So, I have recently discovered my own obsession with the Twilight series. I know I’m a little bit late. I believe the last book came out in 2008 (as well as the first movie) and its now 2018. I’m a whole ten years late to the party. It makes virtually no sense at all, but here I am obsessed with something I should have loved when I was 13. Oh well, I guess 23 will do. What has interested me about my recent interest in Twilight though is the fact that it is so recent.
I didn’t read the books when I was a teenager. Well, I guess I kind of did? I started reading the first Twilight book when I was a senior in high school. So I was 18 at the time. I have a very vivid memory of myself reading it in my rocking chair in the corner of my yellow bedroom the weekend before thanksgiving. It was lefse-making day at the house so the whole family was over, but I was upstairs reading Twilight while I helped my best friend with her college applications. I had been reading it for a few days by then. I had wanted to finally see what all the fuss was about. I wanted to know why so many people loved these books so so much. I was just over halfway through when I put it down and never picked it back up. I really don’t know why this happened because I was very much enjoying the book. As far as I could tell, it was better than the movie, which I did actually like if only for the fact that it has a great atmosphere. I was in fact enjoying the Twilight book. However, I put it down right as things got action-y.
I’ve actually never been a big fan of action in books. I’m not really a big fan of reading the climax of books either. This is mostly because I hate to see shit hit the fan. I just want to see everything work out. I don’t want to see everything go wrong! Also, because I had seen the Twilight movie a fair few times I already knew what the climax of the book was like. I knew the action that was about to happen. I already find those parts of books to be the worst parts and this, in my head, was doubly worse because I already knew what was going to happen. Talk about boring. So, I didn’t finish the book.
It wasn’t until I was going into my Junior year of college that I picked them up again. It was the summer before junior year and I thought, hey I have these twilight books sitting on my shelves and I’ve always wanted to know if they are better than the movies. Maybe I should give it a go again. So, I did. I spent the early days and weeks of my summer powering through the Twilight series and I liked it. I wouldn’t say I liked it as much as maybe a 13 year old girl would, I did notice the problematic things and as an adult a lot of that stuff is hard to ignore, but I did in fact like the books and I did like the way they fleshed out this world that I have always found so interesting because, for me, twilight was never about the romance, or at least not about the romance between Edward and Bella. For me Twilight was a love affair with the Pacific Northwest. It is still that for me. The atmosphere of the books is so, well, dreary, but also so mystical and magical. Now that I’ve seen someone use PNW as a backdrop for a supernatural story, I just can’t see a better setting than that.
So, there I was at 20 years old finally having read the Twilight books for the first time and that was it. I didn’t think about them much after that. I enjoyed them. Now I knew what all the fuss was about. That was it, but a few years later in my senior year of college. That is when the obsession started.
It started with me just wanting to watch the first movie. Actually, at this point in time the first movie was the one I had seen the least amount of times. I never saw it in the theater, but I had seen all the other ones with my family and friends. So, truthfully I didn’t even remember much about the movie other than that I knew I liked the atmosphere. So I re-watched it with my sister in our new apartment at the beginning of our senior year and I loved it. Then we watched the next one and the next one until we had watched all of them again. They were mostly the same as I remembered them, extremely tacky and more than a little cringe worthy, but there is so much that I forgot I loved. As I’ve said, the atmosphere and the setting is to die for, especially if you’re someone who has always had a thing for the pacific northwest anyway like myself. And then there was the music.
I had forgotten how much I loved the Twilight movie soundtracks. Not only was it located in a setting that I adored, but they also used so many bands that I had always loved. I mean Death Cab for Cutie? Come on that’s awesome. At least I thought it was haha. The music, I think, is a big reason why my obsession came on so much later in my life.
I have always liked the music in Twilight. I liked it when I first heard it, but that is the thing, I was hearing it for the first time when I was younger. Now as a 23 year old, when I hear the music in Twilight it sparks memories and the feelings that go along with those memories. When I watch the Twilight movies now, I remember what it was like to be a teenager. I remember fall nights at home doing homework and hanging out with my sisters. I remember hanging out with my friends after school at Awkward Pause. I remember lunch in the cafeteria and crying over my homework or my test or whatever. I remember listening to music while I walked through the school hallways feeling like a bad ass. When I watch the Twilight movies or when I see the Twilight books, I remember, just for a moment, what it was like to have so much emotion you didn’t know what to do with it—I remember what it was like to be a teenager. That is the beauty of Twilight.
I think, as we grow up we start to level out. There is probably some science involved in this, I mean when we are teenagers we are raging balls of hormones. So, we get older and our emotions, well they just aren’t as strong. I don’t find myself obsessing over things the way I did when I was kid. Good obsessions or bad ones. You don’t find yourself crushing on Mark who sits three rows behind you in math and has never spoken to you but you don’t care you know you’re meant to be anyway. These things don’t happen when you’re an adult and sometimes that is a good thing, but sometimes its sad. It’s sad to think that you have forgotten how you felt at that time. How much things could hurt you or excite you. What Stephenie Meyer got so right in the Twilight books despite everything that is so problematic about them is the emotion. With Bella and Edward’s relationship she was able to so completely and accurately capture the feelings and emotions that go along with adolescence—the desperation, the adoration, the obsession. When you are young everything feels like either the end of the world or the start of a new one. When you are young your emotions have so much power over you and your actions just like Bella and Edward’s have over them.
Now as an adult I am finally able to see what it is that has captured so many people’s hearts with the Twilight series. It also now makes a lot more sense why there are so many older people who enjoyed the series as well. Twilight reminds us all what it was like to be young and not just young, but more specifically what it is like to be a teenager when it feels like your world is constantly changing around you and that is a remarkable feat. I truly do not know how she was able to do that. Even as a 23 year old, I feel too far displaced from my teenager years to be able to capture that kind of emotion in my writing. It’s amazing really.
So, over the past year my Twilight obsession has grown. I finally bought all the movies so I could watch them whenever I wanted not just when I could find them somewhere on the Internet. I obviously bought the Twilight Forever edition with all of the special features and I have been slowly making my way through them. I’ve watched all the features on Twilight and New Moon. Now I only have three movies to go. Something I have enjoyed the most about the special features is getting to see how they accomplished the atmosphere in the movies that I so adore. It’s amazing to get to see the places they filmed. I have also enjoyed watching the interviews with Stephenie Meyer. I have never heard her speak before about the writing of these books until I watched the special features and it truly sounds like just as magical of an experience as the story itself is. But what I probably love most about the special features is getting to be thrown back in time to a point in my life when I was young. I remember when the Twilight obsession was new and strong. I remember going to an early pre screening of New Moon because my best friend invited me along. I remember girls having posters of Edward or Jacob in their lockers next to Justin Bieber. I remember this all so vividly like it was yesterday. I can pinpoint this time in my life so accurately and that is a gift. I really do think that the Twilight series has given me a lens through which I can look back on my adolescence positively and I couldn’t be happier to have that.