I have never seen the movies. I read the first book a couple of years ago. At the time, it seemed like the type of story I would have liked at that age and that made it kind of comforting. I read the second book more recently. Now, that the storyline is coming back to me, I'm having mixed feelings.
Romanticizing vampires is nothing new. They have always been an outlet for humans' psychosexual issues. Especially in more sexually repressive times (like the one
Humanizing vampires and making them sympathetic is a little newer. I remember it as far back as Anne Rice and FCC's
Girls, if he tells you you're not safe with him, believe him and run screaming. Don't just bat your doe eyes and say, "I trust you." I know women tend to be raised to give unconditionally, but trusting him will not automatically transform him into someone worthy of that trust. At best, you will just enable him.
I-love-you-but-I-want-to-kill-you is not my relationship ideal.
But, on the other hand, I can also understand the reasons why vampire stories remain so popular.
When you have intense passion for someone, there is that feeling like you want to completely consume their essence. And at the same time, there's the need to surrender to the other person, to give up everything...even if it's life and death. The best (and sometimes worst) feeling is when it seems like you really just couldn't help yourself. Who would want to tame passion, anyway?
When you turn it into an actual life or death situation, that raises the stakes and gives a greater emotional carthasis. While most of us wouldn't want these things to literally come true, a story is a safe place to live it out.
And yes. For teens, everything is melodrama. Roll your eyes about it if you want, but we've all been there. Everything does feel like a life or death situation. So, it's understandable that they would like fiction that allows them to process those feelings.
Which is why I remain on the fence.