"The continuing popularity of the vampire theme has been ascribed to a combination of two factors: the representation of sexuality and the perennial dread of mortality."—Wikipedia.org7 

A Closer Look

In 2008, the four Twilight books were the top four novels on USA TODAY 's best-selling books list. I recently received an email from a conference attendee named Trina, an avid fan of the Twilight series. Her analysis of the characters and story was so honest and eye-opening to me that I asked to share her words with you in this book. I think you'll see, as I did, how her examination of the books reveals the longing heart that beats inside each of us for a hero and a protector.

Subject: Obsessed with Twilight

"Hi Kimberly,

"I've read the entire series and the first book, Twilight, twice. I was spellbound with this series…. The feelings that I have for these characters are unexplainable. No one knows the obsession I have over these books.

"The draw. There's the average girl, Bella: popular, beautiful, and talented. There's a beautiful and perfect boy, Edward: extremely handsome, infamous, talented, but intimidating, smart, not friendly.

"The story. Boy and girl see each other. Girl is drawn to him by his looks. Boy is drawn to her by his instinct (her blood/his thirst). Boy is also drawn because of curiosity. She is "different"—he can't read her thoughts. Boy struggles against his natural instincts with such intensity he has to flee.

"Edward is a NOBLE character. He resists his nature because of the love he has for his family. It would cause them problems, and he knew he would be a disappointment to them. And also as he gets to know Bella he starts to value her life more than his own selfish desires.

"Edward falls in love with this average girl, but to him, Bella is extraordinary. He sees her soul and loves it. He does indeed see her physical beauty when she can't. Edward sees her as the most beautiful girl in the world. He has never been so enthralled by someone. He is amazed at his own feelings for her. He finds the feelings confusing and dangerous and exciting.

"Through hours of talking, he starts to trust her and reveals his secret. He opens up completely, and it's a big risk to his whole family. TRUST becomes a huge issue for both of them.

"He PROTECTS her at all costs, even at the price of revealing his secret.

"He becomes VULNERABLE. Sex doesn't seem to be an issue because his natural instincts are not the same as other boys'. Edward's lust is for blood, Bella's in particular. But as he discovers more of who she is, he learns to control that lust and puts her best interest before his own.

"He becomes SELFLESS. He feels that her very existence is more vital than his desires. Edward knows that allowing Bella near him is extremely dangerous, life threatening. So he lets her in on all the details of what a vampire is. He is hoping all the while that it will be too frightening and bizarre for her.

"He lets her make the CHOICE. If she leaves, it will break his heart, but he knows it will be for the best and he will not pursue her. He loves her that much. This is a SACRIFICIAL type of love.

"Bella makes her choice to stay. She loves him so much that she wants to spend eternity with him—meaning she would have to become what he is, a vampire.

"Edward refuses. He will settle for a short time with her until her natural death, just to be able to be with her. There is the SACRIFICE again.

"Look again at these qualities: Trust. Protection. Selflessness. Choice. Vulnerability. Sacrifice. Love.

"Who doesn't want this in a boyfriend? The perfect guy with incredible looks and talent to boot! Perfection (except for the vampire part). He is still flawed because he battles with right versus wrong and temptation and guilt and lust.

"By the time I reached the end of these books and she finally is changed into a vampire (in order to save her life) I found myself thinking, Wow, finally, now they can be happy and have their happily ever after."