Why I Don’t Like Those Vampire Books by Stephenie Meyer

I’m getting so much anger from Twilight fans I thought I’d go ahead and actually say why I think these books are bad. It’s not because they contain vampires (you’re talking to a girl who owns all seven seasons of Buffy and all but the last one of Angel), and it’s not because the characters contemplate having sex (I’m all for sex – plus, see above with the Buffy and the Angel, cause Buffy at least has people having sex all over the place, and not infrequently sex with vampires), and it’s certainly not anything to do with any belief of mine that teenagers don’t have to make difficult choices about relationship and a zillion other things (cause, you know, I was a teenager lo these many years ago).

I laugh about these books because they’re badly written and very, very silly, but I seriously do have problems with them. To wit:

The main one: The fact that there are dozens and hundreds and thousands of girls who are reading these books and finding Edward sexy and romantic. This creeps me out and gives me concern that they are going to grow up and not notice when their boyfriends are acting weird and stalkery. Stalkers = bad. Cause let’s review. In the first place, he desperately wants to kill her. (Bad.) Plus he’s scary and threatening and says things that suggest he’s up for killing people and is dangerous to her. (Bad.) He also tells her massive lies and treats her like an idiot, all the time, but especially when she suspects he’s lying. (Bad.) But she disregards all of these things because she “feels safe” with him. Balance of power issues much?

He eavesdrops on her conversations with her friends by listening to their minds. She doesn’t seem awfully bothered about how intrusive that is to her, and she’s completely unphased by how intrusive it is to her friends. (Which makes sense since she really doesn’t ever seem to give a crap about them anyway.) The boy is listening to people’s brains to make sure Bella’s safe, and by this means he saves her from four more of the Washington State men who can’t resist her charms. And, you know, that’s nice, that he saves her life, but think about it: If you knew a guy and you kinda liked him and then you discovered he’d, I don’t know, tapped your phone and was listening to all your phone conversations, would you think, That’s sweet, he must be trying to save my life, or would you think, Damn, he’s a stalker. Better watch out for stalker boy there, with all the stalking.

Oh, right, and he comes into her room without her permission or knowledge and watches her sleep. She knows she should be outraged, but instead she’s just flattered. Because he cares enough about her to break into her house and spy on her.

When she’s with Edward, she isolates herself from every other person in her life – friends and family – and spends all her time only with him. Again with the bad, because when the relationship breaks up, she has no one to support her. They’re constantly claiming that they need each other – neediness isn’t romantic, people! – to the extent that when they lose each other in New Moon they sink into deep depressions, can’t do anything normal ever again, and have much contemplating of suicide.

Uh-huh. That’s a functional relationship.

And here’s another thing: Gender roles. Nobody ever strays from theirs. Bella requires lots of rescuing and isn’t so good about the making of decisions. She doesn’t like sports or fishing because these things, they are boring (unless it’s sexy vampires playing sports). Know what she is good at? Cooking! Aaaaaaaaaaand dress-shopping! Her father can’t cook but he can fix cars. So can Jacob. And Edward. Much with the car-fixing among the dudes in these books.

The trashy accusation I stand by pretty firmly. Again not because of vampires and not because of the mad sexual tension (I can deal), but because these characters are never even remotely developed – what does Bella ever do apart from swoon over Edward and fall over her own feet? Edward’s handsome and reads minds, and he loves Bella and he doesn’t want to be a monster – voila, I’ve summed up Edward for you right there. And of course, with cardboard characters, you’re not likely to end up with fascinating relationships, and indeed, there’s no attempt to deal with relationships honestly. People who are in love get very, very worried when their significant other is in danger. And, uh, they tell each other lies to manipulate each other into doing what they want, and they never call each other on this behavior, ever. They’re just like, Oh, ha, ha, ha, you’ve outwitted me this time, you vixen! This peaks in Eclipse but happens, really, throughout the series.

