I’ve finished the rest of the Twilight series. After this I’ll post some comments on each of the other three books.
First of all, let me admit that I did mostly enjoy reading them, which is pretty amazing considering that I hated a lot of the characters, situations, and plot developments. I really don’t like the heroine Bella very much, and I like her dullard vampire boyfriend Edward even less. She’s difficult in arbitrary ways that are never adequately justified (chiefly: she wants to become a vampire to be with her boyfriend forever, but she doesn’t want to get married because what would the neighbors say?). She’s not so much masochistic and suicidal as passive and codependent. She wishes she were beautiful but she hates dressing up. Meanwhile he’s somehow remained not only a virgin but romantically inert since he was born, despite living 17 years as a human at a time when that seemed older than it does today. He exhibits almost no inner life apart from being in love with Bella, so that we eagerly welcome the rare passages when he shows off as a musician and a literary critic. She loves him because he’s gorgeous and saves her life a time or two. He loves her because she smells delicious.
And yet Meyer hooked me. For me, it wasn’t about the wish fulfillment; at first I was a little envious of the clear, relatively uncomplicated romance, but it quickly became so over-the-top that I could no longer suspend disbelief. It’s not about the supernatural adventure; Meyer keeps all the most dramatic action sequences offstage and candidly admits on her own website that she isn’t into “Hamlet endings” where lots of characters die, so there’s not much adventure to be had. It’s true that killing off characters is a cheap and dirty way to raise the stakes, and it’s not as though this makes us happy. But we recognize that real life has consequences, and Meyer’s are usually pretty limited. So I’m not sure what I was responding to, unless it was the obvious love and warmth Meyer feels toward her characters. Many more literary authors have lost me because I could feel their clinical attitudes toward the stick figures they were writing about, and because they didn’t care, neither did I.
However, there are a million things that bothered me about the books, and someone named Cleolinda covers pretty much all of them and then some in her Livejournal.