The Bella in All of Us

Look, I am going to give my opinion on something. It is only my opinion. It is also clear to me that I am in the minority here. But it’s my blog and my mind and, again, only my opinion. If I like chocolate ice cream, and you like strawberry cheesecake ice cream, that’s cool. Your taste in ice cream doesn’t mean that we can’t be friends. I hope.

Same goes for taste in books (and/or movies). Twilight is probably the reigning movie at the box office this weekend, and I’ve been hearing about the hype for weeks — it was featured on NPR for goodness sake. My library has a coffin in it as part of their Twilight doings. (Maybe it’s left over from Halloween, too. I’m not 100 percent sure.)

I did not like the Twilight book.

There I said it.

As a matter of fact, when I got to the part about the vampires running around during the day, I pretty much almost threw the book across the room. Seeing as it didn’t belong to me, I refrained. I know in order to keep the genre interesting, you might have to change the rules, but COME ON. Jeez Louise, there are two vampire rules in literature and movies (Wesley Snipes’ “Daywalker” not withstanding): They must drink blood, and they are helpless during the day/in sunlight. I don’t give a shite how cloudy it is in the Pacific Northwest.

The friend from whom I borrowed this book loved it. Loved it. She’s my age, holds a Ph.D. in psychology, and generally we have similar tastes in books. She was all set to lend me the second book (Eclipse? I don’t know. I’m blocking the knowledge, just like I am blocking out the knowledge of the names of the Teletubbies even though my daughters just inherited a set of the dolls. I admit to not liking Twilight so very strongly that I do not at all feel compelled to read any other Stephanie Meyer book), and I declined. “I really didn’t like the writing,” I told her. That was the end of the conversation.

Also, my taste in fiction is nothing to brag about. My bookshelf is stocked with Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, Guy Gavriel Kay, J.K. Rowling, Douglas Adams, and Neil Gaiman among others. I check P.J. Tracey and Michael Connelley out of the library. I’m not being a snob (I don’t think).

And I might have some reservations of a feminist nature, too, but really my biggest dread about Twilight and its sequels?

This is the kind of thing that I may have to partake in as the mother of teenage girls. And I have to do it without eyerolling, or ball busting literary criticism. Of course teenage girls and their moms love Edward Cullen. It perfectly possible that as a teenager, I would have loved Edward and identified with Bella.

Because teenage girls are a species onto themselves. And I hope I remember what being that species is like so that, at the very least, I can help my girls survive the teenage years. I don’t need to be their friend, but I do need to be there and be their mom.

All I need to remember those days is read through some of my journals from that time. Oh yes, I still have them — every single Cringe-inducing word of them. My box of journals is one possession I simply cannot part with. Somewhere along the way I heard someone say, “Never throw out anything you have written.” Boy, have I taken that to heart.

My point is not to trash Twilight. If you liked it, and the rest of the books, I have no problem with that. My point is: Please let me remember what being Bella was like. So when I’ve got at least one Bella of my own on my hands, I do not alienate her by being condescending or dismissive. I was an angst-ridden teenager in my day. Not that Monkey or Bun ever need to know that.