Irrational Bella is articulate – her clothing is too “permeable” for Forks. Also whiny and a bit entitled—Ana Mardoll is right about her insistence that visitations not be in Forks
Forks has some sort of supernatural unpleasantness going on, in a metaphorical fashion. It’s supposedly the reason why her mother left her father. And going to Forks is “saying goodbye to the sun,” and makes her look sallow and unhealthy—more like becoming a vampire than becoming a vampire will be! And “like an alien planet,” and later her raincoat is a biohazard suit. And why is Charlie so attached to the place?
Mardoll’s not being fair about the truck [she thought Bella's dad buying her a truck was overcontrolling]. Charlie was already going to help her pick one out, and she really was worried about the money. And she says they’re both bad at expressing emotion. So it’s not entirely out of bounds.
I strongly suspect her descriptions of her own clumsiness. Given the exaggerated descriptions of her mother’s flakiness (although dear gods if true), there’s a nasty thing here that her family does of mythologizing everyone’s helplessness. The sort of thing you do when people can’t think of another explanation for why they need the rest of the family. No social confidence either.
Very into making snap judgments of people. And dismissing them, and not making much effort to get to know them. I suspect the reason Bella’s going to get so much more attention here than at home is that people haven’t yet been turned off by her attitude.
Vampires at lunch – Masquerade 101 FAIL.
Gee, I wonder why no one likes the newcomers whose kids are all dating each other.
I’m not sure the right reaction to someone staring at you homicidally is, “He’s so mean. It’s not fair!”
Team Mike, at the moment.
“Forks was literally my personal hell on earth.”
Some actual evidence for clumsiness. I still go with the “dysfunctional family coping mechanism plus living down to expectations” explanation, though, which also covers why it isn't actually quite as life-threatening as it should be.
Bella’s being somewhat unfair, but at the same time guys who get clingy right away are deeply annoying. Never mind Team Mike.
Okay, she asks for kitchen detail, because she doesn’t like Charlie’s cooking. Fried eggs and bacon only. Not as obnoxious as Ana Mardoll made it out to be, but another point on the “we need each other because we’re helpless” tally. Also, the jar labeled “food money” – I guess no one in hell uses debit cards?
She assumes that “any door” would be opened by the Cullens’ beauty if they wanted. But shouldn't their incestuous tendencies also be a factor?
And Renee is very clingy. Her daughter has to write right away because she doesn’t know where her blouse is. Another checkmark.
Point to Mardoll for the gun hung up in the common space. [Mardoll thought it was awfully irresponsible of Charlie to hang a loaded gun where his clumsy daughter might trip and grab onto it.]
Irrational!Edward is a complete asshole. I don’t think he’s said anything complementary to Bella except that he can’t stay away. He has also insulted her intelligence, her car… And is constantly laughing at her.
I don’t believe Bella weighs what I do—she hasn’t made enough of a point of being short. Or at least, I don’t believe she should weigh what I do.
Oh god, Edward picks her up without asking first. And doesn’t put her down when she says to.
And she’s impressed by his ability to lift her. Which, if she’s actually 110 pounds, she should be used to.
There are several pages in which Edward alternates doing something thoughtful with doing something like physically dragging her to his car rather than letting her drive herself home, and then insulting her. And he still hasn’t said anything complementary.
Gorgeous scenery description at La Push. More scenery please!
Jacob spills all the beans. Bella deliberately tries to flirt them out of him, which is both agency and um.
Irrational Bella hates thinking about things and trying to make decisions. A lot. She likes having made the decision, though, and she does it in a way that avoids having to do it again (“irrevocably in love” with him, oy).
Hot Google action looking up "vampire." I know it’s 2005, but I really want to hug her and give her Firefox with Adblock.
If you really loved Jane Austin, wouldn’t you want copies of the individual books rather than lugging around a compilation?
Mike asks her to dinner. She says no, and he asks why. Guys, a word of advice: never do this. It is vaguely possible that, as here, the answer will be “because my friend is really into you.” But it’s not likely. (And that’s the answer because Bella is being more of a class act than Mike deserves.)
This is one of the frustrating things about Twilight. You can see that Bella will probably grow out of her whiny martyrdom complex, and she might even pick up some self-esteem in college. But none of that will ever happen, because she’ll be supernaturally bound to her high school sweetheart.
Tyler has been telling everyone he’s taking her to prom. Team Tyler is officially out of the running.
The wannabe rapists are genuinely creepy. But as a creation of the all powerful plot force, they are also icky.
