Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Read Twilight and Hate It: Chapter 7

    Bella is distressed.  She doesn't want to think about the idea the Edward is a vampire, so she tries to drown it out by going up to her room and emoing out to some music.  I don't know why she's giving that much thought, since the only reason she really has to think this is that she heard it from a 15-year-old kid that she'd just met.  Oddly enough, though, she doesn't pick up to the thought that Jacob is a werewolf, probably because it would require her to think of something other than Edward. The strain of thinking tires her out and she falls asleep, where she actually has a dream where Jacob turns into a wolf (still, without getting a clue), and then Edward is a vampire and he goes the bite her and she wakes up.

        "I groaned, fell back, and rolled over onto my face, kicking off my boots. I was too uncomfortable to get anywhere near sleep, though.  I rolled back over and unbuttoned my jeans, yanking them off awkwardly as I tried to stay horizontal."1

    Yes!  Finally, something for the gynophilic readers to enjoy.  Except not, because the narrative strip-tease starts and ends in one sentence.  Each one of Edward's eyelashes has a sonnet written to it; you think we'd at least get a little more detail about Bella, if she was stripping anyways, at least the colour of her panties.  But no, nothing.  She just gets up and takes a shower (with a complete lack of titillating detail) then putters around doing some boring chores for awhile.
    Next, Bella decides that if she's going to be stalking a vampire, she may as well know what one is so she Googles it, and Meyer demonstrates her lack of understanding of how computers work.  "...I turned my computer on.  Naturally, the screen was covered in pop-up ads."1  Wrong, pop-up ads appear when you go to a website that utilizes them for revenue; they don't just appear when you turn on the computer, unless you were an idiot and set your internet browser to launch at start-up and your homepage to some kind of pop-up launch pad.  "I made my way to my favorite search engine.  I shot down a few more pop-up ads and then typed in one word.  Vampire."1  I guess that Google is resorting to pop-up ads now, too.  Actually, she doesn't specify which search engine she uses, just that it's her "favorite search engine."  Also, it's pretty stupid to just type in "Vampire" and hope it will come up with what you want.  Try searching for it yourself.  You’ll get the Wikipedia entry (which is pretty useful, and it’s a wonder that Bella didn’t use that), but besides that all you usually see are stupid fansites made by fangirls and fanboys who gush uncontrollably over anything “dark,” as well as websites to sell useless crap to the above mentioned people.
    Fortunately, Bella is punished for her stupidity.  "It took an infuriatingly long time.  When the results came up, there was a lot to sift through."1  "Like, oh my god, the internet is so stupid. I hate it."  Also, what were you expecting; that there would only be 15 hits in a search for "vampire." Use more keywords to narrow your search.  She says she eventually found a "promising site - Vampires A-Z."1  Which sounds like the kind of page you would find hosted on Geocities, that someone made back in junior high and has forgotten about years ago.  The website tells Bella that, contrary to what anyone living in modern society can tell without doing any research, vampire lore focuses mostly on female vampires and doesn't have a lot to do with blood-drinking.  She was trying to find a vampire lore that "sounded familiar"1 to Edward.  If she wanted to do that, though, she should have just saved herself some time by searching for "Anne Rice." 
    Doing this research also causes Bella to finally board the obvious train: "one [myth] that I'd remembered from the small number of scary movies that I've seen and was backed up by today's readings - vampires couldn't come out in the daytime, the sun would burn them to a cinder."1 Duh!  It's not until 7 chapters into the book that Meyer finally acknowledges this plot hole, but still doesn't fill it.  I eagerly await what will no doubt be aneurism-inducingly stupid explanation for why Edward can walk around in the daylight without bursting into flames, or turning to ash, or otherwise dyeing some horrible undeath.
    Bella becomes frustrated with Meyer's poor, unfaithful storytelling and turns off her computer.  Then she explains to the audience how things that are happening are everyone's fault but her own:
        "What was wrong with me?  I decided that most of the blame belonged on the doorstep of the town of Forks - and the entire sodden Olympic Peninsula, for that matter."1
    Like I said, everyone's fault but her own.  I'd hate to see how much she complains when there's actually something wrong with her life.  Also, “sodden”?  What, is she British now? After deciding that she wasn't having enough of a tantrum yet, Bella "stomped out the door"1 and into the woods behind her house to do some more ruminating and complaining.  She kept walking into the woods "as long as my anger at myself pushed me forward."1  Conveniently, her anger pushed her just far enough to where "a recently fallen tree - I knew it was recently fallen because it wasn't entirely carpeted in moss - rested against the trunk of one of her sisters, creating a sheltered little bench just a few feet off the trail."1  First of all, assigning genders to genderless objects tends to be deep within the territory of idiocy, especially when you're inconsistent about it, and refer to something as a "she" in the same sentence that you called it an "it."  Second, we get it; you're supposed to be good at science.  We don't need this fact re-established every chapter.  Neither do we need to be reminded that you are un-coordinated, every guy is jealous of you, and that Edward is so gosh-dang gorgeous.  If we weren't reminded of these little tidbits over and over, it would make the book a much more bearable read.  It would also make it about half as long.
    Bella sits on her pondering log for awhile and continues to ponder about whether Edward is really a vampire, citing such evidence to herself as his "inhuman beauty," and also the fact that "he seemed to know what everyone around him was thinking... except me."1  Am I the only one that really thinks that Edward was simply humouring Bella when he said she was hard to read?  I mean, by her own description of her actions, she seems to broadcast her thoughts pretty well.  It's never going to be hard to guess what she's thinking about (hint: Edward). 
    After plenty of recapping the story so far, Bella finally decides that maybe he's a vampire.  It's not a satisfactory conclusion for you or me, but apparently it is for her.  Now faced with the decision of how to act knowing he might be a vampire, Bella quickly (very quickly) rejects the idea of simply avoiding him for her own safety, because "I was gripped in a sudden agony of despair as I considered that alternative.  My mind rejected the pain..."1  Wow, they're not even dating and she's already emotionally dependent on him.  That's... kind of scary. 

        "I could do nothing different.  After all, if he was something...sinister, he'd done nothing to hurt me so far.  In act, I would be a dent in Tyler's fender if he hadn't acted so quickly.  So quickly, I argued with myself, that it might have been sheer reflexes.  But if it was a reflex to save lives, how bad could he be? I retorted." 1

    Actually, dear, it's spelled "retarded," not “retorted.”  And you forgot to include "am" before it.   

