Of Stalkers and Vampires

Ok, so I’ve refrained from saying anything about the “phenomenon” of the Twilight Saga for quite a while now. I have not read the books. I have no interest in doing so. They are just too scary for me. I can’t handle them.

You see, it’s not that there are vampires and werewolves and whatever other horror story tropes that is the problem. I actually like a lot of horror stories. The problem is that I have am really easily squicked out and upset by stories about stalkers, especially stalker stories that are being passed off as romantic stories of “true love”. Edward is seriously disturbing. And with the level of stalking that he’s doing I just can’t figure out how anyone can see the twisted relationship that he and Bella end up with as “true love” at all.

Is there anyone who can tell me who Bella is without referring to Edward? She doesn’t seem to have any personality outside of her relationship with him. Does she have any plans or ambitions that don’t center around him? What if he had never entered her life? What would have happened to Bella? It’s very distressing. She’s not much of a role model for anyone, is she? I certainly wouldn’t want to mimic her (I have more ambition for my life and would hope that you do for yours!).

The problem is that I work in a bookstore and see people gush over this series every day. The sheer number of women who seem to be totally entranced by this series is ridiculous. I’ve had more teenage girls than I care to think about tell me that they want to be Mrs Edward Cullen or that they think he/the story is the most romantic thing ever. I’ve even had middle aged women who should know better tell me they think it’s one of the most riveting romantic stories (until the fourth book – the middle aged women seem less fond of that one). It’s really horrifying. I kind of want to direct these women to the self-help section, but I don’t think they’d get it.

So the question is, how do I escape from the crazy world where shiny marble vampires stalking vapid girls devoid of personality constitutes great romance?

Update: Since writing this post I’ve been discussing this issue with a friend of mine. She’s written her theory about the appeal of this series and of Edward himself out on her blog, Introspective Navel Gazing. She also found a great post on a blog I was previously unfamiliar with called Smart Bitches, Trashy Books which discusses the similarity of Twilight and Edward to old-school romance novels, couching their appeal in that frame and discussing some of the ramifications of the comparison. It’s an excellent post and I highly recommend it.