Heather Wolpert-Gawron

Book Review: Breaking Dawn (Cliff Notes of the Stephanie Meyer’s series)

By on September 26, 2008

Look, I’m a big believer in reading what the kids are reading, so I picked up the first in this crapfest of a series.  I was a big Anne Rice fan during my middle school years, so clearly I’m not against trashy, vampire romances.  For some reason, vampires are sexy.  But Stephanie Meyer makes Anne Rice look like Shakespeare.   I committed to reading the series so that I could then intelligently discuss them with my students.

For one thing, the books are poorly written.  Where’s the craft?  For instance, I always give my students choice when looking for Golden Lines to mimic in order to learn grammar and sentence structure.  “Go into your independent reading book and find an example of Adjectives-out-of-order or an Appositive or an Absolute.” They couldn’t find a thing.  I didn’t tell them this.  They told me.    

For another thing, the message of the books is icky.  Wake up teachers and parents, these characters and their unemotional, dysfunctional relationships have been adopted as role models for our tweens.  But don’t take the book out of their hands.  Read it yourself, be a part of the discussion, and cast yourself as a voice in their head when they are thinking about things in the quiet of their alone time. Discussion over Censorship.

It’s easy.  It’s plucky.  It’s sexy.  I get it.  But they require responsibility in their reading. 

So for those teachers or parents who want the Cliff Notes version of this series, here it is so you don’t have to go through the torture that I did.  Not important, you say?  Well this series, supported in large part by tween girls, has outsold J.K. Rowling’s little juggernaut, proving the age-old adage that vampires and virgins do sell after all.

Here goes:

Book one, Twilight: outsider girl falls in love with cold, unemotional, tortured, vegetarian vamp who won’t tell her the truth about anything, including his feelings towards her.  Think Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites but with a great car and without the tobacco problem. Girl decides that she’s plain and vamps are beautiful and she wants to be one.  Her father (with the depth of Homer Simpson), meanwhile, is totally unattached to reality, doesn’t notice there’s a vampire sleeping in her room each night.  She almost dies.

Book two, New Moon: outsider girl still loves cold, unemotional vamp who has a hard time staying a veggie around her.  He still can’t tell her how he feels, breaks her heart by deserting her (for her own safety, but he won’t tell her that.  Why would honesty help things after all? I mean, there would be no plot if people were up front with each other in this book.  It seems dishonesty is this series biggest plot device.) Meanwhile, a sophomore who turns out to be a warm and fuzzy local werewolf falls in love with her.  He stays by her through thick and thin, protects her, and makes her laugh, but she’s not interested.   Count Coldhearted returns.  She still complains that she’s plain and vampires are beautiful and why can’t they have sex?  He says marriage before sex.  But college first.  She almost dies.

Book three, Eclipse: Despite the wooing of the warm and fuzzy werewolf who loves her, outsider girl still loves cold, unemotional vamp.  Vamp still sleeps in her bed each night sans sex.  They plan a marriage that outsider girl really doesn’t want because she thinks it’s stupid; but if he wants it, and as long as it then leads to sex, she’ll agree.  She still begs cold, unemotional vamp to have sex with her.  He refuses…coldly. Newborn vampires with insatiable blood-thirst go on a rampage in Seattle seeking outsider girl blood.  She almost dies.

Book four, Breaking Dawn: Outsider girl and vamp marry, have sex that almost tears her apart.  She loves it, bruises and all.  She gets pregnant with vamp baby who tries to eat its way out of her.  She gives birth to vamp baby who is soooo precious that everyone wants to protect it.  To save outsider girl, vamp turns her into a vampire but only if she’s under morphine to dull the pain of the conversion.  Morphine makes her unable to scream but she feels everything while it’s going on and can’t react to it, but nobody knows and they think it went all fine and dandy.  She becomes the first vampire with the ability to be vegetarian from the get-go.  Warm and fuzzy loyal werewolf buddy gets zapped by special love-bond with rapidly growing baby and marriage plans are made for yet another interspecies marriage.  Outsider girl finally becomes beautiful and feels accepted.  Oh, yeah, they all almost die. 

In other words, this is clearly a series about a girl who never feels comfortable in her own skin until she’s being emotionally abused by someone who constantly battles his urge to hurt her.  She makes excuses for his hurt and asks for more with each book.  The message in this series is being read by millions of tweens around the world.  

I certainly don’t believe in censoring a school library, and all four books are even in my own classroom library, but my question is this: Where are the adults in this conversation?  Tweens need guidance in reading between the lines.  Tweens need help interpreting and seeing beyond PG-13 sex scenes and vampire violence.  When a book is loved by a tween, they are relating to a character and a situation.  But while I have heard the phenomena of this series discussed by adults, the characters and themes seem to be nowhere in the discussion.  

 

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  1. kelly
    October 11, 2008

    i disagree with you.I’m 15.i do have to admit that edward can be controlling but he grew up at the turn of the centruy where women was viewed as weak.Its true how some of this can set a bad example but the readers have to remember this is fiction.I am also a little disappointed how you don’t give my age group a chance.Most of us are able to tell the difference between real life and fantasy.Also Bella did stand up for herself and Edward keep stalling her so he wouldnt have to change her.A

  2. kelly
    October 11, 2008

    and yes teenagers really shouldnt take it out on you since everyone has an opinion and im sorry how they take it out on you.im embarrssed for them.also not all should read the saga.it is after all for young adults so 8 year olds shouldnt read it but teenagers are young adults so even though i disagree with you i respect your opinion but i have to make this point why are you making it avaible even though you dont like it or dissaree with the message its giving?and nowhere is there sex for that im grateful since theres already enough.and if you hate there book you should at least call the author by her real name ive never seen so much disrespect to a person because she wrote a book who everyone is starting to take out of context!its a book series about a love story between a vampire and a human like true blood on hbo which is worse in some way since it has sex in it.At least last time i checked if you get the teacher mad she/he grades you harder and hates your guts for the rest of the year.

