Friday, December 03, 2010

On Cotton Candy, the Paranormal, and My Evil Inner Editor.

I've admitted before that I enjoy the Twilight books. I don't feel too bad about this because I enjoy them for what they are and have no illusions about their literary merit.

I think of them as the book equivalent of cotton candy.

Cotton candy is awesome. It's fluffy, it's pink, it has no nutritional merit, it's fun to eat, and it reminds you of going to the amusement park with your first crush and awkwardly holding hands on the SkyRide.

You wouldn't (or shouldn't) eat it for breakfast.

You wouldn't (or shouldn't) have it as your staple food source.

But you would (and should) enjoy it on vacation days and at parties and other times when you don't want to and don't have to be a responsible grown-up who worries about things like laundry and taxes.

(Confession: the first leisure reading I did after law school graduation was the Twilight saga. Talk about cleansing your mental palate! No brain required, just fun.)

Twilight is not Pulitzer Prize material. (Yeah, I experience a nearly physical revulsion when people say this and are in earnest.) Twilight should not be the only thing you ever read. ("May I recommend a greater allowance of prose in your diet?") Twilight is not a shining example of character development or a model for how to lead a long and happy life. (Yeah, as much as I enjoy the books, it is in spite, and not because, of Bella Swan.)

I have a limited supply of patience with people who insist that the books of the Twilight saga are the Greatest. Books. Ever. Written. and that is INCLUDING Shakespeare and the Bible! Yeah, they're not. They're fun, yes. But great? No.

Stephenie Meyer is not a good writer. She is a good storyteller—she makes you want to know what happens next. But she does a less-than-adequate job of telling you about it.

And my Evil Inner Editor has a problem with this. I squirmed for most of New Moon when all the em-dashes—of which Ms. Meyer is particularly fond (and who can blame her? They're an awesome piece of punctuation)—had spaces around them. I twitched at the misspellings. I wriggled uncomfortably at the unwieldy prose. And I positively writhed in frustration after about the twelfth mention of molten-liquid-gold-topaz-smoldering-chiseled-muscles-eyes-angel-can't-breathe. Which occurred, I believe, on about the fourth page after Edward makes his entrance.

So I felt like I'd finally found what I'd been looking for when the amazing Booklicious posted a link to Reasoning with Vampires. The author of RwV has taken upon herself the task of editing the Twilight Saga. While I definitely don't hate the books like the author does, my Evil Inner Editor has been jumping up and down inside of my head yelling in triumphant vindication while my actual self has been laughing. A lot. It's absolutely worth taking a look at if you are 1) a reasonable Twilight fan, 2) a Twilight hater, 3) an editor, or 4) someone who like hilarious things.

But you don't have to take my word for it.

I know a lot of people, including fans of the series, were also furious when the last book ended happily. "It doesn't reflect real life," they said. "She just gets everything she wants with no consequences!" This didn't bother me for a couple of reasons:

1) I *like* happy endings, especially in my escapist fiction;

2) Um, it's about VAMPIRES and WEREWOLVES and you are worried about it not reflecting reality? and

3) When I eat cotton candy, I don't want it to come with a bunch of depressing life lessons attached. It's cotton candy. If I wanted nutrition, I would eat brussel sprouts (which are tasty, but not good for taking on the SkyRide).


Lost in Translation said...

Squee squee and squee some more.

This just made my whole day better.

And my word verification is "pricalab." How awesome is that?

Erin said...

I am with you. When I read fiction, it is because I need it to take me to a happy place where everyone kisses at the end and the impossible is possible. I'm a housewife, and a mom... I NEED fiction!

MommyD said...

Wow, can I pretend I wrote this post? Just kidding! :) Spot on, I can't wait to read the links!

erachamay said...

hahahahahahahaha. Oh, and hahahahhahahaha. I'm glad you think the same way, although I first thought of the books as my "summer fling", I like your analogy a little better. Have you read Dave Barry's "Twilight" parody in "I'll Mature when I'm Dead"? It is worth the trip to the library to read it. Make sure you have kleenex. and are sitting down. Maybe on the toilet. You'd appreciate it.