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November 08, 2012

Comments

Annika

Amen! Thank you! Well said! I couldn't agree more! Shoot. Meyer's must have done something right.

Karen

I proudly tell people that I love the Twilight books. To this day. The girls around me also love them. They're the ones that got me interested in reading them. My sister tried to get me to read them early on, but I didn't want to read a "vampire" book. Little did I know how fun they would be. Stephenie was the first writer I came across when I picked up writing again. She was/is my hero. She was a stay at home Mom like me who came up with a fun story idea. Apparently everyone else thought it was a great story too because it sold like a million copies. :) It's sad that so many disparagers had to come on board and ruin it for those of us who enjoyed the unique story for what it was. Fun. Thank you Shannon and Thank you Stephenie.

Susancolebank

I totally agree with you that there's no need for the hate--a hatred I see against Twilight and Fifty Shades with almost equal vehemence! All because they aren't labeled "Literature," which last time I checked, has its fair share of bluck books.

People who have a gripe about non-literary, hugely successful books are only griping because they wished THEY were the ones being griped about while living in their castles of diamonds and gold. :o)

Mette Harrison

I wish feminism was about women being allowed to make more choices. Clearly, I have stopped believing that is what feminism is about. When I was told that my choice to stay at home with kids meant I couldn't be "feminist" anymore, I decided to find different words for myself.

Rebecca Belliston

Instead of belittling Twilight and Stephenie Meyers, authors should be trying to figure out what she did right. Whatever it was--and I have my theories--she did it amazingly well. She should be applauded for getting millions of non-readers reading again. That alone deserves a great deal of respect. It's funny how snobbery often reeks of jealousy.

Karen Pellett

I honor Stephanie Meyer for her success and say kudos to you. I've read the entire Twilight Series, and even though I have some concerns about what teenage girls might take away from this series, it was a fun read and that Stephanie does a great job capturing what many teenage girls are like.

I love books, and I might not always agree with what authors include in their books, it doesn't change the fact that I honor them for going through the struggle to make the book come to pass.

PS. I love the way both you and Mette wrote out your discussions/frustrations. Well done and thanks for putting my own thoughts and feelings down so eloquently, when I couldn't.

Sherwin Harris

As an ADULT MALE that has read the series, I thought it was well written and thought provoking. I didn't LOVE the series, it's most certainly not my favorite. But it is a good series targeted at young adults. I say the same thing about Harry Potter. Rethinking the current reality into one that isn't too far off the beaten path to be believed but far enough to make you wonder is what makes a book or series compelling. If you can't identify with characters or their motives, you won't enjoy the book. Yes, I detested the over-the-top angst in both Harry Potter and Twilight. But unfortunately, teenage angst is a redundant term. Teenagers are angsty. That is part of why these series have a target audience of YA. As Shannon points out above, love it or hate it, don't comment unless you have read it. If you aren't interested in the series, great; there are MILLIONS of available books to read. Pick something else. You can always be disappointed in something else. Or find an author/series that is your favorite. Stop nit-picking and read something.

Alison

I enjoyed reading Meyer's books, until the last. It really needed an editor, and the actual, final climax and resolution it built up to. It felt like she was too afraid to kill of her characters.
But I do agree - they're her books, and we buy them, so she can do what she wants! The readers may not trust her the next time around, however. I will say that if she writes a Host sequel I'll be the first in line to buy it - it was awesome.

Annie

I think Twilight has become shorthand for "bad writing," which is very unfair. Although I have issues with certain aspects of the series, it's obviously something that touched a lot of readers. If it had been published when I was thirteen, I would have been ALL OVER that series. Heck, even now I wanted to read all four to see what would happen. Even if there are problems in the series, I don't think it's right to sneer at Meyer as if she's some silly person swooning over sparkles.

And honestly, I'm sure a lot of people wish they wrote Twilight, if only because it's a mega-bestseller. Obviously Meyer's doing something right.

Susan

I read Twilight, and honestly, I couldn't see what all the brouhaha was about. I felt that the plot was thin and the writing itself left much to be desired. I did not read any of the books beyond the first as I didn't enjoy that one. With that being said, it makes me angry when women's fiction is dismissed as not being worthy. It is another example of women being demeaned in our culture on a sly, under-the-radar level. Maybe after this election cycle, the powers that be will see that women have opinions that matter!

Jaya Lakshmi

Wow. First comment.

My dislike of Twilight comes more from my reading experience than from the book's quality. Girl meets perfect vampire, I can accept. Girl falls obsessively in love with hot vampire, I can accept. Plot suddenly shifts in last hundred pages? That I can't accept. I had stayed up late to finish to finish Twilight and felt that Meyer had deceived me by twisting the plot so late into the game.

