Category Archives: Book Review

On ‘Twilight’ Being Too Much of a Masterpiece for Me

This article was written over a year ago. Since I’m new to this whole blogging thing, I thought I’d upload it and experiment with the formatting of pictures and stuff.

I was initially going to title this article ‘Why I Hate Twilight’.

Now before all you ‘Twilight’ fans pounce on me in rage let me make myself clear… I don’t exactly hate ‘Twilight’.

I dislike it.

Immensely.

For any reader out there who has no idea what I’m talking about, ‘Twilight’ is a bestselling novel (now a motion picture as well) written by Stephenie Meyer. After the immense success of the novel, she followed up with three more, creating the ‘Twilight Saga’.

I know so many people who love the books. I know someone whose every fourth word is either ‘Twilight’ or ‘Edward Cullen’, one of the books’ main characters (a ‘cute’ teenage boy). I’ve heard of cases of girls breaking off relations with boys, the reason being that the poor guy wasn’t Edward Cullen. That’s funny in a strange way. Or rather, that’s strange in a funny way. I’m not sure which.

I’ve seen girls chattering about Edward Cullen, Edward Cullen, Edward Cullen, on and on again… in fact, some girls even too young to read Roald Dahl do this too.

This craze started amongst the girls, but who knew it was contagious? Soon, some of my classmates started bringing those bulky books to school, which took me by surprise, for I didn’t know they did any reading outside of Facebook, text messages and, occasionally, their textbooks. (Most of my classmates, being what they are, never got around to finishing any of the Twilight books though.)

Never judge a book by its cover! It says on Wikipedia.org: Stephenie Meyer has stated that the apple on the cover represents the forbidden fruit from the Book of Genesis. It symbolizes Bella and Edward's love, which is forbidden, similar to the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, as is implied by the quote from Genesis 2:17 that is quoted at the beginning of the book. It also represents Bella's knowledge of what good and evil are, and the choice that she has in partaking of the "forbidden fruit", Edward, or choosing not to see him. This is one of the best book covers I've seen in years... simple, yet elegant. I really praise the cover artist for this excellent front cover. Unfortunately, that's about all the praise I can give this book.

My sister soon got her hands on a copy as well. Being the reader she is, the book just sat there on her table untouched, collecting dust for a week. One early morning, while she was fast asleep, I sneaked into her room and snatched away the thick

book, deciding to put it out of its misery. Once comfortably tucked in my bed, I looked at the book up close for the first time. I saw two pale hands clasping a red apple, and in silver letters ‘Twilight’ was imprinted into the cover. The cover boasted that the book was ‘The #1 New York Times Bestseller Soon To Be a Major Motion Picture’. A sudden boom of excitement ran through my body… many movies and a few books did that to me.

Something about the cover told me that I was in for the most vigorous and entrancing read of my life. Everyone was buzzing about the book, everyone said that it was brilliant, and finally there it was in my hands.

I finally opened the book, and started reading. The story was told in first person by a teenaged girl, Isabella Swan. Okay, fair enough. It starts of with her explaining to us about how her parents split up. She goes into detail, which I generally admire in books. As I kept reading, I realized the details were increasing. Increasing excessively.

After setting up the story and introducing the characters (described in great detail, too great in fact), the story comes to a halt when she sees a ‘beautiful boy’ called Edward Cullen in her school. Boom. “His mouth was moving very quickly, his perfect lips barely moving”… “…with his long pale fingers,”… “…his pale skin…”… “flawless face…”… “he was pale…pale… pale…”… “his eyes were black, black, black…”.

Bella loves adjectives. And adverbs. In fact, she loves any word that can stretch a sentence to double its length, making a potentially 200 page novel into a 500 page snail-paced book. She describes Edward in stunning detail, from the hair on his head to the warts on his feet (just an expression). She drags on events that could easily be summed up into short SMS messages. Ultimately, she comes off as an annoying girl who needs counseling regarding the usage of adjectives.

They meet in a Biology class and after initial reluctance (from Edward) to interact, they start talking. Eventually, they get pretty close. This goes on for more than fifty pages of the almost 500 page novel.

After a few more pages, in which Bella almost gets run over by a vehicle, only to be saved by ‘the beautiful boy’ Edward (oh joy), and they introduce his family (all of them pale, pale, pale), we see that she falls in love with him. Bella wants to make this absolutely clear…she explains her feelings for him every few lines in startling detail. But there is something in the way of their love…

I feel sad seeing this: The Twilight books right over the Harry Potter books. I'm not saying Harry Potter should be over Twilight. I'm not even saying I like Harry Potter. The HP books are flawed, repetetive, episodic... and they are good stories with properly defined characters. Bella's goal is just to be with Edward... nothing else. Harry, Ron and Hermione are as close to real teens as you can get. Stephen King, the bestselling author, said, “The real difference between Rowling and Meyer is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer, and Stephenie Meyer can't write worth a darn.” Now this has nothing to do with the picture alongside... I found this shocking fact on Wikipedia.org.: the four books have won several awards, most notably the 2008 British Book Award for "Children's Book of the Year" for Breaking Dawn, while the series as a whole won the 2009 Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Book. Eh? Is that right? I didn't know that children or kids read stories about affairs, pregnancy, love, sexual tension... what is this world coming to?

