Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Book Review: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

In honor of Banned Books Week, Elena Sisti (Reference Librarian) has written a review of the book Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. This is just one of the many books that has been challenged during the last few years and Elena shares her thoughts on the book and how it compares to the movie.

Twilight, Stephanie Meyer, FIC MEY
reviewed by Elena Sisti

The cover of Twilight is stunning and evocative. Against a black backdrop, a pair of pale, graceful hands cradles a ruby red apple. The title is subtly emblazoned between strong forearms in silver script. This is a depiction from an actual scene in the book and movie. Adroit Edward catches an apple fumbled by bumbling Bella.  The image is also heavily metaphoric. An apple is easily bruised and battered, just like Bella. Not so while cradled in Edward’s marble arms. And let us not forget that an apple is the age-old symbol of the forbidden fruit, of temptation. Here, it stands not only for the temptation of first love and lust, but also for the temptations that the central characters are to each other. Edward must constantly resist his desire to make Bella at the very least, his most satisfying meal, or ultimately, to turn her so that she’ll join him in eternity. Bella avoids joining the Cullens, her strongest temptation, not through any effort on her part, but through the willpower of Edward and the rest of his preternaturally beautiful clan.

Never judge a book by its cover.

With classic themes similar to those in Romeo and Juliet, Beauty and the Beast, and Peter Pan,  and an ethereal, human-friendly family of vampires  as main characters (a trend in YA lit that won’t die, haha), this book had the potential for greatness. Unfortunately, it falls short of this potential. The writing is simultaneously awkward and overwrought. I found myself rolling my eyes and muttering “oh, please…” at Bella’s descriptions of Edward’s beauty, or at the happy couple’s proclamations of love. Bella’s emotional and physical ups and downs didn’t move me much. I found Edward and his family a bit more interesting, perhaps because they’re drop-dead gorgeous (haha) vampires.

I also found the book somewhat predictable, but this could have been because I saw the movie before reading it. This is one instance where the movie is slightly better than the book, probably because I enjoyed looking at the beautiful Pacific Northwest scenery. There is one stand-out scene in the movie: the baseball scene. I admit to exclaiming, “That is awesome!” when I first saw it. I love the music behind it and the whimsy of vampires playing baseball but only able to do so in a thunderstorm. I was eager to see how it was handled in the book. It was disappointing.

I don’t plan on reading the other books in this series, but there are two spinoffs I’d love to see: a book on Carlisle’s human history and early life as a vampire, authored by Anne Rice. I’d read a similar book on Alice, especially if it were written by Joe Hill.