In Which I Have Literary Angst

15 08 2008

I can’t tell a lie – I read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight in one six-hour sitting last year, fulling engrossed in her love story of the everygirl Bella and her vampire love, Edward. There was something about that first book – the desire of a writer to have her story read, to create a world that hadn’t existed before – that propelled me through the mass of pages. I kept up with the series as Meyer introduced new characters and plot twists in New Moon and Eclipse; these books weren’t as engrossing but were entertaining all the same.

When Breaking Dawn, the last book in the Twilight Saga, was released, I was in Norway, Michigan, hanging with the family and managed to snag one of the copies at my local K-Mart the day it was released. I had just finished Edgar Sawtelle and was ready to begin something lighter, thinking Breaking Dawn would be exactly what I needed. After Craig and the boys had gone to bed, I curled up on the couch, book in hand, and began. Then I stopped. And I couldn’t pick the blasted thing back up.
In the quest to bring a satisfying conclusion to the Twilight Saga, Meyers totally loses that which made her initial trilogy so readable: the tensions that Bella faces as she navigates her life. There’s the push and pull as Bella struggles between her love for Edward and her love for Jacob, the shape-shifting wolf from up the coast. There’s the anxiety Bella faces as she attempts to make sense of and fit in a world filled with extraordinarily beautiful creatures and unbelievable happenings. Bella is an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances and it tends to make for decent reading.

By the end of Breaking Dawn, all is well. There are no losses, there are no choices made. Everything comes easily, which left me feeling cold, stale, as though I didn’t recognize any of the characters I had come to enjoy over the course of the first three books. I believe I actually threw the book several times as I made my way through it, always hoping there would be some redeeming quality to it all by the end. Alas, not so much.

Turns out I’m not the only one disappointed in the conclusion:

Don’t Burn It, Return It!
– an discussion encouraging people who read the book and hated the lack of quality to return the book to bookseller from whom they purchased. Whether you agree that this is appropriate or not, the discussion is filled with hilarious commentary, some seriously flawed logic, and the ramblings of some insane fans.

LA Times – Why did Breaking Dawn fall so flat? This writer does an excellent job outlining the reasons why this book failed to resonate with me in any way, shape, or form.

NY Mag – While I’m unhappy, there are those who are happy with those final pages. NY does some looking at whether or not the entirety of the series was ruined by the faulty installment. My thoughts: I won’t be rereading the series any time soon.

One of the interesting pieces I don’t see noted anywhere is my feeling that this book was a morality tale, that Meyer was pushing really specific beliefs in this story. There were issues of abortion and education throughout the book as well as some other concepts I haven’t quite fully hammered out, but I definitely felt as though Meyer was attempting to sell a way of being, a code of ethics with some of her writing here.

It’s probably the last, if not one of the last, fun books I will read before the semester starts. I feel cheated and want my time back.




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