I'm sure Stephanie Meyer is a nice woman and a courteous author, but I can't get past my experience with Twilight and Meg Cabot's humorous send-up of the genre in Insatiable. Maybe someday I can reread the book and not feel unsatisfied.

Amanda Brown

I love what you said about defining our lives by the positive. I never would've thought of tumblr that way, and I think that is a fantastic way of looking at things.

When I read Twilight in high school, I ate it up. I finished the first three books in days, reading in the car and between band practices. I disagreed with some parts, but that didn't bother me. I enjoyed the book for the fast pace at which I could read it and the simple, fun plot. Now, looking back, I can appreciate the negative arguments against the plot and things like that, but I don't think it is right to full heartedly dismiss it as trash. If anyone likes it, then it was worth it for the book to be published. If thousands like it, then you must be missing something. Haha!

I think everyone has the right to dislike things, but somehow it has become acceptable to hate Stephanie Meyer, even for public figures like the author you mentioned. To me, this is being rude and this change of attitude as to what type of comments are acceptable is more disturbing than anything regarding the novel.

Jeanne

In addition to what you've mentioned, I'm also bothered by feedback related to what the series is about. I think anyone who has read it (and paid attention) knows it's more than a story about a teenage girl who falls head-over-heels in love. It's a story of a girl becoming who she's really meant to be. Her insecurities and clumsiness fall away as she becomes the strongest vampire in her new family, one who has truly taken ownership of her gift, her power. Why isn't any of that discussed by feminists? Why don't they see that Edward is as much a sherpa for her as a lover? I continue to be curious about this.

Jenni Elyse

Thank you both for this post. I've been an avid fan of Twilight since 2007. It got me reading. Since then I've read other books, better books. But, I still love Twilight because of its story and how it made me feel for the first when I read.

I love how you both point out that if you haven't read the books, you have no room to talk about their flaws. And, even if you have read the books, it's still just so rude to demean Stephenie Meyer. Oh, wish there weren't people like that in the world because she'd probably still be writing and publishing. I'd love to read more books by her.

Ms. Reader

The book is not anti-feminist because of a baby. It is anti-feminist from the very beginning of book one. Bella’s whole life revolves around whether or not she has a boyfriend. Indeed, she hates her life until she has one, and when she loses him she becomes suicidal until she has a boyfriend again. This is an unhealthy message to send to teens: that your life’s worth can be measured by whether you’re connected to a man romantically.

I don’t hate Meyer because of her success. I don’t demean her. But I can vehemently disapprove of her portrayal of a woman’s role in life.

Alysa (Ruby Diamond)

Recently my brother (also an adult male who has read the series) said, "You know, it makes me sad how people misunderstand Twilight." He was talking about all the hate it gets these days. People willfully misunderstand it, I think in part because of its popularity.

After I finished the book, I simply HAD to have an intelligent conversation about it. I sought out people who had read it, I recommended it to smart people I like to talk to. I really wanted to discuss it and analyze why it was such a compelling read for me.

Anyway, I hope Stephenie publishes more books, so that I can read them. I've heard her mention the possibility of writing under a pseudonym in interviews and things, and I hope that if she does change her moniker that she lets her fans know.

Echo

I think maybe part of the problem is that is is seen as a squishy, girly romance and no one wants to be seen as a softie who reads such things I saw the movie of twilight and while I know that's no way to judge a book, the premise didn't appeal to me. however, I have a friend that loves twilight and I see how cruel it is to make fun of a book that is dear to so many people. I look at how hard it is for my friend and I feel so much sympathy for ms. Meyer. Its hard enough for the people that like the books but for the person that wrote them? it must be brutal.

Michelle McLean

You know, I've heard a lot of people say they don't like Twilight because of the message it sends to girls, because of the way Bella acts toward Edward. But you know, that is the way life is in high school. When my first boyfriend broke up with me, I was beyond devastated. And I mean severely. Just like Bella. My life was over. Even though just the week before I'd been trying to find a way to break up with him! When you are a teenager, you just feel things like that. Everything is life or death, all or nothing. To me, it was relatable.

I think Bella gets a bad rap. Yeah, she's a klutz with bad luck that needs to be rescued from a few dumb mistakes every now and then. Who doesn't?

But...she sacrifices herself to a vampire that wants to torture her in order to save her mother; she dives headlong into a nest of the nastiest vampires on the planet in order to save the man she loves, a man who she believes no longer loves her; she tries to fight along side her vampire and wolf family and when she isn't allowed to fight with them, she does what she can to protect them and then stands her ground and makes Edward sit out.

And in the last book, she again stands her ground, carries her baby against the wishes of EVERYONE else, dies giving birth, and then once a vampire, insists on training to fight so she can protect everyone again. Annnnd she takes steps to save her daughter and Jacob without anyone else knowing about it.

