...for 10 days while reading the Twilight series. Wow, was I ever sucked into that story. When a friend of mine suggested I read it and handed over all four of her books, I was somewhat doubtful about a sojourn into YA literature. As a 39 year old woman, I figured I wouldn't enjoy teen lit enough to invest the time required of the series, seeing as book four alone is 700-some pages. The only reason I really even agreed to do so was that I was a big Anne Rice fan when I was in my teens and 20s, and, to this day, Bram Stoker's Dracula is still on the list of my absolute favorite works of literature. So, I guess you could say I'm kind of into vampires.
As I began reading Twilight, the story immediately appealed to me. I loved the first person narration by Bella. Despite the simplicity of the writing, I was drawn into her emotional world and could easily relate to her vulnerabilities and feelings toward Edward - many of them seemed similar to my own when I was a teenager and involved with boyfriends in high school. Throughout much of the series, I also thought Bella's strengths were an important appeal to female teen readers. Being a feminist at heart, I cheered on author Stephenie Meyer as I read. Ok, sure, Bella is awkward and has some self esteem issues, but she's definitely her own person, walks to the beat of her own drummer in many regards, is certainly portrayed as an intelligent young woman who takes her academics seriously, and makes important decisions for herself without folding under the pressure of others' opinions. Plus, she has the two bad boys of the series, the vampire and the werewolf, wrapped around her finger in no time.
At the same time, as I progressed through book three and book four, I started to get a little pissed off at Meyer. She had done such a great job in the first two books with portraying a nice, healthy dose of morality and feminism for her teen readers. Edward and Bella hold off from having sex until they are married. But wait a minute - what's the deal with Bella getting married while still in her teens??? And then having a baby to boot??? Not exactly what I was expecting from Meyer at that point, and I was pretty disappointed about it too. We never see Bella go to college as Edward so fervently wishes for her to do. Instead, before she's even 20, she's married, has a kid, and becomes a vampire, basically foregoing all of the choices for her future and settling down into the cottage behind her in-laws' house. Hmmm. Not exactly my idea of the the kind of life I'd imagine a young, bright woman of the 21st century would lead. And if I had a daughter who went down that same path (minus the vampire part, of course), I'd be FURIOUS, not giddy with joy like Bella's mother. My own parents would have disowned me had I made the same choices.
So, Meyer, shame on you! What's up with the turnaround?