Thursday, August 13, 2015

New Moon Chapter 14

You would expect Bella to be glad to meet the people who saved her from death. You would be wrong. She is completely terrified of those Big Scawy Non-White Werewolves. This allows her to

  1. cower in fear, since she's a weak little woman, and
  2. cling to the hot half-naked guy next to her.

But she's disappointed, because they show up in human form. So she was sniveling for nothing.

Again, they reminded me of brothers, quadruplets.

Because all Native Americans look alike. Nice.

She sits there ogling their muscles and non-white skin (which she calls red-brown even though IT'S NOT), especially since they all are dressed in shorts and nothing else. Um, where did they get the shorts from? If they're roaming around in wolf form, wouldn't they be naked when they shift back?

Sam didn’t really count as a boy. His face was older—not in the sense of lines or signs of aging, but in the maturity, the patience of his expression.

"He's just like me! I'm so very mature and smart and patient! I don't even count as a teenager, unlike you youngsters!"
"… does she do that a lot, Jake?"
"Yes. Yes, she does."

No, actually the presence of Bella makes the werewolf boys ANGRY! They hate her face! For obvious reasons! Like she's obsessed with their mortal enemies and would totally sell them out if Edward smoldered at her just once more!

“What have you done, Jacob?” he demanded.

"Sadly, we haven't done much at all. Blame Bella for that!"

So one of the boys, who isn't even important enough to have a definite name, gets angry at Jacob for, well, hanging out with the girl they know is a total vampire groupie. And yes, I think we are meant to dislike this boy for being such a meaniepants.

“What the hell are you thinking? Is she more important than everything—than the whole tribe? Than the people getting killed?”

"Of course she is! She's the author's avatar!"

“Oh, that’s likely! I’m sure the leech-lover is just dying to help us out!”
“Don’t talk about her like that!” Jacob shouted back, stung by the boy’s criticism.

"How dare you criticize the hypocritical girl I was pissed at half an hour ago, who accused me of being a vicious murderer for no real reason!"

However, that boy - whose name turns out to be Paul, not that it matters - keeps freaking out.

Paul seemed to fall forward, vibrating violently. Halfway to the ground, there was a loud ripping noise, and the boy exploded.

"It was like, so gross. There were bits of Indian all over my clothes. Like, so yuck! Oh, and it was sad he blew up and stuff."
"Bella, stop talking."
"Yes, man with a penis."

No, instead, he turns into a werewolf. He suddenly gains 400%-plus mass and just randomly turns into a wolf. None of the usual contortions, just boom, wolf.

Sort of like this:

but not nearly as convincing.

The wolf’s muzzle wrinkled back over his teeth, and another growl rolled through his colossal chest. His dark, enraged eyes focused on me.

I'm sorry, where have all the other werewolves gone? Are they just standing there doing nothing? Some alpha Sam is. Big fights break out within his pack over a VAMPIRE GROUPIE, and he's sitting there nibbling his hangnails.

So Jacob instantly turns into a wolf as well, and starts fighting over the helpless white woman.

The black and white scraps—the remains of Jacob’s clothes—fluttered to the ground where he’d disappeared.

"I felt a thrill at the idea of seeing Jacob's naked butt!"

Nah, who are we kidding? Smeyer will probably have him shift back in denim shorts. These characters probably don't even get naked when they're showering.

“Jacob!” I screamed again, staggering forward.

  1. STAGGERING? Why would she be staggering? She was simply STANDING there.
  2. Oh wait, she's so vewy adorably clumsy that staggering is probably her default.
  3. And he just turned into a fucking wolf the size of a Clydesdale. What exactly does she think she can do?

But no, Sam commands her to stay put, and Bella obeys because she's a woman. Then Sam commands the other werewolves to take Bella to the house of somebody named Emily, then runs off into the woods to turn into a werewolf as well. Yeah, great job stopping conflict, alpha.

And no, Bella doesn't agree to go or even think about it. She just is going to obey because she's a woman.