She's not as weak as people make her out to be. Maybe her strengths are just more subtle than some other kickbutt heroines I could name, and a little overshadowed by her overprotective love interests who yes, do occasionally need to pull her out of a sticky mess (which she usually got into by trying to save everyone else).

Dena

I agree with your comments completely. There are so many opinions out there. I have personally met many "haters" of popular book series, Twilight usually being the most hated. Other hated series include the Fallen series, and the Percy Jackson series. Personally, I see these series of books as entertainment. They are mostly clean and harmless. Why put so much effort into hating something that you could just enjoy?

www.book4children.blogspot.com

Emily H

I started reading the Twilight books in middle school and I LOVED THEM. I completely ate them up. But as I transitioned into high school and the books picked up in popularity, with movie deals being announced, etc., I am ashamed to say that I became a Meyer-hater. I let all of the acerbic anti-Twilight girls and all of the mocking high school boys turn me away from my own enjoyment, all because I was going through that (brief!) period in life when I was really, seriously concerned with being cool. And at some point, liking Twilight had become uncool.

I really am ashamed of my stint as a "hater," especially because being a hater shouldn't ever be cool. I know I'm still a teen (19! wooh wooh!), but I like to think that I've grown out of the angsty stage of my life and that I've also grown into the habit of thinking for myself. Looking back, I've returned to appreciating the books simply for their fun story and the joy they can bring to myself and others.

In my more mature, enlightened state of mind ;), I think it's incredibly sad how people so often try to build themselves up by tearing other people down - and I think that's exactly the case with Twilight and all of Meyer's fans. Some people will say anything to try and seem cool, no matter how hateful or hurtful, and it's sadly not just a high school phenomenon. In my opinion, most Twilight-hate derives from people just wanting to make others feel small, so that they can feel better about themselves - people don't seem to realize that this is the very definition of bullying.

I also think that mocking a person for reading a "silly girlish fantasy" is far more anti-feminist than anything that may be hinted at in the Twilight series.

Emily's Reading Room

I read all the Twilight books and didn't enjoy them. Bella was too much of a blank canvas (which is why I think that many women like them, because they can put themselves into her role) for me. And, after I first read them, I spent a lot of time actively mocking them because, well, it seemed easy.

Now, I recognize that we have a problem in this country and maybe the world with people not reading. Why don't they read? Because we belittle their choices when they choose to read. Honestly. I do some freelance work for a local paper. Without fail, I get a comment or two on an article about great YA fiction that will appeal to adults that says something to the effect of, I don't read YA because I like to read real books. This is also the case for "women's fiction." It is deemed as less intellectual, less important. But how can you expect someone who does not have an established habit of reading to pick up Tolstoy or Hawthorne or Hemingway or whatever and actually enjoy it? And why do we have to? Is there something wrong with picking up a book and loving it because it speaks to you and your experiences in some way, no matter how "juvenile" it might be? I say no.

So now when people tell me they liked Twilight, I say, that's great! If you liked those books, here are some others that I think you'll enjoy. Not, here is something better than that garbage.

I guess we all make progress.

Kristin

I haven't read the Twilight series, so I feel a little unsure about commenting. I have read a lot of summaries of the books, though, back several years ago when it was really popular.

I don't think it's right for people to criticize because Ms. Meyer is a successful female author. And I've never been one to complain about a book not being well-written. I've heard the same complaint about the HP books (and criticisms of J.K. Rowling, as well), but I adore that series and it has had a huge impact on my life. I don't think HP is badly written, but I have read some books that probably were but I still loved them, for one reason or another. :)

I didn't read Twilight because I've never been interested in vampire/paranormal novels. The only issue I have with the series is that, from what I understand, Bella is so smitten with Edward that she's more than willing to give up her soul eternally for him. That seems like a dangerous idea for teen girls to have...they're already pressured in our world to give themselves physically to the teenage boy they're in love with at the moment, and giving up your soul is pushing that a step further. Anyway, that's just my opinion, and like I said, I *haven't* read the books.

Jessica

I don't hate Stephanie Meyer- I'm excited for her and her success. If I ever criticize Twilight, it's because I had read a number of other books with similar plots before encountering her works. As a result, there wasn't anything that exciting about the books themselves for me by the time I actually read them. Part of the viciousness directed towards the books seems to be borne out of a fear that, if we don't denounce them, they'll be classified among Great books (with a capital G) because of their popularity. This just seems stupid to me. Anyone with a brain will recognize these books for what they are- easily accessible and entertaining works of fiction. It's not Kafka, it's not Dickens, it's Meyers, and that's ok. AT LEAST PEOPLE ARE READING (and having fun while doing it)(which is more than I can say for Dickens, in my experience :).

