The musings of A.V. Phibes

I'm watching you, culture, and I don't approve.

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If I could review "Twilight" (the book) in three letters, they would be "WTF"
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avphibes
So I'm sure at this point everyone has heard of this hit book Twilight and the movie thereof. While I have not seen the movie, I have just finished the book and the thought that kept coming to mind throughout was: Are you fucking kidding me?

Look, this book is bad. Shockingly bad. But it's bad in that epic, unselfconscious sort of way that makes me kind of obsessed with it, in the same way I'm obsessed with Showgirls and Trapped in the closet. Although it's bad, it's not that surprising that it's popular. It's full of romantic grandiosity and shoots straight to the heart of teenage girl fantasies about being special and unique and being loved madly by a dreamy bad boy. But... oh god... IT'S SO BAD!

First off, I feel like I need to clarify that I'm not some McSnobbersons who sniffs disdainfully at anything that's not Lit-rah-chah. I heart good writing, but I'm not ashamed to get down with a little popular entertainment. I thought the Harry Potter series was delightful, and in my early 20's I devoured Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles and loved every minute of it. But, for reals, Stephanie Meyer make J.K Rowling and Anne Rice look like Nobokov and Dostoyevsky. See, a lot of times I evaluate entertainments on the "could I have done that?" scale. And, honestly, The Harry Potter series and the Vampire Chronicles were pretty detailed with lots of characters and multi-layered plots, and I'm not sure I could pull something like that off. "Twilight," however, I'm pretty sure I could have written piss drunk, typing with my nose.

If someone had told me that this book was written by a 15 year old who'd never kissed a boy, I would have said "well, that makes perfect sense. The tone and writing level is pretty much what I would have done when I was a 15 year old who'd never kissed a boy." It's the fact that it was written by a grown-up mother of 3 with an English degree that amplifies the WTF factor. What? How? It made me want to travel back in time, find my 15 year old self and force her to drop out of school, get her GED and start cranking out overwrought fantasy romance novels.

If you have not read the book, here is the plot:

A girl (Bella) leaves her flaky Mom and moves to a small, rainy town to live with her dad. There's a really hot boy (Edward) who keeps giving her mixed signals that make her obsessed with him. He saves her from a car crash. She finds out he's a vampire. She decides she's in love with him. He starts being nice to her and he's in love with her too! But, uh oh! her blood smells delicious and he wants to kill her! But he controls himself and they kiss! Yay!

Not a lot going on, right? THAT'S 350 FUCKING PAGES OF THE BOOK! The last 150 pages consists of a bad vampire who decides he wants to kill Bella for sport and she has to run away with the help of Edward's hot vampire family, but bad vampire tricks her into meeting him at a dance studio and beats her up and OMG Edward saves her just before he kills her. Then they go to Prom. The end.

OH OH OH... and the bestest part of all: The reason vampires can't go out in the sun? Because they're sparkly. Yes, sparkly. REALLY. I'm going to extrapolate from this that they also ride unicorns and crap gumdrops. I had to put down the book at that point and crack up.

Seriously. 500 pages. Of course, if they cut out Bella's tedious run-throughs of her daily class schedule and the ten million ridiculously adjectivey descriptions of how hot Edward is, the book would probably be a pamphlet. And don't presume that those extra pages were used on extraneous things like, say, character development.. ha ha ho... you wish! There isn't a character in this book who has more depth than a kiddie pool, and the protagonist, Bella, is probably the most spot-on example of a Mary Sue Character since Mary Sue.

But here's the thing... I was kind of looking forward to this book being page-turning popcorn, but at about the halfway mark I started feeling this strange, undefined feeling of frustration that went beyond the fact that there seemed to be no plot. I couldn't put my finger on it... and then, it hit me: The book was written in the style of erotica and I was waiting for the sex. So that part of my brain that likes to spank it to bad literotica.com stores... or, you know, that WOULD if I were into that sort of thing *cough*... was impatient to get the show on the road. Subconsciously, my mind was saying "GET TO THE FUCKING ALREADY!" and once my conscious mind figured that out, I was like "This book was written by a Mormon. There will be no fucking." And then, admittedly, I was a little annoyed. I almost wanted to write the sex scenes myself. They would probably go a little something like this:

I gasped as Edward unzipped his gorgeous, godlike pants, revealing his smooth, white, marble cock. He glared at me with his burning topaz eyes as my fingertips brushed his cold, sparkling, granite dick. My heartbeat quickened. My breath caught. I didn't deserve this. How could I, clumsy, ordinary, plain, clumsy Bella Swan who was only asked to the dance by 3 different lovestruck boys, be so close to a cock so gorgeous, scintillating and godlike? It was like the pale marble cock of Adonis.

