Friday, August 21, 2009

Mothers in Love with Twilight's Edward Cullen

Back by Popular Demand: I'm re-publishing this post from March. A new Twilight reader found it and posted a comment today. (See "BabyJenks," August 21. She mentions a Tracy Chapman album—"Telling Stories"—that reminds her of the Cullens. I need to check that out.) So in honor of BabyJenks, here's "Mothers in Love with Twilight's Edward Cullen," again. Maybe others out there can relate!
P.S. Only 3 months until New Moon opens in theaters on November 20th!
P.S.S. There's a fan page on Facebook now called, "Because of Edward Cullen, Human Boys Have Lost Their Charm." So true!

The original article follows:

One benefit of having been consumed by kids for years and being out-of-touch with pop culture is that when I finally got clued i
n to the Twilight series of bestselling vampire novels by Stephenie Meyer—as I did in December—I didn’t have to wait for the next book, or for the movie release, etc. All things Twilight were available and ready for this latecomer’s delight.

But now I’m feeling like a drug addict.

Before I explain my struggles with addiction, if you are a Twilight virgin, here’s a quick
introduction to all the fuss: The books are about the relationship between Edward Cullen, a 17-year-old vampire, and Bella Swan, the very human object of his affection and desperate desire. (The two are portrayed in the film by Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, above.) Edward, who stopped aging when he became a vampire in 1918, and his vampire family are “vegetarians.” (They crave human blood but only feed off the blood of animals.) He hasn’t had a girlfriend in his entire life and falls hard for Bella, an actual 17-year-old girl and classmate at the high school he attends. The four books—Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn—follow the travails of their forbidden, passionate, yet essentially chaste, love.

The books were written for teenagers, specifically teenage girls. But as I’ve learned from my friends and on the Internet, and experienced myself, mothers have fallen obsessively in love with Edward Cullen.

My friend Erin, who has had a long addiction to Edward,
essentially became my Twilight dealer. She lent me the books (I later bought them all) and took me to her second viewing of the film.

I’ve read the four books in the series—twice!

I read the online version of Midnight Sun, which is Meyer’s unfinished draft of the Twilight novel as told by Edward rather than Bella.

Note to Meyer: Please finish Midnight Sun and write all the books over in Edward’s voice. The stories are even better hearing them from him.

Note to interested readers: Go to Meyer’s website,, to download her official PDF of the draft.

After I read the books and all I could read about them, I picked-up Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, a classic Bella and Edward read and discuss. Although I kept Eclipse at my bedside for weeks, I didn’t open it again. I had kicked my Twilight habit and was sober for more than a month, until yesterday.

March 26: A half-dozen friends and I gathered to watch the Twilight DVD, which was released last weekend. I’ll be watching the film again tonight, as my 11-year-old son is now intrigued by the story, since I’ve answered with great enthusiasm and knowledge all of his questions about the good vs. bad vampires in the book. I’m sure the love story of the film will bore him silly.

Among the seven women present at yesterday’s DVD gathering, only Lia (I’m changing her name to protect the obsessed) and I had become consumed by the books. The others attended for the fun of getting together, and out of curiosity about the story and their own teenage daughters’ obsessions. (A couple of those girls wanted to attend our showing. We should have let them. It would have been an interesting intergenerational experience.)

When I had suggested to Lia that we recommend the series to our 15-member book group, she responded by saying, “I don’t think I want that responsibility. I don’t want to be the reason someone becomes so consumed by the stories that all she wants to do is read the books, and read about the books, and think about Edward Cullen.”

Well, that’s essentially what has happened. Three of the gathering’s five Twilight newbies announced they were now going to read the books. One emailed last night that she was looking at her husband and trying to imagine him as Edward Cullen.

Other friends have confessed to spending hours on the Internet, searching for more information about the stories and, in a couple of cases, looking into whatever happened to that long ago high school boyfriend. My ob/gyn and I got sidetracked into a conversation about the series during a recent appointment. I know moms who've left their husbands home with the kids so they could go to the movie alone. The books are easy reads (no great brain power needed) and great escapism. Even the most frazzled mother will be mentally whisked away from the physical and emotional chaos around her.

My husband looks at me in disbelief whenever my Edward crush surfaces.

“What’s wrong with you?” he asks. “It’s like you’re in love with a fictional character.”

My response: “He’s just such a good boyfriend.”

Although Edward Cullen could easily be described as an obsessive, controlling boyfriend, Bella doesn’t feels that way about him. And because she doesn’t, I don’t either.

Edward loves Bella enormously and protects her constantly. He’s smart, thoughtful, well-mannered, devoted. He cooks for her and takes her to restaurants, even though he doesn’t eat food. He cuddles her to sleep, even though, as a vampire, he never sleeps. Because vampires are super-strong, and their bodies are as hard and cold as marble, he touches Bella gently and tries not to chill her by touching his skin to hers. And despite Bella’s pleading that they go all the way, Edward won’t because he’s afraid he might hurt her. (And, it’s later revealed, he’s fearful of the soul-damning consequences of premarital sex.)

