Once upon a time there was a girl who fell in love with both a werewolf and a vampire. They both competed for her affections and defended her against assassin vampires. Eventually she has to make a choice between them and when she chooses the vampire she must also make a choice about her destiny – remain human and live without her love, or become a vampire and leave the human world behind. What will she do?
The Twilight saga has dominated teen girl conversation for several years now: first as a long, drawn out book series, then as a long, drawn out movie quartet. There is much debate about whether or not the obsession with Twilight is healthy or not. I have read the books and seen the first movie, but since I have not succumbed to the Edward versus Jacob rivalry perhaps I can give share my opinion in a rather unbiased format.
When I evaluate a story I like to identify the themes that are being promoted. In this particular series the themes are somewhat vague. There is the obvious mythological theme involving gothic creatures and ancient folklore; this is broadened with the added romantic dimension. And of couse, you cannot forget the gripping theme of teen drama: attitudes, disregard of authority, gossip, love, and the useless school. But you can’t deny the amazing themes of chivalry, determination, self-control, and sacrificial love, either.
Twilight does a decent job of emphasizing self-control. Edward is a vampire, but he chooses to abstain from drinking human blood because it goes against his personal convictions of right and wrong. He and Bella also agree that, in spite of their desperate passion for one another, they will practice abstinence in their relationship. An excellent lesson for teens. Loyalty in friendship is another celebrated theme, as is true love. No matter how inconvenient their love is, Edward and Bella remain loyal to their love, and even Jacob continues to be loyal to Bella despite the fact that she has chosen Edward over him. On the other hand, these books definitely sensationalize drama. Bella has extreme mood swings and dreadful attitudes, and everyone seems to bend over backwards to cater to her. Authority, such as teachers and parents, are seen as childish and foolish. Desperation is viewed as a virtue. Bella is desperate to get her way in her relationships and this is lauded as quite heroic.
So, it’s a draw: three for three. What is the final consensus about Twilight, Eclipse, New Moon, and Breaking Dawn? Overall, if the realistic, emotionally stable teen can read them with a grain of salt, they may prove to be an entertaining read. But the dramatically romantic, hormone-driven adolescent should avoid them at all costs. Unfortunately, the former teen will have little interest in the boooks and the latter teen will have all the time in the world to devour them. This is why these books need to be chaperoned by a mature adult who can remind the silly reader that Jacob and Edward don’t exist and she is, by no means, Bella.