Friday, November 13, 2009

Thoughts on Twilight??

[spoiler warning: if you haven't read those stupid Twilight books and you plan to, there are spoilers below so skip this post].

Public school is going great for us now - it is actually a good experience most of the time these days, and I'm so happy about that.

I haven't seen near the negative pressure from the other kids at school that I was expecting - over all, the kids at my children's school are very nice children. [The one that was bullying and ridiculing my oldest so badly the first few weeks of school had the courtesy to move away. Wasn't that nice of him? LOL!]

We do have one issue that is coming up though: the Twilight books.

According to my oldest child, "Everyone" in her 5th grade class has read them and she's just devastated that she hasn't and doesn't know what they are talking about. [And she has the added handicap that she's my child - the idea that there is a book out there that she can't read is just beyond bearing. Books MUST be read! LOL!]

I have a HUGE issue with this one though.

I read all four of those books in about 4 weeks [which is about 2200 pages of book...ugh!]. Other issues aside, they are just poorly written - they stink. I feel that the author had some very good, fairly unique and interesting ideas, but her actual execution of the books is just miserable.

The first book in the series, "Twilight", is the best of the four I believe [and it was bad IMO], and they go dramatically down hill from there - culminating in book 4 which is one of the worst books I've ever suffered through - I hated it.

Poor writing aside though, I think these books are bad because of the characters involved.

The main character, teenage Bella, is pursued by a Vampire named "Edward" who is an obsessive stalker. Seriously, if he was human and not a "sexy Vampire", he'd be in jail. He is *insanely* possessive and controlling of Bella's life and a really, really sick model of a "romantic character". And teenage girls the world over LOVE this character now - he is THE model for what they are looking for in a man - which scares me half to death. I was once engaged to a guy much like Edward - only not a Vampire ;) - and it is NOT a romantic thing, it is a living hell.

Then there is the other main character, "Jacob", who is a Native American Werewolf who also loves Bella. In my opinion, she uses him badly [he is my favorite character in the books though, so maybe I'm biased] and breaks his heart over and over just so she won't be lonely while she waits for Edward. Then, in one of the most bizarre twists of any plot ever, he instantly falls madly in love with Bella's infant daughter in book 4 and waits for her to grow up so he can be her husband .... which was just stinking creepy IMO.

And let's just talk about book 4... because that's really where it gets too bad to read. The one good thing I can say about the series is that there is no pre-marital sex, however - TEENAGE Bella does marry Edward in book 4 and the first part of the book is a soft core porn romance about their honeymoon - no vivid details, but definitely enough steamy-ness to get every teenage girl on the planet going places she shouldn't in her mind.

Then, TEENAGE Bella becomes pregnant instantly, is extremely sick while pregnant [she DOES forbid an abortion of the baby, which was actually cool], and is dying in childbirth until Edward has to "turn" her into a blood sucking Vampire to "save her life". [Bella has been BEGGING him to turn her into a Monster for the whole 4 book series, she finally gets her wish].

Then the baby is some sort of bizarre human/Vampire half breed who has super powers and... gosh, it just gets more and more bizarre....

I just don't want my 11 year old reading these books....

What are other moms doing? [And I know some of you will disagree with me because, obviously, these books are EXTREMELY popular and well loved by millions].

I am not one to ban books, and I will be comfortable with her reading these later [hopefully after she's 16 or so ... even better, after she's 21 LOL!].

Comments? Opinions? ;)


  1. Totally agree with everything you wrote and although I don't have kids that age yet, if I did there is NO WAY I would let them read them. The relationship between Bella and Edwards is way over the top too intense and could lead young impressionable girls into awful abusive relationships themselves. Romanticizing a relationship where the people involved are so insanely codependent that they regularly talk about how they would commit suicide if they other person left them is irresponsible if not criminal.