  3. yuiop
    October 11, 2008

    Thank you so much for posting this but I’ll be replying to lisa. I’m a 14 year old girl so before lisa decides to make stupid assumptions you can know I’m very young, live in a house with my parents, brother, one cat, and a guinea pig. And I’m not Bella so I’m not married. Mkay Mr. Sillybear?

    Anyway this book is shit. Oh! And I should mention, I’ve read every single book in the series except Breaking Dawn but that wasn’t much of a book to begin with. But before you say, “!!!!” to me you should know why.

    Well Bella is weak. I hate that. She submits so easily and quickly. Strangely enough, the movie looks decent…then kills it by saying you’re my life now.

    Edward is so controlling. The vampires sparkle. (WTF?) Everything is centered around their unhealthy relationship. It’s stuffed full of purple prose. It’s basically shitty fluff. Like someone said once, if my pillow was stuffed with the amount of fluff in this book, I’d have to sleep sitting up.

    There’s no plot at all. But remember everyone, “I guess my brain will never work right…at least I’m pretty.”

  4. person
    October 14, 2008

    Haha, this is a controversial subject.

    I have to agree with you for most of it, although I am a fan. I realised half way through the series, she was interested in him because he’s so attractive, & he was interested in her because he couldn’t hear her thoughts & she smelled so incredible. Although it may all be a bit shallow, I think people are attracted to someone in the first place, & usually it does start out physical.

    In the end, it’s more than just attraction. They’re willing to die for each other. I think that’s one of the main things that got me so gripped. It’s gotten me back into reading again (except for the fact I don’t want to read anything that isnt about vampires & love).

    I can see both points of view.

  5. Canadian Girl
    October 14, 2008

    to tweenmom

    Though you’re comment was pretty well-rounded, you really did not start out strong with the “fictional novel” comment.

    ALL novels are fictional!

  6. tweenmom
    October 15, 2008

    To Canadian Girl:

    Excuse me for being redundant, but I was doing so to emphasize my point that the story is not real. A lot of people on both sides of this argument seem to be forgetting that.

  7. Katherine
    October 15, 2008

    As a fourteen year old, I am ashamed and thoroughly apologize for how horrendous my generation is being.
    I despise these ‘books’, these faulty failures that are falsely labeled literature. Why? Abusive Edward, who belittles poor, ignorant Bella’s suffering every chance he gets. He’s ‘hot’, but why? I read his description, and to be honest, I find Eric more appealing. Yes, Eric. The oil slick hair, his skin problems! How unique! How special! How very… human. What’s wrong with being something other than gorgeous?
    Bella describes every character she dislikes as ugly: fishlike eyes, nasally voice, overly-helpful. But people she does like, as in the case of Mike, seem to be attractive. All the characters who are ‘nice’ have pretty faces, described in great detail. I’ll take zits and gross eyes any day, just please give me some personality here!
    Run on, run on. My ramblings are incoherent because there’s so much to hate. The only way I could ever see someone liking Twilight is because they are either very bored, very stupid, or will only read something awful because- HEY! It has hot guys!

    In the immortal words of Stephenie Meyer herself, I am very “chagrined”.

  8. john
    October 16, 2008

    I agree these books are horrible almost bewitched I have seen first hand the obsessive nature that my wife and daughter have begun to have since reading the books. I am very afraid they keep reading and will not stop,my wife was up until 3:30 am reading this book we got into a big argument and she tried to tell me that the books were good I was just messed up

  9. Sarah
    October 16, 2008

    This is hands-down one of my favorite Twilight Saga reviews! Bravo! That being said, I feel it necessary to divulge that I am *gasp* a devoted 24-year old Twilighter!

    On my first read-through (August 2008), I finished the Saga in 72 hours and immediately began them again. I’m now on my 6th read-through, and I have to say that I gain a more developed appreciation for them each time I finish. It’s certainly not because they are good works of fiction (they aren’t) or because it’s a gripping love story (it isn’t). Months later, I still have to wonder, “why do I keep reading?”

    I agree with tweenmom about these characters being very complex, but based on SM’s writing style, how in the world would a reader be expected to glean that so easily? She spends so much time “telling” us about events that her attempt to “show” us the characters nearly fails! Instead, readers will only catch what she “tells” about the characters: Edward is obviously a classic emotional abuser, and Bella has very little self-esteem of which to speak. Oh, and what little plot exists is unsatisfying and irritating.

    So why do I keep reading?

    It’s kind of like asking why we keep watching Disney. Much of the Disney fare suffers from the same shortfalls: underdeveloped characters, insufferable plot lines, misogyny, anti-feminism, overt pro-capitalism; the list is infinite. I mean, there’s a reason that “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid” aren’t on the same Top 10 lists as “Citizen Kane.” That doesn’t mean that Disney is useless, does it?

    I certainly wouldn’t want any daughter of mine to idolize Bella any more than I would Jasmine or Ariel, but I think there is something young women can gain from Bella’s story (other than a more sophisticated appreciation for classic literature).

    Here is where I must agree with you Heather: Parents, read the book with your kids and talk about it! Even if your kids are reading trash, they are reading. Talk about why it is trash. Talk about how it could have been written better. Write some fiction together that develops these characters better than SM did in the Saga. Imagine how the story would change if Bella loved herself or if Edward weren’t a controlling, obsessive weirdo. Create a new story from an imperfect one.

    For all its imperfections, I love this series. I don’t think any of the characters made wise decisions, I don’t OME! all over the message boards, and I don’t think this will ever make it into the “literature” section of any bookstores. But despite the “Bella’s-in-trouble-and-Edward-saves-her- FLIP-REPEAT” story lines, I think it’s somewhat entertaining and can inspire discussion, Twilight Saga aside, about what constitutes “good” storytelling, what love should and should not look like, what sacrifice truly means, and proper use of the word “chagrin.” 😉

    So, I’ll keep my Twilight book and my Aladdin DVD and search for the real lessons they have to offer.

  10. yuiop
    October 16, 2008

    Thank you so much for posting this but I’ll be replying to lisa. I’m a 14 year old girl so before lisa decides to make stupid assumptions you can know I’m very young, live in a house with my parents, brother, one cat, and a guinea pig. And I’m not Bella so I’m not married. Mkay Mr. Sillybear?

    Anyway this book is %$#@!. Oh! And I should mention, I’ve read every single book in the series except Breaking Dawn but that wasn’t much of a book to begin with. But before you say, “!!!!” to me you should know why.

    Well Bella is weak. I hate that. She submits so easily and quickly. Strangely enough, the movie looks decent…then kills it by saying you’re my life now.

    Edward is so controlling. The vampires sparkle. (WTF?) Everything is centered around their unhealthy relationship. It’s stuffed full of purple prose. It’s basically $#@y fluff. Like someone said once, if my pillow was stuffed with the amount of fluff in this book, I’d have to sleep sitting up.

    There’s no plot at all. But remember everyone, “I guess my brain will never work right…at least I’m pretty.”

  11. Marie
    October 16, 2008

    Thank you for posting this, even though you might be eaten alive by angry fantards. I could tell you read the books and interpreted them for what they really were. I’ve tried reading it just to see what all the fuss was about, and nothing hit me to say that it’s a best seller. Seriously, I think I almost lost some IQ points from reading 3 pages of the second book. It’s sad to see how many teens these days can become obsessed with a book that holds no real substance of what a book should be as a best seller.

  12. Jake
    October 19, 2008

    Just thought you’d like to see our coverage on your review!

    http://twilightersanonymous.com/twilight-series-review-crapfest.html

    – Jake

  13. Guest
    October 20, 2008

    Jake-

    This is why Twilight fans come off as nuts. You posted a review on your site so you could all bash it?

    She does not like it. Neither do many people.

    SO WHAT!?

  14. TwilightRox
    October 20, 2008

    While I agree that Breaking Dawn might be a tad innapropriate for 13/14 year olds, I could not agree less with the rest of it. Edward’s anything but unemotional, the relationships aren’t dysfunctional and the ‘Stephanie (it’s stephEnie btw) makes Anne Rice look like Shakespeare’ comment is so severely warped it’s not even funny. Stephenie Meyer is one of the greatest authors there is, Shakespeare had nothing on her. I could keep goin with this ramble but I have come to accept the fact that some people just DON’T GET IT. There’s a reason Twilight is a bestseller, it’s GOOD (and fantastic, and amazing and every other synonym you can think of). So if you people can possibly fail to see that then just don’t read it. The Twilight Saga deserves to be read by people who can truly appreciate the beauty of it, it’s the best thing I’ve ever read, and I’ve read a lot. So back off.

  15. Kelly
    October 21, 2008

    ^ I hope someone can appreciate the irony in the statement “Twilight is good, fantastic, amazing, any other synonym you can think of”.

    One of the reasons Meyer’s writing is so awful is because all she does is re-use (often incorrectly) the same twenty synonyms for “pretty”. Edward is glorious. Edward is scintillating. Edward is incomparable. Edward is breathtaking. Edward is incandescent. Edward is perfect.

    Reading a lot doesn’t make your opinion more valid, it just makes it more depressing that, after being exposed to (I’m assuming a lot here, of course) much better literature, you can’t recognize the crapfest Twilight really is.

    SHAKESPEARE has nothing on STEPHENIE MEYER?! Are you JOKING?!?

    I quote Oscar Wilde: “Everything popular is wrong.” Crappy books, music, and movies have been popular. Popularity does not automatically mean quality. Just because legions of hormonal fangirls rush out to hand their money over to Stephenie Meyer doesn’t hold ONE IOTA of proof that she’s a great writer.

    I agree, I don’t think Edward’s totally unemotional, but he’s condescending…and moody…and jealous…and overprotective…and controlling…

    “So back off.” No. We are allowed our opinions.

    If you want to debate this further, because I don’t want to keep clogging up this comments page, you are welcome to email me at kchildz1109@yahoo.com.

  16. tehlulz
    October 22, 2008

    I would actually like to give SMeyers kudos for worming her way in to the vulnerable fangirls heart. It just proves that you can have absolutely no talent for writing and still make a mint as long as you know what makes fangirls tick.

    So here’s to you, SMeyers! Not only have you raped the fiction world with your poor writing, you’ve also given plenty of girls unrealistic expectations of a “perfect relationship”.

    And remember Twihards, life is not worth living unless you devote your entire being to your hawt vampire lover.

