Twilight: Journey Into the Abyss (Part Five)

In this ongoing feature (*gulp*) I delve into the world of Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer, a work that is dreaded by serious writers the world over. I fear what terrible horrors, what mutilations of the English language, what unbelievably poor excuses for story construction await me.

What follows are my thoughts, my color commentary if you will, on the book as I go along.

So, Stephanie Meyer, give me your best shot. I’m all yours.

Chapter Four

Notable Quote: “No one seemed concerned about Edward… With chagrin, I realized the probable cause — no one else was as aware of Edward as I always was. No one else watched him the way I did.”

So Bella likes Edward.

The sheer scale of this revelation is simply shocking.

Notable Quote: “Edward was never surrounded by crowds of curious bystanders eager for his firsthand account. People avoided him as usual.”

That’s because he’s shiny freaky stalker creep! I can’t really say I blame them. I think you have a screw or two loose from wanting to go anywhere near him.

Though he did kind of stop you from getting flattened by a car. I hear women have this strange attraction to people that save them from certain death. Weird. Well, I guess she has an excuse now, in any case.

Observation: Bella keeps making a big deal about how the vampires emo kids in the corner never eat anything. She also repeats constantly how beautiful they all are.

Hmmm….

Eating disorder?

Notable Quote: “When he sat next to me in class, as far from me as the table would allow, he seemed totally unaware of my presence.”

Yes. Totally unaware. Except for the fact that he’s cramming himself against the edge of the table to get away from you.

Other than that, yeah, totally oblivious.

Frustration: Just when I had thought we might have been making a little progress with Bella and Edward becoming slightly less schizophrenic and the story inching ever so slightly toward actually going somewhere, the characters now appear to be even more erratic than ever.

I’m starting to get the sinking feeling that this problem won’t go away. I’m beginning to think Edward and Bella will bounce back and forth from one awkward nonsensical emotion to the other for the rest of book.

I so, so hope I’m wrong.

I’m so not.

Notable Quote: “…now and then, when his fists would suddenly ball
up — skin stretched even whiter over the bones…”

Um, ewww.

Notable Quote: “He wished he hadn’t pulled me from the path of Tyler ‘s van — there was no other conclusion I could come to [for Edward’s deliberate avoidance of Bella in class].”

That or he thinks you’re repulsive and is trying to push his beautiful, superior self as far as humanly (vampire-ly?) possible away from your ugly, psychotic waste of an existence.

Memory problems: Bella is apparently growing depressed at Edward’s continued silent treatment.

I don’t care. That’s not really anything new.

Bella is growing increasingly obsessed with everything Edward does and is unable to stop herself from watching his every move at every opportunity. She is even dreaming about him.

I still don’t care. This is also not new.

What is new is that someone named Renée has apparently noticed her depression through Bella’s emails and phone calls.

Reading this, it dawned on me that I was supposed to know who Renée was.

Oops.

Her brilliant characterization must have somehow escaped my notice. Darn.

Ignorant hicks: I was about to chide Bella’s male classmates for trying to go after such a stuck-up, psychotic, obsessive freak show of a teenager, but you know, with the pickings as slim as they appear to be in their poor excuse for a town I guess I can’t really blame them.

At least she’s a novelty.

I still think they should really know better by now though.

Notable Quote: “And Edward was staring at me curiously, that same, familiar edge of frustration even more distinct now in his black eyes.”

Edward’s eyes are black now? I hate to break it to you Steph, but you’ve spent a nice chunk of this chapter so far, and most of the story to this point as a matter of fact, describing how stunningly golden his eyes are. Must you take even this small consistency away from me?

Notable Quote: “I couldn’t believe the rush of emotion pulsing through me — just because he’d happened to look at me for the first time in a half-dozen weeks. I couldn’t allow him to have this level of influence over me. It was pathetic. More than pathetic, it was unhealthy.”

And the truth shall set you free!

Or, you know, doom you to an endless cycle of repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again because you’re too much of an obsessive weirdo to actually change anything or make good on your words.

Yeah, I’m going to go with that last one.

But seriously, it’s at least nice to know how much time has passed. Thoughtful of Steph to mention that at some point.

Sonofa…: JUST ADMIT YOU LIKE THE FREAK ALREADY!!!

Stop dancing around the truth, stop pretending you’re angry or something, stop trying to make sense of it, and just admit that you’re desperately, stupidly in love with this complete jerkass freak who has done nothing but show contempt for you and start learning to deal with it.

Damn.

Notable Quote: “‘You don’t know anything.’ [Edward] was definitely mad.”

Why, thanks for telling me Edward’s emotional state. That’s a good thing to know.

