Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Breaking Dawn (or, "Renesmee Carlie?!?")

The time has come... Stephenie Meyer, you have some 'splaining to do...

Yeah, so spoiler warning and whatever.

So, I finished the latest book in the Twilight saga in the wee hours of the morning. I just had to get it done. As with a lot of other reviews I've read, my thoughts continually contained the word "gag". I found myself tearing through the pages, but not because it was so captivating, as is the case in general with a "page-turner", but because I couldn't wait one more second to have it out of the way. A lot of people have wondered why I continued reading when it was causing me such nausea. This is a VERY good question, and I have a few answers: a strange sort of morbid curiosity, wondering just how she's actually going to end it all; the compulsive need to finish a series, and not end partway through; to try and understand the hype and the "phenomenon"; the desire to have an informed and educated opinion so I can discuss it with strangers online (so important, I know); etc. I have so many thoughts about this trainwreck, it's hard to tell where to start. But I'll try. First, though, there are two things I would like to point out. A friend has posted some thoughts outlining some of the many inconsistencies between these books and the Church's standards on her blog, and Cami has also posted a lengthy and BRILLIANT review about the danger behind the hugely popular books with such salacious content. As far as the explicit content goes, let me just say that I was startled several times. I really don't mind if the characters get married and go on a honeymoon, but for heaven's sake, do we need to be treated to a detailed description of the activities involving the bridal bed and the magical cottage in the woods? It eventually became sex for sex's sake (violent and nauseating to boot), which is tacky and tasteless in a book that pre-teens are reading (apparently, Meyer asked that a warning and age limit be printed on the book--oh, how magnanimous--but the publishers declined). While I wouldn't classify this book as pornography, per se, I will say it has some pornographic aspects (yes, I totally went there, because, after all, so did the author). She did try to throw in a muddled moral statement at the end (delivered by a bland, faceless, underdeveloped character no less), but it just didn't come across.

Okay, now I'm going to talk just a little about the problems I have with the fundamental nature of the book and style of writing, which seemed completely like something straight out of the fanfiction vaults, all moral mish-mash aside...

First, and I know I sound just like everyone else, but... RENESMEE?!? It has Mary Sue written all over it! (Although, upon reading the wikipedia definition, Bella herself is a canon Sue.) The second I hear of a baby named Renesmee by a fangirl, I'm going to seriously lose it. Nessie isn't much better, but it's infinitely preferable to the other. And then, as if to add insult to injury, her middle name is Carlie (cross between Carlisle and Charlie, her two "dads"). Heck, if she's going the make-up-stupid-names route, adopting the idiotic practice of mashing names together, why not 'Charlisle'? Besides being hideously named, while Renesmee was supposed to be irresistibly charming and magically endearing, I found her creepy and annoying, bothered every time she opened her freakish mouth. Wups.

Second, as has also been said, the rules and standards of the Twilight world that have been built up since the very beginning are now out the window, instead leading to a lot of drippy, fanfic-ish events put in there just in attempt to make it more dramatic. The characters are completely different than they started out, and it's almost like SM went to fansites to glean ideas about what would happen, and then tried to contrive reasons they could be possible, since she has already stated they couldn't be (interesting also that there's a chapter near the end called "Contrivances"). Some examples: The smell suddenly doesn't really bother the werewolves all that much--sorry, shape-shifters, my bad; Jacob and Edward suddenly become BFFs (and yes, that term IS used in this book); some vampires have a virtually painless transformation; vampires actually CAN sire a child, despite the fact that they have no bodily fluids whatsoever; etc. Bella suddenly becomes the most typical of fanfiction characters: A character who is unprecedentedly remarkable, even for the world they are placed in, who suddenly and without preface gains powers that are beyond everyone else's and saves the day, and while being written poorly, is adored by all. It's just poor character development. And how convenient that Jacob imprints on Bella's child, cutting his bothersome obsession with the mother and switching it to the child, so everyone can be one, big, happy family. To quote a friend, "Imprinting: My loathing knows no bounds." And as for the all-important and oft-discussed topic of what happens to a vampire's actual eternal soul? Oh, just sweep it under the rug.

Next, the writing is just sub-standard. So many times I found myself absolutely lost, for whatever reason, and not caring in the least what the characters think or feel. SM has been lauded for her ability to write the mind of a teenage girl with realism and depth, and while that might have been somewhat true in the first one or two novels, now the twisted mind of Bella Swan Cullen is a complete and total mess to try and understand. She is her usual self-depracating self, at least in that way true-to-form, but now she has troubling shades of ever-so-endearing masochism, insatiable sexual "cravings" and violent moodswings. What a darling girl. Even worse, when SM switches to Jacob Black's point of view in the second part of this novel, she tries (bless her) to switch gears and write the mind of a teenage boy, and trust me, that is another animal altogether (pun intended), which animal SM almost seems not to even pretend to understand. Jacob's Book, while totally randomly written and placed, was more interesting than Bella's sections before or after, but only because we were spared the painful, gushy, ubiquitous descriptions of Edward and his freakin' lips every five seconds. We get it... Edward is just amazing. And for some inexplicable reason, so is Bella. Next time, try to actually get into the characters' minds instead of focusing on their anatomy. (For this reason, among many others, I don't think I can handle Midnight Sun... A poorly-written Edward gushing about Bella's scent and hair and eyes and lips and WHO KNOWS what else??) Inconsistent characters, laughable, unnecessary, unexplained plot "twists", I kept finding myself quite grateful when I was reading along and something even minimal and uninteresting FINALLY happened! Well, at least something happened!

