I just finished Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn which, like the first three novels, I read in less than 24 hours.
But even as I continue to read and buy her books, I find myself increasingly discombobulated.
There are so many things to like.
The deeply romantic 'girl-gets-swept off her feet by two knights in shining armor' plot.
The fact that 'Bella is loved because she exists - not because she does everything right - and deep down this is what we all want -- to be loved for our very existence', as Janna commented in my "Allure of the pom-pom" post (see below); being loved for our very existence should be (I believe is) an inalienable right.
Then there's Bella's relatedness and nurturing and connecting, traits innate to women, which all too often are under appreciated by others, as well as ourselves.
And yet, believing as I do -- in the importance of moving ourselves to the center of our life story, learning to establish priorities, to accomplish goals, to learn to say no -- I've found myself in a surprising love/hate relationship with Meyer's books.
Because as hard as I try, I just can't find the 'I'-dentity.
Whether it's Bella having no interest in an education, to her continual physical danger from which she needs to be rescued, to her inability to set boundaries.
In response to a prior post (see 'An A or F on the Galadriel Test' below) some have noted that Bella and Edward do not engage in pre-marital sex. Which is true. But only because of Edward's unusual self-control.
Even if I set aside the unrealistic world view that there are more than a few men who could resist their beloved throwing herself at him, I am very uncomfortable with the idea of being beholden to another's integrity. Of doing the right thing not because I choose to, but because I happen to be surrounded by others who do.
Some days it would be nice -- I would like to be two again -- but most of the time I really do want to grow up, to embark on the Psyche-like journey of feminine development. I think most of us do.
Being loved is an inalienable right, but exercising choice is too.
Can you recommend any books with female characters that are both/and? Connected like Bella, but also learning to establish priorities, achieve goals, to exercise choice?
My friend Kathleen P just recommended the Sandra Gulland series "The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B."
I've only just begun the book, but maybe.
Some of you are going to disagree with me -- some of you are going to wonder why I am spending so much time thinking about this, whatever your thoughts -- I'd love to hear them.
P.S. Sarah Palin was appointed the Republican VP nominee yesterday. Perhaps she's a both/and role model. Too early to really know. But early indications tell me she's someone to watch.
An 'A' or an 'F' on the Galadriel test?
Et tu, Whitney?
The allure of the pom-pom
What I've learned by identifying my heros
Second thoughts on Psyche's 2nd task