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Twilight

The first book in the "Twilight Saga" by Stephenie Meyer.

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One Rotten Apple

  • Jun 25, 2010
Rating:
+2
Listen, I'm not a Twilight-hater, nor am I a hard core fan. I read the books a few years ago and was swept up by the love story between Bella and Edward. I certainly give this book props for how captivating it can be. However, in order to analyze this book critically, and fairly, I'm going to look at how healthy the Edward/Bella relationship really is for teens to be digesting as they read Twilight. This is more of a response to the ideas portrayed in Twilight vs. an outright review of the entire novel. I find examining these questions to be more rewarding than a quick summary of the book. Hopefully you'll agree.

With its extreme popularity, it’s important to look at the message presented in Twilight, the content of the novel, and especially, the characters of Bella and Edward. Is the relationship between Bella and Edward a healthy one? Will impressionable teens model their own expectations for relationships after this fabricated one? These are questions I find the most important to discuss since millions of young girls read these novels and are influenced by the characters in Twilight.
            One of the essential aspects of Edward and Bella’s relationship is that Edward fills a void in Bella’s life. She left her mother in Phoenix to live with her father, a man she’s only seen the last three years for two weeks out of the year. You can hardly call Charlie a presence in her life since she spends so little time interacting with him. Their father-daughter relationship is lacking, which illustrates why Edward and his many fatherly traits, fills this role in Bella’s life. He is overprotective, authoritative, and somewhat controlling. Edward gets angry when Bella doesn’t tell Charlie that she’s with him, asking, “Are you so depressed by Forks that it’s made you suicidal?” Edward exhibits these overprotective qualities almost in the same manner that a father figure would. Bella seems to thrive off of his constant attention but this relationship sets a bad example for young girls since a boyfriend is not a replacement for a father.
            Another troubling aspect of Bella and Edward’s relationship is Bella’s complete dependence on Edward. She doesn’t have any interests outside of Edward, nor does she interact with her friends or even mention friends from Phoenix whom she may keep in contact with. Since she has nothing to occupy her time, Edward becomes the focus when they begin their courtship. She becomes emotionally reliant on him, even noting that his influence over her “was pathetic. More than pathetic, it was unhealthy.” She obsesses over his looks as well, which is detrimental to her own self-esteem. Meyer writes, “I tried to keep my eyes away from his perfection as much as possible…each time, his beauty pierced me through with sadness.” Bella puts far too much emphasis on Edward’s perfection, which only irritates her own imperfections. To make matters worse, Meyer has written Bella as perhaps the clumsiest person alive, almost to the point of satire. Even a short hike through the forest renders her helpless and in need of Edward’s “savior-like” qualities. With Edward always at her rescue, the message that Bella is weak comes in loud and clear. This is not the type of message young adult novels should be sending to girls. With their already fragile self-images, teenage girls may actually begin to believe that they are powerless and that they need a man to validate their existence.
            After reading Twilight it’s apparent that the relationship between Edward and Bella is far from healthy. His overbearing nature and her passive temperament coalesce and create a sickening relationship that somehow reads as a whirlwind romance. Girls should not strive to be fragile dolls, nor should they set their expectations for mates so high as to belittle themselves in the process. Girls need strong, independent female role models in their literature who choose healthy relationships over toxic ones. 

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July 19, 2010
i thought the same way about their relationship in the first book. i didnt really think differently until i read New Moon when they are discussing the pros and cons of marriage and Bella is against it because she not "that kind of girl" and Edward makes the point that in his time it was perfectly acceptiable and expected for people of their age to be married. it made me think that maybe his overprotectivness may come somewhat from the era he was raised in. Girls in that era wern't as...free and girls today are. they generally courted the man they would marry not multiples.
 
July 13, 2010
Interesting take on the relationship, makes sense.
 
