This week's theme is books we hate to admit we love. I'm picking Twilight.
But maybe not for the reason you think.
I read Twilight, the first book of the series, a long time ago. Long before the hype and just before the first surge of wild popularity. One of my very good friends, a sister writer and book store owner, said she'd emailed with one of her long time friends who was an editor in New York. She forwarded me the email which said something like "I spent Sunday devouring this YA book, with a completely chaste hero and I think I'm in love. I don't know how this is possible."
My friend knew I was into genre, especially anyone who did something new and different, so she offered to order the book for me. (She was also an excellent bookseller.) I read the book and agreed. It drew me in. The romantic and sexual tension mesmerized me - all created without the least amount of sex. I gave the book to several friends who liked romance and they gobbled it up, too. More, the children of my friends - both boys and girls - read and loved it, which gave us interesting things to talk about.
Then the wild surge happened. The movies happened. And the opinions.
Now it's terribly unfashionable to admit you like these books. Writers bitch about the prose style. Women hate the heroine for being weak and whiny. The hero is a stalker. The heroine does self-destructive things to keep a boy. Vampires shouldn't sparkle.
Interestingly, most of these opinions are held by people who've never read the book. And don't tell me that, well, you saw the movie. If every book was judged by the movie version, then books would all be in serious trouble.
And, frankly, if we reduced the theme of many romantic/paranormal novels to models of psychological behavior, I don't think many would pass. It's just that most aren't subjected to the scrutiny Twilight has been.
Really, I think this often occurs when anything reaches a high level of success - especially with romance, which is easily disparaged. You can say this vilification hasn't happened with Hunger Games or Harry Potter. I'm pointing at Fifty Shades of Grey. You might note that very similar accusations - except the sparkly bit - are leveled against it.
I loved this book when I read it. I still think Stephenie Meyer accomplished something amazing with it - and not just because she got huge numbers of people reading and finding that they loved romance and vampires. Why do I hate to admit it? Not because I'm embarrassed or ashamed. I'm a big girl and I stand by my opinions.
I hate it because I'm heartily tired of the sniping remarks. The big dogpile of hate. The comparisons of Katniss to Bella, as if a teenage girl in love is sneerworthy. No, the only admirable heroine is one who has to learn to kill to survive. Never mind which experience more closely parallels that of most teenage girls. Good thing none of us ever fell obsessively in love during those passionate and vulnerable years.
And don't get me started on the "vampires don't sparkle" bitching. I have news for you folks: until a vampire is examined by modern science and definitively described, it belongs to the realm of fiction. Which means any writer can have them be whatever they want them to be. In Stephenie Meyer's world, they do sparkle. End of story.
End of rant.