Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Twilight


Against my better judgment, I just finished reading the book Twilight.

An avid reader in my ward advised against it. Her main argument is that the book is targeted at teenage girls, and although nothing immoral happens in the book, it still might give the idea that other things (like letting a boy stay in your room during the night, etc.) are harmless. I also didn’t like the fact that the main character, Bella, lied to her dad about where she was going the day she spent with Edward.

I decided I’d better read it for a couple of reasons. First, it seems that almost everyone around me has read it, and anytime I tell someone that I haven’t read it, they are shocked, and tell me I should. That includes people who read my blog responding to my Halloween photo post. Last weekend on facebook, the status of my female high school friends (so, all in their mid-30’s) said things like:

Mary is setting off to see Twilight at midnight! Mary is needing a nap. Too much movie, not enough sleep. yawn.

Brandi is excited for movie night! Brandi loved Twilight. It's not the book - but it was GREAT! Brandi is going to Twilight again tonight. Brandi loved Twilight even more the 2nd time!

Heidi is in love with Edward Cullen! He is so sexy in the movie!

I finally posted my status as
“Sarah is thinking everyone needs to get a life and stop thinking about Twilight”,
to which I then commented:
“Okay, I admit I haven't read the books, but I'm not sure I want to if they are like a drug that everyone is addicted to!”


Another friend's status read last week:
Jane is finally reading Twilight to see what all the fuss is about.
And then the next day:
Jane is finished with Twilight - the fuss is warranted.

So, I decided maybe I should do the same.

So, first, there’s all the fuss, and then second (and probably the main reason) being that our 12 year old daughter also decided she needed to read them to find out what the fuss was about. We have never been the type of parents to restrict our children’s agency on a decision like this, so based on the warning of the lady in my ward, I chose to start reading so that I could discuss them with my daughter.

Now today, I posted the following to facebook:
Sarah is spending the day reading twilight. It disgusts me that I don't want to put it down.
Jane’s comment:
You fell for the trap too, eh?
My response:
Hook, line and sinker. Before reading, I compared its affect on my friends to a drug. Now that I have finished reading, the drug has definitely pulled me in. Whatever happened to my resolve to say no to drugs? :-)
And then to another comment:
I'm afraid that I have now officially succumbed to the addiction. I just finished the first book, and I'm still in my pjs at 3 in the afternoon!
(and I am shaking because I forgot to eat lunch!...at least, that's mostly why I'm shaking...)


Lately, every time I read a book, I tend to relate it to my own life. For a while, I was on a Joseph and Emma kick. We saw the movie about Joseph at the legacy theater. We watched the new Emma movie on DVD. I started reading the book Emma by Anita Stansfield. Of course our lessons in Relief Society are all from Joseph’s life and teachings. I know it seems crazy to compare my life to that of a prophet’s wife, but some of Emma’s portrayed feelings about love and persecution and trials and the unique purpose of each person’s life really got me thinking and relating it to my own new circumstance with being married to a gay man, my feelings on the prop 8 thing, and the trials I seemed to be going through. Even little things, like Joseph’s nervousness to tell Emma about things like his vision, or later polygamy, helped me have a greater understanding of how hard and yet how necessary it was for Scott to come out to me. Also, it helped give me the determination and courage to fulfill the calling that Scott and I feel the Lord has given us (to spread understanding of what it means to be a gay Mormon) no matter how hard it may seem sometimes.

Anyway, back to Twilight and relating it to my own life. Even though Scott and my relationship is much different than Edward and Bella for obvious reasons (the main one being that he is actually attracted to her ;-), I couldn’t help but hear Scott’s voice and things he has said to me over the past couple of months in Edwards words, but relating to something completely different. Edward is amazed that Bella loves him and accepts him for who he is. And he keeps questioning why and how she could continue to love and support him, a vampire. In my world, Scott has been similarly amazed at my acceptance of him, that I love him just as much, and maybe even more, now that I understand what he is and that being gay contributes a lot to who he is.

