Look at those pretty covers?^^
Twilight. Ah Twilight. Arguably one of the most successful teenage book franchises in history, helped along massively by the on-screen adaptations. One of the most crazy sets of fans I've ever met. And one of the most disliked franchises in the literary world. But if it's so disliked, then how did it sell so well? Because it a bloody good set of books. That's why.
I know, I know. If you have come to this to laugh at me, now is a good time to start. I honestly don't mind. But I, for one, was, and still am, a big fan of the series. I was about thirteen when I first read them, spurred by my love of the first movie. Being a thirteen-year-old teenage girl is not an easy place in life to be, as I'm sure at least half of you will probably understand, and Twilight was one of those book series that took us all by storm, by relating the main character to an average high school girl, with average high school girl problems: new school, friends, fitting in, homework, romance, prom, graduation, etc. Today I'm going to give my answer to all of the Twilight haters out there, and just express my healthy (hopefully) opinion.
The first point I wanted to make is that these books were aimed at young teenage girls, so if you are a middle-aged man and wondering what the fuck that was all about, you can be safe in the assumption that it doesn't matter, because the books were never aimed at you. I have the same problem with people that say, "Harry Potter is so childish!" Well yeah, Karen, that's because they're children's books. The same can be said for Twilight. People make the argument that they're silly, unrealistic, and full of teenage fangirl-dom (Is that a word? Well, it is now!). Well that's because they were intended to be that way. The best way to write to market, and to edit a book with the target audience in mind, is to write for the majority of that target market. What did most young teenage girls love in the late 2000s and early 2010s? Romance, friendship, fantasy, love triangles, sexy paranormal boys . . . So, Twilight, then?
I get it. It's hard to understand what other people might be into, especially if those 'other people' are humans so far from your state of being that they're practically aliens. Because let's be honest, most teenagers feel like aliens to other age groups. But that doesn't mean they're interests are wrong, misplaced, or disgusting, as I've heard a lot of Twilight-haters say over the years. Some of them even to my (much younger) face. And besides, how many of you are into the same things you were when you were thirteen? I know I'm not. Sure, some of them progressed and developed into something else. I'm a huge fan of paranormal and urban fantasy now, and that started with Twilight. Which, if I had to make a guess, is probably why urban fantasy is doing so well within my age group (16-30) today. Because Twilight, and books like it, were a massive deal back when we were younger.
Fantasy VS Reality
So far I've stuck to talking about the 'politics' behind people's viewpoints, and using Twilight as an example of why we shouldn't judge other people's tastes in entertainment. However, I want to make a serious point for the moment about romance novels in general. Because there are a lot of people who think Twilight is a poor representation of romance and love. And you're right, it is. If you are looking for something of the Twilight variety in your love life, you are either insane or pretty strange. Not many people actually enjoy being put in danger like that, and having such an . . . intense relationship with some unhealthy parts to it. Watching someone sleep when you're not intimate with them already? Weird! Like, borderline stalker behaviour.
However, I think we need to make a clear distinction here between what is real and what is not. Twilight is not just fiction, it is fantasy fiction. It is so far from reality, it goes out of its way to place itself far from it. This means there are things within it you can't compare to real life. You can't honestly compare being in a relationship with a fucking vampire, to being in a relationship in the real world. That's ridiculous. And if your thirteen-year-old children are having trouble telling the difference between fantasy and reality, then maybe reading fantasy-fiction isn't the best thing for them.
There was not one point of my teenage life where I treated my relationship anything like those I was reading in my favourite books. They are two completely different things. I treated my boyfriend (now fiancé) the best I could, and I still do. Why? Because I'm human. I'm in the real world. And vampires and werewolves don't exist here. I think it's rather insulting to teenagers everywhere to assume that it would set a bad example. And if you want them to grow up in a world where they appreciate what is healthy in a relationship and what is not, show them. Demonstrate real-world love. Don't rely on fictional worlds, whether movies, TV, or books, to do it for you.
This one is just a personal gripe, especially as someone who works with story and character development on a daily basis. If I were reading a vampire book, or just a book with a vampire in it, I would be disappointed to read about them being normal. I would assume they are different, and that they would behave in a way categorised by their experiences, both as a vampire and previously as a human in a different time.
So, bearing that in mind, not only was Edward Cullen human in a time when women were treated as property, but he is a blood-sucking predator living on pretty malnourishing animal blood and avoiding his lust for human blood in a world dominated by humans. So what part of his behaviour did you expect to be human-like or normal? I know that the whole predator in a relationship is an overdone trope by this point, but it wasn't when Twilight debuted. And I'll be honest, it's kind of romantic in an intense and weird kind of way. Like watching someone who was so scared and uncertain of themselves become someone who found love and managed to use it to become a better person. I really enjoyed that aspect of Twilight, and seeing Edward's growth from book one, where he was a giant asshole, to book four, where he was a loving husband and father, was rather beautiful.
In conclusion, I really don't think Twilight should be shit on as much as it is, and it really upsets me to see so many people's love of the book series be tarnished by others who make their opinions feel worthless. It doesn't matter if you think they're shit, other people love them. Express your opinion, tell us why you couldn't get into them, by all means, but don't make other people feel lesser than yourself just because they enjoyed something you didn't. As a matter of fact, don't do this for any book (yes, including 50 Shades).