Oh. My. God.
Where do I even start with this book? There’s too much of it to fit neatly into my fake diary entry format like I did with the others. There is so much to mock! Where do I begin?
I know! Let’s start by mocking the grown-ass married mother with a master’s degree who was carrying this misbegotten book into the bathroom at work to try and sneak in a few paragraphs here and there. To say it was a page-turner is to insult page-turners everywhere. This book was like a progressive disease that an army of epidemiologist couldn’t stop . This book was like the mental equivalent of the bubonic plague. It lived in my head like plague fleas live on rats and it sucked my will to do anything but read it. It is the vampire of books! It stole my intellect soul!
For those of you who need reminding, this was the book that picked up at the point where Bella capitulated to everything Edward wanted in order to get laid and get turned into a vampire. Edward agreed to sleep with her on their wedding night, which was just as magical as every Harlequin Romance novel ever suggested it could be! Then, miracle of miracles, Bella got knocked up! Yes! Vampire baby! Which gestate in no time, though the pregnancy is pretty damn brutal. So brutal that the novel needed to switch perspective and be told from the point of view of the guy Bella didn’t marry but who can’t let go. Yes, a vampire baby pregnancy takes about 200 pages of werewolf whining to come to fruition. And then it kills her. But her vampire husband will inject vampire venom directly into her heart like the overdose scene in Pulp Fiction where John Travolta stabs Uma Thurman in the chest with a 75-foot-long needle while Eric Stolz and one of the Arqettes watch.
And the book still. Isn’t. Over.
Bella’s a vampire, she names her daughter something stupid, Jacob the werewolf bonds for life with the baby, the ruling class of vampires comes to kill them but the Truth Shall Apparently Set You Free From The Volturi and Bella and Edward live happily eternally ever after.
Alright, I know I’m the biggest Twilight party pooper out there but when everyone else is all “Team Edward! Team Jacob!” I’m all “Team Erica eff-ing Jong! Let’s get Bella a zipless f@ck STAT! And can we have some classic feminism here right away?” I’m not saying promiscuity is the answer to teenage ills and bad self-image among women – far from it – I’m saying the Bella is not the answer either. Somewhere between Fear of Flying and Breaking Dawn there are heroines who are strong, funny, smart, flawed, honest, and human. You find them every day in chick lit, on blogs, on shows like Desperate Housewives where women routinely save the world but trip over their own feet while doing it, and walking down the streets of our towns. And we find the male equivalents of these women in the same places but no one is putting their faces inside the crotches of underwear.
Look, I understand about entertainment. And I understand that vampires are hot and sexy and totally in the realm of fantasy. And that it’s all very, very romantic on some level. But these books leave Bella powerless most of the time. She very seldom seizes control of her destiny. She waits, she cajoles, she begs, she daydreams but she takes so little action that I wonder why she’s a character at all. Does anyone want to emulate her? Or is the appeal that she’s such a blank slate that girls can super-impose their own identities on her and pretend that Edward loves them and only them? And are we all supposed to applaud girls who stay away from nasty real boys because they’re waiting for a love as eternal and pure as Edward’s? Or can we all admit that this is yet another iteration of the Prince Charming myths that we all know lead to fairy-tale weddings and vacant marriages that crumble before our eyes.
Look, fairy tales are all well and good but how many of us married a prince? Not me. I married a hot, sexy, smart, funny frog. And that after kissing a lot of less impressive frogs along the way (some of whom may have been vampire frogs because they seemed to suck my will to live out of me). I didn’t arrive at the altar pure and unsullied like Bella. I got there with a firm grasp of who I was an individual and realistic expectations of who my husband could, should, and would be for the rest of our lives.
So, I got my happily ever after because I took the time to know me and know what would make me happy and went out and found it for myself. No vampire venom required. And THAT’S the lesson girls need to learn.