Here are some of the passages that caught my attention:

“And you’re worried, not because you’re headed to meet a houseful of vampires, but because you think those vampires won’t approve of you, correct?”
“That’s right.”
He shook his head. “You’re incredible.”

*****************

“I was prepared to feel...relieved. Having you know about everything, not needing to keep secrets from you. But I didn’t expect to feel more than that. I like it. It makes me...happy.”

*****************

He sighed, “I keep waiting for it to happen.”
“For what to happen?”
“I know that at some point, something you see is going to be too much. And then you’ll run away from me, screaming as you go.”
“I’m not running anywhere, I promise.”

*****************

Lastly, like Bella, I beg Scott to stay and never leave me.

One day a month or so ago when I was going through a really tough time with my anxiety, I was on the phone with Scott, thanking him for his support through everything. I told him that someday, if he felt like he needed to find a more fulfilling relationship, that we could divorce if needed so that he could do so. But that I wouldn’t let him go, ever. He and his partner would just have to live with me, and that is it. :)

And I still mean it.


Do you think I have time to start reading the next book? :)

February 2009 Addendum: Kengo posted this regarding the second book, New Moon, when he was reading them recently for the first time. I had similar thoughts to his and was going to blog about it but never did. He had additional insight as well and wrote it out better than I would have, so I am just linking to it instead. :) He also has this other post about the 4th book, Breaking dawn. Interesting stuff!

17 comments:

Bravone said...

The more I know you, the more I love you Sarah.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Bravone

Sarah said...

Thanks, Bravone, I love you too! (I hope your wife in not jealous :)

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Scott said...

Wow! In one post I'm a vampire and a prophet! :)

I was going to say that your insistence that I've always got to stay with you would make it difficult to find a partner (who was willing to live with the ex-wife)...

But Bravone's comment reminds me just how much every gay guy who meets you loves you, and I realize that I probably wouldn't have any problems at all. They would be beating down the doors to come and live with you. ;)

Pieces of Me said...

Ok, I guess I will have to join you on the I should read Twilight bandwagon, I swear its on my to do list.......

Seriously I like your comments and your comparision between both Joseph and Edward to your situation with Scott, very thoughtful....

Hidden said...

NOOOOOOOOOO! *gags*

Sarah, you just lost five points on my respect meter.

I, as a writer, turn up my nose at that horrific slush she has passed off as writing. It's just wretched!

I couldn't even get through all the excerpts you liked. Her writing is just SO BAD! Like atrociously so.

That's why teenage girls like it. Because it's engaging, and they don't know what "good writing" is.

*shakes head* Sarah, I am so disappointed.

Sarah said...

Hidden:

I didn't say the writing was excellent, I just said I was hooked. Not that I am happy about that, either. I have better things I want to read, but now I have to keep going and get the whole story.

Give me a break! She didn't write the books for you, so you don't have to like them. But let other people enjoy them if they want to without thinking any less of them. We girls need some romance to escape to once in a while, especially if it is lacking in some ways in our own lives. (no offense, Scott)

I'm hurt. You probably like writings that I consider atrocious, like Jon Steinbeck. Blech!

Scott said...

HIDDEN: I'm just curious... What's the scale on your respect meter? And where was she before you found out that she had read Twilight?

(I'm just wondering if five points is a lot, and where she stands with you now)

:P

Mike said...

Sarah, your rating on my respect meter has gone up like a hundred-fold. At first I was worried that you wouldn't like it, but I was relieved to find out that it wasn't the case.

I read the first book at the beginning of the year, when my brother's girlfriend recommended it.

I was like 'I don't read books about vampires.' And I don't. But my bro said that I should give it a try because they are really that good.

So I was hooked after 30 pages. When I told my wife she forbade me to read any book about a vampire, so I promised that I wouldn't read them.

So I bought them on audio book and listened to them on my ipod late into the night in bed when she thought I was asleep! So much better than her waking up at 3am really angry that I was still reading Harry Potter.

