Friday, 18 January 2019

Twilight by: Stephenie Meyer: Re-read Review + Discussion

Hi all! I know it's been a while since I've posted. I just started winter term, and to be honest, I just kinda forgot to write blog posts. But, I'm back with a re-read review of a book that I actually had to read for a course, and that is Twilight. Now looking at the book in a critical sense, I think I have enough tools to write a review and discuss it, and I'm looking to do this with all of the YA books I'm going to read for this course as well. I find it all rather fascinating.

Genre: YA fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Published:
Pages:
Rating: 4/5 stars (but not without faults; I'll explain it all!)



Introverted tomboy Bella Swan has just moved in with her dad in the rainy town of Forks, Washington. After failing to fit in with the bubbly students at school, she soon becomes enthralled by one particular student, Edward Cullen, and his tight-knit family who all harbour a dangerous secret: they are vampires. As Bella and Edward grow closer together, Bella moves farther away from the human world, and becomes more immersed in the world of fantastical creatures she never knew existed.

When I first read this book, I hated it. I found it boring and cheesy, which is weird considering I was ten years old. Perhaps I age backwards. When I picked up this book again, I flew through it, because I found it incredibly entertaining and a huge pick me up after a hefty number of reading slumps. Now, I'm not saying that this book is free from problematic elements, and is the perfect representation of romance. However, I would be lying if I said that I didn't enjoy the book. It just seemed like exactly the thing I needed after a pretty anxiety filled winter break and a need for escapism. So, we end up with a pretty positive rating, but some worthy criticism to bring up.

I think we should get one thing out of the way first, and that is that I am Team Jacob in the first two books, and Team Edward in the last two. Both males seem pretty unlikable otherwise. Edward is wise beyond his years but in a creepy way, which makes him seem more like a father figure to Bella rather than a lover. (My professor brought up some Freudian analysis in this lecture that blew my mind). I found Edward's dialogue the funniest, because he just seems so pretentious the entire time. Even though I didn't necessarily take this book seriously, I still enjoyed it in the way that I interpreted it nonetheless.

I actually find Bella pretty misunderstood in this book. Everyone is so quick to judge her, however she is a sheltered teenaged girl forced to move into a community she does not want to be apart of. I think she found a true family structure in the Cullen's, and for that, I don't blame her for falling in love with Edward so fast.

Jacob was adorable in this book, again, not saying he's perfect, but he has a lot of innocence in the first two novels that made him my favourite character. I think all of the werewolves are pretty likable characters, minus the whole imprinting thing. But we'll save that discussion for the later books.

I think the reason I have found to really enjoy the series this time around is because I have matured enough to know the problematic elements and to certainly not ignore them, but I have also been able to recognize that this romance should not be taken seriously. I read these books not expecting to swoon over the romance, and because of this, I just found it overall entertaining and perfect to cozy up with on a cold winter day. I didn't go into it expecting to be moved, instead, I allowed myself to just have fun with it and laugh at the parts I knew were meant to be written as serious.

I hope this review makes sense. What I'm saying is, I know the books aren't perfect, but because I recognized that, I enjoyed them more. We'll be getting into more hefty discussion over the rest of the series, as characters change and my professor goes into more detail.

Have you read Twilight? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess


19 comments:

  1. I totally agree with you, Em! I read Twilight for the first time back in 2015, so definitely after the hype, when everyone was already picking the problematic elements of the books. And though Twilight couldn't be further from an ideal love story, I still thought it was very fun! I really liked Edward as a character in the books; he sounded like an old man, indeed, but I find him to be witty and funny. I was definitely surprised by how much I liked him, since movie Edward was always weird for me.
    I also really appreciate the "mythology" created by Stephanie Perkins, like the myths behind the existence of werewolves, the background stories for the other vampires, the Volturi... I think it's very well done. Even if it's not the best world building in the world, as the book does focus a lot more in the romance, I was still very interested in the world & and all the back stories.
    Anyway, can't wait to read more of your discussions for all the books you have to read for your course.

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    1. Definitely! I loved the mythological elements, as well as the legends from Jacob’s pack. I think that Jacob is generally more likeable, at least to me, than Edward, because Edward always sounds so condescending. I mean, I get he’s 107, but the way he talked really annoyed me. Thanks Lais!