But the Quileute boys aren't in any hurry to drag Bawla's lazy ass anywhere. No, they spend awhile picking up the various destroyed clothes and joking. And if you care about continuity, a page or so ago we were told they all became furious in the same second, but now they're all relaxed except Paul. Well, we can't have multiple people being mad at poor dumb Bawla - Jacob can't kick that much ass without looking like an asshole. Or... even just kick that much ass.

“Aw, Paul doesn’t lose his temper every day,” Embry disagreed, still grinning. “Maybe two out of three.”

"Haha! It's funny because having a bad temper totally negates the valid points he was making!"

“Totally shredded,” Jared said. “Billy said this was the last pair he could afford—guess Jacob’s going barefoot now.”

Eh, what does it matter? He's not white, which means in Smeyer's mind, he probably goes barefoot all the time anyway.

Suddenly, he seemed to remember me.

Holy fuck, they managed to completely forget about her? Bella has the personal presence of a very boring ghost. Even torn-up sneakers are more attention-getting.

“Hey, you’re not going to faint or puke or anything?” he demanded.

A reasonable question. After all, Bella swoons upon realizing things she already knew.

So Bella sits there almost-vomiting while the werewolf boys bicker and chitchat. This whole conversation is pretty dull, but it reinforces that all the werewolves are MUCH more interesting than Bella. I'd rather read a book from any of their perspectives.

…. why do I have the feeling I'll regret that?

“Aren’t you worried about them at all?” I demanded.
Embry blinked once in surprise. “Worried? Why?”
“They could hurt each other!”

Gasp! Nobody could have figured that out unless Bawla of the Jane Austen-Reading Brain told them so! PANIC! PANIC!

You know, in addition to her hundreds of other personal flaws, Bella is kind of a party pooper. Other people tell jokes or laugh around about this sort of thing, and she's just sitting there scowling and whining. And it doesn't occur to her until they start betting money on who wins that HEY, maybe the fight isn't such a big deal and she shouldn't fucking worry.

I get the feeling that Bella is one of those people who is never invited to parties, because she stations herself next to the punch bowl to make sure it's kept non-alcoholic and won't laugh at anyone's jokes.

but I couldn’t drive the brutal image of the fighting werewolves from my head. My stomach churned, sore and empty, my head ached with worry.

"I, a weak white woman, am traumatized by the brutality of Native American males! I may swoon from how very brutal it is!"

And I guess Bawla isn't nearly as experienced as she claims to be. She claims to have seen the limit of what the absurdly superpowerful vampires can do, but two werewolves having a minor squabble that doesn't even worry the others? That is SIMPLY too much!

So Embry and Jared decide to then take Bella's truck to Emily's, because since she's female, so she has apparently been cooking for them. They also decide that Embry is going to drive because Bella's so pathetically hysterical, probably from a wandering womb or something womanish like that. And no, they don't ASK if he can drive, or OFFER to have him drive - they just decide it for her.

And in case you missed that Bella is passive and useless and anyone with a penis can order her around, Embry actually PICKS HER UP and STUFFS HER IN THE TRUCK. I guess when there's superpowered creatures around, there's no need to do anything for yourself.

And as the final insult, they keep talking about Bella as if she weren't RIGHT NEXT TO THEM, and even make bets about whether she'll puke or not. The last time I saw a scene that treated a woman like this, it involved two men talking about their plans to pork Anita Blake like she was a blow-up doll with a noisemaker while she sat there drooling on herself. Someone should write a dissertation on these two series, titled "Woman as Useless Passive Sack of Shit."


Despite the misogyny of this scene, it's actually been the most enjoyable one in the entire book so far. That's mainly because we've finally gotten some characters who aren't whiny and emo, and actually seem to be enjoying their lives. These are characters I could conceivably give a damn about, and they're the only characters in the story so far that I haven't wished death on.

I also love that they don't take Bella seriously. EVERYBODY else in this series takes Bella deadly seriously, never telling her to buck up or get over herself. These guys couldn't give less of a crap about her.

As soon as his door was closed, Embry muttered to me, “Don’t throw up, okay? I’ve only got a ten, and if Paul got his teeth into Jacob . . .”

You see? These guys couldn't care less for Bella's soul-wrenching angst of woe, or how paralyzed she is by the sight of two werewolves squabbling. They're just interested in food and money.

