December 3rd, 2008

red rose

YA (literally) forever?

GalleyCat tipped me off to an essay in Atlantic in which Caitlin Flanagan rants against modern YA novels but raves about Twilight. I can't tell from the essay whether Flanagan has read the book or is actually reviewing the movie. But what her point seems to be is, old-fashioned YA was better because girls in it didn't have sex, they only dreamed about sex. Since Stephanie Meyer is an observant Mormon, there is no premarital sex in her YA books. She has said she thinks that's wrong and so Twilight is full of unresolved sexual tension.

But one point she mentions only in passing fascinated me. Edward, the vampire boyfriend, looks 17 but is really over 100 years old. Think about that! To me, the age thing makes the romance kind of icky in a way that goes beyond the whole "vampire blood sucking" thing. This guy has been around for more than a century and he's dating a girl who's not old enough to vote, let alone drink. Can someone claim to be an adolescent forever? By definition, I don't see this as a viable relationship. Either Edward is frozen emotionally and unable to progress beyond adolescence (not a good thing) or he's mature but attracted to dewy innocence. When it's creepy even without the blood-sucking, it's too creepy.






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