  17. Catherine
    October 22, 2008

    To TweenMom: Saying the words “fictional novel” is a death sentence in a query letter. If you say it to any good writer, literary agent or publisher they will laugh at you for apparently not knowing what a novel is, or feeling that you need to emphasise that a novel is fiction – all novels are fiction.

    The problem isn’t that we forget that Twilight isn’t fiction, but that Twilight is BAD fiction.

  18. Kelsey
    October 23, 2008

    You make some great points. =)
    It brings back some hope reading articles like this one.
    As for Midnight Sun, it only gives you more proof of Edward’s controlling and frightening nature. He actually calls himself a stalker (“I feel like a stalker…”. xD

  19. DarkKatana
    October 23, 2008

    Woah, finally someone who notices the reality behind those books, sad that most people are still blinded by them.
    I read every book in the series.
    I tried to like them, and always tought that they would get better.
    But their the worst books i’ve read, and i’ve read a lot.

  20. Insane Serini
    October 24, 2008

    Just because this woman doesn’t like Twilight doesn’t mean she’s never been in love. She may be married, or have alot of experience. You don’t know.

    The main reason why I hate these books is that SMeyer never seems to have had an editor or any sort of proofreader. The grammar (at least in the first book) is atrocious, and she misspells simple words. Within all of the books, she is too wordy and repeats in a way that is not prose like, just like a record skipping. The sentences do not flow. I’m not saying that all books with bad grammar are bad (Faulkner being an example) but this one doesn’t use it for effect, this one is just sloppy.

  21. Viv
    October 24, 2008

    I admire you. Lots. There are so many people who love this book that it’s annoying. Every day, in my first period class (I’m a student, you see), I hear “Edward is so romantic/hot/awesome/beautiful” and I just want to scream at my peers, “He’s not romantic! He’s emotionally abusive, controlling, a stalker, and crazy.”

    Alas, I am forced to listen to that daily. However, my English teacher respects my opinion and doesn’t say anything, although I think she might like it.

    I more or less agree with everything you said. You’ve been able to point out things that I haven’t seen as well, such as how Bella constantly asks to be abused. As a tween myself, I fear for the future.

  22. Elizajh
    October 30, 2008

    WOW.
    That is all I want and have to say to you at this second. I can’t believe that someone would write that about this book.
    So, in case you didn’t get any of what I said:

  23. Elizajh
    October 30, 2008

    WOW.
    That’s all that I can really think of to say at this second…I DISAGREE WITH YOU.
    I think that, although you do have a point about the whole ‘sex’ thing this book is fantastic. In my opinion this book but a twist on the normal romance.
    In today’s society everyone has the books about a masochistic guy who is beyond selfish but changes when he falls in love with a girl, or about some other predictable story where your never on the edge. This book has all of what you need to keep you turning every page.
    It has danger, hope, love, anger, desire; it makes you want to find out what is going to happen.
    I think that anyone who doesn’t realize that this book isn’t about the…fact that he is a vampire who won’t have sex with his girlfriend, but really a book about two people being able to find somethings in their lives worth living for is denser then they think.
    I believe that you didn’t really get he point of it, but then again why would we have a democratic system if we saw things the same way?

  24. Ann
    October 30, 2008

    I hate when people say, in response to people who don’t like Twilight, “You just don’t get it!!”

    Two people who find something worth living for? Bella and Edward are such bland characters – what do they have to live for other than each other? That is NOT LOVE. You have to have other interests and outlets than sitting around staring at your sparkly hawt boyfriend.

    Yeah, you’re right; we “just don’ get it”. Or, we got it, and realized what shit it was.

  25. Mandie
    November 2, 2008

    I’m a few pages into Twilight, I’m reading it so I can decide if what looks like a potentially good movie will really be worth it.

    I’m not overly disgusted so far – in fact the prologue got my attention and I’ve read a few chuckle-worthy statements in the first few chapters.

    Overall I don’t think this is a stupendously bad book so far, but I can already tell it isn’t a Dostoevsky comparable work of literature.

    As an aside to the rabid fans: While reading these responses, I ignored every one of you that started with personal attacks, but paid attention to those who presented a succinct response. Think about that.

  26. Sylvia
    November 3, 2008

    I am a rabid fan of vampire/were/supernatural fiction in all its forms and have been for many years. I love the fantastical aspect blended with modern settings. The idea that my next door neighbor might just be a werewolf (she really does turn into a lunatic once a month though).

    I enjoyed the first three books (I pretend the series ended with Eclipse) in the twilight series but I am not an out of my mind psycho fan. They are not written for my age group and I granted the series a lot of leeway understanding that its target audience was much younger. I am not stating this to be condescending, just to clarify my mind frame as I read the books.

    Why I like the books:
    They are fluffy, feel good; love at first sight conquers all stories with supernatural characters. I did not fine the characters or stories complex, but I didn’t think they needed to be either. (Don’t shoot me).

    To borrow something from the original review poster

    Book one, Twilight; Lonely girl falls in love with attractive quite boy who is keeping a whole bunch of secrets because he feels he has too. Girl feels insecure and solitary in a new environment and struggles to identify herself. She feels compelled to investigate boy due to initial attraction and plain curiosity. Boy feels pulled between emotional attraction to girl and the basic physiological response he feels for her because of his species. Upon spending time with girl boy falls in love for the first time. Rogue vamps, car accidents, forbidden love, good versus evil, high school drama, (OMG can you say prom!!!) all collide in this fantasy story designed to for the younger masses.