And it is badly written. It’s just cliche after cliche after cliche. And not even any irony about the using of the cliches. Sheesh.

Most of this, honestly, I don’t care about. Nobody’s making me read books I don’t like, and if I don’t like Ms. Meyer’s books I don’t have to carry on reading them. (I may read the last one though – I don’t do that attacking-books-I-haven’t-read thing, as a trend. At least not seriously.) But I am genuinely bothered by the bad messages the book’s sending to its readers. Books are mighty and help many people to normalize. Life reflects art (as my beloved Oscar Wilde says). I have great fear that these books are creating a generation of women who’ll think stalking is sexy and exciting.

It’s not. Stalking = bad. It doesn’t generally lead to the saving of the stalked person’s life, as in Bella’s case. More heads in the direction of heightened emotional and physical abuse. Of which we are not fans.

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26 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Like Those Vampire Books by Stephenie Meyer

  1. I first read about this less-than-inviting aspect about the books from a prominent YA blogger and it killed any interest I may have had in the books. Thank you, I went through that phase when I was a teenager and raided my Mom’s stack of bad 70s & 80s Mills & Boons.

  2. I loved your reviews of Stephanie Meyers books. I’ve been reading a book that is really very good that is currently being written. The author is very talented and I have read a lot of her fiction and have been very impressed. This is a link to one of her latest novels. If you get a moment it’s well worth checking it out.

    http://www.fictionpress.com/s/2266922/1/Ghost_Mist

  3. I really enjoyed this post. Shh … don’t tell anyone. I have this sneaking suspicion that all my readers love ‘Twilight’, but I found very little lacking from your argument. The thing that just kills me about these books is their predictability. So predictable. I wrote a blog about it. I don’t think mine was quite as smart as yours, but feel free to check it out. http://wildmoonswings.blogspot.com/2008/01/what.html

    Yeah, I laughed out loud repeatedly. It was an absolute joy to read.

  4. LOL! Your post was awesome and oh so true! You summed up my opinion of Twilight. This generation of teenage girls will indeed be very messed up.

  5. I COMPLETELY agree with you. I can’t STAND Edward. They barely know eachother, & the fall in love. Then he’s OBSESSED with the girl, can’t SHUT UP about her!!! And Bella has such an annoying personality, amazingly stupid.

    I read Twilight and hated it–and I love vampires.
    I even watch those REALLY bad horror movies. Because I like vampires.
    But I can’t stand Edward. *shudders*

  6. well i can’t say that i either strongly like or dislike the books but i can say that they are okay. i’ve read the review above and well its kind of extreme. i’ve read alot of books. books about vampires and books not about vampires. i’ve read plenty of fiction and non-fiction. and never once have i said.hey i read this book the other day and i’m going to do everything the characters did. i’ve watched buffy too. and i never said hey look everyone i want to be just like buffy watch me kick butt and be the perfect super woman and balance my day life, night life and save the world from the big evil all in 30 minute episodes. heres the thing. if you know a teenager that is that easily influenced by the things they read or watch on t.v. they probably need to see a doctor. or at the very least be educated on fact from fiction. i mean schools make children read about hitler, romeo and juliett, edgar allan poe. and only the nut jobs say i’m going to be the next hitler and shoot up the school, or say i cant live without you i’m gonna drink poison and die. its just books. when i read the twilight saga. i kind of never thought about the female lead as a weak female but just the authors way of relating how weak she is compared to edward. i know the girl does what most would consider before women rights activities but i say thats not a bad thing it might be the authors way of showing how ill suited they are for each other on more than a vampire vs human aspect. so i guess what i’m trying to say is reading a book can be more than just about characterizing. i know one thing who ever wrote this review keeps buying the authors prints so that has to mean the author did one thing right. love it or hate it something about it keeps people reading. sounds like shes done her job then.

