Friday, March 27, 2009

twilight



my wife read the twilight book a couple of months ago and has been obsessed with it ever since. she's been asking me to read it, and knowing that i'm not a teenage girl, i wasn't really sure if i'd like it. but i wanted to see what all the buzz was about, so i took it with me to my conference this week, and i started it monday night. by wednesday afternoon i was finished with all 500+ pages, and that was with only reading it during breaks! in short, i loved it!


***spoiler alert***do not read the rest of this if you are planning on reading the book!!!


look, this is basically really well-done pulp fiction. it is a glorified romance involving a great deal of suspense. but it is really well written, in my opinion, and it has some themes that lend themselves to further reflection, if you can pause long enough before delving into the second book (new moon) because you want to know what happens next. one of the more overt themes is how we deal with temptation. edward is a vampire, and while he is in madly in love with bella, he also has a purely physical desire to kill her and drink her blood. he knows in his mind that this would be 1)immoral and 2)bad, so he disciplines himself. he denies himself. he puts himself in a position where he is tempted, but he denies himself the gratification. this can easily be applied to our own lives where we face temptation every day. temptation often comes to us in ways that force us to make choices between our immediate gratification and our long-term good. i think this story has some really good things to say about that struggle.
i also really enjoyed the theme of "worth" in this book. as edward and bella fall in love and then live within the difficult realities of their relationship, they are constantly questioning their own worth and affirming the worth of the other. how many times does bella examine a situation, say, the cullen's saving her, and proclaim, "i'm not worth all this." time and time again she feels this way and time and time again edward affirms that she is worth so much more. conversely, he experiences the same feelings when he realizes how much trouble bella is in because of him. "i'm not worth all of this," he says. "stop it. you are worth everything," replies bella. (i'm paraphrasing here). i really loved all of this "worth" stuff because i think it is something our culture really struggles with. when we are given love, many of us feel unworthy. we don't know how we can be loved like this because maybe we think we are some kind of monster (edward) or just really average (bella). this book has some really wonderful things to say to that: you are worth it. no matter what, you are worth being loved.
those are my two main reflections on the value of this story. it stands on its own as a great story, and one that i will read again. the movie, on the other hand....well, i'm just not going to go there right now.

5 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Nice review! I especially agree with you on the 'worth' aspect. A lot of reviewers seemed to comment on Bella in particularly feeling worthless and making that into an anti-feminist thing, but I totally didn't see it that way. I saw it like you did - such a natural tendency we have to doubt we are worth someone loving us without condition...
And the movie - awful! I really hope the new moon movie is better. I'm hopeful with a different director it will be.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love this series - once I read Twilight I couldn't stop and jumped right into New Moon and then Eclipse and then Breaking Dawn. I do want to go back and reread them all again to more fully digest the meanings in them as you have done with Twilight. I am waiting though because the books are so well written, so intriguing, so all-consuming - that is was so hard to get anything else done as all I wanted to do was read the book I was on.

I have seen the movie and while it is good - you lose a lot as they could never go into the depth of each of the characters and teh story line as the book does and so, for me, much is lost that makes the book so great.

Rebecca said...

I've also read the series and took away not just a terrific story from it, but also the issue of dealing with temptation. I will say I didn't quite glean the self worth theme from it, but now that you bring it up, I totally agree.

I also recently watched the movie. It was disappointing to me because I just think there was so much left out that was integral to the core of the story. But, I also expected that to be the case so I'm not sure why I was disappointed.

Good post, Greg.

julie said...

i'm so glad you loved it! so many of my teenage girls (and my girlfriends in their 20s) are in love with edward, to the point of obsession. so many of them want to fall in love with an "edward." i feel as though i did, but what is your take on that whole phenomenon? what is it about edward that makes women go crazy? i have a few ideas, but i'd like to get a man's perspective.

Jess said...

i loved these books. two people were hounding me to read them for a while, but i held out. when i finally gave in a couple of weeks ago, i couldn't put them down. i read all 4 books in less than a week. i've been re-reading them since i flew through them so quickly the first time. but i definitely don't want to see the movie. i just don't think it will even come close to what i have in my head.