My husband accompanied me to the newly released Twilight movie today. I have to say I really enjoyed it. The movie is based on the first book in the insanely popular series by Stephenie Meyer. The normal audience for this series is tween and teen girls not early thirtysomethings like me. While searching the net one day, I stumbled upon heated discussions about Meyer’s books. Die hard fans were waxing eloquent about the characters and aspects of the plot. Those in my age group were raving so I decided to pick up a copy. Well, I must say I didn’t come up for air until I had devoured, Twilight’s, 498 pages. Next came the second and fourth books, New Moon and Breaking Dawn respectively. I only skimmed Meyer’s third installment, Eclipse.
We meet Isabella, “Bella” for short, Swan just as she is moving to the small town of Forks in Washington state to live with her police officer Dad. The parents divorced years ago and now the mom is remarried and following her husband and his baseball career. Bella makes fast friends with the kids at the local high school. However, she is drawn to Edward Cullen, one of 7 “vegetarian” vampires that peaceably coexist in this sleepy town living off the blood of animals instead of humans. Bella and Edward fall fast and hard for each other. Bella is attracted to Edward in all his mysterious gorgeousness. Edward is intrigued, enthralled, and then obsessively drawn to Bella because the smell of her blood is like heroin to him. Yikes! They begin this dance of negotiating a very dangerous relationship where they each stand on the precipice of forbidden desire. I did my share of secret swooning over Edward just like all those screaming tweens and teens who went to the midnight showing on Thursday night. The sexual tension is thick and burns hotter because sex is forbidden. Going there could get Bella killed. It is refreshing to see desire build in lieu of sex, sex, and more sex. The book did a better job of fleshing out Bella’s character. Those who only see the movie won’t get to see her wittiness, love of literature, or how the relationship with her mom, perhaps shapes her personality.
I was pleasantly surprised to see such a diverse cast. This made Forks all the more interesting and I wanted to know more since this diversity is not present in the book. I am sure feminists could slice and dice the book and movie by analyzing some of the problems with this forbidden relationship. These problems are more apparent in some of the latter volumes. If my daughter were old enough and reading these, we would be discussing them together with, perhaps, a more critical eye. Until then, I can safely enter Forks and watch the saga unfold on screen. Besides, none of my friends are reading Twilight so I have no one to talk to about it. My husband had to keep himself from going to sleep! In any case, it was entertaining and worth my $8.00. I am looking forward to the others.
Caitlin Flanigan really gets it–why girls love this series–in her review of the series for The Atlantic. Check out her article, What A Girl Wants.