Also, this book could also have EASILY been 200 pages shorter. There were so many parts when some shocking event was hinted at or threatened (Abortion! Wife swap! Premeditated murder and requested homicide!), only to be mused about or anguished over, and then forgotten. But why? Shock value? Well, some of it WAS shocking. Many events that took dozens of pages could quite easily have been condensed to one paragraph, and sometimes even one sentence--example: Bella goes to Seattle to buy forged legal documents for Jacob and the child (I just can't write the name again), and then back to Seattle to pick them up. These events could have been trimmed rather simply, or even cut completely! Instead, they are long, drawn-out passages where Bella whines and broods even more, and thinks of the unbearable hell that would be living without Edward's lips. And I didn't even terribly mind the ending (the neat wrap-up and half-baked conclusion was to be expected, after the rest of the contrived plot, even though they spent pages and pages building up to something I just had a feeling would never happen, which it didn't), although as with all the other books so far, nothing REALLY happened until the last 75 pages, and even then, nothing REALLY happened. At least that much was consistent. She threatened to make things happen, however horrific, but then, alas, she decided to brood and pine and muse instead.

*sigh* So, I didn't like it. There were one or two moments when I thought there was an interesting turn of phrase, and I do think Jacob USED to be interesting, but the rating on the right is impossibly higher than it deserves. There is a certain type of people for whom this book seems directly aimed (you all knew them in high school), and it's just a hopeless, gothic, morally askew fantasy of what they wish would have happened to them in school. I guess dissatisfied fans are trying to persuade large groups of each other to return their books to the stores, and SM is "hurt" by this. Perhaps she should have thought about this before she wrote a stupid, trashy book. What can this woman be thinking? Where are her standards? Literary AND moral? Did editors even get their hands on this thing? If so, they missed quite a bit. And if the Jacob/Nessie chronicles make themselves present, I'm going to throw things. AND, if I hear/read one more person comparing these nightmarish books to Harry Potter, I am likewise going to lose it. The only ways they can possibly be compared is in hype and popularity, but in style, story, content, anything else, it's just a joke! And surely SM must feel a bit embarrassed when they call her "the next J.K. Rowling". Gag. A lot of people (yea, even LDS) are calling this book harmless and exciting. To them I say: Dare to actually think about what you're reading! Just THINK about it!!! And think about who else is reading it. Do you really want your young loved ones to read a book with the following sentence?: "The only person I'd ever had sex with was a vampire, for crying out loud." Yikes. So wrong for so many reasons. If I have anything to do with it, my future children will not touch this book while under my roof. So many misdirected morals, it's scary.

After I finished, I picked up a random Series of Unfortunate Events book, and immediately the frustration I felt vanished. I laughed, I smiled, I slept soundly.

It feels really good to get all of this off my chest. Now I'm going to start reading something more worthwhile (read: anything else).

50 comments:

  1. But you gave The Other Boleyn Girl 4 stars?

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  2. Let's just be honest here sir, you are ridiculous.

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  3. Let's just be honest here, sir/madam, you are a coward. Posting your unfounded and unexplained, name-calling comments as "anonymous"? Tsk!

    You do bring up a good point, though. Why do I give something like The Other Boleyn Girl four stars while ranting about the evils of Breaking Dawn? For many reasons:

    o I'm pretty sure millions of pre-teens are not watching TOBG, gleaning their worldviews and standards from it, while I am POSITIVE they are doing so from reading BD.

    o TOBG was given an appropriate rating, warning people that it had mature content. It's not trying to pass itself off as something it's not.

    o TOBG has shades of at least pseudo-history throughout.

    o TOBG shows the sex and immorality as inappropriate.

    o In TOBG, there are ultimately SEVERE negative consequences for bad behavior. The people who make bad decisions reap what they sow, rather than being glamorized and applauded, as they are in BD.

    o And finally (though there are many more): TOBG was not written/created by LDS! People like the makers of that film don't have nearly the responsibility someone like Meyer has, a Mormon in the spotlight.

    Does that respond to your anonymous concerns adequately?

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  4. And anyway, most of my review had to do with the literary deficiencies, all morality aside!

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  5. Here here. If I had loved those books before, after reading your review my eyes would have been opened. Too bad I already hated that book. It is comforting to know I can sort the trash from the true literature. Fewf!

    Fans need to learn it is OK to not like something just because it was produced by their beloved SM. There is such a thing as GOOD and BAD, no matter where it comes from.

    I am a hard core HP fan, but have issues with the last book. I still respect JKR and like her books (well written, well thought out for the most part, and is in no way in competion with SM... that is poison to my ears!)

    People need to learn to not be so easily satisfied, or else this world would have to structure. Sigh.

    Awesome review. Your words just dance around. Maybe you should have written Breaking Dawn.

    One more thing- People are calling this the biggest fail in literary history, or rather, the biggest renesmee in literary history.

