First of all – thank you to Kari Spears for listening to me ramble about this on the phone tonight.
I have to admit – I like the book Twilight. I would be lying through my teeth and not doing a good job of it if I didn’t admit that. That being said, just because I like it doesn’t mean that I have to think it’s a good idea for children as young as 6th grade (or younger) to read these books.
I’ve decided what my bottom line problem is with this series (and no, I haven’t started the 2nd book in the series even though it is in my house!). Here it is. The reading level is too accessible. The content of Twilight is too for the reading level that it has. Students as young as 3rd grade (good readers) would have no problem reading this book given its reading level. It is marketed and hooused in the Teen Fiction section at Barnes and Noble. The movie (which, yes, comes out this week) is rated PG-13. If a movie of a book requires a PG-13 rating (for violence and extreme sexual tenion would be my guess), the book itself should not be so easily (reading level) accessible to younger students. Books like Frankenstein and Dracula have themes in them that are much too mature for young readers. Fortunately, the reading level of these books are at par with that maturity level required for the readers.
This troubles me. This writer (much like Rowling) intentionally writes at such an accessible level that young students will be drawn to these books. Add on to that the “obsession factor” and combine it with increasingly mature content (one of my teen friends said that the movie of the 4th book will likely be “R” – I have not read it yet, so I have to refrain from stating this myself) in the books to come – you get young students accelerating their exposure to mature content. And the author did this. You can write a book with mature content with higher reading levels – this puts the ability at par with the maturity (hopefully) of the reader.
One more thing: I am deeply, deeply troubled by the modeling of poor relationships in this book. More on that….next time – for now, I have to drive home from Brainerd. 🙂 If you are reading this and have thoughts, I would love to hear them!
If you have not read the book, please do not bash it. That is one of my pet peeves – read it, then pass judgement….if you are in the “mature reader” category. 🙂