I've been spending time with vampires and werewolves lately by reading the first two books of the Twilight series. My granddaughter Kari loves those books and has read them and seen the movie several times. She wanted the boxed set of hardbacks and for me to read them, too, so I told her I'd order them, read the series, and then give them to her for her birthday. She was all for that.
I'm getting into the story after a slow start. It took reading over half the first book for me to get caught up in the story. Stephenie Meyer isn't anywhere close to the writer that J. K. Rowling is. Rowling is a wonderful writer and an excellent storyteller. Nothing has captivated me the way Harry Potter has since reading them, and I don't even like fantasy literature.
Meyer's series is basically a romance novel with all the complications and sappy parts that are gaggy. I don't like romance novels but have read some and know the format. Well, actually fiction is supposed to introduce a situation with characters who experience one damned thing after another until a resolution is reached. Good fiction gives readers what they want in ways they don't expect it. Fishing is an effective analogy for writing fiction. Hook the fish, give it some line so it can take off a bit, reel it back in, let it back out a little, and keep this up until the fish is landed. Writing is manipulative, and we participate in it as long as the writer holds our interest. Meyer has kept me interested most of the time. I care about Bella, the main character, and am reminded that she is a teenager and makes decisions typically the way they do. I've spent most of my professional life teaching teenagers and know how they can be. I also remember how that all-encompassing passion can be.
I'm going to have to give this more thought about the effect of this story on teenage girls. When we taught Romeo and Juliet, it provided an opportunity to discuss suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary situation and not something that needs to be romanticized. This novel has similarities to Romeo and Juliet and even has Bella make those comparisons. I also warned girls against those "for the love of a good woman" stories and movies because when you're dating him is about the best he's going to be. Don't marry someone thinking you'll change him. It can and has happened, but it's mostly grist for the fiction mill. I'd think that being in love with a vampire would be the ultimate bad boy, no matter how much he restrains himself. The main appeal of Edward the vampire and Jacob the werewolf is that someone is always there to protect her and care about her no matter what. That's pretty heady stuff. Mere mortals can't compete. So of course Bella wants to be turned into a vampire. I'll stay tuned to see how that turns out, finish the series, and see what I think about the other two. So far, this is my take on them.