I figure Halloween is as good a time as any to discuss the vampire book craze! My 17yo babysitter is wild about this series. She's been telling me forever that I need to read them. And it's caught on with many of my friends at church as well as lots of teenage girls. So I finally made time to start it. I was up until 2:30 a.m. one night finishing! You might want to check out my friend, Gregg's blog for a humorous take on this girly obsession.
Obviously, it's an engaging book. I don't stay up all night reading boring books. I enjoyed it a lot. BUT…
You probably knew that was coming. 🙂
But, I have some concerns I wanted to share with you. I will note when my concerns will also spoil the book in case you haven't read it.
First, the book is a sad commentary on family life today. The 17yo main character fends for herself. Not only that, she must protect her divorced, inept parents. My heart aches for young people in this position and I'm quite sure there is more truth than fiction in this depiction. However, I wouldn't feel comfortable with my daughter reading this book for this reason alone. I do not want her to imagine (any more than may occur naturally) that her parents are clueless and incompetent so that she has to make her own choices. Could you discuss this issue with your daughter before she reads the book? Yes, but if I had any concerns that she was in a rebellious phase, I wouldn't do it.
Second, the book, like every other romance (in my opinion) portrays an unrealistic view of men that leads to disappointment and even divorce. The fact that the 17yo's boyfriend is a vampire is unrealistic. Of course. LOL But honestly, everything else about him is more unrealistic than that! Before I present some spoilers, let me just say that I honestly believe romantic books and movies create discontent in women the way scantily clad women and car advertisements create discontent in men.
I've counseled enough engaged women to know that although they know these romantic expectations aren't realistic, they still cling to them. I know I did! I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. I wanted it ALL. And though I am married to the hunkiest, toughest man (he's a black belt in jujitsu), who's a great father, provider, and friend, he just isn't ALL.
In So You're Not Wonder Woman, I talk about a vision God gave me of what really happened on my wedding day. I was in my wedding gown, walking down the aisle when suddenly I saw Him–the Groom of my dreams. I know it sounds so corny, but I was marrying Jesus! The look in His eyes still blows me away. I knew beyond a doubt that He would never hurt or disappoint me. He loved me with every fiber of His being and I loved Him more than I've ever loved anyone. I was ready to seal the deal! But then he looked to my right. I followed His eyes and there was my husband in his tux waiting to marry me. Um, he wasn't exactly ALL I wanted. Jesus told me with His eyes that He wanted me to marry my husband. I didn't want to. I knew this very human man would hurt and disappoint me in countless ways! But Jesus insisted, reassuring me that He would be with me always, filling up the empty places and comforting me in the painful, lonely times in my marriage.
Since then, Jesus has been so much more to me than Edward, the vampire boyfriend, could ever be. Reading Twilight was actually a wonderful reminder to me of the passion that I have for Jesus. So if you like Edward, give Jesus your time and attention! He's never tempted to suck your blood.
Now for some spoiler concerns…
Okay, Edward is a phenomenal dresser. You KNOW that isn't realistic. I'm just happy when my husband isn't wearing two conflicting plaids.
Next, he asks the girl questions about herself for two days straight. Any married woman will tell you that she's ecstatic if she's asked a couple of questions about herself in a row and not about where his socks or dinner are!
My serious concern with teen girls reading this book is although there are no sex scenes, the scenes that are there are highly erotic. If I had teenage hormones, I could be scarier than a vampire after reading this book! Not to mention the fact that the main character has her boyfriend IN HER BEDROOM while her father is downstairs. And as the reader, you are really hoping she gets away with it! Not what I want my teenagers to be cheering for.
Finally, you have a teen girl willing to give up everything for a guy and again, the reader is cheering for her! Yikes. Giving up your life for a vampire is cool, so why not turn your back on your faith if you fall in love with an atheist? Why not run away if your parents don't like your boyfriend?
Don't get me wrong. I am not a book burner. I'm a book lover! I so enjoy reading a good book now and then. But books can change us. Beware…not of vampires, but of the scary ideas some books can teach us when we're not looking.