Saturday, October 15, 2011

Twilight -- Destroying Contentment Around The Globe


"Once upon a dark and stormy year, tens of millions of women and girls, of all ages, all nations, all religions, fell under the spell of one 17-year-old boy…


who was not even human…


and was not even real."

Anna Sophia and Elizabeth Botkin could not have said it any better. I've seen these books around a lot, heard and read a lot of things about them, and have been horror-struck by how popular these books are, especially among Christians. I've had an interest in reviewing this book for quite a while now but have felt like God was telling me "Wait." so I have contemplated and prayed about reading it for about a year now. It wasn’t until now that I felt I was given the  "go ahead" to read it. I was prepared to put it down at any moment, knowing that it had a tendency to get reader’s trapped within its pages and addicted to its scenes.

 I made it half way through before coming to the conclusion that I’d read enough to satisfy my questions and enough to get a good enough review off of. So, when reading this review keep in mind that I have only read half of the book, but have read countless reviews of it from both viewpoints, read debates about it, and heard sermons on it.

 First off, let me say that I actually didn’t find this book gripping for the story that much. Perhaps I didn't get far enough of in, but I didn't find the story all that captivating. Girl meets guy. Guy is vampire and has serious problems not EATING HER. Girl falls in obsessively in love. Guy falls in love back. They break some rules. Tada! The end. I'm sorry for any Twilight fans reading this, but seriously? How is this even worth reading?

The characters seemed to have no morals at all, no lines that weren't to be crossed. Edward knew he had a craving, yep I said craving, for Bella, yet he wasn't smart enough to withdraw from certain activities with her. He knew it wasn't prudent to be alone with her, yet he purposefully did it anyway. Bella knew, also, yet did nothing to help. She fed the fire, agreeing to go into secluded locations with him, such as the woods. There was no rule that wasn't to be broken. Lying to her father came easily, and wasn't even discouraged in the book or made to look bad.

The main thing that bugged me about these books is the passion that clogs it, especially since it is geared toward teenagers.

"I smelled his cool breath in my face. Sweet, delicious, the scent made my mouth water. It was unlike anything else. Instinctively, unthinkingly, I leaned closer, inhaling."
Page 263 of Twilight

So Edward pulls away at this moment. But is it because he knows what is about to happen shouldn't? Nope. It's because he's afraid he won't be able to resist his urge to eat her. Because this is what happens 13 pages later, same scene.

"Slowly, never moving his eyes from mine, he leaned toward me. Then abruptly, but very gently, he rested his cold cheek against the hollow at the base of my throat.
Page 276 of Twilight

And not only were they in love...but they were obsessed. Creepily obsessed.

"'You're intoxicated by my very presence.'" 
Edward, Page 284 of Twilight

So as you can see, one of the main things I disliked about this book, no, hated, was the immense passion between the characters. Meyers was smart in using the vampires desire for blood to help make her hero seem even more passionate because it grabbed the attention of most of the world, but all it did was creep me out.

But, I have to point something out here. There is Christian romance out there that is this passionate, this bad. Now, it may not be so directed toward teens as the Twilight saga is, but it is still present. I have put down several so-called "Christian" romances in the past year, simply because the romance was that strong and unwarranted.

Too many romances today are unrealistic and have absolutely no purpose except make single girls fantasize about what they want to have and married woman uncontent with what they do. Most of them are painting images that are unpractical and are going to leave women disappointed with they life they have. Don't get me wrong, my opinion isn't that love stories are evil. Some of my favorite books have a side romance in them. But when the book focuses only on the passion with no discretion, no boundaries, no Biblical standards...that's when things go awry.

The whole fact that Meyer purposefully made Bella to be Eve and Edward to represent the forbidden fruit sickens me a bit. Just look at the cover. That was a sorrowful story...not one to be painted onto some romantic love tale and have it be good that Bella is "following her heart".
What?
She even has a verse at the beginning of the book, Genesis 2:17 to be exact, that talks about the forbidden fruit.

How far have we fallen that we are taking the sin of Eve and putting it in a good light? Making it to look okay to go after what is wrong, what is forbidden?

I could rant forever but I must bring this post to an end. I didn't finish this book and I don't ever intend to. Jasmine Baucham sums it up pretty well for me.

"Thank you very much, but you can keep Edward Cullen. I'll take a passionate follower of the risen Lord all day every day. And I'll save my heart -from flesh and blood distractions and fairy tale notions -for the one whose soul belongs to the Lord. He won't be "excruciatingly beautiful," "god-like," and "perfect" --but he'll be a living, breathing being who loves me -not Bella Swan."

