Note: There are spoilers in this review.
Just like the Harry Potter series, I kept hearing from friends how much I should read the Twilight books. The books follow the romance between human, Bella, and vampire, Edward. (In the movie, Edward’s first screen shot has him walking in slow motion with angelic singing playing on the soundtrack. I cracked up.) Taking the plunge, I read all four tomes within a month. Just like Harry, the Twilight books are not great literature. I remember slogging through many pages of “talk” but when the action happened, it was full steam ahead. Those moments kept me up way past my bedtime.
The Stephanie Meyer’s books are intended for the Young Adult crowd. So the first book, set in and about a Forks, WA high school, has dialogue like “Why isn’t he looking at me?” (BTW, Hubby worked three months in Olympic National Park and issued many speeding tickets to the fine citizens of Forks. When visiting him, I went grocery shopping in Forks. The movie Forks is cuter than the actual Forks. The same is true about Port Angeles. Sad but true.)
The one thing that struck me about the the main character, Bella, was her “needy” trait, which really comes out in the movie. She is the only child of divorced parents. The loving but immature mother is married to a minor league baseball player and follows him around during the season. The father is a Forks policeman and still single. Bella moves in with the father who is not sure how to be a Dad though it is obvious he loves her. This sets up Bella to fall in love with a creature who doesn’t need to work but has eternity to love Bella. What’s not to love?
In the movie there are two scenes, Bella confronting Edward about his true nature and Bella in the hospital recovering from nearly fatal wounds received from a bad vampire, which bring out how disfunction is substituted for selfless love. In both situations, Edward basically tells Bella that he could kill her and she (or he) should go away. Bella explodes and begs Edward never to say those things because she believes that he would never hurt her. (Obviously Bella hasn’t read the next three books.)
Besides, he is a “vegetarian,” i.e. drinks only animal blood, and lives with a family of like-minded vampires, who show Bella more love than her human parents are capable of. As the books progress, Bella wants to become a vampire and Edward refuses because of the “life” experiences she will miss. At one point Edward relents and will change Bella if she promises to marry him first. Many readers have applauded this “chaste” course since the two “don’t” until they marry. It’s still a manipulation.
Sitting in the cushy stadium seating at the Boston Common Loews, I kept thinking about those insecure women who fall in love with incarcerated inmates, marry them, and then have crappy lives once the criminal husband is released because love did not change them.
In Bella’s case, she becomes “changed.” As a vampire in the final book, she leaves behind her human parents and embraces her new vampire family. Her father does visit regularly but he will always be on the outside looking in. Bella and Edward have a daughter who is half human/half vampire and is also immortal. The last book has a very happy Bella (who is a more complete person as a vampire than she ever was as a human) rejoicing that with Edward and his family, she is now in a “forever” family.
According to her unofficial biography Stephanie Meyer is a Mormon. In Mormon theology families are forever:
The Mormon focus is on the human family. Marriages are sealed for time but also exist forever through marriage in the temple. Marriages populate the earth by giving the opportunity of mortal birth to preexistent souls waiting to be born, and children are sealed to their parents for eternity; all this produces family reunions that go on and on, world without end.
–Mormon America by Richard and Joan Ostling
Bella is living heaven on earth now and her human parents are not part of that. Reminds me of Mormon temple marriages (“Sealing” ceremonies) where non-Mormons can not be invited since they can not enter the Temple. Bella’s parents (non-Mormon?) will not be able to fully participate in her life or the life of their granddaughter. That is not what love or families are about.
Bella exchanged one disfunction for another.