Saturday, July 18, 2009

Twilight: 3/5

I opened Twilight with very low expectations. A friend of mine warned me how terrible it is, but I decided to keep an open mind. It turns out that "twihards" can be more annoying than the book, as her post ably demonstrates.

I enjoyed the story. It was clever in ways, but nothing remarkable or groundbreaking. Meyer did her research, which I appreciated. She asks the reader to suspend disbelief in a major way but cleverly lets you trust her with the minor things.

The writing itself is either brilliant or savvy. She could be brilliant in the way that Ken Kesey or J.D. Salinger were brilliant: narrating in character. I've never been a melodramatic 17-year-old girl in the throes of teenage romance, but I knew a few. The character was pretty believable in that respect. Maybe not literary or original or whatever, but believable. On the other hand, Meyer could be a savvy writer, writing a story that takes advantage of her limited talent or skill. If Meyer's skill is equivalent to a high school junior's, then more power to her for finding an outlet that lets her make a ton of money taking advantage of it.

Would I recommend it? Let me answer with an illustration. I've often asked my parents if they remember this or that pop culture icon from their young adulthood. They frequently told me they were too cool for this or that. (M*A*S*H and The Twilight Zone are the only exceptions.) So if you want to tell your kids you were there when Edward kissed Bella the first time, read it. If you're too cool for that, don't.


Yee said...

Jeremy! I'm hideously disappointed in you. After all that sound and fury over the social Darwinism in "Slumdog Millionaire", you missed all the awful in "Twilight". I'm going to pray that you're just being nice or something.

You've already read my main beefs with the book, but here's a hilarious breakdown of how often Ms. Meyer (oops, I mean *Bella*) talks about Edward's gloriousness:

And here's a spoiler for the last book of the series (presented in a hilarious, fantastic way, naturally):

Yeah... Now tell me that it has any literary merit. UGH.

Jeremy Masten said...

Wait a minute . . . who said anything about literary merit? Slumdog Millionaire was a lot better than Twilight (not difficult), but it had much higher expectations to live up to. Like I said, I opened the book expecting really, really bad things. There was a lot of talk about Edward's gloriousness---particularly undescriptive, I would add---but I chose to chalk it up to her writing in character. The story itself has the quality of a good old-fashioned love story: nothing new or groundbreaking, the cliche done very well. I can respect somebody who masters the cliche. (For example, some of Stephen King's stuff slips into cliche horror, but he usually pulls it off masterfully.)

So "literary merit"? Eh . . . I will be surprised if anybody reads these books fifty years from now. But, like Nina said on Facebook, it was a good mindless read.

And I want to be able to tell my kids I was there when Edward first kissed Bella when they see it on VH1's "I Love the 2000s."

Yee said...

As long as you recognize the complete lack of literary merit, Jeremy, I guess I can forgive you. :)

I have to say though - I've been a teenaged girl in love and I have *never* gone all squishy inside because of the guy's fabulous *handwriting*.

Maybe I'm just a coldhearted bitch though. ("Duh, Sarah...")

Jeremy Masten said...

If you've never gone all squishy inside over a fella's handwriting, you are clearly a coldhearted bitch. (:<

Micah said...

If one of the smartest people that I know has gone over to the proverbial "dark side", then the cause is lost. The apocalypse is inevitable. I'll be in my bomb shelter if you need me.