Saturday, July 28, 2012

My Take on why Twilight is so Popular

I did it. I finally broke down and read the Twilight "saga." I read each book, including the novella, ready to mock them, but was surprised to find that there was something undeniably relatable within the characters. Now, I'm going to preface this by saying that the books do have their entertainment value and I did get a chuckle here and there, but... I would hate to think of my little niece looking at Bella Swan as a role model, Edward Cullen as the perfect boyfriend, because they're not. The books are not great literature and for all that Meyers tries to spend the first 400 pages of each book on character development and interaction, the characters are actually pretty 2-dimensional. And while I'm at it, what is up with cramming all of the plot in the last 150 pages of the books? What is that shit? Who does that? Notwithstanding, I can't deny that there are certain aspects that readers can relate to (maybe not universally, but subject matter is subjective) so I decided to pick out three key items and parallel them with my personal experiences. I'll be speaking mostly about the books, but may interject with movie elements as needed.

1. The controlling boyfriend
So. I had an Edward once. Pale, handsome, intelligent and articulate. Even came from the goddamned Pacific Northwest. I fell madly, deeply in love very quickly and didn't realize until the very, very end that he was isolating me, keeping me from my friends, limiting time spent with my family, making me completely codependent on him... kind of like, oh, I dunno, Bella. When our relationship ended and he left, I was completely nonfunctioning. When you look at Bella and Edward in the books, you see how Edward controls who Bella sees, has her monitored at all times, and loses his shit when she disobeys him and goes to LaPush.

2. That electrifying stomach butterfly
So this is pretty much in the first book exclusively, but it's when Edward and Bella don't quite touch, and it's described as an electricity between the two. I remember that intensity, when you're so attracted to someone that their very proximity is like an electric charge up and down  your skin that makes those insidious butterflies in your stomach set flight. And when you do touch? It's like you're on fire. This was one thing Meyer actually wrote really well. I kind of missed it in the rest of the books.

3. The puppydog
That tattoo is on the wrong side. Yes, I watched the movies too

I think everyone has had their puppydog. Bella literally did. Mine was John. While I bounced from man to man, I watched and tried to pretend he was just my friend and that it didn't make him jealous, all the while spending as much time in my presence as possible. The puppydog isn't a bad thing, after all, I chose mine, the eventual end of our relationship notwithstanding. Sure, the puppydog can become a bitter person, like Jacob Black, but only if they're toyed with.

So there you have it. Three reasons I found Twilight relatable, I think these three may be the most widely encompassing, but like I said, it's subjective.


1 comment:

  1. Aye, I read the series not long after I split up with my own "Edward", so the experience of losing my shit entirely was still fresh in my mind. I could relate to it completely. It's hard to keep it together when someone has slowly and carefully broken you into so many pieces and made themselves into the glue that holds all those pieces in place. And, like Bella, I took his bastard ass back. The only difference is that I finally got wise and left him not long after. *shrug*

    And this is why I can't really stomach the snide remarks about how "normal" people don't react that way after a split up, and that Bella must've been somewhat defective for doing so. Lame as it is, I take criticisms about that part of the plot personally, because it reflected something deeply personal. It's cool that people don't understand that reaction - it means they haven't been caught up with someone that controlling and manipulative. Seriously, that's great. But... don't rub it in, guys. Not all of us are that lucky.