I DO think it's a bit of a stretch to compare Meyer's angsty YA (and again, there's nothing wrong with YA, even if it's angsty- these are the juicy books that make up the bulk of my reading list in recent years) to Louisa May Alcott. Yes, Alcott was similarly successful during her own lifetime, but her depictions of the "small" lives of women were written with a tenderness and a realism (even given the misty-eyed endings) with which readers today still identify. In all the time I spent reading Twilight, I can't say I ever thought, while reading Bella's inner monologue, "yeah! I totally get that feeling!" Her motives are still a mystery to me. Also, I've never played vampire baseball.

If there's anything I love about the books though, it is the way they (bear with me for a moment while I have my own misty-eyed ending) bring women together. Yes, some of those women are probably too old to be obsessing over teenage heart-throbs, but regardless of that, a majority of the women I know have read the books (as well as the occasional man, to include my father), and that gives a little bit of common ground to build on- a way to see that much closer into someone's brain, and even sometimes their heart. Now THAT is an accomplishment for which I can applaud Ms. Meyer.

Alison

I don't like Twilight. I read all four books, and while reading them, I have to admit that she has a very captivating kind of style. You get very drawn into her story. But then I put down the book and asked myself, "what did I just learn from this? What greater lesson am I taking away?" and drew a huge blank. I also, after deep reflection, realized I didn't like the characters at all. Edward, in my opinion, borders on abusive and controlling. He demands that Bella do things, or not do things, and she laps up everything he says...except about Jacob. But he's a whole other story all together. I just don't like the message it portrays (or that I see it as portraying): that a girl is nothing without a boyfriend, and that that you have to give up everything you are to get the perfect boy, and then become what he is/wants you to become. I guess I'm just more independent than that. If someone really loves someone else, as I see it, they love everything about that person, inside and out, flaws and perfections. Also, I see Bella as very selfish, and I just think that sends the wrong message. Sure, you can say she fought, etc. But why did she? Because she wanted things for herself. She wasn't really, deeply willing and prepared to give up her life to ensure they were okay. If she's ever in danger, she cowers.
I don't hate the author, either; I love The Host, I thought it was excellent, really thought provoking and well written. But maybe because I'm such a big Harry Potter fan (which, I have to say, in most ways is the polar opposite of Twilight thematically) and I connect so much to Hermione (who is the opposite of Bella)that I just could never like them.

Jessica

I should also point out that to be anti-feminism IS to be anti-women. Maybe you're anti-the-kind-of-feminism-that-says-it's-not-ok-for-women-to-be-stay-at-home-moms, which is fine as that kind of extreme feminism no longer seems relevant in a post-secular world where many more women are making the conscious choice to be mothers first. MY feminism is about recognizing the value in women's voices and women's experiences (and acknowledging that they have equal weight with men's voices and experiences), whether the voice is coming from an office or a home. It's possible to be a feminist housewife. On the other hand, to be a woman and "anti-feminist" seems about as productive or logical as being a clam and anti-water. I should also point out that this defense of Stephanie Meyers and her success is very "feminist" (especially towards the end when it rails against Nathaniel Hawthorne and the idea of scribbling women).

But maybe this is just opening up a whole other can of worms (or clams?) that has little place in this thread- feel free to ignore me and move on.

Kat Mcconnell

Thank you so much for writing this! I became a fan of the Twilight series back in 2006 when it was first becoming a YA phenomenon. All of my reader-friends liked it and I even got some of my non-reader friends to read it! Then, I saw this dramatic shift right after the movies got popular. The majority of my friends went from loving it to hating it in a manner of months! Some even burned their copies of the books! There seemed to be this idea that because a sudden wave of young girls loved it, there must be something wrong with it. (Surely something so attractive to middle school girls and middle aged moms could hold any real value, right?)
Since then, I've struggled with trying to remain a fan of something with such a bad stigma attached to it. I may have started out liking Twilight for the mushy romantic plot and hot vampires and werewolves, but over the years I've developed a great appreciation for deeper messages and character development in the book that I think most people, unfortunately, overlook. I admire Stephenie Meyer so much, and I try to defend her when possible, but it usually falls on deaf, stubborn ears. So many of the accusations against Twilight are inaccurate or misunderstood, but I've found that many Twilight-haters don't WANT to have an intelligent discussion about those sort of things. They get a sense of pride and superiority out of hating something popular and having a seemingly intelligent reason for their hate, and they don't want to give that up. It's difficult being a Twilight fan in a culture where it's cool to hate Twilight, so I thank you so much for actively defending it.

Jenny

Like everyone I know has read the Twilight series. Twilight got so many people reading. Before the last book came out I was at camp with a bunch of girls from my church and we even had a Twilight trivia quiz. They loved it and had so much fun! My entire neighborhood had this serious book exchange going on once the series was completed because they had to catch all their friends and family up, and then once they read the Twilight series based on their reaction to the novels, there were other books they had to read because if they liked Twilight, they'd love x,y and z. Or if they hated something about it they'd love a,b or c.