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  2. I got into the Twilight series a long time ago, and honestly have a hate-love relationship with the books. While they hook me in every time and I have re-read them (a lot), I still will always dislike Bella quite a bit. She's just that one kind of character that I am unable to love afterwards. It's weird because any other kind of character I can somewhat care about- but Bella was always very hard for me.
    Now in the first book, I did like Bella. But with the rest of the series...no. She changed a bit to where I hated her decisions and thoughts.

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    1. I definitely agree that Bella gets worse as the series goes on. I hated her in Breaking Dawn, but I think she’s reasonable in the earlier novels.

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    2. In the first one I had pretty much no problems with her, and for most of New Moon she was pretty good too.

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  3. I was thinking about re-reading it actually! I read the series around 17 and loved them, but then sort of grew out of them. I know there are some really fun things about the books though, so I've still kept my copies to revisit at some time.

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    1. I would definitely recommend re reading them! I got rid of my copy so I had to borrow them but I wished I had kept them because they’re great books to return to!

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  4. You should watch Alex Meyer's YouTube videos on the Twilight movies, they're hilarious! ;)

    I always wonder if I'm forgetting something when Bella's described as a tomboy - I can't remember her being either a)outdoorsy or b) athletic/sporty, and I don't know what other definition you'd use! :)

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    1. I’ll check them out, thanks! I think the fact that Bella always hated shopping, jewlery, and “girly” things is what labelled her as a tomboy by everybody. But, we were talking in class how her being labelled as a tomboy was taken as a feminist move, but that’s kinda stupid considering the book basically shames the girly girls in the book and takes the tone that they’re anti-feminist. Not sure why “girly” girls can’t be labelled as feminist. *shrugs*

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    2. I think that it also implies that you can't like shopping and jewellery, etc. AND not be stereotypically 'girly' - it weirdly reinforces gender roles instead of subverting them!

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  5. It must have been so interesting to discuss Twilight in class - I wish we tackled contemporary novels in our classes, but no such lack. I fully agree about Bella being sheltered and then being lost in this new community that, as you said, she doesn't even want to be a part of. For a long time, I thought of how unfair it is that people hate on Bella, when, let's be honest, there are far worse characters in there. But something that came to my mind just now as I was reading your post is how stressful it must be for a sheltered teen used to rely on her mom to have to live with all the expectations the other characters have for her. Her mom obviously wants her to be happy, so she kinda acts it, her dad wants her to feel at home, her friends are a weird bunch - the guys who hit on her have other girls interested in them. And then don't even get me started on how she looks and sees perfection when she looks at the Cullens. IT IS A LOT OF EXPECTATIONS. If I could only wish for one thing to be changed in these novels, it'd be this: for Bella to become her own person, make her own choices and for those around her to support her. I mean, ffs, she has to compromise with Edward and MARRY HIM, which she is NOT comfortable with at that time (!!!) to be turned into a vampire. Anyway, this was a great post, Em! :)

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    1. I totally agree with everything you said!! It’s really annoying because our class discussions almost always revolve around Bella hate, when really she was manipulated into every decision and never got her own way! Don’t even get me started on the marriage part, that was not cool on Edward’s part.

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  6. Wow. This insightful review has changed my perspective on the novel: I took everything at face value/for entertainment because I also read it at a young age. I think I might pick up the book again and consult your notes/review.
    http://pagesofwonderland.blogspot.com/

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    1. I’m glad you liked my review! Thanks for stopping by, Vivien!

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  7. I love how you say that you can read it while acknowledging the problems, but at the same time just enjoy it for what it is: light escapism. Personally, I don't like Twilight, but it is definitely relaxing reading. And I've always loved the Cullen siblings - they're the best part of the series for me. I adore Rosalie, Jasper and Alice! Meyer definitely knew how to make characters vivid.

    I'm not Team Edward or Team Jacob, I admit ;) Both are misogynistic abusers who treat Bella terribly (#sorrynotsorry lol).

    Brilliant post Emily!

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    1. I guess it really is just light escapism. I don’t really like any of the Cullens except for Jasper, I much rather preferred the werewolf pack, but I see your point on both Jacob and Edward being problematic at some point.

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  8. I'm always scared to pick up a book I once loved but have since learnt of problematic elements, but you make me think it may not be so bad after all. I devoured this series back when it was all the rage and I do so wonder what I'd think of it as present-day Ruzaika ahahah. Loved this post, Emily! Quite nostalgic.

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    1. Present-day Emily was definitely a lot more critical, but I think it's fun to view books in a different light once you've matured a bit more. I can definitely still enjoy some nostalgia and entertainment while still being aware of it's issues! Thanks Ruzaika :)

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