*By the way, this post contains some spoilers. But if you're reading these words, you've probably either already read and love/hate the book, or you are curious about its content. So read on!
Bella and Edward As Teen Role Models (Don't laugh, yet.)
1) Bella and Edward wait to have sex until after they get married. I mean, seriously, do you want your sixteen year old having sex with her boyfriend? How about her second or third boyfriend? No? Then Bella and Edward can be an example in this regard.
2) Edward is a respectful, old-fashioned kind of guy. He respects Bella's dad Charlie, and he's actually the one in the relationship who insists on marriage before sex.
3) Bella is a responsible young adult. She finishes school essays several days before their due dates. She reads literature. She shops and cooks for her father. She was ready and willing to buy her own car with her own money. Are you liking this, parents? She's actually not a bad role model, in a lot of ways.
4) This book touches on a few spiritual matters. During chapter 14, "Mind Over Matter," Bella asks how vampires might have originated. Edward replies,
"Well, where did you come from? Evolution? Creation?
Couldn't we have evolved the same way as other species,
predator and prey? Or if you don't believe that all this
world could have just happened on its own, which is hard
for me to accept myself, is it so hard to believe that the
same force that created the delicate angelfish with the
shark, the baby seal and the killer whale, could create both
our kinds together?"
I thought this was a beautiful way to suggest the question of origins to a teenager. This idea appears in few books, much less in Teen lit where it should be since teens are still feeling all this out for themselves. (Check out this video, around the 5 minute mark, for a minute long overview of Stephanie Meyer's religious views, and how they impacted her book.)
5) The books don't glorify the blood-sucking, evil sides of vampires. I haven't read Dracula, so I know very little about the classical metaphors, etc. But I do know that these are "vegetarian vampires," meaning they've found a way to control their thirst without drinking the blood of humans. Edward worries about his soul. These don't sound like the dangerous, evil vampires that Christians worry might influence the minds of their children. And anyway, most kids know the difference between fantasy and reality. Twilight won't demonize the minds of your children. I understand that this is a personal opinion, though. If you aren't comfortable with it, I won't try to convince you any farther.
Good Reading Experiences
6) Moms and daughters can read and enjoy these books together. It's been done. Seriously.
7) It'll get your teen girl reading! What's not to like? One positive reading experience can easily lead to another. Would you rather your daughter be watching TV or reading Twilight? By the way, Twilight is a pretty big book for a reluctant reader to pick up (my copy has 498 pages and rivals a few of my Bibles in thickness). If they're reading it, I say give 'em a gold star.
Before I leave you to consider these things, let me tell you that the books are NOT the same things as the movies. I really...dislike the movies. But I like the books. And before you decide you don't like the books, give them a fair trial, please.