    Why did I keep reading them and what was interesting/redeemable? I loved Jacob. He got a rotten deal though and his ending was yuck. I loved Charlie and he continued to be a favorite for me throughout the books. And I thought her concept of "moral" vampires was interesting and I wanted to see how it played out. I also was interested in the Italians and found that subplot grotesque yet compelling enough to want to know how it ended.

  2. I've never read them or seen movies and have no plans to because of what you said (and others have said) about the border-line inappropriate honey-moon/stalker guy sitting up watching a teenage girl sleep in her bedroom.

    I've talked to friends who have read it and we all agree we would NEVER let a child read/watch and don't think it's appropriate for teens either.

    Once again, I've never watched/read them so maybe my opinion doesn't count other than to say good for you for having a back bone about what your kids can and can't be a part of.

    Also, keep in mind that I am extremely careful about what I watch and view- we have very high standards about what is and is not appropriate in our home. High School Musical is our limit. But not the 3rd, too much cleavage.... so my views are not at all main-stream in this regard... good luck. I will back you up though!

  3. Thanks Ladies! Kori - I kept reading because I kept thinking "So many people LOVE these books - they have to eventually get good, right?!". WRONG! LOL!

    Me, I share your standards more or less, so I appreciate your opinions!

  4. I have read these books, and I would not let an 11 year old read them. I think I would go with the over 21, or after you're married...I too felt like they had a soft porn aspect that I was not at all comfortable with, and just the general focus on sex--how much the characters want it, how good it is, did not seem either realistic or healthy for teenage girls--I mean, on their honeymoon night Bella ends up bruised over her entire body and yet the sex was so fantastic she wants more of it!!!???
    If your daughter really feels left out not knowing the story would she be content with a reasonably detailed summary so she doesn't feel so left out of the conversations?

  5. My oldest was begging me to let her read them last year (in fourth grade, at a Catholic school) because kids were reading them. Purely out of curiousity to see if they would be appropriate I read them and they are NOT appropriate!! However the movie was okay , I watched that with her. (she is in fifth grade now) I won't let her read the books until she is in high school probably.
    Personally, I found the books entertaining. They are a fun diversion.

  6. My kids are younger and boys so I don't have an opinion from the point of view of a parent.

    With that said, my MO for disobeying my parents at about Money1's age until my parents gave up on it was I would purposely read books I was not allowed to (and my parents let me read more things than my teachers/nuns did... this was in the late 80's-early 90's) then write the best possilbe book reports I could (I was particularly gleeful if I had an assignment of a book report, if not, I would just write them then leave them around for my parents to find or "accidentally" turn them in to a teacher). Ugh. I drove them batty. Then after my siblings were asleep, I would have a discussion of why this book was inappropriate for me at that point, and at what point they would have allowed it. I would get my "check books out of the library with no supervision" and no reading in my room alone taken away from me, but I would still get copies from friends and read on the bus or at other times of the books I was not allowed to read. Before telling me I was not allowed to read a book at that point, they would tell me why it was inappropriate, when they would consider it, and an alternative that was a similar gendra and a challenge for me. But like I said, this did not particularly work as I was very strong willed about reading these books. My parents were always happy when I was told I was not allowed to read a certain book at school that they did not mind me reading (Jacob Have I Loved in 5th grade, McBeth and Hamlet in 7-8th grade are a couple that come to mind) because I would be busy reading and writing my book reports on that and not getting into books my parents didn't want (my friends loved Judy Blume books, my parents did not want me reading several of them in particular... and actually I only read one or so of them because I saw what they were talking about with the inappropriateness while I was reading it... I don't think I even did the book report on it...)

    I only read the first Twilight book. I thought it was written so horribly I didn't have much desire to read the rest, and I had only read it because so many people have/are. I asked my sister what she thought (as she read all of them) and she thought they were horrible as well, and that they only went down hill from the first book. I wouldn't want my kids reading it for a long time. At least until they could understand why I object to them.

    I don't know how much of a help this very long winded answer is other than good luck.

