie, so I can't really comment on the quality of the writing (but I can imagine). Still, there are so many wonderful choices for teens out there--both classic and modern--I'll be happy to see the end of this phenomenon.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by Nick » February 18th, 2010, 7:37 pm

It'll just be replaced with more piffle. A cursory glance at friends' FB profiles reveals more than 3/4 of them say "I don't read" which, for most of them, actually means "I SparkNotes things for school, read Harry Potter when it was cool, and if I'm a chick I read Twilight". Sorry state. Damn sorry state.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by aspiring_x » February 18th, 2010, 10:02 pm

Oh man, I'm going to be in trouble here, because I actually liked the series...
One of the main reasons I like the series is that my fifteen year old brother has severe dyslexia. He has learned to hate reading, and has been taunted and bullied for years. The summer before last when I got to see him he was like a zombie- playing video games all night, sleeping all day. The Twilight books were the first full length novels that held his attention enough to finish them. Now, he's a voracious reader. His eyes are full of light, and he helps around the house. I know alot of you loathe Stephanie Meyer's voice in those books, but that voice was alot more like conversation. And that appeals to reluctant readers. They don't feel like they're being talked down to.
Which brings me to my other point. I think there is a lot of ego issues within the intellectual. They forget that everyone (even those who aren't as smart as them) is a person, with insight, and dreams, and creativity. If the writing is too unique or too unoriginal they judge accordingly from their lofty thrones. I don't know. I always thought that one of the greatest things about writing is that anyone can do it. We all have stories to tell, and just because another person's ideas aren't our cup of tea, doesn't make them any less viable. I don't know. I guess what I'm saying is who am I to sit in judgement on someone else's voice.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by matildamcc » February 18th, 2010, 11:04 pm

I'm not a great TWILIGHT fan--I really only liked the first book. I think TWILIGHT succeeds because it has an original story, a great setting, a unique hook, and lots of tension (will they or won't they?)...if you read the book carefully the author doesn't do a lot of cliched things....for example, when she starts a new school it would have been a cliche to have everyone hate Bella, but they don't. She makes friends. She's smart--she loves to read etc. Her mother is kind of bimbo, but isn't a typical awful YA mom character---same with the dad. Edward is a cool vampire who plays the piano, sparkles in the sunlight etc. Lots of nice original touches. But I think the last three books were written too quickly or weren't edited or something because I just couldn't get through them.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by casnow » February 19th, 2010, 9:42 am

As a guy, I'm not the target audience for this book, which probably shows, b/c I tried to read the first one and I didn't even make it all the way through I disliked it so much. But, it is easy to see why it was successful - it came out at a time when Vampire novels were re-emerging, it was innocent enough for 10 year old girls, yet had enough angst to keep older audiences entertained, and it took a different twist on vampires while keeping a classic romance formula.

Then it went viral and there were movies, follow up novels, copy cats, etc.

It's the same formula for mega-success that other authors have had - Ludlum with the Bourne series, Tom Clancy with his Jack Ryan series, and Charlene Harris with her Sookie Stackhouse series.

I think the bigger question is will Stephanie Meyers be able to find success with anything outside of Twilight?

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by maybegenius » February 19th, 2010, 10:16 am

aspiring_x wrote:Oh man, I'm going to be in trouble here, because I actually liked the series...
One of the main reasons I like the series is that my fifteen year old brother has severe dyslexia. He has learned to hate reading, and has been taunted and bullied for years. The summer before last when I got to see him he was like a zombie- playing video games all night, sleeping all day. The Twilight books were the first full length novels that held his attention enough to finish them. Now, he's a voracious reader. His eyes are full of light, and he helps around the house. I know alot of you loathe Stephanie Meyer's voice in those books, but that voice was alot more like conversation. And that appeals to reluctant readers. They don't feel like they're being talked down to.
Which brings me to my other point. I think there is a lot of ego issues within the intellectual. They forget that everyone (even those who aren't as smart as them) is a person, with insight, and dreams, and creativity. If the writing is too unique or too unoriginal they judge accordingly from their lofty thrones. I don't know. I always thought that one of the greatest things about writing is that anyone can do it. We all have stories to tell, and just because another person's ideas aren't our cup of tea, doesn't make them any less viable. I don't know. I guess what I'm saying is who am I to sit in judgement on someone else's voice.
I think your point here actually brings up another issue entirely - the issue that not everyone is at the same reading level. Whether it's a personal issue, a school system issue, or something else, children and teens have a pretty wide range of reading ability. Yes, Meyer writes at about a middle-grade level, which gets her a lot of criticism, but people forget that these books are primarily aimed at the tween/young teen set, and that not every teenager is capable of reading at a Brave New World level. Maybe so many kids who "hated reading until they read Twilight" just hadn't found something that they felt fit both their interests AND their reading level yet?

