I'm sure that some of you probably read the title for this post, heaved a big sigh, and seriously considered tracking me down just so you could douse me in gasoline and light me up like a torch. And to that, I say thank you for showing a very impressive amount of self restraint. Others of you probably never even made it this far and turned away before you could read any more.
I mean, really, how dare I? I consider myself to be a pretty respectable blogger, yet here I am, talking about The Twilight Saga. Don't I know yet that these are the books that nobody will ever admit to reading out of free will and that not a single person in their right mind would ever in a million years confess to enjoying? If readers were to ever have a skeleton in their closet, it would be these books. We just don't talk about them, at least not favorably. They're unspeakable. They're taboo.
Well, that's the thing with me and taboos. I'm not so great at respecting them.
So here, on the Internet, for all the world to see, I'm going to admit it. I read The Twilight Saga, and I really didn't think it was all that bad.
Now, am I saying I've never read anything better, I think that these books are all beyond reproach, and we should pledge our firstborn's soul to Stephanie Meyer? No, no, and heck no. I've read much better, there are definitely flaws in the series (such as the anticlimactic ending in Breaking Dawn), and I'm pretty sure the souls of any of my future children are already spoken for by Stan Lee. Or Willy Wonka.
So why did so many people love them before they were no longer cool?
Well, for starters, it's a forbidden romance, and we all know how popular those get. Anna Karenina, Wuthering Heights, Romeo and Juliet. They have all survived centuries just off of the solid claim that people always want what they can't have. Not to mention that it focuses on two very popular paranormal creatures, even if they are well adapted.
Despite all of the criticism Stephanie Meyer gets for her writing style, I personally think she's very talented as well. I know that I never had any problems imagining what I was reading, and I could always find at least a few characters that I really liked. While it wasn't overtly comedic, there were a few funny parts, and I can't really say that I was ever bored reading them. I finished the whole series in a matter of days.
And I know that I'm not alone in thinking this, even now. While I'm sure that many people honestly never enjoyed them at all, many others also just refuse to admit it. Think back to a few years ago, before the movies all came out. Don't you remember how they were all anybody ever wanted to talk about? What happened to those people? Why did they suddenly give up on these books?
The answer to this question is not a pretty one, and I have to admit that I fall victim to it just as much as anybody else. While some people may not always want to stand out from the crowd, they don't want to drown in it either. They think that it doesn't make them special enough. So they decide to scoff at anything that's "popular" just so that they can prove to themselves that they're not like everybody else.
I didn't start reading Twilight until years after the whole series was published, and even though I don't want to admit it, that's exactly why.
So why did I decide to give those books a chance? I'd like to say that I made some huge breakthrough and decided that the views of others were not nearly as important as how I truly thought of myself. Yeah, I'd like to think that I'm that philosophical, but in reality I'm just stubborn. By that point, it was probably a matter of principle for me. There was no way I'd be willing to cave, even if I had wanted to read the books.
How did it really happen, you ask? It was a bet.
One of my friends had just finished all of the books, and she couldn't get over how much she loved them. For her, this was a really big deal. She never read anything she wasn't required to, and sometimes even that wouldn't be enough. She begged and begged and begged me to try to read these books too because they were just so good, but I still refused to do it out of stubbornness.
Finally, she offered me a deal I just couldn't refuse. She told me that if I read the entire Twilight Saga, she would read The Inheritance Cycle, which at that time was only the first three books. I had been trying to convince her to read them for years, and Christmas break was coming up for us, so I figured that it would be a perfect time. I could read her books in my family's annual Christmas car ride, and she should have mine done by the time we had to return to school in a few weeks.
I finished those books. As for my friend? Well, she read a whole twenty pages of Eragon and then decided to call it quits. Apparently old habits die hard.
I can't really say that I was mad at her, just a little annoyed. I knew that reading wasn't her thing, and she did try. It even turned out that she was right about her books after all. They may have been a little depressing for my taste, but I had a lot of fun reading them.
The point of that story was not just to demonstrate how all bets should be put in writing first, but something else as well. This friend of mine was obviously not a fan of books, but she still read and loved The Twilight Saga. That seems pretty miraculous to me, and I know that she wasn't the only one. I've seen tons of people who say that these books began their obsession with reading. They started with Twilight, got hooked, and haven't stopped since. Before, they were only used to those boring novels they were required to read and had never dreamed that there were actually books out there they could enjoy. The Twilight Saga made reading fun for so many people, and whether you say that they were a mistake or not, that fact alone makes it all worth it for me. So, to Stephanie Meyer, all I have to say is thank you.