  7. Thank you Kelley for the spoiler warning. You've just made me NOT have to read these books.

    I think in some weird way teenaged girls sometimes equate that super possesiveness with love. Something they hopefully grow out of, and really 'good' liturature should illustrate correctly. Kinda like Pride and Prejudice, where one "lovely" man appears one way then we find out he's a stinker.

    Vampire culture seems down here in Tampa a little bit too attractive to "goth" types who hang out down at the "Castle".

    So, no thank you for my darlings. We'll stick to Abbott and Costello versions of the Wolfman and Dracula.

  8. I read the first book a year ago, didn't really know what it was about, but one of the mom's on Matthew's team was just raving about them, read the whole series in a month or something like that. I was on a huge waiting list at the library for it too. UGH! What a huge waste of time, do not get the obsession with these books, maybe from teens, but adults too????????????????????????
    And you are absolutely right...these books aside from their moral problems are VERY poorly written! Again, I really don't get this, and find it very scary that 5th graders are reading this!!!

  9. Perfect! I love it! I've stayed away from reviewing Twilight on my blog because I simply don't have time to give it the thorough review, but you covered it well!

    In addition, let me add: none of my tweens will or are allowed to read it.

    It grabs a reader's attention, but I think for the wrong reasons. (a spiritual and moral void in our culture, I would guess.)

    I can't believe how few people caught on to what game Bella was playing with Jacob. We were supposed to buy her excuse? "she never led him on." What? Verbally? I can't tell you the number of times I've heard guys give that excuse when they've slept with a girl for their pleasure... but hey... they didn't actually SAY they'd marry her. Because, of course, body language is meaningless?

    I get why she acted that way with Jacob, but a little honesty from her would have actually made her more admirable the way we supposed to buy into.

    The whole werewolves bonding with infants just brushed too close to the whole pedophile love-arguement for me. Blech.

    Bella loved her dad but had no trouble with sleeping with Edward under his roof without his knowledge? What a sorry erosion of respect, not to mention the message to the typical, immature (but sure they are adult... and... you know... just like Edward and Bella) teens. Yep. That's why God gives us parents. Preferably, ones we respect.

    Anyway, good analysis. Giving this to young girls? Ugh. Where did our cultural common sense go?

    Even the beloved sister who raved about this book to me wouldn't give it to a younger girl.

    P.S. and did you catch the sadness of the story of the woman who wanted to be a vampire so badly she risked being the receptionist for the Vulturi, only to be killed by them? A risk she was willing to take? That's a creepy commentary on what a large number of people in our culture would be willing to do if the Twilight series were real.

  10. I totally agree with your review. When I think "What's one word that describes the Twilight books?" the word "stupid" comes to mind. Horrible writing and characters. My 14-15 daughter read them one book ahead of me and when I got to the fourth one...I just about died that she'd read it already. I had to have a long talk with her after THAT one! It's so...self indulgent of the author to pornize the marriage bed like that! I would let your daughter READ YOUR REVIEW (maybe slightly edited and with more spoilers) of the books and show her WHY it's a waste of time to read these stupid, glorified, "teen" romance boooks. She's better than that! My daughter collected the books but, after realizing how immature and silly they were, and seeing the AWFUL movie, she sold them at a used bookstore and she NEVER sells her own books!

  11. Great article in this month's Touchstone magazine about them. According to the magazine article, they're allegorical and were a way for the author to flesh out ideas from her faith. Interesting stuff!

  12. I'm catching up on your blog...I'm sorry things have been so rough and glad to hear you are feeling better.
    I'm so glad you wrote about these books, because Maria has been badgering me to let her read them because EVERYONE ELSE is allowed to, lol...I've never read them, but I told her I would need to read them first. I'm going to discourage it, this is a fad that will pass anyway...if she keeps after it, it might be worth reading together (yuck, I hope not. I don't even like *good* romances, lol), if just to discuss what it is that is wrong about these relationships. But she's older, 13. Still, I'm hoping to skip it. She's not as avid a reader as your daughter is, my chances are good for dodging this one. :)

  13. I would not let her read them :) I sent you an interesting article on the allegory of the books to your mindspring account :)

  14. Kelly, thanks for the article. [The article in question is "Mormon Vampires In The Garden of Eden", but isn't available online that I could find.]

