Contrary to popular belief, I really DO try to live my life without too much hate. I’d rather focus on things that I love (my family & friends, my dog, politics, writing, nail polish, funny & sassy books written by amazing women, tv shows that make me laugh, etc.) than on things that I hate.
But once in awhile, something comes along that I have such a physical & visceral reaction to that I can’t help but write (i.e. complain) about it.
Today’s rant is brought to you by this
If you know me, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of one of my hate-fueled Twilight (the book and the movie) rants. I make no bones about my feelings for Bella, Edward and company: I can’t stand them.
I read the books—well, two and a half. I was halfway through Eclipse and realized that I was actively rooting against EVERY CHARACTER in the book (with the exception of Jacob, sassy Jessica, and Bella’s dad, Charlie. To quote my girl, Jen Lancaster I’m Team Bella’s Dad!) so I had to stop the insanity. I never finished it and never picked up Breaking Dawn. I never considered my life incomplete.
Today, however, with the incessant buzz about the new movie (even my beloved Entertainment Weekly had those bozos on the cover!), I wondered if maybe I was missing something. Maybe I had been too stubborn in my hatred and really just needed to give it another chance. I was “breaking down” (see! see what I did! I made a really awful pun of an awful book!). Armed with only my pride (and a very large diet coke), I sat down with a copy of Breaking Dawn. I was determined to give it a fair shake.
I made it thirty WHOLE pages before I physically couldn’t take anymore and had to stop or my eyes would become permanently attached to the back of my head (and they hurt from the constant rolling). Thirty pages in and I remembered why I hated all of the characters (minus Charlie Swan! Team Bella’s Dad!) and wanted to get Bella into a very serious deprogramming rehabilitation program (she drank the vampire kool aid BIG TIME, folks). I couldn’t help but pull out my phone to check the definition of “stockholm syndrome” and realized that Bella was (is?) a textbook case.
Some people (including family members that I love dearly!) cannot understand why I drink the Twilight haterade. My answer? Have you READ the books? Or seen the movie? There is so much to dislike and hate on!
My first beef was with the book itself. I’m alllll about people reading. I love to read and probably have read a book or two a week since I was a kid (I’m really not kidding). Obviously not all of them were gems. I’ve read some really awful and terrible books. Some waaaay worse than anything Stephanie Meyer had written. But none of those terrible books have the cult-like devotion that fans of Twilight have.
I’m all about liking a book,even if it’s terrible (I do own almost every Babysitters Club book ever written). But I have to draw the line at obsessive behavior over a creepy antihero (but more on that later). Mostly, I have a problem with people thinking Twilight is some great fantastic piece of literature or an eternal love story. Let’s call a spade a spade: it’s a Harlequin Romance Novel (minus all the sexy bits) for adolescent girls and emotionally starved women. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.
I’ll hand it to Stephanie Meyer for tapping into a market that had been drying up for some time. When I was a teenager, we had Sweet Valley High and boy bands. As stated before, I spent much of my pre-teen and early teen years convinced I was going to be Mrs. Nick Carter. I don’t fault girls for having a crush…but this OBSESSION with Edward Cullen goes beyond my schoolgirl crush. It delves into Charles Manson Family territory. Scary stuff.
But my appreciation for Meyer ends there. I think she’s a terrible terrible TERRIBLE writer. She has no sense of how to develop a likable main character (I’m convinced she accidentally made Jacob likable. There’s no other explanation) and has no concept of how to move or even start a plot. Her characters are flat and one-dimensional. I have no reason to like (or even relate) to Bella. Bella is a “perfect” character if you think about it. She has no real faults, other than she’s clumsy. Seriously. That’s it (and that in itself is a MAJOR cop out). She whines her way through four books (five movies) waiting for someone to save her. She never even considers saving herself. She meets Edward maybe twice and then in hopelessly and eternally “in love” with him. Yeah. At age 16 she is “hopelessly and irrevocably in love with him.” How about you graduate from high school first, Bells. Maybe go to college, date a guy who doesn’t think your scent is like a “drug to him,” get a job, maybe move out of your dad’s house? Just a thought.
Anyway, besides Bella being incredibly stupid, I also have a problem with Edward “Ike Turner” Cullen. I know, I know, he’s not physically abusive like Ike Turner, but I couldn’t come up with anyone else. Edward is supposedly based on the triumvirate of old school male love interests (and many a girl, including this one’s, literary crushes) Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride & Prejudice, Edward Rochester (whom E. Cullen actually shares a name) from Jane Eyre and (my personal favorite) Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables (and the rest of the Anne books).
Seriously, who can forget this scene from Anne of Green Gables?
Anne and Gil meet for the first time. And Anne does NOT fall hopelessly and eternally in love with him (that doesn’t happen until, like, the end of the THIRD book). He teases her by calling her “Carrots” and she breaks a slate on his head. Sassy, feisty and independent, that one. I was totally smitten with Gilbert (in the books AND the movies)—and why wouldn’t I be? He was nice to Anne (without being creepy or stalky), was her FRIEND first (for a looooong time), encouraged her to go out and follow her dreams and was a-ok with letting her go (hoping that after she’d been around the world, or at least Canada, she’d come back. Guess what. She did.) Lucy Maud Montgomery created a lovely romance between two people that made sense and that you rooted for. But I digress. My love for Anne & Gil is a post for another day.
This is about why I think Edward is terrible. Besides being annoying (seriously? the brooding? didn’t like it with Mr. Darcy, certainly don’t like it with you), he’s also way possessive and stalker-y (breaking into her house and watching her sleep for months? That’s not sweet. That’s a FELONY). You would think that in a hundred or so years he would have picked up on the what-not-to-do’s when courting (Oh, God. Did I just say “courting” apparently I’m channeling 1898 Stacey. I apologize) a lady. Hell, he’d be better off asking Leon Phelps for advice than to go with his gut instinct (which, of course, is to be creepy and weird).
The books are terrible, no doubt, but the movies almost make the books look like Pulitzer Prize winners. The awful acting, coupled with atrocious dialogue makes for cringe-inducing filmmaking.
I guess what I don’t understand is WHY? Why are women (and girls) obsessed with this stuff? I understand the need for a good romance novel or a sappy chick flick (Hell, I’m WRITING a chick lit novel!), but I don’t understand the undying and unwavering love for these unlikable characters! I don’t understand people that say “man, I SO ‘get’ Bella”. I don’t…what’s to get? There’s nothing there! She’s a flat character! My DOG is more complex than Bella! (and likely a better actress than Kristen Stewart). And Edward? Oh girls, if I could wrap up Gilbert Blythe, Atticus Finch, Rhett Butler, Nick Carraway, George Knightley, and Theodore “Laurie” Laurence and send them to you, I would.
Anyway, this is getting waaaaaay too long. If you disagree, feel free to comment! I won’t take offense 😉