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...


  1. Ha! So true! I actually am a fan of Twilight. Read the books. Watched the movie. BUT (and here's the big BUT), if I had a daughter, I would NOT want her to read them before she was married and understood what love really was all about. Because yes, they do portray a rather unhealthy version of girl-in-love-with-guy.

    I know all this in my head...that it's an unhealthy view of love. So why, then, am I still so swept up by the lvoe story? Is there something wrong inside my head? Probably.

    Happy Monday Nicole!

  2. I read the first one and felt the same train wreck feeling. I read it quickly. Did I love it? No. Did I hate it? No. I landed somewhere in between. I remember thinking how odd that she ended up falling for an "old man" after we discover the truth about Edward and I also remember thinking how unhealthy he was...controlling, etc. I think people enjoy it b/c they feel their own battle for control and she does throw tension around a descent amount. Going to go read the 20 list.
    ~ Wendy

  3. I don't think there's something wrong in your head, Katie. I believe that we're born with a consuming ache--an irrepressible desire to be loved, sought after, and treasured to the point of "I would DIE for you..." But we try to fill it with vampiric, hunky Edward Cullens and miss the fact that we are already loved so much that the lover of our soul has died for us.

    Boy, I sound preachy. Don't mean to be. I liked the books, too... But I wonder what kind of damage these sorts of stories inflict. Are we really able to separate ourselves from the tragic-suicidal-stalker-unhealthy relationship it holds up as "true love?" And if it makes us (grown women) swoon, how does it re-wire the hearts of younger (and more impressionable) girls?

    Hope you enjoyed the 20 list, Wendy. It made me laught out loud!

    Gina, thanks for stopping by!

  4. I was strung along for eight days reading this series; completely enveloped in the world. The movies are okay, but the books really had me. Sobered up now from my drunken Twilight state two summers ago, I realize that the books are...well, they're just average, but Stephanie Meyer has some hilarious one liners and a strong sense of her audience. I'm thinking that's what keeps everyone reading the books? (I do have to admit though, the action sequences in New Moon were pretty cool...) In conclusion, I liked them, but I would definitely not call myself a Twi-hard or whatever it is they call those hard core Twilight fans. The thing that disturbs me most, is I've heard girls actually say that Twilight is a lifestyle and it was one they wanted to live. I'm sitting there thinking: Honey, Twilight is not a lifestyle because vampires do not exist. Do NOT. And it kind of saddens me that someone would rather live in this fictitious, supernatural world than the one God created for us.

  5. Nicole, how about a man's view of Twilight: New Moon. I have not read the books and did not see the first film, but over Thanksgiving the friends I spent the day with wanted to see it. So off we went.

    I wrote my thoughts up about it for Examiner. I was very less than impressed and am amazed that it has the following it does. One of the friends, with whom I saw New Moon, has also read the books. When I compared the books popularity with the Harry Potter books, my friend said that Meyer's work was not nearly as well written as Rowland's.

  6. Lauren, I'm glad you're sober now. ;)

    Daniel, thanks for pointing me to your article. I enjoyed reading about a man's perspective, and I couldn't agree more about the melodrama, pretension, and cliche. My advice: skip the books unless you want more of the same.

    I also agree about your friend's assessment. The Harry Potter books are much better written, both in prose and complexity. Of course, I think the movies leave a little to be desired. But don't they always?