This was a very ragey chapter, guys. Not in the sense that I was slamming the book and yelling at it. It was a sort of simmering, quiet rage. But it was infuriating all the same. Between Meyer’s inept use of the English language and the decisions Bella made in this chapter, I’m just so done with this whole mess.
New Moon, chapter 5: Cheater
Every new chapter of this wretched series makes me hate it more and more and this chapter was no different. There was a single ray of light (<3 Jacob) but the majority of this chapter was just utter garbage. Let’s start with the beginning of the chapter, where Meyer once again shows that she’s completely unaware of how normal people act in real life. In this scene, Bella is reflecting her day at work and how Mike has been spending a completely absurd amount of time with some customers.
“Mike had spent the last hour going through the pros and cons of two brands of lightweight packs with them.”
I’ve worked retail before. I know that some customers like to discuss every last detail of the products they’re interested in. I used to work in the paint and hardware department and I routinely spent an hour or two (and sometimes three) going over people’s paint colors and talking through color schemes and the pros and cons of different brands, sheens, etc. These are big decisions that genuinely merit the time spent in discussion and later in the perfection of the color mix. However, is there really an hour’s worth of discussion to be had when talking about backpacks? I mean, honestly? Meyer was trying to portray a mundane, boring day at Bella’s job, but she did so in such a ridiculous manner that all I could think about was how out of touch with reality she is.
Meyer goes on to describe one of the oddest-looking humans I’ve ever pictured in my mind’s eye and I don’t know why she described him this way because it’s apparently just a throwaway line with no significance to the story whatsoever. She describes him as a thickset man with and orange beard that doesn’t match his dark brown hair. I mean…what? What does that have to do with anything? I know it seems like a relatively minor thing to pick on, but this is just one in myriad cases where Meyer’s extreme ineptitude as a write shows through. How did this get published?
She then has Bella listening in on the two customers’ conversation, which at first consists, no lie, of them trying to top one another with their adventure stories. Because Bella lives in a fucking cartoon world where people actually do that.
Bella overhears one of the men, the one with the weird ass hair color scheme, talking about massive bears in the woods nearby. He claims it was taller than a man at the shoulder, bigger than any bear he’d ever seen. Clearly it was a werewolf because if it wasn’t, Meyer wouldn’t have spent so much time pointing at it. Because she’s about as subtle as a car crash.
Since it’s so slow, and because she’s in such a mopey mood on account of her boyfriend dumping her four months ago, Bella takes off early. But she doesn’t go home. No, that would be too painful.
“Last night had been particularly brutal, and I had no desire to revisit the scene of the suffering.”
On the drive to…wherever, Bella’s narration reveals that she has suffered from nightmares every night since Edward left. That in itself is pretty pathetic, but then she describes the nightmare that frequently has her waking up screaming every night. Are you ready for this? She’s alone in a forest. It’s all dark and there’s just her and the trees as far as she can see.
And that’s it.
Bella’s “nightmare” is being alone in a forest. This is what has her screaming every night. Because the empty forest represents how empty she is without Edward and it’s just too much to bear. Get it? GET IT? BELLA IS FRAGILE GUYS.
“Even as I shuddered away from the images, I felt my eyes fill with tears and the aching begin around the edges of the hole in my chest. I took one hand from the steering wheel and wrapped it around my torso to hold it in one piece.”
I just…where do I even begin with that one? Where? And that’s not the extent of her breakdown. She has to pull over because it becomes so intense. She beats her head against the steering wheel, she contemplates that maybe—maybe—someday, years in the future, she’ll feel better. Maybe. She whines about how Edward took all the physical reminders of himself but how those weren’t what stuck with her; Edward changed her into a different person. And that’s actually true, guys. He did change her into a different person. He changed her into a whiny, self-centered, co-dependent, obsessive, manipulative, shameless asshole. And, apparently, she thinks she looks like a vampire now. Except that she’s not beautiful. So instead of a vampire, she thinks she looks like a zombie. Because I guess when it comes to the undead, you’re either perfect or you’re a rotting corpse. No shades of gray there.
Finally, we get to the meaning of the chapter title, “Cheater.” Apparently this refers to the agreement Bella and Edward made with each other, him to never leave her and Bella to stay safe. Yeah, I don’t like where this is going, either. But Meyer doesn’t care. She crosses that line with the pedal to the metal.
“Where was the logic in sticking to an agreement that had already been violated by the other party? Who cared if I was reckless and stupid? There was no reason to avoid recklessness, no reason why I shouldn’t get to be stupid.”
Bella, you are the most self-involved, selfish, narcissistic character in existence. Who would care if you were reckless and stupid? How about your father? Or your mother? Or your friends? Or your precious Edward, who you can’t possibly be stupid enough to believe actually doesn’t care if you live or die (though as the reader, I don’t see the love). But none of them count in your tiny self-centered world, do they? The only thing you cared about in any capacity was Edward, and now that he’s gone, fuck everyone else. Bella, go die in all the fires. And Stephenie Meyer, feel free to join her.
“To be reckless in Forks would take a lot of creativity—maybe more that I had.”
Fuck this fucking fuckity fuck of a fucking book. FUCK.
