While I’ve been aware of the ginormous success of and slavering fanaticism toward the Twilight books and movies featuring the teen girl and her vampire love, I’ve only just learned about the mom groupies.
The recent release of the latest movie based on the third book, Eclipse, has brought out, not just hordes of angsty teens, but large numbers of women who are way too old for high school. Often they’re moms of high schoolers.
They call themselves Twilight Moms or TwiMoms, and not unlike Claymates (the mostly female fans of singer Clay Aiken), they’ve developed their own networks of fannish communication. There’s a Twilight Moms web site, a Facebook fan page, a Twitter handle and even a book titled, of course, Confessions of a Twilight Mom.
I’m not a TwiMom, though I will admit to having read the first three books — driven by curiosity and because lots of amazing women friends and family members exclaimed they were “must-reads” (not a single man I know has read the books — or will admit to it, at least). I have not, and probably will not, read the final book or see the movies. Though I adore horror novels, the Twilight books seem more romance than horror.
Which, I believe is one of the reasons women, and moms in particular, have responded to them so strongly.
“The books take you to another place where the laundry doesn't pile up and the leading male is all about you and your needs. What's not to love?” says Asheville event planner Lauri Nichols, mom of two.
Indeed, sister. For most moms, romance got discarded with that first umbilical cord and finding the time and energy to rediscover it is akin to attaining the Holy Grail of parenthood — completely empty laundry baskets.
We all get, and most of us accept, this reality of life with kids, but that doesn’t mean hiding in the bathroom to read a few passages that include a once-in-a-lifetime, sweep-you-off-your-feet romantic adventure, doesn’t relieve the pressure some. And if it puts you in the mood for rekindling, I doubt your partner’s going to complain about the disappearing mom act.
While the Twilight books didn’t work this way for me, I do regularly lock myself in the bathroom with a variety of escapist literature (including the addictive Sookie Stackhouse series on which the True Blood television series is based. They aren’t dissimilar to the Twilight books, containing both vampires and shape shifters, but they’re written for adults and contain lots more sex).
But Twilight works for a helluva lot of moms.
“It isn't necessarily the best writing around, and you have no doubts reading it that it's written for teens. The story is what carries you through, and it pulls you in so that you don't want to stop reading. As soon as I finished one, I'd be dying to read the next in the series. I even posted something on Facebook asking if it was odd to read the whole Twilight series in less than a week, and I had lots of responses from other moms who said they did it, too,” says Kelby Carr, organizer of Asheville’s Type-A-Mom Conference and mom of three.
Also, for moms I’ve talked to, that (somewhat) innocent sweetness of the Twilight books holds appeal. One mom told me that the first book contains the steamiest hand-holding scene she’s ever read. And she’s read a lot.
Then there’s the sisterhood aspect to the books and the fandom.
“These books also get passed from mom to mom. I received them from a mom and passed them off to my sister (mom) who devoured them, like me,” Nichols says.
I bought the first book, another was lent to me by a mom friend, and the third passed to me by one of my sisters (I’ll get it back to you, Mandy. Pinky swear).
They’ve also promoted some mother-daughter bonding.
“I love Twilight because my daughter and I bond while laughing at how horribly dramatically bad the movies are...” says Genie Maples, painter and Asheville mom of three.
While my 11-year-old girl loves to read, she’s, so far, shown no interest in the Twilight series. Our only movie bonding moments have occurred with Zac Ephron in the High School Musical movies (I’ve already written about my cougar crush on Zac if you care to search the MX archives). But I probably would cave in to my resolution not to see the movies if she really wanted me to watch them with her.
After all, what’s not to like about a little drama, preternaturally perfect teenage boys, and short escapes from the Sisyphean stone of parental repetition?
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