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  6. My sister is convinced this last book was ghostwritten; the tone and style changed that radically. She, too, was severely disappointed.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. I cannot agree more with every single one of your comments about the complete mess of a book, Breaking Dawn. Maybe the title was a typo, and was supposed to be Breaking DOWN, referring to Stephanie's mental state.
    The last 200 pages, I felt I was going to be sick, and had to stop reading for an hour or so just to convince myself that there were things other than Edward's marble body in the world. Then, the only way I could force myself to open the book again was to console myself with the thought that I could skim the rest... which I did with little enthusiasm. I'm not going to get into the morals or ethics of the book (like the first time they go to the cottage and don't come back until hours and hours later because they just have no reason to stop?! Ahhhh!) But I have to comment on the thing that I just find the most ridiculous of all: the fact that SM spent so many pages describing all of Bella's new vampire "friends" and the character J. Jenks (who wasn't even needed, though I thought he might try to seduce her with the way that everything turned so sexual in this book), and then completely forgot all about Bella's own mother. Renee, who she loved enough to name her daughter after, for heaven's sake! All of a sudden, she just writes her off, decides there is no way to explain all the supernatural stuff to her. SM abandons the character of the woman who Bella spent the first 17 years of her life with to make time for characters like Kate, the girl who can taser people with her skin. Nice. I'm pretty sure SM just couldn't come up with a good way to resolve this problem, so she ignored it.
    Oh, but don't worry. The book had a happy ending. Everyone had a soul mate in the end. Even Charlie got Sue Clearwater, his best friend's widow. How sweet. Of course the vampire's dad and the werewolf's (oh, excuse me, shapeshifter's!) mom HAVE to be together. It is ony natural.
    And I'm just so glad that there was no fight at the end. After all, why did I read all the way to the end just so something could actually HAPPEN? Heaven forbid that there be something to actually get worked up about. That would have been disasterous!
    Okay, all sarcasm aside, I'm very perplexed. Why in the world are these books so loved, so obsessed over? I agree with you, Drew, that kids shouldn't be allowed to read them. I'm not going to allow it in my home, either. More for the sake of encouraging decent writing than anything else.

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  9. Oh, and I laughed that you immediately picked up another book after finishing. I did the same thing, even though it was already 3 am. I just couldn't stand to go to bed thinking about literature that terrible. It was to frustrating. I picked up Ender's Game, and was easily comforted. Thank you, Orson Scott Card.

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  10. Bravo!! It's all so true. I'm all talked out about it or I'd laugh at this book some more with you.

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  11. I did not actually read this book, just learned about it through Cami. What I heard was enough to make me not want to read it.

    I have read the other three, but was very upset after the third book. I read it with my 13 year old daughter, and I was not happy with SM.

    I don't understand the hype behind all this, especially since it is not even well written. The danger to all the young LDS girls reading this is scary. How many mothers have turned over these books to their daughters without reading them because it was written by an LDS author?

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  12. I'll remain anonymous because there is no way you know who I am since I linked from blog to blog to blog to get to you. I will say this though, there are many "points" in your article that hint to me that you haven't really read the books, at least not carefully. What is the worst lesson that is learned from Breaking Dawn really? That if you wait until you're married to have sex you can have a family and live together forever. OH THE HORROR!!! I'm sorry that you have sex on the brain so much that you found it so revolting. What I really don't understand is why someone so good and pure as you obviously are seems to think it is OK to pass judgement on another simply because she is LDS. Are you her bishop? Are you responsible for her standing in the church? Do you refuse to see movies starring Eliza Dushku, Katherine Heigl, or Paul Walker simply because they are LDS? I dare say you don't deny yourself such films seeing the list of films that you have rated. Take offense if you will, all I'm saying is these are pretty harsh words for a pretty tame book.

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  13. Actually, the convincing evidence that the reviewer hasn't read the book lies not in my blog, but in your comments! Trust me, I read every word of each of the four books (oh, what a mistake!), and I didn't even need to read between the lines to find the blatant and rampant sex and sexuality.

    As for the "LDS" (or, rather, former LDS) actors you cited, it's not like every time they appear in something, the press puts "MORMON" in bold print next to the headline, as they do with SM. There's a difference between people who are under-the-radar inactive LDS and people who are conspicuously LDS.

    You have outlined not the worst, but the hopelessly optimistically BEST thing that can be learned from these books. If you really want to know the worse that can be learned, visit my sister's essay, link found at the top of my blog post.

    And don't EVEN throw the judgment line at me... Read John 7:24 carefully and then you'll understand that it is a commandment to judge behavior, and whether it's right or wrong. How else do we know what choices are the right ones to make? I'm not saying SM is a bad person, I'm just saying I feel like she made a mistake, and I'm not going to propagate it by endorsing said mistake.

    But I don't take offense... You obviously do, Mr./Ms. Anonymous, but that's your right, if you so choose!

    And let me reiterate: The biggest problems I cited in this review were literary!

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  14. And incidentally... I avoid Paul Walker and Eliza Dushku movies at all costs! They are horrible actors! Heigl is cute, but not much of an actor herself. :)

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  15. To anonymous:

    It is my opinion that is YOU that have not read them closely enough. Any reader can see that she has made a sorry attempt at morality by throwing in abstinence until marriage, but a more discerning reader will see the more dangerous ideas about sex she has included along with those ideas. At the very least it gives young girls unrealistic expectations about marriage and sex, and at the worst starts them on the road to seeking out pornography. Look at excerpts of any of the books. Could you read them aloud to an 11-year-old without feeling uncomfortable? The lessons she did throw in would have been much more effective had she not tainted them with questionable content.