Of course listening to them really slowed me down, because I can read a lot faster than someone who reads it on audio. But they were SOOO good.

Eventually I convinced my wife to start listening to them when she realized that other people that she respects love them as much as I do. Listening to them is a lot easier for her than to read them, as she can listen to them on the computer when she is cleaning.

Now she is hooked, but not nearly as much as I am, especially because I was raised on reading when she wasn’t really.

When the 4th book came out I had a t-shirt made that read ‘I [heart] Rosalie,’ not because I really do, but she is super hot and I thought that a 29yr old man wearing a shirt loving her would be more comical than anything else.

She got upset with me and said that I was acting childish and that now that I am no longer a child I should ‘put away childish things.’ Ha! I told her that one day when our kids get into series like Harry Potter and Twilight and I am into the thick of it like they are that she will appreciate me more for being able to be more of a friend to our children than a parent.

So last Friday we went to see the movie with her sister and husband, her dad, and her friend, all of which never were going to get into the series when I was first raving about it, until many others came out of the closet. Then they realized that I wasn’t the freak that they thought. I guess it is better on the outside of the closet, right??

The movie was so much fun! I whistled really loud at Rosalie when she first came on screen, much to the delight of all of the 13 year olds girls, and my wife didn’t even give me a look of reproof. It was so fun!
In the end, book one is good, two was my least favorite, the third was my fave until the 4th came out, and like #7 in Harry Potter, Breaking Dawn was the best out of the whole series, absolutely amazing! Maybe it was because I got so worked up in anticipation.

We do disagree on one thing, however. I am on team Edward while my wife is on team Jacob.

Thanks for taking the time to read the book. I love you even more than ever before.

Grégoire said...

I'm not here to self-promote, only to sympathize. I wrote a review of the Twilight series on my blog.

No, not this one, the other one:
http://pristalica.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/its-one-dimensional-man/

I think the appeal of Twilight is the universal nature of the story. I was also interested in the fact that I knew the author was a Mormon 20 pages into the book. No one else in my immediate family has any experience with Mormonism, so it came as a surprise to my wife and daughter.

Anyway, I really appreciate this article and find it fascinating to compare the reaction you had to mine.

P.S.- Don't bother with the second book. It's no great shakes compared to the first one.

Sarah said...

PIECES: Don't feel like you have to jump on the bandwagon. It is good to know what everyone is talking about, I guess, but the more of them I read, the less interested I am. At this point, I just want to know the rest of the story without all the drama and mush. Maybe I should just have Scott tell me what happens.

HIDDEN: I still haven't heard what the scale is that you are rating me on. :)

MIKE: Thanks for sharing your experience and review with the books and the movie. It has been nice to read a book that actually allows me to escape from reality. I've always liked the kind of books that do that, but I haven't really read any like that since Harry Potter 7, I think.

I'm not sure, yet, what team I am on. I love and hate both Edward and Jacob.

GREGOIRE: The second book was rather annoying. But I got through it and am on to the third, which so far is better. I found your review very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Damon In CO said...

LOL, I am so glad you read it. I hope that you have started the second book.

I knew you'd get hooked.

My friend begged me to read the books and I wouldn't. I told her I wasn't about to get roped into some teenage love story with vampires. It seemed silly.

She brought by Twilight when I was packing to go to Mazatlan for a week. I took it, never planning to read it.

Waiting in the airport boredome overcame me and I had to start reading it. I finished it before I went to sleep my first night in Mexico.

I tried to find the second book in Mexico and couldn't so Lynne fedex'd me the second book and third books. The second was finished on the beach and the third was mostly done when I got home.

I should be ashamed that I spent most of my time in Mexico lazing on a beach and reading books. I could have gone hiking, parasailing, dancing, soaking in the culture...and I did do some of that during that week. But during the day I was often found on the beach...reading.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. I hope that you found the book wholesome enough not to worry about your 12 year old reading it.

Let me know how you feel about Book 2!

By the way, I saw the movie last night. The movie is alright. Not great, by any means.

~Damon

Sarah said...

