First of all, congrats to Sia McKye for winning the t-shirt of Friday Mornings at Nine! Please email me your address (marilynbrant AT gmail DOT com) and I'll send it out to you ;-). I'll be giving more of them away throughout the summer and, hopefully, there will be ARCs soon, too...
In other news, I've been finding myself increasingly fascinated by the whole Twilight scene, ever since reading that first book. I have a handful of plot- and characterization-specific criticisms of the novel (biology-class lustfulness aside--LOL), but if asked to choose Like or Dislike, I have to admit to being squarely in the Like category. And I'm a bit surprised by that because, although I've always enjoyed paranormals, I've never been into the vampire thing...and even less so into werewolves.
However, I adore love triangles, and this series has an incredibly compelling one at the heart of the story. Arguments can be made about the effectiveness of the introspective writing style and whether the themes/metaphors are or are not "anti-feminist" (who else finds equating "premarital sex" with "the death of the soul" worthy of intense debate?!), but I can't get away from how intriguing it is that this series has captured the imagination of so many. That it's tapped into a powerful vein of female fantasy. And that it touches upon primal elements at every turn.
Doesn't stop a great many people from despising these books, including some rather public figures. I recently read a criticism of Stephenie Meyer's writing by Stephen King, which was filled with the kind of vitrol that always seems...overly personal somehow. It reminded me of this article I'd read last month on 50 Author Putdowns, where authors get the chance to bash their literary rivals. For example, Mark Twain's loathing of Jane Austen was well documented. In 1898 he wrote: "I haven't any right to criticize books, and I don't do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticize Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can't conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice,' I want to dig her up and hit her over the skull with her own shin-bone."
Yeah. Charlotte Bronte and Ralph Waldo Emerson weren't big Austen fans either... In stating the obvious, not every author is universally loved, and it's neither possible nor reasonable to expect it.
However, there's more to the Twilight craze than a polarization on her narrative style and use of symbolism. More even than the "Team Edward" vs. "Team Jacob" thing. And I've been trying to wrap my mind around the totality of it: the passionate fan identification with the characters, the thousands of pages of fan fiction, the endless stream of interviews/tweets/online debates that involve not just Meyer but the actors who were cast in the saga's movie roles (esp. Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner).
My first reaction, actually, was to be a little frightened for the actors when I realized this craze seems to have eclipsed (yeah, okay, the pun was intended) even the fanaticism surrounding the Harry Potter films. It made me wonder anew about both the blessing and the curse of such tremendous commercial success. How do they all deal with the constancy of it? With what feels, to me, like an overwhelming social responsibility in addition to the unrelenting pressure of attention and the claustrophobic scrutiny by both fans and rivals?
So, if it were YOU in the midst of this media storm (as either an author or an actor), what would you do to try to temper the insanity? Could you handle having a bodyguard 24/7? Would you be willing to give up your privacy and anonymity for the tremendous wealth, recognition and opportunities that such success would bring? Would love to know your thoughts!