Vampire Moms.

A few months ago, my husband went out of town suddenly on a Saturday night. Rather than cancel our babysitter (God forbid) I went to the movies alone. Twilight was the movie I chose, figuring my husband would not moan over missing a teenage chic flick.

 

To my surprise I was entranced. On the way home I bought all four of Stephenie Meyer’s blockbuster bestsellers (42 million copies sold worldwide). The series catalogues the adventures of an awkward brown-haired teenager named Bella, a modern day Juliet who falls for a vampire version of Romeo. This week, I finished reading all four – over 2,000 pages total – for the second time.

 

Now before you groan about another Twi-Mom who loves brain candy as reading material, I admit the writing falls short of stellar. But the storytelling works (even the second time around). To me, the enchantment of the Twilight books comes with their exploration of girls’ transformation into women. While managing to avoid the heavy handed “yuck” of maxi-pad commercials, the books explore the thrill and responsibility of girls’ seductive powers that accompany our bodies’ adolescent transmogrification. Caitlin Flanagan dissected this teen-girl angle brilliantly in “What Girls Want” in last December’s Atlantic Monthly. “The Twilight series is not based on a true story, of course,” Flanagan explains. “But within it is the true story, the original one… a boy who loves a girl so much that he refuses to defile her, and a girl who loves him so dearly that she is desperate for him to do just that.”

 

But in Book Four, Breaking Dawn, the series goes on to plumb the inherent magic of being able to bear, nurture, and protect children and other loved ones– the rewards and challenges of the almighty feminine. Serious stuff for moms. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Stephenie Meyer gave birth to three children during the evolution of the Twilight books.

 

Shortly after becoming a legal “woman” after her 18th birthday, the main character, Bella, unintentionally gets pregnant. The pregnancy is complicated and dangerous, and she risks death by bearing the child (pretty much how I felt facing my first childbirth). Then, in a dramatic delivery, she transforms from human to vampire at the precise moment of giving birth. Sound familiar? ‘Cause this is, metaphorically at least, exactly what happened to me: the moment my first baby was born I transformed into a creature as unfamiliar to me as a vampire. I suddenly had superpowers I’d never dreamed of.

 

celticscotian
05.01.09

I love this...so true!

In spite of the "spoiler" comments, I don't think it will detract much from the enjoyment readers will get upon settling into these stories. I was sucked in when I came across a copy in our breakroom and read the first chapter over my lunch break one day...then read all 4 books in 10 days while working full time and managing to keep up with laundry, etc....so they were obviously "can't put down" books for me.

It was fun to get lost in a fantasy for a little while in the midst of day to day chaos. These books turned into a book club of sorts for us at work - we are ER nurses with kids...escape from chaos is always welcome. It is nice to see someone put into words the deeper aspects of what likely appeals to most of us about these books. Can't wait for the New Moon movie to come out. :)

tomgirl360
04.27.09

Ditto on the "SPOIL ALERT" comment... I wish I would have saw that prior to reading the contents of this article. But I have to agree with all, the Vampire story is so attractive and sad at the same time. Their forever youth in conjunction with the memory of eternity... tragic in its beauty.

erryderry
04.25.09

have just read twilight - then saw stephenie meyer's web page and read her draft of the same story from edward's perspective - made me swoon even more! i do have to agree with power1370, wish there had been a SPOILER ALERT, but i'll live. . . .
i resisted these books for so long because i assumed they were short/simple/predictable/sweet valley high type stories, but they are sooooooooo not!

SolsMama
04.17.09

I am so addicted to the Saga. I watched the movie on accident and ended up really enjoying it...to the point that I wanted to read the book. I was hooked once I started. It's such a simple read and not much to think about, which can be great sometime, especially while I'm going through the just-learned-to-walk stage and have to constantly put the book down. It's such a magical book and I love that the book really pushes towards abstinence.

And powder-
I totally know what you mean about wishing for days of new love! You can't help but compare Edward to your spouse!

Great book, great article..

powder1370
04.14.09

Whew!! I too am addicted to these books - just started reading last week and can't seem to stop. I've watched the movie twice as well. I had not read Breaking Dawn yet, so read your article and wished there had been a *spoiler alert* but oh well. I too am a "smart mom" who has been so sucked in by this story I am embarrassed to a certain extent. It is truly entrancing. Makes me wish for the days of new love and the excitement that goes along with it.

I applaud Stephenie Meyer, a stay at home mom who has made her dreams come true. She has inspired me to try to fulfill my own dreams outside of being a loving Mom and wife.

Thanks for this article!!