My White Whale: Cassie-la Rants About “Breaking Dawn” by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Young adult, romance, vampires, werewolves, drama, teen angst, sign of end times
Rating: 0.2145 out of 5 stars

Summary: Bella is ordinary. If you look past the fact that a sparkly vampire and a toned werewolf are both madly and desperately in love with her. Other than this, she is purely ordinary.

In order to send the right message for young girls reading her novels, Bella marries her high school sweetheart, deciding not to get a college education so she can have lots of wild sex and get pregnant instead.

I’m assuming after this point that everyone lives happily ever after. The end.

Everyone who loves to read knows of a book that they just could not for the life of them finish. Throughout my childhood, my mother unsuccessfully tried on numerous occasions to finish the novel Moo by Jane Smiley. This was her literary white whale. Mine is, and I believe always will be Breaking Dawn. Surprisingly enough, despite their sheer awfulness, I read the first three books in the Twilight series. They weren’t necessarily horrible, but they were by no means good either. The series was merely literary slop with a little bit of escapism and ridiculous teen angst thrown in. That is until the fourth book in what I hoped was going to be a trilogy, if only so I would not feel the need to read a fourth book. Of course the Murphy’s law of literature stepped in and another book in which nothing really happens was written.

For some reason, (some reason = profit, profit, profit) stand alone books are becoming extinct. They’re being turned into trilogies, and if those trilogies make enough money, morphing into a trilogy following a trilogy. As with movies, Twilight was stretched all the way through to four books. Granted, it happens with movies all the time, and are generally referred to as franchises. Much like Scream, Terminator,  or Jaws, Twilight seemed never-ending. And just because something is making money does not mean that it’s plausible for a roaring Great White to follow a women from New York to the Bahamas.

I have a lot of problems with Breaking Dawn. First and foremost in my mind is the abhorrent message it sends to young girls reading the novels. Bella teaches them that to live without the love of a man is a painful, impossible task. I am neither Team Edward, nor Team Jacob. I am Team Bella Needs to Learn to Live Without a Man. I get that most novels preach about true love and living happily ever after (Austen novels, fairy tales, romance literature, etc, etc) but it’s just not realistic. Perhaps if Bella found true love, but didn’t consider being single the definitive end-all in her life I could give Miss Meyer a little more credit. But honestly, how hard is it to take someone who spells Stephenie like that seriously?

So, not only does Bella consider her life over if she is Edwardless (despite the fact that he broke up with her and left her lost in the woods in New Moon, no wonder she has abandonment issues) but she gives up on her own goals to do it. Rather than waiting, she gets married at 18 and immediately gets pregnant. I’m sure some people think it sends a good message that she at least waited until after she was married, but teen pregnancy is teen pregnancy. Dear Bella, you’re immortal. So you’re going to need to support yourself somehow. Although I’m sure you expect Edward to do that for you since you don’t have one ounce of feminism in your body.

Besides all the anti-feminism, there is the fluff and the vampire baby pregnancy to deal with. The first third of the book deals with so much sex that Bella and Edward might as well be rabbits. Due to all the mass quantities of sex, Bella eventually becomes pregnant with a vampire hybrid baby and Edward is forced to rip it out of her with his teeth while she’s attempting to give birth. I’d like to see how the big screen pulls this one off. Anyway, when Bella wakes up she has a new bouncing baby girl named Renesmee, which is only slightly better than Albus Severus. Did I mention that she ages rapidly? And is super intelligent? And that Bella’s previous werewolf love interest Jacob now has the hots for her infant daughter?

It was at this point in the narrative, when Jacob turns into a hairy palmed pedophile referring to his infant lover as a plesiosaur that I closed the book and put it under my bed. With only 140 pages left to go. And there it sat for 10 months, until my boyfriend donated it to the public library.

Don’t get me wrong, I love romance as much as the next person, but for some reason I’m drawn to unrequited romance. I rooted for Snape and Lily in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, even though I knew it was going to end badly (I’ll even openly admit that I cried through most of “The Prince’s Tale”, and I didn’t even cry when Dumbledore died on page 596). I still have a vague hope that Wolverine and Jean Gray will get married and have awesome mutant babies one day, if she manages to stop dying and reincarnating all the time. For some reason though I just can’t get behind Edward and Bella, and I especially can’t get behind their creepy inhuman love child.

