Why are these authors putting me in the position of feeling sorry for Stephenie Meyer? I’m perfectly happy being jealous of her success, thank you. Stop making me come to her defense. First, it was one of my favorite authors, Stephen King, who gave her a literary smack across the face in February by saying she isn’t a very good writer. As much as I love Mr. King, I thought it was at worst a vicous thing to say, and at best an unnecessary thing to say. But he is Stephen King, and he has a reputation of shooting from the hip.
Now it is Jodi Picoult, an author with almost 14 million books in print, who’s taken a swipe at the already wounded Meyer. In the April 11 issue of Newsweek magazine, Picoult declares that “In terms of the literary content of the ‘Twilight’ books, they’re totally escapist. I think technically I am maybe a cut above.” In other words, I’m better than Stephenie Meyer. She does follow that statement with “Stephenie Meyer has gotten people hooked on books… and that’s good for all of us.” But the blow had already been delivered.
These quotes are pulled from an article titled and subtitled, Why Is It A Sin To Read For Fun? Jodi Picoult makes lots of people love books—but has she become too successful to be taken seriously? The focus of the article is whether authors have credibility just because they sell a lot of books. The answer is yes. I’m not the brightest guy on the planet, but even I know there is no accounting for taste. Denying a book’s merit just because I don’t like it or the Pulitzer Prize committee will never consider it is foolhardy, especially if that book happens to sell millions of copies and capture the hearts and minds of an entire generation of readers. To her credit, Picoult isn’t questioning the merit of Meyer’s books, but she is calling into question her level of talent. Again, I’m not sure it’s necessary.
I thought when Norman Mailer died the days of the author feud were over.