|Bella Should Have Dumped Edward: Controversial Views on the Twilight Series by Michelle Pan|
|Reviewer: Ruth Ng|
|Summary: Definitely one for Twi-hards. Mostly predictable fan comments, although there were a few interesting debates too.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 180||Date: August 2010|
|Publisher: Ulysses Press|
I'm sure die hard (Twi-hard) fans will love this book, since it gives them a little bit more about Bella and Edward and Jacob. All those things they've mulled over since the series ended are encapsulated in the topics raised here. Team Edward need not shake their heads in dismay at the book's title - it's controversial on purpose - and the question of who Bella should have ended up with is looked at from both points of view, along with other issues such as whether she should have become a vampire, the faithfulness of the films to the books and which character readers would most like to be.
It's a shame, actually, that the book starts with this 'who would you most like to be' question as it unsettled me to see a sixteen year old girl wanting to be Bella (who turns into a vampire by the end of the series) and a fourteen year old wanting to be Nessie who is half human, half vampire. I suppose if Twilight has been their first introductions to vamps then they can be forgiven for wanting to be one, since Stephenie Meyer did give us a whole family of 'vegetarian' vampires who are all very nice and touchy-feely, rather than the usual rip-your-throat-open types (who, to be fair, are also in the book - but of course they're not the sort that Bella falls in love with...)
Anyway, I read on quickly, interested in the thoughts about which book is the best in the series and which is the worst, and I didn't get unsettled again until the chapter about whether I'd rather be a vampire or a werewolf. Personally I'm quite happy being me. Still, there were some more interesting thoughts, about the lack of a fight at the end of Breaking Dawn, 'imprinting is creepy' issues and thoughts about struggling plot lines. There's a chapter discussing whether comparisons between Twilight & Harry Potter are misguided, and I have to say that the the girl who declares that the only thing they have in common is the midnight release parties and Robert Pattison is a little bit misguided herself. She says Harry Potter is a series written about magic and adventure and good versus evil, while Twilight is about love and what love can overcome which makes me think she totally missed the point in Harry Potter because, really, that's all about love. Perhaps not the swoon when you look in my eyes type of love that we see between Bella and Edward, but it's still love. Anyway, you can see I started to get involved in the discussion myself at some points!
I did hover around the urge to be quite scathing about this book, with it's teen (and older) obsessives and their often quite simplistic thoughts and ideas, but then I remembered something my husband once told me - that everyone is a geek about something. Everyone has something they really love (openly or secretly) and they know the ins and outs and minor details of it. My own personal geekdom revolves around the Anne of Green Gables books by Lucy Maud Montgomery, and I have taken part in many online discussions about character motivations, alternate endings, which character I would most like to be, longed-for sequels, film adaptations etc. Therefore I am not really in any position to criticise this book which merely does the same for the Twilight series! However, I think perhaps the difference is that the discussions I take part in are online, stay online, and aren't published in a book. As interesting and fun as they are to me, they aren't deeply thought out and are just fun forums to speak about things with like-minded friends. The questions and issues covered within this book are, mostly, interesting, but perhaps they should've stayed online as I felt they didn't really have enough depth to warrant a book.
There was one segment, however, that I thought was excellent. It provided a balanced, carefully thought-out opinion on 'What is the one major downfall of the series' and Nicole, 21, Pennsylvania provides a careful answer in which she describes the obsessive fans as being the major downfall. She notes that teenage girls are prone to obsessions anyway, be it about horses or Orlando Bloom or Twilight, and that this obsession can get in the way of any kind of rational thinking about the books, so that they are completely perfect in every way and they will gouge the eyes out of anyone who dares suggest otherwise! I think she's right, and the obsessive fans often do the series a disservice, putting people off reading them. I most enjoyed the comments of those who could clearly see the faults within the series (often badly written, jumbled plot lines, unrealistic wish-fulfilment endings etc) but who still love the books, just for what they are, and are able to talk reasonably about them.
I really enjoyed reading Twilight - there was something magical about it that made me feel like I was fifteen again and falling in love for the first time. I personally felt the books went downhill after Twilight (but I still read them all!) This book of issues was interesting to me, but I think I'm not really the target market. My buy/borrow recommendations are yes, for the real fans but only maybe for others. I'm sure Twi-hards will love it, read it very quickly, and then immediately go online to discuss it further!
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: Hopefully you've already read the Twilight series first since this book is full of spoilers! If not, start here. Fans who can cope with a little parody might also enjoy Nightlight.
You can read more book reviews or buy Bella Should Have Dumped Edward: Controversial Views on the Twilight Series by Michelle Pan at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Bella Should Have Dumped Edward: Controversial Views on the Twilight Series by Michelle Pan at Amazon.com.
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