As I mentioned, I have been reading the Twilight books. Jason and I like to stay apprised of things that are of interest to the kids in our youth group, so we recently borrowed the movies from my sister. We discussed our opinion of the films, but knowing how books and movies often differ significantly, I still wanted to check out the books. So when I came across the first book at the library, I checked it out and added it to my “to read” pile. Now, I’ve read all four books, and I thought I’d put down on paper (figuratively speaking) what I thought about them.
Truthfully, I was surprised at how well-written the stories were, given their popularity with novice readers. The stories were compelling, and I gobbled up all four novels pretty quickly. (They were a good way to pass the time on trips and while Jason was gone.) That being said, I still don’t think I would recommend these books to any of the girls in my youth group, for a couple reasons:
1. They glorify emotional love as the single most important experience. The characters in the Twilight saga continually disregard doing what is best for themselves and each other because of the romantic feelings they have for other characters. This is not unique to this series; most romantic novels, and contemporary fictional media in general have this problem. But teenagers are especially prone to the belief that feeling “in love” is so important that anything is justifiable for the safe of following the said “love.” I think it is important to discourage such thinking, and instead uphold things that define love through sacrificial action, in keeping with Christ’s example.
2. They cross the line in describing intimacy between characters. Granted, these books are not explicit in the way trashy romance novels are. However, Edward and Bella’s decision in regards to consummating their relationship in the final book takes a pretty central role, and is discussed way more often than I believe is appropriate for the traditional audience of these books.
Those two negative things aside, if you have a young woman in your life who has already read the books, there are some great lessons she can learn from this book also: **SPOILER ALERT**
– Chastity is important, and sex is worth waiting for. Edward refuses to sleep with Bella until they are married.
– Human life is sacred. Bella refuses to take the life of her unborn child, even at serious risk to her own health. The Cullens will not shed human blood to gratify their own desires.
– People may surprise you if you give them a chance. By the end of the series, the werewolves and the vampires (once mortal enemies) have joined together against common enemies enough times to realize that they can co-exist peacefully.
Ultimately, with any book (or movie, video game, music, etc.) the most important thing is to be able to scrutinize it enough to see what ideas it is presenting, and then evaluate which of them line up with Scripture and which do not. If you have a teenager, I’m sure you already know that you cannot completely isolate them from the things of the world. But if you keep an open dialogue about what your kids are exposed to, and then encourage them to work at filling their minds with things that are pleasing to God, you won’t have to worry that one bad movie or song will come along and completely derail their faith.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Philippians 4:8