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  16. Though I know this will have no effect on your self-righteous indignation, I still feel the need to tell you that you are completely illogical, as are all of your Utah county minions. Meyer herself said she wrote in a way in which she was comfortable, and had received criticsm on both sides on why she went so far or why she stopped where she stopped. If you want real offensive explicitness, pick up Follet's 'Pillars of the Earth', where you know exactly what the gentleman's genitalia is doing when he's raping a girl. Then tell me what's appropriate. You obviously are NOT married and have not had sex, and obviously have issues with the very thought of it. Waiting until marriage to have sex is the most amazing and empowering feeling I can think of, and I for one glory the beauty of it. I think you should do all of us normal people a favor and make your blog private. Then you and your little following can be bigoted in peace.

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  17. Right on the money, Cami.

    And, to "Say What?!", yes, I am experiencing indignation, but even righteous indignation, but in no way is it SELF-righteous. My qualms with this book have not as much to do with the annoyance it has caused me as to do with the damage it's going to/is going to cause other people.

    And heavens no, I DON'T want "real offensive explicitness," what part of my post makes you think that's what I'm looking for? Plus, I doubt teeny-boppers around the world are reading whatever book you cited, as they are for BD. I agree that abstinence is a wonderful thing, but I don't think the ultimate consummation should be read by millions of young people, when they think they're going to be reading something relatively innocent, as SM's books originally purported to be. It's a classic wolf in sheep's clothing. And, if you hate my blog so much, here's an idea: Don't visit! I shouldn't have to make it private just so you aren't tempted to come here and read (gasp!) something logical.

    I expected the fans/critics to come and flame here, what's curious to me is that they haven't even touched the issues I have with the actual literary problems of this book.

    Oh, and I thought of another bullet to add to the above list:

    o TOBG is a piece of art. BD is a piece of poo.

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  18. My stars, say what! You throw you unfounded accusations and assumptions around like it is confetti! Heaven forbid someone defend truth and righteousness in a very twisted and wicked world. I think Drew is just merely pointing out what a dissappointment it is when mormons who finally get into the spot light really screw up their chance to spread morals, values, and the gospel.

    Sure she wrote about not having relations until marriage, but hardly. Bella and Edward slept together all the time behind her dad's back, just with out doing it, but certainly pushed the limits. I am pretty sure any little mormon girl who confessed to doing that before she got married would NOT be going through the temple...

    I AM married, and do feel the importance of physical relations with my husband, but if people thought SM was giving girls false hopes and expectations for men, imagine what false expectations she has given impressionable youth about sex! I can't wait until they get so anxious to have headboard breaking, clothes ripping, bruise making (that is perverse), memory erasing sex. And then actually do it. And are very, very dissappointed. But of course, that is if they even find someone who meets their high, Edward-like standards.

    Sure SM said to wait until marriage, but the fact is... there was sex in her books at all. I bet the Prophet will write her a letter, thanking her for giving the "chosen generation" justification and loopholes in order to read trashy, poorly written novels and ignite even more improper and inrealitic ideas about sex in this already overly sexed, desensitized world.

    Again I say! WHY do people feel the need to defend this horrible, horrible book and especially the author. IT IS OK to say you didn't like something that you anticipated so much. People might respect you more, and see you aren't just following the hype, but actually used your mind to discern stupid from awesome.

    And one more thing as well- Like Drew said, it isn't even the sex stuff! The book was so, SO badly constructed. I was a hard core fan! I drove 12 hours to go to that ridiculous Eclipse Prom with my roommates! I have spent hours and hours drawing pictures from this book, recommending it to ever y one I came in contact with! I WANTED to like Breaking Dawn! But reason and logic over powered my love for the series.

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  19. A few of my favorite things from this post: you're upset that the middle name is Carlie (I'll give you that Renesmee is horrible, who can deny that?), Carlie is a REAL name, you said that an inconsistancy is that some vampires can have a painless transformation (this is one of the reasons I said you didn't read carefully) Bella was describing horrific pain and fighting back screams while transforming so who is it that had a painless transformation?, you say that Bella without preface gains powers...has Edward ever been able to reaad her mind? was Aro able to? Maybe I'm just super smart but I kept waiting for her power to develope and find out what it really was since Meyer made it clear that many vampires had their powers as mortals but they got hightened when they became vampires, as far as you being upset with her moodswings, again it was made clear, even too often in my opinion, that newborn vampires usually had moodswings much worse than Bellas and finally (this doesn't really have to do with you not paying attention I guess) you quoted "the only person I'd ever had sex with was a vampire for crying out loud" as being so wrong for so many reasons...why is that exactly? How is that any different than saying the only person I'd ever had sex with was a baseball player for crying out loud, or any other noun that can describe a human? I just really don't see how that's so wrong for even one reason let alone many.

