11.09.08

Eclipsing Twilight?

Posted in Twilight at 6:26 pm by Janet

It’s been a lazy weekend. I did visit the local mall, where I stopped by the Starbucks at the Barnes and Noble. I decided not to buy the Twilight chocolate bar I saw there. Still, the chocolate got me thinking about Twilight again….

No, I almost never recommend Twilight, purely for practical reasons. First of all, my department goes up through 8th grade–Twilight is in our high school section. Also, the whole series is always checked out. Adults frequently ask me if it’s appropriate for middle school/junior high kids. And kids often ask me for read-alikes.

That brings me to the issue of the vampire book explosion! I did go through a short phase of reading vampire/werewolf/undead books–Blood and Chocolate, Repossessed, an Anita Blake book, even Dracula. All good choices. We recently had a Twilight book discussion at my library. I brought along some other vampire books for teens, and they were all surprisingly easy sells. Based on the choices of this small segment of readers, I would not be surprised if the market found a ready audience for all kinds of crappy vampire books. I guess it’s my job to help readers sort through them…

Regarding Bridget’s comment about Bella’s transformation from regular teen to super-vampire-mom, yeah, it bothered me. I have this theory that Stephenie Meyer just didn’t have enough time to edit that book. She put too much of herself into Bella this time and then didn’t have time to edit her character into something different, something that fit with Bella’s previous character development. I’m not really sure how younger/teen readers relate to Bella as a wife and mother. On the other hand, Bella always was domestic, cooking for Charlie and whatnot. So why not turn her into a vampire housewife!

I did ask the kids in my book discussion if they thought Bella was a good role model. They all said no. They agreed that it’s not a good idea to get married and have vampire babies immediately after high school, and that it is a good idea to attend college, perfect vampire boyfriend or not. Still, they were head over heels for Edward. They seemed to like the book for the story and the characters, not the message (well, I see it as a message). HOWEVER, I did hear an unsubstantiated rumor about a teen girl who 1. Found a boyfriend named Edward; 2. Got pregnant; 3. Named the baby Bella Stephenie Renesmee. Who can say if Bella is a good role model???

Reading Breaking Dawn, I thought a lot about Bella as a role model, the target age for the books, and Stephenie Meyer’s possible moral message. I’ll try to talk about that next time, unless Bridget comes up with something better for me to ramble about…

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