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Picking Apart Twilight: The Novel, Chapter 17

July 25, 2012

I’d bet you guys thought I forgot about this! Well… Okay, I guess I did for a while. Life hasn’t exactly been easy as of late. But it’d love to not leave a project hanging. And while Fifty Shades of Grey is the new sick and twisted thing to be up in arms about, we must not forget that Twilight was its source for inspiration. For that reason, let’s continue ripping this thing apart!

Chapter 17 – THE GAME

It was just beginning to drizzle when Edward turned onto my street. Up until that moment, I’d had no doubt that he’d be staying with me while I spent a few interim hours in the real world.

So, you may or may not last remember, we last witnessed Bella meeting Edward’s “family”. We talked about what could have been interesting back story for Carlisle, but it fell flat. And then Edward’s family invited Bella to watch them all play baseball together. They haven’t yet gone to play the game.

And then I saw the black car, a weathered Ford, parked in Charlie’s driveway – and heard Edward mutter something unintelligible in a low, harsh voice. Leaning away from the rain under the shallow front porch, Jacob Black stood behind his father’s wheelchair. Billy’s face was impassive as stone as Edward parked my truck against the curb. Jacob stared down, his expression mortified.

So, you guys remember this, right? Jacob and his dad, Billy, are part of a tribe of native Americans who happen to also be wolves. They all know that the Cullens are vampires, and they have this pact to not reveal their vampire identities to the world so long as the vampires themselves do not trample all over their territory. We all up to speed? Good. So it’s no wonder that Jacob doesn’t look thrilled to see Edward, nor Edward to see the wolf family. Edward performs his little mind reading technique on the two to find that Billy came to warn Bella’s dad, Charlie, that Bella is dating somebody who’s probably very dangerous. How convenient for our heroine, then, that Charlie isn’t home.

Edward decides it’s best if he leaves.

His eyes flickered back to the porch, and then he leaned in to swiftly kiss me just under the edge of my jaw. My heart lurched frantically, and I, too, glanced toward the porch. Billy’s face was no longer impassive, and his hands clutched at the armrests of his chair.

Oh, yeah. THAT was why I had dreaded this book, again. It thinks it knows what love and arousal is. And it’s gross.

So Billy and Jacob come inside. Billy keeps asking about the whereabouts of Bella’s dad, and she oh-so-sneakily manages to convince him that she doesn’t know where he is. This is when Billy sends Jacob out on an errand at the car that’s sure to take him lots of time, to keep him out of the room while he and Bella discuss some things. At this point, Bella becomes incredibly curt and rude.

”Charlie won’t be back for a long time.” My voice was almost rude.
He nodded in agreement, but said nothing.
“Thanks again for the fish fry,” I hinted.
He continued nodding. I sighed and folded my arms across my chest.

Not exactly the most polite way to approach a long-lasting friend to your dad and to your family. Let’s continue to see where this goes.

”Bella,” he said, and then he hesitated.
I waited.
“Bella,” he said again, “Charlie is one of my best friends.”
“Yes.”
He spoke each word carefully in his rumbling voice. ”I noticed you’ve been spending time with one of the Cullens.”
“Yes,” I repeated curtly.
His eyes narrowed. ”Maybe it’s none of my business, but I don’t think that is such a good idea.”
“You’re right, ” I agreed. ”It is none of your business.”

Wooooooooooooow. This man is just worried about you, your safety. Just trying to be good to you and make sure you’re well, whether he knows anything about what you’ve been through with Edward and his family or not. Can you not at least show a little respect?

And still the rudeness continues.

”You probably don’t know this, but the Cullen family has an unpleasant reputation on the reservation.”
“Actually, I did know that,” I informed him in a hard voice. This surprised him. “But the reputation couldn’t be deserved, could it? Because the Cullens never set foot on the reservation, do they?”…
…”You seem… well informed about the Cullens. More informed than I expected.”
I stared him down. ”Maybe even better informed than you are.” …
…”It’s not my business,” he said. ”But it may be Charlie’s.”
“Though it would be my business, again, whether or not I think that it’s Charlie’s business, right?”

At every turn, Bella is being a complete a-hole to a family friend who is concerned for her safety. Why does Billy not turn around and give her a hard lesson? He might not be her parent, but he is a parent. Why doesn’t he just… stop trying to be so soft? Why doesn’t he say, “Hey, you idiot girl! You’re a teenager, and you don’t know anything about anything! You haven’t lived long enough to get even half of the gravity of the situation! And frankly, if Charlie is Billy’s best friend, yes, he CAN make it Charlie’s business if he wants to. He’d be perfectly allowed! I dare say he makes a terrible friend if he says nothing. Which, apparently, he won’t, because for some reason Bella’s curt tone reach him… somehow. What?

Then the wolf boy and the wolf dad leave. Blah, blah, blah, Bella has some kind of a text dress-up montage or something, then she gets a phone call from her classmate, Jessica. Not like she cares, ’cause while the voice she hears is her school friend, all she can think about is, “Edward, Edward, Edward”.

