Why I Don’t Like Twilight.

Why I Don’t Like Twilight.

Hello, darlings. =)

Since introducing my Bellaesque rating system, I’ve begun receiving quite a few e-Mails informing me just how horrible and delusional and just plain weird I am for hoping against hope that the female protagonists that I’m reading about are as opposite of Bella Swan as they can possibly be.

A few of the messages actually ask me -why- and the people seemed genuinely interested.  So, I will tell all of you why I rate the female protags on a scale of Bellaesque or Non-Bellaesque.

First of all, the books are absolute trash when it comes to the writing itself.  Grammatical errors abound.  The pacing is atrocious. The character development is decidedly lacking.  Where was the editor? Was there an editor? But, hey, I could forgive all that if the -story- was good.  But…well, it wasn’t.

Bella Swan has no personality.  She is an underdeveloped character who is so basic, plain, boring, and empty that I’m surprised she was even able to exist in the imagination of the author.  Her thought processes consist of – “Does Edward like me?  Why does Edward not like me? Am I too ugly for the gorgeousness that is Edward? Do I stink? I really wish Edward liked me.”  Oh, I can’t forget the first day of school thoughts of oh great, my truck won’t stand out!  oh super, my skin won’t stand out! (What?)  One of my fave parts is when Jessica is introducing Bella to her friends and Bella forgets all their names as soon as they’ve been said.  For that matter, she doesn’t remember Jessica’s name til two pages later.  But good old Eddie? Soon as Jessica tells Bella what the beautiful boy’s name is, Bella remembers.  Superficial much?

She’s already read all the assigned English materials, she’s already covered all the biology material.  She’s bored in class and has nothing better to do than worry about why Eddie doesn’t like her strawberry scented hair.  Hmm.  Yes, Mrs. Meyer, we’re seeing that you want us to think of Bella as fairly perfect.  Before the end of Chapter 1 we have Eric, Mike, and Eddie all frothing at the mouth over her.  Wooow!

I could go on.  I could rant about how she becomes the house-slave to her father (cooking and cleaning for him non-stop, it seems) as soon as she arrives in town.  I could moan and groan about the incessant whining that Bella does about her “self imposed purgatory” in Forks.  I could ponder on how it seems Stephenie Meyers likes to stick her female characters into traditional housewife style roles.  But I won’t.  I’ll just…go on.

Once we’ve gotten beyond the “Eddie doesn’t liiiiike me” whining, and we’ve moved into the “romance” portion of things, the real creep factor sets in.  Edward watches her sleep.  He follows her when she goes on outings with her friends.  He’s creeptastic.  He is the ultimate stalker.

Then the breakup.  Bella spends three or four months in a mostly catatonic state (seriously?) and then basically tries to find ways to commit suicide without actually committing suicide.  She acts like a pathetic little girl whose existence literally means nothing to her if she’s not snuggled up against Edward.

Did I mention the part where Edward (and all of the “vampires” in Stephenie Meyer’s little world) SPARKLES?  Like…glittery? Diamonds? Whatever…dazzles…in the sunlight?  That’s right, folks, no melting in the sunlight – we go all Sanrio and start sparkling!  Because that’s what teenage girls like to see, is sparkles! Right? I’m surprised that she didn’t make them pink.

While I can appreciate a new spin on old lore, really, that’s just silly.  She couldn’t figure out how to get around the walking in daylight bit, so she just made them glitter-coated? That’s just a trifle lazy, I think.

Annnnyway.  Another of my favorite bits of this cheeesefest of doom was the romance between Bella and Eddie.  Bella wants to make sweet, sweet love to Edward.  Edward won’t unless they’re married.  Bella doesn’t want to get married because she’s too young.  But Bella also wants Eddie to turn her into a vampire so she doesn’t get old and wrinkly while he just stays young and gorgeous.  Are you confused? Yeah, me too.  UGH.

This series is crap.   Yes, kids will read it.  Yes, it’s sold millions upon millions of copies.  Yes, Stephenie Meyer, her agent, publicists, publishers, editors, whatever – are probably rolling in the dough.  Good for them, super, yay!

But the books are trash.

They teach young, impressionable girls that relying on a man for your very existence is normal and good and even encouraged.  It shows these same impressionable young girls that going to college? Exploring the world? Getting to know yourself? What do those things matter when you have a hunky boyfriend!  Lets all get married at 19 and have a baby and live like happy little housewives in happy little towns because it’s just so PERFECT!

Yeah, no.

Will I let my children read these books? Sure.  I’m not one to prevent anyone from reading what they want to read – but geez, I hope by then that I’ve taught them to have a little more respect for themselves than Bella has for herself.

So, there you go people.  I call a protagonist Bellaesque if she’s an utter flake with no personality and a reliance on others that borders on obsessive.  I call a protagonist Non-Bellaesque when she’s got a brain in her head and knows how to use it.