Edward might get some of his morality from his creator. Author Stephenie Meyer is a Mormon mother of three sons. But in reality, how accepted and successful would a book series for teenagers be if the main character was having wild sex with a vampire? The kids might like it but parents would howl.

In a way, Meyer has created the boyfriend we’d wish for our daughters and the cautious, responsible, gentlemanly son we’d be proud to call our own. Or, forgetting our age, she's created a character we wish could be our own love interest! (In the film, Edward is played by the strikingly beautiful British actor Robert Pattinson, 22, formerly Cedric Diggory in
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.)

The other connection the book likely makes for many of us older gals is that it takes us back to when we were 17, or whatever younger-than-now age we were when we had crushes, when the cute guy we watched from afar actually spoke to us (or didn’t), when we first fell for someone who felt the same about us.

I’m working on putting the books (and Edward?!) aside and getting back to my life, at least until the movie of New Moon opens on November 20.

Have you read the books? Seen the movie? Are you similarly smitten? Or, since we’re talking vampires here, have you been similarly bitten?


Claudia said...

You now, I could tease you about this, but since my stepmother recently got me hooked on Dancing With the Stars--which I watch on the Internet because I don't have a TV--I can't really fuss at you. Enjoy!

Mama D said...

Um... yes. Yes. (Several times each) Smitten, check. Bitten, double check.

"Even the most frazzled mother will be mentally whisked away from the physical and emotional chaos around her."

Thank you for putting that into words. I was heartbroken when a best friend from high school (not yet married and without children) told me she basically hated the book. I tried not to take it personally but I feel I have a certain connection with so many people who also love it and the fact that she doesn't makes me feel the distance between us. I think you nailed it on the head.

P.S. Buying April's issue of GQ will do you no good whatsoever but the pictures are glorious and the article is pretty good too.

Melissa said...

Claudia: I'll respect your emerging addiction to Dancing with the Stars. (I don't watch it.) Thank you for respecting my relationship with Edward :)

Mama D: Good point. People do seem to love (LOVE) the stories or hate them. I didn't know that Edward/Robert is on the cover of the new GQ. Thanks for the info, and thanks for visiting!

P.S. The elder of my twin daughters (i.e. the one who's six going on 33) joined me, my husband and son for the Friday night viewing of the Twilight DVD. The guys felt sitting through the movie once was more than enough. "A" is now begging me to watch the "Edward and Bella" movie again. Fortunately, her twin hasn't been bitten.

Lynn said...

Yes, this is me! I'm 37 and have two preschoolers. I got "bitten" late too and just finished Breaking Dawn. (It took a while because of the kids. I didn't want to read when they were around and interrupting me, so I could only read after they went to bed, when I wasn't too exhausted.) But now I'm done. I wanted more, so I Googled about the books. I saw your article at Momscape and found your blog, I then found the Twilight Moms website and the study about Twilight fans. And thanks for the link to the Stephanie Meyers site and Midnight Sun. I didn't know about that. I hope she does make it into a book. I have to figure out how to read it. I don't want to sit at the computer for hours and my printer isn't set up. I need to figure out how to do that. Thank you.

Wanna be Bella said...

I wish I'd been a latecomer. When I was bitten, Twilight and New Moon were out. I had to wait for Eclipse, and then Breaking Dawn, and then Midnight Sun, and then the movie. The movie pulled me back into the books. They are totally a vacation from being a mom.

Juju said...

I too got bitten late.
I saw the movie first and then ran out and bought the books.
I read the four books in a span of four days (calling in to work two days so I could finish).
It's crazy.
I'm 32 and I'm in love with Jacob Black.
The sweet tender big sexy beautiful friend of Bella that would do anything for her.

Juju said...

My only regret about the series is that I didn't get a Jacob Black epilogue.

Melissa said...

WANNA BE BELLA: Yes, the books are a vacation from real life. I just lent Twilight to a pregnant friend who's on bedrest. (She asked for it, I'm not pushing.) I wish I'd had the four books when I was on bedrest with twins. They would have helped pass the time and distract from the worry.
JUJU: How funny that you took two days off of work to read the books. I can totally see that happening!