So there is my opinion on Twilight. Please feel free to leave a comment, whether for or opposed to my ideas. I'd love to hear y'alls thoughts. :)


17 comments:

Taylor said...

Great review for us Christians on the outside looking in. I'll have to admit, I can see where Meyers was going with the book, following the old Cult of Courtly Love narrative. This is the same kind of narrative used in Romeo and Juliet (and, shudder, Star Wars Ep. II, for those who haven't read the latter), a "forbidden love" story.
Essentially, guy meets the beautiful maiden, and they both fall head over heels. He can't be with her for different reasons, so he has to try to see her behind everyone's back. It gets even better! In order to build suspense, he has to do everything he can to maintain abstinence (it seems abstinence in this case trying not to eat someone).

So I can see where the author is coming from. The forbidden love narrative has been a captivating one for centuries, and it seems to work well with teenage girls and middle-aged moms, who have nothing to do but fantasize about "the perfect man who wants me but can't have me" and vice versa.

When will people be steered straight?



P.S. FIRST!

Faye said...

Great review. And I'm glad you didn't read the whole thing. I honestly don't understand the craze, it's really sad that this is what teenage entertainment has fallen to. You did a great job on the review :)

beast'sbelle said...

An excellent review, Jane. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I ended up reading the book as well, just to see what all the hoopla was about. I too was concerned with the overly sensual, passionate, and foolhardy relationship between Bella and Edward. That sort of a relationship doesn't translate well into real life. I am also concerned with the number of Christians who are into these stories and don't see a problem with them. I'll take my kind, loving, godly hubby over Mr. Cullen any day...even if he does forget to put away his dirty socks (um...my hubby, not Edward...I have no clue how he is with dirty socks). :}

Bluerose said...

I just finished a book that has really challenged my reading and just my whole way of thinking! All of it!
I admit I am(was?) a Twilight fan. I've read all the books, and I actually thought they had a good message to teens(they do save themselves for marriage). I've since changed my mind. I've saw grown married women pining over Edward or Jacob, and I don't think that's healthy for a marriage. I'll also admit I didn't agree with everything you said, but a great deal of it I did.

My struggle right now is really where to draw the line in reading. If NO type of fantasy is okay to read, then that would leave out lots of Christian books, too. (Waterfall-time travel, the Narnia books, all fairy princess stories, etc.) If it's wrong for one, it's wrong for all, or is it? The same goes with romance. I'm using Waterfall as another example here. Young girls have fallen in love with some of the men characters in it just like in Twilight. Same thing? I've saw reviews that said a fantasy character in a secular book was WRONG, and then that same person turned around and highly recommended a Christian book with that same type of character. What's the difference? I'm NOT talking about you right now, but I've seen way too many reviewers preaching against secular books, and praise a Christian book that is the SAME thing. You may even find the same thing in my reviews.?

I'd love to hear your thoughts(and anybody else's on this). These are things that I'm asking myself right now, so it's not to pick on you. :)

Jane said...

Bluerose:

Wow you hit the nail on the head. Waterfall was actually popping up in my mind, and stayed there, as I wrote this review, simply because I've seen many reviews where the girls are pining after the characters and while they're currently on my favorites shelf, I've wondered about them. I actually went back and reread my review to make sure I didn't come across that way. I certainly had my favorite of the heros, but there was no emotional attachment, no comparing him to men of today; no pining. I actually did find the romance a tad bit too strong for my liking in the River of Time series, but Bergren didn't focus on it nearly as much and it certainly wasn't as passionate as Twilight. I think that's where I find the difference. Twilight focuses SO much on the passion, while in Waterfall there is so much else going on, it's not the focus of the story.
I think there is a lot of fantasty out there that is great. Fantasy is my favorite genre, so I read a lot of it. And no, I don't necessarily think that if it's wrong for one it's wrong for all. People have all sorts of weaknesses and convictions: what affects one might not affect another. I can't imagine how Twilight could be edifying to anyone, but these are strictly my beliefs. :)

Thanks so much for leaving a comment. :)

Jane said...

Beast's Belle:

First off, I love your name! ;)

Secondly, thanks for commenting. Your comment made me chuckle, and I whole heartily agree. I don't think it translates into real life well at all. I'll take a (future) godly husband any day.
Of course, if it were my husband I wouldn't want him to out his dirty socks away, but in the hamper...but maybe that's just me. :P

Jane said...

Faye:

Yeah its fallen pretty darn far. I don't even look at the teen section anymore -- its just gross.
Thanks for the comment!