So the boys tell Bella that Emily is Sam's fiancee, and that Bella shouldn't stare at her. Why? “Like you saw just now, hanging out around werewolves has its risks.” Well, this ought to be rich. It also sounds like an abuser's excuse for punching his/her lover in the face. "Well, honey, you knew hanging out with me has its risks."

They discuss Laurent for awhile, and for some reason the boys think Bella actually knows anything about the treaty or its boundaries.

“How would they go about breaking the treaty?”
“If they bite a human. Jake wasn’t so keen on the idea of letting it go that far.”

So not only was Edward ready to murder innocent people and risk exposing his "beloved" family as vampires… but he was also ready to incur the wrath of the ONLY enemies that vampires have.

SparkleDick is kind of a fuckup, isn't he?

At the end of the lane was a tiny house that had once been gray.

… so what color is it now?!

So because Emily is a Native American girl, she's exoticized. And because she's a woman, she's cooking for the Big Strong Menfolk. She couldn't possibly have a job, or be doing anything for herself. Nope, she's just there to be a glorified housekeeper for the big muscular men. Don't worry, it will get even more disgusting.

So why should Bella not stare at her? Well, she's had her face and arm ripped open, which has permanently distorted her eye and mouth.



So a werewolf sliced open her face like a piece of meat and left her horribly mutilated FOREVER… and she's responding by cooking for all of them.

It's official: we've actually encountered a female character who is even more doormattish than Bella herself. And just wait. It gets WORSE.

Thankful for Embry’s warning, I quickly turned my eyes to the muffins in her hands. They smelled wonderful—like fresh blueberries.

That was a little strange, since they were banana nut.

“So, you’re the vampire girl.”
I stiffened. “Yes. Are you the wolf girl?”

"I'm pissed off because you dare to refer to me as the 'vampire girl,' even though I'm a total groupie for them, and they are the only thing I ever think about!"

So Emily keeps cooking for the Big Strong Men, since she's a woman... and Bella sits around being totally useless, since she's Bella. But the cooking gives Bella a chance to see that the scars are on Emily's arm as well as her face.

Hanging out with werewolves truly did have its risks, just as Embry had said.

"… which just made them sexier! The more likely they are to gruesomely kill me, the hotter they are!"

So then Sam comes in, and the room immediately fills with sugary sparkly goop. He and Emily start basically making out in the middle of the kitchen, and Bella is able to instantly tell that it's Troo Luv. Barf.

This was worse than any romantic movie; this was so real that it sang out loud with joy and life and true love.

"I could tell it was True Luv by the way he made fun of her scars and slapped her around. Just like me and Edward!"

I put my muffin down and folded my arms across my empty chest. I stared at the flowers, trying to ignore the utter peace of their moment, and the wretched throbbing of my wounds.

How many kittens is Smeyer going to reduce to tears?

So Jacob and Paul wander in, and their scuffle hasn't hurt their relationship at all. I'm amazed. I would have thought that after Paul dared to speak ill of the glorious Bawla Wan, Jacob would have devoted the rest of his life to destroying him and everything he loves.

Jacob scanned the room, his eyes stopping when he found me leaning, awkward and out of place,

So basically it's the usual set-up: people interacting, and Bella sitting in the corner sniffing herself.

I'm not even kidding. This is basically what happens every single time Bella interacts with ANYONE except the boys she's horny for. Nobody notices her. Nobody talks to her. She doesn't talk to anyone unless she wants to extract something from them. She's hideously awkward and never at ease. She has the personal charm and grace of an unwashed armpit.

Can someone remind me why we're supposed to think ANYONE would want to spend time with her except to drain her blood?

We also find out that the werewolves have super-healing abilities cuz God forbid there be supernatural creatures that aren't practically invincible.

“Wolf thing,” Jacob whispered.

Because we all know that wolves have super-healing abilities. Also, pigs can levitate. And hamsters can read your mind.