Baby Jenks said...

i am a 35 yr old woman, widowed, and currently engaged. but i'm cheating... my heart has been stolen by Edward Cullen. initially i only read the books to ... well, to defend what WAS my favourite book, "Queen of the Damned". i thought the teenage girls with their Team Edward shirts were silly... but i didn't Know... i didn't know the profound and unyeilding devotion i would feel. i'm so sorry for my prevous scoffs. my fiancee thinks i have lost my mind. he's partially correct. it's only 8.21.09, i read the first page of Twilight for the first time exactly 30 days ago. i read the whole series in less than 9 days. while still working full time with an 1.5 hour commute each day... i read a few other series afterwards to try to ... ween myself away, but to no avail. the albumn 'Telling Stories' by Tracey Chapman has become my mantra for these books... all i think about is edward and bella... and the whole cullen family and jacob and the love the fears ... yes i'm utterly obsessed. :::sigh::: i am in love with Edward Cullen.

Melissa said...

Baby Jenks: I'm glad you found this piece. You can so relate! Now I need to check out the Tracey Chapman album you mention. My daughter and I have been listening to the Twilight soundtrack to death. We need something to hold us over until the New Moon movie comes out in November. Read "Midnight Sun" if you haven't already! I'm now reading a time-traveling romance novel called "Outlander" by Diana Galdabon [sp] in order to stay away from the Twilight series.

Baby Jenks said...

Melissa: i bought the Twilight soundtrack last night... i made my fiancee promise to take me to New Moon as it comes out on our anny. and the next day is my B-day so yeah, that's the only present i want. i think his jelousy level increases daily. how can it not when my every thought is enveloped around Edward? i'm reading Night World but it's slow going, doesn't quite hold my ... heart... i miss edward and bella...

ronilouise said...

i am soooo glad to read that i am not the only grown up woman addicted to Edward Cullen .. i am 39 single and hopelessly head over heals in love .. i have read the series twice through, and have watched the dvd so many times i have lost count and to make things worse have already prepurchased tickets for the Novemeber 19th midnight screening of New Moon.. self analysis totally obsessed..

Melissa said...

Roni Louise:

You already have your New Moon tickets!!! I didn't know you could do that already. I need to look into that, now!!!!!

Thanks for the tip.

P.S. If you want to share your obsession with a small group of women (i.e. not teenager girls" join the "Twilight Circle" on (Even if you don't have kids, you can talk Twilight with us.)

Baby Jenks said...

Roni Louise; welcome to the fold :o)
and i am Totally getting my New Moon tickets today if i can!

Tamara said...

Thank God I am not alone! I was feeling like maybe I was crazy or something. Now I see that I am completely justified in being head over heels in love with Edward Cullen! (no offense to my husband) It's funny how quickly this "obsession" had taken hold...I always thought that Twilight was ridiculous, until one of the employees at my local Hollywood Video recommended the movie (we have almost identical tastes in movies, so I trusted her...but was still skeptical). Honestly, I really didn't expect to like it...but needless to say, I loved it and went to the library the next day. I was blown took me about 2 days to read, and then I got the 2nd, and then the 3rd. I ended up buying the set, and now I'm on the last one, which is bittersweet, since I never want it to end.

Nik said...

Ok, I am a 34y/o mother of two boys ages 11 and 15 of which my 11y/o loved Twilight and New Moon. I honestly thought it was just me. My girlfriends all make me feel like it's just me. I am hopelessly in love with Edward Cullen, not so much Rob Pattinson though. Edward is everything I want in a man. I'm single so, no boyfriend or husband to try and makeover haha. Well I love that he allows himself to be vulnerable to love, I love that he's protective of Bella, I love that he's been waiting his whole life for her. I love that he can't stay away from her. Aaaahhhhh, where is that man. I must admit though, I have only saw the two movies, Twilight three times and New moon twice. I am planning to read the books, I was going to start with Eclipse thinking not to disturb my thoughts with the two earlier books but now you've convinced me to read the first two. I am planning my Twilight/New Moon Movie date with myself so that I can write down all of the things he says to Bella that makes me feel like, OMG does Rob know what he's saying, will he retain that? My favorite so far is the "You don't know how long I've waited for you". Then I love the way he responds when she asks for answers in Twilight when they're at the restaurant. His "Hmmm... throat clear" makes me go crazy. He's very sexy. Go Stephenie!!! Oh and I love how in New Moon at the end Bella tells Jacob "It's him, it's always been him". Gosh, I have an ex who reminds me of Edward, we're friends only now until he either releases me or commits. It's kind of the same thing except he's scared to step up to the plate right now because our emotions scare him. Anyway, I fear that one day he'll get it together and I'll be with someone wonderful but have to repeat that same line to the new man just like Bella did to Jacob. This Saga Is Awesome!!!!

Melissa said...

Thank you, Nik, for your great comment. It's amazing how grown women keep getting sucked into these stories--and finding this essay. (There's a similar one on this site, posted a few days before the New Moon premiere.) As I'm sure you're now aware from your Internet searching, you are so NOT alone in your Edward obsession. If you want to visit with like-minded gals, go to and join its Twilight circle.

Anonymous said...

