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Picking Apart Twilight, The Novel – Chapter 10

October 19, 2011


It was very hard, in the morning, to argue with the part of me that was sure last night was a dream. Logic wasn’t on my side, or common sense. I clung to the parts I couldn’t have imagined – like his smell. I was sure I could never have dreamed that up on my own.

Yep, let’s rename this Chapter 10. Obsession.

I swallowed a granola bar in three bites, chased it down with milk straight from the carton, and then hurried out the door.

Listen, book, do you remember what I told you about telling me all of this unimportant garbage? I’ll tell you again – stop it. Nobody cares.

Edward shows up to take Bella to school that day.

I noticed that he wore no jacket himself, just a light gray knit V-neck shirt with long sleeves. Again, the fabric clung to his perfectly muscled chest. It was a colossal tribute to his face that it kept my eyes away from his body.

That’s… kind of disgusting. I half expect this to start moving into trashy romance novel territory.

So much of this chapter is a bunch of flirty back-and-forth between the two, as well as Bella’s dreamy thoughts about Edward’s appearance and smell, and it’s rather disgusting.

“Do my questions bother you?” I asked, relieved.
“Not as much as your reactions do.” He looked like he was joking, but I couldn’t be sure.
I frowned. “Do I react badly?”
“No, that’s the problem. You take everything so coolly – it’s unnatural. It makes me wonder what you’re really thinking.”

Oh, of course. Why WOULDN’T the special little snowflake be taking everything so well? After all, she’s DIFFERENT. SPECIAL. How irritating.

Since Edward was taking Bella to school today, Rosalie and the rest of the Cullens drove up in a red convertible. Apparently they usually wouldn’t take such a flashy car since they usually want to blend in.

“So why did Rosalie drive today if it’s more conspicuous?”
“Hadn’t you noticed? I’m breaking all the rules now.”

And… they were all cool with that? Like, they just said, “Oh, well, she’s special, so we’ll go ahead and all risk getting our cover blown for you”? I happen to know that later on a couple members of the family put great mention into just how dangerous getting involved with her and sharing information with her is, and that’s just her. Now they’re cool driving to school in separate, incredibly obviously costly vehicles? Somehow I have my doubts.

At school. Jessica brings Bella her jacket. She runs off excited. She plans on asking Bella all the juicy details.

“She wants to know if we’re secretly dating. And she want to know how you feel about me,” he finally said.
“Yikes. What should I say?”

“I suppose you could say yes to the first… if you don’t mind – it’s easier than any other explanation.”
“I don’t mind,” I said in a faint voice.

So… does that mean that you are? Or you aren’t? It’s “easier than any other explanation”? Then what’s the real explanation? Is it something different? I mean, I guess you haven’t both specifically said, “I like you” to one another yet. And really, as far as I can tell, Bella is the only one who’s particularly interested in a romantic relationship. Edward just sees her as unique food. …Right? I mean, I guess, eventually, no, he doesn’t. But thus far he’s really only sounded intrigued by her because he can’t read her mind. Otherwise, she’s a bumbling fool always getting into trouble. I mean, okay, let me try and think up some bizarre kind of human equivalent to this…. It’d be like, you like food. Okay, you REALLY like food. But you can only afford certain foods. Other foods are really good and all, like ribs. You’d really like to have some ribs. It seems like everywhere you go, there’s always some place somewhere nearby you that serves ribs. Well, you can’t have them, and you see them so often that eventually you just blow them all off. Then finally you hear about the ONE PLACE ANYWHERE that serves a very special kind of ribs – ribs with powdered Captain Crunch in the rub. But it’s nowhere near you. It’s out of state, and you can’t even reach it. You’re suddenly obsessed with getting hold of these glorious ribs. But you’re not falling in love with the ribs. You want to EAT these AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS-SOUNDING RIBS. Now imagine you’re near those ribs, staring them down. You’re like, “I don’t want to ruin this. These are the ribs I’ve been looking for my entire life. If I eat it, then I’ll know what it’s like to have it, and then I’ll never have that first experience with those ribs ever again. I must protect the ribs.” So you find yourself guarding the restaurant that serves these ribs, day in, day out, making sure nobody robs the place or steals the secret recipe or something crazy like that. That’s when you realize, you don’t just want to taste these delicious ribs. You are in love with them. You are in love with ribs, and you will risk life and limb for their safety and protection.



