I have said this over and over, and others have written it as well but the ridiculous national obsession with this series is prompting me to write it out one more time. I will forever loathe Twilight for the hours of my life that it stole from me as I kept reading the series searching for what was supposed to make it so great.
If you plan to read this series, first of all don't waste your time. I can name about a thousand books you should read first before you settle for reading this crap. Also, this post will be filled with spoilers. Consider this your warning.
I could go into a diatribe about my loyalty to the Anne Rice vampires and my love of Nosferatu, but I realize that even those vampires were fabricated to fit the author's purpose. Realistically I have to recognize and accept the fiction behind sparkly sunshine vampires who eat deer and fall in love and get girls pregnant. Whatever. I can live with the play on the scary, murderous vampire. My issues lie more with the personalities of the characters themselves.
Bella has to be one of the worst role models for young girls since the Barbie doll was created with impossible proportions and awkward feet. She is a whiny, depressed girl who has no backbone, gives up her friends for her controlling boyfriend (more on that later) and sinks into a pit of depression when her boyfriend leaves her. She is completely defined by the boys in her life and has no personality of her own. Even if you try to define it as "true teenage angst" it is ridiculous. Yes, in the heat of a teenage breakup some teens will enter a state of depression, but a full year? Ridiculous, melodramatic and discouraging. Everything feels like the end of the world when you're a heartbroken teen anyway.
Bella is clumsy, incapable of caring for herself and needs someone else to hold her up. She has no strength of her own. She can't do anything without Edward. He makes her decisions for her, tells her who to be friends with, causes her to disobey her father and sends her away "for her own protection". She listens to what he says. When she doesn't obey like a well-trained puppy she disobeys with sheepish guilt like Jeannie. "I'm sorry master. I didn't mean to disobey master." Who gave this guy the right to run her life? And what happened to her will?
Every time I hear a teenage girl say "Edward is so perfect" I cringe. Edward is not perfect. Edward is a controlling jerk. Bella doesn't pass twenty years old during the series, yet she's given up her entire life to this man. She tries to convince him to have sex with her before they get married. She even talks about not graduating high school so she can be with her beloved vampire pedophile. She marries him, thus running the risk of ending friendships and family relationships forever. She gets turned into a vampire and has a baby. Do we really think it's MTV that is glamorizing teen pregnancy? This book has managed to do it AND remain a national phenomenon. THEN her werewolf best friend imprints on her infant daughter, which is a whole different kind of creepy I can't even BEGIN to discuss!
Gina Dalfonzo from the National Review put it best. Bella gets what she thinks she wants "by giving up her identity and throwing away nearly everything in life that matters." Great example. So glad America's teens are all wishing they were in Bella's shoes.
Another teenage couple comes to mind. They fell in love at first sight, hid their relationship from their disapproving parents and got married against the advice of the people who loved them most. If you remember correctly that tale of woe ended with a drop of poison and a happy dagger. At least if Edward and Bella had such a demise it would have been a warning to teens not to follow in their footsteps.
When I first heard about the Twilight series I was pretty excited. I have been a fan of vampire stories for a long time. I own nearly every book by Anne Rice and Stephen King. I have "The Vampire Encyclopedia" and vampire trivia cards. I was a Buffy fanatic as a teenager and owned a set of vampire fangs which I wore to school with my black cape and boots. I am accepting when authors take vampire lore to create their own characters, but let's not create the perfect controlling, abusive, emotionally unstable boy for young girls to pine over. Stephanie Meyers has managed to take the feminist revolution back in time and place her heroine in a position of subordinance and submission, eliminating her right to become a woman of her own before she's old enough to be a woman at all.
This series is a disgrace. Over-hyped literary crap. The characters themselves make me cringe, and I hope that my nieces find their role models in strong female literary characters. Lets stick with Matilda, Nancy Drew, Harriet the Spy and Hermione.