Here’s some lunchtime reading for you, should your day be at that point where you’re hungry and looking for things to read and ponder whilst you munch: The Atlantic has a fascinating article by Caitlin Flanagan about the allure and, dare I say, sparkle of Twilight for adolescent girls. Flanagan gets a few things spot-on, in my opinion, most notably the secret world of adolescent girls and the walking, shifting maelstrom of ambivalence that is your average pubescent female barely balanced between childhood and adulthood, and how the novel allows readers to access that time in their lives, regardless of age. I mentioned in my review that reading the book reminded me of my angsty teenage self.
While I didn’t continue past book 1, I watched many people around me gulp all four volumes in as few days as possible, downing the novels in a drive so intense I’m surprised they didn’t leave flaming tire tracks behind them as they revisited that teenage angsty wasteland themselves. And while I still have bone-deep problems and a not-insignificant level of discomfort with the degree to which Bella subsumed her identity into Edward’s – she herself wanting to be ‘gulped down’ literally and figuratively – I find myself pondering the article, because perhaps Flanagan has identified part of the element that makes these books so very, very gulpable – and it’s not gullibility on the part of the reader. It’s a vulnerability to teenage emotional time travel.
[Thanks to Holly Watson and Barb Ferrer for the link.]