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Meyer is an AUTHOR – not “a married mother of three”!!! (A review of Stephenie Meyer: The Unauthorized Biography of the The Creator of the Twilight Saga by Marc Shapiro)

March 19, 2010

I was anxious to read this biography, even though it is “unauthorized.” What worries me more than the unauthorized bit is that it seems to be very thinly researched.  It does not include a bibliography, any footnotes or end notes, and very few direct citations for all its claims. There is a two-and-half page listing of sources at the end (not put in any sort of order but bunched in paragraphs) which consists of listing titles of magazines, newspapers, and websites. These don’t even include article or post titles! If this book had been turned in as a course assignment, it would not only have received an F, but also been tagged for plagiarism. Excuse me, Mr. Shapiro, but if you are going to bilge others research and writing, at least give them credit. I wonder how this book is not breaking all sorts of fair use and copyright laws!

My poor research, plagiarism rant aside, the book is a let down in other respects. It does gather all the news I had ALREADY read elsewhere into one convenient place (thanks to diligent reporters and bloggers) but it adds NOTHING new. I feel bad for purchasing this book! Shapiro will be making royalties while many of the writers he cites get no payment for their tireless blogging/reporting.

To top it off, I found his attitude towards Meyer both fawning and condescending. I too greatly admire Meyer – she, to my mind, had a lot going against her coming from a faith known for its lack of gender equity and from a patriarchal society that still devalues women’s creative (and other) work… Yet, she typed madly for months on end, keeping it a secret lest hubby disapprove, and look at her now!

Yet, Shapiro calls her “a nondescript wife and mother” (p.17) and argues her most rewarding role “is that of housewife and mother” (p.77). Given that he has not interviewed her nor anyone in her family, how the F*** does he know?!? I am guessing she might just be pretty proud of being an authoress extraordinaire too!

Shapiro’s biography reifies her most important accomplishments as being a mommy and a wife – a message that the series itself both promotes and subverts. Too bad Shapiro’s book is all about promoting the same delimiting messages Meyer likely got from her church and her upbringing that she, as a woman, could “do anything,” but what would count most would be who she married and how she mothered. (And too bad that young female readers who buy his book will get this same message, AGAIN!)

Shapiro raves that Meyer, through her rise to meteoric fame, “kept her humanity through it all. She was still the housewife and mom whose dream had come true” (109). Yeah, keep emphasizing her ability to catch and keep a man and produce children RATHER than look at her literary accomplishments. Gag! Could a woman-friendly or feminist biographer of Meyer please stand up???

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Misha permalink
    March 20, 2010 12:50 am

    Agreed. Hate to see her constantly portrayed as this hobbyist whose real career is SAHM. Throw your review up on Amazon!!

    • natalie wilson permalink*
      March 20, 2010 5:00 am

      Wow! What a suggestion, Misha. I will ponder it… I would feel a bit bad for attacking another author’s work so blatantly on Amazon — something I am a bit more comfortable doing here at my blog. Maybe I could tone it down a bit… I did really find the lack of research and excessive “borrowing” from others without citation really bothersome…

  2. March 20, 2010 3:27 pm

    “a nondescript wife and mother”…I think I just threw up a little bit in my mouth.

    As if those things were a) totally worthless occupations and b) the only things she ever did with her life.

    • natalie wilson permalink*
      March 23, 2010 8:01 pm

      Imaginary Heroine,
      What a fitting reaction!

  3. Roxie permalink
    March 20, 2010 10:03 pm

    Wow. This kind of funny considering how Meyer said on several occasions that her husband is a “house husband” now–especially with her touring

    • Roxie permalink
      March 20, 2010 10:04 pm

      By “kind of funny” I mean ignorant & infuriating.

    • natalie wilson permalink*
      March 23, 2010 8:05 pm

      I agree — and the way the book frames this is “the decision was made for Christiaan to quit his job” (98). Wonder who made this decision? Did it come down from on high? The cynic in me guesses Stephenie had something to do with this, yet her decision, as a woman, is rendered invisible. This is what in academic terms is called “the linguistic ghetto of the passive voice” — or, when those deemed unimportant make decisions, it is not attributed to them and passive verb construction hides their actions.

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