Why I have not read Twilight

TwilightI have not read Twilight! I do not intend to read Twilight! I am content with this decision and I am sure that I will go on to have a happy and fulfilling life without it. But how did I come to this decision?

I had heard a lot about Twilight — both good and bad. It, and its follow-up books, had been getting a lot of publicity for quite some time. When the film was released on DVD, I decided that I should probably read the book before seeing the film and find out what all the fuss was about. So I borrowed a copy from a friend.

I was reading another book at the time, so my wife decided to read it first. For the next week I listened to her read the book. Yes, listened, as she tsk’ed with contempt, groaned with annoyance and snorted with derision… occasionally punctuated by, “OMG, just let me read you this bit…”. At the end of each chapter, I’d cop an earful of colourful rhetoric about how little the story had progressed, yet how much more annoying the characters had become. “Bella just spent an entire chapter whining and pining for Edward!” or “Edward just spent an entire chapter sparkling and being gazed at by a soppy-eyed Bella!” and “I’m dragging myself though this book, in the hopes that a story will actually happen at some point!” When she had finally finished, she turned to me and said: “Honey, don’t read it!”

My wife is probably the only person in the world who can say something like that to me, and have me follow the advice. Normally, being told not to do something just makes me want to do it more. But after 17 years, Kerri (that’s my wife) has come to know me pretty well, and knows my literary likes and dislikes. After years of recommending books to me, this is the first time she has ever recommended I not read a particular book… so I took the recommendation seriously.

That’s not to say that Kerri hated the book. She didn’t. She found it a frustrating but interesting read. Frustrating because there was very little plot and because she found the characters annoying. Interesting, because she said that as a 15-year-old girl she probably would have loved it. Here’s why:

“It pushes all the right buttons for a teenage girl. It’s as if the book were written by a committee of women with a checklist.”

Kerri did express some curiosity in seeing the film version. So we borrowed the DVD from our local video store and put aside an evening of our lives that we will sadly never be able to reclaim. I figured that if I liked the film, I’d make the effort to read the book. I did not like the film. In fact, I hated it! Aside from the fact that it was overacted and poorly directed, there was not all that much to the plot and the dialogue was clichéd and atrociously written. Granted, Kerri did say that the book was marginally better, but given how much I disliked the film, that was not much of an incentive.

Every now and then, someone will still suggest that I should give the book a go. And I toy with the possibility, purely on a curiosity level. But seriously folks, life is too short to be reading stuff that you don’t really want to read. There are HUGE numbers of books that I really do want to read — way too many for me to actually get through. I need to prioritise. And a mild curiosity simply is not enough to get me to put this book on my mile-high “must-get-around-to-reading-someday” stack, let alone my three metre tall “must-read-soon” pile.

So that, folks, is why I have not read Twilight. And that is why I am unlikely to read it. Not unless I get stranded on a desert island without any other reading material.

Now, having said all of the above, I do wish to point out that I have nothing against the people who do like the books and the films. Everyone is entitled to their own literary choices. I’m sure that some of the books I’ve chosen to read over the years would make many people cringe. And I haven’t always made sterling choices. But as I said earlier, I couldn’t possibly read everything that I want to read, so I do have to make choices.

Even though I have chosen not to read it, I believe it to be an important book. It seems to have mimicked Harry Potter’s success in getting people who don’t normally read, to pick up a book. And for that, I applaud it. For many people Twilight will be the beginning of a life-long romance with the written word. That’s a good thing.

Well… that’s it for vampires! On to other things. Tune in next time when Shirley Marr, author of the soon to be released YA novel Fury, drops in to tell us about her first publishing experience.

Catch ya later,  George

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George Ivanoff

LITERARY CLUTTER: Bookish bloggings from the cluttered mind and bookshelf of Melbourne author, George Ivanoff. George is the author of the YOU CHOOSE books, the OTHER WORLDS series, the RFDS Adventures and the GAMERS trilogy.

8 thoughts on “Why I have not read Twilight”

  1. I felt the same way you did, but I bit the bullet and read the book before I saw the film. I agree with Kerri (here’s my review of the book) but I went on to read the next book and I found New Moon more enjoyable even though it has its flaws. And then I stopped while I was ahead. 🙂

  2. Kat, I actually have been told that the second book is a little better, as you seem to have discovered. However, I feel that any credibility I have in my cheerful Twilight bashing, would be seriously undermined if I were to read it! LOL

  3. >>there was very little plot and because she found the characters annoying.

    I agree. I think the points you make are excellent reasons to avoid the torture of plowing through a book when the interest is not there.

  4. George … You make me laugh.
    I got the book for my birthday BEFORE it became “The New Harry Potter”. I didn’t get past the first page and have no intention of going any further with it for much the same reasons as you … But honestly, how can the idea of some guy sneaking into a teenaged girl’s room at night (without her knowledge or permission) to WATCH HER SLEEP be appealing to anybody?? It’s CREEPY!!!!
    Also, congratulations to Kerri for getting through it … I admire her perseverance.

  5. Hey Tat,
    Thanks for your comments. Yes, I think it is rather creepy. And from what I’ve been told, (because, as you may have gathered by now, I haven’t read the books) the disturbing creepiness levels increase in the sequels. But different people find different things creepy and/or appealing. And obviously, A LOT of people find the Bella/Edward relationship appealing.

  6. >>I feel that any credibility I have in my cheerful Twilight bashing, would be seriously undermined if I were to read it!<<
    Kerri, it caused a bit of internal conflict for me, too. But then the film came out and there was much to be cheerful about.

  7. I guess I’m the opposite to you, Kat. I didn’t mind Twilight, I found it an amusing twist on the overdone Vampire theme, and a distracting no thought required read.

    New Moon however I found pathetically painful. Bella is incredibly annoying in the first book, but in the second I just wanted to whack her with something. I know there is a lot of angst when teen love goes wrong, but come on and to commit so many pages to that whining and pining! Argh!

    For some reason unbeknown to me, I read book three which was just as bad, this time Bella pines for both the boys! My 11 year old who has read I think 24 vampire books in a row keeps trying to get me to read the last one, but as you say George, there are too many good books to read!

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