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?

10 thoughts on “In Defense of Twilight (& Stephenie Meyer)

  1. Any book or series that entices kids to read is a winner in my book! I read them because I wanted to have copies of the books on my classroom bookshelf and I like to read the books first so I can recommend them to kids or talk about them with kids. The last book in the series hasn’t made it onto the shelf yet (it might be a bit too much for 6th graders). And while I wouldn’t gush over the books, nor will I bash them or their loyal fans, I did enjoy them as a short break from the real world.

    And, I just have to say, “Go Team Jacob!”

  2. Hear hear! So many people dog on Twilight, and yes the books are flawed, yadda yadda, but so what? I had a friend suggest that the Twilight series was a literary donut whereas a literary steak would be something like War and Peace – sometimes you’re just in the mood for a donut.

  3. i’m totally aenegirg that ppl should buy the books due to respecting the writer. if it hadn’t been for the authors, our world and imagination woulda been much more caged than it is now.i’ve bought both the first books, twilight and new moon, via ebay in german, my native language. (btw, if you think the book’s too expensive, sell it again after you’ve read through!)unfortunately i’m waiting for almost one week already so that i’m getting a little impatient ^^’i’m searching for a free english ebook that i can read meanwhile, can somebody give me a hint and write me an email where i can find it please?

  4. Maybe a lot of people do bash it because it’s popular and easy to bash. But I read it long before the movies and hated them then. Whenever people find out I don’t like Twilight they say “Well the movies aren’t that good, but the books are really great, you should read them.” I have to tell them that I already have and that is where my hatred for this story started. It’s because the characters are ridiculous, the writing is horrible and the fans just make it worse by being so obsessed they sound unintelligent.

    Girls connect with Bella? I certainly hope not. I don’t think any girl should be so dependant on a boy that she can’t even walk out of the woods if he breaks up with her. I mean, seriously. He leads her out into the woods, breaks up with her, then leaves her there. Yeah, that makes sense Meyer. This book is the worst thing to ever happen to literature.

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