”Did you hear what I said, Bella?” Jess asked, irritated.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“I said, Mike kissed me! Can you believe it?”
“That’s wonderful, Jess,” I said.

How does Bella manage to keep her friends? It’s obvious she doesn’t care about anything going on in their lives, no matter how much they may want to share details with her. This just continues to prove the self-insertion Mary Sue argument. No matter how much of a terrible person she is, she still gets to keep all of her friends. It isn’t cute.

Charlie comes home. And Bella reveals that she’s been to the Cullens place and that she has a date with Edward that very night.

”Wait…” He paused. “Which one is Edwin?”
“Edward is the youngest, the one with the reddish brown hair.” The beautiful one, the godlike one…

First off, ugh. Second off, I thought being a vampire automatically made you, like, gorgeous and junk. How can you say Edward is THE beautiful godlike one?

Then Edward shows up.

I hadn’t realized how hard it was pouring outside. Edward stood in the halo of the porch light, looking like a male model in an advertisement for raincoats.

I’ll have to eventually quit quoting every little obnoxious obsessive Edward thought Bella makes. It’s just so hard, because she won’t ever SHUT UP about it. And anyway, it’s pouring, right? And Bella has just told her dad that they’re going to go play baseball. Doesn’t he find that suspect in the slightest?

Only in Washington would the fact that it was raining buckets have no bearing at all on the playing of outdoor sports.

Frankly, I dunno about that. I’d still be pretty concerned either about my daughter’s chances of catching pneumonia, or that she was lying. Charlie mostly seems okay with Edward and doesn’t freak out terribly hard at this very sudden baseball date in the rain at all. Barely seems concerned about the off-roading Jeep they get into. Insert more seductive lingering at Bella’s neck, and they’re finally on the road.

”You smell so good in the rain,” he explained.
“In a good way, or in a bad way?” I asked cautiously.
He sighed. ”Both, always both.”

Oh, that’s right. I’d almost forgotten about that, too. The whole vampire thing has a secondary meaning, both that he’s tempted to eat her… and that he wants to screw her brains out, but the author didn’t specifically want to use that sort of language. So it’s up to the reader to interpret it and get her panties wet on her own.

They drive out down some dirt road, which is where they then have to travel by foot, which Bella doesn’t want to do, because she neither wants to run, nor does she want to ride on Edward’s back because she doesn’t want to get sick.

”Hmmm…,” he mused as he quickly finished. ”It seems I’m going to have to tamper with your memory.”
Before I could react, he pulled me from the Jeep and set my feet on the ground. It was barely misting now; Alice was going to be right.
“Tamper with my memory?” I asked nervously.
“Something like that.” He was watching me intently, carefully, but there was humor deep in his eyes. He placed his hands against the Jeep on either side of my head and leaned forward, forcing me to press back against the door. He leaned in even closer, his face inches from mine. I had no room to escape.
“Now,” he breathed, and just his smell disturbed my thought process, “what exactly are you worrying about?”

He goes on like this for quite some time, seducing Bella into shutting up. Isn’t that some messed up kind of control? Using his mystical vampire… uh… breath? That’s cheating, right? But Bella loves it. Or she’s convinced she loves it because being a vampire magically does that to people, I guess.

Then he took my face in his hands almost roughly, and kissed me in earnest, his unyielding lips moving against mine.
There really was no excuse for my behavior. Obviously I knew better by now. And yet I couldn’t seem to stop from reacting exactly as I had the first time. Instead of keeping safely motionless, my arms reached up to twine tightly around his neck, and I was suddenly welded to his stone figure. I sighed, and my lips parted.
He staggered back, breaking my grip effortlessly.
“Damn it, Bella!” he broke off, gasping. ”You’ll be the death of me, I swear you will.”
I leaned over, bracing my hands against my knees for support.
“You’re indestructible,” I mumbled, trying to catch my breath.”
“I might have believed that before I met you. Now let’s get out of here before I do something really stupid,” he growled.

It’s getting to a point where I’m having a hard time telling whether he’s in full bloodlust or just plain-old lust, because the author has so blurred the lines. Some people would say that’s good writing. I think it’s poor to not give your audience that clear distinction. And I mean, come on. All that, from a kiss? Seriously, Edward is how old, again? And he’s only just now having this internal struggle? As much as this is fantasy fiction, this is still really friggin’ unbelievable.

They run up the mountain, Bella riding on Edward’s back. And when they get there Bella tries to storm off because she’s mad… at, uh… the fact that Edward got mad…?

He put his hands carefully on both sides of my face. ”I infuriate myself,” he said gently. ”The way I can’t seem to keep from putting you in danger. My very existence puts you at risk. Sometimes I truly hate myself. I should be stronger, I should be able to-”
I placed my hand over his mouth. ”Don’t.”
He took my hand, moving it from his lips, but holding it to his face.
“I love you, ” he said. ”It’s a poor excuse for what I’m doing, but it’s still true.”
It was the first time he’d said he loved me – in so many words. He might not realize it, but I certainly did.