    And as far as being so upset about its poor writing, that's just par for the course. Her writing is at it's best in her book that isn't even in the series. This series is poorly written but certainly not in plot or morallity. I just don't see how all of you people read the first 3 books and loved the story of Bella and Edward (admit it you did) and then were so offended by the mere mention of foreplay that all the sudden they became the most ridiculous books you'd ever read. Finishing a series or not, no one held a gun to your head.

    A fear of sex doesn't get anyone anywhere.

    And as far as Elise goes, if you and your husband found waiting until marriage SO easy then why the heck did you get married when you were 19?

    And Cami, I'm sorry that you hate sex so much. My husband and I quite enjoy our time together.

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  20. Ha ha! Make his blog private!? The ridiculousness of the idea! Is someone forcing you to read his blog? Did someone play a cruel trick and make his blog your homepage? Is Drew the only one in this whole world that has a differing opinion that yours?

    Drew has as much of a right to review a book as you have to wander on his blog and attack him. I am sorry you people take it so personally that he didn't like the book. Why is it you are so defensive anyway? To try and justify your love for a book that deep down you know was not as good as it should have been? And that professional authors and publishers are claiming is the biggest flop ever? I am just trying to figure it out. Why are people so, so defensive? I think that says it loud enough when people have to defend this book. Defending it from other fans.

    PS, besides me, everyone else who commented on this blog live outside of Utah County. Infact, most live outside of Utah.

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  21. I'm anonymous because I have no account. But I can't wait to read your perfect novel.

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  22. I got married 6 days before I turned 20, dated my husband for over a year and a half, and have known him for a good 2 years. I as in no hurry. My decision to get married had nothing to do with sex. I loved my husband more than anything, and felt, after how long we have known each other and the very mature level our relationship was on, we were ready to get married. I would have never married my husband if his conditions were to speed it up just to have relations. In fact, during our whole engagement, my husband was studying abroad in Jerusalem, and I never felt deprived of his love, even with out physical contact.

    This world is way too focused on sex. I am not afraid of sex, nor is Drew. It is the sacredness of sex being defiled that we are afraid of.

    I liked the first 3 books on a very, very shallow level, as they should be read. When Stephenie tried to make a statement and suddenly ad mature content to her books (thought, I did not like the fooling around in the earlier books either) that is when I lost all respect.

    It is sad to see SM struggle in interviews and on TV, trying to defend and explain her mistakes. Normally authors don't end up doing that... They usually don't have to make excuses.

    Not every has to be able to write the perfect novel to know that one is far from perfect.

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  23. again, Jeff=Elise. I always forget to sign out! Tee hee!

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  24. Let me first say, I really liked Breaking Dawn. I have been a Twilight fan since Twilight itself was published almost four years ago. And from what I understand from your post, you pretty much hated Breaking Dawn. That's fine. Honestly, I couldn't care less to what extent you enjoyed it, which is apparently not much. What does bother me, however, is your blatant disregard for Stephenie Meyer.
    These books were not written to please people. If they were, you would obviously like them a little bit better. Stephenie Meyer wrote these books as a hobby; which, in case you mistake the definition, means for fun. Not to make money; not to manipulate the "young, impressionable minds of our youth"; and certainly not to give misconceptions about sex.
    I happen to agree with "Anonymous" when they say that you obviously did not read these books carefully. The ethics and themes that Stephenie started with in Twilight did not vanish; in fact, they were supported. The question of a vampire's soul did not go unanswered, as you might have noticed had you read with an open mind. Because Bella doesn't change (by this I mean her personality, attributes, and character) after her vampire transformation, Stephenie Meyer obviously made the point that she did not lose her soul. Bella is still Bella, if perhaps a bit stronger and with a hunger for blood.
    And might I point out that Stephenie Meyer was very clear about good and evil. Bella did not murder any humans, although her new Vampire nature definitely struggled with that. Stephenie Meyer has always, in all five of her books, very strongly made a disticntion between good and evil, right and wrong.
    Now, about this whole sex business. Let me just say that you are way too hyped up over one little tiny detail. Breaking Dawn was not about sex. Bella and Edward were married, at any rate, so anything they did should be acceptable, whether you are LDS, Catholic, Muslim, etc. Breaking Dawn was only about sex if you made it that way. So, maybe you should consider where your thoughts are, because I managed to read the whole thing, enjoy it, and not think about sex the entire time.
    You know, if this book weren't written by an LDS woman, I don't think we would have as much of a misunderstanding here. This book, if it were a movie, would be PG-13, and probably only for violence and gore. Judging the book by the author is prejudiced and asinine, especially when the book is harmless. No teenage girl is going to read this and come away thinking," Well, if my husband doesn't break our wrought-iron bed, then he doesn't love me passionately enough". The blood is slightly gruesome, but the story is about Vampires. These books are pure fantasy. I think the issue with adults these days is they don't realize how intelligent children and young teens are. A young, twelve year old girl is not going to mistake fiction for life. They might enjoy reading it, revel in the romance, and wish they knew a boy like Edward, but most of them are smart enough to know that the book is not real.
    And by the way, I can't believe you called The Other Boleyn Girl a work of art. Most of it is not even historically accurate. So if you prefer that to Breaking Dawn, your moral ethics and judgement are misguided anyway.

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  25. my HEAVENS the controversy!!!! Drew.. you are swarming with it. WOW. As mean as i am, i remain to be without opinion either way towards said topic... plus... WHO CARES!!! it's a freaking book. let's put down our weapons, and just RELAX. Thank you.