Bella gets ready to fight, because she knows she sucks at running. This is actually quite a reasonable response under the circumstances, and Edward will later berate her for it. What did he think she should do?
It’s actually reasonable for Edward to be murderously angry here, given that the only human prey he’s ever gone after were attacking the love of his life. But there’s also a meta thing going on where it’s the woman’s responsibility to placate the angry man, because otherwise Bad Things Will Happen.
Edward making sure Bella eats after her near-attack could be sweet, if only there was some hint that there might be reciprocation—that she might remind him to do the things he needs at some point. But it’s more that he knows best.
He goes on and on about how she can’t go anywhere without attracting trouble, and comes perilously close to victim blaming. He may love her, but he sure doesn’t respect her.
Edward complements her for the first time on page 148. “That color blue looks lovely with your skin.” Of course, he just gave her a beige jacket, so I have no idea what color blue he’s talking about. But in a couple of pages he says she’s observant, so I’ll grant it. (Then, of course, he goes on more about how she can’t take care of herself.)
“And how long have you been seventeen?” “A while.” May be my favorite exchange in the book so far. It comes this close to mutual respect and an equal relationship.
She is absolutely infatuated. And the thing is, this is what you do in high school. The thought of being supernaturally bound to the guy you thought was your destiny in high school… are we sure this isn’t supposed to be a horror series?
And he still laughs at her clumsiness. I think maybe he’s supposed to find it endearing, but I can’t quite get myself to read it that way, even with authorial intent.
Every human male in the school was thinking prurient thoughts her first day. Given that this never happened to her before, it strongly supports the idea that people who’ve known her a while find her less attractive.
Oh god, it’s not just Bella’s family that thinks “I’m helpless and therefore you need to have a relationship with me” is what binds families together. It’s the whole world of the narrative. Either that or it’s conveniently Bella’s family plus Edward, plus a lot of coincidental sudden danger. (Her constant danger is his excuse for sticking with her even though he’s a danger to her. And then she decides she wants him thinking that she’s in constant potential peril so he won’t go away.)
“I really just wanted to watch your face,” he says of forcing her to hear Tyler’s proposal [asking her to the dance]. And she would be angry at Edward if he wasn’t so pretty. Then he tells her that she can’t walk across a flat stable surface without finding something to trip over. But she wouldn’t have trouble dancing as long as he was leading her. I would really like to have Team Bella Gets to Grow Up.
Bella shows some emotional intelligence. No, I’m not going to give you an external incentive to “bring me back” by telling Charlie where I'm going. Take care of your own damn self-control. Not necessarily intelligent by any other standard, you understand, given that this is generally a good idea with any early date.
Okay, the point where Bella gets herself into an awkward exchange about Edward’s favorite food, which Edward discusses in exactly the tone of a foodie going on about restaurants, may be my other favorite exchange. (Also, the Cullens try to control predator populations. That’s sweet.)
His eyes are smoldering so frequently. That can’t be healthy for a vampire.
Mike pairs with her in badminton and teases her about her clumsiness much more gently and mutually than Edward. Maybe Team Friends With Mike, now that he’s safely distracted from being clingy.
And then he’s clingy. Except that he’s also right that Edward should be avoided. Except that it really is none of his business. He doesn’t have any relationship that gives him the right to criticize. Rather the reverse, in fact.
She’s mad that Edward is watching her through other people’s eyes in gym, but only because she doesn't want him seeing her in her worst class. I miss Luminosity’s actual dealing with the ethics of his ability. Irrational!Bella doesn’t know how to distinguish between things worth being angry about and things that aren’t.
Negotiating the terms of your apology for pissing off your girlfriend is not on. Particularly “how about if instead of what you just asked I do the reasonable thing that you asked about yesterday and it looked like we already agreed on.”
The thing about “taking turns” asking questions is getting to be a bit of an inside joke between them, albeit one that Alicorn legitimately makes fun of.
I understand the fantasy of a guy being endlessly absorbed by every detail about you. But really, the first question he can think of to ask is her favorite color? (It’s brown, suggesting the appealing alternative of Team Steampunk Bella.)
I like her descriptions of how beautiful the desert is, how you can see the shape of the land. I wish Meyer would spend more time on landscape.
“There was nothing about him that could be improved on.” Except for his manners. She sounds like she’s got a perfectly normal high school infatuation. Team BGTGU, damn it.
