Twilight and First Love

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?

Until the library delivers New Moon, Book II of the Twilight Series and other books on my To Be Read List, I’m off to enjoy movie night.

19 thoughts on “Twilight and First Love”

  1. I hadn’t thought about the age thing as much as you. I was too distracted by Bella’s certainty that it was true love when she barely knew the guy! (Can we say true lust?) Still, it was a fun book to read. 🙂 I’ll be interested in your review of New Moon…a lot of bloggers seemed to think it didn’t live up to Twilight, so I’ve been avoiding it.

  2. One of my friends is called Edward Cullen and he kinda looks like a vampire with the dark hair and pale skin:P And the description of Edwar in the book is very like my friend.

  3. My agent had a young lady writer who wrote fiction about vampires. She used her real name, and pretty soon folks were knocking on her door at night wanting to go hunt vampires! She now writes under a pen name.

    -Dr. B

  4. omg just cuz he is 100 years old doesnt mean that he has that maturity level. u just ruined the book for me =( lol jk i still love it. but maybe he is still technichly a seventeen year old even though he is like 100

  5. i am ecstatic that you enjoyed the book… i’m only sixteen (seventeen in like, two weeks) so i was looking for someone with a few more years on me and hear their take on it. i am absolutely in love with this book, and i’m really glad you’ve decided to read new moon. i thought it was interesting too about the age gap, and often wondered if Edward found Bella childish at all, or if it’s kind of a father-daughter relationship. but that would be weird between them, so i chose not to think about that one too much. I just assumed that since Edward was 17 when Carlisle changed him, he could hold on to his youth through the century, you know? Obviously he wouldn’t be completely exempt from the effects of the time, but maybe he’s just better at being younger than the rest of his family. 😛 eclipse is better in my opinion, but maybe that’s just because i know Edward is better than Jacob. 🙂 can’t wait for the movie. 😀

  6. I live in a small town and almost everyone here has read the book. Every other person that i talk to has read the book. I’m so exicited that I can talk to someone sbout this book! FINNALY! I am extactic!

  7. Like the review. Just wanted to share one quick thing:

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this already, but to the Edward age thing on the Twilight Lexicon
    There’s a question that’s similar to yours, with an answer that I thought might be interesting.

    “You’ve said that when someone becomes a vampire, they sort of “freeze” where they are mentally. Is Edward emotionally still 17? He refers to the other teens as “children”, but does he feel any affinity with them? Does he think of Bella as a child, and if so, does this have any impact on his attraction to her? Like, does he find her childish or juvenile at all?

    A. Edward is emotionally and intellectually more adult than a modern seventeen-year-old, due to the times in which he lived. In his world, he was old enough to be considered a man. People his age were getting married and beginning their lives. He was about to join the military and go fight in the Great War. Developmentally, he was an adult. So he is able to understand and absorb this century he’s lived through, to gain perspective from it.
    This perspective is what makes him think of his classmates as children, coupled with the fact that they are so helpless in comparison with himself. The vampires do have a bit of a superiority complex, heh heh. However, Edward still is a teenage boy in many ways. This is his first experience with romantic love, his first kiss, just as it is for Bella. He thinks of Bella as just one of the “children” until he becomes interested in her. Then he begins to learn how mature she is for her age, just like him…”

  8. To answer your question about the age thing, that is a point she brings up in the book, at one point edward tells bella that she does not seem like 17, and she replies her mom said she was born 35 and kept getting middle aged, its a one of the things about bella is that she is very grown up and mature for her age, again another reason edward whom being over 100 can be a match for her mentally as well has physically : ) yeah im a bit into the books

  9. If you asked me any line in any three of the books I would know it in a heartbeat. I really don’t mind the age difference between Bella and Edward becaause although normally this age difference would normally odd, there really isn’t much that’s traditional about them anyway right?

  10. ahh! im only 12 i read this book twice!
    in THREE days Im in love ! I askedmy crush is there anyway you can be a vampire he laughed and said maybee! =D ! omg i love EDWARD CULLEN !

  11. I read all three books, and though I bought the books for my daughter to read, I fell in love with the series. There is no law that says you have to be a young adult to enjoy Stephenie Meyer’s take on teen drama, love, lust, whatever you want to call it, but a woman of any age will be able to identify with the longing to be loved in the way Edward loves Bella, unconditionally and with all of his existence. It will be interesting to see how it comes to life on December 12.

  12. i loveeee twilight, i read it in 1 day i had borrowed it from my friend, i went home and bought new moon on amazon and i had to wait a week for it to come and i’m going through withdrawl. it was the best book i’ve ever read! do i dazzle you? you think i lifted a van off you? his tone questioned my sanity!!!

  13. im pretty sure i am not going to get married because i have fallen in love with a fictional character,,, Edward Cullen. he is mine. ❤

  14. I think the entire issue with the fact that Edward has been 17 for like… 74 years I think it was is not an issue at all. Like it said with werewolves imprinting, and how it could happen with any age, it happens the same with vampires.

    And it seems that the relationship between Bella and Edward goes beyond just romance, he really does act as her protector.

  15. mmmm your right,,, even though it creeped me out the first time it mentioned that edward was like …. anchent 🙂

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