So, in class, Mike seems to now be more concerned about what Jessica thinks about him than what Bella thinks about him. Good. There will now be slightly less drooling over Bella. She later meets up with Jessica and they have some disgusting boy talk.

“So are you going out again?”
“He offered to drive me to Seattle Saturday because he thinks my truck isn’t up to it – does that count?”
“Yes.” She nodded.
“Well, then, yes.”
“W-o-w.” She exaggerated the word into three syllables. “Edward Cullen.”

I’m confused. How does one extend the word “wow”, a single-syllabic word, into three syllables? Does it sound like, “Wa-ao-ou”? Or maybe she just said, “Double-you, oh, double-you”. Oh… no, wait, that can’t be it, that’s, like, seven syllables. Maybe what she REALLY meant is that the “wow” was just really long. Like, “Wooooooooooooooooow.” Well, if that was it, she should have just SAID so.

“He’s so… intimidating. I wouldn’t know what to say to him.” She made a face, probably remembering this morning or last night, when he’d turned the overwhelming force of his eyes on her.
“I do have some trouble with incoherency when I’m around him,” I admitted.
“Oh well. He is unbelievably gorgeous.” Jessica shrugged as if this excused any flaws. Which, in her book, it probably did.

Remember, ladies. Looks matter more than personality flaws. Actually, I can’t tell if Bella is somewhat condescending of this line of thought or not. If she is, then I’m afraid she’s quite a bit hypocritical. Very little of anything Edward has said to her has pissed her off, and none of it has pissed her off so much that it couldn’t be saved by looking at his face and then forgetting whatever it was she was mad about.

“I can’t explain it right… but he’s even more unbelievable behind the face.” The vampire who wanted to be good – who ran around saving people’s lives so he wouldn’t be a monster… I stared toward the front of the room.
“Is that possible?” She giggled.

No. No, it isn’t.

And, anyway, okay, let’s assume it is possible. Alright, fine, Edward’s a total badass because he wants to avoid eating people and likes keeping cute girls from getting raped by bad men. It’s obvious that neither she nor Jessica actually care about anything else that might just be good about him. All Jessica cares about are his looks. And, as I mentioned momentarily ago, Bella forgets all kinds of important things just because she can’t stop looking at him. So… what does the rest of the good stuff even matter, right?

Boy talk continues. Class goes on. Class lets out. Lunch time. Bella sits with Edward.

“I’m curious,” I said as I picked up an apple, turning it around in my hands, “what would you do if someone dared you to eat food?”
“You’re always curious.” He grimaced, shaking his head. He glared at me, holding my eyes as he lifted the slice of pizza off the tray, and deliberately bit off a mouthful, chewed quickly, and then swallowed. I watched, eyes wide.
“If someone dared you to eat dirt, you could, couldn’t you?” he asked condescendingly.

And here’s where the conversation stops, but really, I wanna know more about this part. Like, okay… do these vampires need blood like food? Like, in the same sense we eat food? You know, so that we can digest it, it goes through our digestive system, and then we expel it from our bodies later on down the road? Or does the blood they eat just get burned off, and then they need more? Does it replace the blood already flowing (or not-so-flowing) in their bodies? Like, okay, when Edward eats this pizza, does it burn off? Does it digest? Or… where does it go? ‘Cause, yeah, we COULD just eat dirt if we wanted to. But it would digest and junk, and then we’d get rid of it. Where does that pizza GO!?

Also, I’m imagining Bella’s face right here. Being amazed by a dude eating pizza. I’d bet it looks ridiculous.

A couple more pages of the two talking to one another about one another happens.

“Well, look at me,” I said, unnecessarily as he was already staring. “I’m absolutely ordinary – well, except for bad things like all the near-death experiences and being so clumsy that I’m almost disabled. And look at you.” I waved my hand toward him and all his bewildering perfection.
His brow creased angrily for a moment, then smoothed as his eyes took on a knowing look. “You don’t see yourself very clearly, you know. I’ll admit you’re dead-on about the bad things,” he chuckled blackly, “but you didn’t hear what every human male in this school was thinking on your first day.”
I blinked, astonished. “I don’t believe it…,” I mumbled to myself.
“Trust me just this once – you are the opposite of ordinary.”

