The Nosferatu Defense

Today I joined a group on Facebook called the Book Club. It is all about people that read and love books. I joined it as an author I talk with online suggested an “event” they were promoting which was really just “go out and by [her] book.” I am a sucker for those types of events (especially when I have already read the book), so I joined up.

Now one of the big things in this group is the gallery of photos people took of their bookshelves. So I flipped through some of them. Actually I flipped through a lot of them. Then I made a comment on Twitter. I commented that I might have joined the wrong group as I was the only one without Twilight on my bookshelf. I have since been accused of being a literary elitist and a vampire snob. So thus I feel I must explain (in more than 140 characters).

When the first movie came out I saw some special effects that seemed to be worth it and my son’s girlfriend was a fan of the books. I figured we would go see it. She was such a fan of the books she refused to go see it as it would stink in comparison. My wife and I went anyway. We regretted it. The acting was pretty horrible, but more so I could not believe the story. I was informed that it was unfair to judge the story on the movie as the book was so much better. So I read the first book. I regretted it. Seriously, that is ten hours of my life I will never get back.

Personally I felt the writing was not the best. As I am in no position to cast stones on that front, I also felt the characters were sending a horrible message. Bella is one of the most weak and impressionable characters I have ever read. Seriously, she is practically screaming to be taken advantage of by a pedophile. Wait, she already has one of those. But let me attempt to explain this with a little less snark.

Athletic stats are different for men’s sports as opposed to women’s sports. In many cases weight is left off of the stats in women’s sports. The reasoning behind it? Weight is so tied into a young woman’s self image and self esteem that it is left off so as not to cause negative emotions. Right or wrong, that is the reason. Giving tween girls a character to identify with like Bella is a similar thing. They see her pining over Edward and wanting to die if she cannot be with him as normal and acceptable behavior. I personally think she is a horrible role model when there are so many better options out there.

Now comes the fun part. The part where I explain I should not be flogged by the raving Twilight fans out there. The reasons are pretty simple.

  • I will not begrudge you for your love of the series. Everything stated above is a matter of my opinion. You are expected to have your own.
  • I will not begrudge Stephanie Meyers her success. She made it to not only being able to be a full time writer, but also to being financially set. That is the brass ring and then some right there.
  • I will not tell you that it is wrong to like the books, but I will also offer up some other titles that are along the same lines. Ones that feature stronger characters with stronger personalities. (I am devising such a list for friends and family now.)
  • At the same time, I expect to be allowed my opinion that Edward is creepy. Literary Edward that is – movie Edward just looks constipated.
  • I also expect to be allowed my opinion that Bella is a weak personality. She completely lacks independence and is more a victim than anything else.

That is not to say that I am of the opinion no good things have come from the success of Twilight. For instance, it inspires tweens to read more books. Now I think the “extras” section in the back of the Harper Teen Classics that have come out are an abomination, but that is another story. Even if it was Edward and Bella’s favorite book, I do not want to see what Facebook updates would have looked like had Romeo and Juliet been alive today. But the tweens are reading, and that is good as a whole for the craft of writing. Because let’s be honest – this shit’s about to get real, y’all – if I could be a full time writer I would write about sparkly vampires all day long.

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11 thoughts on “The Nosferatu Defense

  1. Yeah the pussy vampires always look constipated. Angel looked constipated too. But yes, literary Edward is creepy. That’s stalker territory right there. Eeek.

    I agree also that Bella is incredibly weak and vampires should never sparkle in the sun. I like my vampires like I like my men… evil. (stole that line from Buffy.)

    I write about vampires (not just vampires, but vampires), and they are morally ambiguous bordering on evil. They aren’t fluffy human lovers that sparkle in the son. It’s aberrant for a vampire to go for a human, though since I write romance, I write aberrant vampires. Though they still don’t sparkle and they aren’t fluffy puppies with fangs.

  2. Excellent article, ZJ. Our daughter is too small for Twilight fever but she knows that vampires are supposed to be at least somewhat scary. We watched Twilight on dvd last year and she took a break from playing to watch an Edward/Bella scene.

    “Who’s that guy?” she asked.

    “The vampire,” I replied.

    She squinted her eyes at the screen, then added, “He’s not a vampire. He’s just weird.”

    I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  3. I don’t mind the books, yes they are poor but they are probably a little bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I quite like quick trashy reads sometimes πŸ˜€

    However, I would hate, hate, hate for my daughter to love them. She’s only three so it isn’t that likely to happen! But still, I fear for teenage girls who think that kind of relationship is healthy. I’m always getting spat on (figuratively) for saying this but the whole thing smacks of co-dependency and creepy stalkeresque possessiveness. It icks me out when I hear girls say bite me Edward. Just…no.

    I LOVE anything that gets kids reading but check out the book section of Bebo or even Wattpad and see how many fecked up vampire stories there are and it gets a little scary at how seriously people take this stuff. If my daughter grows up thinking it’s okay for boys to sneak into her room to watch her sleep, I’m going to hunt Meyer down and smack her upside the head. Or maybe I’ll write a better book. Whichever is easier πŸ˜‰

  4. I’m with Claire.

    Definitely guilty pleasure material. Kind of like fluffy romance novels and Piers Anthony. The kind of stuff that you don’t want to admit you like reading.

    I think the draw is the all consuming “can’t live without you” love. It’s not healthy, but it’s compelling I guess.

    Personally I never really found Edward all that attractive (pre or post movie) Ice cold skin? πŸ˜› She should have gone with Jacob, lol. Of course he was kinda pushy and prone to outbreaks of violence that he had no control over, so is that better or worse than the guy that literally wants to eat her constantly XD

  5. And the sparkly thing bugs the living daylights out of me, I mean really? Sparkles? I’d expect that from unicorns or something, but not vampires.

  6. I read the books and thought they were fun to read at the time but WHILE reading them I remember thinking in the back of my mind – what a controlling jerk and why is Bella playing games and leading Jacob on? I tired to re-read them a few months after and couldnt get past page 20.

  7. Before watching the movie I picked up a paperback copy of the book, reasoning that any series that could inspire such a passionate response from millions of fans had to be worth a read. A few chapters in, I put it down. I won’t pull a Stephen King and call the writing bad. It is really no better or worse than the hundreds of thousands of other books out there. I just couldn’t connect with the voice.

    When the table full of beautiful/porcelain/shiny/smooth cool kid vampires popped up, I was hoping that Faith (in an inexplicable Buffyverse crossover) would crash in through the cafeteria window, stake them all in violent fashion, and offer her musings about being hungry and horny to the dumbfounded, painfully nice/shy/well-mannered/sheltered high schoolers.

    A guy can dream.

    Twilight did provide me with one very important thing: the motivation to finish my own book. After reading those chapters, I could not wait to publish the vampire novel I always wanted to read.

    Heh. Thanks, Twilight.

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