Every day someone asks me for a book recommendation for themselves or someone they know. Twilight is such a good, easy starting reference point to make quality, personalized book recommendations for the general reader.

Twilight also was the beginning of a new genre or sub genre or category or whatever. The bookstores will tell you there was no 'paranormal romance' section before Twilight. So high five to Stephenie Meyer for igniting whole new category of books, getting communities whose readers span decades to read the same book, and for getting lots of teenagers and Young Adults and adults reading and writing who weren't doing so otherwise.


It seems like a lot of the Twilight eye rolling and hate comes from the movies. And like how a movie turns out has anything to do with the books!

Sandra

Say what you want about Meyer's writing, but you can't deny her mythology is inventive and intricate. And if the romance is sappy and overdone...It's romance. Nothing new there. There are definitely things I loved about the books, and things I really didn't love. I, as some other commenters have mentioned, did not really like the characters. I thought Edward was overly controlling and Jacob manipulative. Bella was equally selfish and selfless, but I sometimes found her whiny. What I liked about the characters is that they didn't shy away from the real weaknesses that we all have. There was no definitive, wonderful Prince Charming who always does the right thing and acts in the right way. They were just real. I didn't have to like them to see how their personalities led to the choices they made. I also didn't like the ending, but I can tell you exactly why. I was reading the mythology and bearing with the romance, but Meyer was writing the romance around the mythology. Of course there are going to be disconnects. And while I wish she'd done a little more weaving of the plot (connecting details, explaining differences so that resolutions don't seem so convenient) she told a story in the end that drew readers through four not so short books. I admire her for it.

Melody

My problem with Twilight is the relationship between Bella and Edward. He is controlling and abusive. The National Domestic Violence hotline has a list of 15 signs of an abusive relationship (emotionally or physically) and Bella and Edwards relationship meets every sign.

http://io9.com/5413428/official-twilights-bella--edward-are-in-an-abusive-relationship

This is a relationship that millions of young girls are looking at and thinking is romantic and that they want a man like Edward. Men like Edward are dangerous and abusive but young women everywhere have been swept away by the 'romance' of it and I am afraid they will end up in bad relationships because they want an Edward.

I have no problem with people reading and enjoying Twilight, provided they are able to look objectively at the relationships portrayed and recognize that they are not good relationships to want to emulate.

Laurie Stradling

Meyers and Hale are going to TAKE OVER YA FICTION FOREVAR.

No, but seriously, seeing a Mormon YA author hit the big time made me do a happy dance.

Okay, on to Twilight: I read the first one, limped through the second one (took me eight months to finish), blew through the third and read the fourth in record time as well. The third was by far my favorite.

I haven't read them a second time because I want my heroines to be tough and take-charge and amazing, and Bella just has too many trappings of martyrdom about her. I also think Edward is moody and boring. I also have always distrusted exceedingly good-looking guys and also because I didn't think he was the type of guy I could nickname "Eduardo". That tipped the scales for me.

However, I strongly suspect I would've adored Twilight in middle school. As a matter of fact, I know I would have. It strikes all the right chords to thrill a 14-year-old girl's heart: the quiet, unassuming girl somehow woos the most beautiful guy at school, not because she has big boobs but because he thinks she's fascinating.

I have to second the earlier comment calling for a sequel to The Host. That book is an excellent story. Talk about world-building...wow.

Kalli

I used to be a huge Twilight fan when I was in junior high, but now, honestly, I can't stand the series. I have a lot of issues with the quality of the writing and, mainly, with the way Edward and Bella's relationship is portrayed. Their whole lives revolve around the other, and I don't think that's a healthy relationship for young girls to be looking up to. Plus, Bella's character seems so bland and undeveloped. I feel like she never really does anything, and I hate that when Edward left her in New Moon she basically gave up living. I do think there are some things Stephenie Meyer did well - her twists on vampires and werewolves are interesting and unique, for example. However, for me, the bad overpowers the good. I do agree that people who have never read the series shouldn't be bashing it, though, and it is silly that some people revolve their life around how much they hate Twilight - or anything, really.
I can respect that other people enjoy it, even though I will also gladly engage in a spirited debate with them about what I deem to be all of the book's shortcomings.

Alysa (Ruby Diamond)

I find it interesting that so many people (not just commenters here, but others who I have heard as well) say that they don't like the book because it won't be good for *someone else*.

I remember reading Eclipse the week that it came out, and it was about this time that Twilight was really catching on. I remember thinking, "I wonder how people will react to this -- I wonder if it will be considered appropriate for teen girls. I'm cool with it, but I'm a married woman." I stewed about it for a while, and came to the conclusion that it didn't really matter if the book was going to work for someone else, the book worked for me, and that's the only actual opinion I had to go on. I could make up other people's theoretical opinions, and see other possible perspectives, but my opinion is the one that counts when I'm reading.

