You want to see the cheapest, lamest, most unskillful way of conveying the passing of time in writing?
That’s right. One page with the name of the month in the middle of it. That’s how Meyer conveys what Bella is doing in the next four months.
“But, Matt,” you might say, “don’t you understand by not giving us any details and just putting the name of the month it is meant to imply that nothing is going on in the story, that Bella is merely coasting through life, a numb, zombie-like shell of her former purple-prose-thinking, Edward-loving self?”
“Sure,” I would respond. “And there are other ways to convey this that are A) more skillful and B) wouldn’t assume that you’re an idiot who needs it spelled out in such a fashion.”
Hell, she wouldn’t have even needed to change what she wrote when Bella “woke up”, she could’ve brought it out in the dialog between her and Charlie.
The next chapter, titled “Waking Up” as if to make sure you really, REALLY got what Meyer was intending with those four, nearly blank pages, starts with this little gem of word craft “Time passes. Even when it seems impossible.” *sigh*
Moving on, apparently Edward leaving utterly destroyed Bella, coring her out like one might an apple (maybe the apple from the cover of Twilight). Charlie is upset that his moody, klutzy daughter has been replaced by a depressed, klutzy zombie and threatens to send her back to Renee, convinced that it’s Forks that’s turned his daughter into a shambling shell of her former self. Bella tells him that she’ll start going out and being social and does this by trying to rekindle her friendship with Jessica, who seems a little put out that as soon as Edward left Bella basically shut down and stopped being anyone’s friend. Bella manages to score a movie date with Jessica, who seems a little skeptical about the whole thing since it was made clear that as soon as Bella didn’t have a boyfriend anymore she stopped caring about anyone else whose name wasn’t Bella’s Pain.
Only Bella doesn’t really want to hang out with Jessica. No, Jessica, you see, is just a tool, something to be used to distract her from the pit of misery that Bella has fallen into. This is where we start to see a pattern that continues for quite some time in this book of where nearly everyone becomes a tool for avoiding that thing called “the break up”. Bella does everything she can to avoid the break up, including not really engaging with reality for over four months to the point where she is unsure of what day it is in the week or what she did just a few days ago. The fact that she is this far gone, this far sunk into depression, should be the sign for any normal person that they are in need of Serious Psychological Help. Bella? She just calls it Tuesday.
Anyway, Jessica and Bella head into Port Angeles to see a movie, only it’s not enough of a distraction and Bella has a melodramatic flip out and has to leave the movie early. The two of them head off to get a post-movie meal and Bella comes out of her stupor long enough to realize that Jessica has apparently led her back into the Sexual Assault Neighborhood of Port Angeles on their way to McDonald’s. On the unlit street there is only one open business, a bar, and guess who should be standing outside but a group of four, suspiciously familiar, slightly older men. Yep, it’s the four men who nearly mugged and did horrible things to Bella in the first book only this time there’s no shiny silver Volvo zooming out of nowhere to run them down. That’s ok though, because Bella, once she realizes that they’re the Mugging Gang from Rapesville, joins Jessica in their steady, headlong flight toward the safety of the brightly lit McDonald’s. From there they have a dinner of over-priced Happy Meals, she calls Charlie, and they get rescued from the bad men who might be lurking outside. She goes home and-
Wait…what’s that? I read that wrong…oh, right, this is Bella we’re talking about.
“Bella, come on!”
I ignored her, walking slowly forward without ever making the conscious decision to move my feet. I didn’t understand why, but the nebulous threat the men presented drew me toward them. It was a senseless impulse, but I hadn’t felt any kind of impulse in so long…I followed it.
Yes, that’s right kids. If your boyfriend breaks up with you the right thing to do to deal with the pain is to put yourself in a potentially dangerous situation. Better yet, possibly get your unwilling friend involved in it against their will. She’ll think it’s a riot.
Bella continues to approach the four men. Jessica, who is probably imagining herself as the female actress at the beginning of an episode of Law and Order: SVU, starts to get freaked out more and more when a voice suddenly comes to Bella, ordering her to stop. A familiar voice, a beautiful, velvety (yes, “velvet”) voice. *serious tone* His voice.
Upon hearing the voice of Edward tell her that she’s being an idiot Bella decides two possibilities:
Option one: I was crazy. That was the layman’s term for people who heard voices in their heads. (No, Meyer, you don’t say…)
Option two: My subconscious mind was giving me what it thought I wanted. This was wish fulfillment — a momentary relief from pain by embracing the incorrect idea that he cared whether I lived or died. Projecting what he would have said if A) he were here, and B) he would be in any way bothered by something bad happening to me.