So they've all gathered here, in the sight of lunch, to listen to Jacob explain everything we already know about Victoria and Laurent, and how Victoria wants to kill Bawla. Um… if the werewolves have telepathy, why hasn't Jacob just filled them in THAT way? Bella already knows all this… so what, is it VITAL that Emily, whose entire role is that of the 1950s sitcom housewife, be informed about all this?

“I know what the redhead wants.”

"I wanna live with a cinnamon girl. I could be happy the rest of my life with a cinnamon girl."

Jacob’s face got serious. “She is trying to avenge her mate—only it wasn’t the black-haired leech we killed. The Cullens got her mate last year, and she’s after Bella now.”

"How come? Wouldn't it make more sense to kill one of the Cullens instead, especially now that her boyfriend has ditched her and left the country?"
"It would make sense, yes. The problem is, the universe itself is warping in order to keep Bella at the center."

Since Bella has done nothing but turn green and get dragged around by her hair, the werewolves are understandably confused that anyone would go out of their way to kill her. I could see killing her if the opportunity arose, like not noticing her lying in the road, but not exerting any effort to kill her.

“She’s just a girl,” Embry protested.

Thank you for bringing the misogyny back, Embry. I missed it in the last page.

If we were talking about Mike or someone like that, do you really think that Embry would say, "He's just a boy"? I didn't think so.

“I didn’t say it made sense. But that’s why the bloodsucker’s been trying to get past us. She’s been heading for Forks.”

… I can only assume that Victoria is as stupid as all the other characters.

Okay, let's break out the ol' Googlemap of the region.

I may be a mere human, but it seems to me that there are DOZENS of ways Victoria could get into Forks. And most of them would NOT force her to cut into the Quileute territory… unless Smeyer thinks that their reservation is shaped like a donut with Forks right in the middle.

All she has to do is run up or down the coast, loop around, and approach Forks from INLAND. Problem solved.

Hell, LAURENT managed to get all the way to the Forks area without the werewolves interfering, so clearly it can be done. And with the over-the-top speed the vampires are given, it should take Victoria no more than a few hours to zoom down the coast, approach Forks from another angle, and then kill Bella in time for lunch.

“Excellent,” Jared finally said, a smile beginning to pull up the corners of his mouth. “We’ve got bait.”

"Now stick her on a meat-hook and hang her from the tallest tree. We're going vampire-fishing!"

It's at that moment that Jacob spontaneously transforms from Nice Guy Your Parents Would Like into Homicidal Fucking Psycho. He picks up a can opener and throws it with Super Werewolf Speed'n'Strength RIGHT AT JARED'S HEAD. Yes, because Bella Fucking Swan is so damn desirable and wonderful that people will TRY TO KILL THEIR FRIENDS if those friends dare to not be impressed by her.

Recall how earlier in the chapter, Bella was SO very affected by those Big Scawy Native Americans and their brutal squabbles? Well, guess what: she doesn't react to Jacob trying to cave in his friend's face. At all. Not a single flicker of a reaction. Not a THOUGHT. I guess she thinks it's natural for any male around her to be so dazzled that he'd kill an orphanage if they spoke ill of her.

“Bella is not bait.”

No, she's not. Bait is useful.

Sam continues to ignore all the strife in his pack, reinforcing that he's the BEST ALPHA EVER. Instead, he comes up with the plan to capture Victoria, which is pretty basic, so I won't bother to describe it. We also find out that Quil is going to be turning into a werewolf any day now… and for some reason, this upsets the others.

Everyone looked down. I glanced at Jacob’s face, and it was hopeless, like it had been yesterday afternoon, outside his house. No matter how comfortable they seemed to be with their fate, here in this happy kitchen, none of these werewolves wanted the same fate for their friend.

WHAT FATE? Having shapeshifting powers, telepathy, superhuman speed and strength and Wolverine-like healing abilities? And we later find out it's also a SUPER-POWERED DATING SERVICE that will match you up with your soulmate.

I am not seeing a downside here.

Yeah, I know it's pretty much required in bad UF that all vampires and werewolves are supposed to be self-loathing woobies who Hate The Monster They've Become. Angst is a cliche at this point, and has been ever since Anne Rice became huge.