Julie

I loved Jessica's comment re: the "anti-feminism" discussion. There has been a huge backlash against feminism, painting feminists as angry, weapon-wielding women who want to thrust all women into the public sphere. We want to see business women! Wearing shoulder pads! And kicking butt! Or else what did our feminist foremothers fight for? In reality, feminism is about valuing the choices and individual identities of both men and women...If a woman wants to be a stay-at-home mom, that's great. If a man wants to be a stay at home dad, that's great, too. We want to know that it was matter of choice--and not because the home is the "place" of only a man or only a woman. When it comes to Twilight-bashing, I think it is interesting to see how critics are appropriating the rhetoric of a stereotyped feminist to criticize what they see as being problematic within the series. I'm not saying that Twilight is completely faultless in terms of gender roles and stereotyping; however, if critics wish to invoke feminism, they should at least know what feminism actually means.

Susansworthreading.wordpress.com

Thanks for sharing this tumblr "conversation" here. I am always pleased to see authors give other authors the benefit of the doubt. And I agree with your point that it's a waste of energy to spew venom towards, well, anything really. I do have problems with the gender dynamics in the Twilight series, but I think it's reductive and unhelpful to dismiss the series out of hand. Clearly something is resonating with readers. And, since I see connections between Twilight and some of Meyer's Mormon background (intentional on her part or not), I am troubled about what those dynamics might mean in regard to that theology. I think it's important to take the series as a whole, though. Edward's behavior is controlling and plain freaky at times, but over the course of the series, he changes in ways just as profound as Bella.

I do think a lot of the negative criticism leveled at Twilight (and its author) is badly-disguised jealousy of some kind, whether it finds its root in misogyny, a silenced inner writer, or whatever. Some of the negative criticism also come from the cruel, bitter joy people take in sneering at successful things (looking at you, hipsters). I used to teach first-year writing classes at a small religious university, and almost without fail every student would vilify Twilight, and almost without fail 90% of the students who'd read it (secretly) loved it. It's a shame.

While there are plenty of things to dislike about Twilight, I think there are also plenty of things to enjoy. Regardless, I think the series deserves better, more thoughtful criticism that it has gotten thus far.

Andrea

**Let's not critique a book series based on the mediocre reception of the movies!!**

I have read the books and I love them. I also felt that she was afraid to kill off characters BUT am I sad that none of my core people died... uh NO!!!
I enjoy Meyer's writing style. She has a light and interesting way of creating a world you could *almost* really believe in... I am thankful for the series and I love to re-read them over and over!

Jessica

Everyone has the right to love the books they want to love. If it's Twilight, so be it, I personally don't like it but other's can. I don't think it's right to hate the author based on what they wrote. But, just because someone tells you to like or hate something you shouldn't do it based on their words but find out as much as you can. While others like the Twilight saga, as for me I will stick with the Books of Bayern and Harry Potter.

Jenna St. Hilaire

Rather enjoyed this.

I suspect that some of the general vitriol against Twilight has to do with the vinegar-and-baking-soda reaction of Robert Pattinson's hair and shirtless Taylor Lautner with a fan base right at the age to have that wild celebrity crush that most girls get at some point or other.

As for Meyer's books, I've been cheerfully defending them for years. Much is made of Edward's sneaking into Bella's room and erratic early behavior and the like, not to mention his age, but those things tend to camouflage the fact that what he ultimately is, is safe. I believe a lot of women yearn instinctively for men who temper intense desires with equally intense respect for the female body and emotions.

Meyer's work has some too-often overlooked literary strengths, too. The Twilight saga rather powerfully illustrates the awakening and development of conscience, for instance. And for all the sloppy prose, I found the books gave me some vivid and beautiful images to ponder. And no, I'm not talking about Edward's chest. Or Jacob's. :P

And I'll agree wholeheartedly with all those who have mentioned The Host, which is brilliant and doesn't get half the notice it deserves.

Ashley

I loved Twilight when I read it in high school. I liked New Moon and Eclipse, but (though I read the book at midnight, all in one night), I never was a fan of Breaking Dawn. That was more becuse I had built it up as the happily ever after, and everyone was sad the whole time. That and the fact that though I was happy they had a baby, the whole Jacob/Renesme thing creeped me out.
Though I can laugh about Twilight, I do not think it is fair to only tear it or Stephenie Meyer down. There are plenty of books equally as rediculous but nowhere near as powerful out there. If Twilight had stayed safely in mediocrity, nobody would care. There are many worse books out there. To say you wish it had never been written is to deny a woman of living her dream, to deny young girls the example of a teenage girl who was loved for who she was, and to deny a lot of fun and excitement. Even those people who wish it was never written probably had some fun because of it being what they love to hate, Yes, the Twilight craze is silly, but it is equally silly to get so upset about a young adult book you have never read.