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  26. oh... ps. I say "it's only a freaking book" because OBVIOUSLY someone of sound mind isn't going to base their belief regarding sex before marriage or the way they will handle relationships on this book. And if they aren't of sound mind... if it wasn't this book... it'd be something else to make them change their ideals. I dunno. just my opinion.

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  27. Holy crow (To use a retarded SM turn-of-phrase)! I can't believe it! 26 comments! My theory is now more true than ever! Post something ever-so-slightly controversial, and people come from NOWHERE to argue with you about it! And at last, my suspicion about the sex of "anonymous" is confirmed. Only a girl would defend this stupid book with such vehemence.

    Elise, you bring up many wonderful points, so I won't repeat a lot of them.

    A couple of other ideas, though:

    I know that Carlie is a girl's name, but what is stupid about it is that it's her dads' names smashed together. It's Mary Sue to the extreme. And I know Bella had a relatively painful transformation period, I guess I was referring to her life as a newborn, which is indicated by her ever-so-slightest temptation to drink human blood, and then it becomes a non-issue, after the dangers of newborn life had been built up ad infinitum in the previous books. And vampires are certainly NOT baseball players (etc.) because of the connotation that comes with such. Being a vampire is not an occupation, for heaven's sake.

    And skye, thanks for the relatively rational comments (what a breath of fresh air in here!), but really, you think SM wrote these only as a hobby? You don't think she wrote it for the money, at least in part? I have a feeling she cranked out BD as quickly as possible, and didn't care what it was like (which would explain the poor editing), since people would buy it regardless of its quality. She could live with the criticism, as long as she landed her NY Times #1 spot. And for the record, as you can see on my blog's previous Twilight posts, I've never found the Bella/Edward story captivating. Those two characters are hopelessly blah and annoying (which explains the baby's irritating nature, I s'pose). I think Jacob is a much more interesting character, but even he was twisted beyond recognition in BD.

    Oh, and this book, if translated even slightly literally to screen, would NOT be a PG-13. The honeymoon, labor and cottage scenes would have easily been enough to get it an R rating, especially considering just how much time the characters spend walking or sitting around absolutely naked.

    It is so amusing to see the creative ways the fangirls try to defend this book. The only way you can think this is quality literature is if you really, REALLY want to, since even being a superfan isn't a guarantee, as even a lot of them have turned their backs on the series. I don't feel bad about SM floundering her way through questions in interviews about the banality of this book, because frankly, she asked for it.

    And Lindsay, you bring up a very good point... It's just a book! But kids and even teens are impressionable, and if they're reading this, ideas are definitely finding their way into their minds, and being planted there, even if subconsciously. This is a harlequin romance novel, plain and simple. Why do the vicious fans get so upset over one person's opinion? My little old blog? Trust me, there are identical reviews dotting the internet in ever-increasing amounts.

    Truth hurts, I guess. Especially if you don't at first notice it staring you straight in the face.

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  28. Don't flatter yourself and your "little old blog." I would much sooner allow my children to read this book than this post which encourages close mindedness, intolerance, judgement, critisism and the latest and greatest- sexism.

    And I also find it interesting that you are hung up on them lying around naked, I had to re-read that and think what is he talking about. Then I realized it's because of how the books are pictured in our minds when we read. I never saw anyone naked. Hmm. The closest thing for me was Bella's ripped up silk dress after killing the lion which quite frankly I found funny, sexy and fitting.

    I too agree with Lindsay. It's just a book, but I feel for Stephenie Meyer because she is not just an author. She is a person, a mother, a wife and a daughter of God and she is being treated horrifically.

    Oh yeah one more thing, the "strength" in your argument is that the audience this is geared to is what makes it inappropriate but you list She's the Man with a high rating. That film is geared toward the exact same age group and the main character exposes her breats to an entire soccer stadium full of people. Let's have some consistency.

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  29. Okay, now I'M not the one who hasn't read the books carefully... It clearly states often that they are in the buff, and usually even explains how they came to be that way. Not to mention Jacob. You read what you want to read.

    I feel for Meyer too. We are, at least, in agreement there. I sort of suspect she doesn't even realize what she's really doing.

    The way you defend her... One might suspect that you are somehow closely related to her... Maybe even closer than 'closely'...

    And you keep bringing up totally unrelated films and actors to try and prove your feeble points! Film is a totally different medium, and often I take everything into account (including content, themes, overall message, quality, etc.) when rating something like that. Some things can be overlooked and justified, and some simply cannot.

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  30. I think someone is keeping tabs on you Drew... or you have a wider audience than you thought.

    Sigh. Why must everyone play the close minded, intolerant card? WHY? Don't they know when saying things like that, they are as cliche as SM's books?

    Everyone who throws the word intolerant out there is just as much guilty as the one they are accusing. You are being intolerant of Drew's oppinion. People are entitled. The REAL character of a person comes out on how that person deals with the opposing opinion.

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  31. Yes Elise, you clerly deal very well with opposing opinions. As shown in your own latest blog entry. I know that homosexuality is a sin, let's not even get started down that road, it just seems like you are hoping for others faith to be tested just to prove how strong your own is.

