I found out recently that in her 10th Anniversary Edition of Twilight, Stephenie Meyer basically re-wrote it with everyone’s gender being reversed, and called it Life and Death.
So of course I had to read that.
So I was intrigued by the idea of a gender reversed Twilight.
if you imagine a domineering, aggressive female love interest and a pliable and clumsy male love interest, well… Twilight would still be badly written and promote abusive relationship models, but you couldn’t call it sexist any more.
So I picked up a copy. Used. Because I’m not giving money to the publisher of this drivel.
Aside: Yes, that’s right, it’s the publisher I blame. I don’t hate Stephenie Meyer, or wish her ill. She is a mom who wrote a book, just like me, and she struck the jackpot. Good on her, and I should be so lucky. It’s just the message of her books that I don’t like, and her writing style, and basically everything. But I wish her all the best and I envy her, I really do.
Aside Aside: On that note, my non-sexist, body positive, zombie-romance rewrite of Twilight is almost ready to be published. If you visit my author website before it comes out, you can sign up to get a free kindle copy of the book when it comes out. It’s like a preorder. But free. I’m not looking to get rich, I just want people to read my book.
“Why are you reading that?” my husband asked when Life and Death arrived in the mail. “Why do you torture yourself?”
“Because – I will bet you money that even with all of the genders reversed, Stephenie Meyer will still find a way to make this book sexist,” I told him.
“Well, if you go into it with that attitude, you’ll find something,” he said. “Confirmation bias.”
He was absolutely right. and it’s easy to assume that every change I spotted was made for sexist reasons. Take this one:
‘Well, Billy’s done a lot of work on the engine – it’s only a few years old, really.’
Life and Death:
‘Well, Bonnie’s had a lot of work done on the engine – it’s only a few years old, really.’
What, women can’t do work on their own truck’s engine? WTF?
But here’s the thing: I really wanted to be wrong. I did. I wanted to believe that Meyer had produced something that really stood out. I wanted to believe that I was holding the cure to the ills of the original story.
And you know what? It sort of worked. I think. Life And Death is a vastly superior story to Twilight. It is also a vastly different story.
I had been led to believe that Life and Death was just Twilight, with the genders reversed. But it isn’t. The two books are wildly different. Meyer didn’t just go in and do word-replaces. She changed a LOT of stuff, and a lot of that stuff made for a better story.
However, I can’t decide whether she changed it because she knew that it would make things better, or if she changed it because she’s really freaking sexist.
Let me describe the changes, then you can decide for yourself.