Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Confessions of a Twilight Fan

This Friday, the Twilight film comes out. There are over 500 midnight showings already sold out nationwide. It's become a sort of phenomenon in our culture, staring riots in San Francisco and inspiring obsession with suburban moms everywhere. I imagine that swarms of junior high girls--and junior high girls' mothers--will be storming the theaters this coming Friday.

And I will be joining them. Maybe I'll even dress up as Edward Cullen.*

Yes, I enjoyed Twilight. Yes, I enjoyed the second book, New Moon (only slightly less so...mostly because Edward Cullen isn't in it very much). Yes, I stayed up until 1:00 AM Saturday night finishing the third, Eclipse. Yes, I am a 24-year-old male (i.e. not the intended audience). And while part of me hates to admit it, I'm eager to see if the film does the story justice.

*Not really gonna happen, even though he's a vampire stud.


  1. Joel, I read Twilight a few weekends ago in an effort to see what the fuss was about. I read it in a day, not because I was enthralled by it but because I have a propensity towards obsessive reading even with the really bad stuff and I didn't have anything better to do.
    I haven't really talked to anyone about them because it just hasn't come up, but since you brought it up... is it just me or are they a little sexually charged without a lot of meaningful relationship stuff. I mean, the very unrealistic representation of what love is really bothered me. My JH girls struggle enough to be content with their lives without feeling like they are less the whole without a vampire swooning after them. At times it felt like it read like a prelude into Danielle Steele novels.
    Or maybe I am projecting some unknown anger onto the book?
    My brief skimming of other reviews have hinted at the same hesitation, but I was wondering what your thoughts were as a pronounced fan. thanks!

  2. I'll be wearing my Edward vampire baseball jersey to the movie. I'm excited about it, but honestly slightly embarrassed. I am convinced I will be the only father that actually wants to see the movie.

    @alaina, I want to agree with you. A lot of Bella's attraction to Edward and even the other Cullens seems to be strictly physical at first. However, I think that eventually shifts to being protected. One of the things that I believe is incredibly important in relationships is knowing that you have someone who will fight for you, protect you, stand up for you, etc. I think in the end, this is the bigger message Meyer's tries to convey. You also have to admire Meyer's approach to pre-marital sex. Not saying that I would have written it the same way, but there's little to complain about in that department.

    Just my 2¢.

  3. Alaina,

    Great thoughts about it. I want to be clear, while I enjoy the books, I don't fully promote the view of relationships it portrays. While I can empathize with the view of love it shows, I can't get fully on board with it. It's a fairly sexually charged teen novel--and gets only more so as the series goes on. And it does paint an overly romanticized view of love and relationships, with Bella "falling in love" with someone after knowing them for a very brief time, seeming to rely more on her overcharged attraction to Edward rather than actually getting to know who he is as a person (besides the vampire thing).

    I think I enjoy the books because a) for some reason, they just kinda draw you in, and b) the kind of love Edward has for Bella is a much more mature love than she has for him. He genuinely seems to put her interests above his own, sets boundaries in their relationship, is honest with her about how he's feeling, and fights for her when she's in trouble. My biggest issue is that Bella doesn't reflect the same kind of love towards Edward--she's selfish, lustful, emotionally-driven, and seems to seek her own happiness over the safety or interests of others. This only increases as the series continues.

    I read Jeffrey Overstreet's recent comments on the film, and found myself nodding in agreement. The film (and book) definitely connects with junior high girls' emotions, painting love as an emotional high one instantly feels when "the one" comes into view. Is that a healthy or Biblical view of love? It may be a very partial view, but definitely not holistic. I will likely teach on this in the near future with our junior high students (I try to do a yearly teaching series on discernment and culture, usually with movies.)

    Since you brought it up, does the whole "you need to romantically fall in love with someone to become a complete person" make you angry because this is the message others have repeatedly projected onto you? I read your recent post on singleness and loved it; thanks for your honesty!

  4. Thanks for processing that a little more. Its very helpful to me.
    Also, its possible that I have different sensitivities to the way relationships are portrayed. But I think our conclusions are much the same (despite the fact that yours are more informed having read further into the series). It's affirming that I'm not that far off base.
    I hope you enjoy the movie! (I think I'll stay home and watch a documentary on something inane.)

  5. First of all ... YEA JOEL!! Way to admit it out in public like this!

    For what it is worth, I've read quite a bit of young adult fiction. These were super tame. I used to work with teen moms ... so that is always part of my reflection process. I loved that sex was saved for marriage. You don't see that in teen TV, movies, or books.

    I LOVED Edward. I would rather teens hold out for an "ideal" than put up with some of the garbage I've watched girls take just so they can "have the guy." My ideal was always Mr Darcy, the flawed yet fabulous hero. I'm glad I always hung onto that. It saved me from some yucky relationships until I found the great guy I'm married to now. Girls wanting a gentleman with "old-fashioned" values is a good thing for me.

    In the end, it is a great conversation starter. But I am totally biased because I loved the books and have read them twice. So, those are just the thoughts of a mega Twilight fan.

  6. Yeah!!!! I just bought my ticket...and have i told you, the picture you have on your blog... i was friends with the guy on the far right...yes the guy playing Emmett...cannot wait to see the movie!!!!

  7. Ok, these are some of the best and most insightful comments on this blog thus far!

    @alaina, gotta love documentaries! I highly recommend "My Kid Could Paint That" or "King of Kong."

    @lori, great insights! I agree about Edward being a gentleman; his character is the highlight of the book for me. He's patient and protective, flawed yet authentic. I still have issues with the character of Bella though; her flaws far outweigh her merits in my eyes. She just seems so...selfish! But perhaps that's just a beautiful picture of grace, for Edward to choose to love her in spite of her flaws.

    @adrienne, wow! You actually know Emmett?! I have vampire envy.