I was at lunch recently with some friends, and I found myself in a weird position...we were talking about the Twilight movies and books and I found myself defending them...and feeling really, really ignorant because I was.
For those of you not in the know, "Twilight" is a four book series (and yes, for those I was lunching with, there are four books...) that tells the story of Bella Swan, a hopelessly awkward high school senior who meets and falls in love with Edward, a vampire. Oh, and her best friend is Jacob, a werewolf. (Hilarity ensues.)
Actually, and I've read all the gripes and complaints about these books from women's groups and from authors and from people who just don't like stuff that's popular, I really liked the books. Sure, I enjoy the movies, but I really liked the books. I believe author Stephenie Meyer took something everyone thinks they know and turned it on it's side. She took the legends of vampires and werewolves and made them...romantic heroes.
And then she made millions.
I liked the books. My daughter LOVED the books. The men who live here also enjoyed the books, though Boy child might not admit to it now. (He's 18...he's not going to admit to liking anything romantic.) While I understand they aren't for everyone, I don't get the backlash, and I really don't get why I feel like some uneducated hick whenever the topic comes up. Like I'm just not sophisticated enough to appreciate that they aren't any good.
As authors we are always looking for the unique story, that specific VOICE. But face it, we are working with a very limited number (I think it's seven) of root plots. And you take those root plot concepts and work them and rework them over the course of forever, and honestly, everything "new" seems to echo something that came before.
Ultimately, "Twilight" is the story of man against nature. And there's a little good versus evil tossed in for good measure. If there's a lesson...and I'm not saying there is, but if there would be, the lesson, the message is "we can overcome our difference no matter how huge if we can find a common purpose and a way to love each other."
Nothing wrong with that.
Do we have a little author envy going on? Possibly. Are there horror purists out there who can't stand the idea of a cuddly, loving werewolf? Definitely. But here's the thing: It's all fiction.
I think Moby Dick is the worst book ever written. There are those who love it. (Well, there must be...high school and college students are forced to read that pile of steaming pointlessness year after year.) I believe Wuthering Heights is the greatest novel on my shelf.
I think J. K. Rowlings is a goddess for the universe she created in Harry Potter.
And I think Stephenie Meyer is a genius for taking something familiar and giving it new life.
These are just opinions. They are my opinions.
And I'm all done feeling stupid for having them.