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"Edward Cullen Is Staring At You..."
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
Member Name: joshuas-mummy
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
Advantages: The most beautiful love story, not at all only for teenage girls
Disadvantages: Don't read if you can't devote full time to it-you won't be able to put it down!
A friend recently asked me why I was reading Twilight, it was after all a teenage novel about vampires, wasn't it? I couldn't disgaree more. This was my response to her. Twilight is a love story. It's a love story where one of the main characeters is in her teens at the time the story is set, but it's by no means only young adult fiction. It's actually suitable for all ages. I know it was intended for a young adult audience when writen but I think it's popularity with people of all ages has prooved it's adapted to suit the needs of an older reader too.
Twilight follows Bella Swan, 17 years old and what can only be described as clumsy, awkward and shy. The plot centres around her and the whole book is told through her eyes. Very early on we are shown the state of Bella's family and living situation, which I feel helps to contribute to our connection with her personality. Her parents are seperated and she is in the process of moving from sunny Phoenix, Arizona where she has been living with her Mother and her new Husband. Her new home is with her Father is a small town called Forks in Washington which is described as the "wettest place in the continental US'. Her move catapultes her out of her comfort zone, if this is possible for Bella and she has to adjust to a new school and new people. And people were not her strong point in Phoenix, it's obvious so is social inept, but lovable too.
Slowly becoming accustomed to the Forks way of life, Bella lays eyes on Edward Cullen and his family. The Cullen family also have a fractured living situation which intrigues Bella and her classmates. The attraction between the two is instant. It's intense, it's deep and is unaided by many words. The curiosity of it catches Bella unawares and sweeps through her, while Edward's bizarre attempts to quash it seem ill-fated. Twilight is their love story.
My thoughts on Twilight at the beginning was one of apprehension. I have already seen the film several times and I must say that it was the sexual tension between Bella and Edward that captivated me. It was their emotional connection, their tension and the intensity of their love that drew me in as a viewer of the film. And I was pretty sure that the book would not be able to touch on that tension, on that connection. I knew the plot, so I wasn't expecting suprises but within days I had hungrily read the entire book-something which suprised me greatly and also shows how difficult this is to put down-even knowing the plot ahead of reading it.
From the beginning Meyer uses Bella to give us our basic thoughts on the characters we meet. The way Bella's mother is portrayed as the one in need of care taking in their relationship and the minimal contact she has had with her father since she reached adolesence gave me reason to wonder if her social awkwardness was due to her lack of structured parenting. However as the story progressed we see that Bella is actually more mature than given credit for, more mature than she knows. She lacks little enthusiasm for fun, for entertainment on any level which is unusal for a teenage girl but somhow fits Bella's character perfectly. She is content with her lot, not hungry and desperate for more than she's been given. It allows you to sympathise with her, to feel sorry for her being so shy, so unable to assosciate with people her own age. It also makes you respect her too, or it made me respect her should I say. Her maturity is far above her age and made me feel more able to connect with her, to associate to her (I am in my mid twenties). Don't get me wrong, Bella isn't depressed. Despite her social inexcusability she is actually perfectly accepting of herself. Happy isn't a word I would ever use in conjunction with Bella, it just doesn't fit. That's not saying she's miserable, because she isn't but her character oozes depth and darkness in a positive way. If at all possible!
Edward on the other hand is harder to warm to. I have a feeling though that this is the way Meyer intended it to be. He is after all a 104 year old vampire, stuck constantly living the life of a 17 year old! Who on earth would want to constantly be a teenager?! However what I like about Edward is the conflicted way in which he behaves. Yes he may be a 17 year old boy but she has used the fact that he was raised (as a human) in an age (Victorian age) where childhood was long gone by the teenage years. It's because of this that Edwards maturity matches Bella's, and in some cases outdoes hers. He was raised as a gentleman, as a grown man and when he became a vampire he was far from childlike. Therefore stuck at that point forever he is having to live in a world where being the same age means something completely different. I like the way Meyer shows his ability to do this without making him resentful, he likes the whole schooling side of his life, even if it is just a front and you get the feeling very early on he doesn't take it too seriously but is naturally gifted in the classroom. It's easy to understand why though as I'm sure he's completed the curriculum many times over.
Between Bella and Edward the most beautiful love story is born. One of intense connection, one that shows two souls intwined together with no reason for being so and so much pushing them apart yet their loves draws them to each other like magnets. It's captivating to read. My only critism of the novel is the speed in which their love is born. Being older (and wiser) I don't believe in love at first sight and I would have prefered it if Meyer had addressed the beginning of their relationship as an infactuation, rather than instantly 'Love'. Perhaps (in my opinion) this is why it's technically classed as young adult fiction. After all the glory of being a teenager means you can still afford to believe in that sort of love at first sight!
I enjoyed the way the story developed. Sometimes jumping longer periods of times, sometimes painstackingly stretching chapters out over short periods. However it worked and created a jumbled sense of cohesion which actually wasn't really that noticeable until afterwards. I like the way we still see Bella as awkward but as though Edward awakens her. As if he is the part of her that brings her to life. Suddenly her clumsyness is partly down to being love struck and down to sheer excilleration and it's interesting to see how this alters the perception of Edward as a result. His safe 'wickedness' is captivating. By this I mean that he adds the slight element of excitement to their relationship, after all between someone as deep and shy as Bella and a Vampire there had to be some light heartedness somewhere or the relationship would have been the most absurd detail of depression! It suprised me that Edward was the one of the two to bring this to the table. But as the plot develops it's humourous to read and makes you smile, it makes your heart warm to their love story despite there 'differences'.
Another thing I found myself in awe of as I continued through the story was the way in which two people, supposedly so different were bound together by their love creating a personality that reflected the other perfectly. It's as if their love made them the same, yet from totally different pieces of cloth. I've never seen anything like it and I've read a lot of books!
Bella as the main character is supported by a cluttering of other characters who complete the story-family and friends. All of whom perfectly fit the bill in completing the story and the surroundings of the Bella/Edward love story. Meyer managed to create characters that perfectly complimented not only both Bella and Edward but also that complimented the date and the background lead up. These characters also provide depth to the surroundings in the situations we see in the book, and they also give readers of all ages further characters to associate with thus making it more adaptable to readers of all ages.
After seeing the film and then going back to read the book I had expected more of a lead up to the events seen in the film, more 'scences'. However there weren't many other sections of the book that could have created new scences for the film. Obviously the situations were more described, more explained than on film but the main difference was the depth of emotions and connections that were expressed. The depth of the feelings behind things that Meyer perfectly decipted in detailed prose is where I was able to find my fulfilment of the depth of the relationship between Edward and Bella. This is where I was suprised, very pleasantly that the book was just as captivating as the film.
My overall opinion on Twilight is that it's something everyone should read. Whether it's your 'thing' or not, it's a piece of written genious and if you don't like the story, you will appreciate it's potential regardless. I think it's popularity has gone against it with some people, and made them not want to read the books as they have categorised the story without seeing or reading it. I would urge these people to read the book. It will, if nothing, grip you and intrigue you in a story that brings something for everyone.
No, I'm not a twihard fan. Yes I love the characters and am passionate about the story itself but as an adult and not one who is easily impressed with things like this, I feel my five star rating of this novel should implore all to read it and give it a go.
I did, and I've found nothing like it before or since.
Available in all good book shops for between £5-£7 or available to download as I did on the Ipad via Itunes for £6.99.
Summary: It's a must read for everyone, even if just to say you have!