Twilight. Stephenie Meyer. Anyone who is an avid reader or hangs around at Borders or Barnes and Nobles a lot has heard of or even read the entire saga. Stephenie Meyer is the new J.K. Rowling, enticing adults and young readers alike (specifically tweens and teens) with her enchanting world of vampires and werewolves and the forbidden love between a mortal and an immortal. Her popularity has soared since the publishing of Twilight, the first book of its series, spinning off similar kinds of novels from other authors. But if there’s one major thing that Stephenie Meyer has accomplished, it’s actually getting my child to read.
My child is actually my ten-year-old step-daughter. She doesn’t read fiction a whole lot except this one novel that she just read over and over again. So when she kept bugging me to watch the Twilight movie, I insisted that she read the book first because I heard from others how good it was (and most times, the book is always better!). At the time my mom and my sister were reading Twilight, it didn’t interest me because vampires weren’t my cup of tea. But my sister raved on and on about what a great story it was that I tried to relay some of that enthusiasm to my step-daughter.
To stop her incessant begging, I made a deal with her: if we both read the book and if she actually finished it, I would buy her the DVD when it comes out in March. I guess because we were doing this together, she agreed without hesitation. But little did she know that my whole purpose for this plan was to get her to read! Now, I wouldn’t call that manipulation. Would you? I call it parental strategy.
So I purchased Twilight for her while I borrowed my sister’s copy. Thinking that this would be a weekly reading thing, I assigned chapters one and two for the first week. She could read ahead if she wanted. Well, my step-daughter exceeded my expectations: not only did she read chapters one and two, but she read the whole book in four days! Do you know how proud I am of her? In fact, as of this writing, she has read New Moon in five days and is now starting Eclipse! I think I created a monster because she doesn’t even want to put the book down! But who would complain about a child reading too much? I certainly am not, and neither is her dad.
After completing Twilight myself, I now understand why my step-daughter and readers across the world are so mesmerized by Stephanie Meyer’s story of unrequited love. She writes in simple language, yet she offers vivid descriptions and deep insights into her characters’ emotions. Her focus is not so much on vampire life, but on the “Romeo-and-Juliet-esque” love story we all know and love. Edward Cullen is the quintessential romantic, mysterious high school heartthrob that females have pined over for eternity. She touches on the “wanting-what-we-can’t-have syndrome”. As readers engage themselves in the book, she makes them long for more of Edward and his family of flawless beauty and perfection. It’s no wonder why teenagers are addicted to Twilight: she paints a fantasy in their imaginations of finding the purest, true love, more than just a high school crush. And for adults, it’s that fantasy of finding the most perfect, irresistible soul mate at all.
I asked my step-daughter what she plans to read after she’s done with the whole series. She responded that she’ll keep reading it over and over again (and I believe she would!). But until that time, I am just happy that she is reading! Maybe I’ll be able to find other novels for her that are close to, if not as good as, the Twilight saga. So I just want to thank you, Stephenie Meyer, for creating such a compelling story and for helping me accomplish something that’s taken me a very long time to do!