DAMON:

My review of the second book: I didn't like it, too depressing. In some ways, I again kept seeing parallels to my life. I was a mess when Scott left for his mission. I could not imagine being without him for 2 years.

Then, I started hanging out with a guy that was in my some of my classes in college. I enjoyed being with him, and considered him to be one of my best friends. He was a returned missionary and wanted our relationship to be more than friends, which I did not realize for a long time. Eventually, when I found out, I broke his heart. I can only imagine the pain I put him through since I frequently talked about Scott and then wouldn't give the other guy a chance because my heart belonged to someone else.

There are other vague parallels, too, like how Edward feels that he lost his soul when he became a vampire and is destined to hell forever. While Scott does not feel that way, I have learned that a lot of gay Mormons do worry about their eternal salvation.

Also, Belle is so worried about becoming a vampire so that she and Edward can be together forever. I have already mentioned my desire to never lose Scott, and what if gayness is eternal? (See Scott's current blog post.) Is the fact that he is gay and I am female mean that we will never truly be soul mates, even in the eternities?

Crazy. So far the third book is better, and I am just trying to enjoy the story and not let myself get as attached to it. I have things I need to get done today besides reading!

Thanks for sharing your experience. I was waiting for you to comment. :)

Melissa said...

Now THAT is the kind of strong reading I like to see.

Twilight isn't good writing, period. Purple prose and cardboard characters, among other things. What it *is* is accessible. It's the ultimate romance novel: almost any reader can fit into Bella's shoes and vicariously experience her world. (There are benefits to having cardboard characters. This is one of them.) It's madly popular for very good reason. So in that sense, it's actually very good writing, if you are looking at how immersive a book is.

And that would be at the heart of my objection to the whole series. You have these young women readers putting themselves in the place of someone whose behavior would be roundly condemned by every one of their parents or Young Women leaders if they actually did such things in real life, convinced that it's not harmful because it's "just fantasy." Any young man who tried to spend the night watching my daughter sleep would walk away missing a few vital parts, I can tell you that.

However--that's not what you're doing in your reading. You've taken the vampire metaphor and rewritten it as a metaphor for your own life, and that's made the series a very positive experience for you. If everyone who read the series thought about it as actively as you have, I would be thrilled. That's what we call a strong reading--interpreting a story differently than the author probably intended, but in a way that's completely logical based on the story. Bet you didn't know you were doing literary criticism there, huh?

Anyway, I will probably still razz you about it. But you don't have to take it seriously. I'm obligated to do it by the Guild of Literary Snobs.

Scott said...

interpreting a story differently than the author probably intended, but in a way that's completely logical based on the story. Bet you didn't know you were doing literary criticism there, huh?

All those analyses(*) in AP English are bound to have had some impact on how we read, I suppose (despite how pointless they seemed at the time).

I'm obligated to do it by the Guild of Literary Snobs.

Do you have to be an English major to join? I'm something of a grammar Nazi at times. Does that count?

(Actually I'm not sure I would fit in. I enjoy mindless sci-fi and fantasy--no matter how well-written--too much to ever be considered a snob.)

(*) I'm annoyed that Firefox's spell-checker says that analyses isn't a word!

Melissa said...

You can join the Guild of Literary Snobs even without the literature degree. You just have to be able to be snotty about books in ways that mere mortals don't care about. Obviously Firefox's spell checker would not be admitted.

Since my critical specialty is science fiction and fantasy, I can turn even the worst of those into great criticism. But not The Eye of Argon, which must remain the nadir of fantasy fiction and should only be written through the protective lens of the MST3K treatment.

Melissa said...

sorry, should only be READ through the MST3K lens. Though technically that would have helped the writing as well.

Scott said...

But not The Eye of Argon, which must remain the nadir of fantasy fiction and should only be [read] through the protective lens of the MST3K treatment.

I'm ashamed to admit that I'm not geek enough to understand this sentence, and had to spend a bit of time on Wikipedia before I had any idea what you were talking about.