Stephenie Meyer deserves a cupcake.
The thing about the Twilight books that most people don't get is that they are actually GREAT.
I am not trying to say well-written, although I, personally, had no complaints. I am trying to say that they are dense. And I don't mean long (though I am not complaining, I love a good long book!) I am talking about PACKED.
With budgeting advice. Social Commentary. Feminist Principles. Ethics. And advice for the lovelorn.
And she put all of this important character-shaping stuff into the magic glass slipper of paranormal boy-crazy romance. BRILLIANT!
I do not want to give you the impression that these novels are perfect. Some of that lovelorn stuff can get awfully repetitive.
As anybody who has ever actually been lovelorn knows.
And I had a lot of trouble, at first, getting what the appeal of Edward was. I thought it might have something to do with Edward, and handsome though he may be, that ice cold chiseled marble description always kind of gave me the creeps. Beautiful, emotionally intense or remote BFs are SO 1997.
But I finally realized that the point is this: the heart wants what it wants.
The relationship between Bella and Edward was a little easier for me to understand. "I don't want to hurt you!" "I don't want 'you hurting me' to hurt you!". It kind of sounds totally dysfunctional. It kind of was. And, as a semi-professional worrier, I can easily imagine having those worries. If, say, I was hopelessly attracted to somebody who literally wanted to suck my blood.
It's kind of fun to recast visceral desire as literal hunger. It's not like any of us say: "I was kind of thinking about getting a bite to eat and Whoops! accidentally kissed somebody." It's kind of funny. A new desire is added to the demands of the flesh, and it's kind of hard to figure it out. Without, say, practice.
And Bella has, as far as I can tell, none. But she still knows.
What I love about Bella is that she ALWAYS knows what she wants. And she really cares about the people in her life, so much so that she doesn't want to bum anybody out because she exists. Not even her own parents!
That's actually one of the things I hate about Bella, but as that's a much shorter list, I won't go through it. I will just say that Bella's lack of self-interest is pretty abnormal for a girl her age, and it's kind of refreshing. And it's kind of nice that she constructed her life very carefully so as not to be too much of a burden on her parents.
This lack of self-interest as it applies to her personal life is a little more problematic, but they all seem to work it out in the end.
And I haven't even gotten to the sequels! Which is a shame, but I ran out of words about 20 words back, and these few are just a brief postprandial treat. Enjoy!