In a quick, graceful motion, Edward turned and glared at me. "Don't you see Bella?" he said as he held me in his strong grasp and dry-humped my thigh with annoyance, "I'm a danger to you! You should have nothing to do with me! Every moment you're risking your life!"

"Edward" I gasped "I love you. I will love you forever!" I was in agony thinking of losing him and never again touching his pale, white, cold, gorgeous, sparkling, marble, granite, dazzling, godlike, scintillating Adonis cock. How would I live? He was my life.

He glared at me again with his dazzling, golden eyes and told me with his gorgeous, pale lips "There's something I haven't told you. Something else about my kind."

"What Edward?" I asked breathlessly, "I will love you no matter what. Forever."

He brushed his cold, gorgeous, marble lips close to my clumsy, ordinary ears and whispered "We..."

"What, Edward? I love you. Forever. You can tell me anything."

He gave me his crooked grin and said, "We ejaculate rainbows."



...and so forth. You get the idea.

But, considering how little substance was contained in the 500 pages of Twilight, I figured I could just read the wikipedia synopses of the subsequent books in the series and I could get the rest of the saga without missing anything. Of course, now I feel like I have to go see the movie which I have heard is bad, but I refuse to believe it could possibly be as bad as the book. Also, Robert Pattinson kinda looks like my boyfriend's brother (which was pointed out back when he played Cedric Diggory) which may be funny or awkward, I'm not sure which.

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When people began gushing about this book I was intrigued. That is, until my 45 year old Jehovah Witness sister and her 14 year old carbon copy daughter said to me "OMG OMG YOU HAVE TO READ IT, IT'S THE BEST BOOK IT MADE US CRY AND WE CAN'T WAIT FOR THE MOVIE!!"

This made me never want to EVER read or see it...because they liked it and if they liked it, I can guarantee I will not.

Please, even in Judy Blume books the girl GETS TO TOUCH IT. And name it.




Re: Taste the Rainbow.

unwoman

2008-12-04 09:06 pm (UTC)

Oh yeah, she named it Ralph. I'll never forget that.

(Deleted comment)
I don't know how, but before this day is over, I am going to work rainbow ejaculation into a conversation.

Please tell me the character's name really wasn't BELLA SWAN? That is so damn cheesy.

OH IT IS!

Apparently whoever edited these books decided that NOTHING IS TOO RIDICULOUS!

you crack me up.
Please...write the "unedited" version of this book.
All the lusty, sparkley, rainbow-face covered parts.

I thought about reading it when all the movie-hype started.
and thought better when i found out it was a Mormon Vampire series.
Ugh.

What's next?
Quaker Zombies?

so alone, so misunderstood

hydrozoa

2008-12-04 06:26 pm (UTC)

what is the big-ass L in twilight supposed to be? a single fang?

Re: so alone, so misunderstood

avphibes

2008-12-04 06:30 pm (UTC)

I hadn't noticed that. My vote is for sparkling vampire cock.

I started reading the book on vacation at the beach, because it seemed like ridiculous, mindless beach reading. And then, like cheetos, I had to keep reading them all, even though I realized how god awful the writing was, and how creepy mormon messages were hidden in the stories. I can't remember the name right now, but there is an lj user who does fantastic reviews of all the books.

Last week I dragged b. to the movie. Drink beforehand. DRINK ALOT. We were snickering and giggling in the parts the rest of the audience was swooning over, which was an...entertaining cultural experience I guess.

The adult vampire sex version of the stores are basically Charlaine Harris' Southern Vampire books that True Blood is based on. Soooooo much vampire/psychic human/werewolf sex. :D

the most awesome ones ever are by cleolinda she also has a wiki entry with them all together so you can read them in order and whatnot. she is awesomely hilarious!

Ok, I just laughed so hard, I made my cat jump. Your interpretation is *too* brilliant. Brava!!! ;D

Wow... that sounds so bad it makes my intestines quake with fear.

Even the least nuanced carbon copy of Ranma 1/2 high school magic girl romance anime I've ever sat through (I was writing documentation until 3:00 the past two nights... I needed some pop cultural crisco to lube the neurons) at least knows enough to dangle the relationship in front of the two main characters for at least 20 episodes instead of jumping straight into OMG I LUVS YU/I LUV YU 2!

I always thought writing romance was all about keeping the cheese just out of the mouse's reach and just dropping a little crumb of dairy goodness now and then to keep it running through the maze. Crushing it under a 50 pound wheel of edam is not good technique.

This sounds more like pornography for girls who think touching themselves is gross.

It's totally abstinence porn.

i think i just died of laughter... i'm going to have to borrow that book. def.

I will totally loan it to you... then we can trade hilarious Cullen fanfics.