Of course. The bland girl is incredibly special and every single male person in all of the whole high school was thinking amazing thoughts about her all day on the day she arrived. Actually, some contributors over at TVTropes sort of do a better job explaining this Mary-Sue-like behavior on a certain level:
If she has any flaws intentionally written in by the creator, expect them to be Informed or not really flaws to begin with. … Clumsiness is a common “flaw”. – Which tends to manifest itself only a few times throughout the entire story, like the author saying, “No, she’s not a Sue. See, she has flaws!”

“Don’t you see? That’s what proves me right. I care the most, because if I can do it” – he shook his head, seeming to struggle with the thought – “if leaving is the right thing to do, then I’ll hurt myself to keep from hurting you, to keep you safe.”
I glared. “And you don’t think I would do the same?”
“You’d never have to make the choice.”

“I care the most!” “No, I care the most!” “No, me!” “No, me!”

In all seriousness, this almost makes it sound like there’s going to be a moment where it will be necessary for Bella to have to leave Edward in order for him to be safe at some point. But thinking back over what I already know from the movies and what else I’ve already read up on the series, this won’t ever happen. You think from this little exchange that there will be a day when Bella actually has to pull herself up by her bootstraps and actually do something meaningful to try and protect their precious relationship, but this never happens. In fact, as far as I understand it, she becomes so incredibly dependent on his being there with her that it’s pretty much dangerous to her health. She sits in her room for months on end when Edward tries to leave her in the next book, has screaming nightmares about him nightly, and then tries to hurt herself so that she can catch glimpses of him during an adrenaline rush. I certainly hope I’m corrected somewhere down the line, but as far as I understand, there will never be a situation where Bella will have to do the “smart thing” and remove herself from the situation. That’s too bad. It might have actually added some depth both to the character and to the story. Oh, well.

The two make plans to hang out in the sun together on Saturday rather than going to either the dance or to Seattle. Oh, goody. Then they start talking about hunting. The family likes killing extreme wild animals both for food and for sport. Emmett apparently likes Grizzly bears. Edward likes mountain lions. That’s cute. It’s way better than the deer you see him hunt at the beginning of the movie adaptation. That may ACTUALLY have been cool to watch play out. Instead, though, we only get to hear him talk about hunting a mountain lion. We don’t actually get to hear about how it works or anything. Boring. Makes me almost not care what animals he eats.

“Is that something I might get to see?”
“Absolutely not!” …
“Too scary for me?” I asked when I could control my voice again.
“If that were it, I would take you out tonight,” he said, his voice cutting. “You need a healthy dose of fear. Nothing could be more beneficial for you.”
“Then why?” I pressed, trying to ignore his angry expression.
He glared at me for a long minute.
“Later,” he finally said. He was on his feet in one little movement. “We’re going to be late.”

Oh, boy! Cliffhangers! No, wait… a cliffhanger would be something I’d be interested in hearing more about, something keeping me on the edge of my seat, wanting to turn the page and continue into the next chapter to find out what the rest of the story is. I don’t get that sensation with this lead-off at all. This is dull.

So much of the conversation was boy talk, and even more of it was pages upon pages of conversation just at lunch alone between Edward and Bella that boils down to little more than, “I love you!” “I love you more!” “No, I love you more!” So, does this count as another chapter where nothing happens? Well, Bella went to school, anyway. She had a class where she and her friend ignored the teacher and talked about boys, so, that’s cool, I guess.

The excitement continues in Biology in the next chapter, chapter 11, Complications.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. October 19, 2011 2:53 AM

    The more I hear of this book, the more confused I am as to why it has so many rabid fans.
    Also, the ribs metaphor (is metaphor the right term? Analogy? Whatever) left me giggling too hard to keep reading for well over a minute.

  2. October 19, 2011 3:14 AM

    Is anyone else hungry?

  3. Diggerjohn permalink
    October 19, 2011 4:19 AM

    I am so glad I never gave into curiosity and read these Ebola-like plagues of a upon the “House of Literature”.

    • Diggerjohn permalink
      October 19, 2011 4:21 AM

      Wow. My coffee hasn’t kicked in yet. I meant, “I am so glad I never gave into curiosity, and read these Ebola-like plagues upon “the House of Literature”.

  4. Creature SH permalink
    October 19, 2011 5:52 AM

    Captain Crunch rub… Excuse me, gotta go try something.

  5. October 19, 2011 1:49 PM

    mmm… ribs…

    an excellent analogy for some odd reason! =)

    again, you are brave for reading this. weaker souls have.

  6. October 19, 2011 4:08 PM

    This book is a chore. I have no idea how you can make it through.

