Saturday, December 19, 2009

A little obsessed?

This is my little cousin's bedroom. This is her wall. This is her shrine to Taylor Lautner, also known as Jacob Black for those of you in the Twilight fan club.

Not that she likes him or anything.

Of course, she's hardly alone: scores of teenage girls (and their moms) across America are enamored with the Twilight books and its smoldering heroes, Jacob and Edward Cullen.

What is the big deal? Are these books harmless fantasy for girls or should you ban them from your kids' reading list?

Here's the low-down on the series:

1. The books have a constant "save sex for marriage" theme, unlike most teen lit (I'm looking at you, Gossip Girl). It's a nice change.

2. The fourth book has a subtle but strong pro-life message.

3. The overall message: Love is hard and sometimes messy, but in the end, love conquers all and marrying your true love will make you happy. Not a bad message at all, right?

1. My gosh, is Bella whiny. Could we have a more spineless, helpless, "oh please save me, I'm a damsel in distress" heroine? She is also completely wrapped up in her boyfriend, making him the center of her life, to the exclusion of her family. Bella is not the kind of girl you want your daughter to be.

2. A leetle too much sexual stuff, especially in the fourth book. They are married at that point, so it's not as bad as it could be, but this is still too much for kids younger than 7th or 8th grade.

3. They're just not very well-written. I think the best description of Stephenie Meyer's prose is "pillowy." You could tell the same exact story in a quarter of the words- and with far fewer angst-y descriptions of Bella's melodramatic moods.

The Bottom Line: They're mostly harmless for girls older than about 7th grade. Stephenie Meyer has a gift for writing stories that uniquely appeal to girls' wants and desires, making these books well-nigh addictive. They're pretty silly books, to be sure, but will do no serious harm. Except possibly to your daughter's bedroom walls.

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