So I wrote a column this week (for The Omaha World-Herald, where I work in the Living section) about why women love Twilight.
I took it really seriously (maybe too seriously?) because I loved reading those books, and most of my female friends loved reading them … and almost all of us are smart and rational and not obsessed with 17 year old boys …
Anyway, I really wanted to get it right. You can read that column here.
While I was writing it, I was thinking about how people love to say that Stephenie Meyer is a terrible writer, and how they love to compare her to J.K. Rowling – and about how stupid and unfair that is.
Agreed, Stephenie Meyer is no J.K. Rowling, but nobody is. Seriously nobody. And for that matter, J.K. Rowling is no Stephenie Meyer.
Meyer has her weaknesses – there’s a Whole Lot of Crazy going on in these books – but where she’s good, she’s amazing. She’s practically a hypnotist.
The first time you read a Twilight book (if you’re susceptible), you go into a semiconscious fugue state. You don’t eat, you don’t sleep …
You don’t even breathe normally. Reading a Twilight book is all inhale, no exhale.
It’s ridiculous to say that someone who can repeatedly put zillions of people into breathless word-comas is a bad writer.
Stephenie Meyer is a master – maybe the master – of romantic tension.
Which J.K. Rowling, love her (adore her and admire her) though I do, really stinks at.
Ginny and Harry are the most boring, least convincing couple ever to kiss in a great book. Even Ron and Hermione got confusing there at the end.
It’s okay that she stinks at it. That isn’t the point of her books.
It is the point of Twilight.
Meyer starts stoking the romantic tension between Bella and Edward the moment they meet, and then she just keeps stoking for 2,000 pages. By the time Breaking Dawn came out, I didn’t care whether Bella and Edward slept together, or vampired each other to death, or exploded into a million pieces of longing and angst – I just needed (NEEDED) something to happen.
Achieving and maintaining that degree of tension isn’t easy. If it were, every romance writer would do it. I would do it for flipping* sure.
Really. Saying that Stephanie Meyer is no J.K. Rowling is like saying that Madonna isn’t the Beatles. (Yes, and?)
One more thought on Twilight vs. Harry Potter — it’s become a thing for people to use Harry Potter as the anti-Twilight, to compare Hermione and Bella, to say that you, like Leslie Knope, are more of a Harry Potter person than a Twilight person. This makes no sense to me because most Twilight fans are Harry Potter fans, too.
The Twilight phenomenon wouldn’t exist without Potter; young readers were primed to go crazy for another series, and adults were more open to reading YA. (Both of these series gave birth to the The Hunger Games. Did you know that Stephenie Meyer was one of the biggest early cheerleaders for The Hunger Games? True fact.)
In conclusion, and on a practically unrelated note, Stephenie Meyer’s The Host is a really enjoyable sci-fi love story, and if you like that sort of thing, you should read it.
*That’s me trying to decide whether I’m going to curse on my new blog.