I was an advanced reader, so it's often difficult for me to grasp why people have such trouble with certain books, but they do. And it's horribly embarrassing when a kid has to admit that they have trouble reading at a certain level for whatever reason, so they go with the default "I don't like to read, it's boring." There are any number of reasons why someone might have difficultly with reading, but nine times out of ten it will be attributed to stupidity. You can imagine not many people want to willingly admit something that's going to get them ridiculed as a moron.

Now hopefully this will promote the idea that there are other books out there within their grasp.
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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by lmitchell » February 19th, 2010, 6:42 pm

Let me preface my opinion with a confession. I am a Twi-freak. No, seriously. I have read through the entire series of books at least seven times. Do I think they are literary genius? No. Do I see the repetitiveness? Yes. Wordiness? Yes. Sugar-coated gag reflex worthy sappiness? Sure. But I am STILL a Twi-freak. If I were a teenage girl instead of a forty-two year old woman, my bedroom walls would be plastered with over-commericalized headshots of Edward/Robert. *sigh*

I never meant for this to happen. I was minding my own business when my thirteen-year-old daughter brought that infernal paperback home. She gushed and oozed about the characters with such intensity and she gravitated to the book as if it literally called out to her personally. Mindless drivel, I thought. High School vampire sweethearts. Stupid fluff. Then I opened the book.

Within four days I devoured all four books in the series and read through the partial draft of Midnight Sun on Meyer's website. The stupid vampire story leeched its way into my heart and I was officially addicted. (This is where I desperately want to refer to my own personal brand of...no, I just can't do it.) Ah hem...I was addicted. Why?

There had to be some seriously freaky ninja-on-speed publicity genius involved. Big advertising produces big results. That is a given. But what about people like me who had missed all the hype of the book and missed the fact that a movie even existed. How did I imprint on Twilight?

Stephenie Meyer found a niche in the YA market. She hit the literary sweet-tooth of readers with something that produced a frenzied craving, and I believe she did it quite by accident. For me, the intense emotional transparency of her flawed main characters combined with slow-burn sexual tension created a storyline that was irresistable. Edward was a hundred-year-old emotionally-detached virgin and Bella a cynical seventeen-year-old with some serious emotional neediness. Meyer melded them together perfectly and sucked in those of us who adore an ultra-sappy love story.

Call her what you will--word-butcher, sap writer, or literary genius...alas, how I would love to be her.

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Re: TWILIGHT - thoughts?

Post by E McD » February 19th, 2010, 6:50 pm

lmitchell wrote:Let me preface my opinion with a confession. I am a Twi-freak. No, seriously. I have read through the entire series of books at least seven times. Do I think they are literary genius? No. Do I see the repetitiveness? Yes. Wordiness? Yes. Sugar-coated gag reflex worthy sappiness? Sure. But I am STILL a Twi-freak. If I were a teenage girl instead of a forty-two year old woman, my bedroom walls would be plastered with over-commericalized headshots of Edward/Robert. *sigh*

I never meant for this to happen. I was minding my own business when my thirteen-year-old daughter brought that infernal paperback home. She gushed and oozed about the characters with such intensity and she gravitated to the book as if it literally called out to her personally. Mindless drivel, I thought. High School vampire sweethearts. Stupid fluff. Then I opened the book.

Within four days I devoured all four books in the series and read through the partial draft of Midnight Sun on Meyer's website. The stupid vampire story leeched its way into my heart and I was officially addicted. (This is where I desperately want to refer to my own personal brand of...no, I just can't do it.) Ah hem...I was addicted. Why?

There had to be some seriously freaky ninja-on-speed publicity genius involved. Big advertising produces big results. That is a given. But what about people like me who had missed all the hype of the book and missed the fact that a movie even existed. How did I imprint on Twilight?

Stephenie Meyer found a niche in the YA market. She hit the literary sweet-tooth of readers with something that produced a frenzied craving, and I believe she did it quite by accident. For me, the intense emotional transparency of her flawed main characters combined with slow-burn sexual tension created a storyline that was irresistable. Edward was a hundred-year-old emotionally-detached virgin and Bella a cynical seventeen-year-old with some serious emotional neediness. Meyer melded them together perfectly and sucked in those of us who adore an ultra-sappy love story.

Call her what you will--word-butcher, sap writer, or literary genius...alas, how I would love to be her.
OMG! Amen, sister. I couldn't have said it better myself. I will confess to you that I visited the REAL Forks, WA last year when I went to Portland for my BFF's wedding. Not kidding. Took pictures, the whole nine yards. My husband sat pouting in the car. Fan girl? Yeah... TWILIGHT is crack, for sure. That's why I'm trying to figure it out. How did it do that?
-Emily McDaniel

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