I’m afraid I’ve become a really picky reader since getting serious about writing. I’m one of those annoying people who loiter in the book aisle at the grocery store, picking up about fifty different books and reading maybe two hundred words of each, just to put every single one back on the shelf.
I must admit, however, that the world of Twilight captivated me. I saw the first movie in 2008 (once I came back to the land of living after the chaos of NaNoWriMo) and fell in love with the story. Then my coworker at the time dropped the bombshell: there were books. Wait…really? Four of them! Holy shit, Batman! I bought Twilight on my way home and for the next two weeks all I did was work, eat, sleep, and read. Kind of like during the frenzy of NaNoWriMo.
Funny, how now I am able to see what a few of my fellow writers mean when they say Stephenie Meyer isn’t the greatest writer. She had a great idea, and her story world (in my opinion) was awesome, but her work is far from literary. That’s okay with me, because I don’t classify my writing as literary either, and I could only hope to be as successful as she is.
So why didn’t I join The Hunger Games mania?
Well I like to think I’m open minded, so I did download a sample a couple months ago, and I might have purchased the book had it not been for the reviews on Amazon, basically telling me it was a violent book about children who are forced to fight to the death as their parents stand idly by. Not only did I find the concept disturbing, but I found it impossible to suspend my disbelief. I would fight to the death to protect my children—no matter the consequences. I think most parents feel this way. As you can probably guess by now, I didn’t read the series.
Then the movie came out. Curiosity bludgeoned this kitty into a pancake. What was the fuss about? I took my mom to see it, and I have to admit the movie was engaging. Like anything with a cliffhanger ending, I wanted to know what came next. You guessed it; I bought the second book and read it. Okay, not too bad after all, kind of addicting even, though it was basically a repeat of the first book (but I only saw the movie, so maybe I’m off base). Halfway through the third I was kicking myself for not jumping on the bandwagon sooner. And here’s where it all went downhill for me.
The author, for whatever reason, felt it was necessary to drop a bunch of bombs in the hands of children (described as toddlers through teens), and then let them explode. I know this is only fiction, but I had a difficult time stomaching this, especially at the mention of body parts. This plot device ruined the whole series for me, and I felt the author threw it in there just to kill off Katniss’ sister, ultimately pitting Katniss against the new woman President. You are probably wondering what this rant-y post has to do with Twilight.
One day my fifth grader came home and said, “Mom, we got to see the trailer for The Hunger Games at school today!” He went on to tell me how cool it was and how his teacher loved the series—apparently they were allowed to read the books in class. This was before I saw the movie or read the series. I asked him if he wanted to read Twilight, because I knew he was interested in Stephenie Meyer’s world of vampires.
“Nope, the teacher won’t let us.”
What? This didn’t make any sense to me. I remembered those detailed reviews I’d read on Amazon, discussing the violence in The Hunger Games. So why was one series allowed while another wasn’t? What gave this teacher the right to decide what my child can and cannot read in school? Personally, after having read both series, I’d rather he read Twilight. I find both authors to be about on the same level as far as entertaining writing, but Twilight is (in my opinion) just as appropriate for my fifth grader as the Hunger Games.
Any thoughts? I’d love to hear what you think about The Hunger Games and Twilight. Love them? Hate them? Neutral? Wish you could burn the books? Or maybe you wish you’d written them?
Two articles I found interesting on The Hunger Games: