Friday, August 08, 2008

A Review of A Review

Among the blogs I visit regularly is Dear Author (DA), a romance review site.

On Thursday, Jane of DA posted an interesting review of another blogger's review of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series.

Did you get all that? If not, let's go over it again slowly.

Stephenie Meyer is the author of the best-selling YA vampire series: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and the last book, Breaking Dawn, recently released on August 2.

Meyer, a 34-year-old wife and mother, made her publishing debut with the novel Twilight in October, 2005. In a month, the book was on the New York Times best-seller list.

The author has made no secret of her Mormon background or its influence on her writing. Adults have lauded the YA series for being "squeaky clean."

I have to confess I have not read any of Meyer's books. I picked up Twilight, which was prominently displayed in my local B&N, but decided against buying it for a purely personal reason--my reaction to what I saw as the misspelling of Meyer's first name {grin}.

Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is a Hispanic writer with a Master's degree in journalism from Columbia. The bio on her blog includes the fact that her father is a sociology professor originally from Cuba. She also says this:
One of the 25 "most influential Hispanics" in America, according to Time magazine. Still, the New York Times ignored every letter and op-ed I ever sent them. Still, I could not get calls returned, or emails, from most people I wanted to reach. In truth, I wielded all the influence of a lab rat. If I were more influential than the other 35 million Latinos in the land, then God help us all. Complexity denied. Lack of nuance celebrated . . . Polite applause from the elites. But never an open door to their club.
A thoughtful woman. And one who has devoted thought to her origins, her race and her place in today's society.

On Tuesday of this week, Valdes-Rodriguez posted a review of the Twilight series. The title of her review was "Is Stephenie Meyer Racist?" You can read it here.

Talk about getting in your face.

Valdes-Rodriguez posits that Meyer's books ARE racist. She points to the emphasis on the vampire hero Edward's pale white skin.

Edward's rival for heroine Bella is Jacob Black, a Native American werewolf. Can you see where this is going?

Valdes-Rodriguez believes that Meyer's Mormon faith is the source of all her (unconscious) racism.

Having not yet read the books, I don't feel qualified to comment on Valdes-Rodriguez's theory. However, Jane from Dear Author has read the books, and she fires back with her review on Thursday here.

Valdes-Rodriguez had a follow-up post on Thursday here.

I do feel qualified to make a couple of comments. First, I am not as sensitive to issues of race as are my black and brown friends. But, as an Anglo, let's face it. I don't have reason to be as sensitive. I do know that my male friends and relatives complain that I am hyper-sensitive to the discrimination of females.

Gosh, is there a parallel here?

Second, I applaud all three women. Meyer for writing her novels and seeing them through to publication. Alisa for asking questions she felt needed to be asked. And Jane for responding with her own thoughtful comments.

This is what books are for. And exactly the reason why I don't believe in banning any book.

Opposable thumbs set primates apart from other animals. And critical thought sets humans apart from other primates.

I believe it's far better to expose theories to the light where they can be considered, challenged and either proved or disproved. It's when we hide our actions or thoughts behind closed doors, apart from scrutiny, that the problems arise.

Read and decide for yourself.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

I completely agree that no book should be banned. It is by bringing things out into the open that we discover the truth.