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.