        "I knew that I had my answer.  I didn't know if there ever was a choice, really.  I was already in too deep.Now that  knew – if  I knew - I could do nothing about my frightening secret.  Because when I thought of him, of his voice, his hypnotic eyes, the magnetic force of his personality, I wanted nothing more than to be with him."1

    So, Bella has made a decision, which could realistically lead to the harm of herself and others, based solely on her attraction for this guy. This is what we call "thinking with your vagina," and it is generally to be avoided.  Satisfied with her stupid decision, Bella makes her way back home.  She has little remorse for what she decided, except to note that "the decision was ridiculously easy to live with.  Dangerously easy."1  Isabella Swan: Dangerously easy.
    Bella gets home and does some studying.  Her dad gets home with some fish and Bella makes "a mental note to pick up a book of recipes for fish while I was in Seattle next week."1 Forks may be a small town and not have a lot in the way of book stores, but I'm sure that "fish recipes" is not something so exotic that they wouldn't have something available without driving to the nearest big city. 
    After dinner, the amazingly uneventful and over-narrated day ends and Bella goes to sleep ("dreamlessly,"1 thank god).  The next morning, it's sunny out.  Bella's mood is invariably linked to the weather (almost as much as it's linked to whether or not she's staring at Edward) so she's in a good mood.  Or, as she puts it, "my blood was electric in my veins."1
    She heads to school and realizes that she got their early.  After some lame excuse to the reader for Bella not knowing what the time was, Bella decided to "industrially"1 take out her Trigonometry book.  I guess that's why I was never as good in school as Bella; I would only take my books out normally.  Of course, she's only rechecking some answers, because she'd already completed the assignment, "the product of a slow social life."1  How fast of a social life was she expecting? She moved there less than a month ago and she's already the most popular girl in school, she's been embraced by the entire student body, and has been asked out by every guy to look at her.  And she's complaining about a slow social life?  I guess she just thinks she's so good that she deserves even more, or something.  Anyways, her work quickly breaks down into daydreaming about (surprise surprise) Edward.  She's eventually brought back into reality when Mike shows up.
    They chit chat a little, and Mike asks Bella "'What did you do, yesterday?' His tone was just a bit too proprietary."1  I'd love to hear Stephanie Meyer try to demonstrate exactly what a "proprietary tone" sounded like.  Bella says she was working on her essay and Mike asks:

        "What are you writing yours on?"
        "Whether Shakespeare's treatment of female characters is misogynistic."
        He stared at me like I had just spoken pig Latin.1

    "What is this word you speak of?  Miss aw gin histic? I have never heard such a thing before. I am but a mere Forks bumpkin, and I have not learned any words over three syllables."  Also, I find it supremely ironic that a character in a Stephanie Meyer book would be writing about misogynistic treatment of female characters, when Bella has already proven to be a damsel in distress who just isn't complete without her man who makes all her decisions for her. 
    Anyways, Mike asks Bella out (again) and Bella worms out of it by giving an excuse instead of just being honest and telling him she's not interested (again).  This time, she says that she can't go out with him because she feels she would hurt Jessica's feelings.  This is of course hypocritical and two-faced of her, because she has no problem lusting after Edward, despite the fact that she also noticed that Jessica likes him back in chapter one (page 22). 
    Anyways, Mike becomes "clearly dazed"1 by the painfully obvious fact that Jessica was interested in him, and Bella runs off to class, were-in she's invited to go to Port Angeles to go dress shopping with Jessica, and a few other girls.  She gives them a maybe.
    At lunch, she immediately starts looking for Edward, but feels a "shiver of panic tremble in my stomach"1 as she realized that Cullens' usual table was empty.  Upon further looking and not seeing Edward "desolation hit me with crippling strength."1  And when he wasn't in her Biology class either, she "felt a new wave of disappointment."1  Protip, everyone: you will never be happy in a relationship if you can't learn to be happy by yourself.  It's pretty bad if you're this utterly dependent on another person for happiness if you're dating them.  But if you're this dependent only shortly after meeting them, then you need help.  And by "help," I don't mean that you need to start dating them;  I mean you need to stop obsessing over them and go see a psychologist.  Oh yeah, and at lunch Bella turns her maybe into a yes, and agrees to go to Port Angeles with the girls, "grasping at anything to distract myself."1
    In gym class, they were starting badminton, "the next torture they had lined up for me,"1 but they spent the entire class explaining the rules and apparently it went long so they were going to do the same thing the next day.  "What's that coach?  You hit the birdie over the net?  With a racket?  This is all so complicated.  Maybe you should slow down and take another day to explain it."  After that class, Bella headed home where she would "be free to pout and mope,"1 as though she ever let being at school stop her.  When she gets there, she finds that Jess had moved the Port Angeles plans to the next day (in order to go on a date with Mike), complains about it, gets some emails from her mom, complains about them, looks through her book collection, complains about it, then grabs a Jane Austin compilation and goes outside to read on the lawn (which she complains about).
    She begins into Sense and Sensibility only to remember that (oh noes!) the protagonists name is Edward.  She then starts on Mansfield Park only to remember that *gasp* the main character in that is named Edmund, which is kind of close to Edward.  It's like the whole universe, include a great author that lived and died over a hundred years ago, are all conspiring to make her fall in lust with a guy she barely knows.  She gives up on the whole reading thing and decides to just lay in the sun.

        I pulled all my hair over my head, letting it fan out on the quilt above me, and focused again on the heat that touched my eyelids, my cheekbones, my nose, my lips, my forearms, my neck,soaked through my light shirt...1

    Ho ho, what's this?  It sounds like it's going to be followed with "absent-mindedly, I slid my hand down my stomach and unbuttoned my jeans" or some similar lead-in to a masturbation scene, but no; it just leads to Bella falling asleep.  This chapter keeps faking me out.  The next thing after that quote is her waking up to the sound of her dad's car pulling into the driveway
    She asks her dad for permission to go to Port Angeles the next night.  After he agrees, she then patronizes him about his ability to feed himself, and then goes to bed.
    The next morning (god, this chapter just doesn't want to end), she goes to school find that Edward is still absent and starts panicking at the thought of not going to Seattle with him that weekend.  She also finds out that the trip to Port Angeles that night is still on and also that one of the girls (who had been rude to her earlier) wasn't going.  Bonus.  After school, she drops her truck and school stuff off at her house, then her and Jess pick up the other girl that's going ("Angela") and they hit the road, as Bella notes that her "excitement increased exponentially as we actually drove out of the town limits."1  So ends chapter seven.
    I know this has been a long one, but I want to introduce a little extra bit at the end.  It occurs to me that, despite the fact that I said that I would give Twilight a fair shake, I've been writing nothing (without any exception that come to mind) but negative commentary about the book.  So, I'm going to try every now and then to include something positive about Stephanie Meyer or her writing.  Right now, I have this to say: she has avoided (at least so far) making any horrible puns with the name "Forks."  For this, I am grateful.
    Stay tuned for eight.


1Meyer, Stephanie Twilight. “Chapter 7: Nightmare” Little, Brown and Co., 2005

Friday, July 24, 2009

I Read Twilight and Hate it: Chapter 6

    Chapter six starts out with the usual kind of teen-drama crap that plagues this book. There are bunch of girls at the school who are, like, OMG jealous of like, Bella and how she gets to like hang out with Edward.  Bella overhears one talking about her with an "unpleasant, nasally voice."1  You can tell she's evil, because her voice isn't deep or velvet.  Mike defends her to this girl "loyally, but a bit territorially."1 Bella really has a hard time seeing good in things he does.  I guess she likes to keep her enemies far and her friends further.
    Later, she asks her dad about the place that Edward said he would be camping that weekend (did I mention that?  He said he couldn't go on the road-trip because he was going camping with his vampily).  He said it was known for bears, and most people don't go there to camp, but rather to hunt.  Not much to say here.
    The next morning, Bella's sleep is interrupted, because "an unusual brightness woke me."1  She was actually so amazed by clear weather that it woke her up early.  Now, first of all, I've already talked about how Washington's bad weather is greatly exaggerated (by Stephanie Meyer herself and the population at large).  Second, she's been away from Arizona for less that a month; not really enough time to forget what sunshine looks like. 
    She met everyone who was going on the trip at Mike's dad's store.  All the non-vampire students who had names were there, as well as a couple generics.  Two of the generic boys were given names ("Ben and Conner"1) which leads me to suspect that they're going to be asking Bella to dances soon.  Two of the generic girls ("Angela and Lauren"1) were also given names.  They seemed to be part of the group that was gossiping about Bella.  Mike asks Bella if she's invited anyone else.

