In Defense of Twilight (& Stephenie Meyer)

why twilight doesn't suckI remember when I first heard of Twilight. I was but a young lass, a senior in high school, and a friend of mine (who was as avid a reader as I was) rolled into class reading a book. On the cover was the now-iconic image of hands holding a red apple.

Interested, I asked her about it and if it was good. She gushed. She enthused. She spewed praises. She informed me that this was her third time reading this book.

And then she told me about the hero:

“Edward Cullen. He’s a vampire. But he’s like, the perfect guy. I’m so in love with him,” she said.

I borrowed the books from her (I believe the first two were out by this point), and I enjoyed them. They were a fun read. And I was interested enough in the Twilight world that I also read Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, which I also enjoyed, though I was still far from a Twi-hard fangirl.

But something has happened in the last two years or so.

As trendy as the Twilight books are, it’s now just as cool to mock and smear them.

They are openly held up as this great evil, a symbol of all that is wrong/stupid/annoying about society, literature, the publishing industry, women, the bastardization of vampire mythology, and so on.

Look, I get it. The Twilight saga is not for everyone. It wasn’t really for me (though I really, really enjoyed Meyer’s novel The Host). But does that mean the books/Meyer deserve all the hate? I admit to joining the ranks of ridicule and throwing jabs at sparkly, baseball-playing vampires who are 107-year-old virgins. And there are a lot of elements in Bella’s and Edward’s relationship that still bother me (pairing sexual desire with violent impulses, anyone?).

But I’m tired of the hating.

Baseball playing, sparkly, 107 year old virgin vampire: Edward Cullen

Baseball playing, sparkly, 107 year old virgin vampire: Edward Cullen.

Stephenie Meyer’s saga has become an easy target simply because it’s gotten so big.

I am bored with poking fun at the rock-hard Cullens (seriously, I have like four jammed fingers).  Some of the hateful things I’ve heard people say about the books and even Stephenie Meyer have been cringe-inducingly cruel and personal. And the Twilight-abuse is showing NO SIGNS OF SLOWING.

So I’m raising a voice of reason. For all their faults, there is plenty to admire in the Twilight books—no matter how begrudgingly I admit to my admiration.

The main thing I admire about Meyer’s series? The Twilight saga connects with readers.

Granted, the series mostly connects with teenaged girls and women in their 3os-50s. But, though they are full of flaws (a fact Meyer is the first to admit), the Twilight books have something in them that readers, mainly female readers, cannot resist. Sure, some of this has to do with the fact that it’s trendy to like Twilight. But even before it was popular, my friend was ready to sell her soul to enter the world of Twilight and steal Edward Cullen from Bella Swan.

If the Twilight books have elements that make for good escapism, if they create a world that’s worth visiting to escape the angst of teen years or the exhausting bustle of being a busy mother of four or whatever else life holds—I can only congratulate Stephenie Meyer for having accomplished such a feat.

Ultimately, Stephenie Meyer is probably not on the list of writers I aim to closely emulate. But I do respect her ability to create a world and characters that readers care for so fiercely. There is something to be said for that as a writing talent, and it’s one I hope to one day prove I have in my arsenal, as well.

What about you? What do you think of Stephenie Meyer and the Twilight series?