And part of the fantasy is also the guy you can trust to have enough self-control to overcome his animalistic urges. I will admit that self-control can be kind of hot—but not when the guy has to point it out all the time and talk about how insecure he is in it.
Going out of your way to make sure no one knows you’re with your semi-homicidal boyfriend is just stupid. But she wouldn’t want him to get in trouble if he accidentally killed her, after all.
Possibly this is horror for men who are really worried about their daughters dating?
Confessions: handled somewhat more awkwardly than in Luminosity. But actually, the sparkling isn’t any sillier here than there. I think it’s just that the idea of sparkly vampires sounds terrible out of context.
All she cares about is how his urge to kill her affects him. At least she knows this is screwy.
Eep. In this version, half of Edward’s family tried to talk him into killing her to preserve masquerade. Not Carlisle or Alice, but still.
Actually, the rest of this scene is… good. Edward essentially saying that the rudeness was him trying to drive her away. The balance of sexual and vampiric tension… The fact that he suddenly feels respectful. I have no idea if this will last, but it doesn’t suck. And the feeling of a “lion in love with the lamb,” his reactions and hers, actually rings true.
Even though it was a ridiculous risk, again there is some psychological sense to forcing him into a position where he knows his self-control is all about internal factors. It makes him pretty safe, afterwards—whereas if everyone had known where he had gone, he would still be a risk the first time there wasn’t that safety net. Possibly better to get the risk out of the way at the beginning. (Although if she were my daughter, I certainly wouldn’t think so.)
Edward actually gets much better after they’re official. And some of the laughter is being reframed as relief that she said no to the others. Still badly handled on his part, but he does say repeatedly that he’s just figuring out how humans do these things. His teasing gets much gentler—in fact, if she could tease him back, rather than insisting that a clearly flawed guy is perfect and godlike, this might even work.
Charlie’s paranoia over her sneaking out to meet guys was verging on the ridiculous even before he sabotaged her car.
I’m… not sure why Charlie is so comfortable leaving her alone with a working car and an empty house during the day. Come to that, going off all day fishing on Saturday certainly—obviously—gave her time to sneak off with boys. Does he think that boys burst into flames in sunlight? Or that you really do need to turn off all the lights to have sex?
She does tease Edward. About her vulnerability. Which is also what he teases her about. (Not that there isn’t some sense in turning his hunger into a joke. Defangs it, so to speak. It just shouldn’t be all she teases him about. The fact that he’s an Edwardian named Edward should be good for a bit of twitting, for a start.)
“I fend for myself pretty well. Watch me hunt.” [Bella making dinner and being kind of awesome.]
The Cullens betting on whether he’d eat her is just icky and creepy. After that, no, you do not want to meet his family.
There’s some sort of conservation of assholery going on in this book. Edward gets better, and his family and hers turn into jerks.
Aha! It was a blue blouse!
And then she faints when he kisses her. I don’t think they even had open mouths; the hell?
Irrational!Cullens are very formal. And the first thing Jasper does is use projective empathy at her, even before introducing himself.
The clinginess as a sign of Twu Wuv is a little alarming—they can’t bear to be separated for even a minute, they moon, they mourn. It isn’t healthy, seriously.
Jasper continues to use projective empathy constantly, thus proving the maxim of conservation of assholery.
And there’s the tracker, on cue… Irrational!Bella actually comes up with a decent plan, herself.
The difference is that… when the tracker fools them, Irrational!Bella just sort of goes along with it. Her self-destructive, martyrly streak does not serve anyone well here. She seems to be desperate to immolate herself For Someone She Loves.
And then at the end of the book, Irrational!Bella suddenly becomes indistinguishable from rational!Bella and says everything I’ve been thinking. That she needs to become a vampire so she can be Edward’s equal, so she can be something more than Lois Lane to his Superman, so they can save each other in the same ways. And he just shuts her down.
And then he dresses her up and brings her to prom even though she didn’t want to go. Because he thinks she should have a “normal life.” Oh, and he and Charlie conspire to let Tyler hang out at Bella’s house, dressed up, until Edward calls to tell him where he can stick his “taking Bella to prom” ideas. Now, I did once have someone tell a clingy guy I was taken, but I had tried really hard to tell him I wasn’t interested, first. And my parents didn’t go along with the gag to increase the shock value.
I do find it sweet that Bella thought maybe vampiric conversion was a black tie occasion. As well it should be.
I had previously wondered how, with Edward having a whole book’s head start, Team Jacob had any chance. I no longer wonder.