Before you read this post, please know one thing: it really is possible to be warmer-than-lukewarm when it comes to Twilight. It seems like some people want you to only be allowed to hate the books to the extent that you say it is the worst piece of trash ever created, or to love the books so much that you own a shower curtain with Edward's face on it (oh how I wish I were making that up). But please believe me when I say there is a very reasonable middle ground, and I am on it, along with a great many other people. I do love the Twilight books. But they are neither the best books I've ever read, nor are they even close to being among the very worst. I read a lot of books. I like a lot of books. The Twilight books happen to be among the books that I like.
I guess there's one other thing I want you to know, and that is that I promise I am not offended if you don't like the Twilight books. That's fine. Whatever. I am not one of those people. You can make fun of them all you want and I will probably laugh right along with you.
However, here are some rebuttals to criticisms of the series that I hear all the time. I find these criticisms tiresome, because I think they are often offered up disingenuously, more because it's fun to bash something popular than because they represent the actual feelings of the person, who, I should add, has usually read all four books in the series.
1. The Twilight books are so poorly written. Really? This one puzzles me. Like I said, I've read a lot of books, and the thought that the Twilight ones are even remotely shoddy pieces of workmanship has never crossed my mind. Yes, the descriptions of Edward's chest do get old after a while. Yes, there is a lot of teenage angst in the books that might not make for the most erudite reading experience. Yes, there are many other books out there that you could name as being "better written." But that's all in the nature of the subject matter, or the story, or the type of book, not the quality of the writing.
Also, many of the people who I have heard make this complaint listened to the audio book, so maybe it's something in the voice of the performer, or the fact that when it's an audio book, you can't skip over said descriptions of Edward's chest.
Finally, if the writing was so terrible, why did you read all four books?
2. Well, I only read all four books because even though her writing sucks, the story was compelling. Except you can't tell a compelling story with crappy writing. I just don't think it's possible. Nobody would bother sifting through terrible writing just to get at a story. I've been trying to think of an example of a book with poor writing but an awesome story, and I really can't think of one. I can think of times I've been put off of an interesting story by a book's objectionable content (Special Topics in Calamity Physics), or because of the author's style of writing (The Book Thief, but I'm glad I didn't give up), but never for outright bad writing.
3. OK then, how about that Edward? He sure is creepy and stalker-y. Is this really the kind of relationship our daughters should be aspiring to? If your daughters are patterning their behavior on things they read in novels, you've got more problems than just Twilight. Of course what we read affects us. But we're not doing our jobs as parents if we don't endeavor to guide our children's choices and then provide a context for the media they consume.
4. Fine. But you're kind of a semi-feminist-ish-like person. Don't you think Bella is a weak heroine? This criticism has some merit, at least in the first couple of books. Bella does do a lot of standing around, waiting to be rescued. On the other hand, she is surrounded by vampires and werewolves. I contend that there isn't much she can do, and what little there is, she generally does. I don't know, I guess I've always just accepted it as part of this particular story. I don't even think it's an anti-woman thing on the part of Stephenie Meyer (which allegation doesn't really make sense, but whatever). The female vampires and werewolves in the Twilight books are given equal treatment with the male ones, so I'm not really sure you can condemn the books as promoting a weak-girl agenda. Besides, if you want YA books about strong females, there's always Shannon Hale.
Did I miss anything? I'm just so tired of feeling like I have to be on the defensive when it comes to Twilight. Can't I just like a book but accept that it's not perfect, without having to jump on the poorly written/stalker boyfriend/anti-feminist bandwagon? No really, can't I?