Thoughts on Stephenie Meyer's "Breaking Dawn"

Sunday afternoon I devoted 2 solid hours of my day to "reading time", something I haven't done in a few months. With a stack of DVD's sitting on the coffee table, I curled up instead with a blanket and the last 300 pages of Stephenie Meyer's "Breaking Dawn".

I wasn't going to write anything extensive about the book, mostly because it was brain candy, but after reading something about the backlash for the book, I thought it may be worthwile to add my two cents. One of the reasons the "Twilight" series has been so popular has been the fact that it features an epic romance. It has nothing on Diana Gabaldon's Jamie Fraser and Claire Randall romance (now that's epic romance right there) but there's a certain innocence in Bella and Edward's relationship and the "can't have that" threads that run through the first three books are what really kept me interested. I always assumed it was just good storytelling - an impossible love - but I was not surprised to find out later, much later infact, that Meyer is very religious and thinking back to the novels, it was clear that she was purposefully keeping things relatively clean.

The other selling point was the female protagonist though to be honest, Bella stood out to me as someone girls would latch on to. She was awkward and sensitive and managed to get the perfect guy which could have some appeal to girls but other than that, she seemed a bit too meek for me - if I want to read about strong young women I'll turn to Tamora Pierce, so it didn't surprise me much when in "Breaking Dawn", Bella comes across much the same way as she did in the previous books: needy. Surprisingly, Meyer also infuses her with a streak of intelligence and power. Not a bad thing: we all have secret powers if we only know how to tap into them.

What I didn't expect was that people would latch onto the pregnancy part of the story so darn much. So yes, there is a clear anti-abortion message here but is that necessarily a bad thing? Could one not argue that it's pro-choice since Bella chose to continue carrying the baby? Worse still, do we really want to ruin a perfectly good and innocent story by looking into it this deeply? Depending on which side of the fence you're on, you could argue the series from both sides of the fence - there's plenty of fodder for both, but is that really necessary? I don't think it is.

Because I don't agree with the backlash, doesn't mean I absolutely loved the book. Yes, it kept me enthralled for a few hours and I loved re-entering the Cullen's lives but to be honest, the story took a turn I wasn't expecting and didn't much like. I preferred the danger of Bella and Edward's relationship. Take out the danger and I pretty much didn't care anymore. The entire thing became about the pregnancy and the resulting baby and to be honest, I didn't much care. I would have rather followed Alice and Jasper on their search but I'll take what I can get.

I still haven't managed to get through "The Host", it simply didn't suck me in like "Twilight" did and to be honest, I have a sad little feeling that Meyer will be unable to write anything worthwile outside of Twilight Series. I can see a few more not-so-well received books being pumped out before she decides to return to the Cullen's. Until then, I'm sure I'll find something else of interest - "Uglies" has come highly recommended and "Zombie Blondes" sounds interesting. I also have 2 bookshelves crammed with material...


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