Friday, June 25, 2010

My Mumblings on The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

So, I didn't really want to write a formal review for the eclipse novella (do you really expect me to keep retyping The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner over and over again?). Mostly because, as with the entire Twilight series, my opinions are a bit...muddled.

I always end up hooked on reading the books, but as I read I always feel extremely pissed off as a feminist.

And despite these muddled experiences of anger and hookedness, I still had to pick up this book.

Isn't it funny how an exercise in perspective turned novella for Meyer is pretty close to a whole book for many other authors?  But then, I think, my writing practices are just very different from hers.  I like thin stories.  Skeletal even.  Meyer appears to prefer writing with heft.  And in the case of this novella, without chapter breaks.  Would having parts, section breaks, a few gaps been too much to ask?

I did really like the cover image though.  I thought the hourglass is a wonderful touch since the one thing the reader knows (assuming they read Eclipse) before picking up the book is that Bree's time is running out.  This is reinforced by both the title and Meyer's introduction to the book.  But having said that, while I appreciate the title, I don't like its placement on the cover.

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (Twilight Saga)It took be a while to figure out why.

But I did!

If you just glance at the cover, the title looks like a quote.  One of those author endorsements explaining why you MUST read this book.  With the title so long and "an eclipse novella" beneath it in smaller print, it looks like a book recommendation.
And nobody needs to recommend Stephenie Meyer anymore.  Her name sells.  And while I still come across the occasional undergraduate student who doesn't know about the books, they still know about Twilight.  Taylor.  Robert.  Kristen.  (Whether they like any or all is another question.)

When I first heard the book announced, I did not even remember Bree as a character. "Who?" was my specific reaction.  I read Eclipse two years ago.  And haven't picked it up again (although I would be willing if a student wanted to discuss it with me.  I've had previous students do that with both Twilight and New Moon).  Breaking Dawn and the events in it are scarred into my brain.  But the plot of Eclipse has kind of faded from my memory.  I did remember this was the book in which Edward rolled over on Bella (as opposed to the ones in which he watched her sleep in a stalkery manner, left her, or impregnated her). But overall, this book was just a bridge in my head.

I did go back and find the Bree section though (it's on pages 569-579) for other people like me.

After finishing the book, I felt kind of "eh."  I didn't really get hooked.  While I love that Meyer includes characters from different races and background in the stories, there was nothing about Bree or Diego that really drew me in.  Every now and then Diego's "slang" would just make me want to cringe.  Fred entertained me.  But I didn't get enough of him.  And having Bree's perspective didn't really add depth to the series for me.  It just jogged my memory about the plot of Eclipse (which I guess is a plus, with the movie coming out).

Admittedly, Bree does anger me less than Bella, but she's still spends most of the novella letting Diego take the lead or over-analyzing the things the vampires are telling her only to have it change nothing in the end.

I did like the idea of using Bree as a foil to Bella.  In both cases the girls lived with their fathers.  They're both readers who position themselves as outsiders.

Okay, that's enough rambling.  What are your thoughts on Bree's short second life?

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