  7. Nice post! I’ve been curious about the books (especially now that a friend of mine is wanting me to see the movie w/her) & considered buying one to see all the hype. Maybe now I’ll just check it out at a library. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. I can totally see where all of you are coming from with the strange aspects of Bella and Edwardsโ€™s relationship and how unhealthy it looks on some levels as a model of a teen relationship. But they are both such passionate characters and that is a big part of what makes them so appealing. Their two people in a situation that has never been explored before and the only thing that keeps them from ceasing to exist is their love for each other, nothing else. These books are full to the brim with drama and constant conflicts on many levels, but what makes them so wonderful is how much these characters care for one another and I guess if nonstop romance is trashy then I LOVE TRASH! there I said it.

  9. well, u don’t have to read it, if u think it’s just a waste.
    have u ever heard any of the fairy tales?
    every story ends with “then they live happily ever after”, doesn’t it?– in fact, very few people experienced ‘happily-ever-after’ thing.
    but i believe most of the children loves it,
    (and when they grow up, they still love it!)
    if u think the books are not educative, i suggest you to read the non-fiction books instead!

  10. I posted this on the other thread and I’ll post it again cos I want you to read what I have to say. I hope you appreciate it.

    Alright – Meyer is trashy, an average writer, and her book is unorignal. But what she is not is setting a bad example all by herself when it comes to obsessive stalker like realtionships.

    You seem to be forgetting that the greatest love story of all time (that Meyer loves (undeservingly) to compare her series to) is between two lovers who barely know each other. Two completely irrational lovers who act completely out of line. For pete’s sake- you don’t think Edward climbing thru Bella’s window at night wasn’t taken from that same play do you? Romeo stalks, Romeo obsesses, Juliet cries and whines alot, and they both go compeltely overboard. They sacrifice everything they know, including their families and their lives. At least Bella and Ed don’t commit suicide. Granted, Edward tries, but this just serves to make him more like Romeo. If anything, Bella is stronger than Juliet! What does this make Shakespeare? Does this make him sexist, a bad role model? Does this make him out of line like so many have pronouced Meyer? No! And he didn’t stop with Romeo and Juliet. Even more overboard is Othello. Othello frickin KILLS his love! Because hes jealous! At least Jake only threatens himself! And if Jake is Othello then besides Romeo Edward can most certainly be compared to Hamlet! He leaves the love of his life to go on a fricken suicide mission! Hes reckless, he loses almost all emotion (granted its driven by revenge not love… well thats debatable but anyway) and in the process makes himself deeply unhappy. And his love? Crazy, weak, desperate, and eventually sent over the edge by the loss of Hamlet and her father- SHE DROWNS HERSELF!!! Call me crazy- but I don’t think it was Meyer who went to the extremes with obsessive relationships!!

    I love Shakespeare and almost all his works. And thats why I’m sticking up for Meyer. I love her books, and in no way comaprable to the brillance of Shakespeare, shes smart enough to see what makes a good romance. And that is crazy obsessive love that will stop at nothing. I don’t think its setting a bad example for any of us young people. You’d have to be pretty crazy to think any of us are going to go jumping off cliffs for the sake of a bloke. If that was the case, we would have been doing that since Shakespeare’s time

    ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. I’m not blaming Stephenie Meyer for all the negative stereotypes of women that exist in our culture. What bothers me about her is that she has an incredibly childish view of love wherein sex equals death and romance is defined by neediness, and she’s presenting it as this amazing, perfect relationship. She really thinks that Edward is the perfect man, and her readers do too. It drives me insane to see all these girls (and women) swooning over Edward. If half the female population suddenly decided that Romeo was the perfect man, I’d have a thing or two to say about that, too.

    Anyway, I’m not sure why Shakespeare needs to come into this at all, but since you bring him up – there’s a few key differences. Here’s one: Shakespeare can actually write. Understatement of the year, of course, but it’s a fairly important thing to consider. Well-written matters. If Stephenie Meyer were a better writer, she’d bother me less. The fact that she’s a bad writer means that people are only reading her books because they think that Edward and Bella are romantic. Stephenie Meyers’ books are incredibly shallow and poorly written. With Shakespeare you get layers.

