It feels somehow both quaint and pathologically up to date for my wife and I to be devoting any serious thought at all to the question of whether to allow our 12-year-old daughter to read Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” books.
This is the kind of problem that makes parents of my generation feel ancient and overprotective. My wife and I grew up in very different communities, but both of us had the same experience as young readers: Kids read whatever they wanted to read, and their parents had barely an inkling of what they were up to. I went to libraries and used bookstores on my own from an early age, chose what I wanted, and didn’t bother to tell my parents about it. They could see, just by scanning the lurid covers of the books I left all over the house, that much of what I read was pulp fiction featuring swordplay and gore, but I appeared to be reading a lot and I was doing all right in school, so they were satisfied. They could perhaps be roused to an opinion about an R-rated movie, but it apparently never occurred to them that it could be their job as parents to decide whether what I was reading was appropriate.