Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Deliciously Reviewed: "Twilight"

One of the most popular YA (young adult) books in years, the Twilight series has never once caught my attention. Sure, I've seen it at the bookstore but the cover is something my eyes would never stop on. I couldn't have even told you the title.

Then three people in two days mentioned the book. Of course there is plenty of furor over the upcoming Twilight movie, but clueless as I am to the outside world, I had no idea.

My wonderful friend, Amanda, and her fam came over for dinner on Saturday bearing yummy cake and the first two books in the Twilight series. I started Twilight that night -- 500 pages and 36 hours later, I finished it.

Could not put it down! Fantastic story! Irresistible. Humorous. Suspenseful (but not in a bad way). Romantic (pg rated).

17 and clumsy, Bella Swan moves to the Washington coastline to live with her father. Her first day of school brings the usual fears, but also an unusual biology lab partner -- Edward, the most beautiful young man she's ever seen. After months of mixed signals and several convenient "rescues" by Edward, they form a unique and intense relationship.

The story follows Bella and Edward through compromise, understanding, sacrifice and a profound love possible, but not usually felt, in those so young.

High five to author Stephenie Meyer for her character depth. Bella is multi-faceted and tangible, a very real person in every sense of the word. Edward has a personality to rival any living human, plus also the mysterious and extending characteristics of a (hopefully) mystical being.

Aside from her appreciable development of characters, Meyer's writing was basic. Not bad, mind you, but definitely tailored to the young adult set with no attempt at expanding their knowledge of literary style.

Here's what I didn't care for too much in the book... Bella, as I mentioned, is clumsy. Not just a little bit, but extraordinarily so. If any real person had as many accidents as Bella does, he/she would be undergoing serious medical testing for possible causes. Completely unrealistic, but certainly convenient to the story line.

Because of Edward's limitations, Bella must put aside her own needs and wants -- physical, emotional and cognitive. She doesn't question, or mind, doing so because she loves him so intensely. I can't help but think that this may send the wrong message to the readers who, please remember, are tweens and teens who are inclined to think everything they feel as intense as Bella's feelings for Edward.

Then there's also the Prince Charming syndrome -- you know, boy repeatedly saves girl. This doesn't bother me so much because it is such a common theme in past and current stories. I think it's lost much of it's importance -- there is a fantastic amount of "Girl Power" expanding through media and toy outlets. I guess I like to believe that we can preserve antiquated story themes just as we can preserve antiquated furniture, linens and tools.

None of this was so prevalent as to detract from the story line, but as an adult critiquing a YA novel... well, they're just food for thought and tools for expanding my own writing expertise.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Great Description of the book, Mom!