Thursday, March 20, 2008

888 Challenge Check in: Reviews of the "Twilight Saga" and "Body Drama"

I am really enjoying the 888 challenge process - and it has been a challenge. I cannot tell you how many trashy books I have ended up returning to the library because there are other books that I am trying to read. Of course, blogging is really infringing on my reading time. But that's just as constructive, right? Right? I am still basking in the glow of having Larry Goldstone, the author of "Deconstructing Penguins" post a comment to my blog in response to this post - so now I think I'll try to see if I can get other authors to come by and say "hello!" It's a reasonable goal. Right?

My friend Abbey has been chomping at the bit for me to finish the "Twilight" series...and last night I finished the third book. There seems to be quite the "Twilight" bandwagon out there (Abbey even says they are "mommy crack"). I have one friend who even read them with her bookclub. The series has quite the fans - and the movie has even been cast. Maybe I am the only one...but I don't get it.

The summary in a nutshell: Bella is new in town...and she captures the attention of the beautiful and perfect Edward. Edward has to work hard to control his blood lust for Bella because he is a vampire. Edward is constantly worried about protecting the accident prone Bella from certain death. Love ensues. She meets a werewolf. Love ensues. She has to choose. Drama ensues.

For the entire first book, I had violent thoughts about Bella (the heroine). She's needy, dependent, and clueless...and by the end of the book, obsessive. I have read quite a few reviews of people who had the same reaction to Bella...but they loved Edward. Again...I don't get it. I don't understand what Edward (or all the other guys in Forks) sees in her.

In the second book, Bella really needed an intervention. Her obsession for Edward (who chose to leave her so that she could lead a "normal" life - oh the irony!) is out of control. And then she on a dime trades that obession for another - for Jacob and for living life on the edge. She is still needy, dependent, and clueless...but now instead of with a vampire, it's with a werewolf. What does Jacob see in her? I don't get it.

Finally in the third book, Bella seems to get a small amount of gumption - but her gumption completely revolves around being a martyr. ACK! I didn't hate these books at all. They were a quick read. They were entertaining. But Bella...hmmm...I wonder what kind of trouble and angst she is going to cause in book four that is being published in August...because even though I don't get it...I'll still be reading the final chapter of the saga.

Next on my completed list: "Body Drama" by Nancy Amanda Redd. This book reminded me a lot of "Reviving Opheila" by Mary Pipher that I read in the early 90's. Both books explore the influence of the media on the self-confidence adolescent girls...how girls views of their own bodies are poisoned (so to speak) by constant visual stimulation of unrealistic expectations. What I like about this book (that Mary Pipher didn't do so well) is that it shows girls (in graphic details) that everyone is different...all of our parts come in different shapes and sizes...and that it is all normal. This book, I think, helps girls to realize that they have been socialized to look to the media for guidance on their own value - and for what is normal. But...in reality, girls can determine their own self worth - and what they are shown in the media is often not normal...and even more often, a complete fantasy. If you haven't seen it already -- go immediately to this link (sponsored by Dove's campaign for beauty) to see a model - and the wonders of photoshop in action!

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4 comments:

Rhea said...

I hate books with whiney or weak characters. I like strong female characters or ones that show growth, at least.

Congrats on having Larry Goldstone stop by, that's awesome!

Kat said...

I don't think I have ever read a book with such a weak heroine. Now, I must admit, that I get tired of the contrived "fiesty" female, too.

My friends just want me to shut up about Larry Goldstone! But I think it would be really cool to have an author stop by. I am really aiming for AJ Jacobs - in the Year of Living Biblically, he talks about googling himself on a regular basis :-)

Life With My 3 Boybarians said...

I heard about this challenge in Dec and I thought - there is just no way. So as I see my blog friends completing their reads, I'm impressed.

Maybe when my kids are older? ;)

Tiffany said...

Still haven't read the books although after reading your post, I'm not as excited about doing so. I tried to win them on a few different blogs but didn't. And I love the Dove campaign. It is truly brilliant!