Sunday, December 13, 2009

Twilight for Beginners

I have a student who's really into reading. He's one of those shy, quiet guys who always looks surly, and he scarcely said two words to me until I happened to ask what he liked to read. A huge smile lit up his face and he immediately wrote me four pages of book recommendations. Over the semester he blossomed into a sweet, talkative kid who's always discussing literature with me in the hallways. It's one of those teaching success stories that keeps me going-- but for one little detail. The book that got him out of his shell? Twilight.

This is all the proof I need that I am really good at my job: In order to have something to talk about with this guy, I actually forced myself to read the entire Twilight saga.

 If you've never read the Twilight series, I envy you. Just in case you are ever in a similar situation, though, allow me to summarize it for you:

1. Glamorous, sparkly vampire with A Dark Past and A Monstrous Ego meets wholly uninteresting self-absorbed teenage girl. For some reason, Edward Cullen decides that Bella Swan is his Twu Wuv, despite the fact that her shining accomplishments to date are managing not to walk into traffic or swallow her own tongue.

2. Edward, who has decided that the best way to show his Twu Wuv is through psychological abuse, is alternately distant and smothering. Bella remains wholly uninteresting, but for some reason this nets her another superhuman suitor. (What, is white-bread teen wangst like Spanish Fly to these creatures?) Werewolf Jacob is as badass as Edward would be if he weren't busy being such a huge pussy all the time. The two of them snarl at each other and get all shirtless and pouty. Bella, meanwhile, realizes she's too boring to live and does things like piss off vampires and jump off cliffs and confront elite undead overlords.

3. A whole bunch of bullshit teen drama goes here which I totally didn't care about because I was hoping that the rest of the series would be about the elite clan of undead overlords who are way more noteworthy than any of the main characters.

4. Bella complains that for what she's putting up with she should at least be getting some hot vampire nookie. So there's a huge wedding and a vampire baby, because Stephenie Meyer is Mormon.

5. Bella becomes a vampire and is actually less interesting as a result, because she has twice as much time to spend fawning over her brooding hubby and blood-sucking offspring. Jacob the werewolf relinquishes all his badassery by falling in love with a three-day-old child. Yeah, really.

5. The undead overlords threaten war with the Cullen clan, because... oh, who cares? Finally, some kickass vampire battles! A whole bunch of previously unmentioned characters show up with a whole bunch of previously unmentioned powers. Tantalizing glimpses of action presage a cataclysmic vampire/werewolf apocalypse. It looks as though the series might actually become mildly diverting.

6. About a million billion supernatural creatures assemble on the field, poised to rip each other's lungs out. Immediately before widespread carnage is unleashed... the key players decide to resolve their differences with a pat on the back and a "Can't we all just get along?" and they go their separate ways, leaving me with a serious case of vampire/werewolf-apocalypse blue balls.

That's basically all you need to know, in 2,999.5 fewer pages than it took La Meyer to lay it out.

Posted by Silent Five @ 8:29 PM

Read or Post a Comment

At least it wasn't The Da Vinci Code (Ba-dum-BUM *tssssh*).

Vampires need to be over in the worst way. They overflowed their potential as a literary device eons ago. A vampire is nothing but a metaphor for sexual predation, and the very most you can do with it is stretch it into also being a metaphor for bad politics. After that, the only thing worth doing is to make fun of them. In a manner of speaking, a teen emo-fest in which they sparkle and have babies accomplishes that, but not on purpose, and not well. Apparently the Vampire Apocalypse will be televised -- just not with a bang, but a whimper.

I am also disappointed that if you are watching a Twilight preview in a theater and you yell out, "Cedric Diggory died for your sins!" nobody laughs.

Posted by Blogger quadragon @ 10:44 PM #

Google is schizophrenic, won't make up its mind what to call me. I'm sure you can figure out who I am though.


Posted by Blogger quadragon @ 10:47 PM #

I dunno, quadragon--The Da Vinci Code, like all Dan Brown novels (I've read three) is the literary equivalent of a candy bar: it's not good for you, but it provides short-term immediate gratification, and takes very little time to consume.

Twilight is on par with halfway decent slash fanfiction, without the graphic sex scenes. Which is pretty bad.

Susan, I can sympathize. My little cousin, who is an avid reader, really loves Twilight, so I thought I'd try it out. I only made it halfway through Book 2, though, so you did way better than me.

We need a new underground fantasy series, stat. Something along the lines of Dark Tower and His Dark Materials--although at this point, I'll settle for a superhyped one, so long as it stops tweens and twentysomethings from falling in love with undead bloodsucking things. It's no good at all for the coming zombie apocalypse.

Posted by Blogger als4bsds @ 11:38 PM #

Ha, yes. I hope this gets linked to from all manner of teacher, parent, and librarian sites. I shall tweet it, myself.

It's saying something that Hart and Mandy are more interesting and less self-absorbed than the twits that populate the pages of the "Twilight" series.

Also, dude, thank you for pointing out the grotesque absurdity of Jacob falling in love with Renesmee. I'm all for people who make each other happy being together even if there's an age gap, but DAMN, son. That's not an age gap, that's an age canyon.

One tiny quibble: Meyer, not Meier. Changing it may help you show up on more search results.

Do more reviews! You make reading them fun. :D

Posted by Blogger ~jl @ 10:27 AM #

My problem is that either Dan Brown is not like a candy bar to me, or I don't like candy bars. But I think it's the former. I got my degree in art history, so I'm not interested in hearing about "symbology" from somebody who doesn't even bother to look up in Wikipedia what the academic study of symbolism is called. Especially in a novel that basically consists of one character endlessly lecturing everybody within earshot. If the main character had a bullwhip and a revolver then it might be a candy bar. On the other hand, if the author wants to be Umberto Eco, then he actually needs to be Umberto Eco. Being Dan Brown won't cut it.

(PS, whatever silly thing Google thinks I'm called, I am actually Susan's uncle Dave.)

Posted by Blogger quadragon @ 2:09 PM #





Posted by Blogger Silent Five @ 4:38 PM #

I wish.

Posted by Blogger quadragon @ 8:52 PM #

I had the same palpitation about quadragon, Susan; thought for sure you had lured Scott Adams from his cubicle. But I am glad to know my brother spends some time NOT playing WOW.

Posted by Anonymous scilla @ 8:41 AM #

Scott Adams was an ISDN software engineer for Pacific Bell back in the day. I don't think he has an art degree. You never know, though.

World of Warcraft? You wound me, Sis. That's so 10 minutes ago.

Posted by Blogger quadragon @ 11:54 AM #
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Word of the Week

gymnosophy [jim-NAH-so-fee]

n. Philosophical, amusing, or nonsensical insights realized when naked, as in the shower or in bed. (recent coinage: att. S. Galasso, 2010)

Victoria and Albert enjoyed a spot of postprandial concupiscence culminating in a night of gymnosophy and coffee and crumpets at dawn.

The Silent Top Five: Bacon-Flavored Desserts

1) Bacon cheesecake.
2) Bacon gumballs.
3) Bacon ice cream.
4) Bacon-orange bars.
5) Bacon apple pie.

Standard Disclaimer

This is all in no way meant to incur copyright-infringement-related wrath. I'm harmless. I promise. Oh, and if you're offended by anything I may post herein, I guarantee I didn't mean to do so (unless, of course, you are a humorless prig. In which case, go right on and be offended, with my blessings.)