I’m going to do this quasi-review the same way I did the one for Twilight, so let me dispense with some formalities first. First of all, I liked New Moon less than I liked Twilight. Is this the one that people always say is the best of the series, or is that the next one? Because if it’s this one, I wholeheartedly disagree. Secondly, alcohol fueled this review just like the last one. I decided to mix it up a little and tried cake vodka and root beer. Delicious. And thirdly, I hope Bella dies in a tragic house fire on the first page of the third book. Pretty sure that doesn’t happen, but I dare to dream the impossible dream.
I didn’t breeze through this book like I did Twilight. Lest I be too harsh, I did like it in a roundabout way. I’d actually compare this book to a Slim Jim: definitely not good nor good for me, but as long as I don’t actually think about what I’m eating (reading) it’s enjoyable enough. I am definitely hoping for more excitement/less whining in Eclipse, which I plan to start later today. I still need to get through that one and Breaking Dawn before Christmas dinner, lest I be exposed as one of those insidious people who borrow books and don’t read them. Those people belong in a special circle of hell.
As with Twilight, there will be spoilery stuff in my randomized thoughts:
- The first 200 pages of this book are, to be frank, a bit of a snooze. Which is kind of shocking, actually, because some of the events are so preposterous that you almost expect Stephenie Meyer to include a footnote that says “Ha ha, suckers!” Our heroine, Bella, is sad-sacking it all around town (drink!) over the fact that it is her birthday and she is – gasp – EIGHT.TEEN. This obviously makes her a pedophile considering that Edward is still only seventeen. The fact that he’s been seventeen for, like, 80 years or more seems to have escaped the steel trap that is Bella’s brain. All that matters is that she’s going to look totes old gray any minute now while Edward is still young and vital. She’s practically read to be checked into the nursing home to live out her golden years! Or wait…not really. Because she’s eighteen. Shady Pines, Bella!
- People (and vampires) are going out of their way to do crazy nice things and buy Bella expensive gifts for her birthday, and all she can do is emo it up and behave like a total shitbrick of a brat (drink!) because none of them can know the pain of being eighteen while your boyfriend is still seventeen. She’s such a miserable downer (drink!) about the birthday thing that she makes Robert Smith look manic. The Cullens put together a nice little celebration for her and she commits the biggest party foul of all time by giving herself a paper cut in a room full of vampires (while unwrapping a gift – someone cover this bitch in bubble wrap, please). Apparently Bella is not only a klutz, she is also what the kids would call a “bleeder” and her papercut produces as much blood as a knife wound to the chest would in a normal person. Jasper wigs out and loses his shit all over the place because – as we are reminded AGAIN – he hasn’t been practicing the zen art of blood refusal/listening to Yanni/chilling out as long as the rest of them. Edward has to tackle Bella “to protect her”, sending her backward through a cake, a table, and many shards of glass…which made me immediately think of this. Sensing that Bella is not safe around his family and worried that the good townspeople of Forks are going to start questioning why none of his brothers and sisters ever finish puberty, the Cullens pull up stakes (stakes! ha ha…get it?! It’s punny!) and abruptly haul ass out of Washington State.
- If Bella was a complete mope before – and there’s no question that she was – she becomes absolutely intolerable when Edward leaves. Every piece of her is shattered to the point where she can no longer cope with even having a conversation with other human beings. She is a zombie, except way more annoying because she actually speaks. All she seems to be able to do is: A) wander into the woods and get lost; B) irritate the living shit out of everyone who has ever cared about her with her shitty attitude (drink!); and C) behave in a passive/aggressively suicidal manner while insisting that she is definitely NOT suicidal. While Bella was far and away my least favorite character in Twilight, she ratchets up the annoyance factor to the point where I got to about page 15 of New Moon before I began to actively loathe her.
- I never thought I’d miss Chuckles the Vampire Boy, but between Bella’s relentless whinging and Jacob’s maniacal cheerfulness I was praying for someone to come along and tell them both to go fuck themselves. Seriously, what is with Jacob? He makes Mr. Rogers look like a serial killer. I don’t trust anyone who is that happy all the time. I assume that they’re either a pathological liar or a melatonin abuser. I liked him better as a cranky werewolf.
- Bella’s crazy level clumsiness that was kind of annoying in Twilight really starts to bug in New Moon. I get that it sets up some of the incidents that take place and moves the plot along, but honestly, if I had a boyfriend and every time we came home I was mysteriously bruised and bandaged, my dad would murder first and ask questions later. But it’s somehow accepted that Bella’s signs of battery are just because she’s an enormous klutz and nobody even thinks to ask about the mysterious, pale, brooding boy she’s been dating? Please. Does Bella’s dad not even watch Lifetime movies? Did he not see that one where Fred Savage – also known as the least intimidating manboy on the planet – is smacking his girlfriend Candace Cameron around? And that’s just little curly-headed Kevin Arnold! This is an actual larger boy! With muscle tone! And dad is the chief of freaking police, yet he just buys all of her “Oh, I accidentally tripped and my face landed in a pit of vipers” lines? Something tells me that there aren’t a lot of criminal masterminds being rousted on the episodes of Cops: Forks.