        "Nope," I lied lightly, hoping I wouldn't get caught in the lie.  But also wishing that a miracle would occur and Edward would appear.1

    I guess Edward is kind of like Jesus now and his appearance constitutes a miracle.  Also, "lightly"?  Talk about unnecessary adverbs.  What did she mean, "quietly"?  If so, why didn't she just say "quietly"?  Or did she mean that it was a "light" lie, as opposed to a more serious or "heavier" lie.  I am consumed by the mystery that Stephanie Meyer's writing presented.  And more than a little obsessed by her writing itself.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.
    So, they make their way to La Push, and there's more trivial love-triangle drama.  I'll spare you the details.  It's not even exposing new information; just that Jessica likes Mike and Mike likes Bella.  Meyer gives some vanilla descriptions of the coastline, and the rocks on the beach, which are every colour including "dull gold"1 (OMG, just like Edward's eyes!).  Anyways, make it to the campsite, and start a fire.  Some people go hiking and come back.  Nothing really interesting until a group of teenagers from the nearby reservation shows up. 
    It's like they were sitting around saying, "Man, I'm so bored hanging out with other Native Americans.  If only some cool white kids would show up for us to talk to.  That would be awesome."  Anyways, the group includes one younger kid named Jacob.  He eventually makes his way over to Bella (all the boys do, after all) and introduces himself as the son of the guy that her dad bought the truck from.  They talk about various things, cars, Jacob's sisters (whom Bella used to be friends with), and the Cullens.  Conversations with Bella always lead to the Cullens.  Actually, Meyer gets around Bella displaying her creepy obsession by having another girl, one of the ones who was making fun of Bella, bring up the Cullens.  And it's totally believable and not awkward at all, that she just brings it up right out of the blue.  Heavy sarcasm.  After serving her purpose of bringing up Edward in the conversation, the girl leaves so Bella can start pumping Jacob for information about them. 
    Actually, she tries to take him for a walk on the beach and seduce the information out of him.  He says he's barely fifteen, and she's insincerely trying to flirt with him to use him to get info.  What a bitch.  Jacob had said that "the Cullens don't come here"1 and that had intrigued Bella to find out more info.  Although, I think there was only one work in that sentence that she even heard.  He could have said "I've never even heard of the Cullens," and she would still be dissecting it and trying to find more info from him.  
    Together, they walked a bit down the beach and sat at a “nearby driftwood tree that had its roots sticking out like the attenuated legs of a huge, pale spider.”1  “Attenuate,” in case you’re wondering, is a verb which means “to make thin.”  Why she said the branches were “attenuated” rather than just “thin”?  I have no idea.  Maybe she gets paid by the syllable. After a liberal amount of whoring, she gets him to tell her that the Cullens aren't supposed to come onto the reservation.  This is due to a pact that Jacob's great-grandfather made years ago with the "cold ones"1 [vampires], because they are the "natural enemies" of the werewolf.  Immediately afterwards, Jacob says:

        "...the cold ones are traditionally our [emphasis added] enemies.  But this pack [the Cullens] that came to our territory during my great-grandfather's time was different.  They didn't hunt the way others of their kind did - they weren't supposed to be dangerous to the tribe.  So my great-grandfather mad a truce with them.  If they would promise to stay off our lands, we wouldn't expose them to the pale-faces [crackers]"1.

    So, Jacob says that the vampires are werewolves' enemies, then afterwards calls them "our" enemies.  Dear god, I hope Meyers isn't planning some kind of stupid idea to make the Native Americans be werewolves.  Anyways, if Jacob just revealed all this information to blank-face here, didn't he violate the treaty, and lead to a vampire invasion of his reservation?  Why on earth were they trusting this information to a kid, anyways?

        "I guess I just violated the treaty."  He laughed.
        "I'll take it to the grave," I promised, and then shivered.1

    I hope that shiver means she's going to die soon, for making promises that she inevitably breaks.  That is to say, I really really doubt that she'll take this information to the grave.
    Bella and Jacob return to the group, and there's some more trivial stuff with Mike being possibly-but-not-really jealous of Jacob.  Bella also tells Jacob that she'll come see him, next time her dad comes to visit his dad.  I guess he's become her insta-friend.  All the pale-faces decide the night is through and jump back in their suburban to head back to Forks.  So ends chapter six.  Stay tuned for chapter seven.

1Meyer, Stephanie Twilight. “Chapter 6: Scary Stories” Little, Brown and Co., 2005

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I read Twilight and Hate it: Chapter 5

    Bella moans and whines some more about being late to class, being invited on the road trip by Mike, and the fact that Edward isn't constantly following her around so she can look at him whenever she feels like it.  This puts her in a funk until, at lunch:

        "Edward Cullen is staring at you again," Jessica said, finally breaking through my abstraction with his name.1

    Abstraction is not the same thing as daydreaming, Meyer.  Edward is sitting at alone, away from his sibling-pack (I guess Forks High School has enough spare tables that you can just go grab on for yourself when you feel like it), and motions for Bella to come sit with him.  "As I watched in disbelief, he winked."1  He's kind of the Sarah Palin of vampires. 
    They talk, and over the course of some awkwardly-written dialogue set the record straight that yes, they are going to be friends.  Edward takes the time to reiterate that he is, in fact, bad for her, because (I'm guessing) he's afraid that talking to her straight-forward like this is taking away some of his mystique.  I don't think that personality matters too terribly much with Bella, though, because she's so pre-occupied with how her looks.  Here are some things she thinks during this conversation:

        "It was hard to believe that something so beautiful could be real.  I was afraid that he'd disappear in a puff of smoke and I would wake up.
        He was still smiling, but his ocher eyes were serious.
        That breathtaking crooked smile reappeared.
        I looked up into his deep gold eyes, became befuddled...
        He looked own, and then glanced up at me through his long black lashes, his ocher eyes scorching."1

    Even if Edward's appearance did turn out to be a major plot point down the line (like, if he were to end up becoming a male model or prostitute at some point), it hardly seems worth it to keep describing how he looks over and over.  There's really no literary reason to keep talking about this, except for that Stephanie Meyer is typing with one hand and she expects the readers to be reading it with one hand as well (if you catch my drift2). 
    Edward asks Bella what she thinks he is, and she says she’s been “vacillating during the past month between Bruce Wayne and Peter Parker.  Vacillating:  for when “oscillating” just isn’t pretentious enough.