  12. Of course comparisons between Meyer and Shakespeare and ridiculous for the smiple reason that William was and is the best writer…ever… period.

    BUT i brought him up because his plays are taught and accepted all over the world. And your problems with Meyer – not the writing, unoriginal ones- to do with portraying unhealthy, needy, death-inducing relationships as desirable are unfair. Because Shakespeare did it too! A million times!

    Meyer is not original in this regard either!

    And women do think Romeo is perfect, he has been accepted as the perfect man for years and years and years. Edward will fade, Romeo will not.

    I mainly agree with what you say about Meyer. Just disagree on that one thing. Oh, but of course if you accused Shakespeare of the same thing I wouldn’t have a problem- consistancy is the key.

    And readers obsession with Edward really isn’t anything to be concerned about- hes got me hooked but it doesn’t mean I’m gonna believe in any of it. Most girls know the same. And you know… they’ll all move on to Joe Jonas or Zac Effron after a while. Romeo is the only one sticking around ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. I think that you hit the nail on the head Kait. All she did was redid Shakespeare by updating it & instead of them hiding their love from their families they are being put in danger by other vampires & the wolves. I see where you think that Edward is a stalker & the wants of sex by Bella is negative looking as she is a teenager. Ok, so let’s take this from a teenage view & put it in adult relationship read Southern Vampire Novels.

    http://www.sfsite.com/05a/ch175.htm

    I was slightly annoyed by Edward leaving & Bella being with Jacob, but thinking back to when I read the Southern Vampire Novels(Sookie Stackhouse Series) I was VERY annoyed they fall in love have sex, he leaves she starts seeing a wearwolf, her vampire lover comes back & they still never end up together & the author says ‘they cant end up together because she has “emotional baggage”.” What?! Ok so case in point twilight was predictable & very Shakespeare-like in every book, but at least the 2 main characters end up together & the book goes on & there arent 100’s of thousands of highly aggravated readers wanting their happily ever after. EVERY girl needs her escape from reality to lose her glass slipper.

  14. okay if you hate the book and stephine myer so much why won’t you just go read a diffrent book. its not like anyone is making you read it. take the advice cut the crappy review. move on to a diffrent book, perhaps a book on historical events if you hate fictio so much

  15. Oh my gosh. I dont care what every one says you’re posts rock. I read your posts and they inspired me to do my own book reveiws.

    You’re right too. I personally love the Twilight saga, but not Edward. He is a stalker and after this post, no one can deny it.

    post something new and funny soon

    Candace

  16. “Oh, right, and he comes into her room without her permission or knowledge and watches her sleep.”

    I have to admit I’ve never read a book about vampires until I read Twilight. I wanted to read the books and see for myself if they were good or bad. So, I started to read the first book and thought to myself that the book was okay until I came up to this part:

    “…he comes into her room without her permission or knowledge and watches her sleep.”

    That alone ruinned the romantic tone that the book had been building up to. Plus, I found it rather worrisome that no one seemed to be bothered by that part so I’m glad to see that someone else has pointed it out.

  17. i love, love, looooove your review! i wish i was as blessedly articulate as you are but you definitely got everything down on what’s wrong with the Twilight series.

  18. Pingback: Those Who Hunt the Night, Barbara Hambly « Jenny’s Books

  19. So I read both of your reviews about twilight and i have to say they’re very well put together. why you’re being bashed about not really liking the twilight series? I have no idea! we’re entitled to our own opinion. I personally do love the saga but i also do see your side to it.

