I’ve mentioned it before, but I’ve started reading Twilight again this week and now that I’ve had the chance to read the first few times for the joy of it, now as I’m reading, I’m trying to pinpoint the exact things about the book I liked and figure out why. I have a feeling that even this first part will be an epic post, so bear with me.
First of all, a little about me and my personality so you know where I’m coming from. I love to read. I learned how at an early age because my mom taught me before I went to kindergarten and I’m so thankful to her for this, I can’t even express it. It sounds so cheesy, but it really has changed my life. It is such an integral part of my personality, that I really should introduce myself as, “Hi. My name is Whitley and I love to read.” It is that important to me.
The benefits it’s giving me in my education are innumerable. I can actually spell and I have a decent size vocabulary, since I spend so much time looking at words. Because I read for pleasure, reading has always been a really fun activity for me, and as a result I don’t hate it so much when I have to for assignments in school. I actually loved it when we began to read the classics for English, because I had been reading them for years. I can also read super fast, and this is a double edged sword. It helps for stuff like school assignments, but sucks when I really love a book and never want it to end (I ended up reading Twilight for the first time in about 4 hours). Writing also isn’t as hard for me because I know what a story or essay was supposed to sound like, how the words were meant to flow together.
It’s one of the main reasons I decided to become a librarian. A library is automatically my favorite place on earth (they smell so good to me!) and there were reading contests at my local public library that I entered when I was a kid. I want to be a part of those, so other kids can learn how much fun reading is. I’ m even getting a little misty right now y’all, just thinking about it, that’s how passionate (or dorky) I am about it.
What I’m about to say might make me sound like a bad person, but whatever. This is really how I feel. When I’m talking to someone and the subject of “What do you do for fun?” comes up, I mention that I read for fun. Sometimes I hear back from people, “Oh, I hate to read. It’s so boring.” When I hear someone say this, I really get sad. I feel bad for them, because I know they are missing out on such a great thing. I honestly believe everybody would love to read if they knew there were books out there about something that interests them.
Something that has always interested me is love. Even as a little kid, I loved love stories and fairy tales that involved it. Beauty and the Beast was and is to this day my most favorite story ever (and Belle loved to read too!). This hasn’t changed as I’ve gotten older, so a lot of the books I now own are romance novels, books of love poems, and classic love stories like Pride and Prejudice, Romeo and Juliet and Gone With The Wind.
When my mother first suggested last year that I read Twilight, I wasn’t interested in it at all. I had tried to read “teen” romances when I was younger and really didn’t like them. I also don’t really prefer science fiction or fantasy novels, so Twilight didn’t sound like anything I would be interested in at all. I even laughed at my mom when she would talk about how perfect Edward was, because it just seemed silly to me that someone would want to read about someone that there wasn’t even a chance could possibly exist (I should interject here that my favorite types of romance novels are historical ones, set back in different time periods, because I like to think that maybe it could have happened).
I finally decided to read Twilight out of pure curiosity before I saw the movie. I just wanted to be able to compare when people were talking movie vs book. Obviously I read it and loved it. I totally surprised myself.
Looking back on it now, Twilight is basically the perfect book for someone to like me. I love romance (and who is more romantic that Edward Cullen?), and the inspiration for all the books in the series were the classics that I grew up loving so much. The fact that Edward is a vampire is, to me, not even that vital to the story. It is just another example of his extreme awesomeness and uniqueness. To be different, the story needed that extra kick to take it from boy-meets-girl to gorgeous-vampire-meets-totally-ordinary-girl-and falls completely in love.
I think the reason so many women in particular love this story so much is because many of us feel like Bella from time to time. Her character is written so you can project yourself in her shoes. While I was reading, I actually felt like the events in the story were happening to me. So many of us out there (myself included) have wondered in moments of stress or boredom what it would be like if someone came along and totally changed things for the better. It’s nearly so simple, you don’t even have to think it out. Life sucks sometimes. Our jobs are horrible, we have issues with family, relationship problems and so on. Who hasn’t dreamed of someone that is amazing and perfect coming in and rescuing you from your life?
There are some very deep themes in Twilight as well, which I don’t think a lot of people realize when they are dismissing the book. Twilight is about being alone in world, then finding the person who makes you finally feel like you aren’t. Take Bella for instance (since Edward is the obvious choice, but I will get to him in a minute). Before she met Edward, she really did feel like an outcast. She never related to anyone around her, not even her mother. She is unusual in that, she doesn’t even really care about this and doesn’t try to change it. Like I was saying in my post here, I admire Bella for not dumbing herself down and changing her personality in order to make friends. If she had done that, the story never would have worked, since her NOT doing it was something Edward admired about her too.
Even though he’s the obvious choice when it comes to the theme of aloneness, Edward is a perfect example of this as well. I don’t even have to go into why he felt so desolate, even though he had a loving family surrounding him all the time. He was also soul crushingly bored before he met Bella. Think about how you would feel when there were no more mysteries in life anymore. What if you knew what everyone else around you was thinking at all times and had a sister who could predict the future? I mean, what would you do? What would you think about in your spare time? Additionally, think about how Edward felt about being surrounded by by loving couples when there was no one he had that bond with. He had already pretty much given up ever finding someone, so he really had nothing to look forward to and forever to live. When people complain that Edward is too smothering towards Bella, I want to ask them if they have even read the books. I totally understand why Edward and Bella became so obsessed with each other. She was the first thing to stimulate him (heh heh) in about 100 years. After seeing all humans the same for a century, all of a sudden here is this girl who he can’t read, who he can tell is way more mature than any other human, and who also smells delicious. Of course he’s going to be fascinated. And of course Bella really has no choice in the matter, because how could she not be intrigued with someone like Edward who felt that way about her? (Hmmm….this is starting to remind me of imprinting)
Because I think I have pontificated long enough, I will do another post soon about the rest of my thoughts on this (I really shouldn’t have more, but I do).
Y’all I just wrote over 1000 words on why I love Twilight, and I’m not even done talking about it. At least I got all this stuff out of the way.