    Is it Pride and Prejudice or Romeo and Juliet? No.
    Is it an awe inspiring phenomenally well written story? No, the character dialog and grammar made me wince here and there. But the story was sweet, simple and obsessive like most first love is.

    Was it entertaining? Yes
    Did it speak to its target audience? Yes and even some of us outside it.

    Other Fantasy/supernatural book suggestions:
    For teens:
    L.J. Smith: Night World books.
    PC Cast and Kristin Cast: House of Night books
    Rachel Caine: The Morganville Vampires

    For Adults:
    Patricia Briggs: Mercy Thompson books
    Carrie Vaughn: Kitty and the Midnight Hour
    Marie V. Snyder: Poison Study
    Anne Bishop: The Black Jewel Trilogy

    All of the above is based on personal opinion and everyone is entitled to have one. /wink
    <3

  27. bookcrazy
    November 11, 2008

    I’ve read the first three books, and I can’t say they were that good. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and that includes people who dislike the book.
    Those who like the book have already made their voices quite clear, now why is it so terrible and evil to let someone express their dislike of the book? Why do the fans feel the need to jump at them like many of them do and accuse them of being old and never having felt love and etc.-in other words, attacking them personally?

    -I dislike the Twilight books because of grammatical errors, incessant stalking, the annoying ‘I’m so not pretty but Edward is soooo hot’, the fact that I should not have read these books, and simply because of how rude so many fans are to those who dislike it. A fictional book is not worth that much, to insult someone who is REAL and give more importance to the book and characters who are not real.

    -Also, as someone else pointed out, all the actual normal-seeming people are portrayed as undesirable. It’s the ‘hot’ guys that are given the attention and the ‘hot’ ones everyone is after. That is, indeed, sad. I do that in my writing too, occasionally-all the characters will be really pretty or really handsome and even though I try to make their emotions and etc. as realistic as possible, they still are all ‘perfect’-beautiful eyes, perfect hair, perfect skin, etc. I guess that means that I, too, have bought a bit into that lie the media is throwing at girls, saying being super skinny, pimple-less and ‘sexy’ is the way to go; and actually being interesting, having a personality, and having a real life is ‘boring’.

    -yes, yes, Bella does wear appropriate clothing and there’s no sex. So it wouldn’t make sense that, with Meyer’s values and the choice of clothing she has made Bella prefer, Bella would be throwing herself at Edward.

    -I’m not old

    -I have been in love, and no, it’s not all ‘he’s so hot and he sparkles’. You have real conversation, you do stuff that both of you enjoy, you learn about each other’s hobbies, favorite color, stuff like that. He was ‘average’ by the world’s standards, he had acne, and he called himself a nerd. However, he was one of the most interesting, intellectual, talented, wonderful, kind people I have ever met. I’d take him any day over the ‘perfect’ man who has little depth, likes to stalk and so many other things.

    -I’ve read thousands of books and no, Bella and Edward are not the most interesting 3D characters, nor is their story the best love story-in my opinion.

    -Lord of the Rings, Hamlet (though depressing and occasionally disturbing), and To Kill a Mockingbird are much more interesting than Twilight. They have more depth, more character.

    -One of the most important things-yes, I do actually have a life. Just as I’m sure all the fans of Twilight have lives. I go to college, I work, I have fun as well (writing, reading, watching favorite shows with family and friends, going on walks, drawing, etc.). However, I also like communicating with people via the internet, and one of those wonderful people pointed this site out to me. 🙂

  28. Jo
    November 12, 2008

    I kinda agree with you. I am reading New Moon now only because my bookclub is reading it and I cannot turn down a book even knowing what will become of it. I am a librarian and I would not recommend the series to anyone. I see that many people like it and i am sorry if I offend anyone but we all have different tastes and I think we should all share our views and not get crude with those who are in dissagreements it only makes those look childish.

  29. Jordan
    November 17, 2008

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head with this review.

  30. twatlighters
    November 17, 2008

    finally, someone who sees the light!

  31. Vicky
    November 26, 2008

    Ok so I just want to start off by saying that even though your a teacher your sooooo dumb. I’m sorry, your this stupid and your a teacher? Who the hell hired you?! The books were amazing and so was the movie, I hiley recommend getting a labotamy. I happen to be a 16 year old teenager who loved the books and loved the movie, and if I could choose being me and being in belles situation I would choose belle. Not to mention that “Tweens”, don’t need stupid adults around to “Help” them, so go back to school, THEN take your job back, because you have noooooo idea what the hell your talking about. And why does every book or movie have to have a “message” or something? Not all movies and books are going to influence the way “Tweens” are going to act or think. I’ve come to relize that every book or movie that is about a “Tween” (Juno, Twilight, Ect.) Adults always frown on because they think its bad or because they think of how its going to influence “Tweens” or whatever. What about your precious “Anne Rice” or “Margret Mitchell” or whoever is soooooooooo damn good. Use your brain, that is IF you even have one. THANK YEW! x]

  32. Ann
    November 26, 2008

    I hiley recommend learning to spell.

