Twilight Read-Along...The Obsession Starts

Twilight Read-Along...The Obsession Starts

 I'm hoping that I sufficiently encouraged some new readers to the Twilight Fandom.  Not that it really needs new readers--it had/has a heavy following and has spawned one of the largest sections of Fan Fiction.  (Some of which later became 'original' fic, but we're not tackling the topic of pull-to-publish here.)  I'm writing down my comments on post-it notes as I read along so I can share my thoughts with you.  I hope it doesn't come across as too disjointed, and rather as a conversation.  Feel free to pop in at the end and tell us your thoughts. 

{One lucky commenter will be drawn at random to receive a Twilight-related prize.  Unless you're a troll, then you're automatically disqualified.}

My lovely sister-in-law is sharing her own thoughts as she re-reads Twilight with us too.  Thank you, K!

 

Chapter One: First Sight

K: I'm excited to do a re-read because it's been years! Once I read the first, I hunted down the rest of the series successfully (thanks to libraries and various bookstores), and devoured them in a week. I have always been drawn to vampire stories and movies, and was pleasantly surprised at how well a love story was incorporated into that theme by Meyer. I was hooked.

Dr.B's notes: I haven't re-read Twilight in quite a number of years.  I started to re-read it when a fandom site I follow was doing a read-along several years ago, but I don't think I finished.  Twilight started REALLY slowly for me this time around.  Stephenie Meyer does a LOT of description in the first few chapters.  And while I remember getting sucked in when I first read Twilight, I have read thousands of fanfictions by now, some within the same sphere as the originals, and some AU (alternate universe), and some that have NO vampires at all.  Bear with me if you're in the fandom....I'm trying to explain the concept of FF to newbies. :D Suffice it to say that there have been many re-writes of these opening scenes and I'll admit that I felt a bit meh this time around.

But I did ponder over the fact that I went to a small high school too, much the same size as Forks. So I did re-think the social dynamics that Bella was facing, especially since she was in a small town, whereas I was not--so all the kids really did know each other.

K's thoughts: Beautiful imagery. I would definitely live in Forks if possible and always enjoy this introduction to it. 

Missed this the first time, the humor in her arrival at school, "I can do this... no one was going to bite me." p14

Painful at parts to witness her first day at a new school. It's good writing if it can make you cringe, right? I have immediate empathy for Bella as a fellow shy person, hated PE, and felt lonely throughout a lot of school. 

Dr.B: And then we get to Bella's first sighting of Edward in the aptly named chapter, First Sight.  Though I've read many re-writes of this scene as well, I think SM captures the awe and curiosity and also first signs of a crush in this scene well.  I admit, however, that I can't read this scene without thinking of the same scene in the film, which I also thought was captured well.  The first time I saw it, though, I may have giggled.  Because that's how I react to awkward and crushes.  But at least I was smiling.

This scene is done well, SM, well done. 

BTW, I know many people are very critical of SM's writing.  There are flaws, yes, but I also feel that especially in the later books, she simply was rushed.  A better editor would have actually edited her books instead of letting them fly because of their popularity (in other words, they were on a crazy deadline). 

Chapter Two: Open Book

Dr. B: Okay, so admittedly the book picks up quite a bit after Bella meets Edward.  Big shocker!  I think from there on out, most people are hooked and can't put the book down.  I'm pretty sure that's what happened for me.  Because even after I complain about some of the writing, SM really captures the feeling of first love.  (Rainbow Rowell is similarly brilliant at this in Eleanor and Park.)

K: I'm not going to lie, one of my favorite scenes of the movie version is here, what takes place in Biology. He is so stunning when he finally speaks to her, and it's exciting to see his fascination with her.

Dr. B: The Cullens are definitely outsiders.  Have you felt like that?  Have you been the new kid?

 Dr. Bookworm's SIL, K, has this awesome Twilight collection.  :D And, yes, that's the same quilt as Bella in the movies. 