June 30, 2010
Great review and title! I'm still working on my own review of this book. :)
June 30, 2010
thanks!
June 30, 2010
Welcome! I'm going to have trouble picking a title for it, lol. You had such a good one too! Absolutely loved the pun. :)
June 30, 2010
Yeah, that is a great title. You scored higher than I did! Compared to other teen literature (and I'm no expert) it did nothing for me. Sent female character development back 40 years at least! The films were not much better. How about "Worms in the Apple" for the next one! LOL.
June 30, 2010
This line: "Girls should not strive to be fragile dolls, nor should they set their expectations for mates so high as to belittle themselves in the process. Girls need strong, independent female role models in their literature who choose healthy relationships over toxic ones. " I agree with completely!   And your points on "pathetic" and "unhealthy" are 2X as bad on New Moon.  It's as if Stephanie Meyer thought this was a successful plot point and put Bella into a funk depression that lasted for months -- several blank pages for the chapters showing "nothing happened."  Lazy writing, says me.
July 01, 2010
All great points, James!
July 01, 2010
I agree! The depression Bella falls into in New Moon is really unfortunate for readers. What kind of message does that send? That it's okay for girls to completely devote themselves to a guy so that if he breaks up with them, their morale and enthusiasm in life are crushed? Ouch. I think you're right James, I think lazy writing is probably the culprit there.
July 01, 2010
Yeah...I was really disturbed when I watched "New Moon," and it's the main reason I'm balking reading the book. I did not understand her depression over a simple high school break-up, which occurs all the time in real life, and then her attempted suicides. My niece of nine years old was in the audience, and I kept thinking: Why did we take her to see this? I know the drama is supposed to be that he was her soul mate "yadda yadda," but man...you don't off yourself when/if your partner in life dies...I mean...what does that say about your self esteem? And it wasn't handled gracefully like other love stories have tackled this theme, like "Romeo and Juliet," which was tragic because their deaths could have been avoided if they hadn't received mixed messages from the priest and their families would have stopped quarreling). Plus, I think the time period made a big difference as far as the tragedy aspect. Either way, Bella had Jacob being a good friend and head over heels in love with her, and she treated him horribly! It wasn't like she was alone. I guess we're supposed to believe that he did take care of her, and that was the only reason she didn't succeed with her ridiculous suicide missions. :-P
July 01, 2010
Adrianna got it right, too. I read somewhere that Meyer was imitating Shakespeare in these tales. West Side Story it's not! I read New Moon and saw the movie. I really don't think teens will take the stories that seriously. I think they just love being in love with the books (just being devils advocate for a second) and I probably will not continue in reading them. Laura Hamilton is lots better -- Anita Blake is a stronger character than Bella, certainly.
July 01, 2010
All I can say is that I hope you are right. You never know with teens these days. Times are rough, and they are just as tough for the younger peoples. They have more issues facing them then we did in the past, like an increase in teen pregnancies, suicides, and now school shootings. I am so glad I'm not dealing with these issues. I also agree that Anita Blake is a much stronger character.
July 01, 2010
Yeah, maybe I'm too optimistic but I do agree with what you're saying. I can't bring myself to watch the new film. I'm being accused of being a closet Twilight fan! How insulting, LOL!
July 01, 2010
I'll probably see it but only because my entire family loves it minus me, my mom, and my dad...geez...I feel either old or really wise for my years, lol! My entire family knows I dislike the series passionately, but they still want me to come cause they don't want me to miss out. It was a lot of fun watching "New Moon" with two rows of the theater being filled by my family and friends. I also have a feeling that "Eclipse" will be better than "New Moon," which most fans agree is the worst book in the saga.
July 01, 2010
Yeah, Aerin you're right. Both the book and the movie had her do that. The most ridiculous and unrealistic one was when she jumped on a motorcycle with some strange guy, gets "the vision" and then walks off, the cyclist takes off, and then her friend calls her nuts. At least she got that right. :)
July 01, 2010
I'm looking forward to Harry Potter instead. Even though that book was hyped, at least for me it lived up to it. JK Rowling is a much superior writer and knows how to weave plot and character development which was surprisingly well written for a so-called children's book. I need to start writing book reviews on these rather than have them collect dust!
July 01, 2010
LOL! Still sounds like a death wish to me no matter who she thought she was seeing or hearing. Like he would have been there to save her when something went wrong. Sounds like her conscience was taking on the form of her true love. Crazy kid! She's lucky that motorist didn't take her in the alley and have his way with her... :-P
 
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review by . January 07, 2010
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review by . July 10, 2010
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review by . June 23, 2010
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review by . July 27, 2010
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review by . May 18, 2009
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Quick Tip by . February 22, 2011
Clumsy generic insipid character has a sparkly vampire boyfriend who should have been spiked through the chest in the first book.
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I am a certified bibliophile by nature. I love everything about books--reading them, owning them, writing them. (okay, so i haven't quite gotten as far as that last one, but hey, maybe someday?) I … more
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Twilight is the debut, young-adult vampire-romance novel by author Stephenie Meyer. Twilight was initially rejected by 14 agents, but became an instant bestseller when published originally in hardback in 2005, debuting at #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list within a month of its release and later peaking at #1. That same year, Twilight was named one of Publishers Weekly's Best Children's Books of 2005. The novel was also the biggest selling book of 2008 and, to date, has sold 17 million copies worldwide, spent over 91 weeks on the New York Times Best Seller list, and been translated into 37 different languages.

It is the first book of the Twilight series, and introduces seventeen-year-old Isabella "Bella" Swan, who moves from Phoenix, Arizona to Forks, Washington and finds her life in danger when she falls in love with a vampire, Edward Cullen. The novel is followed by New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. A film adaptation of Twilight was released in 2008. It was a commercial success, grossing more than $382 million worldwide and an additional $157 million from North American DVD sales, as of July 2009.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0316160172
ISBN-13: 978-0316160179
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Vampires
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Date Published: October 5, 2005
Format: Format
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