Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Peer Pressure

My seventh grade son has buckled to peer pressure. Not drugs, alcohol, sex or any of those other parental nightmares. No, gave in to the need to read "Twilight." The series is quite the rage amongst the 6th-8th grade set. Both boys and girls are reading it. At school during SSR (sustained silent reading) both genders are reading the books. He finished the first one in a day and a half and now he is reading the next one. My neighbor has the other two so it saves me a trip to the store.

I asked him what he thought. I've read the book and to be honest didn't find it all that compelling. I didn't, however, share my opinion since I wanted him to form his own. He thought there was too much romance in the first. I had to explain to him that was the point. He thought Edward was creepy and Bella's clumsiness plain annoying. He likes the storyline and the pace and some of the other characters. I think he preferred "New Moon" over the first book. I think he'll finish the series just to see what happens.

I had some reservations about him reading the book. No, there wasn't anything objectionable in the contents and I thought it was appropriate to his maturity. What concerned me is that he would think relationships should work like Bella and Edward's. Without going into details, my biggest problem with "Twilight" was Bella's obsession with Edward. And once they begin their relationship, it overtakes everything she does. He becomes her world. It goes against the feminist grain in me and I really don't want my son thinking girls should be like that. I didn't have to worry, he perceived Bella's behavior as being overly needy and unattractive.

But it does make me wonder. What impact does this book have on 11, 12 and 13 year-olds who are just beginning to explore romantic relationships. Are they going to be swept away by the story and long for that kind of romance? Or are they savvy enough to see it as the dramatic love story it is?

No comments: