I have to admit, this chapter was less painful than the first one. Kind of like how the second strip of a bikini wax hurts less than the first one because your brain has already shut down. My brain has probably gone into survival mode already. Positive signs. Anyway…
When we last left our heroes, Bella was driving and crying over how much she hates her life, the rain, and whatever else might make the poor life choice of coming within 10 feet of her. She opens Chapter 2 with this:
The next day was better…and worse.
Do tell, Ms. Swan, do tell. She regales sitting with a large group at lunch, some of whom, she’s deigned to remember their names. Okay, that’s a positive. Then that positive came to a screeching halt. She got called on in class, whacked some kid with a volleyball, and worst of all? Edward cuts school.
But when I walked into the cafeteria with Jessica – trying to keep my eyes from sweeping the place for him, and failing entirely – I saw that his four siblings of sorts were sitting together at the same table, and he was not with them.
Hold on, hold on, let’s back up a minute. She started out sitting with a big group at lunch. Now she’s back in the cafeteria? Or do they have two lunches? If that’s the case, hobbits must run the joint. Ms. Meyer’s prose is as clumsy as her heroine’s extremities. Flashbacks only work if they’re obvious. It wouldn’t have been a huge challenge to start at the beginning of the day. I’m not sure what she was trying to accomplish by establishing Edward and the hair were out gallivanting around town before Bella actually realizes it. And that’s just the content of the sentence.
The sentence construction makes me want to start a utensil fight. Or just stab Bella in the eye. It’s one thing to know the rules and then break them for the sake of character building or narration. This does not qualify. At least it wasn’t in passive voice. Then I really would have to get out the cutlery. Now that we have returned from our unnecessary flashback, it’s time for Biology!
I held my breath at the door, but Edward Cullen wasn’t there, either.
He wasn’t at the door? What is he, the Biology class butler? Though having him hide behind the door and scare the shit out of her would have been hysterical. Oh, wait, she meant he wasn’t in class. Maybe he did get that schedule change after all. The hair was pissed.
After more whining about how a boy may, gasp!, like her, she offers this nugget of exposition:
I had never been enormously tactful; I had no practice dealing with overly friendly boys.
Yeah, duh. You can put the stick down, Stephanie. We get it. She only has eyes for tall, dark, and dead over there. I can’t argue with the lack of tact. Girlfriend has all kinds of issues up in there. We *finally* make it to the end of the school day and Ms. Swan is off to the grocery store because her father can only cook “fried bacon and eggs”. It looks like we’ll make it out of the parking lot safely, right? Oh, no, no my children. Safety is merely an illusion.
I saw the two Cullens and the Hale twins getting into their car. It was the shiny new Volvo. Of course. I hadn’t noticed their clothes before – I’d been too mesmerized by their faces. Now that I looked, it was obvious that they dressed exceptionally well; simply, but in clothes that subtly hinted at designer origins…It seemed excessive for them to have both looks and money. But as far as I could tell, life worked that way most of the time.
Apparently, money buys you a shiny Volvo. Really? Couldn’t it at least be a Lexus? Maybe we could even spring for a Mercedes? Also, it’s implied that it’s a sedan. There are 5 of them. Who cares what they’re wearing. I want to know how they determine who gets shotgun and who gets the bitch (middle in the back) seat. That would be so much more entertaining.
The last sentence is where she really gets me. They’re so pretty! And rich! It’s all too much! I’m going to make wild assumptions about pretty people who dress simply and drive a shiny, moderately priced car! [insert eyeroll here]
When I got home, I unloaded all the groceries, stuffing them wherever I could find open space.
So, if there really isn’t any food in the house other than bacon & eggs, what’s taking up all the space? Dare I ask what’s in the cabinets? No, no, it’s all better if I don’t know. She gets dinner started, goes upstairs to check her email, and has no fewer than 3 messages from her mother. Of course, Mom is freaking out about everything from forgetting a top to Bella not replying to aforementioned emails.
In the spirit of full disclosure, the whole “child raising the parents” trope drives me insane. Mom makes scatterbrained look like a compliment. Dad can’t cook. Bella is responsible for remembering when to pick up dry cleaning from 3 states away and also whipping up a good steak & potatoes. It’s a cheap way to give the teenage protagonist some kind of autonomy. How about this instead? The parents function like actual adults who have raised their child in a where s/he has developed the agency on his/her own. Family dynamics are difficult to navigate when the main character is a child or teenager. Hell, family dynamics are difficult to navigate in real life. I’m much more willing to accept the parent(s) as minor characters. If you *have* to cut the parent(s) out of the picture, kill them in a car accident. If it ain’t broke…
Then, for funsies, she whips out Wuthering Heights as a little light reading. Again, the child makes so much more sense now. Nice to see you again, AnaBella. Over her perfectly cooked meal, her dad makes his positive thoughts known about the band of sexy vampire children. Her response? “They’re all very attractive”. Because that somehow will make the situation better? It’s not like he was ranting at you. Oy. She makes the point that she has to wash the dishes by hand. Perhaps scrubbing the floors or polishing the silver is on the docket for tomorrow night. I think a mouse or two might be looking for some work, too. At least we get a break from every inane detail for the rest of the school week. For the moment, I can put the fork down.
CinderBella spends her weekend cleaning, homework-ing, and talking shit about the local library. The first practical thing she concerns herself with is the gas mileage on the truck. I suppose practically had to butt in sooner or later. And then…
I kept my head down and glanced up under my lashes.
As opposed to where? Your spleen?
Finally, he speaks:
“Hello,” said a quiet, musical voice…”My name is Edward Cullen”.
I imagine Edward sounding something like this:
With that in mind, he laughs soft enchanting laughs and we FINALLY get a reason why Bella’s whiny ass (and the rest of her) moved to Forks in the first place. Her mom got remarried. Really? That’s it? I was really hoping my mental institution theory was going to pan out. Bummer. However, the mental institution has an excellent curriculum because she’s “already done this lab” and her teacher infers she was in “advanced placement”. Only if it’s the kind that involves padded walls. A girl can dream.
Through the entire conversation, Edward never simply speaks. He murmurs and mutters through most of it. Of course, fangs can make enunciation a bit of a challenge. They’re also, apparently, a hindrance to speaking at a normal volume. There is also, clearly, no other way to communicate dark and sexy but by mumbling. If I can’t understand you, maybe I missed the fact you just used a really terrible pick up line.
Instead of drinking every time Bella flushes, blushes, or turns some other shade of red, we drink when a semi-colon appears. If you’re reading the source material along with me, I apologize to your liver in advance.
Hope everyone enjoyed this week’s commentary and maybe even had a good laugh. I live to serve, faithful readers. Have to start prepping myself for next week. Breathe in, breathe out…