Dr. Bookworm's SIL, K, has this awesome Twilight collection.  :D And, yes, that's the same quilt as Bella in the movies. 

Chapter Three: Phenomenon

Dr. B: Why does everyone have a crush on Bella?  Is she a shiny new toy, like she complains about?

Van crash logistics: when I read that section for the very first time, I had to re-read it several times.  And though I have now read the series maybe a dozen times, this scene still confounds me.  I just can't picture it.  Though now I picture it how it is in the films.  When I read the actual words, I imagine Edward laying down while spinning a car in his hands.  Yeah.  Doesn't make sense to me either.

K: While the car accident/near collision is albeit a tad confusing, I'm willing to overlook all that because it's exciting. For one, it's our first glimpse of physical strength and power. More than the action, however, its exciting because I'm a hopeless romantic and am ecstatic he saved her since that must mean he does like her!! (My inner teenage girl is swooning here)

 

Chapter Four: Invitations

K: Oh, boys, they can be so confusing. Who wouldn't die with his "I'm tired of trying to stay away from you"?? Any previous rudeness on his part has been erased, gone. Moving on. And is it hot in here, or is it just me?

Dr.B: Okay, so I read Midnight Sun back in the day....and I can't keep thinking about Edward's point of view when reading this beginning of Twilight.  (SPOILER ALERT FOR NEWBIES!) Twilight fans are notoriously upset that Breaking Dawn includes a huge section with Jacob's POV, and as a writer myself, I don't get it.  The whole series is in Bella's POV.  Why Jacob's now?  The only thing that makes sense tome is that SM was under huge deadline and she also fell in love with that section, especially for the big reveal. 

But I still think she needs to finish Midnight Sun.  Or just publish it as is--instead of using the ten-year-anniversary to publish a gender-swapped version.  On the other hand, I understand that she's just over it.  Sometimes it's hard to pick up a project that you're just not feeling anymore. 

Also, I'm not sure I remembered Bella and Edward being so hostile to each other though I do remember from the films the awkwardly-paced conversation after Bella leaves the ER. If you follow me on Instagram, you've seen that I have a hard time watching or reading hospital scenes and NOT screaming at the screen/pages.  "That's wrong.  That's not how that would be treated.  Why would they show a doctor doing that?" 

Bella has funny conclusions about why Edward stays away from her: "He must see how absorbed I was by him; he must not want to lead me on..." (p. 79)

I was amused at the way Edward asks Bella to Seattle....by leading her to believe he's going to ask her to the dance too.  Well done, Edward, well done.  Especially for a 107-year-old vampire who has never asked a girl out before.  I might really have to read Midnight Sun again after all, if I can find it on my old laptop.

 Mini Me finishing up Twilight last week.  See the bookmark where I'm at the beginning?  Please ignore the laundry and mess in background.

Mini Me finishing up Twilight last week.  See the bookmark where I'm at the beginning?  Please ignore the laundry and mess in background.

Chapter Five: Blood Type

K: I liked this chapter, it was funny and ironic, and I enjoyed the banter between the two of them. What a relief that he is finally her "friend!" His references to being the bad guy, while intriguing, in no way detracts from my fondness for him. Am I right?? I'm sold, just like Bella, no matter what his danger factor.

Dr. B: I can't believe how Jessica asks "Does he mean you?" I laughed at this part because high school can be so catty.

Edward is so pushy and controlling even in the beginning, but especially after Bella faints during the blood-typing lab.  Why are we surprised when he's so controlling later on in the series too? Though I admit that I didn't analyze this with the lens of a mom of teens (someday) when I first read the book, I can see how it would be troubling for some parents.  But, there are more troubling books out there....

 

Chapter Six: Scary Stories

K: I somehow missed how angry Lauren is?? Perhaps she's as confused as the rest of us as to why all teenage boys are in love with Bella instantly. 

Dr. B: Yup, it's all the crushes. 

