Book Review: Touched by a Vampire ** Two Copies to Give Away**


Title: Touched by a Vampire– Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight Saga

Author: Beth Felker Jones

Publisher’s Synopsis: EXAMINING TWILIGHT THROUGH A BIBLICAL LENS

People around the world are asking the same question, enraptured with Edward and Bella’s forbidden romance in the Twilight Saga, a four-book serial phenomenon written by Stephenie Meyer. The bestsellers tell the story of a regular girl’s relationship with a vampire who has chosen to follow his “good” side. But the Saga isn’t just another fantasy–it’s teaching girls about love, sex, and purpose. With 48 million copies in print and a succession of upcoming blockbuster films, now is the time to ask the important question: Can vampires teach us about God’s plan for love?

Touched by a Vampire is the first book to investigate the themes of the Twilight Saga from a Biblical perspective. Some Christian readers have praised moral principles illustrated in the story, such as premarital sexual abstinence, which align with Meyer’s Mormon beliefs. But ultimately, Beth Felker Jones examines whether the story’s redemptive qualities outshine its darkness.

Cautionary, thoughtful, and challenging, Touched by a Vampire is written for Twilight fans, parents, teachers, and pop culture enthusiasts. It includes an overview of the series for those unfamiliar with the storyline and a discussion guide for small groups.

 

I was so excited when I heard Multnomah was sending me this book to review.  Although I enjoyed the books to a point, I have my own concerns about them and wondered if this book would address them and possibly show me things I’d missed.  Fantasy is such a complex genre that I think it’s a little easier to blur the lines between appropriate and not sometimes.

 

First, I’d like to note that there is little in this book that I don’t agree with in principle.  Almost every concern the author raises, I agree with the principle behind it whole heartedly.  That’s very important to note because it’s going to look like I didn’t like the book or that I think Ms. Jones has too much time on her hands or something.  Neither is true.  (Well, I kind of hope she does have too much time on her hands.  I’d like her to teach me how that is done!)

 

My objection to her book only lies in perceptions.  When two people read the same book, they’re going to see things through different lenses.  (Give two people the same book by Michael or Debi Pearl and you’ll see what I mean!)  I’m not just talking the lens of Christ-filled or not, conservative or liberal, or similar things.  I’m talking about life experiences and personality.  Those things often make it seem like a Christian is weak or immature because they don’t see things the same as another person.  It took me years to understand that sometimes, it isn’t that at all.  It’s simply perception.

 

I’m not going to refute her take on the book point by point.  I don’t think it’s necessary.  I am only going to show the difference in perception of two readers.

 

Beth Felker Jones–  Ms. Jones sees the all-encompassing love that Bella has for Edward in these books as encouraged, portrayed as positive, and intended to be a model for what every girl does/should want.

 

Chautona Havig-  I saw the book as showing just how dangerous such ‘obsessiveness’ can be and where it can lead.  I saw it as a fact of the plot, but in no way encouraged.  It is a common thing for young teen girls to become wholeheartedly wrapped up in their current ‘crush’ and truly believe nothing can possibly part them.  I saw Meyer as taking that to its logical conclusion and showing the heartache that comes with it without turning the book into a moralistic lesson rather than a semi-fairytale.  (Which I think is what she intended it to be.)

 

I’m not saying that I don’t think anyone read the book and came away with a desire for a “love like Bella and Edward’s”.  Actually, I’m sure they did.  However, the subtitle of tis book is “Discovering the hidden messages in the Twilight Saga.”  The message I got is 100% opposite from the message Ms. Jones got.

 

I agree, without any reservation, with her contention that obsessive, all-encompassing love in real life for anything or anyone other than JESUS is wrong.  I don’t quibble there.  I just disagree that the book even glorifies it.  I saw it (and I think my girls did as well) as a sad commentary on a lonely girl who grew up without a father’s influence in her life.

 

Where I did completely agree with the author is in that this series, while written and marketed to the young adult market) is really too sensual for most teenagers.  Honestly, had I read the third book first, I would not have allowed one of my girls to read it.  It was too sensual for me and I’m married!  I think a lot of Christian parents knew that Meyer was a Mormon and given the Mormon’s reputation for morality, trusted her too implicitly with their children’s reading material.  Others, like me, saw the sensuality in the first and second book as a bit much, but decided it was something their child could handle and didn’t realize how much it was going to increase in the third book.

 

So, to be quite frank, I was so excited to read this book and then was a little disappointed.  I was not disappointed with the content in so much as what she sees as important for Christians.  What she has to say about our world view is spot on.  I’m applaud her for tackling it and tackling it so well.  Unfortunately, I don’t see that her points, in so much as they relate to the Meyer books, are solid.

 

Read the book.  I seriously think it encourages us to look at what we read and what we watch and what messages we’re sending to ourselves and our children in our choices.  She does that beautifully.  But, if you are looking for a book that warns others about the dangers you see in the Twilight books, keep looking.  Anyone who has read the books will either agree with her completely, or shred her arguments point by point.  As usual, I did a little of both.

 

I have two copies of this book to give away.  Truthfully, I almost kept one for myself, but decided I just don’t have the bookshelf space even for a skinny book like this.  My thanks to Multnomah for their generosity.

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