I finished chapter one of Twilight a moment ago, and I'm really making an effort to pretend I haven't read anything about it. This is, of course, impossible, but I am trying to be fair.
With that in mind, I think I'm beginning to understand both this book's rampant popularity, and the affection its fans have for it. I need to be clear. It's really poorly written (shockingly so, I thought), but more than anything I've read (that's been professionally published), it reads as if it was written by an actual fifteen year old. Its first person narrative is completely and utterly solipsistic, and it's clear Stephanie Meyer is in no kind of control of the tone. The young girl telling the story is in some ways an incredibly realistically portrayed kid. She is self-centered as only a sixteen year old could be, convinced that she is a unique snowflake. She talks about how she doesn't fit in, how she is "different". By day two she has a lunch table full of incipient friends, two boys crushing on her, and she's already met her very own Jordan Catalano, the mysterious and ludicrously handsome Edward Cullen. Twilight is exactly like My So Called life, had Angela Chase been the head writer and show runner.
Bella is pale, obviously pretty but not in an obvious way, she's bad at sports and is seemingly the center of everything at Forks High School pretty much immediately. Another way of putting it is that Bella Swan (the name. I ask you.) might be the biggest literary Mary Sue since Dorothy Sayers created Harriet Vane.
More to follow. Hopefully we'll get to the vampire stuff soon, because I have lots to say about that.