I live 3,000 miles away from most of my family, but we talk enough to get a good idea of who’s reading what. My sister Suzy can often be found with the latest Ann Patchett or Jodi Picoult. Her daughter Julia, 13, is a Philip Pullman fan, though known to indulge in Gossip Girls.
On a rare East Coast trip this past weekend, though, I realized they were reading the same books – Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. Even my younger niece, Hannah, 11, was working her way through the quartet of bestselling vampire-thriller-romances.
Something sizzles when kids and parents share books. I remember how Suzy and I leapt on our first Nancy Drew mystery many years ago, not because the titian-haired detective sounded so thrilling to the 5- and 7-year-olds we were, but because our own mother had bought the book for us, telling us how she had loved Nancy as a child.
But the idea of parents and youngsters enjoying the same books at the same point in time, apparently on the same level, was something new in the house. I had to ask what about heroine Bella and her lover Edward and his rival Jacob was so special that it could bridge a generation.
On the face, I was surprised by how many of their reasons for reading the Twilight books were the same. “A lot of my friends liked them,” Julia said, describing how she came to pick up the first one. “I like the whole ‘good vampire’ thing.” Hannah nodded her assent. Suzy joined in after adult friends told her how much she would enjoy them, and was likewise hooked by the fast-moving plot and the novel idea of vampires navigating our society.