Reading Twilight while my soul shriveled up

I read Twilight on the plane home from Miami this week. Jumping Jehosaphat. Is this what teenage girls dream about? Teenage nothing, at least three grown women walked by when they were boarding and said “Oh, I just couldn’t put it down!!” Oh really, I said politely. Because I was ready to throw this book by page 50.*

Seriously. Here’s the plot. Powerful “boy” physically and emotionally dominates a bookish, shy girl who simply doesn’t realize how pretty she is. And she smells good to vampires. In a small town in Washington. Let’s add an emotionally distant good-guy dad and it’s a recipe for girls looking for romantic daddy figures.

I am not kidding. By page 60, he’s saved her. By page 80, he’s saved her again, and *carried her* as though “she weighed nothing.”

Don’t girls dream of power of their own?

My niece loves these; I am sick. What do you say? You have bad taste in books? I sure ain’t buying any for her for Christmas. Does she recognize how crappy and insidious this story is? She’s awfully sharp; is it possible that she reads it lightly and remains unaffected–amused even–by the relationships?

Can we find a book with a heroine that actually has a personality if no power? Ethics tells me I should read more of them, but…please tell me they get better. Please.

By contrast, I just finished Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall. Transcendent. Here she is discussing the book at Daunt Books.

Daunt Books Debate, Part 1

You can find part two and three from this page.

* I once read that, if a book displeased him when he was reading it, Napoleon would throw the book out of his carriage. I did this once with a book by Joyce Carol Oates (who is really gifted, but she just really annoyed me at one point) and it was so pleasurable and emotionally satisfying I’ve done it ever since with books that annoy me in some way. The Da Vinci Code—wham!-against the wall. Childish, I agree, but very satisfying. It was one of the annoyances of this Twilight book that I was in an airplane and couldn’t chuck it without inviting comment.