But here's the thing: angst doesn't make sense when there ARE NO DOWNSIDES, either to you or anyone else. Yes, there are some downsides to being one of Smeyer's werewolves, such as not being able to have sex without a bunch of other people getting boners at the same time as they listen in.

ALSO, Smeyer doesn't DEPICT those downsides as being significant downsides. It just seems to be a giant pile of comic-book superpowers, with a few annoyances for the token girl of the group. What IS this terrible fate of theirs? They're not outcasts, they don't lose anything, they haven't alienated anyone, and they don't even lose their human intelligence in wolf form.

I mean, look at the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater, which I HIGHLY recommend.

This is also a series about a young woman in a small northerly town who encounters werewolves, and falls in love with one of them. Without too many spoilers, most of the main cast ends up becoming lycanthropes, and this causes no small amount of angst from them. Why?

Well, the werewolf transformations are not voluntary. They're not ruled by the lunar cycles, but by TEMPERATURE. When it gets too cold outside, they transform into wolves and REMAIN that way - with diminished intellect and awareness - until it warms up somehow. They are often assumed dead by their loved ones, because they go missing for several months at a time. People keep SHOOTING AND KILLING THEM because they don't really have powers.

And as the final topping on the misery sundae, the transformations become more of a problem as the person grows older. Over the years, the transformations become longer and longer. After some years, the werewolf will become a wolf… FOREVER.

Now THAT is a fate worth angsting about.

Smeyer's werewolves? They're angsting because… who the fuck knows? I have no idea what about being a Smeyer werewolf is so very bad that you'd get all somber at the idea of someone else becoming one. The worst thing that happens to one of them is listening to her ex making googoo faces at his new piece.

Sam also states that Bella should spend as much time as possible on the rez, so Jacob can finally get some Victoria will have more trouble finding her. Or, you know, the werewolves could just hang around her house and wait there.

“What about Charlie?” I demanded.

"Forget the decade-and-a-half he's been living alone! He'll be lost without me!"

“March Madness is still going,” Jacob said. “I think Billy and Harry can manage to keep Charlie down here when he’s not at work.”

Because that's all men care about. Sports, and spending all their time with other middle-aged single men.

You may have noticed that Sam is making all the decisions himself, and only conferring with the other males in the group. Bella, whom this whole conflict is ABOUT, just sits there drooling on herself without any kind of attempt to decide for herself.

“Wait,” Sam said, holding one hand up. His glance flickered to Emily and then back to me. “That’s what Jacob thinks is best, but you need to decide for yourself. You should weigh the risks of both options very seriously. You saw this morning how easily things can get dangerous here, how quickly they get out of hand. If you choose to stay with us, I can’t make any guarantees about your safety.”

That's right. He ALLOWS her to make a decision for herself. How generous of the Big Strong Men!

Where could I go that wouldn’t put someone else in danger?

Go live in Gollum's cave. I hear it's vacant. Be sure to stay there for at least three hundred years.

I recoiled again from the idea of bringing ReneĆ© into this—pulling her into the circle of the target I wore....

"But I don't have any problem endangering Charlie, so I'll stay put."

Also, Renee is on the other side of the fucking country. Am I the only one who remembers that?

So Bella just starts bleating, “I don’t want to lead Victoria anywhere else," by which she means that she doesn't want to go anywhere or do anything. Oh, and she doesn't want Victoria to die.

I flinched. I didn’t want Jacob or any of the rest of them trying to end Victoria.

See, I can only interpret that in two ways.

  • Bella wants the vampire who is trying to kill her to not be killed, because girls are not allowed to condone violence.
  • She doesn't want the only people who can realistically kill said vampire to do it. No, she'd rather the disposable powerless humans TRY AND FAIL TO DO IT, getting killed in the process.

Also, USE THE WORD "KILL." Smeyer can't even TALK about violence without being lame. It's like those Christian movies that can't bring themselves to use words like "masturbate" or "porn" even if they try to talk about it.

“You’ll be careful, right?” I asked, an audible lump in my throat.

This woman is a fucking moron. It's alreasy established that as a group, they have no trouble killing solitary vampires. Yet she keeps acting like Victoria poses some kind of threat to them.