  33. Kristy
    November 27, 2008

    Honestly, I think the phrases ‘tortured’ and ‘unemotional’ hardly belong together, they’re complete opposites after all.
    I’m not a ‘tween’, yet i still found the books fantastic. If you don’t want to read a fantasy book, then simple don’t pick one up. It’s sad that people still find the need to completely criticise a book, to be honest it’s pathetic. Yes in parts it could have been written better, and the story shouldn’t have taken as long to get into, but honestly, it’s a great book. It’s entertaining and teens can relate to it to an extent. She doesn’t want to get ’emotionally’ abused, yet shes smitten with the guy. Is it so hard to believe that the same thing doesn’t happen to regular teenagers, who feel their love isn’t being reciprocated? He clearly tells her that he is leaving to protect her, and he is constantly telling her how much she means to him, i.e. ‘your life is my life now’. Consider everything you read as a whole. As for Bella not having to sacrifice anything, in the end she sacrificed her mortality and her family, it’s a love story that has touched millions who have read it, that says something. As opposed to one supposed teacher who apparently lacks the ability and skill to justify her own ‘hatred’ towards a FICTIONAL series. In the end FICTIONAL stories sole purpose is to ENTERTAIN their audiences. It’s not labelled specifically for TWEENS anybody with a brain and eyesight can read it.
    Honestly, i’m all for everybody having their own opinion, but at least justify your answers correctly before trying to obliterate the fan base.

  34. cheyenne
    November 27, 2008

    I understand that many think this book is bad, but disagree.

    when you the critic say that edward is unemotional, controlling, you must have not read it throughly.

    In the very first book he states it numerous times that she was unsafe to be around him. Anytime he hurts her he feels guilt that is painful for him. In breaking dawn, he feels so guilty and angry for getting bella pregnant, that he asks for jacob to kill him. That does not sound unemotional to me.

    When you say he is controlling, he is partially. He only tries to do what is best for bella. He doesn’t want her to get killed, considering that she is accident prone and a prime target as a snack. That is why he takes such measures. And it is only really controlling when the other feels that they have no control. Bella is told that if she wanted to leave him then she may, he would let her go, because she has free will.

    when others here say she did not want to be pregnant, that was partially correct. She said in breaking dawn that she did not want to have a kid, but that she wanted this kid and that she needed it.

    I understand that many dislike this series but I don’t. I love the idea of forbidden love. this is only fantasy, and me being 14, understand that it is not real, and I have no need for guidance in reading in between the lines. I know what the things mean.

    If you are really worried about sex, look at all the inuendos that disney puts in their shows.

  35. Jay
    December 1, 2008

    I read the books and I liked them for the most part. The only thing that really got on my nerves is the stupid love triangle junk with Jacob. I seen Jacob as more obsessive person than Edward was. Dude just kept pushing bella to love him back over and over and over again and it pretty much annoyed me to death. I almost decide not to finish the books unless this character died off or edward beat his(well you know), cause I couldn’t take much more of the love traingle junk. Bella annoyed me a lot with her in ability to decide what the heck she wanted. Before long I was so mangled up in my mind with were the heck the story was going it actaully killed how much I like the 1st book. I don’t know, maybe I just hate love traingle type stories and I don’t understand them or something. If I would have known it would turn into this kind of story I probably would not have read it. If it wasn’t for that little annoying Jacob character I would have been alright with the story and gave it a 5 star rating. I’m sure I’ll get ripped of for this, just my opinion on the book. God I HATE THAT JACOB CHARACTER!!!!!

  36. V.M.T
    December 6, 2008

    Yeah, I’m pretty much convinced that Stephanie Meyer hates literature. I haven’t read the whole series, but I did poke around in the books a little when they first came out and before I’d heard anything about them, at that. They read like bad Ann Rice fanfiction, and the more I hear about it, particularly the more the FANS say about the story itself, the more it annoys me.

    And, yeah, I find it very amusing how middle and high school students are carrying on about how people who dislike the book must know nothing about love, because you know, fifteen-year-olds are so well versed in the trials and tribulations of unconditional love. Being a young adult with plenty of experience in perfectly healthy relationships, I can honestly say, “It ain’t like that.” These characters are nothing like people, and their “love” is every bit like an insecure gradeschooler’s misconception of hormones and creepy obsession. Frankly, I feel like my actual love for people is cheapened by giving it the same label.

    Slap on the fact that I’m a writer who writes primarily paranormal genres, and I’m fast approaching moral outrage, because books like this are why I have to write four times better than anyone in any other “respectable” genre to be considered half as good. At this rate, the literary world will never take us seriously.

  37. Ruth
    December 6, 2008

    I’ve only skimmed these comments, but it seems like they’re pretty much a re-hash of most of the Twilight discussions I’ve read. On my part I want to thank you, Heather, for your view point. I’m a 21 year old feminist English major with several younger sisters–one who is prime age for the Twilight fad–and I am very disturbed by these books. I have a few responses to some of the defenses I’ve seen of the book, here and in other discussions.

    First. Twilight is fiction. That is true. But children’s lives are formed in part by the fiction they read. I grew up on Madeleine L’Engle’s “Wrinkle In Time” series, Cornelia Funke’s “Inheart”, Jane Yolen, Tamora Pierce, and “Buffy: The Vampire Slayer”. These books and television shows (well, television show) helped me to realize that I had power as a girl. Bella gives girls a very different message than does Buffy. Bella says: if you want to be happy, find a man who makes you happy; do anything to make him love you, even to your own detriment, even if he exhibits textbook abusive behavior (possessive, controlling, attempts to isolate you from your family and friends); ignore those who love you and treat you as an equal. Buffy says: if you want to be happy, be yourself; if you find a man who makes you happy, be with him, but don’t change yourself for him and keep in mind those friends who have always been there for you; know your own worth and demand that you receive the respect that you deserve.

