Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Twilight, New Moon & Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

I realize it's very hip to hate on these books. Write them off as teen trash or whatever.

But I liked them.

They reminded me of a time in my life -- a long, long time ago -- when I still believed it was possible to fall completely and totally in love. A time in my life when I dreamed of a beautiful, handsome boy falling in love with me.

I'm old now, I've never loved anyone and don't expect anyone to ever love me in return, and I'm very okay with that. I've had years to get used to the feeling. But sometimes it's nice to revisit that memory of hope and wondering about what might be.

For all the people who get up in arms about how horrible it is that Bella allows Edward the power in the relationship, isn't first love supposed to be irrational? You don't stop to analyze the long term effects. Not when you're a teenager and ruled by your hormones. You just fall, right? What do I know? But this is how I would imagine it to be.

I really liked Bella. She reminded me of myself in high school. Not caring about fashion or trends, keeping to herself. Of course, I didn't have a beautiful vampire boy fall in love with me :( She's not created to a feminist hero, but she is a character that the not-so-popular girls might be able to relate to. The character represents the idea that you don't have to be dumb and blonde and obsessed with the brand of your shoes to get a boyfriend.

Some of the complaints about the books are so silly. How dare they not have sex! Edward is repressing her desires. Really, that's a bad thing? Edward is trying to be careful and mature by having them wait for sex. Well, damn. That evil bastard. Because you know teen girls don't have enough sex and wouldn't it be awful if they allowed boys to tell them to wait? Whatever.

Then there are the claims that Edward is too protective of her, always watching her. Well, duh, he's worried about her. She's clumsy. He's in love and not completely rational. His actions are hardly dangerous or creepy. We've already established that he's not stalking her to have sex with her. And in the second book, he leaves her because he thinks that is best for her safety. Isn't that sort of the opposite of stalkerish.

I really don't feel there was anything in these books that would have a long lasting negative effect on young girls. If it makes them want to wait to have sex, well, that seems like a good thing. If they are deluded into thinking men are supposed to be considerate, concerned and protective, then maybe they'll not give in to the first teenage loser who expects a blow job. As a teacher, I am supportive of anything that encourages teenagers to wait to have sex, even if it gives them false illusions about relationships. At some point, they'll realize they're not going to meet a gentlemen vampire, and they'll, sadly, they'll move on to normal men.

When I was in high school, I loved classic literature, but I also read all kinds of trashy books -- Danielle Steel and bodice ripper historical romances, Christopher Pike. I didn't turn into a nympho or a drug used. All these people worried about the effect Twilight will have on teenage girls -- just be glad they're reading!

Reading is supposed to be fun. Sometimes it can be profound and meaningful, but it doesn't always have to be. These books were fun and harmless as far as I could tell and I enjoyed reading them.

The fourth book, though, that's a whole different story...