I guess she'd rather pretend that vampires are stronger than werewolves, since otherwise she might have to admit that her ex-boyfriend could get his ass handed to him.

Also, lumps cannot be audible. You moron.

The boys think this is absolutely hilarious, and start laughing hysterically at what an idiot Bella is. Even in Smeyer's personal fantasy where her Sue is the center of the universe, people mock Bella Swan.

In fact, the only person to NOT laugh at what a dumbass Bella is is Emily, and we get a paragraph about how awesome and beautiful she is despite having giant distorting scars on her face. This is probably because Emily is not any kind of sexual competition, her face is wrecked so she's not pretty enough to overshadow Bella, and she's "feminine" in the bad-old-days sense of being a subservient doormat who does everything the men says and never speaks.

I can only assume that Emily is based on some real-life friend of Smeyer's, because otherwise I don't know why so much attention is devoted to a character who has LITERALLY no bearing on the flimsy plot. Seriously. Emily herself is nothing but "the abused girlfriend" and "the convenient unpaid cook." She isn't secretly a werewolf or anything. She isn't a Chekhov's gun. She won't provide any help or information. She's what you see here, and NOTHING MORE.

Maybe she's supposed to be the ideal woman, who has no life or identity of her own, and simply serves her masterboyfriend because heaven forbid MEN cook their own fucking food, even if it's just scrambled eggs.

Instead, it just makes me think of Ai Yori Aoshi, another lovely series that glorifies traditional misogyny and woman-as-self-loathing-slave-who-revolves-her-life-around-her-boyfriend-just-because-he-has-a-dick.

And I'd like to mention that it really seems like I'm harping on every little potential sign of misogyny, and I'd really like to clarify. One or even a few of these things WOULD NOT BOTHER ME. I'm not a raving frothing-at-the-mouth feminist, I have no problem with housewives, and I don't see it as "bad" to serve other people.

But when it's part of an overall pattern where women unquestioningly obey men, have no lives or friends outside of their boyfriends and THEIR friends, and are treated like inferiors to men merely because they have a vagina…. that bothers me. A lot. It's a lot like the implicit racism and religious bigotry (which comes later) in this series. It's just casually spread across the entire series with no acknowledgement.

She announces that the food is now ready, and all the werewolves start gobbling down a giant pan of eggs. Nothing but eggs. You'd think they'd want some fucking meat, wouldn't you? No, they want EGGS.

Since we've gone a whole paragraph without EXPLICIT misogyny, the guys all cluster around the table to eat. The women don't get to use the table or have any eggs - Bella and Emily just stand there awkwardly in the kitchen, not getting to sit down, so they can spring into action at a moment's notice to make more food for the Big Strong Menfolk.

Her expression clearly stated that this was her family.

No. They're not. They're your abusive boyfriend and his buddies.

This brings me to two things that bug me about this series, which will probably be featured in my list of annoyances.

  • All the werewolves are male, save for one later exception who is regarded as a freakish aberration. Why? No reason. Especially since actual wolf packs include BOTH sexes. A lot.
  • Has anyone noticed that Smeyer has an almost fanatical obsession with families? Every gathering of people with something in common ends up becoming a fake family, because… there doesn't seem to be any kind of close grouping that ISN'T pretending to be a family. Also, interacting with nobody except your fake family is seem as being wonderful.

Why is this so? Well, according to the author of the brilliant Sparkledammerung, this is a Mormon thing.

Perfection = a constant drum beat in the Mormon church. You aren't supposed to try to be perfect, you are supposed to be perfect. Your family is the key to this, your family is the key to everything. Your happiness and most importantly, your backstage pass to get into the Penthouse Suite of Heaven where you live forever. Hey, what does that sound like? (One apostate can keep the whole family from heaven!)

"Haha! Our lives are a sham!"

So yeah, a bunch of teenage boys hanging around can't just be teenage boys. They have to be a FAMILY.

All in all, it wasn’t exactly what I’d been expecting from a pack of werewolves.

I was expecting nudity! And bacon!