Feel free to leave comments, they’re only moderated if WordPress thinks you’re a spammer and I check them daily.  But if you want to call me out and tell me I’m wrong when I say Bella has no independent nature at all – please do cite an example.  I’d love to see!


I’m pretty much with you on most of this. But, it is exciting to see teens reading and reading thousands of pages. I guess that one could argue that this series does more damage than good, but I read all of these books for one reason: Because my students were reading them. Just so that we could talk about it. And they did. But no one is reading them much any more. But those same kids who got used to books that are 500+ are not shy in picking up other great series books: Ellen Hopkins, Patrick Ness, The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It’s encouraging to see.

To add to your list, I hated the condescending and manipulative way that Bella treated her father. He seemed like a pretty stand-up guy, as far as YA fathers go.

Thanks, ladies! 🙂

Mrs. DeRaps – I agree that it’s exciting to see them read it. And I wouldn’t be one of the ones saying to ban the books, because…well…reading is reading. It’s important. I just wish they’d started with something -else-. 🙂

And yes, your comment about how she treats her father, that’s so true. She was horrible.

HAHAHA, this is the best post I’ve read in a while! Pretty dead on. I read the books. I knew they were complete crap while I was reading them. For some reason, though, I still kept reading. It was crazy. I just think it’s a good bit of escapre for teenagers/others who are unsure of themselves. It’s easy to place yourself in the story of chraracters with little personality.

Well Ree, you know I like the books… but I also agree with what you have written. I can ignore most of that and just go with the whineyness that is Bella. For some reason I can go with her whole obsessing over one guy thing… perhaps because I myself was quite an obsessive teenager. “Does Josh like me as much as I like him?” I would have bent over backwards for him. So in some ways I think Stephanie hit right on how a lot of teenage girls think. Now I am sure some teenage girls aren’t as superficial as Bella was/is and probably hated this as much as you did.

Well that’s my thoughts on it.

OH I do agree with the others above that it is good for the kids to read… Part of that is what do the parents give their kids to read as kids… some of these teenagers were never encouraged to read or were never read to. I plan on reading many great novels to my kids, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings are on the top of my list. And others with great literary skills.

Very well thought out post Ree. 🙂 I enjoyed reading it.

Great post- I do agree, but I think the thing about Bella that made her appealing is that she’s acutally pretty normal. We are all kind of stupid and selfish like her a lot of the time. But I totally get it- I still don’t really want my book heroines to be like that!

I love this post! I am so relieved to find another blogger who hates Twilight as much as I do. I completely agree about the writing and the characters. Both are awful! Twilight gives a completely wrong message to young girls. Moreover the relationship between Edward and Bella is beyond disturbing!

I do agree with you that Meyer isn’t much of a writer, but give the girl some credit. First, she pulled millions of teenagers away from the ever-growing cyber world and back into the bookstores. Many of these girls went on to read quality YA fantasy because of the gateway drug known as Meyer. Second, many of these same girls started writing their own stories, creating their own worlds, using their brains, etc because they thought they might be able to write too. Third, Meyer gave us a fresh look at vampires. You may not like it, but it’s not the same old Bram Stroker knockoffs we’re used to seeing. Final verdict: You’ve got several valid points and I agree with most of them BUT Meyer deserves her props. She changed the game whether we like it or not.

I loved this article. I honestly do. And i agree with mostly everything in here. BUT i agree with Stacey. These books got a lot of teenagers who didn’t read to start reading, incluiding me.

If one year and a half ago you would’ve told me to read, I would have laughed endlessly at you and told you to go away. Now, i love reading. And even though I hate the characters and the vampires in this saga, it’s what got me reading, and i’m thankful for that.

STILL I agree with every point you put out there.

You make a valid point. Any book that gets a child (or young adult, or an adult for that matter) to read can have a happy face. But this post isn’t about whether or not Ms. Meyer got kids to read, it’s about whether -I- like the books, and why I don’t. Like I said, I’d let my kids read the books with no problem. But…I don’t like them enough to own them or ever read them again, and since I was asked (not politely, I might add) to explain why I don’t like the books (from a personal viewpoint), I decided to explain. They -are- written in such a way that even the kids who hate to read can have an easy time of it. That part, I suppose, is good.

I agree with this post. When the movie first came out I was 25, and was interested in seeing what kind of “youthful” twist this story would tell. I come from the era of Interview with a Vampire and Dracula (the one starring Winona Ryder), so I guess I started out with a biased opinion thinking that vampires are more of an adult subject than a teenagers. So when I expected nothing great out of the movie, I definitely wasn’t disappointed. The movie plots aren’t bad per se, but the actors (ESPECIALLY Bella), are as you described. I am of the firm opinion that many of today’s American teenagers are a tragedy, as I know they can easily relate to the shallowness and selfishness that is Bella. How sad.

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