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Confessions of a Grown 'Twihard'

What is it about the 'Twilight' saga that has women behaving like teenage girls?

En español | Although the hugely successful Twilight books were written for adolescent girls, grown women have fallen madly in love with the teenage vampire romance series, the fifth and final film of which, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2, is in theaters now.

See also: Movie reviews from AARP's Movies for Grownups.

When women — of many different ages — discover their shared Twilight obsession, they typically ask one another, "Are you Team Edward or Team Jacob?"

(Perplexed? Checkout "How to Talk to a Twilight Fan." For a quick plot summary read "The Twilight Saga in 20 Seconds," at right.)

My friend Erin is to blame for my addiction. She became my Twilight dealer by raving about and lending me all four books: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, Breaking Dawn. Since then, Erin has been my steady opening weekend date for the films, which I've seen in theaters and on DVD more times than I can count.

In 2009, I attended the midnight premiere of New Moon with hordes of screaming teenage girls, young women and, well, older ladies. I've hosted mom's night out events for the openings of Eclipse (in 2010) and Breaking Dawn: Part 1 (in 2011). The same women and I are gathering again for an opening day sceening of Breaking Dawn: Part 2. Like other Twilight fans, I buy my movie tickets weeks in advance.

Once the books in the series have been read and re-read, Twilight devotees plow through author Stephenie Meyer's spinoff novels and Web-posted Twilight outtakes. Once the Twilight films have been watched and rewatched, we view fan-made Twilight trailers and films on YouTube. Seemingly mature women like myself join Twilight chat rooms and Facebook groups. We listen to the Twilight movie soundtracks.

When the DVD of the first film debuted, a half-dozen friends and I gathered for a living room screening. Among the seven women present, only Lyn and I had become consumed by the books. The others attended for the fun of getting together, and out of curiosity about the story and their own teenage daughters’ obsessions.

When I had suggested to Lyn that we recommend the series to our 15-member book group, she swiftly declined.

"I don't want that responsibility," said Lyn. "I don't want to be the reason someone becomes so consumed by the stories that all she wants to do is read the books, and read about the books, and think about Edward Cullen."

After that gathering, three of the five Twilight newbies started reading the books. One confessed that she was looking at her husband and trying to imagine him as Edward Cullen. Other friends have admitted to spending hours on the Internet, searching for more information about the stories and, in a couple of cases, looking into whatever happened to that long-ago high school boyfriend. My doctor (an age 40-something woman and Twilight fan) and I got sidetracked into an extended conversation about the series during an appointment.

Next page: See a clip from Twilight: Breaking Dawn: Part 2. »

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