Friday, October 21, 2011

My Love Has Concrete Feet

Well, it's almost November, which means it's time for me to start my 'in defense of Twilight' series.

So, these books don't depict a "healthy" romantic relationship. Well, in the words of the junior high girls standing in front of me in line at McDonald's yesterday: yeah. duh.

I know that. Everyone knows that. But let me ask you something: what book worth reading does? Seriously. A healthy romantic relationship--let's make it any relationship--has no place in literature. Is it me, or is that not the point? I mean, I don't want to get all literary (not when we're talking about Twilight), but isn't the point of literature to depict something broken, or on the verge of breaking? There's no use of a healthy romance in story form. That's what self help books are for. Relationships in fiction are supposed to be extreme, fractured, disordered. That's what makes them interesting. That's what makes them the cathartic experience literature is intended to be. It's their imperfection that makes them useful.

Healthy relationships = good to live, boring to read.

Literary history is full of such diseased romances. Allow me to list a few:
Um, like every single Shakespearean play out there
Jane Eyre (come on, I love it as much as anybody, but Mr. Rochester as a father figure never fails to freak me out)
Wuthering Heights. I feel like a chump for even bothering to mention it.
Jane Austin's canon of evasive, competitive male/female relationships
Leo Tolstoy
Edith Wharton
Henry James
Pretty much anything by Jonathon Lethem, Chuck Palahniuk, Flannery O'Conner, or Kurt Vonnegut.

You know as well as I do that the list could go on and on.

So, allow me to give some unsolicited advice: don't be a buzzkill. There's no use in pointing out the inherent problems in love stories. Those too young to notice don't care, and those old enough don't care either.


  1. I stopped liking Jane Eyre as soon as the love of her life dressed up like a gypsy. Weirdo.

    I'll try again next year.

  2. Okay, okay... But FOUR books of the same disfunctional romance? I still think Meyer would have done better to wrap it all into one 300 page book, achieve literary immortality, and save our poor teenage girls the time to actually pick up Heathcliff or Mr. Darcy or Mr. Rochester instead. My own daughter finally through the last book of the series across the room (half finished) and refused to pick it back up. I didn't make her.

  3. Shiloh, I can always count on you for support.

    Annie, you betcha.

    Carrie, I'd say give it another try. I took a five year break in between readings, and it did a world of good.

    G, are you implying there should be fewer movies? I'm just going to pretend you didn't say that.