The Trouble with Twilight

Spoiler alert: This post covers things that happen over the course of three books in Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series. If you have not read the books, you may want to skip this blog entry.

I recently discovered Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series and found myself quickly sucked in. Even though the books are targeted at young adults, as with the Harry Potter series, the writing and characters cross generations and appeal to a much broader audience. I've had women of all ages stop me when they see the book I'm carrying to chat about the series.

Having just finished the third bood, Eclipse, I've found a little time to really digest what I've read and think about the fourth book and where I'd like it to go. In doing so, I've found that I'm a little disturbed by the relationship between Bella and Edward.

I think there has to be a certain suspension of disbelief with many things in entertainment: the "whatever technology" of Fox's 24, the complete lack of toilets in the Rodenberry universe, Dana Scully running in high heels and the apparent lack of bras in the Charmed household. 

I'm the first to admit that I'm much happier at the end of a book when the boy and girl go off happily ever after in the sunset. Sure, it's not realistic but it's entertainment.

Twilight is about vampires and werewolves so it's only natural there be a darker element to the stories. Still, Edward's behavior seems to cross the line from protective boyfriend to stalker. He regularly enters Bella's second-story bedroom window and spends the night, unbeknownst by her sheriff father. He keeps track of her activities -- present and future -- via his psychic adopted sister. In Eclipse, he even bribes his sister to "kidnap" Bella for the weekend (while he's out of town) so that she'll be safe in his absence.

Edward manipulates the school staff so he and Bella are in all the same classes at school. He even goes so far as to forge her signature so that she'll apply to the same colleges. And don't get me started on the whole engagement thing.

It's easy to justify his behavior in the overarching themes of the book, namely, that Bella insists on becoming a vampire and needs protection from any number of enemies who exist in that world. But if the supernatural element is removed, that relationship would raise a number of red flags. 

As an adult, it's easy to separate fantasy from fact. Can the same be said of young adult readers? Do teenage girls read these books and think, "That's the kind of boyfriend I want -- one who'll keep track of my every move and spend every second with me?"

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