Monday, November 16, 2009

Book Review: Touched By A Vampire

Touched by a Vampire: Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight Saga by Beth Felker Jones. 2009. Multnomah. 180 pages.

Have you read Twilight by Stephenie Meyer? Have you read all the Twilight books? (New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn) What did you think of them? Beth Felker offers a critical analysis of all four books in Touched By A Vampire. What messages (if any) are biblical? And which messages (if any) contradict christian values?

The purpose of the book isn't to stop people from reading the books. It isn't a strong impassioned plea to ban the books or any such nonsense. What Jones does is argue that the book has strengths and weaknesses. That the books may not be as harmless as they first appear. That there may just be messages about gender, romance, family, etc. that are at odds with the christian faith.

For example, one of the issues Jones addresses is that of romance and gender. Is Edward and Bella's love healthy? Is this a good relationship model? Should girls be encouraged to be more Bella-like? This is something that has bothered me about the books. How her whole entire world becomes centered on Edward. How he is her everything. How she is nothing without him. How lost she is in him. How much of a person is she? It's only, always, ever Edward.

Jones also mentions how she feels this relationship meets all the guidelines for an abusive one, an unhealthy one. And looking at her list of key signs of an abusive relationship--except for one or two--he does show all the signs. He's possessive and jealous. He does try to control what Bella does, who she sees, who she talks to, where she goes, etc. He does tend to isolate her from her family and friends. (Part of this is on Bella. Once Edward is in her life, she begins closing out everyone else.) He does constantly try to check up on her, wanting to know where she is every moment of the day. And both Bella and Edward become suicidal without each other. Overall, if you take away the fact that he's a vampire, if you were to look at him as being a guy minus all the super powers and minus the perfect oh-so-dreamy looks, he's weird and creepy. He sneaks into his girlfriend's house and watches her sleep.

The book is written to help readers think critically about the popular fiction they're reading.
Each chapter has discussion questions. And the book is designed to be used by groups. Again the goal isn't to stop readers from picking up Meyer's books. The goal seems to be to encourage them to think about what they're reading.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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