Damn, I wish I could ejaculate rainbows... :-(

okay, YES absolutely. in fact, the second book, from what i hear? WAY WORSE. counterpoint-- maybe the movie is BRILLIANT.

This book is missing a flying unicorn pony. That is its downfall.

350/150? Well, at least the movie's structure is true to the book's.

I won't lie, the movie was really fun for the following reasons:

1. I had just seen Quantum Of Solace right before and was totally high off the awesome violence.

2. Twilight has a terrific soundtrack that has little to do with what you might think is supposed to be the material's tone.

3. When Bella enters the bio lab and sees Vampire Boyfriend sitting there, her hair wafts in the breeze of a SLO-MO GLAMOUR FAN. My friend and I were the only ones in the theater cracking up, but fear not...we laughed enough for everyone. You likely will too.

The SLO-MO GLAMOUR FAN was my favourite part too! :-)

Thank you for graciously filling in the missing sex. Or at least, something closer to it.

I couldn't help but think that the whole novel read a little like a brochure on how to spot a domestically abusive relationship in the making.

yeah, i have the same question






- lili

This is precisely why snobbery isn't necessarily a crime punishable by death, you see.

You let people make cultural and artistic choices, and what happens? They pick Twilight.

Books like this will always exist, fine. What bugs me (As you can read in a previous entry I did where I rant on the series, which I'll link to) is when people who lack whatever they need to be regular readers, decide that their own ineptitude is somehow a barometer of quality. For example, those Harry Potter followers who say:

"Now, I'm not a reader, but I have to say, Harry Potter/Twilight/The Da Vinci Code is excellent.".

No, that doesn't make the book excellent (Though the latter is good in just about every way except Dan Brown's writing style). Twilight/Harry Potter, Halo, Coldplay; all the same thing but in different mediums of media. It's flattery for the masses.

Everyone KNOWS that if you are reading a book, you feel smart, provided it's such an uncharacteritic event for you that reading books IS out of your way.

-David

Like a genius, I forgot the link, if you're at all interested:

http://davidmasters05.livejournal.com/396124.html#cutid1

-David

har har. I was just reading in entertainment weekly how the special effects were all cheap and instead of looking sparkly in the sun, the dude just looks sweaty. AWESOME.

Yeah, but all that tells you is that the Entertainment Weekly critic didn't get the rimjobs and publicity freebies s/he felt was deserved for a positive review. Deal with an EW critic, and you'll understand why the magazine's initials are onomatopoeic.

cleolinda does the sarcastic book recaps, so you don't have to read them.

An article gathering all the mormon teen vampire madness into one place: http://io9.com/5096763/twilight-makes-for-the-best-fanwank-ever

My dick has never been more proud of having voted for you!

haha... I had forgotten all about that. Thanks for reminding me! You know, I will always regret not keeping a folder of all those pictures. So that someday my grandchildren can find them on my computer and be like "Grandma! Why do you have all these pictures of penises with your name written on them?" and I can be like "Ah, Grandchildren, it was the early days of the internet..."

Thank you for writing this hilarious and spot-on review. (I got here through jwz.)

Ditto! (I also got here from jwz.)

I just passed this review around the office. The CIO now thinks we're all on drugs because we're all laughing so hard. I actually fell out of my chair. Thank you, very much!

You have made many lovers of the VAMBONER very, very pleased with this :)

A friend's daughter bought me Twilight for Christmas last year, and I felt obligated to read it. It's just short of Harlequin grade romance, but without any of the interesting parts. On one hand, I can't see why anyone reads it, but on the other I can easily see how it was specifically engineered to appeal to it's core audience of awkward 13 year old girls who think they're ugly.

What I really don't get is how adult women get snagged into it.

And then this just blew me away. It would seem that the Westboro Baptist Church, easily among the most intolerant group of haters in recent memory, think Twilight is perfectly fine.


God may hate fags, but he's cool with vampires I guess.

I guess they're attracted to the strong message of abstinence?

The rainbows bit made me lose it. Absolutely astounding. I'm sending this to all my friends that are into Twilight.

yr twilight fanfic is HOTT !!!!!

I was in agony thinking of losing him and never again touching his pale, white, cold, gorgeous, sparkling, marble, granite, dazzling, godlike, scintillating Adonis cock.

I nearly just guffawed lunch pizza out of my nose. I am currently struggling through this book myself for work reasons, and I think you've EXACTLY hit the nail on the head as to what a sex scene in this book would be like.

Although I've been told by an utterly exasperated one-time fan of the series that in the fourth book [BIG-ASS SPOILER!] they finally have sex, and she doesn't really get to experience it; she blacks out and wakes up the next morning covered in bruises and worries frantically that she did something wrong. Honestly, the more I read and hear about this series, the more I feel like the people who complain that it's essentially an eroticized abusive relationship know exactly what they're talking about.

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