Breaking Dawn

This is the fourth book in the Twilight series of a human who falls in love with supernatural creatures. As much as I've enjoyed the series, I had to consider its true worth when another mother asked me about whether I would recommend her 11-year-old daughter to read the books. I realized that I was not just evaluating the value of the series and its appropriateness for an 11-year-old, but that I was also taking into account that this was not an LDS family - though they were scouters.

I found myself not wanting to assume that their values were any better or worse than my own nor did I want to offend the mother by placing my own values ahead of her own - unbeknownst as they might be. I also found myself evaluating if I would let my own 11-year-old son read the books knowing that while he might enjoy them, I also knew I could have the conversations necessary to explain or gloss over any thing that might be confusing to him.

Now, there is nothing in the series that promotes behavior that is not in line with gospel truths (not counting the supernatural side of things). The romance between Bella and Edward is an adolescent romance that alludes to physical desires left unmet. I guess the one nice thing about vampires is that they do hold traditional values when it comes to some things. And while the physical relationship does eventually take place, it does so within the bonds of marriage and the author graciously allows the reader's imagination to reign. But Bella is 17 and has some maturity on her side from the life she led prior to moving to Forks, WA. Edward, of course, has a century or so of maturity and is not a typical 17-year-old boy.

And so after deliberating the mother's question and all the unasked side questions, I finally told her that I would not suggest an 11-year-old to read the books. I emphasized that the series is good and does not include anything inappropriate, but that the material itself is intended for a more mature audience. I suggested she go ahead and read the books herself, which she had already planned to do, and then she could make a better decision on whether or not she felt her daughter was ready for the books.

Kids are growing up too fast thanks to the onslaught of media and the change in social mores. While I will always recommend good books to others, I will be more careful in defining the audience for which the book is appropriate.

As for the Twilight series - please go and enjoy them if you are over 21. Otherwise, let your parents read them and consider their opinion before you delve into them yourself.

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