31 Days of Twilight – New Moon, Day 3 – Friend box be damned, Bella’s got needs!

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The look on his face at the end kills me every time.

Day 3 can best be summed up that Bella is a user who is very into self-punishment.

The fact that the first chapter is “Repetition” did not bode well, but it sure was prophetic.

Bella goes looking for the Cullens’ old home, hoping that by going there she’ll hear Edward’s voice again. You see, her theory up to this point is that by reliving events similar to those she did when she was with him her unconscious mind might feed her another fix of that velvety goodness. It was at that point I realized that I might have to sit through Twilight all over again as Bella flailed for any shred of Edward she could get and I nearly put the book down and said screw this project. However, I’m apparently a sucker and just as much a glutton for self-abuse as Bella.

Bella finds the Cullens’ home but it appears empty and lifeless. She can’t quite make herself go up to the front window to look inside but just being there makes her feel the hole in her chest (she actually describes the feeling like a literal ragged hole in her chest with all the bits inside hollowed out, kind of like if she’d taken a cannon ball to the chest). Bella gets a lot of pain and angst but no Edward “hallucinations” and so she flees, desperately craving her fix.

I felt hideously empty, and I wanted to see Jacob. Maybe I was developing a new kind of sickness, another addiction, like the numbness before. I didn’t care.

Yeah, doesn’t matter that the guy is totally head over heels for her and she’s regulated him to the friend box, Bella’s going to use her some Black to get by.

She goes to see Jacob, supposedly to check on the status of the bikes, and while she does show him at least a modicum of actual friendship, it’s pretty much just to keep him around. Mike, who desperately is struggling against the confines of the friend box, attempts to get Bella to go on a date with him, since he’s no longer with Jessica (high school romance, shorter life span a mayfly) and Bella rebuffs him; guess he doesn’t get the hint.

The next day Jacob calls Bella up and she goes to meet him. In a short amount of time Jacob has returned the bikes from the dead, getting them working after only a day spent looking for the parts they’d need to restore them and like a week of work. Considering how long it has taken one of my friends to rebuild a motorcycle I call BS on the timing of this, despite the relatively simple nature of small bikes like a Harley Sprint. But the kid’s a whiz in the garage and so the bikes run. They load them into the back of Bella’s truck and off they go to a secret place to try them out.

While they are driving Bella sees a group of four boys (what’s with her and four boys?) standing on a cliff above the ocean. To her horror Bella watches as one of them leaps off the cliff, plummeting downward to the sea. Bella freaks out but Jacob calms her down; their older kids from the reservation cliff diving.

Ok, maybe some of you reading this are from Washington and can defend this, because I think the likelihood of anyone swimming in the Pacific off the coast of northern Washington in February is small, but I think I’d call BS on this one too. First of all, it’s February, second of all, they’re jumping into the Pacific, in February, in the Pacific North West. That water is cold, werewolves or not.

Bella asks who the boys are and Jacob says they’re the La Push gang. Say that to yourself, La Push gang. There’s no way that can sound intimidating. It’s like trying to start a bar fight by trash talking a guy and then taking a sip out of your drink with a straw. Jacob is pretty disdainful of them, referring to them as “hall monitors gone bad”. Their crime?

“They don’t start fights, they keep the peace. There was this guy from up somewhere by the Makah rez, big guy too, scary looking. Well, word got around that he was selling meth to kids, and Sam Uley and his disciples ran him off our land.”

You hear that, guys? The La Push gang keeps the peace and gets rid of meth dealers! Those fun-hating tightwads!

Jacob’s apparent beef with them is the way they act, like their tough or something, and the difference shown to them by the council (“Sam Uley can do no wrong”). He’s also creeped out by them because Sam pays extra attention to Jacob, “like he’s waiting for something”, and Jacob is afraid that Sam wants him to join his gang. Bella gets all righteously indignant for him, saying he doesn’t have to hang out with Sam or join his group if he doesn’t want to. Jacob then lets slip that his friend Embry, one of the two friends Bella met earlier, had missed some school and then joined up with Sam’s group. It was apparently the same way for another kid, someone who didn’t like Sam but who suddenly disappeared for a while and was hanging out with Sam when they came back. Jacob’s afraid that he’ll have to join up and Bella gives him a comforting hug.

And then we see Bella, after such a touching moment, shove him quite firmly back in the friend box.

“If this is how you’re going to react, I’ll freak out more often.” Jacob’s voice was light, normal again, and his laughter rumbled against my ear. His fingers touched my hair, soft and tentative.
Well, it was friendship for me.
I pulled away quickly, laughing with him, but determined to put things back in perspective at once.

After this touching moment it’s time for the thing they’re out for: motorcycle lessons.

Jacob gives her a very basic overview of what does what on the bike and just as she’s about to take off on her first go, guess whose velvety voice she hears? This distracts Bella and causes her to lose control of the bike, having it land on her. Apparently Edward’s voice is either “perfect” or “velvety”.

