Thursday, May 20, 2010

The (Twilight) Pain: Part 1

Last time I announced my new project to recap the Twilight books chapter by chapter. You can read more about my motivations in the previous entry, so I'll just get right into it, after a couple of addendums:

1) The project is hereby named "The Pain"
2) I'll try to post the recaps 5 chapters at a time. The first few are long due to introductions and whatever, but I have a feeling they'll get shorter as we go along.
3) I haven't read a new chapter in about a week, so I don't know how timely these posts might be.
4) I have no idea if these will be worth it. I always think I'm funnier than I really am, but I'll just let go of any expectations for myself and just try to convey the pain and the misery.
5) Like I said before, I read the summaries for these books a while ago, so nothing really comes as a surprise. Needless to say this will be full of spoilers (if one can even spoil such a piece of crap).
6) I'll try and stick to this format: a brief summary of the chapter followed by my 'notes', including quotes and other screamy bits. There's gonna be a lot of all caps.
7) I'm not gonna hold back on petty insults, screaming, poor metaphors, mockery of bad prose and sarcasm. Don't expect much coherence.

I'll stop explaining myself now.

OK. Here we go. I'll do Chapter 1 for now, because I have a lot of notes on that. The others will come in clumps, depending on the length of my notes.



We have a Preface.

"I stared without breathing across the long room, into the dark eyes of the hunter, and he looked pleasantly back at me."

I imagine it'd be quite an effort for some people to not breathe across the entire room. But hey at least the hunter looks happy!

Alright, now we get into it properly.

[I seem to have a lot of notes on Chapter 1. I'll post most of them here]


We start out with the basics. Bella Swan (gag. I guess "Pretty" was too obvious for Meyer) is our narrator. She's 16, moving from Phoenix to Forks, a tiny town in rainy Washington to live with her dad. The dad, Charlie, is the police chief and everyone knows him and his bitchy daughter. He buys Bella an old clunky car, she goes to school and meets some kids who are super friendly to her but whom she immediately hates because she is kind of horrible. At lunch she sees the Cullens, a bunch of ridiculously beautiful weirdos who don't talk to anyone, so Bella is immediately drawn to them. Among them is Edward, the prettiest of them all. He's nasty to her in Biology class (he makes a face when she sits down next to him, NICE) and she's all hurt.

Real Time Notes

-Apparently Bella refused to go visit her dad at 14 and made him come down to see her. Lovely girl.

-4 paragraphs in and I'm already attacked by adverb fever.

"I loved the sun and the blistering heat. I loved the vigorous, sprawling city."

-"My mom looks like me, except with short hair and laugh lines."

Psst, Bella: we don't know what you look like. This means nothing to anyone, you dolt.

-So she says bye to her mom and it's pretty unemotional. They hug, she flies, she's with her dad. Her dad's apparently happy to have her and has her school ready and a car for her. The way she was complaining about her dad earlier made me think he's a monster, but dude's pretty chill and far nicer than she deserves.

-Her dad is the police chief. They talk awkwardly about his friends, whom she can't remember and about how he bought her a car from one of them, which is pretty nice. She remembers to be grateful.

-Bella describes herself as a misfit and says she always feels awkward--like every 16 year old ever, I think. Of course she thinks it's just that she can't relate to people, so there must be something wrong with her. She's just so doom and gloom about it.

-She goes to school the next day, and for some reason we're given very detailed descriptions of things we don't give a shit about--like the Principal's office. It looks like a Principal's Office, woman. Unless this is going to be the scene of some steamy making out, I don't want to hear about it.

-"Isabella Swan" she says to the secretary. Hee. It's like being called "Beautifulia Hummingbird" with the subtlety and the over-the-topness of a harlequin romance. Hmm. I might change my name to that.

-"no one was going to bite me" she says about going into school. HARDEE HAR HAR I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

-Everyone's being super nice to her, but Bella's either terrified or just being a complete bitch. I can't blame her for not talking, I guess (we were all the New Kid once, right?), but the way she describes the people (UGH THEY ARE TALKING TO ME) is pretty gross.

"I forgot all their names as soon as she spoke them."

How nice of you.

-Oh, noes. There they are. The Cullens sitting by themselves in the cafeteria. There's Jasper, Emmett, Rosalie, Alice and of course, Edward. I can hear the Abercrombie store music begin to play. Just so we're all on the same page here: they're vampires but no one knows it.

-They're all pale, weird and gorgeous. A couple look really old, which once again leads me to ask why they need to go to High School at all. She's so OBVIOUSLY describing vampires that it's kind of hilarious. They're all freaky and mysterious and gorgeous and graceful and blah blah blah. They all have strange names and she thinks it's awesome because they're not like the other common losers around here--THEY ARE JUST LIKE HER OMG.

-She calls Edward "beautiful". Like he's a potted plant. Hee.

-So of course Bella likes them; they seem like pretty outsiders just like her.

-Bella goes to Biology and Edward is there. He looks seriously disgusted with her as she walks by. He looks like he smells something bad and I crack up at the mental image of Bella smelling like dookie. WASHINGTON HAS NO SHOWERS.

-She's all hurt. HE WAS SO MEAN (she actually SAYS that). Of course she didn't say a word to him and has been a bitch to everyone around her, so why anyone would want to talk to her is beyond me, but whatever. He doesn't pay attention to her so of course she's totally into him. Also because he's so pretty.

-I don't think "chatterer" is a word, Ms Meyer. So she meets this guy Mike who is nice and sweet to her, so she probably hates him.

-She's all confused that this one stranger doesn't like her (everyone else did!), when she hasn't liked anyone she's met today except the boy who was cute and wasn't fawning over her. Man, she's kind of horrible.

-His face was "absurdly handsome". It's absurd, alright. She goes home and cries into her pillow. This is what this chick calls a bad first day at school? Bitch, you're an idiot.


Final Impressions:

So that was it for Chapter 1. I started out sort of sympathizing and liking Bella, but she quickly grew into a brat who's contemptuous of her fellow classmates. So her day went really well and she almost made friends (she couldn't bother remembering their names, though) and seemed like a good first day to me, but of course the cute guy doesn't like her so she goes home crying. BRAT.

Bella's spoiled and completely self-absorbed. But she's also 16 so I kind of get it, but this is sort of extreme. Meyer's writing isn't horrible, but it's incredibly childish and the whole thing reads like a 16 year old's journal, which might be the point except that I don't think this woman is that good and that's just her mental age. Besides, who wants to read a 16 year old's journal?!

The biggest problem is that it's just incredibly dull. She spends pages and pages describing inconsequential details and the most mundane actions. I half expected to read details of how Bella makes a sandwich. Bella is just not a very engaging character, what with the bitchiness and the wanting to stay away from everybody. It should be a rule that if your narrator is going to be telling us their story, at least make the narrator interesting or likable. We're supposed to be interested in Pretty Edward, but he's kind of a bitch, too. Just not a very good start.

Final Grade: C for a bad start.


Sin said...

i also got frustrated with the endless irrelevant descriptions. and it must say something about the director (though not necessarily about kirsten stewart) that bella was way more likable in the movie

Mr. Controversy said...


Yeah, the first book sucked. I might join you in reading the rest, just to see how bad they are. (If I can stop myself from all of the "real" vampire books I'm reading.)