- It bothers me endlessly that Bella is constantly being picked up and carried everywhere or lovingly pulled in to sit on someone’s lap. Every time you turn the page she’s gotten into some kind of crippling shit that knocks the wind out of her, makes her curl up into a tiny ball of misery (drink!), or leaves her in some way incapable of operating her lower extremities. And despite the fact that this is an 18 year old grown-ass woman, some schmuck who is inexplicably unaware of what a heinous cow she is has picked her up tenderly in his arms like a post-adolescent Fabio on the cover of the world’s most emo romance novel. Can we just all pitch in and get Bella a Hoveround? Listen, even when I was at a weight where a dude picking me up wouldn’t look like a re-enactment of Wile E. Coyote trying to lift an anvil, I’d have been totally weirded out by someone trying to take me off of my feet all the time. There’s gentlemanly behavior and then there’s creepily infantilizing someone. None of the men in Bella’s life seem to know the difference. Of course, if they’re going strictly on maturity level they might want to spring for a stroller and a Pack & Play as well.
- I did find some hilarity in the fact that Jacob is supposed to be like 6’5″ and getting larger as the book goes on and Taylor Lautner is, like, miniature. His bio on IMDb says he’s 5’10.5″ but according to some people who saw him in person when he was in town shooting a movie, that’s a slight exaggeration and if this whole acting thing falls through he’s got a future working for Willy Wonka. To be fair, he’s much better looking than Pattinson, who has the face of a frying pan.
- New Moon additions to the drinking game – drink every time Bella mentions having a hole in her chest (drink one extra if the hole is getting larger or catching on fire), every time someone randomly picks her up and carries her, or every time someone growls. Put 911 on speed dial.
- I still can’t figure out why every man Bella encounters falls in love with her. She’s weird. And not cool, offbeat weird. She’s like, the girl who pours Elmer’s glue on her desk at school and eats it once it hardens. She also makes an Olympic sport of shamelessly using guys who she knows has a thing for her, especially Jacob. And she’s such a delightful and thoughtful girl, always putting the feelings of others first. Like when she’s told that Jacob has mono and her first thought isn’t “Oh no, poor guy” it’s “OH NOES POOR ME” because without her “best friend” Jacob around, who is she going to use to take her mind off of Edward? Let me tell you, I had mono last year (yes, I’m in my 30s and got mono) and it was pure misery. I’ve never been so sick in my entire life. Anyone who is giving someone with mono a hard time about wanting to rest rather than hang out should be behind bars. And she knows that Jacob is in love with her and she’ll never be able to return the feeling, so she generously tells him to move on and not waste his time on her. Except that when it appears that he has done exactly that, she gets all crazy clingy because without Jacob she’s ALONE WITH HER THOUGHTS AND THE HOLE IN HER CHEST. So basically Jacob tells Bella to get lost like she told him he should, she goes crazy and tattles to her dad, and daddy calls and threatens that he’s going to…do what? Arrest Jacob and his friends or something, I guess, because apparently it’s Jacob’s fault that his precious snowflake is going all pouty and catatonic again. Because really, it’s all about Bella. The sun shines directly through Bella’s asshole. And when you want to win friends and influence people, the best way to go about it is to have your dad call his dad and threaten him.
- On the subject of men: give it up, Mike Newton. You’re getting pathetic.
- Sensing that there is a lack of a man in Bella’s life who will constantly remind her of how BAD and DANGEROUS it is for him to be in her life, Jacob becomes a werewolf in order to step into Edward’s “wishy-washy supernatural guy who is in love with the human girl with the personality of a paper airplane” role. And thank you tiny infant baby Jesus, we finally get to go around and around again that someone is BAD but she wants to be with them anyway. But he’s BAD. But she wants to be with him ANYWAY. Bella’s life at this point is like that movie Groundhog Day. Get out of bed, mope, fall down a few times, pout, go to school, whinge, snuggle up with a guy who tells her he’s BAD, whinge some more and ignore his warnings, find herself in life-threatening danger, fall down a few times, be saved by BAD guy who is good guy, have him carry her home, whinge some more, sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat until you actually start to wonder if it would be possible to slit your wrists with the edges of the book pages.
- The teen melodrama in these books is, like, off the charts high.
- The book finally got better at around page 415. There is finally tension and progression other than people just pouting around and – in Bella’s case – leading potential suitors on. Better late than never, I guess.
- I hate you, I hate you, I hate you Bella. You’re insecure to a mind-boggling degree and you have zero strength of character. You need a man in your life to be able to even cling to the very fringes of stability. You are the epitome of the kind of “me first” clingy, petulant high maintenance hellbitch who makes women the butt of incessant jokes about raging hormones and crying jags and PMS. And yes, I know you’re not real, but I hate you anyway because women like you actually do exist. Here’s the perfect example of how loathsome this girl is: in one chapter, Bella has just watched numerous frightened humans be herded to their deaths at the hands of hungry vampires. They have literally walked past her close enough that she could have reached out and touched them on their way to slaughter. While she does find it super sad and her eyes get a little moist, she is so completely oblivious to anything on earth bigger than herself and her own feelings at being reunited with Edward that she has the nerve to ask, “Is it really sick of me to be happy right now?”
Um, I believe the clinical term is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder,” dear. And yes. Yes, it is.
- Forget Team Jacob or Team Edward. I’m on Team Victoria for Eclipse.