    I completely understand what you’re getting at when you say that stalking=bad. Trust me, I’ve had my share of stalkers and i was freaking out. I had to delete my myspace! I’m just lucky that the more intense stalker (who wrote me a love letter everyday, watched me in every sport i was in, watched me walk to class, actually had one of his friends try to give me his number and a pic from him) didn’t find where i live cuz i’m positive he would be outside my window (I have windows with locks) everynight. I would never find that flattering!!! That would be scary as hell!! But… I was never attracted to these guys the way Bella is with Edward. In the book she says something like she knows she should be afraid but she can’t help but smile or something like that. so she knows that all this is wrong but can’t help how she really feels.

    It’s different for everyone. I don’t hate you for not liking twilight or saying that Ms. Meyer isn’t a very good writer. I’m glad you’re sane and not obsessing over a fictional character! good for you!

    As for me I love Edward! yes he lies to her and he leaves her and he’s jealous.. blah blah blah. But it’s only because he’s never had experience with this “love” thing before so he thinks he’s doing what’s best for Bella.

    personally, i would pick Jacob Black! I’m just sayin.

  20. 2D – yes. Text book in school about relationships – No!

    Yes, Meyer’s characters are very shallow and two-dimentional. But as Kait brilliantly comments – How much do we really know about Romeo and Juliet? And how over the top isn’t thier love? They barely talk to eachother once and after that they are willing to kill themselves on account of their undying love?

    But no, this is not in any way to be taken seriously – most people don’t believe vampires or warewolves exist. This is fiction – and in fiction anything goes. I’m pretty sure most girls would see the difference between a potential stalker and a potential boyfriend in real life.

    I must say the biggest problem with these books are that they are not very well written (very straight forward – using very few litterary techniques) and as much as we want to believe in the love between Bella and Edward there just isn’t enough there to make us truely believe in it.

    So, the conclution must be: fiction is fiction and noone I know has ever used a book of fiction they’ve read as their guide in life (the bible may be the exception to this rule).

    Enjoy the books for what they are; easy-to-read literature.

    • Honestly, I completely understand the fun, easy-to-read aspects of the books. When I was first reading them, I was all down with that. What gets to me is that people think Edward and Bella’s relationship is beautiful and romantic, when in reality it’s dysfunctional and emotionally abusive. That irritates the hell out of me – these books are offensive and antifeminist, and everyone thinks they’re so fantastic. Blech.

  21. uh watever! twilight is the best you dont have to criticize but u need to realize that if you dont like it you dont have to start this blog about it,and u dont have to tell the whole frickin world that u dont like twilight its your choice. i like twilight u dont have to but you take it seriousliy like you want to be noticed.i think its fantastic the books i mean but im not trying to be mean but who cares what you like and what you dont like jenny.
    this blog is useless and you are just wasting your time and life writing this. shoot! im wasing my time telling you this crap but im just saying that no1 cares what you like or dont like its your choice but u didnt have to make it a blog

  22. you all are just haters! n its funny how all of u writin this sh** have either read one book or all four… hmmm who’s the idiot. n her if u havnt noticed edward lies to her to protect her but its not like she never finds out the truth anyway. from either jacob or alice so wats the prob? n seriously get ova urself its a book and the last tym i checked the saga was categorized as fiction!!! most of u ppl seem so dumb do u even kno wat that means? n whatever teens you’re worried about taking bella and edwards relationship as an example is a result of inexperience, mental retardation, and bad parenting. are u the bad parents? is that y ur worried? has it crossed ur mind that mrs meyer is allowing us a chance to imagine a gentleman like edward still exists or hope we could have one as strong , willing, sweet, and romantic as edward? point is they are books and theyre popular so deal with it. think of it this way… u are a few ppl who are haters n there are ova tens times as many of u that love her work! OMG UR OUTNUMBERED. n last.. u guys obviously felt the books were important enuff to have their own blog! wow im sure mrs meyer appreciates that. adios haters

  23. *cracking up* These comments are hilarious – I love the bad grammar and spelling from the Meyers fans! *can’t stop laughing*

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