    Bella decides that her previous statement was far to modest, and to say that she is, in fact, hard-to-read.  Either that, or she's just really open to suggestion; Edward just has to tell her something twice and she believes it.  "Was [Edward] a hypnotist, too?  Or was I just a hopeless pushover?"1 Definitely the latter.  Or rather, you're a shallow character with no roots, no set opinions, and no purpose other than for minor bad things to happen to you so you can become the damsel-in-trivial-distress and be rescued by the author's masturbation fantasies.
    Again, Edward seems to feel his mystique and bad-boy-appeal slipping, so he takes the not-so-subtle route of just telling Bella that he's more of bad guy than a hero.  And again, it doesn't matter because Bella would want to jump his bone, even if he had spoken nothing but gibberish to her since they met. 
    Lunch ends, and Edward informs Bella that he's skipping Biology and invites her to do the same.  Bella "hesitated, torn."1  I think I'll skip class because the boy I'm liking is skipping class.  Tee-hee!  She ultimately decides to attend, though.  In class, the teacher has them pricking their fingers and testing for blood type, because he wants them to attend an upcoming blood-drive in Port Angeles (which, incidentally, is an hour drive from Forks; kind of far to expect your students to drive).  Any teacher who did this in real-life would have angry phone calls from a dozen parents that night and a pink slip by the end of the week, especially if they grabbed one of the students hands and pricked his finger without warning or consent (as is the case in this story). 
    Bella, apparently, is one of those people who can faint at the sight of a little blood (Oh boy, what wacky situations will this lead to with her dating a vampire?) so she feels woozy and asks to be sent to the nurse.  Mike volunteers to escort her.
    He begins helping her to the nurse's office, but she makes him stop after a short while to take a nap or something.  Edward shows up (of course) and, to her protest, picks her up off her feet and begins carrying her to the nurse.  Mike yells after Edward as he walks off with Bella, but I guess that Edward can walk faster than Mike can run, because he never actually catches up to him.  Edward just ignores Mike's shouts, and Bella's shouts to put her down for that matter.  Let's take another look at how this novel is teaching young men to treat women. Mike is helping Bella move, but stops when she tells him to stop.  Edward, on the other hand starts moving her without her consent and refuses to stop when she tells him to.  And which one of them is going to get rewarded with her affection?
    Edward gets her to the nurse's station and sets him down, and the nurse lets him know he can return to class.  

        "I'm supposed to stay with her."  He said this with such assured authority that - even though she pursed her lips - the nurse didn't argue it further.1

    Protip: ladies, if he's good at lying to other people, it means he's good a lying to you, too.  The nurse leaves for a bit to give them a chance to share some pointless dialogue.  They use the time to make fun of how pissed off Mike was at Edward.  Speaking of Mike, he finally shows up, with another fainter in tow.  Edward tells Bella to leave the nurses office.  When they get out, he says it's because the kid who entered was bleeding.  Bella claims that she knew because she could smell the blood.  "'People can't smell blood,' he contradicted."1  Only vampires can, because we have super-smell!   Mike joins them outside the nurses office and gives Bella a superfluous reminder of the road-trip that they're going on, shooting glares at Edward as he does it, and making it clear that it wasn't an open invitation.  They don't say what expression Edward was shooting back at Mike, but I'm guessing it was smug, Ozymandias-smug3.
    Mike leaves, and Edward offers to use his superior lying ability to get her out of P.E., so she can go home early, which she accepts.  He also insists that he's the one who drives her home.  When she refuses, he makes it clear that he doesn't understand that "no means no," by threatening to physically force her into his car if she doesn't get in. Yeah. Remember, when someone gives you the romantic advice to "be more like Edward," they mean "act like a rapist."
    Anyways, in the car, Bella discovers that Edward had been listening to "Clair de Lune," by Debussy, and they talk about how they both like the song.  Now, I almost can't fault Meyer for picking Clair de Lune, because it is a really great song.  The implication that they both like means that they have something meaningful in common is bogus, though.  Despite what most high-schoolers like to think, liking classical music does not set them apart from their peers; it's actually a pretty common preference.   And Claire de Lune is quite popular as far as classical pieces go.  As far as music goes, it's just so safe.  If Edward has been listening to Insane Clown Posse, instead, then sure it would have been crappy music, but at least it would have been someone more polarizing, less guaranteed to be liked by whomever entered his car.
    On the way, Bella mentions the road-trip she's taking with Mike and company that weekend, to which Edward says:

        "I don't really think I was invited."
        I sighed.  "I just invited you."
        "Let's not push poor Mike and further this week.  We don't want him to snap."  His eyes dance; he was enjoying the idea more than he should.
        "Mike-schmike," I muttered.1

    Jeez, they're just stepping on this poor guy every chance they get.  With the way they treat him, I wouldn't be surprised or really blame him if he goes Judas on them later in the book.  Actually, that probably will happen.  I could see Meyer making Mike do something semi-evil down the line to prevent readers from feeling sorry for him for him and retroactively justify how he's been treated up to this point.  I heard that the as-of-yet unreleased Stephanie Meyer novel Midnight Sun is a retelling of the events in Twilight, but from Edward's point of view, instead of Bella's.  What would be much more interesting, though, would be to see it from Mike's point of view. 
    Still driving, Edward asks Bella about her mother.  "'She looks a lot like me, but prettier,' I said."1  Wait, hold on.  I remember that she narrated a description of her mother in the first chapter: "My mom looks like me, except with short hair and laugh lines."4 So what we can read from these two descriptions is that (unless she considers short hair and laugh lines to be the defining qualities of prettiness) that Bella doesn't actually think her mom is prettier than her, but she will say that she thinks her mom is prettier than her, to other people.  So, when she gives that disparaging comment about her own looks, she doesn't really think it's true.  This is pretty much proof positive that (just as I've been saying) Bella is insincere about her self-judgments; her modesty is just an act.  Either that, or Meyer just isn't too big on inter-chapter continuity.  I prefer to think that it's the first one.
    Edward also talks briefly about his parents; that they both died long ago (because they were born hundreds of years ago, because Edward is a vampire), and their names were "Carlisle and Esme"1 (c'mon, Bella, you don't think that's odd at all?).  When he gets to her house, Edward, our of the blue, asks Edward how old she is.

        "I'm seventeen," I responded, a little confused.
        "You don't seem seventeen."1

    You're right about that, Eddy.  Maturity-wise, she seems fourteen, tops.  Still, Bella interprets his comment in a flattering way and goes on to brag about how mature she is.  Edward lets her out of the car, and makes a pointless and awkwardly-worded dig on Bella's clumsiness (curses! my one weakness!) before driving away.  So ends another chapter in the life of everyone's favourite Mary-Sue.  Stay tuned for chapter 6.


1Meyer, Stephanie Twilight. “Chapter 5: Blood Type” Little, Brown and Co., 2005



4Meyer, Stephanie Twilight. “Chapter 1” Little, Brown and Co., 2005

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Read Twilight and Hate It: Chapter 4

       A note on spoilers and what I know about the series.  I feel I should mention, just in case anyone was worried about spoilers, that I don't plan on spoiling anything in the book early.  That is to say, I'm going through everything in order and I'm not going to spoil something that I haven't come across yet.  However, these reviews are meant to be a substitute for actually reading the book, so any spoiler information that occurs in the book will occur in my review as well.  For example, if there were a big spoiler in the 15th chapter, I wouldn't mention it until my review of the 15th chapter.  If you want to avoid spoilers, it'll pay to read my reviews in order.  It would be hard for me to spoil information early on anyways, because I haven't read the book before (each chapter's review is written before I start reading the next chapter), and know little about the events that take place.  What I did know before starting this project is: It's about a girl named Bella and her Romance with a boy named Edward.  Edward is a vampire and sparkles in the sun.  Also, all the fan-girls want to jump his bone.  Even though the fact that Edward is a vampire hasn't explicitly come out yet, I still don't consider it a spoiler, since anyone who knows someone who knows someone who likes Twilight is aware of this fact.  I also know that there's a character named Jacob at some point in the series (whose bone none of the fan-girls want to jump) and a certain piece of information about him which may actually be a spoiler so I wont bring it up now.  For everything else that happens in the book, I'm hearing about it for the first time when I do that chapter.  Anyways, on to chapter 4: 