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  32. Save your personal attacks. This is supposed to be comments about the topic at hand, not a baffling and incomprehensible swipe against Elise.

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  33. You guys make me tired.

    I'm done.

    Have fun at your book burning!

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  34. Aaaand with one last, meaningless spam comment, the infamous anonymous is gone! You're gone, you say, but don't make promises you're not prepared to keep! :)

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  35. OOOOOH! These comments were so entertaining to read!! I can't believe how much anxiety this whole thing is causing. I'm glad though. Adds some spice to life. Thanks again, Drew.

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  36. Anonymous,

    I see that you, like Stephenie Meyer, consider sex between a husband and wife to be something that is shared with complete strangers. I'm not sure what in my short response made you believe I "hate sex" or that I even have a husband, but I am not interested in whether or not you enjoy your time together, nor is it any business of yours if I do or not. I am talking about 11-year-olds. I am NOT comfortable with what she has written for 11-year-olds. In my own personal reading, I just rolled my eyes at the actual content of the book. It was really quite ridiculous.

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  37. Wow, I don't know if you will ever see my lonesome comment at the end of all this mess. Well, I agree with some parts of your analysis. It was quite ridiculous at times and poorly written at others. The sex was....well actually tamer than I had thought with all the hubbub about it. But I could have definitley lived without it and I am sure it would have been a good gesture to show her stance on moral issues to leave it out. I can't say I'm not suprised and am sure she feels about it. I DID like finally knowing what happened. And though some things seemed out of place (Bella suddenly having all of this self control), I thought that it kept pretty true to the rest of the books. I mean, I am no expert, but then again, most of the people reading it aren't. I wont read it again, but don't have as condeming of an opinion as you do. Which is totally fine! I enjoyed your review and was entertained from start to finish. You write quite well and I can't wait to see the fantasy novel that you dish out to top all of the Twilight Saga, AND Harry Potter. Dare we dream? Course.

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  38. I can't read this post yet b/c I still have 100 pages left but let's just start by saying I'm NOT HAPPY. I know... Renesmee Carlie? Gag!

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  39. I offer defense for bolth SM and the author of this blog. Though in my oppinion this reveiw is a tad bit harsh, i can personally respect your veiws. I agree with your praise of TOBG but to even place on the same catagory as BD is ridiculous.TOBG is written for an older audience and BD is not the quality of literature should be therefor graded on a different scale. TOBG is a beautifully written book but is more morally corrupt; you rant about an almost non-existant sex scene that when reading the book i had actually almost missed. I myself have read many vampire novels and this by far is one of the most tame; though i will admit the birth of Renesmee ( I love this name) was a little shocking it could have been worse. While rant and rave about the small things of this book you hate you have completely missed the good of it. Yes, it is poorly written but the values she has preached are beautiful. Love for ones family, the characters Bella and Edward love their families so much that the would willingly give their lives to protect them. Abstinence... that one has been disscused enough in previous comments. To cherish your child as though the were most precious treasure. The importance of taking responsibitie for your actions and most importantly love. The character Renesmee is wonderful though i will admitt a tad bit weird; she is the picture of innocence. she shows that without a single blow being laid, love and kindness can defeat the strongest foe. I have to say the books i read in school were more graphic and possibly more disturbing than anything the mind of SM could produce. My english twelve class read the book "The Kite Runner" which within the first few chapters depicts the rape of a young boy. Give us some credit we tennagers do know the difference between fiction and reality; reading SM has in no way made me or any of the numerous people i know think that their husband better break a headboard. No where in SM's five books does she claim that these books are stepping stones of morality so stop acting as though she did. to clear something up, i stumbled uppon this blog by a simple accident and i no way felt forced to read this i read by choice. The same can be said for you, to my knowledge no one has strapped any of you to a chair and forced you to read this book. I read by choice and so do you, i myself have many times hated a book but never have i thought that it would be right to attack that author with such viciousness. If you dont like a book you simply put it down and never read it again. I once again say that this is simply my opinion as the blog is yours and i can fully respect your right to it. Every human is entitled to their own opinion and just because you dont agree with it doesnt make it wrong. Peace and Love: remember there is so much hate in the world why start a war over a book.
    ( i am not saying the author is starting a war i am reffering to the people cant respect someone elses opinion)

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  40. Ah, yet another anonymous comment! I'm glad to hear that you are willing to allow me an opinion. What an unconventional idea!!By way of clarification, my views on TOBG were referring to the film, as I haven't read the book, which, I agree, is practically irrelevant, since they're completely different art forms. I only brought it up because someone accused me of inconsistency regarding that particular film.

    I still don't buy that people are "missing" the sex in BD (you would have to be quite naive to miss it, which I guess could be the case in many instances), but you miss my point. It doesn't matter if it "could have been much worse", the point is that it was bad enough as it was. Other vampire books with more mature content aren't being marketed and handed blindly to pre-teens.

    Some of the points you bring up are indeed good things to learn from art, but the problem is the method in which they were taught. If the writing and characters and conflicted morality are impossible to get through, the attempted messages are lost. And, if Bella loves her family so much, what about Renee? And I must confess you are the first I have heard of who actually likes the name Renesmee. :)

    I did choose to read this book, and because of that, I have every right to write a review of it on my blog, and yes, even a negative review. You are right, though, I certainly will never read this book again.

