Sunday, July 11, 2010

Enjoying Fiction

In which I begin my conversation about my ongoing love/hate relationship with The Twilight Saga. I am not sure how many posts it will take, at least 2, maybe more. This is just the beginning. I hope to give a balanced perspective.

I started reading The Twilight Saga not exactly on purpose. Ok, well I obviously chose to read them, so I guess it was on purpose. But the thought was not planted in me when the books first came out. I only got around to reading them this year. In fact, I couldn't figure out what all the hoopla was about "vampires" and weirdo "vampire books" for the last 5 years.

My daughter had seen the first movie when it came out (at her mom's house) and wanted to see it again. I checked it out from the library and begrudgingly sat to watch the movie with her and my son.

The same week, my BFF bought the movie for her eldest boy, who had read all the books. She watched it too.

And we talked. I thought it was good. Not the best movie I'd ever seen, but well done and interesting and totally NOT what I was expecting from a "vampire" movie. She was very intrigued. She wanted to know what the two main characters were talking about in the wide shots of them conversing in large cedars high in the air.

She bought the books.

She devoured them (all 4) in a week.

She said I had to read them.

You must listen to your BFF.

I read them.

I was seriously impressed.

It only took me a week too.


Mesmerizing. Exciting. Clean. Thrilling. Mindful of why you got married in the first place.

Then we started having conversations about why we liked these books soooooo much.

One of the first things I realized I liked was the "non-romance novel" way in which the characters interact. Their encounters are "clean". They do not, even though they are teenagers living in this day and time, engage in any "marital activity" (if you know what I mean) until they are actually married. I LOVE that.

And even when they do, it's not like you are an eye witness in their bedroom scrutinizing every move. They are on their honeymoon. They kiss, they suggest a little bit of emotions, chapter ends. Next chapter begins the following morning. You know what happened, but you don't have to live every second of it.

The style this writer used to convey emotions and feelings between the two of them is exciting to read, but not in a sexual way.

I love that the main family of vampires in this story strives to not be "monsters". They did not choose this life and cannot help what they are. But they overcome their natural desires for human blood and live as "vegetarians" - surviving only on the blood of animals. When asked why they fight so hard against what they are, the simple answer is "I didn't choose this life. I don't want to be a monster."

For me, I see a parallel to Christianity. We are sinners. It is our nature, how we were created. We have free will and the temptations around us are endless. However, we can choose, sometimes painfully and against our inner "instincts" to overcome sin. It is not always easy (often the "sinful" choice is MUCH EASIER than the moral or right choice), but we can strive to do it.

It is hard to NOT like the characters in this book. They have shortcomings, they have faults, they are very much like people you know. It is easy, at least for me, to identify with the main character (always good for a writer when society can identify with your main character). She feels unworthy, unwanted, very humble in not understanding what she has done to deserve unconditional love. For someone like me, who has been abandoned many times in my life, that is an easy characteristic to sympathize with.

And, in spite of these shortcomings, you find yourself rooting for them, hoping for the best - just as you do for yourself and your friends.

I have to stop mid-thought now, because it is just not as peaceful in this room as it was when I started typing and I keep losing my train of thought (so to me, the previous paragraphs look like rambling and not quite what I envisioned to say about these books). I will be back soon with more.

Remember, I have a love/hate relationship with the books. I will get to explaining both sides of this, promise.

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