    The dream that Bella hinted at at the end of Chapter Three was surprisingly boring; just your standard chasing-after-someone-but-can't-catch-up-to-them affair.  "After that, he was in my dreams nearly every night, but always on the periphery, never within reach."1  
    At school, Bella ponders about why no one saw Edward teleport across the parking lot.  I use "teleport" loosely here, because the book doesn't actually describe how he got from point A to point B; it just makes note of how fast he was there (and, of course, how gorgeous he looked once getting there).  For all I know, he could have ran super-fast, or just made a really long leap. None of these are the kinds of actions that would go unnoticed be a large crowd of people.  Bella has a theory as to why no one noticed him, though: "no one else was as aware of Edward as I always was.  No one else watched him the way I did.  How pitiful."1  Edward may have super-strength and super-speed, but Bella has acquired her own superpower: Stalker Senses.  Also, I sincerely hope that she's using "pitiful" here to describe herself for obsessing over Edward, rather than everyone else for not obsessing over Edward.
    Actually, this raises the question of why the other girls aren't obsessing over Edward.  I mean, it's not like Bella just has really uncommon taste in men.  It seems like every Twilight fan out there wants to marry Edward, so it only makes sense that lots of the girls in the school would be interested in him as well.  Maybe he did something just a week before Bella arrived that turned all the girls off to him, like showing up to school in nothing but a cape and soiled Spiderman underoos, and everyone remembers it but no one's mentioned it to Bella yet. Who knows.
    Anyways, Edward is back to his Bella-hating stoner mode, and has stopped talking to her in their Biology class (because I guess the plot was just moving too fast).  There's a girls-ask-boys dance coming up and a lot of drama circulating around the school because of that (or at least a lot of drama circulating around Bella's head).  Jessica asks Bella for permission to ask Mike to the dance.  She asks him, he says maybe, because he wants to see if Bella will go to the dance with him before he agrees to going with Jessica.  So, he asks Bella to the dance, and she makes up some excuse about going to Seattle that weekend.  Actually, pretty much every character with a name, including the guy who almost hit her with his van ("Tyler") asks her to the dance.  Edward, however, does not.
    Edward, in Biology class, calmly tells Bella that it would be better of the two of them weren't friends.  He didn't say why not, because that would be all too un-mysterious.  Bella kind of freaks out and has a bitch-fest at him when he tells her this (I guess because she's not used to when guys don't all bow down before her).   She then storms off to P.E., where she continues to think about him some more.
    Actually, when she's storming off to P.E. she stumbles and drops all her books before right in front of Edward, and he picks them up for her.  It's supposed to be one of those "OMG, I was so embarrassed I could die" moments (along with another showcase for Ed's super-speed), but really it's hard to feel sorry for her.  Everyone has a friend (you all know who yours is) who just likes complaining.  They make it sound like they have the worst life in the world by taking every little thing that happens to them and blowing it up like the Hindenburg.  They're not really miserable, though, they just act miserable because they enjoy telling people about all the bad things that happen to them; it's fun for them.  Bella is that kind of person.  She complains about the weather, she complains about her parents, she complains about being unattractive, she complains about being attractive, she complains about Edward being around, she complains about Edward not being around.  I'm sure when she was in Phoenix, that she complained about everything there, too.  So don't feel sorry for her when she dumps her books in front of the guy she lust-hates; it'll just give her complaint fuel for months to come.
    That night, her dad is (allegedly) suspicious when she starts cooking peppers that night because "the closest edible Mexican food was probably in southern California."1  Yeah, too bad they're not in a Mecca of international cuisine like Arizona.  Actually, as a point of fact, Washington is an agricultural powerhouse, and many people living there have immigrated from Latin America (both legally and illegally).  A quick Google Maps search of Forks reveals that there are no less than four Mexican restaurants in the small town (none of which are Azteca), and the census info states that roughly 15% of the population is “Hispanic or Latino.”2  I’m sure at least a few of those 15% (or 485 people) are from Mexico, but I guess that Meyer doesn't consider the food made by Mexicans to be real Mexican food; only that made by Californians.
    Anyways, she and her dad have some boring discussion about gas-mileage and her getting lost in Seattle, etc.  She points out that she used to live in Phoenix, which is five times the size of Seattle.  I don’t know how she figures this.  Phoenix is actually less than four times the size of Seattle, as far as square-mileage goes.  The population of Phoenix is roughly 3 times that of Seattle, and population of the Metropolitan area is less than double.3  
    The next day, Edward displays his super-speed again, grabbing Bella's fallen keys in the parking lot.  Because he loves drama, apparently, he's now going back on his previous no-friends proposition and offering her a ride to Seattle on the weekend she planned on going (with the pretense of his Volvo getting better mileage than her truck). He does this in a "velvet, muted"1 voice.  To review,Edward's voice is  "low,"  "attractive," "soft," "musical,"  "velvet," and "muted."  Edward himself  is "interesting," "brilliant," "mysterious," "perfect," and "beautiful."1  That's not a list from all the descriptions so far, though; all those are from one paragraph.  Anyways, Edward insults her/offers her a ride and Bella hates him/accepts the ride (abusive relationship in the making?) Bella also questions Edward about his flip-flop on the friend issue:

        "Honestly Edward," I felt a thrill go through me as I said his name, and I hated it.  "I can't keep up with you.  I thought you didn't want to be my friend."
        "I said that it would be better if we weren't friends, not that I didn't want to be."
        "Oh, thanks, now that's all cleared up."  Heavy sarcasm.1

    Yeah, thanks Meyer.  The sarcasm was so subtle; thanks for labeling it.  I wouldn't have been able to guess that that was sarcasm without you cluing me in. 
  And so ends chapter four.  Stay tuned for Chapter Five.


1Meyer, Stephanie Twilight. “Chapter 4: Invitations” Little, Brown and Co., 2005

2Source: US Census.  http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=Forks&_cityTown=Forks&_state=04000US53&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010&show_2003_tab=&redirect=Y

3Information from Wikipedia, because I’m lazy.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I read Twilight and Hate it: Chapter 2