Nancy

I read the first book, and like many other people, didn't like it enough to continue the series. I couldn't relate to Bella's obsession with Edward, and when I learned that the second book starts with her spending something like three months in a catatonic state after he left, I decided that it wouldn't be the series for me. I've never like vampire stories/movies anyway. I did buy Host, but haven't had time to read it yet. From what I've heard, and especially because of the people telling me this, it sounds like I will enjoy it more than the Twilight series. (I hope to read it before seeing the movie when it comes out. I am more a fan of sci-fi/fantasy than horror.) As a technical writer working with other, very experienced technical writers, I have to tell you that everyone in my department who has read any of the books find the writing in the Twilight series lacking in style and sophistication. But that doesn't mean it doesn't have a place in the canon of writing. I'm also a musician, and simple, folk-style music is just a valuable as tone rows (I am not a fan of tone rows). Just my two-cents' worth. I don't begrudge Mrs. Meyer any of her success. And I truly hope that people who enjoy her books get hook on the love of reading.

Sorry if this is long and rambling (and I hope you don't take it as a rant, because I didn't mean it as one).

Meredith

It's definitely a backlash against her success. I've read a lot of books (both for teens and for grownups) that remind me of Twilight-the ordinary girl with the extraordinary guy/s in love with her. Some of them were better than Twilight, some of them were much, much worse. I'm talking both quality of writing and "message." Some romance books for adults are the most sexist things I've ever read in my life. Sometimes I read teen books, and the message is so inappropriate (to my way of thinking) that I'm shocked that it's categorized as being for teens. The only difference is that Twilight is extraordinarily popular and Stephenie Meyers is freakishly successful.

Sure, the Twilight books aren't my favorite. No paranormal romance will ever be my favorite. I'm just not into that genre very much. But if we're going to criticize, let's be honest-it's because they're popular. Every other criticism made about the series could be made about any number of other book series.

Julia

I read the Twilight Saga rather reluctantly. I never those vampire "romances" and I found it rather disconcerting how obsessed people were with the franchise. I finally read them because I wanted to make a knew girl at school feel more at home. At first I refused to like them, they were another cheep paranormal romance, exactly like the rest of there kind. But gradually I came to except them for what they were: an exciting story, with strong character, and some view points that the media tries hard to convince people don't exist. She actually wrote about to characters who waited for each other, and then waited for marriage, even if you don't agree with that concept, it's good that it was at least shown somewhere.
As for the writing stile, I found it easy and smooth to read, at a time when reading wasn't entirely comfortable for me because of my dyslexia and ADD.
Now, I will grant the critics, that the relationship between Edward and Bella does not seem entirely healthy, it frequently goes past love to obsession. That's something that is explored in Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, but in Jane Eyre they do eventually reach some balance. In Twilight however, she has no objections to the fact that he broke into her house and watched her, fell apart and stayed apart the moment he left, purposely attempted death defying stunts because of him, both contemplate suicide several times (I can not stress this enough, Romeo and Juliet is not romantic), and was constantly playing the damsel in distress. I think that, while it might not be the best example of a relationship for teen and tween girls to look at, it's better than allot of the other stuff they're going to be reading, and that the theme of family and selflessness, not to mention it's humor, trump most of it's problems.
Anyway, in the last book Bell got out of that D.I.D. role. She stopped being Goldilocks, and became Mamabear (I admit, not the best analogy). She does whatever it takes to protect the ones she loves, especially her baby. I think that's an excellent example of a strong woman.

MelissaPete

Yay! And Amen! I haven't read all the responses hear because I'm running out today to the Jimmy Kimmel taping in LA to see Stephenie's interview. There will be a ton of us there who love her, and I hope she'll feel it. Twilight is AMAZING (not a fan of the movies, but really, how could one project what's in everyone's head while reading on to the movie screen--ya can't). Everything you said is spot on, and the haters need to "shut up." If you don't like it, FINE. Go and involve yourself in some community service and spread some joy. Spreading poison never prospers a community or an individual, and it says more about the perpetrator's intelligence and level of humanity than he or she realizes. Twilight is not a silly, simple story; it has the depth of a classic. Shannon, I'm so glad you posted this with the elegance and articulation that you are blessed with. Well done!

MelissaPete

Should have proofed my comment better. That would be "here" in the first line, not "hear."

Rachel

I'm not a Twilight fan but I have read all four of the main books and I can see why a lot of people like them. I'd rather talk about it than simply bash them -- but that's how I feel about ALL books -- I LOVE to talk about books!

