Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Twilight

My oldest daughter wants to read Twilight. Mary checked it out and read it to be sure it was appropriate for her. She couldn't decide and asked me to read it.

Twilight is a protracted (long, lllooonnng) teen angst novel (the same kind of kitchy coming of age themes as in the Brat Pack movies) blended with gothic romance.

The teen angst bored me.

The gothic romance was cheesy.

There are about 3o pages or so of mild, underplayed action/horror when the heroine is in danger. But it was built on stock patterns and utterly predictable.

There are a few bad puns.

I guess I enjoyed it. But it could have been done better in about 2/3 of the 498 pages.

The horror is nowhere as intense as in Wuthering Heights (a gothic romance), and the teen angst is nowhere as intense as in the novel Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (or even The Outsiders, --written by a teenager going through her own angst--for that matter). And I'd let Louisa read these.

I think that some people are concerned about the way the main characters' relationship should be interpreted. The novel, like most gothic novels, follows the main themes of a morality play. However by the end the roles of who is moral and who is not are reversed on the one key issue of the teenage relationship. But even this was predictable.

The story's dealing with the struggle for chastity and self-restraint are undercut by the apparent ease with which the vampire overcomes his nature in the face of a teasing female who doesn't really know how to show restraint. The situations in the book are not overtly sexual, but the "boy-girl" relationship is obviously the focus. The morality play substitution of the vampires hunger (lust) for the girl's blood and the girl's desire for the outsider's exotic strength and beauty for her own wholeness portray nothing more than a romanticized co-dependent relationship. The co-dependent nature of the relationship is overtly described by the two main characters when the vampire first shows the girl who he really is. But the co-dependency is not really dealt with as much as it is made an excuse for the plot to continue through another 200 pages.

Yes, I guess I enjoyed it. But I would have enjoyed it more if it were shorter, less predictable, and didn't use real issues as plot extension devices. I think the Dr. Who episode "Love and Monsters" did better.


One reviewer wrote "Twilight is, when you break it down, an overwrought emo song told in prose."

He's right.

The Plain White T's summarize the plot well:

A thousand miles seems pretty far
But they've got planes and trains and cars
I'd walk to you if I had no other way
Our friends would all make fun of us
and we'll just laugh along because we know
That none of them have felt this way
Delilah I can promise you
That by the time we get through
The world will never ever be the same
And you're to blame

Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
Oh it's what you do to me
What you do to me

3 comments:

A Stafford said...

Joe:
You ought to hear the Sesame Street version of "Hey There Delilah":
Oh, I'm the letter T
Oh, I'm the letter T
Oh, I'm the letter T
Oh, I'm the letter T
Yes, I'm the letter T

Ever since it aired the other day on PBS Jonah's been running around singing it.

A couple years ago it was Norah Jones singing "I Don't Know Why Y Didn't Come.."

-Shawn

Anonymous said...

I just saw that Sesame Street song the other day. It's quite catchy. Here it is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4J_7jfck7Y

So, did you let Louisa read the book?

Char

Joe Abrahamson said...

Yes, she's done with it now.

She'll have to put what she thought of it on her blog.