Meyer, S., & Young, K. (2010). Twilight: The graphic novel. (Vol. I). New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, Incorporated.
I recently read Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight as much out of curiosity as I did out of a desire to read. Like many people I am no stranger to the negative reviews piled in heaps upon Meyer’s work. I admit to indulging in these bias reviews even before I had read the work simply because the negative opinions seemed to be so widespread. However, at a friend’s house the other day I came upon Twilight: The Graphic Novel. I had never had any intention of reading Meyer’s work (again I was giving into popular biases), but after perusing the graphic novels I changed my mind. I was curious to see why people hated the novel so much, and I reasoned that the graphic novel was probably much more entertaining. Besides, I consider myself an avid reader, so how could I not educate myself on the latest literary works in pop culture? My own personal adventure with Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight, changed my opinion of the work.
One of the most convincing arguments against Twilight that I heard was that the storyline was superficial. While other prominent science-fiction/fantasy novels in pop culture-like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings-feature plots that center around epic battles between good and evil, Twilight basically revolves around a teenage relationship. If you are not familiar with the story it goes something like this. A regular (human) girl named Bella falls in love with a handsome vampire named Edward. The two star-crossed lovers cannot possibly be together because of Edward’s natural predatory instinct towards humans. These novels chronicle the obstacles and hardships the two must go through on a quest to make their unusual predicament of a relationship work. While I did find some truth in the popular opinions about the series, I also found that there was something of value or merit to be gained from reading these novels.
To begin with, yes, the storyline does center around a teenage relationship, but that does not mean there are not powerful themes presented throughout this plot. Like Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings, Twilight also fosters positive messages and motifs if you look for them. Particularly with Edward’s plight, I was able to find a very admirable message. By Edward’s very nature as a vampire, he has an almost uncontrollable natural instinct to kill and feed on human beings. He however, chooses a difficult path for himself in controlling his nature and refusing to prey upon human beings. No matter how hard it may be, Edward finds the means necessary to control his natural, animal-like instincts to retain what humanity he does still have. He himself was once a human being, and he tries to satiate his cravings by feeding on animals alone. The lesson learned here is that no matter how difficult it is, you can always overcome your faults to become the best person you can be.
Another strong theme throughout Twilight is the theme of loving and accepting others for who they are. Bella knowingly puts herself in grave danger by allowing herself to become friends (and eventually more than friends) with the ominous vampire. She loves and accepts not only Edward but his entire vampire family although she knows they could easily kill her at any moment. This love and acceptance creates a bond between Bella and Edward’s family that is unbreakable. In the end, love really does conquer all.
In reading Stephenie Meyer’s and Young Kim’s Twilight: The Graphic Novel, I was very surprised to find that I enjoyed the novel as much as I did. Surely the nature of the graphic novel added to this enjoyment greatly. Seeing as the Twilight series involves fantasy elements and wonderful displays of action and fighting, it lent itself well to the comic strip format. Being able to see the action unfold like a comic book made this novel even better for me personally. I learned that despite what other people say, you should always try something on for yourself before you judge it. I’d truly like to believe that every text out there holds some sort of value or merit; it is just up to the reader to find it. Consequently, I also believe that just because many people cannot see the value in a literary work does not mean that it is not there. I will be honest in saying that I found my experience reading Twilight: The Graphic Novel was a pleasant one, even if it is not my favorite book. If you open your mind just a little bit you may be able to find endearing personal themes even in a novel about the love between a girl and a vampire.