Previous: Chapter One

Here's the short version: Edward was gone from school the next couple days, then it snowed, them he came back with new eyes and started acting nice to Bella for no apparent reason. That's basically the gist of chapter two. Except it's drawn out over twenty-two pages and sprinkled with lots of trivial teenage social problems and flowery descriptions of how gorgeous Edward is (something tells me that a lot of the chapters are going to be like that).
It starts with Bella talking about how she's been having fantasies about telling Edward off for not bowing down/paying attention to her, or whatever. She notes that she'd never actually do it, though, because she was a wuss and "made the Cowardly Lion look like the terminator."1 I have no idea why Meyer decided to capitalize "Cowardly Lion," but not "terminator." Some subtle display of her admiration for the Wizard of Oz and disdain for Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, perhaps? Or just a lazy copy-editor. I guess I can't really blame Meyer for that one.
Anyways, all the guys that she met the previous day (except Edward, who doesn't show up to school) are swooning over her and having jealous little almost-fights for her attention. At least that's what she says. Since this is all being related to us by the character of Bella, rather than an impartial narrator, we don't really know that these boys are jealous over here; we just know that she thinks that they're jealous over her. Is this to demonstrate that Bella is self-centered or has a run-away ego? Probably not, because this book doesn't seem that deep.
The helpful guy from the day before (who is named "Mike," by the way) "who was taking on the qualities of a golden retriever, walked faithfully by [Bella's] side to class." She talks about him as though he were a dog for much of the chapter, and notes that she "was going to have to do something about Mike, and it wouldn't be easy."1 Ouch. Nice guys finish last in Meyer's world. Bella makes a third reference to her being bad at volleyball, and leaves school to get groceries, but not before pausing again (in the parking lot) do note how damned sexy the vampire siblings are (even with Edward being AWOL).
After a pointless-seeming explanation that her dad can't cook, she would be taking over the kitchen duties, and explanation of what she was cooking that night, Bella checks her email to find three "OMG, I'm so worried about you" messages from her mom. She replies with an "I'm fine, but angsty. Also, you're worthless without me." Then, more pointless talk about what she's cooking her and her dad for dinner. The whole dinner things seems vestigial to the plot, except for that her dad gives her some information about the Cullens. Their adoptive-father is a very gifted surgeon, and all the kids act really well-behaved and mature (probably because they're so damned old).
The next week or so passes by in a couple paragraphs. Mike is up to his dastardly tricks, like inviting her on a group road-trip, and Edward continues to not show up. Then it snows, and Bella has more angst about that. Grease-boy from before (who's name is "Eric") hits Mike with a jealousy-snowball. Bella then retreats, but at lunch she finds out *gasp* that Edward has returned to school and he's *gasp* no longer acting freaked out by her. Also, he and his posse no longer looked like they were coming down from a three-day high.
Now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and make a prediction: we're going to be told the reason that Edward voided Bella at first but now doesn't, and it's going to be something incredibly stupid; like... she looked so yummy that he could barely hold himself from biting her neck, or... he heard some ridiculous rumor about her and accepted it without question. Something stupid like that. I haven't actually read this book before, so I honestly don't know what the explanation is going to be. Let's see if I'm right as the book pans out.
Anyways, Bella spends lunch freaking out about Edward's presence to her friend, Jessica. Jessica, incidentally, has a crush on Mike. Or, at least, Bella narrated that she has a crush on Mike. Knowing how Bella perceived all the guys to like her, I'm surprised that she didn't narrate that Jessica had a crush on her.
She heads to Biology, where Edward introduces himself to her today in a "quiet, musical voice."1 You can add that to "deep" and "attractive" from the first chapter. They make awkward small talk, and go through the lab, demonstrating how much better they both are at science than every other student (probably because neither of them originally went to the vastly inferior Forks public schools). Bella also notices something different about his appearance:

I vividly remember the flay black color of his eyes the last time he'd glared at me - the color was striking against the background of his pale skin and his auburn hair. Today, is eyes were a completely different color: a strange ocher, darker than butterscotch, but with the same golden tone.1

Seriously, she gave him colour-changing eyes? I guess Meyer just couldn't decide whether she found "dark, piercing eyes" or eyes with a "golden tone" to be more attractive. This is getting to be so fanfictiony, I'm surprised she doesn't give him cat ears.
They continue the small talk and Bella explains her reason for moving to Forks anyways (so her mom would be free to travel around the country with her new husband, a small-time baseball player). Edward, at this point in the conversation, has taken to telling Bella how she feels, rather than asking. To this, Bella says:

"My face is so easy to read - my mother always calls me her open book." I frowned
"On the contrary, I find you very difficult to read."...
"That must mean you're a good reader then," I replied.1

Bella's kind of an idiot, I realized. Let's look at the logic again. Bella is easy to read, and Edward finds her hard to read, so that would make him a good reader? No, it would be the opposite. For example, if you saw an adult reading The Little Engine that Could, and you walked up to them and said "hey, that's an easy to read book," and they said "actually, I find it quite difficult to read," you would think that they were mentally handicapped. The thought that they're a good reader would be the last thing from your mind.
So, Biology ends and Bella walks out with Mike. He gets a jealousy-face when they talk about Edward (and considering how much she narrates about Edward, Bella probably talks about him a lot). They go to P.E. together, and Mike is on her team in Volleyball, covering the week-spot she creates; a fourth reference to her being bad at the sport in half as many chapters. Is this going somewhere?
After school, she catches a glimpse of Edward outside his car in the parking lot and, in her lust-frenzy, almost crashes into a Toyota Corolla, "just the sort of car that my truck would make scrap metal of."1 Take that, foreign car manufacturers! Thus end chapter 2.
Stay tuned for chapter 3.

1Meyer, Stephanie Twilight. “Chapter 2: Open Book” Little, Brown and Co., 2005

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Read Twilight and Hate It: Chapter 3

    Bella wakes up the next morning to find that the snow has stuck, and rain from the previous day has frozen, and has some more angst about this.  Actually, she admits that it looks nice; "all the rain from yesterday had frozen solid - coating the needles on the trees in fantastic, gorgeous patterns, an making the driveway a deadly ice slick," but still complains about it.
    She then spends the rest of her morning thinking about Edward (considering how much she does that, though, it seems like it would just be a time-saver to tell the audience when she's not thinking about Edward) and how much she wants wants him.  I realize that this book was mostly meant to appeal to a female audience, but I'm sure there are some teenage boys out there who read it, and what advice about women is it giving them?  "To get girls to like you, be mean to them as soon as soon you meet them (especially if they're new and don't have any friends).  Then, start being nice, but tell some really obvious lies.  Chicks dig that."  Anyways, Bella describes this part of the chapter better than I could: "I was eager to get to school because I would see Edward Cullen.  And that was very, very stupid."  Yes, yes it was.   
    Bella makes her way to school through the snow, pondering to herself about what hot stuff she is and how all the boys want her.  When she gets to school, she realizes that her dad had put chains on her truck for her that morning.  Every time she mentions her dad, she calls him not-awkwardly-at-all by his first name, Charlie.  Because, you know, I guess it's easier for the author than showing to us that she doesn't think of him has a father figure.  And FYI; if it was that icy out, they would have just closed school.
    After getting out of her car in the parking lot, she suddenly notices something shocking.  That an out-of-control van is heading towards her?  No.  Well, there is an out-of-control van sliding on the ice towards her, but before that she notices that Edward is staring at her (along with a number of other students); staring at her because she's about to get nailed by the out-of-control van.  God knows Bella isn't going to do anything to rescue herself from the van of doom, so Edward teleports across the parking lot, knocking Bella to the ground in the process.  While she's down, Bella narrates, "a low oath made me aware that someone was with me, and the voice was impossible not to recognize." I guess Edward has the only low, attractive, soft, musical voice that she's heard.  Also, I don't know what Meyer thinks that "oath" means, but it's pretty far from it's actual definition, unless she's telling use that Bella heard Edward pledging fealty to his lord.  At this point, Edward pushes the van away.  With his bare hands.
    I'm going to take a minute here and talk about vampires.  First of all, Vampires aren't super-heroes.  It seems that every new writer who thinks that they're the coolest thing ever wants to one-handed-type up a story giving them some amazing new ability that they never had before.  Vampires don't teleport, and they don't have super-strength.  And for that matter, they don't walk around in the middle of the day without dying, overcast or not.  Originally, vampires were just mindless, unholy, reanimated corpses that hungered for human blood at night, while resting in their burial place during the day.   But, Bram Stoker had to go and write Dracula, which wasn't a bad novel per se, but it did pave the way for decades of shitty, semi-erotic vampire-fiction. The kind of vampire fiction, which reached it's nadir with Twilight, and now I'm making fun of it.
    An ambulance arrives to take Bella and Edward to the hospital, but they don't get out of there before Bella's dad (now referred to as "Chief Swan") arrives to give the ambulance a police escort.  People die in ambulances all the time, but (despite Bella's worries) very few of the deaths are by embarrassment.  Don't worry, though, Bella was fine.  Nothing but a bruised ego and a new sense of angst, this time at Edward for A)Teleporting across the parking lot and B)Not falling down himself, so he was allowed to walk into the hospital instead of being carried in on a stretcher with a neck-brace.  Conveniently, despite the fact that there was a large group of people watching the accident, no one but Bella saw Edward teleport, so he asks her to keep it a secret.
    Bella's placed in a room with the driver of the van, who has some minor cuts (or "shallow slices"), and Edward walks in to act nonchalant.  He's followed soon afterwards by Dr. Cullen.  "He was young, he was blond... and he was handsomer [sic] than any movie star I'd ever seen.  He was pale, though, and tired-looking, with circles under his eyes."  What's with all the vampires looking like people you'd see in an Abercrombie and Fitch catalogue?  What happened to the good old days, when the unclean looked like this:

