I read the new ‘Twilight’ so you don’t have to

A display for “Life and Death: A Reimagining of Twilight” in the BYU Bookstore. The new book was just released for the 10th anniversary of “Twilight.” (Natalie Bothwell)

I was curious when I originally heard that there was going to be a special 10th anniversary version of “Twilight.” I was the biggest Twihard as a teenager after all. I was furious upon learning the new version was going to be a gender-swap. Where was the long-promised “Midnight Sun,” which was supposed to be “Twilight” in Edward’s perspective? However, eventually my interest was piqued again. I wondered what would be different about “Twilight” if the human was a boy and the vampire was a girl.

The reaction to the novel was mixed. Amanda Locke, a UVU junior from Monterey, California who is majoring in nursing, said she probably wouldn’t read the new novel. “I liked ‘Twilight,’ but I’m kind of over it now,” Locke said.

I went to Target the day the book came out, and I was embarrassed. “Twilight” has received heavy criticism in the last few years, so I knew people would judge me for buying it. I went to the self-checkout and got out of there as quickly as I could.

The novel starts with a note from Stephenie Meyer that explains her reasons for writing “Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined.”

“Bella has always gotten a lot of censure for getting rescued on multiple occasions, and people have complained about her being a typical damsel in distress,” Meyer said in the foreword. “My answer to that has always been that Bella is a human in distress, a normal human surrounded on all sides by people who are basically superheroes and supervillains.” Meyer also said Bella had been criticized for being too obsessed with Edward, her first love.

A student enjoys reading the gender-swapped version of “Twilight.” The new book was just released for the 10th anniversary of “Twilight.” (Kjersten Johnson)

Because of this, Meyer wrote the gender-swapped novel to prove that Bella’s weakness came from her humanity, not her gender. Meyer said the story at its core, “has always been a story about the magic and obsession and frenzy of first love.”

The biggest change in the book is obviously the genders of all the characters. I originally thought that it was just going to be Edward and Bella who became Edythe and Beau, but almost everyone in the book has his or her gender changed. However, certain elements of key scenes are altered slightly, and the dialogue has been changed as well. Though the plot is essentially the same, except for the ending, the new book felt different than the original.

While there are many changes in the new book, some people will find some of the same problems they had with the first version. Meyer said she wanted to correct some of the grammar mistakes in the original novel, but she also made a lot of mistakes in the new version. This was one of the biggest criticisms about “Twilight,” so many people will still find that problem with the new one.

In addition, there are some changes that could be viewed as sexist. Meyer had Beau stay calm and rational in the book in scenes where Bella had lost her temper, and she made Edythe get angry when Edward had simply laughed in the original. It seems ironic that Meyer reinforced some sexist stereotypes while trying to prove that “Twilight” isn’t sexist.

Even though there are flaws that still exist in the re-telling of “Twilight,” I still believe that fans of the original novel will enjoy it. The new book allowed me to revisit a story that I loved as a teenager, minus the zits and braces.

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