Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Review of "Twilight" by Laura Hough

Laura Hough is our youth pastor's wife. She recently decided to read the wildly popular "Twilight" book series so as to be informed when ministering to teen-aged girls. I think she provides a very helpful perspective.

Just finished reading the Twilight series

I didn’t even know what Twilight was until right before the movie came out in theaters and we started seeing Twilight everything everywhere. When we asked about it, I was shocked to hear that it was something the girls liked (if you’ve seen the ads you can see why I was surprised. I was thinking more Lord of the Rings with the vampires and all). So when Brian rented the movie a few weeks ago, I really was prepared to fall asleep during it.

You know, it wasn’t half bad. This made me realize I needed to read the books, if for no other reason, to see what all these teenage girls are reading. I have to admit I skipped the first book (hello, I had just seen the movie! I hate that excuse, but I was really curious to see what happened next), and the second book was just ok as far as stories go, but I realized early on that this is exactly what I fight against in my ministry to teenage girls: the idea that nothing is more important than a boy and their world revolving around that. Sounds trite, but it’s so real in today’s culture.

While the series was a captivating love story, I found myself starting book three only wanted to be done reading. I couldn’t just walk away, not only had I invested too much time not to finish, I needed to know how it ended. So although I hated picking it up to read, I knew it was the only way to finish! And I just became more and more disturbed that this is the worldview that girls are being fed. I’m not anti-romance, but this girl is in high school and cares about nothing else and no one else than a boy. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I just kept wishing she would find her worth and self in Christ alone, because HE is very real and the only thing worth putting that much effort and love into.

Like I said, the love story was intense, and I would venture to say too intense for high school students. Even though there’s no premarital sex (I think the series prides itself in that), it was still very, for lack of a better word, “passionate.” I wouldn’t want my daughter reading about the physical longings that are deemed ok. I know this is fiction, I know it’s entertainment, but it still made me sad that girls are wanting this and thinking if they can just find their “Edward” everything else will be peachy and every longing they have will be filled in him. Problem is, they are looking for an “Edward” when they should be looking for all those things in Christ.

I love this verse in Psalms. I love that it emphasizes the singularity of our seeking after our Lord. I pray that this will be the prayer of the girls we minister to, as well as mine.

Psalm 27:4

One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after:

that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple

In short, I feel like the Twilight series went against everything I’ve been praying for teens. And I wish I’d just waited and watched the movies!


Zach said...

Good review, and echoed by the website http://www.decentfilms.com/sections/articles/twilight.html:

Chastity is a precious thing, and the struggle to be chaste is both an inevitable part of a moral life and a legitimate subject for narrative art. In part, this quest for chastity may legitimately form some part of Twilight’s appeal. At the same time, a narrative that wallows in the intoxicating power of temptation and desire, that returns again and again to rhapsodizing about the beauty of forbidden fruit, may reasonably be felt to be a hindrance rather than an affirmation of self-mastery.

This is all the more problematic in a story in which, unlike normal adolescents wrestling with desire, lover and beloved dance around an act that is inherently monstrous and destructive
[Edward's drinking Bella's blood]. For some young readers, the darkness of this struggle might resonate in part with distorted adolescent fear of sex — but on a larger level their temptation speaks to unhealthy, disordered appetite, like an addict’s craving for his drug of choice. “Exactly my brand of heroin” is how Edward describes Bella (that’s “heroin” without a final e).This will not be one that the daughters Brissett see or read. No sense playing with fire.

KY ICU NURSE said...

I have e mailed this to several devout fans of Twilight!!!!...VERY WELL WRITTEN. When my husbands ex wife bought this for our daughter I was apaulled. How could a demonic vampire love story be uplifting. Why would a woman that said she was a CHristian want her daughter to fantasize about a FICTIONAL love. I e mailed it to her as well. Bravo...Many thanks!!!! I now see that when you look for an Edward you take your eyes off CHrist and put these feelings in a "false" Christ. A fake. an imitator. Just like the magicians that imitated Moses, Edward can never compare nor can hecan fill the emptiness like our true bridegroom the REAL Jesus Christ can!!!

Frontier Forest said...

I remember when the Ryan O’Neal, “Love Story” was released. I was a new believer and all during the depressing movie I kept saying out loud in the theater, “Why doesn’t someone tell this dude about Jesus! He’s dying and all he is thinking about is stuff he will be leaving behind!” I don’t think the folks around me appreciated my observant, overzealous comments.