Bella spends the rest of the day hanging around awkwardly and not talking at Billy's house, probably with Billy pretending that she's not there. Gollum has better social skills than she does, and he spent centuries in a cave with nobody but his Mr. Hyde personality to talk to. Charlie shows up at dinnertime with pizza, and is understandably confused that Bella's emo-inducing meltdown has been replaced by… well, I'd like to say "friendly camaraderie," but I don't think Bella knows how to fake that.

I saw Charlie eyeing the two of us suspiciously all night, especially the much-changed Jacob.

"Jacob, where did that second nose come from?"

He asked about the hair; Jacob shrugged and told him it was just more convenient.

Because to become a contender for Bella's affections, he must become white and delightsome as non-Native as possible, even though it's borderline offensive to casually depict Native people lopping off their hair for no real reason.

And yes, there is no reason given, as far as I know. What, does long hair inconvenience you in wolf form? Does it carry over?

I don't think that's how it works.

The real reason, of course, is that long hair means you're a dirty hippie who supports drugs and will end up in jail. No, I'm not kidding. I desperately wish I were.

looking for some sign of Victoria’s return. But since they’d chased her away from the hot springs last night—chased her halfway to Canada, according to Jacob—

That would be more impressive if they weren't a very short distance from the Canadian border.

I had no hope at all that she might just give up. I didn’t have that kind of luck.

I have no hope either. We readers don't have that kind of luck.

Jacob eventually says bye to Bella, and announces that the werewolves will be keeping an eye on her house.

“I won’t worry about myself,” I promised.

"I'll worry about the exoticized meathead I want to bang! And oh yeah, those other guys too, I guess."

“You’re silly. Hunting vampires is fun. It’s the best part of this whole mess.”
I shook my head. “If I’m silly, then you’re dangerously unbalanced.”

So he's not dangerously unbalanced because he went nuts and threw a hunk of pointy metal at another guy's face, but because he likes the idea of killing sparkly vampires instead of worshiping them like you?

So Bella and Charlie go home, and Charlie is understandably confused by Bella's bipolar flip-flopping. And why not? Yesterday Bella had another drama-llama meltdown that prompted him to scream threats at his best friend, and today she's acting like it never happened and is best buddies with the people she claimed were an evil bodysnatching cult.

Now a normal person might assume that Bella is just a drama queen whiner who blows every little thing up into a crisis. But not Charlie, the ideal neglectful father who never asks inconvenient questions or demands answers!

“What’s going on, Bella?” he demanded before I could escape. “I thought Jacob was part of a gang and you two were fighting.”

You know what? I'm going to translate this incredibly dull conversation into a less offensively stupid form.

"Bella, you had a complete nervous breakdown over Jacob just last night, and now you're spending all day at his house?"
"Like, Chaaaaarlie, that's all totally done now. We're best friends now."
"I insulted my best friend because of you!"
"Like, whatever. We're not fighting anymore and now I'm totally besties with all his friends. Soon I'll make them white and delightsome!"
"Yesterday you claimed they were a cult, and now you're friends with all of them?"
"Like, who even gets teenage boys and stuff? Anyway, I met Sam Uley and his fiancee, whom I totally adore because she has no identity of her own!"
"Yesterday you claimed Sam Uley was an evil charismatic mastermind!"
"Like, whatever. It was a misunderstanding and stuff."
"Go to bed. Daddy needs time with his tequila bottle."

Nope, no questions about what the hell is REALLY going on here, especially since Bella's excuses are possibly her lamest lies YET. Charlie just changes the subject at random to talk about Emily.

His face changed. “I hadn’t heard that he and Emily had made it official. That’s nice. Poor girl.”
“Do you know what happened to her?”

"What? I said 'poor girl' because he's a total dickwad."

So then we find out that the cover story for Emily's injuries is a bear mauling the previous year. And guess what that means!

More than a year ago. I’d bet that meant it had happened when there was just one werewolf in La Push.



Wait… what?

Is she seriously going there? IS SHE SERIOUSLY GOING THERE? She just introduced us to a couple of teenagers in a relationship AFTER THE GUY ALMOST RIPS HIS LOVE INTEREST'S FACE OFF, AND LEAVES HER SCARRED FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE.

