Does 'Twilight' Suck the Brains Out of
By Martha Brockenbrough with Lorie Ann Grover
If 2007 was the year of the boy wizard -- with the final "Harry
Potter" book and a movie coming out in the same month -- 2008 is the
year of the vampire.
More specifically, a vampire named Edward, who literally sparkles
as the romantic hero of a four-book series that has become the
obsession of teen girls (and many of their mothers) nationwide.
Welcome to the "Twilight" zone.
In case you still haven't heard of the series by Stephenie Meyer,
you're about to. On Aug. 2, the fourth installment, "Breaking Dawn,"
hits bookstores. The series tells the story of Bella, a teenage girl
living in Forks, Wash., who falls in love with one of the town's
resident vampires. Bella would trade her soul to be undead happily
ever after; Edward forcefully resists such a thing.
Across the country, 4,000 stores will open at midnight, just so
those sweaty, trembling fans can lose a night's sleep finding out
whether the vampire finally bites the girl after 1,000-plus pages of
extremely chaste necking.
And then, when the movie opens Dec. 12, the whole thing
can start over again.
There's no question that the "Twilight" series, which has
dominated best-seller lists, is a pop culture phenomenon. Ask a teen
girl if she prefers Edward or Jacob, a teen werewolf, and you are
likely to get an essay in response.
The question is: Are these books a worthy obsession for our teen
girls? And should you let your own daughter read them and see the
To answer this, I turned to Lorie Ann Grover, mother of two teen
girls, author of several books, and co-founder of readergirlz, an
organization that exists to support teens as they read, reflect on
literature, and reach out to their communities in response to what
Lorie Ann is a fan of the "Twilight" series. And, even though I
know I'm taking my life into my hands by disagreeing, I'm going to
say that there are better things for teen girls to be reading and
Lorie Ann Grover Gives the Case for 'Twilight'
I call him the hottest guy in modern literature. The hottest!
He's why I read the entire "Twilight" series straight through twice.
He's why my fellow author friend Justina Chen Headley and I
dissected "Twilight" together, each and every page.
And he's why my husband picked up the work and read it himself.
He had to know who his wife and daughters were raving about! The
hottest guy in modern lit is Edward Cullen, and he sparkles.
So what truly is Edward's appeal? Why are girls and women
worldwide, and Bella, swooning? Because he is our sensitive
superhero. First, consider his perfect physical form. Did you hear
me say perfect? Basically Michelangelo's David come to life. Add to
that physique smoldering eyes and superpowers.
Now, looks aside, consider how appealing it is that Edward is
driven to wit's end by the scent of Bella. In a society consumed
with smelling good, Edward finds Bella without the aid of any scent
but her own.
Note how completely enamored Edward is of Bella. He actually
watches her sleep. As an infatuated parent watches over an infant,
Edward watches Bella. He sees her weaknesses and finds her humanity
endearing. He asks endless questions to know her. What are her likes
and dislikes, her past and future hopes? He listens to every single
It is easy to see that Edward embodies complete safety. Often he
holds Bella and rocks her as a father would. And yet, his kisses
stop her breath and heart, and he never pressures her for sex. She
pursues him. Edward has raised the standard for all boyfriends.
Into that perfect mix, pour danger, that alluring trademark of
any great hero, just enough for tension to vibrate. We worry with
Bella over her safety as Edward's lips glide down her neck. We fret
as his eyes darken and he lusts for her blood. Finally we cheer as
he denies himself because of his passion for her.