Monday, December 29, 2008

The Danger of Books

Books aren't usually considered dangerous objects (unless they're used as impromptu weapons). But for me, books are dangerous. I get way too wrapped up in a good book. I burn dinner. Dirty laundry piles up. Clean laundry piles up. I temporarily reside in the setting of the book.

I spent about a week in November with Edward Cullen in Forks, Washington. I read the four books of the Twilight series in less than one week. That's 2,560 pages in less than seven days. Now my burnt dinners make sense, huh?

Last week I picked up the new issue of Writer's Digest with Megan McCafferty on the cover. The article intrigued me and I had to go pick up Sloppy Firsts, the first book in her Jessica Darling series. I was hooked. On my next trip to the bookstore, I picked up books 2-4.

As a writer, I have learned something from Stephenie Meyer and Megan McCafferty. The secret to young adult cross over success is creating a compelling, average American girl heroine and a reformed bad boy hero, creating heart-melting dialogue, and only allowing the average girl and the reformed bad boy to appear together on a limited number of pages. It's driving me nuts.

I keep reading to see how these relationships are going to work out. When the average girl or the reformed bad boy does something stupid, I get mad. I don't really think this archetype is fair to young women. It sets them up for expectations that few men will be able to fulfill. That's why books like these are unfair to men and women.

But at least Marcus Flutie is a little more . . . attainable? . . . than Edward Cullen.

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