Reading Rewind: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Twilight, the first book in the famous Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer, was published in 2005. It swept the bookish world by storm, as I remember, and even ladies in their late 20s were swooning over Bella, Edward, and Jacob. As I usually do with hyped books, I avoided Twilight like the plague, gently scoffing at those who were so obsessed with the series. Though I was around nineteen and twenty years old at the time, I had long been out of the habit of reading books for young readers. "Really, vampires?" I thought.
Then, one day in September 2008, tickled by curiously, I picked up a copy of Twilight from my friend's little sister - and couldn't put it down. I proceeded to borrow and devour the rest of the series from my friend's sister, and joined the ranks as a proud member of "Team Jacob." I loved the tension between Bella, Edward and Jacob, I was fascinated by the Cullen family and Jacob's tribe, and I loved how committed Jacob was to Bella. Admittedly, and embarassingly enough, I was also able to relate to how Bella eventually came to feel about Edward - that she simply could not live without him. I was delighted when Twilight was optioned for film, and became even more enthralled once (beautiful) faces were put to names.
I moved to Houston from Florida in 2009, and in March of 2010, I had the opportunity to attend the midnight release of the New Moon DVD, where actor Daniel Cudmore (who played vampire Felix) was signing autographs. See below for fangirl proof!
When E.L. James wrote her now-famous (infamous?) Fifty Shades of Grey, which was originally Twilight fan-fic, I was one of the many who read the story when the characters were Edward and Bella. That's how deep my love ran for the Twilight series! Like many fans of the series, I attend the midnight premieres of the movies, and yes, was horrified during the last movie, when it seemed as if everything had gone to hell in a handbasket!
I eventually moved on to other series and books and characters, but Twilight has always hed a special place in my heart as the book that turned me on to the captivating, dazzling power of YA.
I did not start a book review blog until January of 2011, and so I never properly reviewed Twilight. Thus, when Stacee of Adventures of a Book Junkie and I decided to partner up on Reading Rewind, Twilight was an obvious first choice for us both! It's time to dust off our worn copies, read the story again, and reconsider our original thoughts and feelings. Ladies and gentlemen, it's time for the Reading Rewind feature of Twilight!
Want to participate in and link up to Reading Rewind? See the details & rules here!
1. When did you originally read the book and what did you rate it?
I read Twilight in September 2008, and as I mentioned above, I didn't have a book blog or a GoodReads account at the time. However, in my head and heart, Twilight was a 5-star read for me!
2. Why did you love it?
I think I gave a lot of this away already, with what I wrote above, but I can delve a little deeper. At the time I read Twilight, I was in a rather delicate state. Life was tumultuous, and a long-term relationship with someone I loved was ending. Not only was the book a perfect mental escape, it was also an emotional escape, where I could feel something other than my own heartache. I could relate to the borderline obsessive (okay, so it was obsessive) relationship between Bella and Edward, because I felt obsessive about my situation. I felt as if I wasn't in control and I desperately wanted to be. While I thought Edward was swoon-worthy at times, the guy that really captured my heart was Jacob. He was a calm, steady presence in Bella's life, and I liked that she could be herself around him. Looking back, that's what I was craving at the time, and I got it - in the form of a fictional character.
3. After the re-read, did your rating/feelings about it change? Why or why not?
Yes and no.
I'll first say that you can't re-read this book, having watched the movie, and picture the characters as looking like anyone else other than their movie characters. I'm not complaining, though! ;-)
I realize now, of course, that there are quite a few things wrong with character and relational depictions in Twilight. Bella clearly has no self-esteem, and enough angst to cover the entire high school population in Forks. This shines through even more as she talks about how beautiful Edward and his family are, and how ordinary and plain she is. I get it, though. Many teenage girls struggle with confidence and self-image, and while Bella may be at the extreme end, she is still a character with whom many girls can relate and sympathize.
The relationship that develops between Edward and Bella is like a lit match, burning brightly and devouring everything in its path. Many people find it disturbing that Edward would sneak in and watch Bella sleep, and of course, in real-life, it would be! However, fiction allows us to consider things we never normally would, and for many, the idea of it is dangerous and exciting. Isn't that what teenage girls love?! Yes, their relationship is not necessarily healthy, from Bella's side especially, but it does bring me back to my "first love" days, when I couldn't get enough and wanted more, more, more. First love is intoxicating, dear readers, and Twilight allows us to remember how it once felt, and allows us to feel it all over again.
An aside, though, for any teenage girls reading this: if a guy admits that he's bad for you, take his word for it and stay away; if a guy gets jealous of another guy talking to you, it's not sweet; if a guy says he watches you while you sleep, call the police!
While the relationship between Edward and Bella takes center stage for more than half the book (and how I wish now that more focus had been put on the fact that Edward is a vampire, rather than how beautiful, cold, and fast he is), once the Cullens have the run-in with the other clan of vampires, I found the plot to be just as intriguing as before. I liked seeing Bella more daring and confident in her actions, though it broke my heart when she hurt her dad, Charlie, by leaving in the middle of the night. I loved the camraderie between Edward and his family (Team Alice!), and I loved how they came together in the end to kick some vampire butt!
Twilight is not a great piece of literature, and you're not going to derive from it the meaning of life or something profound, but it is written in such a way that you want to know what happens next, even if you've read it before.
What did you think of Twilight, dear reader? Love it, hate it, leave it? I'd like to hear your thoughts :-)