    Second. I’ve heard the “Edward is a vampire, we can’t understand what a relationship with a vampire is like” argument one too many times now. Vampires are a METAPHOR. We don’t understand what a relationship with a vampire is like because they *don’t exist*. Stephenie Meyer doesn’t understand it any better than we do! Neither do Joss Whedon, Anne Rice, or Bram Stoker! Edward is a stand-in for any ‘dangerous’, ‘other’ human boy. His character is molded solely on human archetypes with additions from Stephenie Meyer’s imagination. (He’s barely even a vampire at all, considering how much Meyer deviates from any vampire mythology.) We have to judge Bella and Edward’s relationship from the standard of a human-human relationship because that’s what it is, when you strip away the semantics. Really, other than a couple of mentions of his wanting to drink blood and a few scenes of him sparkling in the sun, there’s little in the books that separate Edward from any normal human boy.

    Third. It is Stephenie Meyer’s own fault, in the choices that she made writing the book, that Bella has absolutely no recourse to defend herself. Edward has to protect her 24/7 because the vampires in Meyer’s universe are completely untouchable. She could carry around a stake…but stakes don’t work. She could spend most of her outside time in the daylight…but they can go outside during the day. She could douse herself in holy water, but they’re immune to that. Crosses. Garlic. Beheading. There is NOTHING that can harm these vampires. From Sunshine in her eponymous book by Robin McKinley to Cordelia, Willow, Xander, and the other ‘normal humans’ in the Whedonverse, most humans in other works of vampire fiction can do *something* to at least put off vampires for a bit while the humans run away. Bella is totally helpless, but not because she’s in a vampire story–because she’s in Stephenie Meyer’s vampire story.

    Lastly. I don’t mind a book, even a book intended for teens, displaying an unhealthy relationship. I do, however, have a problem with a book that portrays that unhealthy relationship as not only totally fine, but as *ideal*. Melissa Marr’s “Ink Exchange” features a protagonist who is extremely vulnerable and falls in with a romantic partner who is very bad for her, but it is not portrayed as healthy. Lord knows that my beloved Buffy had more than her share of poor romantic choices, but none of them were shown as a good thing. Buffy and Angel, Buffy and Riley, Buffy and Spike…all of them had serious problems, but they had equally serious consequences and all of these relationships ended. So I don’t care if Stephenie Meyer wants to write a book about a girl who is manipulated and emotionally and mentally abused by a sexy-hot vampire boy. I do care that she pretends that the relationship is one that girls should look up to.

    Thank you and good night.

  38. Kim
    December 8, 2008

    For one, a critic shouldn’t say crap every other sentence about what they’re crticing.
    ANYWAY- You may have detested this book, but you’re NOT a teen. It’s like a child’s fairy tale. We all know that stories such as the little mermaid, and Cinderella aren’t real, but does that mean we go up to every child we see reading it and say oh, that book is crap. It’s not even real!! No, we don’t. So think of it as a Teen’s fairy tale. Yes, we know it isn’t real, but wouldn’t it be nice if it was? It just brings teens a little more light to some extent, as a teen myself I enjoy reading these books. My friend, reads them because she said that while reading these books she knows that maybe not all men in the would are going to hurt you an abandon you. There’s gonna be one who’s different. So stop and think- Maybe this story has a moral. A moral that brings hope to girls all around the world.

  39. Jen
    December 8, 2008

    A Fairytale. what a good perspective
    I agree with what Kim is saying, I think our teens should get something to enjoy. They’re not stupid. I’m sure they know it’s fiction. But at least they’re reading!! I know my daughter is now expanding her reading in search for more books she will enjoy along this series.

  40. Kira
    December 13, 2008

    This is to the people who have replied to this review negatively in various forms:

    I think that if you want your child to get into reading, then give them Harry Freaking Potter. I’m not a fan of HP, but if you want to give them something that is written better, and has more positive messages, then HP is the way to go!
    I personally feel that you should be giving your children really challenging reading material that makes them think maturely about things.

    I’m not saying to let your kids read this, but I read “Lolita” around Sophomore year of High School. It was fantastically written and had so many layers of meaning that I was caught up in it for hours and hours just analyzing things about it. Why give them something poorly written that doesn’t have anything intellectually stimulating? That’s just sad, IMHO.

    Now, you twilight fans. This is for you:
    I am all for mature ideas within novels, moral twisting, and general weirdness. But this book is POORLY WRITTEN. YOU CANNOT SAY THAT IT IS A BOOK OF LITERARY MERIT, BECAUSE THEN YOU WOULD BE LYING THROUGH YOUR DAMNED TEETH (edited content). That fact ALONE should make you think less of this book, because then Twilight is basically just a big (edited content) fanfiction series and becomes no better than “My Immortal”, that terrible Harry Potter fanfic (google it, you’ll see). Go read some Anne Rice. She really is a heck of a lot better, and her characters have actual depth.

    Pseudo-intellectual twilight fans:
    Stop surfing wikipedia and consulting your thesaurus for your debates. Simple comparisons are simple: Meyer is to Rice as (edited content) is to Shakespeare. It is really that simple. Stop trying to go around the whole SM is a (edited content) writer thing by digging into literary history and pulling facts out of your (edited content) that have nothing to do with the discussion.

    THE BOOK SERIES:
    Promotes pedophilia, abuse, unhealthy relationships, POOR WRITING HABIIITTSSS, and much much more.

    If you want romantic fluff with vampires and soul-less empty shell girls, write your own. You’d write it better, I guarantee it.

