Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Twilight Breakup

There are all kinds of breakups. The kind where screaming and crying ensue. The kind that makes your lips curl back in disgust even years later. And then there's the quiet kind. You may not even realize it's happening.  You go about your daily life together happily enough. But one day you look at your love and realize that the wonder has gone. The beauty has faded. Reluctantly, amicably, you go your separate ways left only with happy memories and look out upon a fresh new world.

A rather melodramatic opening paragraph, I know, but it describes my feelings towards Twilight as of late. I've been a huge champion of the Twilight series since I began blogging three years ago:

I Love Twilight and I Am Not Ashamed
Totally Twilight Month

Reviews:
Twilight
New Moon
Eclipse
Breaking Dawn

I loved the books and I loved the movies. I wasn't blind to the series' flaws, both in writing style and social implications, but the story, the characters, and the romance swept me away.

Almost five years have passed since I read Twilight for the first time. The books have been a big part of my life ever since - re-reading, fanfiction, merchandise, the films, and more. But lately, when I think about the series, I feel nothing. It's as if the sparkly luster has all faded off.

Interestingly, the drop-off of my interest coincided with the release of Breaking Dawn 2 last November. It wasn't a conscious decision to fall away from the series when the movie came out. Actually, I'm bit irritated that the timelines match up. My subconscious apparently viewed Breaking Dawn 2 as the end of a literary as well as a cinematic era. I bought the Breaking Dawn 2 Blu-Ray when it came out as a sort of self-obligation. I haven't watched it again. I also was excited when New Moon came out in graphic novel form in April, but I still haven't bought it. I still haven't bought the Breaking Dawn 2 soundtrack.

In many ways, I continue to love Twilight. It was my first paranormal romance, so the "magical" creatures and the forbidden romance still feels fresh and new to me in a way that books no longer do after I've read hundreds of vampires, witches, werewolves, and zombies fall in love over the past several years. On the other hand, Bella and Edward no longer make my heart sing.

What held my attention longer - and still does to an extent - is the vampire mythology that Stephenie created.  Twilight's "sparkly" vampires is usually more the target of mocking than of admiration, but I think they're fascinating. Different than any other vampires I've read about (the advantage of Stephenie not being steeped in vampire mythology). Even the "sparkliness" is fascinating - the idea that their stone-like bodies glitter in the light's reflection makes sense in a way and is also a unique twist on why vampires avoid sunlight. For all the eyerolling on the wimpy, glitter-fanged creatures, most people forget that the Twilight vampires are extremely violent. They have impulsive urges for human blood even when they want to be pacifists, they always kill their "meals", and rather than putting their victims into a drug-induced haze, humans are in inconceivable pain as they are sucked dry. And unlike anything else I've read, the Twilight vampires cannot be killed in any way, shape, or form by humans. Humans are utterly defenseless sheep.

See, even in a breakup post, I can expound pretty passionately on Twilight's positives. And I'll continue to defend Twilight as a concept even if it doesn't maintain the same prized place on my bookshelf. I still think that Twilight is an important piece of YA literary canon. It's okay to have read Twilight or have tried to read it and to dislike it. But it is not okay think that Twilight is inherently bad. Or that people who like Twilight are less intelligent, less well-read, less sophisticated.

I have come to the end of my journey with Twilight, but I am still not ashamed to have loved this wonderful world that Stephenie Meyer created. On the other hand, if Midnight Sun is ever released, I'll be the first in line.

21 comments :

  1. I kind of agree with you, Alison. I actually love Twilight for different reasons, one is that that series got me into reading again after several years of reading very little, if at all. Also, I was so sad at the end of the series, I surfed the internet to find others I could chat about it with. And I found some really good friends thanks to that. They introduced me to Goodreads, which introduced me to blogging - so I do have a lot to thank Twilight for :)

    I have only watched the first two movies, I don't know if I'll ever watch Eclipse and the Breaking Dawn installments, but you never know :)

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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  2. I love this post. It describes how I feel, exactly. I think that it's not so much a break-up so much as a simple change in perspective. It's clear you still have a fondness in your heart for the series - as I do - and it will always hold a place in your heart as a first love does, but it is no longer the center of your world.

    Okay you're right - that's exactly a break up. :)

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  3. Yeah, that's a pretty passionate post for someone who's "breaking up"! *snort* You'll never fully break up with it. More like just putting it on your shelf and petting it every once in a while. Even though I've never been a fan, I fully respect those who love (or loved) it.

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  4. I did break up with twilight and give away all my books. I still love that it brought me back to reading YA and new authors. I did notice that I did wain off too with the series just like to :)

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  5. Wow, this is a big deal for you Alison! You're probably the biggest Twilight fan I know, and I'm glad that even though the series has lost a bit of it's luster for you after all this time, you can still talk enthusiastically about all the things you loved about it:) I was definitely a fan of Twilight years ago, and it's the series that got me reading paranormal YA fiction, so I'll always love it for that, but it definitely lost some of it's luster for me a while back as well. Still have all the books though ;-)

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  6. I think most of us can attribute at least part of our reading/blogging career to Twilight. It was the first YA series I read, the first series I read and the first time I became glued to a book for days on end - ignoring everything else lol

    I think the series and Meyer's gets too much hate. It was original and obviously struck a chord with readers. That can never be a bad thing.

