I come from the generation that made Stephenie Meyer famous. I first read Twilight four years ago, when it was still an ARC. I was the second person who read it – a friend passed it on to me because she enjoyed it and knew I liked vampires. I enjoyed it and passed it on to another vampire fiction lovin’ friend. Now I wish I’d stolen it from the school because I’m sure the Twilight ARCs are collector’s items. It’s hard for me to think of this series as a cultural phenomenon. For me it’s still that book I read in the car one rainy afternoon. I will admit, I even skipped Eclipse because New Moon was kind of lame. (Jacob’s a werewolf?! You mean, I wasn’t supposed to figure that out in the last book?) Still, it’s hard for me to discuss Breaking Dawn because it is a huge deal to many of my friends.
I started to speak with my ex-roommate about her reactions before Philosophy class started and random girls joined the conversation. This is an honors-only class. We secretly enjoy reading Plato because he’s . . . Plato. We openly enjoy reading Stephenie Meyer. While reading the novel, I discussed my reactions to the series with my current roommate. When I stopped reading, I discussed my reasons with a neighbor who stopped reading the novel even earlier than I did. It’s no Harry Potter, but the Twilight series is very much a cultural touchstone to me.
Now, back when I first read Twilight I knew it was a silly, pure entertainment value sort of read. Since then I’ve corrupted the experience by reading a number of essays that dissect the characters and their relationships. I realize that Edward is a bit sociopathic and his relationship with Bella reads as one that will grow to be abusive. When I read this paragraph in the first chapter, I got creeped out:
Very, very convenient—too convenient—that my truck would wheeze its last wheeze just weeks after Edward and I had agreed to our lopsided compromise, one detail of which was that he be allowed to replace my truck when it passed on. Edward swore it was only to be expected; my truck had lived a long, full life and then expired of natural causes. According to him. And, of course, I had no way to verify his story or to try to raise my truck from the dead on my own. My favorite mechanic—
On its own it’s fairly innocent. No one wants someone they love driving an old deathtrap. But Bella’s dissatisfaction with her new car and lack of choice of the model bother me as an indication of their relationship as a whole. Just because Edward gets to replace her truck doesn’t mean that Bella shouldn’t be part of the decision process. It is her truck.
Despite real world social observations marring my experience, I could almost take it. Then I reached the (SPOILER AHEAD) pregnancy scene and nearly lost my lunch. I actually found the story amusing in a train wreck sort of sense. But I’ll give you a brief sample of where I lost it, about halfway through:
Another shattering crack inside her body, the loudest yet, so loud that we both froze in shock waiting for her answering shriek. Nothing. Her legs, which had been curled up in agony, now went limp, sprawling out in an unnatural way.
“Her spine,” he choked in horror.
DOES NOT WANT. Also, SPOILER DONE. I’ll keep Twilight. Despite everything, I kind of like it. However, the sequels can be skipped, especially this one. I don’t mind giving it a chance so that I can talk knowledgeably about certain plot points with my friends, but cleolinda’s summaries are a great way to get the highlights with more humor and better writing.
When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?
To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.
Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella’s life-first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse-seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed… forever?
The astonishing, breathlessly anticipated conclusion to the Twilight Saga, Breaking Dawn illuminates the secrets and mysteries of this spellbinding romantic epic that has entranced millions.
Read an excerpt here.