Saturday, October 31, 2009

Confessions!! Or, my conflicted feelings about Twilight

First-- TOO LONG! It has been too long since I updated the blog. It hasn't gotten truly dusty but I will find more snark and polish the blog more often.

Ok. True confessions. So, I'm SO excited because a friend just asked me to be in her book club, and I've wanted to be part of a book club for so long, and my kids are finally at a point where I feel like I can leave for a few hours (1 and 3-- it's a miracle milestone, I tell you). And she's one of my handful of mama friends who are actually local (uh, at least within 30 miles) and about my age. And the next meeting is in January so I have plenty of time to get caught up. I hit the library so fast for the books...

The last books they'd read were the Twilight series, and they were reading Make Him Look Good for January.

I had been avoiding the Twilight juggernaut the way some people avoided the Harry Potter series-- just because it was huge, they wanted to just skip it. (sidebar: For the record, I read all the HP books, and by the last one I was a feverish fan. For my money, the writing got better and better and the story was amazing. And I loved that one of the hands-down biggest butt kicking heroes was a mom, and that many plotlines revolved around maternal relationships. /long-winded sidebar)

Ok, so I was going to skip Twilight. But picked it up for the book club. Friends, it was bad. BAD bad, not even "guilty pleasure" bad. But you know what's compelling? It's very nearly the bad, awful, swoony stuff I would have LOVED (and maybe even secretly written) myself in high school.

The writing is terrible, the characters are flat, the plot is no revelation, there's no beauty in the language. But what works is that it reminds me of the daydreams I would indulge in during high school about The Perfect Guy. Then it amplifies those daydreams by, oh, a couple hundred pages, and voila! A runaway bestseller and movie hit.

I finished Twilight, then turned to Make Him Look Good.

That one was worse. It was so bad, and there was no redemptive "well-maybe-it-works-for-a-high-school-daydream" escape clause. Nope. This was so shallow, so terrible, it's one of the few books I've ever returned without finishing. I did not care at all what happened to Milan, Geneva, or "JSan" (=Jill Sanchez, a carbon copy of JLo-- YEAH, it's THAT bad).

This author should be ashamed of this book. It never should have been published-- there's no story here and no evidence that she tried to create one. At all. The reviewers who gave semi-decent reviews to this are obviously getting paid off, in my opinion. You can judge this book by its inane, meaningless cover.

Which means that when I went to check out Eclipse (book 2 in Twilight), suddenly I was like, "Hmm, not terrible." Even though it still *is,* at least the earnestness of the author seems to come through. That counts for something, I guess. (Although I believe that this series was picked up solely because marketers needed a fantasy hook for Potter fans who were getting a little older, I think Stephanie Meyer didn't write it *just* for that purpose.)

So now I'm palate cleansing with Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart. I can't fly through it-- I actually have to think. It's a bit of a labor but you know, it's also incredible literature.