Don’t Be Fooled, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Reimagined Isn’t Actually A New Book
Stephanie Meyer is very rich. She probably doesn’t need to do much else. She certainly didn’t need to re-release Twiilght on its 10th anniversary. She also didn’t really need to write a novel-length pile of papers that purports to be a gender-swapped retelling of “Twilight” — a book, she said — but is actually the original Twilight story, with the names and pronouns switched up.
Let’s clarify. Stephanie Meyer told us on Tuesday, when she announced this whole thing, that she’d written a book that was a gender-flipped retelling of the now classic, pretty abusive, definitely shitty love story between Edward and Bella. Here is what she said to “Good Morning America”:
“The further you get in, the more it changes because the personalities get a little bit different, but it starts out very similar and really, it really is the same story because it’s just a love story and it doesn’t matter who’s the boy and who’s the girl, it still works out.”
In an intriguing twist, Meyer told People that the book-length pile of papers and marginalia that reads an awful lot like a book and was in fact advertised as a book not but three days ago actually isn’t supposed to be a book. In an appearance at ComicCon, she said that the 442 pages was just intended to be bonus material. “I want to say this is not a real book, and I am totally aware of this,” she told the crowd.
Regardless of what Meyer’s deciding to call it, her faithful flock of Twihards are none too pleased. For starters, she didn’t just change Edward and Bella to Edythe and Beau — she went in and swapped the genders of every single other character in the world of Twilight, leaving everything else about them intact, including physical and character descriptions. This Amazon review does a fantastic job of laying out the fuckery on the table for all to see:
Take Billy, now Bonnie, Black, for example: By changing this character, Meyer has altered the lineage of the entire Quiluette tribe. The elders are all women and the wolves are too. However, to explain away the physical differences, these women look and act like men but are now stuck in typical gender roles. Bonnie doesn’t fish like Billy did but the love of tv sports was retained.
Bella interacted with her peers from a desire not to be lonely but remain aloof whenever she chose. She was baffled, not manipulative, by the boys interested in her.
Beau is supposed to be Bella but all of the traits that make her so relatable are gone.
The interesting choice would have been to do the work of actually reworking the love story between Edward and Bella and to poke into the mind of an insecure teenage boy and to address some of the larger issues Twilight had from the jump. But Meyer chose the easy way out, writing what appears to be a very, very lazy fanfic about characters that she made up herself.
We all want to make money. Packaging up a book that lots of people already own, tacking something “new” on the end, and selling it to a very loyal and rabid fandom who will support you even though the book you wrote is horrible feels like a particularly low way to do so.