Despite the minor crash Bella is enthusiastic to try again because it’ll give her more of what she’s craving: Edward’s voice.

Being reckless was paying off better than I’d thought. Forget cheating. Maybe I’d found a way to generate the hallucinations ā€“ that was much more important.

Because that’s healthy.

And then we get to the clearest example of why Bella’s a moron with a death wish despite supposedly not being suicidal: she gets on a motorcycle she doesn’t know how to drive, without a helmet, and goes racing down the road only to realize, “Herp de derp, I don’t know how to turn” as she approaches a curve in the road. She slams on her rear break which does a very good job of laying her bike down, which pins and drags her along with it, and she then does something with the handlebars that makes it even worse and she and the bike slam into a tree, cutting open her head. But, hey, nearly dying or being turned into a vegetable is totes cool because she think she’s found the magic ticket to avoid having to move on from Edward and continue to hear his voice!

And then to discover the key to the hallucinations! At least, I hoped I had. I was going to test the theory as soon as possible. Maybe they’d get through with me quickly in the ER, and I could try again tonight.

Does anyone else consider this sane behavior?

Jacob helps Bella get cleaned up and then Bella, while giving him another adjective for the counter, cruelly gives the kid some hope that he’s not really in the friend box when she says “Did you know you’re sort of beautiful?”

Way to mix your messages there.

Bella decides there have to be other ways to pull up her hallucination and so she goes looking for another place that belonged to Edward (because she had so much luck with his house): the meadow where he first sparkled for her. Again, she ropes Jacob into this whole ordeal, can’t get by without her habit after all, and they spend some time looking for the meadow albeit unsuccessfully.

The thing that gets me is that Bella’s behavior doesn’t really slip by her, she just doesn’t seem to care.

Of course, I couldn’t fool myself completely. When I stopped to take stock of my life, which I tried not to do too often, I couldn’t ignore the implications of my behavior.

So she understands she’s crazy, she just doesn’t want to stop The problem though, as with any addiction, soon the tolerance begins to build, or in this case the behaviors she was taking that were risky start to not be so risky anymore, meaning phantom Edward doesn’t yell at her anymore, and like an addict she freaks out.

I was getting better with my bike, which meant fewer bandages to worry Charlie. But it also meant that the voice in my head began to fade, until I heard it no more. Quietly, I panicked. I threw myself into the search for the meadow with slightly frenzied intensity. I racked my brain for adrenaline-producing activates.

Soon enough it’s Valentine’s Day and Jacob is all kinds of interested which makes Bella uncomfortable. So what does she do to reaffirm the boundaries? Ask him out on a date, except she asks out to a group outing that doesn’t exist. Who does she go to in order to make that outing happen? Mike. I swear, Bella is like the meanest example of the abuser of the friend box ever. She gets Mike to organize a movie viewing with a bunch of their other class mates, only to have all of them bow out for one reason or another including bowel-destroying stomach flu.

Awkward doesn’t begin to express the three-way movie date they go on, each of the boys trying to snub the other in some way that might make Bella pay more attention to them while also trying to encroach on her physical space. They all but pee on her leg and lucky for Bella it’s not later in the story for Jacob or he might’ve.

They watch the movie and Mike has to leave half way through it, having come down with the stomach flu that laid low everyone else they invited. There’s some snark from Jacob about the weakness that is Mike. While Mike is in the bathroom Jacob puts his arm around Bella in an attempt to make a move and in the following conversation Bella confirms that, while liking him, she doesn’t like him in that way. But Jacob doesn’t mind that as he’s prepared to use his “loads of time” to be “annoyingly persistent” and wear Bella down. What girl doesn’t want a guy bothering her into dating him? This was where I lost all respect for Jacob (well, what little I had).

Mike asks them to go home early and they agree as all of them are feeling a little off. Jacob can’t really describe what he’s feeling, although he feels like he has a fever to Bella. They drive Mike home, then Jacob drops Bella off. Jacob didn’t call Bella when he got home so she called and Billy told her he was too sick to answer the phone. Bella comes down with the same nastiness that Mike had. Bella calls Jacob after she gets over the twenty-four-hour bug but Jacob is still sick, sick with something that isn’t the stomach bug. They conclude their phone call with Jacob telling her he’d call her back.

And that’s it for day three.

The writing continues to be bad with all the same complaints as before but with New Moon it feels like Meyer lost faith in her audience’s ability to follow along with a line of reasoning. Such as this line:

He was sullen ā€“ not much of an addition to the party.

Ok, I, as a person who knows what the word “sullen” means, I can understand that Mike might have been “gloomy or dismal” or “persistently and silently ill-humored”, so the spelling it out for me is superfluous. To me that added bit after the em dash is totally unnecessary and seems to ring with “In case you didn’t get it, this is how Mike is acting.”

Bella continues her spiraling journey toward the title of “worst character I’ve ever read” and that includes Thomas the Unbeliever who was a rapist leper.

More tomorrow. I’m a little under half-way done and will hopefully put more of a dent in this book later.

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