K: A little too much description and imagery of the ocean. I'll admit to skimming over parts of it. Seems like author found a thesaurus that day and wanted to use it. 

Dr. B:  Sigh.  This section has also bothered me at times.  I studied Native American literature and culture (not as a major but several classes) under Paula Gunn Allen, who also taught a few of my Creative Writing classes.  Professor Gunn Allen holds a special place in my heart as a mentor and I cringe at what the Quileute must think of this series.  I keep wondering what their actual histories hold.  Though I like the connection of wolves in the ancestry. 

Side note: Paula Gunn Allen was a leader in Native American studies and a writer.  She passed away too soon, the year before my Macy died.  I found that I had a real connection to her when I was in undergrad, which was amazing since I went to a such a large school.  The reason I found out she had died was that I went through a period in my grief in which I wanted to thank all my mentors or inspiring teachers--Prof Gunn Allen, Mr. Powers etc. 

Below are Mini Me's drawings in my Twilight journal, rendered when she was in kindergarten.  I love that she did the meadow scene.  And that Victoria properly has red hair but Bella's hair is blue in that scene. 

Chapter 7: Nightmare

Dr. B: Chapter 7 has a LOT of internal monologue as Bella sorts through whether or not Edward is a vampire.  There is decidedly lack of action in this chapter as it's mostly processing and looking up stuff.  I guess it's because SM wanted Bella to keep everything a secret so she couldn't exactly be bouncing theories off someone, other than Edward.  Anyone else remember how slow dial-up modems were?  Have you done an internet search on a crush?  Not a stalking search, but maybe looked up hobbies etc?  The internet was not around when I had crushes. 

K: Funny, I like her dedication to Edward. I, too, would choose him despite the small issue of being a vampire. I mean, at least if it's all true, he is a good vampire. Nothing to worry about. 

Dr. B: K has been my little sister since she was ten and I started dating her brother (my husband).  This is one of many reasons I love her.  ("This" being her comment above.  And her love for Twilight.  And the fact that she agreed to blogpost with me.  :D )

Chapter 8: Port Angeles

Dr. B:  This scene (Bella almost getting attacked etc) was the only one I worried about when I said Mini Me could read-along with us.  But she was fine.  I think she read it differently than I did, which is a-okay with me.  Mini Me, don't read this paragraph.  Midnight Sun more than hints at what the men were actually planning and I think most older people would surmise the same.  I don't want to have that conversation yet.

There's a superhero complex going on--Edward rescues Bella from being crushed by a van, after blood-typing lab, and now from the four men in Port Angeles.  Though I like that everything is finally out in the open in this chapter...and it pulls us right into the next section of the read-along.  How can you stop reading there?  Not right when Bella is about to figure everything out! 

But can we also talk about SM's fashion choices?  Light beige leather jacket and ivory turtleneck?  And I'm getting ahead of myself but don't get me started on the sleeveless white button downs for both Bella and Edward in the meadow scenes. 

K: I love this chapter. Yes, the thrill of Edward saving her, but also that they have such a revealing conversation. (His mind reading abilities and her astute observations that surprise him). 

The safety she finds in him is something I would say the majority of us can appreciate, and maybe even long for. Not so much even the obvious physical rescue but in general: to have someone you're meant to be with so much so that their mere presence calms you. Meyer captured that well. I'm officially a twi-hard after this chapter. 


Questions:

Are you a new reader, or re-reader?  What did you think this time around?

Have you been the newbie in high school? 

Have you read Midnight Sun?

Tell us about the awkward way you've asked someone out, or someone has asked you out?

Team Edward or Team Jacob?

Anything surprise you this time around?  Or if you are a new reader, did you stop at chapter 9 or have you finished BD already?

Is this how your first love or first crush went?  :D

 **** Leave a comment and you're automatically entered in the raffle for Twilight-related prizes.  Under 18 needs adult permission.  No trolls accepted. ****

 

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