    Having said that, and as someone who LOVED the series back when I read it, I don't think I could ever read it again. My tastes have changed and a lot of it might make me cringe rather than swoon now.

    Maybe it's not so much of as a breakup as much as setting it aside to be remembered with fond memories lol

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  7. I did the exact thing a while back. breaking up with a book that sparked my reading again is hard. And yes, I do see the writing mistakes and all that. Still, I love the story.

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  8. I never liked Twilight, but I'm happy that so many people love it. It's great when you are passionate about a certain book :) and I see many people who got addicted to reading because of Twilight, so who am I to say that you can't love it? The fact that I hate Twilight doesn't mean that I look down on people who like it :) I really like your post!

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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  9. I feel the exact same way about those books now. Seriously, it's as if you read my thoughts when you wrote this post.

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  10. I have to say I think it's brave to be a Twilight supporter - it certainly went against popular opinion (or felt that way, although the money the franchise brought in disagrees with that statement). You are the first person who has defended the franchise (even in your break up) in a way that would challenge what I think about the franchise (I enjoyed the first book, but then it got weird for me) and not just raved on and on about how hot Edward/Jacob is, which really isn't the point - or at least not to me. I think the sparkly thing is a valid point - it IS unique. This was really interesting, very thought provoking.

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  11. I was in the same boat as you. I use to be a huge fan, but broke up for different reasons some complicated, some not so much, but like you I agree it's an important book in the whole of YA cannon.

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  12. Well said! I will always enjoy twilight, but some of the shine has worn off :(

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  13. This post is really interesting to me, I was never really into Twilight, but I can't imagine not liking a series I love anymore.

    I have to say I agree with you that Twilight is important to the YA canon. I feel like to really understand modern day YAs and fandoms you really have to know about this book.

    Sidenote: This reminds me I still really need to see Twilight: Breaking Dawn Pt. 2 . I know the ending is different.

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  14. I'm with you, absolutely. Even though the Twilight hype has died down for me, I still can't help but look back and be impressed with the mythology. It's always sort of frustrated me when people say that Twilight vampires are wimpy and lame because they glitter. But the non-vegetarian vampires are killing machines! They are much scarier than a lot of vampires I come across nowadays.

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  15. Oh I could have written the same post! My Twilight love was fierce and it got me into Blogging and got me to meet Pushy and Heather! Finally, it was the beginning of the Bookworms. It was such an amazing time, and Twilight held something magical for me! I spend weeks only reading these books, but just like you - after Eclipse (the movie) it lost it's magic for me little after little...
    I think I broke up with Twilight a few years ago, but still I will never forget this time and what it did to me!

    Bye bye Twilight! Even though I'm done with you, I will never forget you!

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  16. noooooooo! :P Your Twilight posts are among my favorites that you have written (including this one). You write so clearly and passionately and always make me recognize things about the series I didn't notice. I'll miss your Twilight posts, but I understand the feeling.

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  17. I feel like we are all sitting in a room and standing up one by one confessing our level of Twilight addiction! Cracks me up! I totally agree with you and the fire I once had for the series has burned out. Now I am burning bright for Dimitri & can't wait for the Vampire Academy movoes to start rolling out!

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  18. Huh, you know the timing of you writing this post is brilliant to me, because just recently I started thinking that I haven't rewatched Breaking Dawn 2 since I got it on Blu-Ray either. And it got me thinking how my obsessing has toned down quite a bit too recently, to the point where I wouldn't call it an obsession anymore. I don't feel like I've broken up with the series as you say but a LOT of the magic seems to have faded for me too. Then again, every single positive you listed in your post, how it was your first paranormal romance, how the 'sparkling' vampire lore has it's merit in originality and how it affects the vampires... all still ring true to me. I especially loved your comment on how this world really is more violent than people remember. And I think it's because the movies are fresher in our minds and those really toned the violence down. I'm hoping to re-read the series, maybe next year and see if it could re-ignite the flame...but I doubt I'll ever return to my initial craze ;) ♥ this post Alison!!

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  19. I read the first couple of Twilight books--and really loved them at first! I don't think it was until the third book that my enjoyment soured. And I think I've come to appreciate them less and less the more books I've read since. Twilight reignited my interest in the paranormal genre (and, okay, specifically vampires), but the more I read that wasn't Twilight, the less I thought of the series and of Stephanie Meyer.

    My main issue with Stephanie Meyer isn't really with her, though. Meyer clearly wrote a book that filled a need--otherwise it wouldn't have so many fans--but I don't think she was the innovator that many believe her to be. Writers have been reinventing the vampire novel since forever and there are plenty of other unique interpretations out there. To focus on Stephanie Meyer is to give too little credit to the other fantastic writers out there. And, honestly, when it come to Twilight, comparisons are odious. Nothing is guaranteed to turn me off a book more than something being hailed as the new Twilight.

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  20. I never reached the level of Twilight obsession as you, but I still really enjoyed reading the books. And while I couldn't say I love them at this moment, I do love that they were the series that got me started on reading YA again.

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