    Even in high school, the inane stuff we talked about annoyed me. Now, 7 years later, it makes me hurt.

  7. October 19, 2011 8:20 PM

    And she will get even more Mary Sue, with best-first-sex-ever and Best-of-both-worlds-magic-baby-Sue 🙂

  8. October 20, 2011 10:25 AM

    “You want to EAT these AMAZINGLY DELICIOUS-SOUNDING RIBS. Now imagine you’re near those ribs, staring them down. You’re like, “I don’t want to ruin this. These are the ribs I’ve been looking for my entire life. If I eat it, then I’ll know what it’s like to have it, and then I’ll never have that first experience with those ribs ever again. I must protect the ribs.” So you find yourself guarding the restaurant that serves these ribs, day in, day out, making sure nobody robs the place or steals the secret recipe or something crazy like that. That’s when you realize, you don’t just want to taste these delicious ribs. You are in love with them. You are in love with ribs, and you will risk life and limb for their safety and protection.”

    You are my GOD tonight, Kaylyn.

  9. Grace permalink
    October 20, 2011 12:48 PM

    You know I hate how clumsiness is seen as a Mary Sue flaw. I am clumsy myself, in fact I’m dyspraxic which is related to dyslexia (which I also have) and means I have poor hand eye co-ordination – often bumping into things and grazing my knees, breaking drinking glasses all the time, frequently dropping things like food etc – so the fact it used as an ‘easy flaw that isn’t a flaw’ by Sue-authors ticks me off. It isn’t a flaw, it’s just an irritating fact of life that means you take ages to learn to drive and can’t play tennis.

    • October 20, 2011 1:01 PM

      You know, nobody is discounting that there are in fact people in the world who are clumsy. It’s that it’s used in such high frequency. Not everybody is that clumsy all the time, so it just makes it quite a bit unbelievable.

      • Grace permalink
        October 20, 2011 5:53 PM

        Well I’d say there are some people, especially those more dispraxic than I, who could reach the level that Bella talks about. But yeah it I was basically agreeing with you. It’s an empty ‘flaw’ to give a character who you don’t want to give any other flaws too… not that Bella is flawless of course but I don’t think Meyer was actually aiming for ‘unlikeable moaning manipulative person who only cares about people who sparkle or are occasionally fuzzy’ as you’ve well established… 🙂 and as someone who does have bouts of clumsiness, I just wind up sighing and saying ‘doesn’t work exactly that way’.

        I mean I’ll give other Sue-authors credit here. There creations might be irritatingly perfect and get things hand to them without effort and are ‘super special awesomesauce’ but they aren’t usually horrible, horrible, people. Unlike Bella.

  10. Tina permalink
    October 21, 2011 8:59 AM

    Hello! I just found your Pick Apart the other day and have had a blast reading it. I’m glad someone is willing to take the time to do this, since everything I’ve been saying for a while has fallen on deaf ears. You make all the point I was trying to make, and even a few that I missed!
    In regard to SMeyer’s bad writing style, I think it is bleeding over to new writers like one of the other comments feared would happen. I have seen one in particular that is cringe inducing, and painful to read. It had such GOOD reviews, I thought I would give it a shot. I wish I could take it back!

    It’s PORTAL by Imogen Rose.

    I would love to see you pick this one apart, read the reviews, some of them are very funny! I can’t get over how many 5star reviews books like Twilight and Portal get when they are so obviously terribly written and even bad influences for girls.

  11. enchanted_hats permalink
    November 26, 2011 1:51 PM

    “Too scary for me?” I asked when I could control my voice again.
    “If that were it, I would take you out tonight,” he said, his voice cutting. “You need a healthy dose of fear. Nothing could be more beneficial for you.”

    Is it just me or is this line totally creepy. If my boyfriend told me that I needed a healthy dose of fear and he wasn’t just talking about taking me to go see paranormal activity… I might seriously want to rethink our relationship.

  12. Lady_Ami permalink
    November 29, 2011 9:58 PM

    All the missed potential ticks me off more than anything else.
    Example #1: The third book had vampires and werewolves in an all-out battle. So Underworld IV was going on at the base of the mountain. Where were we? Focusing on 3 teenagers re-hashing the same conversations for 500 pages.
    Example #2: Rosalie’s backstory gets all of 1 matter-of-fact page. From what we’re told, it’s basically Kill Bill with vampires.
    Let that sink in a minute.
    But SMeyer has more important things to write about, like Edward’s eyes.

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