Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why I think Twilight is a good thing.

Put that rotten tomato down and wait just a moment. Hear me out!

While I didn't like Twilight (and didn't even finish the first book), I still think Twilight was a great thing to happen to a lot of teenage girls and reading in general.

I take the "school special" bus to work, so it's filled with local junior high school kids. I've seen some of these teens, especially girls, for years on the bus and none ever had a book in their hands. If I were to believe their stories, they were barely passing school and "hated" reading.

So you can imagine my surprise to see one of the Hair Spray Posse (their name, not mine) reading Twilight. And, then, all of them were reading Twilight. Then, it was Harry Potter. Last week, one of them said she picked up a book by Patricia Briggs. It was "like totally awesome."

I don't condone poorly written and edited work. I do, however, think that sometimes us writers forget that there are folks out there who don't read a lot and aren't ready for fancy prose and plot. Liana Brooks called Twilight a "gateway drug". There are folks that need a beginner book; something easy and harmless to tempt them to try the hard stuff.

Twilight, ladies and gentlemen, is that.

So while I enjoy making fun of Twilight and sparkling, angst-ridden vampires who Buffy would have slaughtered without breaking a sweat, I also accept that Twilight has helped some young women discover the wondrous world of reading.


Lea said...

Krista, you are so right. As writers we do need to think ways to bring in more young adults and help them build a love for reading.

I have the first three books of Twilight, think they are long, but after reading your post I have to say the simplicity and detailed length is probably why these teens enjoyed the novel.

Enjoyed your post!

Arlene said...

I'm one of the rare ones who enjoyed Twilight. Not the editing, not all the surlus and annoying exclamation points everywhere, not enough to watch any of the movies, but I thought the twists on vamps and weres, the voice geared toward young adult, was a fun read. I seriously like her novel, Host. It had a much better plot to it, imo.
Krista makes some excellent observations. Mark Twain got me reading as a child, but even authors like him may have a hard time competing with the tv and internet of today, so anyone who gets a teen to read deserves some respect.

Annie Melton said...

OMG, I'm going to tweet this. I'm glad to told me to put the tomatoes down (LOL!) because getting to "Gateway Drug" was so totally worth it! LOL

Krista D. Ball said...

I put the WAIT in there because I knew someone would go into a frenzy over just the title!

The gateway drug is all Liana Brooks!

Ginger Simpson said...

As someone who has just signed a contract for my very first YA, I'm really interested in posts about what the younger set is reading these days. I enjoyed my visit.

Rebecca Leigh said...

After going to law school at the same time I had a 3 month old absolutely KILLED any desire in me to read for a long, long time -- I am also one of the ones that love Twilight. That book got me reading again. I loved it and couldn't put it down. That was a little over a year ago and now, here I am, not only reading but writing (and getting published) too!

Cheers for Twilight.


Isabel Roman said...

You make an excellent point. It's the reason I don't condem anyone for actually liking Harry Potter. (What? He's a whinny jerk with the emotional depth of a cricket. The bad guys, Voldemort notwithstanding, were much more interesting.)

Reading is reading. Whatever it is, as long as they're reading I'm good with it. (It's the librarian in me.) And hey, now that girl is reading Patricia Briggs whom I really enjoy. Whatever hooks them!

Cate Masters said...

I enjoyed the first Twilight movie because Robert Pattinson fascinated me, I have to admit. Now the movie irritates me as much as the book because the director was obviously in love with the two leads and spent too much time letting the camera go gaga over them instead of focusing on the story.
Now the story, hmmm. I read the first book out of curiosity. Stephenie Meyer's a writer of the same caliber as JK Rowling - not great technically but she knows how to hook readers, and knows how to keep them reading. So I'm envious of that. Like any good writer, though, she does love her characters (maybe too much) and that comes through, and is possible contagious to mass hysteria. I'd never heard of her before the news reported mobs at her book signings, so she was an energizing force to readership, which is great.
So to sum the longwinded reply, I agree. :)

Barbara Elsborg said...

I think it's easy to be critical of books, especially popular books. Twilight was written for a YA audience and was hijacked to a certain extent by older readers who found it easy to pick fun at the emotions etc of the characters. I agree with the - if it gets them reading what's wrong with that - argument. I liked the first book, read the next two but was bored by them. Haven't read the last but will one day. My boredom was MY problem, not the author's. The book wasn't aimed at me. Same with Harry Potter and also with The Book Thief. It's hardly fair to force adult expectations on a genre meant for younger eyes.

Lisa Lane said...

I have never read any of the Twilight novels, nor have I seen any of the movies, so my opinion is based solely on feedback I have observed from others. With that said:

I have a problem with authors making popular the outdated "damsel in distress" ... the YA audience needs modern and realistic role models.

I shall step down from my soapbox now, lol.

Krista D. Ball said...

Some people do enjoy the damsel in distress theme. And it is fiction. It's where young women can pretend to be Bella and have someone rescue them. For some young women, that helps them get through their day. And the ones who think it's romantic when Edward stalks Bella when she's sleeping would still scream at the tops of their lungs if anyone actually did that to them in real life.

Damsel in distress might be outdated to you and me, who aren't really interested in it. However, I remember being 15 and going through a phase where I wanted someone to swoop in and rescue me from my life. I was tough as nails to people's faces, but I was home under the covers reading Danielle Steel and wishing I was the heroine in her books.