Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New Moon

So, I finally mustered up the courage to read "New Moon" from the Twilight series. All-in-all, I think it's better written and a better story than the first one and I can't say there was anything really objectionable in it that I'm uncomfortable with my daughter reading. Except...

The flagrant disrespect Bella has for her father in her quest to do dangerous things is really glossed over, and, for me, the way it was written makes it seem totally natural and okay for her to have chosen the things she did. I'm sorry, but no, it's not okay! I'm glad to have read the book first so I could bring up that element with dd, about how they don't really address it. Even at the very end (I found the end of Twilight not bad; I HATED the ending of this book), she's mad at JACOB and says she wants to kill HIM for him having betrayed HER. WHAT ABOUT HER FATHER?????? Had she not betrayed HIM all the times she was danger seeking? Keeping the whole bike a secret? Oh, yes, Jacob is sorry that he told once he finds out what was really going on, but that just makes it seem like the whole thing SHOULD have been kept a secret!

When you get down to it, the whole book makes Bella come across as desperate, crazy and with no true moral sense. Maybe that's what Stephenie Meyer intended. But I doubt very much that 11yo's to even possibly 14yo's, or maybe even older, will "get it". So much emphasis on the "I need you" and "I can't live without you" and "I can't function properly without you". But I suppose that's how romances are. I don't know. I've never read a modern romance before! I did find a review online where somebody was saying that the pain Bella is in was really well written. HOW? Sure, lots of explanation and description of her pain, but she shouldn't be in that much pain!

Another thing that bothered me about the book, other than her continued use of "chuckled" (I mean, really, do people "chuckle" that much?) was that it would go along so smoothly and I'd even be enjoying the story and then there'd be something someone would say that would just ruin it because what was said was so lame or immature, or just feeling out of character. I actually threw the book down and said, "Oh good grief!" loudly when Bella said she was only 18 in response to Edward's proposal. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! This is the girl who is so obsessed with him and who wants to be with him for eternity, to the point that she's willing to become a vampire, or die if she can't be with him, but she's not ready to marry him???? It makes no sense! The rest of the scene just continues the nonsense. Just one of numerous things that pop up that show Bella's immaturity.

The relationship between Bella and Charlie is totally out of whack, too. She knows she's legal age, she could move out, even throws it in Charlie's face, but afterwards, she stays and gets GROUNDED??? Excuse me? It doesn't make any sense! And all the melodrama at the end when she's preparing to face him. I'm sorry, if she's the same person she was mere pages before, feeling adult-like and ready to move out and live by her own rules, none of it makes sense.

I turned the last page and went, "What? That's it? THAT'S the end?" I was so frustrated. I've read lots and lots and lots of books in my time. Some were not very interesting. Some were kind of stupid. Many were wonderful. I've never read a book whose characters were so out of whack with the age and maturity they are supposed to be nor have I read a book whose plot I found as frustrating as these two books. I don't recall having the same type of frustration with Twilight, just annoyance at the jr. high feel to the book due to how everybody was behaving and Bella's whole obsession. (Mind you, Edward isn't really any better. He's got the same deep-down obsession, we just don't get to be privy to his thoughts.) I just feel like shaking them and saying, "Grow up, will you?"

Okay, enough of my book bashing. I know many people love the series--more power to them! I seem to be an odd-ball for this series, but that's okay. ;)

I've read some previews of Eclipse and although parts sound intriguing, the whole "I love both of them" is just so wrong, wrong, wrong and so soap opera-ish, I don't know if I'll be able to make myself read it. Which means dd will probably have to wait to read it!


Lisia said...

Hi D. I always enjoy reading your blog!

I too have recently read Twighlight because my children wanted to read it and I was concerned it might be unsuitable. What a piece of rubbish! The writing is so poor that if the series were longer, I would object to it on the grounds that young readers might pick up habits of bad English usage. The overuse of adjectives and adverbs, sometimes the choice of adjectives, and the mixing together of different tenses all irritated me. I found the characters unappealing. I got bored of being told repeatedly how much Bella liked and admired Edward. (This book is not typical of the modern romances I read from time to time. Helen Fielding, Kate Fenton and Sarah-Kate Lynch for example write romances that are primarily funny. There may be some silliness but they are not boring.)

Unwilling to put myself through reading the rest of the series, instead I read the plot summaries on Wikipedia. I have told my kids (12 and 14 yrs) that for now they may read the first two books but that they will have to wait till they are older to read the others. Like you say, the "I love them both" is so wrong! And in my opinion really unhelpful to young teenagers who might start having boyfriend-girlfriend type relationships in a few years.

That was a lovely article you linked to in your previous post about what a 4 yr old needs to know :) I need regular reminders like that to refocus on what matters.

A while back you mentioned you were thinking of finding a resource for studying history sequentially as many homeschoolers do. I highly recommend The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia which is also recommended in The Well-Trained Mind. My kids and I have been reading a few pages a week for the last year or two and have thoroughly enjoyed it and learned a lot. This is a much better way to learn about history than the way I studied it at high school, where we covered bits and pieces here and there but never got an overview of each period and how things changed over time. When the kids want to know more about something than what the Kingfisher Encyclopedia has, we supplement with library books, Wikipedia, etc.

D. said...

Thank you, Lisia!!! On all counts! ;)

Your comment about kids picking up bad ways of writing was actually something I thought of. LOL. Dd spends a LOT of time reading and writing and whatever she's most into DEFINITELY comes through in her writing. This is NOT how I want to see her write! I don't care so much about the vampires and all that, just *how* it is written.

I have heard of The Kingfisher History Encyclopedia. I just had a look at our library's catalogue and they have it, so I'll be able to preview before maybe buying. It does sound exactly like the type of resource that would be helpful. I've been tempted to go back to Story of the World. We never finished the first one, though; the style is for younger kids and it lost its appeal. Hm.