At thirty-four, I consider myself to be a responsible, mature adult with a wonderful husband and awesome three-year old son. Yet, I hide a shameful secret; I love teen fiction.
As soon as I jumped on the Twilight bandwagon, I was hooked. At first, I thought something was wrong with me when the bookstore employee (who was probably still in high school) became my most trusted literary advisor. I promptly go in for more books as soon as I am done with one and, let me tell you, she knows a full synopsis on almost all of them. I was giddy with excitement over meeting her. I asked myself, what is wrong with me? Do I have a problem? Am I disturbed in some weird psychological way to be so interested in books aimed at an audience two decades younger? Even worse, am I a Twilight Mom? Ew.
I do not want to be any of those things, so naturally, I rationalized my obsession, and this is what I came up with:
First, I am 34 years old. Around our mid thirties, women start to go through what I call the notice-every-wrinkle-we-aren’t-young-anymore phase. We are well out of our roaring fun twenties and headed for our (ugh) forties! In a nutshell, I feel old. These stories make me feel young again with all of the angst, romantic boyfriends (that doesn’t even exist in high school), resolvable problems, and simple relationships. And furthermore, I have a grown up adult mind to process such things.
This brings me to my second rationalization: life experience has made me much smarter. How many times have we said, “I wish I could go back, knowing what I know now”? Well, we can, in a sense. And with our mature brains, we see just how unimportant the crises of those few short years of high school really were. Specifically, the “mean girls” who made me hate high school. I was tortured by “The Tammys.” Back then, these two witches were the bane of my existence. I also thought they had it all. Now I know better. I know now they were probably just insecure. Or maybe they were just buttholes. Maybe they still are buttholes, and hopefully buttholes with really ugly husbands. But at least now I don’t care.
My final rationalization is that the story lines are far less complicated than reality. As a mother and a wife, I constantly have my hands in several complicated projects at once. I am trying to start a business, raise a gentleman, and run a household in a real world with real and complicated problems. I don’t need more complication. I don’t need more sadness and worry. Maybe that is why I seldom read nonfiction. I know a sexual abuse victim who struggles to raise her daughters without bitterness. I know a mother who lost her eleven-month-old son to a rare disease. I know a cancer patient who right now is just waiting to die who agonizes over leaving behind two young children and a wife who adore him. Teen fiction is a simple escape from the tragedies and complications facing us each day. Books like Twilight offer a temporary refuge where I can escape for a few short hours and enjoy a time without real-life worries, like when we were teenagers.
So I am not weird. I am a busy lady whose innocent escape into teendom is healthy and, well, uncomplicated…