Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


September 18, 2008

Book review: Some biting remarks about Twilight's heroine as 'role model'

There's been attention lately on "Breaking Dawn," the final installment in Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" saga. I noticed the book was highly recommended by the Wall Street Journal, touted for promoting abstinence and presenting young girls with a positive and healthy modern relationship.

This was not the first time I had heard of Meyer's work: For weeks, there was news about the expected midnight release of "Breaking Dawn," the coming cinematic rendition of the "Twilight" saga, and various reports dubbing Meyer the next J.K. Rowling.

Despite the lauding media coverage, I was skeptical upon beginning "Twilight," the first book in Meyer's series.

"Twilight" centers around 17-year-old Bella Swan, who after moving to the rainy and rural town of Forks, Wash., falls madly in love with the gorgeous, charming and heroic Edward Cullen — the only problem being that Edward is a vampire. Of course, many obstacles ensue, but the love between Bella and Edward proves to be stronger than anticipated.

While I applaud Meyer's minimal use of sexual encounters in the book, most of my initial qualms were disappointingly confirmed by the tired plotlines in "Twilight." The idea of a wallflower moving to a new town only to discover that she is the object of every male's desire is silly, and used too often in cinema and literature. The first half of "Twilight" is filled with similar cliches, as it revolves around Bella and Edward's budding romance. However, their love seems to be fueled by physical attraction more then anything else, which contradicts Meyer's obvious promotion of the non-physical nature of their relationship.

The second half of the book manages to improve, showcasing Meyer's talent and creativity as a writer. While Edward's perfection is tiring in the first half, the second half presents a deeper version of the vampire, whose beautiful face is merely a facade for his deeply troubled soul. The plot twists, especially in some of the final scenes, are grand and captivating, proving why "Twilight" has been such a commercial success.

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