The Sunday Salon ~ June 8th, 2008

What is he?  That’s my biggest question since I started reading Stephenie Meyer’s hit novel “Twilight” on Friday evening.  I am just enraptured with this book!  I love the main character Bella and I am as curious and taken with Edward Cullen as Bella is.  I know he’s supposed to be a vampire but to what level?  Is he good or is there some evil behind his changing eyes?  I look forward to finding out as the week progresses.       Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1)       
Reading this book has taken me to a place that I haven’t thought too much about in a while.  High School.  I graduated from high school in 1992 and though I had a wonderful high school experience, I still remember wondering where I fit in sometimes.  I was a chorus and theatre geek but had friends in all the different clicks so I considered myself a bit of a chameleon for those four years, 9 – 12 grades.  

I did do a little research and found out the the town where “Twilight” is set in, Forks, WA, is a real place.  My folks are from the Seattle area originally and one summer, when visiting the grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, we took a vacation to Kalaloch Beach on the west coast of Washington State.  I can still remember the beauty of the beach and the drive up being surrounded by lumber trucks.  It makes it a little easier to picture the area’s described in the book with my memory of that summer.  Kalaloch is further south along the west coast of Washington State from Forks, but it’s still part of Olympic National Park and gorgeous.


10 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon ~ June 8th, 2008

  1. Hey Karen — my cousins used to live in Forks and I spent time there in the summers; also at Kalaloch. We have great beaches in Washington and Oregon.

    I was also a chorus geek — my high school experience was waaayyyy before yours though! Some things just don’t change. I can’t say I’m interested in Twilight but there’s sure lots of talk about it.

    Have a great week.

  2. I read Twilight earlier this year and I just don’t understand the draw of it. IMO its a toxic series and one that teenage girls shouldn’t be allowed to read.

  3. I haven’t read Twilight, but my 10 year old is begging me to read it. Her 11 yr old friend has told her it’s the best book she’s ever read! My daughter is an advanced reader but I think the subject matter is too mature for her.

    I’d love to know from Gail why she thinks the series is “toxic” and that teenage girls shouldn’t be allowed to read it. I’m very curious about that!

  4. Gail~ I am curious, as it seems lisamm is too, about why you consider the “Twilight” series is “toxic” for teenaged girls?
    I must say that I respectfully disagree with you. Having grown up in the days of “Flowers In The Attic”, nothing in this first book, “Twilight”, has hinted at anything as provacative as the “Flowers in the Attic” series. I hope you will take your comment a little further with us here at Planet Books.
    Thanks so much for your interesting comment!

  5. I find the book toxic because it glorifies an abusive relationship but then wraps it up in a pretty bow and stamps the word fantasy on it. Edward stalks Bella. He bullies her around. When she is attacked in one scene he DEMANDS that she calm him down because it was traumatic for him. What about for her? I’ve been in a situation like that scene Bella was in. Trust me…she’d be the one who needed someone to help her calm down. Edward even sneaks in and watches her sleep. Now this is made ok and she even finds it endearing because he is a vampire. But what if this was the act of a normal teenage boy? There is no balance to their relationship. She gives. He takes….and then he demands more. He demands unconditional obedience. There is also no substance to this book. No plot. With the exception of 100 pages at the end the entire book is Bella mooning over Edward. This is all just in the first book. From what I hear Edward’s treatment of Bella only gets worse as the series progresses.

    So this is not a book that I’d recommend for teen girls. Its really hard to be a teenager, especially these days. They need strong female characters to look up to. Not all girls will be able to separate out the fiction aspect of this novel. Not when it is billed as a love story. When given that tag…and then the very skewed image of love that Meyers gives…it scares me. I wouldn’t want my teen (not that I have any kids now) to read this book. As an adult its easy to say, its just fiction and move on….but not all young girls have that ability to disconnect and separate like that.

    So that’s my two cents, for what its worth. If you like the novel…then great. I am happy for you. To each their own. But I will maintain that this is a toxic novel for young girls who are still trying to develop not just a sense of self….but trying to learn what it means to fall in love.

  6. I have not read the book either, but I do agree with Gail that teenage girls need positive female role characters. One thing my mother did with me which I think worked pretty well was to let me read the crappy teenage romance novles, but then I would have to also read something a bit more “legitimate” like Pippi Longstocking. We would then have a discussion about the contrasts between the characters and what qualities I liked in both. There is so much in our culture that gives girls and boys too negative and destructive images of how to behave and who to become. I do not think trying to hide away from these things completely is the correct answer (for me), but I think it is a helpful exercise to deconstruct the negative images with your kid. I think the practice of looking critically at all types of media helps kids grown into adults who are able to digest information that is provided with a sense of curiosity instead of complanency.

    Phew–this was a long post. Thanks for the great comments!

  7. NO, Thanks to ALL of you for the great comments. There are great insights from all positions on this. I love how one book has brought out so much discussion!

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