And they're not just dating. They are ENGAGED. They are depicted as perfect soulmates in true love, destined to be together forever.

It boggles my mind that this shit made it into print. The first book was bad enough when it glorified stalking, but this… this… this IS FUCKING ROMANTICIZING PHYSICAL ABUSE.

After all, the reason Sam horribly mutilated Emily was that he was soooooo passionately in love with her that when she turned him down, he tore her face open and scarred her for life. But it's okay, he felt really really sorry afterwards! He didn't mean it! He was just mad! If she hadn't made him mad, he wouldn't have done it! (Add other lines abusers use after the fact) And of course, the act of turning into a giant wolf and mutilating her face convinced Emily that he wuvved her truly and she should totally hook up with him forever. She just better avoid making him mad again, because then he might "lose control" and scar the rest of her face.

You know what the self-justifications that abusers use to justify their actions? Well, they were sorry afterwards (like Sam) and didn't mean it (like Sam) and she just made him sooooo angry (like Sam). And often the abused women will rationalize that hey, being so passionate that he destroyed half her face means that he MUST really love her! If he didn't, he wouldn't fly off the handle and Chris Brown her!

And so on and so on. Sound fucking familiar?

You know, it really pisses me off when Smeyer and her die-hard fans smugly act like the Twishite books are somehow better than other YA fiction because they don't include pre-marital sex.

They're not. They're actually WORSE than almost all YA fiction. Why? Because Smeyer's "clean," "wholesome," "virtuous" image is used as a blanket defense of the series, as if sex were the only thing that can influence teens. It's not. I believe premarital sex is wrong, but I would rather have any child of mine read a book where a couple of teens had sex before marriage rather than a book like THIS.

Bloody disfiguring physical abuse? Nah, not an obstacle for TROO LUV!

If any Twimoms are reading this, I have a little question for you. Are you REALLY so paranoid about sex that you think this is better? Are you really okay with your daughters reading a romance that tells them, "Did your boyfriend hurt you? Hurt you so badly you needed hospitalization? Well, it's just a sign of how much he loves you. Don't worry, he won't do it again. You should totally be with him!"

I shuddered at the thought of how Sam must have felt every time he looked at Emily’s face.


Poor, poor Sam! It must be SOOOOO hard for men like him, and Ike Turner, and Chris Brown… whenever they see the bloody mess they've made of women's faces. Let's all bleed sympathy for how hard it is for them!

No, wait. I'm calm, I'm calm. I can handle the rest of this chapter. I mean, there can't possibly be any worse fuckery than this, right?

… I'm already regretting saying that.

I thought about what Jacob had said early this morning, about hypocrisy.

"And that made me uncomfortable, so I started fantasizing about Edward's sparkly peen."

I thought about that for a long time. I didn’t like to think that I was a hypocrite, only what was the point of lying to myself?

Well, the fact that you denied being a hypocrite means that yes, you are lying to yourself.

No, Edward wasn’t a killer.

Yes, he is. He explicitly talked about it in the previous book. You just didn't think it was a big deal.

Even in his darker past, he’d never been a murderer of innocents, at least.

Funny, I seem to remember how Midnight Sun had him coldly, calmly and calculatingly deciding to murder a bunch of innocent people.

Also, he's still a murderer even if not all his victims were perfectly "innocent." Lee Harvey Oswald was a murderer, but that doesn't mean Jack Ruby wasn't ALSO a murderer for killing him.

But what if he had been? What if, during the time I that I’d known him, he’d been just like any other vampire? What if people had been disappearing from the woods, just like now? Would that have kept me away from him?

No, it wouldn't. He's rich and hot, and you are shallow and selfish.

I shook my head sadly. Love is irrational, I reminded myself. The more you loved someone, the less sense anything made.

So it would be wrong to allow Jacob to kill random people, but it wouldn't have stopped her from dating Edturd.

I can see why teen girls adore Bella so much. She's such a moral character.

And then Bella falls asleep and has yet another SYMBOLIC! dream about Emily and the werewolves. It's neither interesting nor foreshadowy.

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