Where’s the payoff? I’ll tell you: It doesn’t exist. For three books, I followed and even bought into the relationship between Bella and Edward. All the heavy petting, French kissing, and whispers of you’re the one filled the pages to the point of seeping out of its edges, and yet I continued to read, because I believed there was a prize at the end of the rainbow. A prize worth consuming four books, countless hours, and pouring over nearly 2500 pages worth of teenage angst. And what happened? Nothing. There was a buildup to “the moment” about as large as a tidal wave ready to take out Charleston, SC, but when the moment was finally upon the two young lovers, the door slammed so hard in my face that it rattled the walls. And then there were more “moments” and on each occasion, the door slammed so hard that the foundation nearly cracked in half. Sure, Stephenie Meyer described the sex that took place after the fact, but I felt like I was on the outer edges of the horizon waiting to break through the atmosphere.
After the first lack of production, I nearly tossed my Android out my window. And the other scenes, or lack thereof, only led to more disheartenment. Was I a bit overzealous? Possibly a bit too overeager? Probably. But I bring you back to that number again: 2500. Did Stephenie Meyer need to go into pornographic detail? Absolutely not. But if this was a relationship that changed both Bella and Edward and their entire families, and a relationship worth confronting the Volturi over, then I wanted more than a bit of French kissing, longing glances, and heavy petting: I wanted a peek inside the walls of the bedroom. In fact, I feel like I deserved more, so BREAKING DAWN ended up being one giant letdown for me. I’d even go so far to say it was the mother of all letdowns.
But what scares me even more than that is that this is a book (and a series) marketed toward teenagers. What kind of a message does it send when your baby eats you from the inside out? What kind of a message does it send when Bella was meant to be a vampire? She literally transforms from an awkward, uncoordinated teenager to a perfect vampire with grace, precision, and poise in a matter of days, completely capable of controlling her thoughts and thirst. Every other vampire and every other vampire series places much more emphasis on the control factor (control of thirst and desires), and that it is never really under the vampire’s complete control, and yet here we are with Bella, the perfect vampire. It’s almost laughable in its utter simplicity.
But yet why did I have such a hard time buying it? People and society aren’t perfect, so this whole concept seems a little too perfect for me. What message does this really send? That if you just become a vampire you can have it all: you can walk out in the sunlight (as long as it’s cloudy outside), you can have the perfect daughter, you can be more graceful and controlled than you ever thought possible, and you can have gifts that you couldn’t have in human form. Let’s sign up right now because I want in on this shit.
I mean, it’s gotta be better than the imperfect life that I’m leading right now. As for all those teenage readers that have consumed this series, let’s face it, being a teenager is a rather imperfect life. All those awkward moments, awkward situations, and that never-ending series of first times…these four novels say let’s skip right to being a vampire, because that’s where the promise land is baby. And that’s one promise I’m not really buying into.