  41. Andrea
    December 15, 2008

    Ok, each to thier own on opinions of the book. First let me just say that I am an huge sci-fi, fantasy, horror, fiction etc… reader. Terry Brooks, Terry Goodkind, Mercedes Lackey, Dean Koontz, Jacqueline Carey, JK Rowlings, etc.. the list goes on just to name a few.

    Now my daughter wanted to read the books so from what I heard about them I needed to read them first to make sure that they were ok for her to read. I didn’t have a problem with the first three books, it is the last book that will require some “talks” and thinking about before I decide to let her read that one.

    It does touch on some very adult topics as well as teenager love moving more towards the adult. Yes Bella has some very large insecurities, what woman or teenager doesn’t? Who isn’t heavily fascinated by immortality? Immortality would offer all the time in the world to discover yourself, school, places, people etc.. its very facinating for most people.

    All in all I really enjoyed all the books. With books you take it all with a grain of salt. ITS FICTIONAL PEOPLE! There is love, there is suspense, there is magic and yes there are vampire’s and werewolves. Great read, not everyone likes the same thing, no worries ya know. If you don’t like it well cool find something else that is more along your style of reading and roll with it. I think the biggest things is, if you find a book that you truely enjoy to read it will open you up to more books thus extending your reading comprehension & knowledge in the process. Think outside the box, your daughters may not be a Bella but one of thier friends might be. They may have more in common with Alice the fanatic shopper and beauty to boot. They may have more in common with Esme the eternal mother who is soft and gentle and loving. They may not have anything in common with the characters but maybe they see it from a different side of view. It all makes you think and isn’t that what we love about books in general anyway?

    On another note what age do you feel is appropriate to read these books?

  42. Ruth
    December 16, 2008

    I wouldn’t give this book to anyone younger than their late teens, and then with attention to their individual maturity levels. I wouldn’t give it to a girl who was insecure about her appearance, talents, or love life. I wouldn’t give it to a girl who didn’t have a good idea about what she wanted in a significant other. I wouldn’t give it to a girl prone to depression.

    I don’t think that reading these books is bad for kids; I think that they could potentially be a good starting point for some serious talks, especially mother-daughter talks. But I do think that the books promote some seriously unhealthy behavior, and to allow kids, especially girls, to read them without adult supervision borders on irresponsible. Bella can’t function without Edward–chapters of “New Moon” (I believe it’s “New Moon”) are literally *blank* because Bella couldn’t possibly have an interesting story without Edward present. I think that’s a dangerous message to send to girls.

    So I’d say no younger than 16 or 17, probably older.

  43. Sher
    December 19, 2008

    OUTSOLD Harry Potter??!!??!! Lets do the math shall we….Harry Potter sold $400 million worldwide, second only to The Bible, and The Twilight series sold $10 million worldwide. Are you really that dumb? Please tell me what school it is you teach at so I never send my kids there. By the way it is Cliff’s (possessive) Notes as in they are his notes not Cliff Notes! I have a Master’s Degree in English you’re writing is awful. You really should have had someone edit your work before posting it.

  44. Esme
    December 19, 2008

    The above comment just blew my mind.
    I highly doubt an individual with a master’s in English would write things such as, “please tell me what school it is you teach at,” or, “you’re writing is awful.”
    Please tell me what school it is you got your master’s at (derp derp), so I can avoid it.

  45. Tally
    December 23, 2008

    You know, I wonder if the Twitards would still lust after obsessive hawt vampires if Edward decided to cheat on Bella; and not just a girl like Jessica, but a nice sweet ordinary-but-not-so-ordinary girl just like Bella.

    Oh, god. I would kill to see the fan sites. 8D

    But other than that, the books make good firewood.

  46. somebody
    December 27, 2008

    🙂

  47. someone else
    January 2, 2009

    Hi, I think you all need to get lives! I am reading twilight now and wanted to search cliff notes for a review of the series and stumbled on this. You are all wasting your time bashing a book when you could be doing millions of other things. Its kind of sad really that some of you are dedicated to going around saying how horrible the books are. Just get over it! And overprotective parents, the more you try to shield your children, the worse their going to turn out. They are kids. If they really want to read the series, one way or another, they will. Your kids havent been living under a rock. Theyre gonna do what they want to do. Quit babying them or when theyre 40 they are gonna be sitting at their computers responding to stupid book reviews just like you are!

  48. somebody
    January 3, 2009

    It doesn’t take very long to comment, so actually I’m not wasting my life. It’s also kind of sad that some are dedicated to going around saying how wonderful the books are. Has it occurred to you that you’re doing the very thing you’re accusing us of doing– Sitting at your computer and responding to ‘stupid book reviews’?

    As for me, I’m simply tired of all the hype, and though I’m aware that some Twilight Lovers have good arguments as to why the book is excellent, the majority do not. The majority are tween and teen girls who accuse anyone who does not like the books of having no love life and never having read good books, among other ridiculous, sad insults that they usually get away with. Of course, perhaps it is better to not comment, to sit back and watch the over-obsessed tweens ruin their own fandom by turning people off to the very book and characters they worship.

  49. Kristyn
    January 4, 2009

    I can see your point to a certain extent; however, I think you are looking for what you saw. It is easy to make literature what we want it to be and not see what the author’s purpose was. My students were crazy about Twilight, so I read it. I can see why they loved it. I went on to read the rest of the series, and I enjoyed them, too.

    I hope you use your concerns about the book in a responsible manner. You may have students who value your opinion more than you realize, and your comments could turn a young adult away from reading. Raise questions for the tweens, but don’t ruin the books for them. No teacher has a right to do that!

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