A Can of Worms

I know I’m opening a BIG one….
but here it is:


(ie: all the books beyond the 1st one)

I don’t mind the re-invention of the vampire & that they sparkle – hey, way to make it your own

I don’t mind that it’s “easy reading”

I don’t mind that it revolves around high school – hey I love YA, I read mainly YA, I write YA

I love the love story, the family ideals, and all that stuff

All the controversy about the anti-feminism whatever just makes me roll my eyes

All the controversy over how she got pregnant on the honeymoon makes me roll my eyes even more

I don’t care about any of that..

So, why does it make my stomach turn?

Because I can’t stand whiny heroines, number 1.

I spend an entire day listening to my children whine about one thing or another – and when I was in high school (because, I know, this is written for teens) I spent plenty of time listening to whiny peers – the last thing I want to do is escape into a book where I feel like slapping the main character upside the head and telling her to forget herself.

And number 2 – here is the big one – the number one clincher that made me hurl the book across the room and dent the wall with it (aside from not getting my big fight at the end – hey, I like me a big fight on occasion)

Bella doesn’t grow up, she doesn’t really change as a character and not only that, but she gets everything she wants with no sacrifice.

She gets her man.

She gets to transition to being a vampire with no problems at all.

Not only does she get one uber special vampire gift, she gets TWO!

Because the transition to the whole vampire thing is so easy, she doesn’t have to leave her family behind, she gets to live in a perfectly sculpted world that she doesn’t deserve – and yet I’m sure she’ll still find a way to whine about it.

I know it’s a book.

I know it’s not real life.

But there has to be a thread of reality – and I can’t suspend my belief that far.

Every good and great thing comes at a price or with a sacrifice – it has to, or we won’t cherish it.

Some sacrifice love for money or some money for love. You can have both, but there will be a sacrifice in that somewhere, somehow along the way. I have made many sacrifices for my love and family and they have made many for me.

So, why is it a big deal to me? It’s just a book….

Well, books teach, and I think we aren’t doing the rising generation any favors by encouraging them in the belief that they can have everything they want without any effort, toil, tears, or sacrifice. I think as authors we have an obligation to encourage our readers to grow and develop. We should create heroines and heroes that they want to emulate that have good, strong characteristics and are willing to forget themselves for the betterment of others.

Character flaws are essential in creating believable characters, but we need to give our heroes and heroines a way to learn from them, grow from them and conquer them. Bella had so many opportunities to change and improve herself, especially as she became a Mom (and I know she had phsyical sacrifice there to some extent) but even then she remained flat and rather self-centered.

Yes, I know plenty of people who exhibit the same traits as Bella, but they are not traits I want (or want my children) to aspire too – they are not traits befitting a heroine that one should aspire to be like. And even after she receives all she ever wanted I can’t help feeling that she doesn’t seem grateful at all – she simply seems to accept it as though that was the way it was supposed to be.

You may think that what we or our children read has little impact on us or them, but I think it does. Most won’t recognize the lessons one way or another, but the lessons are there for good or for ill. These lessons are taught and learned whether or not we choose to acknowledge or even recognize them. Some are wise enough to see them and avoid the pitfalls, but some won’t be.

I believe we have a moral obligation to  show how people can learn and better themselves – how our choices have consequences good and bad, how if we want something great – we must sacrifice something great.

If Bella had even had to struggle a bit with her vampire change, or realized that her incessant whining wasn’t cool, then I would have been able to see past the other many flaws. But, I can’t see past flaws that encourage a failing society to fail further.

So, I will continue to enjoy the first Twilight book (Bella’s not so bad in that book)- because I do, my copy is dog-eared and worn from late night escapes, but for me the series ends there, because then I can pretend she turned into the Bella I wanted her to be.

P.S. Feel free to discuss, but please don’t bash and if you are rude or use inappropriate language I will delete your comment.


Filed under Opinion, Writing

9 responses to “A Can of Worms

  1. Rebecca

    Love your analysis! Personally, I didn’t make it more than halfway through the first book before putting it down. I am not a big YA reader, but it was already getting old hearing her use the same adjectives to describe Edward over and over. I also couldn’t swallow the whole vampire idea…kinda creepy. Because of the lack of character depth in Bella, I lost interest before I got far enough to see whether she grew. My whole purpose in writing is to inspire others to become their best self by stepping into others’ shoes and learning from their experiences. Everything else is just fluff.

  2. I love this post! I seriously don’t get why people love Bella so much! I never had the desire to even wade through one book, but I was manhandled into watching the first vampire movie. She’s SO whiny and co-dependent and he’s so creepy stalkerish!!! egad. I want to slap ’em both. 😛

  3. Yeah, the whole “I watch you while you sleep” is pretty creepy – someone needs to give her a frying pan and teach her how to use it 😛 But I will admit to reading the first book more than once – especially at night when no one can see me and I need fluff to fall asleep by – my brain needs extra fluff these days.

  4. mcinsane

    I made it through the first one. It was ok, but I certainly wasn’t dying to read the next ones. I’m really kind of glad that I didn’t carry on. I totally agree with you that we learn SOOO much from what we read and watch, and so do our children. There are several Disney shows that I don’t let my kids watch anymore because the kids in them just don’t show respect for adults, and I don’t want my kids to be like that (and they are when they are watching those shows). I’m a big meany!! 🙂

  5. I had one and two given to me so I read them. I ended up throwing them in the recycle bin so that they would not be inflicted on anyone else. The author’s non twilight offering was not so bad although the heroine did get on my nerves a bit.

  6. Lorilee

    You said it beautifully. I read all the books and while I enjoyed them for the easy reading and action and love story I was always agitated and annoyed at Bella. You’re right, she never grew up.

  7. Great post. My sister and I have discussions about character depth and growth. It is always gratifying to see deeper understanding of a character by the end of the book, a purpose for their challenges. A lot can be forgiven a character who makes changes in the end and it is a letdown when they don’t.

  8. The only issue Bella has is that she is motherless….but aren’t most Disney princesses also?
    I have the first book, haven’t read it yet. I think it’s because of seeing the movie first. I heard the book was better, picked it up for a few dollars, but it’s gathering dust.
    I agree-hardly any conflict. I mean, it’s got to be hard to turn into a vampire!

  9. Loved this post!! All my friends love Twilight and I don’t. It’s always interesting when I express my points of view and they have to shrug and say “well that’s true.” I have no problem with people loving the books. But I read them all and I was severely disappointed that she let her readers down by taking away t climax. Also, I agree with what you said. Bella did not deserve a perfect world with no work! Thanks for writing this. I think it encompasses all the feelings I had about twilight but was not quite able to put together in a solid form.

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