Next time, perhaps try to be a tad less blunt. Try a little description.

Not much, not much. I know it’s hard.

But just try throwing in a blip or two about how his face looks. I know you like talking about his face. Work with that. Give me an angry facial feature or two.

Don’t push yourself too hard. We can work on mannerisms or other complex things later. Let’s just take this slowly and see where things go.

A Challenger New Trait Approaches!: Apparently Bella is clumsy now. This seems fitting somehow, yet is something that Steph just now decided to grace me with actually demonstrating. Bella ruined a perfectly good angry exit after a chat with Edward by dropping her books all over the floor and apparently trips all over herself in gym class even though she doesn’t do anything and no one ever throws her the ball.

So she’s a very determined klutz, then.

“When nothing stands in her way, when she isn’t doing anything at all, when adversity is taking a smoke break out back, Bella will find a way…”

“A way to look like a complete asshat for no reason at all.”

“Bella Whateverthehellherlastnameis is: The Klutz. Coming this summer.”

Notable Quote: “Today I was worse than usual because my head was so filled with Edward.”

Oh God he’s in my head! Get him out! Get him out! It hurts!

Oh dear God the pain!

Three people?: Three separate people, and I might be forgetting someone, have just asked Bella to the spring dance within a very short span of time.

You know what? Forget what I said earlier. What the hell is wrong with these people? Get away from this girl! She’s obviously too full of herself to want anything to do with you.

Some seriously masochistic young men in this town, lemme tell ya.

Notable Quote: “I drove home slowly, carefully, muttering to myself the whole way.”

Oh man, she’s talking to herself now.

Definitely not a good sign.

Progress?: While chopping chicken (long story) Bella thinks to herself that perhaps Edward is being so dismissive because he wants her to go the hell away and he’s not interested in her and please leave me along you neurotic wacko.

I’m paraphrasing.

While this is still clearly far from the truth, this is at least a more logical reaction to the situation. Perhaps we’re making some progress?

Notable Quote: “I wasn’t interesting. And he was. Interesting… and brilliant… and
mysterious… and perfect… and beautiful… and possibly able to lift full-sized vans with
one hand.”

No comment here. That is just, quite simply, the best fawning-over-someone sentence I think I’ve read in my entire life and I thought I should pass it along.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Notable Quote: “Seattle is a big city — you could get lost,” [Charlie] fretted.”

And you could learn how to properly use italics for emphasis if you plan to keep on using this annoying trick.

Notable Quote: [Bella to Edward] “‘Do you have a multiple personality disorder?’ I asked severely.”

Huh? Well that’s interesting.

Bella might be more observant than I thought.

Yes, dear. Yes he does. I’m glad you’ve finally noticed.

Also: Stop it with the unnecessary adverbs, Steph. It’s just getting silly. We both know your dialog is terrible, but these tacked-on words aren’t doing you any favors in that department.

Notable Quote: “[Edward] enunciated every syllable, as if he were talking to someone
mentally handicapped.”

Ummmm…..

Nah, too easy.

Word usage amusement: Bella has just been asked by Edward if she would like a ride to Seattle. She was going there anyway and is soon going to get all dreamy and accept. That’s not the part that caught my attention.

He offers because he has a Volvo that he says will get much better gas mileage than her truck. Aside from sounding like a Volvo ad, my question is this:

When Bella thinks to herself, “Stupid, shiny Volvo owner,” is she calling him a shiny owner of a Volvo or the owner of a shiny Volvo?

Both happen to be true in this case, but it piques my curiosity all the same.

Adventures in Awkward Description, Episode 47: “His eyes were gloriously intense as he uttered that last sentence, his voice smoldering.”

His voice, his voice, his voice is on fire!

Farewell: So the slow, excruciating snail’s pace of progress continues, but there is still progress to be had. The two lovebirds are now talking to each other again and have even finally, FINALLY managed to sort of/kind of almost acknowledge that there is something between them.

I thought the day would never come.

And apparently they’re even going to Seattle together. Should the book ever decide to progress far enough to actually show me this point, I will try not to be too bored by a trip to a city I have no interest in taken by two people that I despise.

Good times are coming, I can feel it in my bones.

I will reluctantly admit, however, that after analyzing the chapter once I had finished reading it, the amount of boring narration has been significantly reduced. It didn’t really strike me as I was reading it, as the pace is still glacial, but while it remains almost completely devoid of traditional scene structure or in-the-moment action, there is a lot more dialog in this chapter to help prop things up.

See, I even acknowledged a positive. I just hope it keeps up.

I mean, I think the dialog is terrible, but it’s better than Bella prattling on to herself and revealing the whole story via poorly written diary entry.


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