The only remark that caught me was the same one that caught you, Shannon -- that "anti-feminism" comment. I think there's a HUGE misunderstanding about what feminism means and it really upsets me to see something like this, in what I would completely consider a "feminist" post. The whole concept of feminism is not that women have to live the same lives as their male counterparts -- but that the CHOICE is there. I think that feminism INCLUDES the choice to stay home, to raise children, to not get an abortion. The whole idea, though, is that it's a choice, and not the norm. And it breaks my heart when people think that feminism means that women HAVE to work, HAVE to have abortions, and HAVE to be leaders and fall into traditionally masculine roles -- because how is that any better than the sheer opposite end of the spectrum.

Twilight has its benefits -- if nothing else, as a librarian, I am glad that it's gotten so many kids reading! (And if I choose to say, "If you liked that, check out ____, it's EVEN BETTER, then that means that Twilight because a gateway into a lot of rich and wonderful literature, and how can that be a bad thing?) As someone who is not a fan of the series at this point, people seem to expect me to bash it and roll my eyes at the people (girls!) who love it -- and I won't do it! I'd much rather have a young woman read the book and feel like she can discuss it than that she has to keep it quiet or she'll be ridiculed. Otherwise how is that any better than book banning and censorship.

Wooo, you hit a hot button with me today, Shannon! Thanks for opening this discussion. :)

Jessica

Thanks Julie :) I will add though, that those big shoulder pads come in handy for the occasional power-nap. One must stay well-rested so she can still look her feminine best while taking the world of business by storm!

CuriousArtemis

Twilight is terrible, awful writing. It's heroine is dangerously devoted to her male love interest. I do wish it hadn't been written. Twilight and 50 Shades of Gray have exposed the seedy underbelly of female conservationism: women who enjoy subservience to a man, who believe they are defined by their sex and their gender.

However, never in my life have I said anything personally negative about Stephanie Meyer (other than what I think about her writing). It's not her fault the world's women are eating her stories up. I will say, however, that comparing Ms. Meyer to Louisa May Alcott is pretty ridiculous.

But I am tired of the old argument, "But it gets teen girls to read!" Most people who read Twilight are already reading. They're reading other poorly written romances. And I am not so eager to get a young person to read that I would hand her something that I feel would be inherently detrimental to the formation of her selfhood.

Hand her Harry Potter. Hand her Louisa May Alcott. Hell, hand her Shannon Hale!!!

Debbie

I think a lot of the hate starts with the movies. Tv and movies have become exeremly popular, and poeple see previews and automaticly assume that the book is exactaly like it and it doesn't appeal to them. In commercials and theaters poeple watch, in all, about a minuet or two of the actual production. Not knowing what happens next, they fill in the blanks with what they hear and think about it. It also falls victim to those who wish to be cool, popular, and feel better. Complaining or saying bad things about the same things poeple whom you look up to do makes them feel closer and more alike those they admire. People also do it to feel better about themselves. Much like bullying, kids and adults alike try to make something else seem worse than they are for comfort. In all, Twilight is blamed for a nation of bad days and wishfully thinkers.

CuriousArtemis

Grrr Autocorrect turned "conservatism" into "conservationism." Sorry about that.

Maddy

In defense of Nathaniel Hawthorne, who takes a pretty severe beating in this post, his comment about the "damned mob of scribbling women" was written early in his life in a personal letter, and was about his contempt for the sentimental style of the age more than about women as writers. It's notable too that in his published works, specifically his preface to The Scarlet Letter, he refers to himself as a lowly "scribbler". Also, when Hawthorne made this statement Louisa May Alcott was just starting her writing career, and was certainly not prolific. Additionally, when her works were published, they were of a different nature than the abundance of sentimental novels selling in Hawthorne's age: as indicated by the fact her works are still canonical.

I don't want to suggest that there aren't certain stigmas/cultural assumptions attached to women, I just hate to see Nathaniel Hawthorne become the entire embodiment of that particular prejudice.

Ashley Benning

Twilight will always have a special place in my heart because it transformed my English class. I was teaching at a low-income high school in the inner city and my students had not found joy in reading. The movie for the first book was coming out that semester and I challenged them to give it a try and if they had a discussion with me about it I would take them to see the movie.

Almost every one of my students gave it a shot. The conversations in the hallway were suddenly about Bella and Jacob, speculation about what would happen next, or sharing a laugh about funny scenes. These kids needed books that had a relatable plot (they were Bella's age, after all), just a bit of fantasy to take them away from the stresses of their own lives, and relatively easy reading level so they could finish and feel successful.

We started a Twilight club, a Twilight blog (which was written by mostly boys, I might add), and then we bridged into other books. Before I knew what had happened, my students had transformed into crusaders for the reading cause. They were passing along other book recommendations, sharing books during lunch, stopping by to tell me what they were reading and now much they loved various aspects.

I have a picture of the Twilight Club and I use it to remind me that perhaps the kids that you feel are impossible to reach just need the right book.

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