Sunday, November 29, 2009
It's true. I've read the books. I've even watched the movies--both of them. And though I've spent a rather significant chunk of my life (hours I can never get back!) immersed in Stephanie Meyer's monster-laden world, I'm still at odds with myself. Do I love the Twilight books? Hate them? Is it possible to be somewhere in between?
Even as I skimmed entire chapters, rolled my eyes at the one-dimensional characters, and looked over my shoulder obsessively to make sure that no one was taking note of my choice of literature (term loosely applied), I couldn't stop myself from reading. Getting caught up in the Twilight books was like watching a train wreck--I couldn't look away, even when I wanted to.
Mrs. Meyer knows how to string an audience along, that's for sure.
But the longer I read (and watched), the less I could ignore the slightly sour taste in my mouth... It was easy to dismiss my misgivings as natural disdain for the billowing plot, the gag-inducing love scenes, the tepid characters. And yet, those were the same things that kept me reading. The implausible twists and turns, love-you-forever moments, and bumblingly (is that a word?) endearing characters drew me in. It was something else that made me chew my fingernails as I experienced Meyer's fictional world.
It wasn't until I saw New Moon in the theater this past week that I finally put my finger on it. For two hours I watched Bella Swan abuse herself, risk her life, and alienate everyone around her when she sunk into an obviously destructive depression after the love of her life, Edward Cullen, left her. It was supposed to be romantic. I thought it was moronic. And it unraveled for me the root of my unease when it comes to the Twilight series: it's got love all wrong.
I could categorize all the things I think this series screws up when it comes to love and relationships, but I'm going to point you in the direction of a well-written and funny blog that already does just that. I encourage you to take a moment to check out 20 Unfortunate Things Girls Learn from Twilight. The writers highlight many of the frustrations I have with the Twilight books, from "it’s OK for a potential romantic interest to be dimwitted, violent and vengeful--as long as he has great abs," to "if a boy tells you to stay away from him because he is dangerous and may even kill you, he must be the love of your life. You should stay with him since he will keep you safe forever." Check it out.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not writing this post to bash the Twilight books or Stephanie Meyer. I think it's pretty obvious that she's reached an enormous audience with her unusual love story. And I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy the books. But I'm not ready for the young women of our world to swallow this tale whole. Bella might swoon when her vampire love tells her that he's been following her, watching her, and creeping uninvited into her bedroom at night. But, Honey, if your boyfriend tells you that, I suggest you skip the swoon and file for a restraining order. Just my two cents...
What do you think? Have you read the Twilight series? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject...