Monday, February 14, 2011

Book Nook - Twilight

I figured with this being Valentine's Day, a romance would be the best theme for this week's Book Nook book.  I actually don't read a lot of romance novels, but every so often do, or come across a book with a strong romantic theme.  Anyway, I know Twilight isn't just a romance, but that's really a huge part of it, so here goes.

I first read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer about 2 years ago, just as the 4th book in the series was being published.  I was curious to see what all the fuss was about.  The story (you probably already know it) is about 17 year old Bella Swan who falls for handsome, mysterious Edward Cullen.  Turns out Edward is a vampire with conflicted feelings for her - he is falling in love with her, but also has an intense desire for her blood.  Edward and his vampire family are "vegetarians" & don't prey on humans, but not all vampires that make their way into their town of Forks, Washington are so concerned for human safety.  This is where the real trouble begins.

Bella & Edward's romance is completely absorbing.  We see the story from Bella's point of view (if you want Edward's, check out the draft of Midnight Sun here).  Reading the story, you can't help but want more - this is just the book to keep you up until 3:00 in the morning (just one more chapter, then I'll go to bed)!  And then, you'll want to launch into the 2nd book of the series (New Moon) immediately after you put down Twilight.  I would recommend having all 4 books lined up, ready to go!

The Twilight series is so hugely popular, but it does have its naysayers.  I've read negative things about Stephenie's Meyers' writing abilities; bad things about Bella as a weak protagonist; bad things about Edward as a moody stalker.  Personally, I think that if my daughters want to read the novels (once they are old enough, of course!) I'll need to have a little chat with them about real love & real boys & real life because it's very easy to get wrapped up in the romance & I can see how young teens could come to expect this as the norm.  It's far from it in many ways.  On the topic about the negatives, I also felt like there were a little too many damsel-in-distress scenarios (something that feminists have slammed the book for).  I almost stopped reading it all together after the scene where Edward swoops Bella up after she faints from the blood typing experiment in class.  But, I'm really glad I persevered because I think the story picks up a lot after that point.  Also, one last point of contention: in the latter part of the story, there are several references to a parent/child relationship - he picked me up like a child, he cradled me in his lap, he clasped me into the Jeep, etc.  I found these references a little creepy actually & was surprised they were there.  Maybe I read too much into them, but there were several & I thought the same thing each time I came across them: these scenarios should be phrased way differently!

Despite my little complaints, it's a gripping, absorbing, page-turning, compelling story.  I just re-read Twilight again to see if I loved it as much as the first couple of times I read it, 2 years ago.  It did.  Good thing I have New Moon waiting for me!  It seems like people either love Twilight or hate it.  This Valentine's Day, I suggest reading it & letting yourself fall prey to its charms. 


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