I think I left this out. Edward is a vampire! And his pale family too consists of vampires! She’s a human, she has blood… he’s a vampire, and he drinks blood… now it doesn’t take a genius to put two and two together. Why would she swoon over him when he could kill her any second? Yes, the book does mention that he’s a ‘vegetarian vampire’ and eats only animals, but what’s to stop him from trying humans in temptation?

Why would she like a guy that could suck her blood? I’ve asked a few fans that question… here are two noteworthy answers: “Love is blind,” and “Edward is hot. What’s not to like?” The second one comes from majority of the ‘Twilight’ fanatics.

Anyway, back to when I was reading the book. It was going on, and on for about two hours, and I was still looking for the brilliance that apparently everybody else saw in the book. Finally, I shut the book. Not even completing half of it, I’d decided I’d had enough.

The following day, I told many about my feelings about the book when asked. One of my classmates said, “Okay fine, you don’t like the book, but don’t tell the girls. They’ll tear you apart.”

That’s good advice. I once said to a girl “I hate ‘Twilight’.” Her face changed color, and she flung at me the only thing in her reach, an eraser. Thank heavens she didn’t have a pot in her hands or something.

Hell hath no fury like a crazed “Twilight” fan!

In 2008, they even released a movie version of the first book. I go for a lot of movies, but I decided to stay out of this one, for obvious reasons. I thought to myself that most fans would love the movies and talk about them forever, just like the Harry Potter movies. However, most fans said that they didn’t like it as it was unfaithful to the book, ‘cutting out major scenes’, ‘changing dialogues’ and ‘restructuring certain events’.

One day, my sister got a DVD of the movie. I thought to myself, “Why not?” Besides, the board exams had just gotten over. I must say, once again, I strongly disagree with the fans. The movie is not bad (yet don’t take my word for it, I only watched the first 20 minutes or so because I had other work). From what I saw, it wasn’t moving on at slow-motion, but at an appropriate pace, and the writers of the movie had trimmed a couple of scenes for length reasons, making the movie a tighter and quicker experience. However, the greatest advantage of the movie over the book was this: we are spared the incredibly repetitive and annoying narration by Bella. Instead of Bella saying “He was pale, he was pale, he was pale,” on and on again in the background, we are simply shown actor Robert Pattison once.

The poster of the movie... featuring Pale Pale Pale Edward Cullen and Ms. Excessive Adjectives Bella Swan

Now here’s something that you’re going to have to read carefully and think about… here’s the reason why I dislike ‘Twilight’ so greatly. See, actually, I would have liked the book okay. I would have praised the originality of the story, forgiven the flaws, and simply read the book and returned it to my sister. But instead, I openly criticized it, I took the trouble to handwrite this long article (twice) and retype it. I even invited my classmates to write their own versions of the article ‘Why I Hate Twilight’. But even after these 1,323 words you’ve just read, I haven’t given you my main reason. I’ve given several factors that contributed to my dislike for the book, but not the real reason as to why I criticize it so much. Here is the reason: it is overrated. Admit it. It really is.

I am speaking openly. I hate anything when it gets overhyped extensively, especially when the material is just mediocre. For example, I was dazzled by “Slumdog Millionaire” and I even watched it seven times in the same month I got it, but once the excessive buzz about it started (be it the silly relations between Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, or the title of the movie, or the portrayal of India, or the unworthy eight Oscar nominations, or whatever) I started disliking the movie. The same applies for ‘Twilight’.

To each his own… I understand that. But seriously ask yourself—why do you love the book so much? Or do you even love it? Or are you just following everybody else? Think about it. Really do.

I would like to end this admittedly long article with an incident that pushed me closer to hating the books:

One Wednesday morning, as I gobbled down a bowl of cornflakes, I wondered, “What could possibly happen to Edward and Bella in the next three fat books?”

At that moment, my eyes fell on a summary of the fourth book, “Breaking Dawn”, in “Young Times”. Reading between the lines, I found out that Edward and Bella have a child, there was a love triangle between the two of them and a werewolf in one of the previous books, and eventually, Bella becomes a vampire.

My imagination went to new heights of ridicule- I imagined a pale baby with black eyes and sharpened teeth, jumping from tree to tree and I started chuckling to myself. I then quietly decided, ‘Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight Saga” is too much of a masterpiece for me.’

Enough said.

(P.S. Please note, dear readers: If I am attacked by any ‘Twilight’ fan for writing this, all payments for any medical treatment for me must be met by the respective ‘Twilight’ fan.)

By Krishna Shenoi

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