    Dr. Cullen pronounces Bella to be healthy, and she leaves the room to go harass Edward about his apparent super-powers.  He just brushes her off and acts like she's crazy, which she kind of is.  I mean, they're not even dating yet, and already she's being pretty possessive.  Bella then leaves, with a new-found source of angst.  She gets a ride home and continues to obsess about this guy she barely knows.
    "I was consumed by the mystery Edward presented.  And more than a little obsessed with Edward himself.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  I wasn't as eager to escape Forks as I should be, as any normal, sane person would be. ...
    That was the first night I dreamed of Edward Cullen."
    Ewwwww.  That's where chapter three ends.  I'm sure a steamy, sticky dream description soon to follow in chapter four.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Read Twilight and Hate it: Chapter One

I picked up the book at the library today. Despite having a number of friends that read the series, I wasn't able to borrow a copy from anyways, so I put myself on the waiting list for the book, which lead to me getting a copy yesterday, a worn paperback with a ripped and creased and some water damage near the end. Which is good, because I wont feel too bad about dog-earing the bottom, but bad because I'll have less than a month to write as much as I can before I return it. But anyways, let's dive in to Chapter One:
It starts with Disney-Princess-esque-named heroine Bella Swan departing from her previous home in Phoenix, AZ in order to live with her dad in the town of Forks, in "Washington State." 1 She laments and complains about this move, through narration, all through the chapter. Oh my, could we maybe expect her to find that maybe appearances are deceiving and she'll actually grow to decide that Forks is where she was meant to be? So, she says goodbye to her mom, flies to Seattle then to Port Angeles, then gets picked up by her (who split with her mom long ago) dad for the drive to Forks. On the drive, they talk about a car that he plans to help her get. One passage stuck out to me:

"I found a good car for you, really cheap," he announced when we were strapped in.
"What kind of car?" I was suspicious of the way he said "good care for you" as opposed to just "good car." 1

The reason that this stuck it to me, is that she would be most likely misinterpreting the "for you" in his sentence. Often, people add "for you" onto a sentence when they announce that they did a favour for the listener. "I made some cookies for you," "I got rid of that hornets' nest for you," I cut off my right ear for you," etc., etc. Of course, her father could have emphasized the "for you" in such a way that made it clear that he thought it was good enough for her but not a goo car in general, but that seems unlikely (unless her dad is an asshole). Talking like that sounds really unnatural, unless you're trying to sleight the person you're talking to. It's also possible that Meyer intentionally wanted to show that her protagonist made unfair assumptions about people in order to give her personality flaws and make her a more three-dimensional character, however Bella is turning out to be a major Mary Sue (in general) so that seems unlikely. Chalk it up to the writer forgetting that the characters don't know everything that the writer knows.
During the ride, she describes her new environment as being far to green for her tastes, claiming "Even the air filtered down greenly through the trees... It was too green - and alien planet." 1 First of all, Arizona is not so barren that grass and trees would make somewhere feel like an "alien planet". And if it is, I'm truly sorry to everyone who lives there. Second, "greenly"? Seriously, "greenly"? This series is known for purple language and excessive verbiage, but I didn't think it would get this ridiculous this fast. My Journalism teacher always said that adverbs were a crutch for poor writers. I guess made-up adverbs would be a crutch for poor writers in elementary school.
Anyways, her dad says that he bought her an old, but reliable, 50s or 60s pickup truck, which she decides that she just wont like. But when they get to the house and she sees that it's an old, but reliable, 50s or 60s pickup truck, she suddenly decides she loves it. Don't ask.
As she's getting settled into the house, Bella narrates to us some information about the high school, including the exact number of students (which is kind of feasible that she would know) and the fact that "their grandparents had been toddlers together,"1 which is a piece of information that seems like it would be beyond the grasp of the students there themselves, let alone someone who was just moving in. Bella was having another one of those "I know, because the author told me" moments.
She then goes on to explain that she didn't "look like a girl from Phoenix should." Explaining that (apparently) the expectation for Phoenixian girls was that they're "tan, sporty, blond [sic] - a volley-ball player of a cheerleader, perhaps. I don't really know where she's getting this stereotype. 1 The only Arizonan I can think of is John McCain, and he's so pale that he doesn't cast a shadow. Also, is it really necessary for every "underdog" high school heroine to point out that she's not a cheerleader? I put "underdogs" in quotes, because it's clear from her subsequent physical self-description that Bella is not hard to look at. The description is kind of awkward, because it seems like Meyers wants it to sound like Bella doesn't consider herself attractive, but she uses language one would generally use to make someone sound attractive. For example, where-as most people who thought their complexion was to light would use "pale," or even "transparent," to describe it, Bella opts for the much more poetic and flattering "ivory-skinned." She describes her figure as "slender, but soft somehow,"1 as the the prevailing standard of beauty was for women to be heavy-set with hard features. None of this would be so awkward if it were an impartial narrator talking about Bella, but Bella is the narrator; this is how she thinks of herself, which seems like an odd thing to do, even if you don't immediately afterwards say that you'll never fit in physically (which she does).
Anyways, Bella unpacks her clothes, and after a long day of sitting in various modes of transportation, complaining through narration, and insincerely judging her appearance in the mirror, she's beat. So she heads off to bed.


