I’m not talking about the time of day immediately following sunset – although I’m a fan of that too. I’m talking about the hugely popular teen-vampire-werewolf romance novel series that’s taken over the world. There’s more. I’ve read all 4 books in the series, seen all 3 movies, and enjoyed them all. There. I said it. Yes, I really am 40 years old. No, I don’t have any teenagers in the house. And you know what, as long as I’m confessing, I should also let you know that I’m keeping a close eye on the 2-part movie finale that’s currently in production. Too far? Trust me, my head is hung low and I am sufficiently ashamed. And even though I understand that Stephenie Meyer is no Tolstoy, I’m way “too old” for this, and vampires are not supposed to sparkle – ever – none of that tempers my enthusiasm for the books and the movies. (Image: Twilight Book Series)
Critics have blasted the 36-year-old’s writing as sophomoric and uninspired. Stephen King (hardly Tolstoy himself) has said of Meyer, she “can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good.” And although I’m in no position to play literary critic, repeated descriptions of how beautiful Edward is does get old really quickly. But what can’t be argued is that Meyer’s writing resounds with fans – 85 million copies and millions of dollars don’t lie. And while one’s ability to make boat-loads of money isn’t an indication of talent, (Paris Hilton, every single Kardashian, The Situation and his Oompa-Loompa roommates for example), the money is certainly proof that Meyer has tapped into something. Something that, if you watched the Twilight episode of Oprah, transcends age and sex, and probably gender too – although the men are even more ashamed of their Twi-hardness than I am.
So what’s the appeal, particularly to “middle-aged” women? An interview in USA today with a 35 year old fan of the series says it pretty well,
“…as an adult who has faced reality, it’s escapism of a different kind, remembering those first twitches of falling in love and reliving it through Bella.” The article continues, “There’s a loss of romance, of mystery, of the holding back of desire and cherishing of a woman,” she says. “Young girls can’t find swains who will adore them and worship them. It only happens in books. They long to live in an erotically charged fantasy. Older women know it doesn’t happen.”
But they sure like to read about it.
We sure do. It’s escapism at its finest. A Romeo and Juliet where no one dies. A modern romance where the woman doesn’t get naked within the first 15 minutes, and the men (who aren’t trying to kill you) are gentlemen. Who couldn’t use a bit of that these days?
Am I the only closet WAF Twilight Fan? I can’t be. If you’re secretly carrying a torch for the series or anything else that you’re supposed to be “too old for,” share your thoughts in the comment section. Don’t leave me hanging ladies…