Just about everyone has heard of this series. There are a few movies out and the books are best sellers. Because of this I felt it my responsibility to start reading them myself and report on my findings.
Seventeen-year-old Isabella Swan (Bella) decides to move in with her father. Bella’s mom, Renée, is caught up in the life of her new husband. Rather than getting in her way, Bella decides to leave the warmth of Phoenix and enter the rainy and dreary atmosphere of Washington.
It doesn’t take long for Bella to fit in with the children at her new school. In fact, they all see her as a sort of celebrity. That is, all but one boy named Edward Cullen, who stays as far away from her as possible.
Bella is infatuated with Edward and doesn’t know why he keeps his distance. In time she learns his big secret and the two of them fall in love, but this is just the beginning. Bella soon learns that the world of Edward isn’t all she bargained for.
I’ve always like the idea of Vampire stories. In fact, one of my favorite animes of all time is Vampire Hunter D, and I loved the novel version too. That said, with the Twilight series, I watched the first movie and thought it was OK. When I read the book I noticed that the movie followed it pretty well, but the biggest difference is that the book is much slower. So much so that I got pretty bored with it at times. Would I recommend this to Vampire fans? Probably not; it isn’t really a Vampire story, it’s a romance novel that uses vampires to attract attention. My advice is to watch the movie and don’t bother with the book, that is, unless you are one of those who really likes romantic centered tales. I for one am not a big fan.
Things to consider:
Overall, this story is pretty clean. No major language or inappropriate sexual scenes, and other than one central fight, there really isn’t much in the way of violence. This would be appropriate for a younger audience in that regard, but the tone of the story is really geared towards teenagers. The main character is seventeen, and I would assume those around fifteen plus would be a good starting point. Targeted more towards girls than boys, I think the average boy would be too bored with the slow story pace, but I see no reason to ban this series from your kids.
Opportunities for discussion:
Obviously romance is a big part of this story. Bella falls instantly in love with Edward based, mainly, on his looks. This is the kind of Hollywood romance that many girls dream of, but is unrealistic and honestly quite shallow. Romantic attraction may be obtainable in an instant, but before one can have a real, true, and lasting love, there are a lot more things that need to be addressed. Such as the test of time. This idea that one should jump into a final stage of deep love based on a few romantic feelings is one of the many lies bombarding our youth today; people often end up feeling discontented later in life from the decisions they made early on. Bella made Edward the center her life after a few short weeks, but in reality no human should become our totality. Everyone is flawed, and unrealistic expectations of our partner are one of the main causes of divorce and separations today. The statistics of broken relationships have never been higher, and Hollywood isn’t helping. True fulfillment can only be obtained when a person restores the gap between them and their creator, not by pushing these impossible expectations onto another flawed person. It isn’t fair to either party. Share this message with your youth; tell them your own experience with love and how it really works in the “really real world.”