Elaine A. Heath
Westminster John Knox Press/adult non-fiction; philosphy, religion & spirituality
Release Date: September 2, 2011
The Twilight saga has become one of the most successful fiction series ever written, with more than one hundred million copies in print and several box office blockbusters. Despite Twilight’s tremendous commercial success, few readers have analyzed its theological teachings or the messages Stephenie Meyer might be sending to women and teenage girls. This book offers both a feminist critique of Twilight and a theological review of the stories’ ideas about salvation, heaven and hell, power, reconciliation, resurrection, and organized religion.
The book includes questions for youth and adult groups or for classroom discussions.
By tackling the Twilight Saga, Heath has set herself in direct opposition to millions of teen girls (and not-so-teen women). Whether they see themself as Bella, or just dream of an Edward or Jacob entering their life, most will not entertain any thought that Twilight is anything less than perfect.
Heath lays out detailed analyses of the characters that show them to be just like you and I. That is, decidedly less than perfect. It is much more powerful to read the definition of a psychologically battered woman compared to Bella’s words and actions, rather than to just call Bella “weak”.
One of the hallmarks of this book is that it is not simply a slam against Twilight. It carefully presents both good and bad traits found in the saga. It does not advocate not reading the books, it simply advocates that readers see that what makes a good story may not make a good reality.
My verdict: Read it. This is not a book meant for everyone. It is a study and must be approached as such. I highly recommend it for youth leaders, teachers and parents that deal with Twilight obsessed youth. I found it to be very non-confrontational and thought provoking. I don’t think it detracts from my enjoyment of the series at all, it just opens it up on a different level. I don’t necessarily recommend it for individual reading, it is something that should be shared and discussed.