That vampire book
I haven't read it myself so I don't have an opinion. But it's been very interesting to take note some of the commentary on "Breaking Dawn," the recently released finale of the Twilight series, the light-on-sex-and-violence four-book vampire series penned by stay-at-home Mormon mom Stephenie Meyer.
According to commentators, the book (and the three that precede it) is too racy, not racy enough, too Mormon, not Mormon enough, anti-feminist, emasculating, thrilling, dull, great literature, and total pulp.
Then, in what seems to me like the ultimate proof that some readers are seriously confusing the confines of a book with the outside world, a number of readers have apparently been demanding their money back. It seems they don't like the ending. (See Publisher's Weekly for Sara Nelson's more solidly-based-in-reality take on this odd phenomenon.)
It's enough to make one wonder who has the courage to become a bestselling author these days. With the ocean of opportunity to vent spleen and disappointment created by the blogosphere, writers have little choice but to continually go nose-to-nose with disgruntled readers. It's hard for me to believe that such encounters necessarily energize creative people.
So I was glad to stumble on an online interview with Stephenie Meyer at entertainmentweekly.com. The thirty-something author and mom actually appeared quite calm in the midst of her book launch. Asked about some of the more intense reader criticism, she politely suggested that it may calm down with the passage of time.
Then she uttered words that other writers might want to print out and post inside their laptops. Her stories, she points out, "can't be about what everyone else wants."
"In the end," she said, "it was about what I wanted to do and that had to be enough for me." And in the end, it's going to have to be enough for those disgruntled customers as well.