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  41. how dare you. die.

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  42. r u serious??? first of all breaking dawn was a completely AWESOME book, and uh the series of unfortunate events??? those r TERRIBLE!!! THEY. R SO. STUPID.

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  43. okay...so i know that i am anonymous but i just really dont care because these are my feelings and my opinion and i dont want people bashing them....sigh... okay.. well i just want to say that i think the all the twilight series was awesome, well written and exciting. and i just want to say that everyone is entitled to there own opinion and that is fine but here is mine! i think that if you have applied the atonement into your life like i know situations in your personal life that you have, you of all people should know that the lord is the only one to judge us and our actions. no one is perfect. so keep your opinions to yourself. all you are doing is making contention between you and other people and that drives the spirit away from your life. i am not casting judgements or picking at you...i know personally that judging and bringing down others only hurts you in the long run. i just want to say that i love our church and that people in this church are loving and accepting and that we should look at the good in people even if they aren't from our same faith because that is the chirstlike thing to do..even if you dont agree with what they are doing you don't have to come out and speak against it. i hope that blogs can be a positive and uplifting thing because that i what is meant for. i love our church and i love you all! thank you!
    PS i am not returning to read your comment after you read this so dont worry about it, i am sharing my opinion i dont want to fight.

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  44. Au contraire. You actually are judging me quite harshly in your post. Welcome to the wonderful world of internet hypocrisy. But don't worry, it's an easy trap to fall into. You're telling me I cannot have an opinion, while at the same time giving me your dogmatic opinion on why I can't have one. Why are you allowed an opinion and I'm not? I will say again: If you can't express your opinion on your blog, where can you?

    Interesting... You seem to know me personally. I confess curiosity.

    But remember this: Christ actually commanded us to judge righteously. We shouldn't judge people, but we are certainly obligated to judge between right and wrong behavior.

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  45. Wow, Anonymous (the latter),

    I just couldn't resist! Your post was so full of hypocrisy that I just had to expose them. Wow, I was baffled. Let's see just what you said:

    "i know that i am anonymous but i just really dont care because these are my feelings and my opinion and i dont want people bashing them..."

    Then why in the world are you coming here to bash on Drew's opinions? You are in direct violation of the golden rule. It seems like you would be offended if anybody said anything against anything you say (which is obviously why you posted anonymously).

    "and i just want to say that everyone is entitled to there own opinion and that is fine but here is mine!" And you go on later to say, "so keep your opinions to yourself."

    Firstly, you say that everyone is entitled, yet you betray your statement by demanding that Drew not share his. You seem so quick to dish yours out, but can't stand when he gives his.

    "even if you dont agree with what they are doing you don't have to come out and speak against it."

    THEN WHY DID YOU WRITE THIS POST?!?!

    "all you are doing is making contention between you and other people and that drives the spirit away from your life. i am not casting judgements or picking at you."

    Oh puh-lease. That is a judgment in itself. Come on, this hypocrisy is revolting!! I think someone could use a good Bednar talk. Here's the link:

    http://www.lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,49-1-646-32,00.html

    And to back Drew up on the judgment thing, here are a few scripture references:

    John 7:24
    Alma 41:14
    DC 11:12
    Lev 9:15

    I just couldn't let that opportunity pass. Wow. And one more thing, on the definition or purpose of a blog (also a ridiculous point you brought up).

    Blog (n) an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Weblog, Web log.

    Blog (v) to author an online diary or chronology of thoughts.

    There you have it. Dictionary.com. You keep your happy-go-lucky blog and lay off Drew's.

    Sheesh.

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  46. no one can win with you two, you will always have something negative to say...be nice to people, this conversation will go on til your blue in the face!

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  47. Actually, this conversation was OVER until you came back and revived it! Methinks you LIKE to argue! Even negative attention is attention, and you obviously are starved for it! Glad to oblige. :)

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  48. Wow. I definitely would not trash someone THAT much over their own work of art. You have to remember, this is HER imagination.

    However, I will agree that the book dragged on far too long, and that the characters did a complete 180 for no apparent reason.

    Plus, I'll agree with a few others and say, I read roughly, what? 700 pages waiting for a fight scene that didn't happen? No, instead, Bella and her big magic bubble protected everyone...for three-hundred pages.

    I was extremely confused by this.

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  49. oh, shut UP! I wish people would be nicer to the woman; Stephenie Meyer's great.
    Secondly, hundreds-of-thousands of girls STILL love her books. STOP critisising!
    I thought it the story-line was good, anyway. I agree with Stephenie; in one of her books she said she wanted, for her last twilight saga, to give Bella a HAPPY ENDING! Heard of that?
    So ALL the Twilight books are fab. And the content? It's HUMAN. Everyone should know abut that sort of stuff some-time or other.

    -Twilight's slave

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  50. Anonymous! And this time one with a kicky pseudonym as well!

    Just because "hundreds-of-thousands" of anyone likes anything doesn't automatically make it good.

    And I'm all for Bella having a happy ending (though I would rather Bella never have existed in the first place, as boring and inconsistent a character as she is), but what I do NOT think is cool is giving Bella a poopy ending, which is what SM did.

    You are criticizing me telling me not to criticize people. WTH?

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