I generally know a few pages into a book if it’s going to be worth reading or not, and can easily stop reading before I get too involved. To this day, the only books I have made it halfway through and given up on are: The Scarlet Letter, Oliver Twist, and Breaking Dawn. I know two of these I can leave unfinished, and I know that Breaking Dawn I must leave unfinished.

THE GOOD:
-The movie will probably be hysterically funny

THE BAD:
-Bad morals and lessons for teenagers
-Baby on werewolf loving is never, ever good
-Makes all other literature embarrassed to be compared to it
-Ruins vampires as cool for the next decade or so

Unlike Captain Ahab, I know the search for the white whale is a fruitless and pointless task. I know that to try to finish Breaking Dawn would be insanity. I must strive against the bibliophile tendencies inside me and let this one book go, as much as it pains me not to see it to its final conclusion. I need to take the high road on this one, and let non-sleeping vampires lie. I need you to call me Ishmael.

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12 thoughts on “My White Whale: Cassie-la Rants About “Breaking Dawn” by Stephenie Meyer

  1. Very nice and succinct explanation for why Breaking Dawn is worthless, lol. As soon as you knew how the story ended there was no use trying to finish it anyway. I feel like Stephenie Meyer could have made just as much money by condensing Breaking Dawn into a two page summary and selling it for the same price as the book. At the same time, I’m grateful Breaking Dawn was so awful because it made me realize how awful the entire series was.

    I disagree with your view that people are making sequels for profit reasons alone. I mean, in many cases (I would venture to say Twilight is one of them) it’s probably a factor. But I think in most situations it’s due a mental shift in the way we read, and write. I think rather than realizing that there is money to be made, and therefore thinking about stories in terms of sequels and trilogies, we think about stories in terms of sequels and trilogies, and consequently they make more money. Now that it’s such a trend in literature, authors may automatically think about their stories in more expansive terms.

    • If Stephenie Meyer could get published, I feel like anything could get published. Therefore, we need to start writing an awful young adult novel series that will sell millions and make us millions. Although I would prefer if we used pen names so our own names wouldn’t become stains on the institution of literature.

      Part of me agrees with your comment and part of me disagrees. The literary loving part of me enjoys the trilogies and the idea that literature and stories can be looked at as expansive. It allows me to continually enter worlds that I love and keep encountering characters that I adore. On the other hand, the cynical part of me knows that some series are extended merely for profit, much like a movie with one horrible sequel after another, or a TV show that has long ago jumped the shark but is still on the air. However, I suppose I shouldn’t compare literature to other forms of media, because that is like comparing apples and wolverines.

  2. This monstrosity was the only book I have ever returned. It is also is the worst book I’ve ever read (and probably ever will read) in my entire life.

    The thing that made me the angriest was how all the negative parts about being a vampire melted away. The other books at least touched upon the fact Bella wouldn’t have a soul or be able to see her parents ever again. There was an actual consequence to this decision, which despite the awful characters and shitty writing, made it at least somewhat interesting (which I think is why we liked them at first). But this book – ugh. Everything was just A-OK and they lived happily ever after with their freakish spawn in a cottage in the woods. It’s a pastoral vampire nightmare. And creepy baby-love, and Bella gets beaten up while they are having sex on their honeymoon island, and Bella is the worst role model ever.

    Sorry – end rant. I should probably start my review now hahaha 🙂

    • Yeah, I have never given away a book so vehemently like that, except for “The Scarlet Letter” which I’m pretty sure I stomped on, ripped to pieces, and threw away.

      … Wait… They lived happily ever after in a cottage in the woods. All of a sudden the epilogue in “Deathly Hallows” is the absolute best ending ever written. =)

      • Bella stops the other mean vamps from harming ALL of her friends and family with her giant love bubble. The meanies leave, and then she and Eddie walk hand in hand into the woods – happily ever after. It’s beyond awful.

  3. You guys are silly. You should just be like me a pre-judge everything. Then you won’t be stuck reading crap like Twilight.

    By the way – I just found out a few weeks ago that Twilight is written in first person. That made me hate it without actually reading any of it even MORE. What the hell…

    • At the time there was nothing to pre-judge. We didn’t even know sparkle vampires existed when we picked up the series. But oh, how wrong we were.

      Hahahahaha. I love you.

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