Jane said...

Taylor:

I have to agree. The forbiddenness of something makes it desireable. Just like Eve.
Apparently we haven't gotten the message that their BAD. If it's forbidden, don't touch it! ;)

Thanks for the comment! :)

iarepilotswife said...

Great review, Kiddo!

Bluerose -
I believe, and correct me if I'm wrong, that Edward and Bella didn't save themselves for marriage because of a moral conviction. It was because he was afraid of killing her. There is a difference. The boundaries they set for themselves were not rooted in anything.

Beast's Belle -
You made me laugh.

Taylor -
You may know a lot about zombies, but you're not the greatest proofreader ever.

beast'sbelle said...

Yeah, I'm not a big fan of the dirty socks left out either...just trying to bring some reality into the picture. ;)

By the way, I did a post on a similar topic (involving the Phantom of the Opera characters) on my blog, if you're interested: http://nevergrowupdollguide.blogspot.com/search/label/The%20Phantom%20of%20the%20Opera

Keep up the good work! :)

Bluerose said...

Jane-
Very true!! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts back with me. :)

pilotswife-

It has been quite awhile since I read the books, but best I remember Edward wanted to save himself, because it was the proper thing to do in the time that he lived in.(before he "died") I think it was a moral decision, but the killing part was part of the story. It definitely wasn't a Christian decision, but again, best I remember the author had good intentions with the saving yourself part. :)

Bluerose said...

I just want to come back and make sure I'm not coming off the wrong way. :) I've REALLY been pondering my reading decisions lately, and I feel like God put this review in front of me today for a reason, so I'm very thankful to you for writing it!!!!!!! :)

Cathy said...

My kids often ask me what the difference is between the fantasy in the Narnia series and the fantasy in Twilight or Harry Potter series.
What I told them was that C.S. Lewis used his imaginative talent to portray biblical principles in his fantasy stories, the other authors do not.
Also I feel there is a spiritual aspect to fantasy books that we need to discern...what is glorifying to God and what is not.

It's wonderful to see your review and your discernment! It's also wonderful to see all of you here seeking to please the Lord in your reading choices. :)

Clare Kolenda said...

Hey Jane! This was an excellent review! I have had several of my friends tell me that I should read this series but something about it never sat well with me so I always resisted. I have never really been a "trend follower", so it never bothered me that I was missing out on that kind of stuff. This review was just the confirmation I needed that I wouldn't even like this series had I tried to read it.

Thanks for this post! I liked it alot! Especially that quote at the end by Jasmine Baucham. :D I definitely agree with her. I'm much more concerned how passionate my guy is in the Lord more than anything else. :)

Hayden said...

Thank You for this post! I never had any desire whatsoever to read these books (ummm, vampires? He wants to EAT her? How is that enjoyable to read??? Just not getting it...) but I have some friends who enjoy the books, and it makes me sad now that I know the kind of stuff that is in them. This post certainly helps though- the next time someone asks about these books I'll point them in your blog's direction :)

Cubette said...

thanks for being bold and sharing your opinion. i'm a 17-year-old christian girl whose parents forbade her to read or watch anything twilight, and did anyway. now i love it, and i feel like by liking it, I'm sinning, somedays, if only because my parents say it's bad. so, hearing someone who was actually willing to give me a valid point really helped me clear my head.

i can see where you're coming from, but the way I see it, the author was using any and all romantic scenarios she felt she could get her readers to identify with to bring out the romance, (including that one scenario from the bible.) i found it extremely passionate -- and some people do make fun of the characters by calling them stalkers -- but she got her inspiration from authors like emily bronte and shakespeare, and their writings are dark and passionate in the same ways. i don't think she was targeting the Bible intentionally, especially since in later books, she has edward and bella discussing his immortality and whether or not he can still be forgiven of past sins, and because edward himself, (if you got far enough in the first book,) tells bella that he can't believe in evolution because the world is too incredible not to have been CREATED.

in short, i felt like it was as good as any other romantic novel, (being a big fan of the brontes and shakespeare,) and that the morals of laying down your life for the one you love is what it was all about. when reading a book or watching a movie, i'm constantly aware that it's fake, that the authors' expectations are usually way too high... but i still enjoy the art that is a well-told story.

Cubette @ http://cubettescorner.blogspot.com/

Elaine J. Dalton said...

Bravo! I watched the first movie and that was as far as I cared to go concerning the popular Twilight series. Your review is grand and hits a lot of good sound points that I totally agree with! Good job! :)

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