Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cannonball Read #26: Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

Full disclosure:
  1. Most of what I previously knew about Twilight, I learned from the Bumper Sticker application on Facebook.
  2. What I learned about it via that route made me scared, vaguely hostile and confused.
  3. That information included: Edward Cullen is a vampire. Edward drives a silver Volvo. Edward is sparkly. Someone named Jacob is involved. There are a lot of teenage girls with seriously unbalanced approaches to their love lives.
  4. I have poked a lot of fun at Twilight without having read it.
  5. I felt kind of bad about that.
Luckily, I no longer have to feel bad about it, because every single last swipe I took at this stupid ass book was 100% justified and dead on. Oh my God, what a waste of paper...LOTS of paper, too, I mean, this is probably the book that's going to make Tolkien a prophet. I see someone reading laughable sections of this tripe out loud under a tree, and the tree will hear it and be like "yo, my neighbors got hacked down so people could print THIS shit on their dead, pulped carcasses? FUCK THAT NOISE," and then the next thing you know all the trees achieve Ent-style sentience and are headed for Meyer's publisher reading to wreck shop. I say right the fuck on. This book is offensive to such a broad swath of my sensibilities I hardly know where to start.

Let's start with the more clinical problems, shall we? How about the horrible fucking writing? When it's not just straight up boring and unimaginative prose (which would just render it a mildly boring but inoffensive beach book), it's completely over-comma-ed with superfluous phrases all over the joint. I give you this gem: "I quickly rubbed my hand across my cheek, and sure enough, traitor tears were there, betraying me." The reason for the crying is as stupid as the crappy writing but I assure you, we will get to that soon enough. Here's the thing...traitors? Betray. That is the nature of a traitor. Adding "betraying me" at the end doesn't make you sound deep or soulful, it makes you sound unfamiliar with what your chosen adjective is. This is a constant problem in Meyer's book; she just doesn't know where to stop. If not for those last two words, that sentence wouldn't be nearly as horrid - it would still be dumb in context, but again, that's content - but in a lame attempt to add...whatever to her piece, Meyer adds all this extraneous crap that just clunks along, sucking the bag as it goes.

Also, this book is actually about 200 pages. If you shucked off all the repetitive junk she's packed into this behemoth, it would be a trim, quick read. But no, we need to hear nine thousand times the most boring details of Bella Swan's braindead high school life. Ohhhhh boys like her but she's in love with Edward. Ohhhh her friends are drama queens. And lest we forget the most important theme - Edward being dangerous. Let me do you a favor:

"I'm so dangerous! But I can't stay away. Even though I am dangerous."
"I don't care! I'm too retarded to comprehend the threat you pose to me! Plus you are pretty!"
"But I am DANGEROUSLY pretty. I constantly want to cause you harm - it is my nature. Stay away! But don't leave me."
"I will never leave you! I am a hazard to myself and others, as evidenced by the fact that I fall down a lot! Also you may have heard that I am an idiot!"
"You cannot be trusted to save I must save you. From myself. Because I am dangerous. BUT I CANNOT STAY AWAY."

There you go. That is the whole fucking book. I just saved you 498 pages and several non-refundable hours of your life. Feel free to send presents to me any time. The amount of time and ink completely wasted in the process of relaying the same thought over and fucking over again is absolutely staggering. In The Club Dumas, one of the characters mentions the cheapness of modern bookbindings and how we have all these aged relics but today's writing will eventually disappear because we didn't treat it with respect? Yeah, well, THANK GOD, in this case. Our posterity would destroy the social order and start from scratch if they found out we read - and in some cases, FREAKED OUT OVER - this crap.

Most of all, though, this book pokes me right in the feminist. It is 2009, people. No one has to waste time on simpering and fainting daintily. And yet THIS is what we offer up to young women as the model of a great relationship. Let me be clear with you, ladies...this is not a good relationship. This is ABUSE. This is a situation that calls for a restraining order. If some dude is coming into your room at night unannounced to watch you sleep (particularly, I should note, if this person has spent about 150 pages telling you how dangerous to you he is because he wants to drink your blood), that is not romantic, it is STALKING. If he treats you like you're incapable of functioning, you need to tell him to go pound sand and remind him that you somehow managed to live before you met him. If he orders you around and sometimes physically restrains you in order to get his way? CALL THE FUCKING POLICE.

Christ on a bike, this is the stuff that makes me want to go have a hysterectomy. And lest we forget - it's not just teenage girls who love this stuff and idolize Edward. Oh no no no. You know how I came to have a copy of this to read? My Mom's idiot book club is reading it, because all the ladies just loooooove it (My Mom disagrees, thank the dear sweet Lord. You know why? Because my Mom is awesome). What grown woman looks at this situation and says anything except "yo...that's fucked up"????

And did I mention this part?: "I knew I was far too stressed to sleep, so I did something I'd never done before. I deliberately took unnecessary cold medicine - the kind that knocked me out for a good eight hours."

Or the part where Edward is STILL all So Dangerous, But Cannot Stay Away on page, like...400?

What a waste of time. I understand the draw of this shitshow even LESS now. I didn't even think that was possible. My god. I don't even know what to recommend as an alternative. If you like this stuff, or God forbid, think there's any quality involved, there is literally nothing I can recommend to you that you'd be able to process. around in the yard or something. Ugh.

498 pages


  1. Bravo! I reviewed this not to long ago, and I pretty much agreed. Way too repetitive, very stalkerish, but it has some genuine sounding moments of affection...that get completely shit on every 20 pages or so. I even wrote a Billy Joel parody because of it.

    I hear it gets worse. Much, much worse. Nevertheless, I'm morbidly curious to follow what happens with the rest of the series. (Especially since I'm going to have to read the books/see the movies anyway. My girlfriend likes them, but not in the obsessive way. More in the "they're good books/movies, not a lifestyle" way.)

    Oh, and Harry Potter should have left that fucker Cedric Diggory in the maze to rot. Someone needs to avada kadavra Edward and Bella.

  2. See, I did the same thing you did...I attempted to read it so that I could ridicule it with authority. I couldn't get through it. I didn't like that it was glorifying domestic violence and telling teenage girls that it's ok for you to be in a relationship with someone who scares you because he's pretty. Oh, and the writing is fucking atrocious, although it did give me the glimmer of hope that my pile of shit could actually get published one day.

    It's 2009. Act like it Stephanie, ok?

  3. Ugh, best review ever. You said everything I wanted to about this atrocity of literature.

  4. Glad you read it so now I don't have to. Ew.

  5. "If he orders you around and sometimes physically restrains you in order to get his way? CALL THE FUCKING POLICE."

    Wrong answer. Shoot the fucker in the head, even if you do live in Massachusetts. When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.