Wait, what’s he so upset about now? I guess he’s maybe upset that he so very constantly wants to kill her, I guess…? But the whole, “I love you, it’s a poor excuse for what I’m doing” thing… what? What does that mean? You’re doing what, now? Putting her at risk constantly? Hey, jackass. If you really loved her you wouldn’t BE constantly putting her at risk. You’d either know how to calm your bloodlust, or you’d separate yourself from her because it’s the best thing for her. You must not really be in love, then.

They’re finally at the specific spot on the mountain. All the Cullen family is there already. Time to watch some vampire baseball. There’s lots of pages for this. The game is so fast you can barely see it, and the crack of the ball against the bat doesn’t shatter either of them, but it DOES make an amazingly loud noise, hence the need to play during a thunderstorm. Still, even a metal bat and a baseball have their limits. If the vampires are hitting this sucker as hard as the author would have you believe they are, one of the two objects, if not both, should have been demolished.

Suddenly out of nowhere, Alice’s magical vampire powers kick in. That’s right, ’cause every vampire has a different magical, mystical power, remember? Alice’s happens to be that she can see the future, though because of how things can change that may constantly be in flux. That might be cool… if the author didn’t write it stupid.

”I didn’t see – I couldn’t tell,” she whispered.
All the others were gathered by this time.
“What is it, Alice?” Carlisle asked with the calm voice of authority.
“They were traveling much quicker than I thought. I can see I had the perspective wrong before,” she murmured.
Jasper leaned over her, his posture protective. ”What changed?” he asked.
“They heard us playing, and it changed their path,” she said, contrite, as if she felt responsible for whatever had frightened her.
Seven pairs of quick eyes flashed to my face and away.
“How soon?” Carlisle said, turning toward Edward.
A look of intense concentration crossed his face.
“Less than five minutes. They’re running – they want to play.”

Okay, okay, wait, just how does her power work, again? We’re to understand that there’s some vampires, three of them to be precise, headed this way now. And Alice figured that out because… she read the future…? That’s not what it seems like. It seems in this instance more like she has Vampire Radar and she caught three blips nearby who started heading their way because they heard the ever-fun sound of baseball. That doesn’t sound like reading the future to me. That’s reading the present. And the present is several miles away running to where they can play baseball.

Also, what the hell? Just how far away can Edward mind-read? After all, as you could just see, Edward was the one to answer how quickly they were coming. The vampires are nowhere in sight, and won’t be for another five minutes. And they’re even RUNNING. What the heck is the RANGE on this ability? That’s ludicrous! Like, it’s already bad enough that he can barely shut off the ability to read minds when he’s in a super populated place. But then to hear thoughts for, what, five miles? Ten miles? Twenty? That’s just absurd!

Might I just add, for the sake of amusement, that of all things, the movie actually played up to this segment better than the book did. The whole time throughout the course of the movie, we see imagery of these three vampires wreaking havoc across Washington, killing humans for fun, sport, and food. It’s a far better build-up to the stupid climax. But this book did a God-awful job of telling the same thing. Only now, almost 4/5ths of the way through the book, do we FINALLY get to the actual CONFLICT ARC of the story. Because the conflict arc isn’t really about how much Edward wants to eat/screw Bella (as much as the book for the last 372 pages [of which there are 498] would have liked for you to believe) but rather it’s about bad vampires who want to eat people, including Bella, and Edward and his band of merry good-pires must save the day. The story at this very moment just whip lashed itself so violently that I can only barely believe that anyone was still hanging on for the ride after this.

So they try and disguise Bella by having her pull her hair down around her neck, hoping to even slightly mask the scent of human, which is apparently a moot point, and they all keep in front of her.

”I’m sorry, Bella,” he muttered fiercely. ”It was stupid, irresponsible, to expose you like this. I’m so sorry.”
I heard his breath stop, and his eyes zeroed in on right field. He took a half step, angling himself between me and what was coming.
Carlisle, Emmett, and the others turned in the same direction, hearing sounds of passage much too faint for my ears.

And that’s where chapter 17 ends. So, to reiterate, Bella is selfish and rude, yet she somehow manages to get away with whatever she wants and gets to keep her friends, Billy the hardcore native American wolf is a pushover, Edward has a boner for Bella’s blood, Charlie is a terrible father, and vampire powers that are supposed to be specific are apparently limitless in what they can do.

It’s time to start clearing out the rest of this stupid novel. Next up, it’s Chapter 18!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Mike permalink
    July 26, 2012 12:02 AM

    YAY!!!! I am so glad this is back. I love how you rip this shit apart.

    “So it’s up to the reader to interpret it and get her panties wet on her own.” That sums it up nicely actually.

    “He placed his hands against the Jeep on either side of my head and leaned forward, forcing me to press back against the door. He leaned in even closer, his face inches from mine. I had no room to escape.” This book just keeps giving me more and more evidence that it is a rape fantasy from a repressed woman.

    I can understand Bella’s reactions to Billy. It’s rude without a doubt, but I get it. He is worried about her but at that age most people are dipshits that think they know everything. That is probably the most human and realistic moment in this trash.

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