As promised yesterday, as soon as I’ve finished Twilight, I’ll deliver a book review that will put the best Amazon reviews to shame. Then I realized that I’m not an apt book reviewer. I tend to zero in on the specific parts of the book that I find interesting and discard the synopsis entirely. So do not think of the following post as a review, rather, think of it as a reaction.
I love Twilight. Even though I’m twenty-three, I completely related to the story’s seventeen-year-old heroine Bella Swan, which is a tribute to Stephenie Meyer’s skill as a writer and storyteller. Think of the obsession this book would have generated had I read it in my teen years! When I was a teenager, my literary tastes centered around three genres: horror, romance, and history. Twilight hits, to an extent, all three categories.
Much of Twilight is devoted to Bella’s crush on Edward Cullen, the handsome classmate who happens to be…a vampire. I think Meyers does a superb job at capturing the essence of the teen crush: Bella wakes up giddy and on edge in the anticipation of seeing Edward, she scans the cafeteria every lunch hour for him, she notices every move he makes, she’s memorized his entire wardrobe and takes note of how every color looks good on him, she wishes he would look at her but when she walks by him, she can’t look him in the eye for fear of blushing. She feels compelled to stare at him from across the cafeteria, but when he does catch her eye, she drops her head and feigns an intense interest in her food. Her senses are heightened and fine tuned to only his presence. Everything reminds her of him: a name in a book, a song, a movie. She can’t concentrate on her school work. Sound familiar? These are universal teen crush symptoms; I remember having them and I’m willing to bet all my aces that a teenage girl would immediately recognize herself in Bella.
Eventually, Edward and Bella fall in love. Despite the supernatural spin, Edward and Bella’s love story reminds me of Judy Blume’s Forever (another book that I read in my early twenties but I wished I read as a teenager because it would have helped…in many ways). Bella thinks her love for Edward is forever; she wants him to turn her into a vampire because she is convinced that her love for him won’t fade. Edward refuses: is their love really forever? She’s 17. He’s over 100; he knows that young love is fickle and forever is a long time.
Which brings about another question: how does a 100 year old man fall in love with a 17 year old girl?
Now, this question did bother me while reading the novel, but it in no way lessened my enjoyment of it. The age difference is a perpetual glitch in the vampire-human romance. I questioned it while Buffy was on air and I question it now. Consider this: I’m 23 and I would never going out with a 17 year old. Yes, because there are …ahem…laws to be considered, but I think, for my own selfish reasons, our conversations would bore me to tears; he’d better be one mature 17 year old! So, in context of the novel, what would Edward Cullen, who is well over 100, but doesn’t look a day over 17, have in common with a teenager? Their minds are not on same level. He’s been through the entire 20th century—you would think he’d at least pretend to be a freshman in college so he can leave campus during lunchtime or sleep in during classes. Remember how they use to lock us in like cattle during high school? Why subject yourself to that again?
Edward Cullen was unlucky: he got turned into a vampire when he was 17. He’s too young in appearance to get a real job, too young to drink, too young to date older women. So maybe his only alternative is to date a teenage girl?
All philosophy aside, I couldn’t emphasize enough how much I’ve enjoyed this book. I’ve been looking for another series to get into, and revisiting familiar characters is like visiting an old friend. I finished Twilight this morning; since I have no other books in my general vicinity, I’m feeling a little disoriented without something to read. I’m the kind of person who needs to read all the time or if I’m not reading, I’ve got to be writing or watching a movie. My life, I believe, needs fiction in order to function. Most people never read—-how can they stand it?