When I was first asked to read over Escaping the Vampire by Kimberly Powers, I will say that I was excited. Right away, the connection to Twilight was unmistakable, the font type, the image bearing likeness to the forbidden fruit on the cover of the hugely popular series (hands holding a snow white rose). Being a fan of the relevance of Twilight, and the influence it has had on the generation at large, I was ready to jump in and read it.
It took me two days.
However, after reading it through twice, I felt a little let down and disappointed. It was not in the content or the message the book sends to teen girls, but by the tie-ins to Twilight. They were present – and plenty – but there was a stronger push by the author for teens to watch out for the “Ultimate Vampire” or Satan. Although this is a strong statement and worthy of every tween and teen alike to take seriously, the original feeling and desire of the Twilight connection caused the message to be glanced over, as the reader constantly looks for the next quote about Edward and Bella.
Now that the misconceptions of this book are out in the open, the content becomes clear. This happened for me during the second read once I got rid of my Twilight bias. For Powers, the Twilight series is such a hit with young teens because it is a love story, and every girl longs for the type of love Edward has and shows to Bella.
A love that is attentive, protective, fought for, and to be desired.
Many of these qualities are not easy to fault a girl for, so why do many youth workers dismiss Edward as a tool? Too many times I have heard and witnessed leaders who, when asked by their youth why they should not read Twilight, have been told that “It’s bad …or evil …about vampires, who are evil.” I think that these misconceptions and default answers are why youth leaders need a book like this on their shelf: To allow them the ability to be culturally relevant.
If we cannot meet our youth in what penetrates their world, and have quality communication with them about the content, underlying themes, and the qualities that make the characters we love endearing, then we have lost some respect in their eyes.
That was one of the qualities of Kimberly Powers’ book that I enjoyed. It was the ability to see connections and lessons that can come from popular culture.
Powers points the reader in to a strong conclusion – Satan’s lies in our life are based on our selfish twisted desires of destruction. Too many times are young teens swayed by author, and therefore, buy into what society tells them is acceptable, and then try everything in their power to attain it. Such thinking is a bold-faced lie by Satan. Once attaining that goal becomes unsuccessful, they settle for a substitute: A form of enticement that they have been tempted with to ease the pain (i.e. cutting, eating disorders, anything that can lead to deeper pain and destruction). Satan is a masterful liar, as mentioned in Genesis 3, and there is only one true way out and that is not in the arms of Edward, but in the arms of the “Ultimate Hero” – God. The truth of God’s Word contrasts Satan’s lies and can establish strength in the shadow of destruction.
As a resource that entices and draws on strong parallels to Twilight, I would give the book a “D+” but, for a resource that points young girls towards valuable life lessons through the truth of God’s Word and Godly women of faith, I would give it a strong “B.”
Worth the read, but probably not a permanent place on youth worker’s shelf.
Originally Posted on ThinkYouthMinistry.ca on Feb. 1, 2010