[DWJ] Twilight and New Moon (Was: Discussing now: What?)

deborah.dwj at suberic.net deborah.dwj at suberic.net
Wed Aug 1 08:35:24 EDT 2007

On Wed, 1 Aug 2007, Belben, Philip (Energy Wholesale) wrote:
> Steffi enquired:
>> My current favourite (book, again.) is the Twilight, also it's
>> sequels, by Stephenie Meyer. Since last year, I'd been frequently
>> posting on the Twilight Lexicon. Sadly, I've been rather busy, so I've
>> more or less stopped this fan-forum thing. Which also explains why I
>> haven't been replying to the DWJ mailing list. And Eclipse, the
>> Twilight-verse third book is coming out in 5 days! Hurray!
> Now that sounds a bit more discussable.  I've not heard of these books
> or this author.  Who is Meyer?  What sort of books does she write?  Why
> do you recommend them?  Can you think of anything to tie them into the
> DWJ theme?

Twilight and New Moon are two books I had tremendous trouble
reviewing. My adult reviewer self read them and found them to be
entertaining fluff -- but unlike some other entertaining fluff
which I could recommend highly without reservations (say, by Meg
Cabot), this fluff came with a flat, personality-free heroine; an
overly, non-ironically Byronic hero; and an endorsement of the
heroine's obsessive behavior and self-destructive tendencies.

My inner 16-year-old loved every page, with a love that knew no
bounds. I stayed up until four in the morning on a work night
reading both books because I couldn't put them down. (A middle
school teacher friend of mine had exactly the same experiences,
with the adult reader carefully sitting at the back of her brain
saying "this character is so flat and personality-free!", and the
adolescent reader craving more and more and more.

The basic premise is that plot line which is becoming more and
more common these days: girl meets vampire, girl falls in love
with vampire, angst ensues. In fact, when I first read it, I
referred to it as "a less well written _Sunshine_", and it is,
although I never wanted to read page after page of _Sunshine_
quite so voraciously. The trick in this particular book is that
the girl smells really, really, really tasty to vampires, and the
vampire in question is part of a family of vegetarian vampires.

In the second book there is a werewolf I like far more than I
like either the girl or the vampire. He's not as cool as Oz,
though, and as I type (well, dictate) it seems to me that I am
finding it far harder to bring these books back to something
having to do with DWJ mostly because I want to talk about Buffy
or Sunshine instead.

I wouldn't actually want to compare these books to DWJ in anyway
because they would suffer in a way which isn't fair; they aren't
as smart, and that's not a problem if you look at them out of
context. But I do wish the character had depth and richness. I
think one of the reasons the inner 16-year-old loves these books
so much is that Bella, the heroine, is so personality-free that
she basically acts as a placeholder for the reader. She doesn't
have to have anything in herself, because she exists to be the
in-story embodiment of the reader's obsession with her demon
lover, and of the demon lover's adoration of the reader.

Ye knowe ek, that in forme of speche is chaunge
Withinne a thousand yere, and wordes tho
That hadden pris, now wonder nyce and straunge
Us thinketh hem, and yit they spake hem so.  -- Chaucer

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