Review (mostly commentary): Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
I recently reread Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer (which I’m sure you know is the fourth book the Twilight Saga) for the movie that was released last month. I wasn’t going to post a review for it, because, mostly, there just isn’t anyone in the US that hasn’t heard of these books. But, then I realized I have something to say.
It’s not entirely about the book, although of course its all about the book. It is just hard to talk about these books without dealing with a myriad of reactions, and many not positive. When people say they like the Twilight books, its often accompanied with some kind of apology, statement of affirmation, or a dare to call them on it. Either way, you can’t just say you like these books anymore. The general understanding is that, whether you are or not, you are *supposed* to be embarrassed by it.
And why? If you read Twilight or Breaking Dawn and you didn’t like it, fine. But why are so many people so concerned about those who do like it?
I have two theories:
1. Society demonizes women who become successful (especially if done so quickly). Think Oprah. In the first few years, the more famous she became, the more ashamed you were supposed to be that you watched her show – which deemed trivial housewife chatter. Think pop stars like Jessica Simpson. Painted as a dense, flakey blonde despite the fact that she has built a successful business empire. Even JK Rowling, who mostly everyone loves, has dealt with her own fair share of backlash. At some point, if success is sustained long enough, society will start to respect these women. For some reason we feel like we have to put them through the fire first. Stephenie Meyer is another victim.
2. Anything made popular with a fan base that is consists mostly of young women it is widely discredited. For some reason the rest of us are expected to prove we are wiser and have better tastes than teenage girls. In reality, teenage girls have legitimate intellects and valid interests. And we do serious damage to their own recognition of that when we assume that the things they enjoy are beneath the rest of us. Just because the Twilight Saga is beloved by teenage girls everywhere, it does not mean that they are not worth reading. Fun books can be fun for everyone.
And I don’t want to hear about the themes that frustrate you in the book, or the fact that you think its poorly written. There are thousands of books loved by thousands of people with the same issues that don’t receive near the amount of vitriol. The reason for Twilight hatred goes a lot deeper than that.
For the record, I loved this series. I devoured it. I loved this book. Especially the end. A potentially violent situation ends in diplomacy because of the strength of a couple of women? Yes, please.
I give it:
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