I have to admit, when I saw that Twilight had made the list of the most challenged/banned books in 2011, I almost snorted Diet Coke out of my nose and wet my pants. Simultaneously. I mean, COME ON. This is a list that includes such amazing titles as The Great Gatsby, Beloved, and The Grapes of Wrath. And here it is, sparkly vampires and teen angst and all. And yes, I’ve read them. Every last word of every last one.In fact, I’m pretty sure you have to, so no summary. And if you haven’t (or even say you haven’t but really totally have, even going so far as to tape a print out of the cover of War and Peace over the cover of Twilight so you wouldn’t secretly be discovered), then you’re on your own!
Why would you ban Twilight? I suppose for the same reason as Harry Potter, but that’s an entirely separate issue we’ll have to get in to later*. But, here it is. Being challenged. Also here. And here. And, apparently, here. Man people are in a stink over Twilight. This post, in order to mix things up a bit, here is a top five list of the reasons that I think people wanting to ban this book are absolutely crazy.
- NOTHING NAUGHTY HAPPENS! I felt like this one needed to be in all caps, as this is the primary frustration I had with the book, as well as the number one reason I see no need to ban them. I mean, other than a rather disgusting scene involving popping eye blood vessels (that for a while turned me off to the idea of EVER having a baby, let alone one that’s half vampire), it’s all pretty PG. I mean, we get no sex, very little direct violence, very mild scary scenes, and just a whole lot of teenage angst. Unless I missed some huge death scene/battle/pornographic interlude between Edward and Bella, I just don’t see why this is all such a big deal.
- They’re make believe characters anyway. I mean, for the very few ‘death’ scenes we do get, there isn’t any actual blood. Unless, of course, Bella has just fallen down and hurt herself, and that’s just because she’s an idiot. When the vampires die, it’s all ‘off-camera’ and, compared to the things shown on TV, movies, and *gasp* the news, it’s all relative tame. See: my footnote on parental responsibility and the difference between reality and truth.
- The book champions not having sex until you’re married and was written by a Mormon mother. The religiously antsy should now be pacified.
- The Cullens, Carlisle especially, provide a really excellent platform for young people of faith to discuss issues like the soul, the afterlife, and the value of good and evil in the life we currently lead. Instead of fearing these conversations, you’d think that they’d be more encouraged amongst us all (those that want to have them, that is)
- The book gets kids reading. Alright, sure, I bet a bunch of books do that. Or do they? Think of all the major series that have up-heaved the children of America. Gotten them staying up until all hours of the night reading? Gotten them to read above doing things like watching TV or playing video games? Gotten them to bookstores at midnight, or hours before, gathered in anticipation? Yeah, I can only think of a few, too, and one of those few is Twilight. And there is merit in that.
Now, if only I didn’t think that Bella was a horrible heroine, or that Edward and Bella fashioned an outline for obsessive teenage relationships everywhere. But STILL! Banning Twilight? Really? Happy reading!
*: I don’t want to step on anyone’s beliefs here, so I’m largely trying to avoid a religious conversation. Mostly because I don’t really think the books are read like that by a wide cross-section of their audience, and also because I’m a Christian who doesn’t think this book violates and central tenants of the faith. The whole debate over things like Twilight and Harry Potter comes, for me, down to an issue of parental responsibility. As long as you can explain the different between real and fantasy, and that sometimes things happen in fantasy that wouldn’t be okay if they happened in real life, there shouldn’t be a problem. But that’s just this blogger’s humble opinion!