Thursday, March 12, 2009

I Am Almost 30 And I Love Twilight

Since Christmas I've been wondering what it was that made me read all four of the books in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series.

The truth is, I didn't just read them, I voraciously read them. It was the most fun I've had reading a book since I discovered JSF's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I read the first book over the Christmas holiday, swearing that I just wanted to see what was up, swearing that I wouldn't enjoy it, or read the next one--but then I read the next one. I finished it completely unaware of anyone else at the laundromat, my clothes waiting already done in the dryer. And then here's where I get a little fuzzy on the third and fourth books, because I'm pretty sure I read them both--all 1380 pages of them--in three days. I remember particularly, towards the end of Breaking Dawn, that my eyes had gotten so bleary I could hardly see the words.

I should have known I would like them. I'm an unapologetic romantic; I practically live on a diet of The English Patient, Atonement, and Cold Mountain. I'm pretty much a 14 year-old girl and always will be.

Which is why this explanation of the Twilight phenomenon in The Atlantic really explained a lot for me.

And recently I read this critique in Bitch magazine, about why Twilight is really just abstinence porn. (This is a good read.)

I agree with both articles even though they contradict each other quite a bit. Bella and Edward's love is both saccharine and dark, delightfully appealing in every way. The books appealed to the pre-teen dreamer in me, the girl who daydreamed crazy fantasies about a particular high school senior that involved emotional rescues ("But how did you know I needed you right then?" "I just knew. I know everything about you.") and odd locations I thought would be romantic (e.g., the middle of a cornfield at night.) I remember once in the locker room before gym class, a girl a few years younger than me stormed in visibly upset and threw herself against the lockers, practically stage crying. She gripped her fists against her heart and said, "Why does he do this to me?" I turned my head and laughed to myself at her over-drama, but that girl was seriously who I was inside my own head.

Of course now I'm completely ashamed of how I behaved in my head--that silly, romantic girl--which is also how I feel about Twilight. I love the books, but sort of hate that I love them. I try to tell myself, you have a master's degree.

Because most of the great love affair is quite silly, particularly the unique abstinence between the couple--Bella continually gets "carried away" and longs to be taken by her vampire prince, while the stoic Edward again and again keeps both of them under control.

And maybe that's who we all wanted to be back when we were 17 years-old; the girl who wasn't a buttoned-up prude, but really quite fiery and sexual. And just so we wouldn't have to give in to being terrified of actually doing the deed, there would be a guy there who wouldn't let us do it, retaining for us our image of being wildly desirable carefree vixens, so that we'd never have to show we were ever scared.


Tara said...

I am so glad you finally read Twilight! They were the books I told you about a couple years ago when Wil and I visited you guys. You just couldn't escape it, could you?

Susan said...

"odd locations I thought would be romantic (e.g., the middle of a cornfield at night.)" UM AMAZING THANKS FOR DESCRIBING MY ADOLESCENCE.

people from the midwest just understand about cornfields.