Of course, Bella’s never heard of Occam’s Razor so she goes with Option Two.
Bella snaps out of it enough to avoid getting into a situations she couldn’t get out of and makes her way back to Jessica who, quite understandably, is pissed with a capital F.U. Bella doesn’t seem to get what she did wrong (big surprise, right?): I tried to start a conversation a few times while we ate, but Jessica was not cooperative. I must have really offended her. No, I’m sure she’s fine getting blown off for months after thinking you were her friend, going out to a movie with you in a not-so-subtle being used sort of fashion, and then nearly getting into a dangerous situation with four older men on an unlit street in front of a seedy bar. “Offended”, I’m sure, is an understatement.
We get a look into Bella’s mental state (conclusion: she’s nuts) and at some point Bella decides that she doesn’t want to keep promises any more (namely the one to Edward that she not do anything risky or foolish (haha, this is Bella!) and decides that the best way to do this is to buy two non-functioning motorcycles, because, you know, she’s not suicidal or anything. No… And here’s where we get to the next person she uses to try and fill herself up: Jacob Black.
Jacob Black, son of Billy Black the unofficial leader of the nearby Native American reservation, fixes cars. Bella remembers this little fact from the few interactions she had with him in the last book and, I must say, I’m impressed. Considering how much Bella was all up on Edward, I’m honestly surprised that she could really remember what another person said to her at the time. However, Jacob was male and “beautiful” (remember, he got his one adjective) so that counts for something.
Bella takes the two bikes to Jacob’s and, upon seeing him, has her new fix: Jacob.
“Hey, Jacob!” I felt an unfamiliar surge of enthusiasm at his smile. I realized I was pleased to see him. This knowledge surprised me.
I smiled back, and something clicked silently into place, like two corresponding puzzle pieces. I’d forgotten how much I really liked Jacob Black.
Really? Because you didn’t really seem that into him when you met him. *eye roll*
Bella convinces Jacob to work on the motorcycles for her, which really didn’t take that much convincing, and now suddenly they’re friends, which is the title of the next chapter. Bella meets some of Jacob’s friends from the tribe and she watches them take apart the bikes. She eventually goes home and the high of hanging out with Jacob begins to wear off.
As I climbed the stairs, I felt the last of the afternoon’s abnormal sense of well-being drain from my system, replaced by a dull fear at the thought of what I was going to have to live through now.
But I guess it’s not that bad because Bella doesn’t have any nightmares and wakes up not screaming for once. She goes back
for another fix to hang out with Jacob and they go part shopping for their projects. And while she’s having fun hanging out with Jacob, it’s really just a side benefit.
I still wanted to cheat. It was senseless, and I really didn’t care. I was going to be as reckless as I could possibly manage in Forks. I would not be the only keeper of an empty contract.
Because Edward apparently broke a promise with Bella or something. I do remember him promising he’d stay with her until it wasn’t good for her anymore (or something like that) and I think having his brother nearly turn her inside out over a paper cut probably fit the bill.
Bella goes to school on Monday and Jessica is clearly still pissed because she barely talks to Bella. The rest of Bella’s “friends” give her a mixture of shock and surprise to see her talking and engaging in conversation. Angela tells a story she heard about a big bear out in the woods, which matches up with another story that two hikers told Mike and Bella at the sporting goods store they worked at about seeing a bear-like creature in the woods.
I wonder what that could be?
And that’s the end of Day 2’s write-up. I’m a day behind in my write-ups but not my reading so Day 3 should be along shortly (I’ll try to get it mostly done tonight, being Sunday night, and finish it up tomorrow morning).
New Moon, I think, is worse in some ways than Twilight. The plot so far has certainly not been engaging, with long, long periods of Meyers repeating things we’d already heard before, and the same, dull repetitions of teenage angst are starting to get to me. I was seriously annoyed as a writer with the crap examples of the months passing that I showed above, it shows a distinct lack of trying IMO on Meyer’s part.
Bella, though, is clearly not right in the head and I don’t just mean the boat loads of angst. I mean, from a psych perspective she’s vastly unhealthy and this is supposed to be the heroine of the story?
Meh, up next, more moping, more addictive behavior, and the idiocy of riding a motorcycle without a helmet while not knowing how to drive it. You can guess how this turns out.