Friday, November 20, 2009

Book Review: ‘Touched by a Vampire’ by Beth Felker Jones

A Helpful Guide through the 'Twilight' Series
By Lauren Yarger
Beth Felker-Jones’ guide through the ‘Twilight’ series, "Touched by a Vampire: Discovering the Hidden Messages in the Twilight Saga" (Multnomah Books ,October 2009) is just that: a great guide.

Jones is a knowledgeable source for those who want to know more about the books without having to read them, and a facilitator for fans who want to read the novels with a biblical context. It comes just in time, too, as the blockbuster movie sequel “New Moon” opens in theaters this weekend.

Jones, an assistant professor of theology at Wheaton College, takes an even-handed look at the novels by Stephenie Meyer in the run-away best seller Twilight Saga series for young adults. Telling the story of the romance between human teenager Bella and vampire Edward, the four books, “Twilight,” “New Moon,” Eclipse,” and “Breaking Dawn” have been a source of controversy for Christians. One the one hand, some Christian mothers have given thumbs up to the books because Meyer (a Mormon) has the characters refrain from having sex before they are married. On the other hand, they are stories about vampires and the occult.

Jones, in a non-preachy way, gives us all the information we need to know to make an informed choice about whether this is something we want our kids reading or not, and how to address some of the issues and circumstances in the Twilight world from a biblical reference. I would have loved a book like this for the Harry Potter series which was all the range when my kids were still young enough to have their mother involved in the book-selection process.

Besides giving an excellent overview of what the series is about and the main points of interest and themes, the book includes chapters on the specific topics that come up in the series, each concluded with questions to prompt thought about what Christians should and shouldn’t embrace in the story. In addition, a book-by-book discussion series is included for each novel in the series and an online leader’s guide allows easy use in a bible study or book discussion group.

Jones also includes come information on the Mormon themes present in the books. I found it to be one of the most thorough, thoughtful and helpful guidebooks of this type I have read.

Buy it here.

--Lauren Yarger
A free reviewer's copy of this book was provided by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

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Lauren Yarger, Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the 2000 Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists.

Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.

In 2008 she was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She writes reviews of Broadway and off-Broadway theater with a Christian perspective for Reflections in the Light ( and is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection. She also is a contributing editor for

She also reviews books for Publisher's Weekly and is a member of the National Book Critics Circle. She formerly was Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp, a national theater web site bsed in New York and a reviewer for American Theater Web.

She also served as Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. and worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford and the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.

She is a freelance writer and member of the Drama Desk, The Outer Critics Circle, The American Theater Critics Association, The League of Professional Theatre Women and The CT Critics Circle.

A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger lives with her husband in West Granby, CT and has two adult children.

Copyright Notice

All contents copyright © Lauren Yarger 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, contact

Scripture from THE MESSAGE Copyright 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.

Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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