It’s true—I’m a Twi-hard. I’m not stalking Robert Pattinson or anything, but I read all four books of the series, in about a month, and I’ve watched both movies more than once. Now I’m a 33-year-old woman, well-educated and well-read, yet I’m susceptible to a teenage vampire romance. As a writer, it behooves me to try to figure out why.
So for those of you who have yet to succumb to Twilight’s charm, it’s the story of 17-year-old Bella Swan, klutzy and plain, who falls in love with Edward Cullen, 104-year-old vampire in the body of a gorgeous 17-year-old boy. Rob Pattinson comes close to perfection, I admit, but the descriptions of Edward in the book paint a portrait of the most exquisite male specimen humanity has ever seen. And somehow, the amazing supernatural Edward Cullen falls in love with plain old ordinary Bella.
Throughout the first book, which I devoured, I held on to some skepticism about their “love.” It seemed too obsessive, too consuming, too teenager. No one falls in love so completely at 17 and stays that way forever. No one finds their soul mate that young. (Oh, except my parents.) But not nowadays, that doesn’t happen. (Oh, except for my friends James and Stephanie.) Fine, so maybe it happens.
But the talk about completing each other, needing each other, was a bit much for seventeen I thought. I enjoyed the fantasy, escaping into the world of supernatural beings who are so good that they fight their nature, live a moral life in spite of great temptation, and are fabulously wealthy, athletic, beautiful, and funny. Who wouldn’t want to spend time in that world?
But in the second book of the series, New Moon, when Edward breaks up with Bella and leaves, I began to believe that Edward really was her soul mate, that she may live without him, but it was no kind of life. Seeing Bella’s devastation, and feeling it, made me believe in the relationship between the characters. That’s when Stephanie Meyer (the author) got me.
Maybe because I’ve lived through horrible breakups. Maybe because I have a soul mate, and can’t imagine having a complete life without him. Maybe just because Meyer so effectively conveyed the horror of being devastated by love. Bella can live without Edward, she does, but it’s not the same. She will never be the same.
And this all appeals to me why? I like to believe that two people can love each other so completely. Even if it’s hard to believe that can happen when you’re seventeen and last your whole life, sometimes it does. Don’t we all want someone who loves us so much that they would sacrifice their happiness, even their life for us? Bella and Edward’s love is idealized, I’m not sure that humans really love each other like that, but it’s nice to watch and to imagine. Maybe it’s something to strive for—putting your partner’s happiness first, sacrificing for them, protecting them, standing by them, forgiving them when they make a horrible mistake.
Isn’t it nice to think that kind of love is possible?