And crying. She's also tired from a long night of crying, she informs us the next morning. After a non-descript breakfast, she dons her It's-always-raining-in-Washington parka and drives to school. It is, literally, always raining throughout the first chapter. I've never been to Forks specifically, but I did live just north of Seattle for most of my life, and let me tell you: it is, in fact, raining less than half the time. Somehow, Seattle (and Washington in general) got this reputation for constant precipitation. Try watching "The Ring." There's not a single sunny scene in that whole movie, but I digress. Bella gets her schedule from the school office as well as a piece of paper on which she has to collect all her teachers signatures and then return it at the end of the day; I guess new students aren't trust-worthy enough for regular attendance-calls or something. She parks in the student lot, mentally prepping herself for the first day. "I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me." 1 Hahahaha, get it? Because it's a vampire novel, and vampires bite people! Hilarious! Really, though, who actually thinks that before an awkward social situation. I mean, if someone is acting like they're afraid of you, you might tell them, "It's okay, I wont bite you," but you do it jokingly; it's not like you actually think the other person was afraid that you'd bite them. Not unless they were raised in the wild or had some kind of phobia about being bitten by other people (neither of which seems to describe Bella).
She makes her way to her first class, English, where she's given a list of reading for that term, which she already happened to have read at her previous school. I guess Forks' educational standards are inferior to Phoenix's. In this class, a friendly male student who was "gangly," and had "skin problems and hair black as an oil slick,"1 (no Bella-snogs for you, grease-boy) started a conversation with her and offered to show her to her next class. Actually, she had an escort to pretty much each of her classes, including lunch.
During lunch, Bella first spots the legendary apple7 of every fangirl's eye, Edward Cullen. He was sitting with a group of four other (I'm guessing) vampires. They stood out to Bella, because they were all just sort of staring at nothingness, not really looking at anything in the room, and just threw away their lunches without taking a bite either ("unbitten apple" 1 Get it?). Also, they appeared to be too old to be high school students and

"every one of them was chalky pale, the palest of all the students... They all had very dark eyes despite the range in hair tones. They also had dark shadows under those eyes - purplish, bruise-like shadows. As if they were all suffering from a sleepless night, or almost done recovering from a broken nose..." 1

Now, maybe I'm just really jaded, but if I saw kids that fit the above description in my high school, my first thought would be that mind-altering chemicals played a large part in their lives, or at the least that they had eating disorders. Bella's mind, however, took a different path:

"... their faces, so different, so similar, were all devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful. They were faces that you never expected to see except perhaps on the airbrushed pages of a fashion magazine. Or painted by an old master as the face of an angel. It was hard to decide who was the most beautiful - maybe the perfect blond [sic] girl, or the bronze-haired boy." 1

Upon asking another student who they are, Bella is told that they're the semi-incestuous group of adoptive-siblings that live with the wacky, young doctor down the street (from Alaska). Also, they're all dating each other, except for Edward. Edward apparently hasn't dated anyone; he was waiting for the right middle-aged Mormon author's highschool-aged, literary self-personification to come along.
After lunch, Bella headed to Biology, where they were again going over something she'd already learned back in Arizona (c'mon, Forks, what's with the lax education?). That's alright, though, because not only is Edward in the class, but she gets seated right next to him, so she has something else besides cellular biology to study. And study him, she does; there's a lengthy description of Edward's posture and expression during the class, which both denote a man who's getting a prostate exam from a pirate an trying to pretend like it doesn't bother him. Also, he glares at Bella a lot and seems to hate her.
Despite the fact that Edward was being kind of a douche and "so mean," Bella managed to look deeper him and notice that "his forearm was surprisingly hard and muscular," and he had a "deep, attractive voice." 1 She knows what's important.
Bella seems to fall snugly into the stereotype that women always fall for good-looking jerks rather than nice, sincere guys. I've heard that, later on, Edward is supposed to be this ridiculously nice gentleman, but Bella doesn't know that yet. He's being a jerk to her and she's falling for him, sometimes in the same sentence:

"He turned slowly to glare at me - his face absurdly handsome - with hateful, piercing eyes. For an instant, I felt the thrill of genuine fear, raising hair on my arms." 1

Anyways, her last class was P.E. Some friendly guy gave her some consolation about Edward being a douche, and paid her a nice compliment, too. Something tells me there will be no Bella-snogs for him, though; his eyes aren't piercing and black enough. Bella makes some comment about volleyball bringing back lots of bad memories of causing injuries in others. Did she have to move away from her old school because she went into a Carrie-like rage in response to a blocked spike? or was this an allusion to her being really un-coordinated? Probably the latter.
Bella narrates the Forks was "literally my personal hell on Earth." 1 No it's not. Don't say "literally," when you don't actually mean "literally." You only say "literally" when you mean something for it's literal meaning, not as an expression or a metaphor. Forks is not actually hell, or is it personally yours. It is a real town, with real people living in it, and not hell. I suppose that the fictionalized version of Forks in this book is personally yours (in that you specifically wrote it for your characters). It's still not hell, though, it was written out in every way to make Bella succeed as a romantic heroine... unless it's like that episode of the Twilight Zone where the criminal dies, and thinks he's sent to heaven because everything he wants is given to him, but soon realizes how boring existence is with no challenges and realizes that he's actually in hell3. Forks could be that kind of ironic hell, but even then it still wouldn't be literal. Also, I'm probably reading too much into it.
After P.E., Bella is done with classes and heads back to the office to return the random slip that they gave her at the beginning of the day. She finds Edward there, trying to convince the secretary to let him move his Biology class to a different time, just in case the audience hasn't yet grasped that he doesn't want to be near Bella for some reason. After discovering that he can't change it, he blows out of there and Bella turns in the slip, and drives home to get some more crying done.

Stay tuned for Chapter 2.

1Meyer, Stephanie Twilight. “Chapter 1” Little, Brown and Co., 2005

2 Oh that reminds me; before the start of the book, there's a quote from Genesis, regarding the "tree of knowledge." Also, on the cover you see two hands holding an apple. I guess there's going to be some kind of forbidden fruit metaphor later or something.

3 “The Twilight Zone” Season 1, Episode 28 “A Nice Place to Visit”

New Feature: I Read Twilight and Hate it

I have decided to read Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer. I've already done some reading about Twilight, which leads me to dislike the series, but I've never read the actual books. This makes is somewhat difficult to impress on people that have read it that it is a bad book, as all the Twilight fans would just accuse me of criticizing something I didn't even know or understand (and they would be right)1. I've decided to read Twilight partially to give it a fair chance, but mostly so that I can criticize it better. Also, because I usually try to avoid any book or TV series which becomes suddenly and intensely popular, but sometimes (after it's been out for awhile) my curiosity gets the best of me, much like it did with the Harry Potter series.
Actually, Harry Potter became somewhat of a guilty pleasure, where I enjoyed reading it but was still able to recognize that it wasn't actually good2 (sort of like when I would watch "Jackie Chan Adventures"). Really, though, my prediction about Twilight is that I will neither think that it is good nor enjoy it, at least not how it was meant to be enjoyed. Still, I'd like to give the series a fair shake before judging it further (well, maybe not fair, but a shake at any rate). What I do believe I will enjoy is tearing it a new literary hole here, on my blog. You see, I'm introducing a new feature today on Dotted Pomegranates; it's called "I Read Twilight and Hate It." It's meant to be a chapter-by-chapter criticism of the book, as well as a synopsis and substitute to actually reading it, for those in the same situation as me. Look forward to installments, soon.
1: And if you have read it but say that you hated it, then they just ask "Well, why did you read it then?" It's a bit of a Catch-22
2: I still maintain that Harry Potter is not a good series. I will explain why I think this in a separate post, if necessary.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How much people want to have sex with you.

      This mostly describes heterosexual relationships, because that’s what I know.




(As usual, totally made up and not based on actual data).