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Love of Twilight, Part 1 – The Books

Due to the impending release of Breaking Dawn-Part 2 (and the end of a Twilight era), this is the first of three posts about my love of Twilight. This post focuses on the books.

I was supposed to have lunch with a former co-worker. It was September of 2007. She was excited that a book called Eclipse was coming out. It was by a chick named Stephenie Meyer. I had never heard of it or the author. My friend told me I must read the first book, Twilight.

The next day when we had lunch, she loaned me her copy of Twilight. I was magnetically drawn to it somehow. I got stuck in a construction zone on the way home, one notorious for a long wait. I knew from the back cover of Twilight that the girl falls in love with a vampire. (Thanks publishers, for spoiling the first 150 pages of the book.) I thought I would just look at the first few sentences while I sat in traffic. I think I read the first ten pages while crawling along at two miles per hour. (I know, bad me.) I was hooked.

When I got home I devoured the whole book. Within the week I would go to my local Waldenbooks (which of course no longer exists), and purchase the next two books, New Moon and Eclipse. I would finish reading them in the same week. I had never been so drawn into a book series before, except for Fearless.

Reading about Bella lusting after Edward across the lunch room was similar to my high school experience. I sat at the very far corner of the lunchroom from the boy that I thought was simply the dreamiest, but that had no idea I existed. The thought of if that boy had actually come up and talked to me, if he had driven me home too fast in his car. Agh! It left me twitter-pated.

I didn’t know who Edward or Bella were a week earlier. Now they had come to be my whole world. When I finished the three books, I started over again. Instead of my usual walk outdoors, I would hide in my car on my breaks at work to read it. I went a step further. I bought Twilight on audio book so that I could listen to it as I drove. (with a two hour daily commute, I got some good use out of those CDs.) I went from “never heard of it” to crazy obsessed overnight.

I have always considered myself Team Edward. In the books, Jacob is like the annoying younger brother I am glad I never had. But really thinking about it, I am too sensible a person. I hate change. If I were Bella, I would not be Team Edward or Team Jacob. I would be Team Mike Newton. Yup. Give me the normal human boy any day. At least you know what to expect with him. A little hand holding at the movies. Getting lucky after the prom. And Mike doesn’t have to worry about any super-human strength killing you at a climactic moment (Wait, did this post just turn into 50 Shades of Newton? I smell fan-fiction!).

Bella is so quick to assume that Jacob’s father, Billy Black, was never a werewolf. But what if he was? We never do hear how he ended up in a wheelchair. Freak shape-shifting accident, maybe? There would have been no Dr. Cullen around to re-break and set his bones if they had healed wrong after a bloodsucker incident. Even in a dream, Bella sees a wolf version of Billy Black:

“Rosalie, her hair swinging wet and golden down to the back of her knees, was lunging at an enormous wolf – it’s muzzle shot through with silver – that I instinctively recognized as Billy Black.”
– Eclipse (Little, Brown and Co., Hachette, 2007

I know some people aren’t Twilight people. But I was always drawn to young adult books anyway, especially about girls coming of age. And I realize that Stephenie Meyer isn’t a top-notch writer. That was part of it’s charm. It was like reading my asbestos friend’s writing in high school. (Except there were no hockey players. Hmmm…That could be that the Twi-universe is missing.) Meyer’s writing just felt comfortable to me in a way that I loved. I also loved that she came up with her characters and a whole chapter of Twilight (Chapter 13. Confessions) from a dream, as my dreams have given me many unfinished novel ideas.

I have read that fans have asked Stephenie Meyer how it affects Edward when Bella has her time of the month. (Ya, ew.) Stephenie answers that it is “dead” blood and Edward isn’t interested in it. A related, but different, question that always drives me nuts: Q. If the sight and smell of a drop of blood (in Science class) makes Bella faint, what the heck does she do for one week out of every month? Does Charlie have to scrape her up off the bathroom floor every time she has to change her feminine hygiene product and loses consciousness? What if an aversion to blood is her strongest strait that she carries with her into her new life as a vampire? She would end up an anorexic vampire.

When the fourth and final book, Breaking Dawn, was due out, the publisher started putting the first chapter at the end of Eclipse books. I stood at Walmart and read the whole first chapter while standing in front of their book section, so that I wouldn’t have to re-buy Eclipse. (And all I learned was that Edward sabotaged Bella’s beloved truck and Charlie didn’t shoot him.)

I decided to be one of those dorks who goes to the bookstore to buy Breaking Dawn at midnight the day it goes on sale. I had fun. And I went home and stayed up late reading it. I took a little nap. In the morning my husband asked me to go to the campground with him. And he was actually surprised that I turned him down in order to stay at home and read all day. Which I guess I deserved. It was probably the only time in my entire life that happened.

(Spoiler Alert: But if you haven’t read it by now, come on, you aren’t going to.) Throughout all the books I was eager, as Bella is, for her to become a vampire. It always seemed the inevitable end. That was almost the case in Twilight. After all, James did bite her. But, as a reader, I am very glad she was not turned until the final book. Because as soon as Bella becomes a vampire, I could no longer relate to her. I know it sounds crazy, but that is how deep her change affected me. Before she was clumsy Bella. Plain Bella. Worried Bella. Reckless Bella. In love Bella. Once she becomes a vampire, it was suddenly the same as reading about Frankenstein or Swamp Thing (Wolfman and Dracula were already taken.).

It ended alright. Probably the only way it could, with a happy ending. I am so glad we finally found out why Bella was immune to Edward’s abilities, and that she put her own new-found abilities to good use. I am also so glad that Charlie got to at least be clued in to a little of the supernatural that has been going on around him, right under his law enforcement nose. I also liked that he got some action.

Come back on Monday to read Love of Twilight, Part 2 – The Movies.

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