    I have to disagree with the author of the article though - I just don't think Stephanie Meyer [author of Twilight] is that brilliant or talented. I think he's giving her WAY more credit than she really deserves... IF her books had really been what he described, at least I could respect her work. I just kinda think he's read a lot more in to her books than is really there...

    And he seems to think they are well written, which means I can not respect any other opinion he has because he is obviously deluded. LOL!

    [I also have to admit that his obvious anti-Mormon bias made him less credible to me - I have definitely not experienced Mormons as being "violent" and "intolerant" - quite the opposite. While I agree with him on the flaws in Mormon theology, demonizing Mormons does nothing to garner my respect for his work].

  15. Kelly,
    While I'm not a Mormon, I do agree with you about the not-so-subtle idea that Mormons have some violence issue surfacing in the Touchstone article. I was sorry to see that. I think what happened to the settlers attacked by Mormons in one historical incident was clearly more an anomaly than a pattern.

    I like Touchstone and find most of the articles quite well-written. I gleaned some insights from this article, even if I didn't agree with it all.

    But I still don't quite get why reactions to Twilight are so defensive and over-the-top. Something is percolating here. I mean, who gives a dang if someone doesn't care for Danielle Steele or whomever? Twilight elicits some strong reactions which is a topic unto itself...

    gee, so does Oprah, for that matter. and I don't like her show, either. That's bound to raise a few hackles.... interesting...

  16. Dear Kelly,

    I am with you on this.

    I liked this article
    because it emphasizes what I always tell children: There are a lot of books out there. Go for the good stuff (having literary merit and bringing our very being to better things) and don't dwell on the questionable. "Whatever is good... noble...

    The article below was rather interesting and strips the story down to the bare bones which reveals itself to be even more disturbing.,0,4559250.story

    I think the forbidden love with danger thing is viewed as romantic and exciting by many young women but as the article mentions and your review suggests - the relationships are NOT good ones. They are not healthy and the story glorifies dangerous relationships as passionate and romantic. Scariest part: the young girl reader doesn't even notice this underlying intimation but she may internalize it.

    All of us moms of girls have a tough challenge to help our daughters try to find good, healthy relationships in their future. Reading about ones that are NOT but glorified as if they are just makes our job harder IMHO.

  17. I read the first one, because my 11 year old says that "all the girls in her class have read it". I told her I'd preview it and after a little back and forth in my own mind, I had to deny her. My daughter is a reader, like me, and I'm not too quick to ban her from exploration via books, and I wouldn't ALWAYS kill the idea just for the shoddy writing (sometimes, inarticulate peole have an interesting story to tell), but I did not think my daughter was mature enough to see it for the shlock that it is. I certainly don't want her upcoming dating years to be shaped by who's looking across the cafeteria at her all the time, orwho creeply shows up at her elbow all the time, as portrayed in the book.

    I haven't read the others, and i don't want to. I may let her read this one when I feel she's mature enough, and Ithere's no good way to put a number on what age that is.

  18. I read the first one, because my 11 year old says that "all the girls in her class have read it". I told her I'd preview it and after a little back and forth in my own mind, I had to deny her. My daughter is a reader, like me, and I'm not too quick to ban her from exploration via books, and I wouldn't ALWAYS kill the idea just for the shoddy writing (sometimes, inarticulate peole have an interesting story to tell), but I did not think my daughter was mature enough to see it for the shlock that it is. I certainly don't want her upcoming dating years to be shaped by who's looking across the cafeteria at her all the time, orwho creeply shows up at her elbow all the time, as portrayed in the book.

    I haven't read the others, and i don't want to. I may let her read this one when I feel she's mature enough, and Ithere's no good way to put a number on what age that is.