My name is Mary. I'm 39, married, a mom of two and a Twilight addict in secret. I love this blog and the comments because ya'll GET IT! I am completely consumed. I just rented Twilight while home sick last month. Now I am devouring the books. I listen to them on CD during my commute. Yesterday I drove to a nearby shopping center for my lunch break so no one would see me eating my lunch while listening to the book! I can't stop thinking about this story and I too have fallen for Edward, even though I know he's Bella's!

Melissa said...

Hi Mary:

I'm glad you found us. My best Twilight friend reminded me today to pre-order the New Moon DVD. I'm doing it! She and I also have a date to see the new Rob Pattinson movie, Remember Me, which comes out on March 12.

Possibilities said...

I just turned 35. I too was late bitten and just finished Breaking Dawn last week. Just started midnight sun. I have a 4 yr old daughter and have been separated for a year and a half. I saw Twilight when it came out, I initially had mixed emotions on it. You see, I was Bella. Well, when I was 17 a junior in high school I was in Marine Biology class and the only empty seat in the class was next to me. It was the middle of the year, and the most attractive boy I had ever laid eyes on entered my class and sat next to me. (Sound familiar?) I lived it! And we fell in love, had all the passion just like Bella and Edward minus the vampire part. That really took me aback and brought about feelings that at first made me sad in remembering my past.... Then I see New Moon and he leaves her! Again, so like my life except it was recent for me... After New Moon and Jacob Black, I just HAD to read eclipse and breaking dawn. I want more! I want her to keep writing. Stephanie, please keep writing. It has been an escape for me as another fan wrote. When my daughter sleeps, I escape to this fake reality that has totally captivated me. I guess i long for that love... that forever love....
Thanks for letting me post.

Melissa said...

Hello "Possibilities"

It's amazing how many women can relate to the Edward-Bella story in such a personal "that happened to me too" way. You'll probably enjoy another Twilight essay that's on the site. See "Edward's Cougar Den" (posted on Nov. 18, 2009). You can find it under the Twilight link in the list at right. Thanks for visiting! P.S. Also check out the Twilight group at

Anonymous said...

You gals are all so young... I too have a Twilght-Edward/Bella addiction. I am 57, 58 in Sept(I'm a Virgo too) and have just come through breast cancer. The Twilight Saga saved my life. It was a great diversion through weeks of chemo and the movies a true distraction and true...remembering youth and past loves, simpler times.

My viewings of the DVD and New Moon in the movies leave your numbers in the dust. Now that I am back to work it is really difficult to not spend a good portion of my free time either re-reading the books or watching the movies. I am getting better.

I too hope that Stephanie not only finishes Midnight Sun but does continue on to show the whole Saga from Edward's POV. I agree the books are much more luxurious through his eyes.

Check out the alternate stories on a FanFiction site called She (he?) writes alternatative sideline stories also from Edward"s POV that are beautifully written and very much for a more adult reader (better sex scenes). They are wonderful and give the reader another veiwpoint if the story had gone a different way. Bella's powers after she transforms are an interesting and different viewpoint. There's a scene where Edward soaks for hours in a very hot bath, so he will be warm when Bella and he try to work up to Edward's wedding night promise ... too Cute! Bratanimus is on Chapter 7 and still in the process of the story. It's fun for those that can't get enough of Edward and Bella.

Anyway thanks for this post as it makes me not feel so crasy for my addiction.

Anonymous said...

wow i really have been bitten totally late. i was told by this guy i was dating come to find out he was acting like him in some ways but maybe he was re-inventing himself but it didnt workout any how im glad he told me about twilight bcuz at first i didnt know wat da rave was all about until i saw da movies n immediately ordered da books n dats all i think about is edward im 36 n i wish i had someone like edward cullen all the men i see around here are slime buckets ugh n i spent my alone time daydreaming of someone like him. is sad 2 know dat men like him dont exist

Anonymous said...

My ex-husband used to act just like Edward Cullen (that was 30 years ago)He would take care of me in every possible way: bring breakfast in bed (even when I would think the day before that next morning I would beat him and brign Him breakfast in bed he would beat on that), clean the house, do the shopping, do all the sports with me, be overprotective and (you may not beleieve that but that's true) even going to the restroom with him. I was deeply in love with him, life had no sense without him, whenever I thought I would be without him I could not breath. Well it was all the crasines in twilight or maybe even more intense. But when he had to leave me alone for one year to start working in another country and we couldn't see each other at all I started enjoyng my freedom. Making friends, going to parties,having fun, having to struggle by myself...and i start appreciating that ...a lot...When we came back together again he could adjust with that person that wanted to do her own stuff, work, fight for her own ideas...And we grew apart from each even if still loving each other as hell.
You can't love someone and not allow them to be themselves to make their own mistakes, to grew as person. That's what llife is all about


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