Stephenie Meyer – A to Z: S

S is for Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series that has sold over 100 million copies of the four books, Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. The series has also been turned into a successful movie franchise.

I first read Twilight when my then-pre-teen daughter talked about it and I found out it had been “banned” at her primary school. I asked her to wait until I’d read it, and, instead of finding anything that made it worth banning, I have to say I quite enjoyed it. I’m pretty sure I would’ve continued reading the series even if my daughter hadn’t been pushing me to “read so she could read”.

Now it could well be that this is just my mistaken impression, but it seems to me that, at some stage after her series was published and everbody had devoured her books and the movies, it suddenly became fashionable to jump on the “bash Twilight” bandwagon. I don’t know whether Stephen King’s criticism of her writing had anything to do with it or not, or maybe someone sent out a memo that I missed, but, personally, I thought it was quite a shame that everyone suddenly drank the Kool-Aid and the tone when talking about the series turned from admiring to derisive. Many of Stephen King’s stories are without doubt very entertaining, but his writing style isn’t my favourite and I disagree with much he’s said about writing, so I was very disappointed to read that particular disparaging comment about a fellow writer.

Meyer’s books were written for a young adult audience and, in my opinion, have done wonders for that genre and have helped bring that generation back to reading books. Yes, they can be a little cheesy at times, but hey, they’re written mainly for teenage kids. I enjoy reading about a character’s detailed thought processes, which Meyer writes very well. Like her, I think, I’m still young at heart enough and still remember what all those “teenagey” feelings were like. I particularly liked the switch in perspective to Jacob’s character, whose voice is quite different with a great dose of humour thrown in. It’s too bad Meyer didn’t continue with her idea of releasing books written from Edward’s perspective; I for one would have enjoyed reading more than the sample chapter(s) she made available, and for those who’ve had enough… nobody would’ve forced them to read it.

I also enjoyed reading The Host, though I thought the film version left out several important parts and seemed a bit undercooked for my taste. But that has nothing to do with Meyer’s writing, which again handles many of the more intricate plot points within the first-person storyteller’s thought processes; something that is hard to pull off as well as Meyer does and makes a film adaptation rather difficult. If you haven’t read her work, I do recommend it, but I’d also advise approaching it with an open mind.

About Amos M. Carpenter

Web dev by day, author by night, and generally interested in (and opinionated about) way too many things.

Posted on 22 April, 2014, in A to Z Challenge Part II, Authors, Books, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. I read Twilight because all the kids in my class were reading it. (I was teaching part-time in a drug and alcohol rehab residential program after I retired.) I wanted to know what intrigued them about the book. I shoved my internal writing critic into the closet and sat down and read the book cover-to-cover. Then I went out and got the next book in the series. Hey, if kids like the book (and my goal is to get kids to read more), then this is a great book for kids. And hey, I know a bunch of adults who have read it, too.

    • Yeah, sometimes you have to look at things through the right lens to enjoy them. Maybe part of the reason I enjoyed them was because I had low expectations going in, but they’re “easy reading”, which is good for the main target audience, i.e. teens or twens, so you can’t set the bar the way you would for adult’s books. Nothing wrong with reading and enjoying something not meant for one’s own age, I think 🙂

  2. Stephanie Scott

    I also read Twilight as an adult and really enjoyed it at the time. Personally, I hated the very last book in the series–what a mess. The writing quality of the series is not stellar, but look at The DaVinci Code; cool concept, really mediocre writing. Just saying.

    I think a lot of the bashing has to do with deep, underlying stigma against successful women. Sure a lot of people might not admit to that, but it’s a book that is very female-centered; it’s a romance geared toward young women. So much of the criticism I saw about the series had little to do with the book and more to do with devaluing romance in general and reader intelligence. Arguments can be made that Bella is not exactly a role model, but we should be able to discuss that concept without bashing the author personally or devaluing those who enjoy those books.

    • Interesting theory, I hadn’t considered it from that angle. So many successful authors these days seem to be female, though – hmm, I’ll have to think about that one.

      What Meyer managed to do in my case was to draw me into the story deeply enough that I didn’t even think about the writing style. That’s not an easy thing to do, I tend to notice little things and let them break my immersion even when I don’t want them to. I suppose I found the relatively informal writing style fit Bella’s voice, so it didn’t seem out of place – perhaps my mindset that I’d be reading a book intended for teen/twen girls helped to prepare me, but I really enjoyed the series.

      I have a daughter and obviously I’d never want her to be as blindly and dependently (can’t think of a better word right now) in love as Bella. But hey, I’m happily married to my high school sweetheart while all around me people are complaining of their spouses, so maybe I’m a sucker for the “unusual” love stories. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting, Stephanie! (Which reminds me, what actually bugged me most about the books was her first name – the E instead of the A looks weird to me.)

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