She gets back on the road and notices a pair of motorbikes for sale. It’s at this point that she has a flash of inspiration. She starts to recall all the conversations Charlie had had with her about all the horrible motorcycle accidents he had seen as a cop and how he’d always made her promise not to ever ride one. So naturally, she thinks this is the perfect mix of reckless and stupid. She is actually hoping to die in a motorcycle accident. And it isn’t even JUST this awful decision Bella is making that has me pissed off. Ignoring the fact that it’s been FOUR MONTHS, people can act recklessly when they’re in pain. So getting a motorcycle with the self-destructive intent of getting hurt isn’t completely incredible. What’s really fucking annoying is that Meyer literally spelled it out because she doesn’t know how to show anything because she’s a hack. Bella’s narration spells out in great detail exactly why she’s getting the bike. A good writer would have Bella get the bike and allow the reader to infer that it was due to her new self-destructive attitude.
Bella discovers that the bikes she has acquired don’t run. It’s at this point that I made the prediction. My actual notation:
In case you couldn’t read that, my prediction (because Meyer is about a clever as a tea cozy) is that she will manipulate Jacob into fixing up her bikes and, in the process, find herself developing feelings for him. I will further predict that despite these feelings, and despite (hopefully) being treated orders of magnitude better by Jacob, she will inevitably return to her Edward. Okay, so that last bit was sort of a given. I’m just saying, I’ll bet Bella is actually happy with Jacob and still inexplicably goes back to Edward for the sole reason that Meyer wills it to be that way.
Bella decides that Jacob would be able to fix the bikes up (fucking knew it) and she rushes home to call Charlie to get directions to the Blacks’ house. On the way to see Jacob, she dreads running into Billy on account of their conversation from the last book.
“In Billy’s mind, no doubt, this had all worked out better than he had dared to hope. His pleasure and relief would only remind me of the one I couldn’t bear to be reminded of.”
I really fucking hate the light Billy is being painted in here. Through Bella, Meyer is portraying Billy as some douchebag reveling in Bella’s pain. But he’s not. He’s her father’s best friend and was genuinely (and rightfully) concerned about the people she was hanging around with. He cares about Bella’s wellbeing. So yeah, he’s probably glad that she’s not dating an abusive, misogynistic vampire who spends his every waking moment willing himself not to murder her. Fuck you, Meyer.
Bella shows up at the Blacks’ house and Jacob comes out to greet her. Apparently he’s become a giant in the last year, because he’s suddenly 6’5” and ripped. He’s super nice, despite Bella just inviting herself over with no head’s up, because for some reason I don’t understand, he actually likes her.
“I felt an unfamiliar surge of enthusiasm as his smile. I realized that I was pleased to see him. This knowledge surprised me.”
Bella, you are the biggest fucking asshole who ever existed. And this right here proves it. Jacob is a sweet, caring, generous guy who, for whatever reason, genuinely likes you as a person. Why would it surprise you that you were pleased to see him? Oh, that’s right, because outside of Edward, you don’t give a shit about anybody.
Bella comments on how freaking massive Jacob has gotten, and despite being described as fairly hunky and muscular just a page or two before, Jacob calls himself a beanpole. Why can’t Meyer maintain consistency FROM ONE PAGE TO THE NEXT? I mean, she’s never even tried to be consistent from chapter to chapter or book to book, but she can’t even manage from page to page? God this woman is a hack. And this garbage she calls a book series has made her a multimillionaire. There’s your rage-inducing thought of the day, folks.
Billy graciously invites the asshole—I mean Bella—to dinner but she declines. She says, however, that she’ll be over quite a bit. Then she reminds us again just what a fucking awful, manipulative bitch she is in her narration.
“After all, if Jacob could fix the bike, someone had to teach me how to ride it.”
Yup. It’s not enough that she’s completely taking advantage of his feelings for her to con him into fixing her new bike, she’s going to milk lessons out of him, too.
Guys, I wish I could say the worst of it was over, but it’s not. The wankery gets turned up to eleven and then the knob fucking broken off.
As Bella is contemplating just how she’s going to get herself into trouble in Forks, which is unfortunately too safe (how?) now, we get this gem:
“It was all too safe.
“But I was going to see what I could do to change that.”
This is so fucking bad, guys. Like, ugh. And it makes NO FUCKING SENSE paired with an earlier chapter when Bella yells at Edward for admitting that he had planned to kill himself if Bella had died. Her character has pulled a complete 180, going from appalled at the idea to fucking EMPLOYING IT HERSELF. Meyer, you are the worst writer in history. I hate you.
She and Jacob make their way out to the garage and, as usual, they have amazing chemistry. And I don’t even mean that in the romantic sense. They genuinely seem to like one another. Bella is relaxed and comfortable around Jacob and allows herself to smile and laugh. Basically, everything it isn’t when Edward is around. And this is a serious problem.
“I needed to reign in the enthusiasm before I gave him the wrong idea—it was just that it had been a long time since I’d felt so light and buoyant. The rarity of the feeling made it more difficult to manage.”
Let me get this straight, Bella. You’re hanging out with Jacob and you’re smiling and laughing and genuinely enjoying yourself and this feeling is so foreign to you that you need to reign it in because you can’t handle it? THIS IS HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE. The way you feel around Edward is WRONG. You aren’t supposed to feel afraid and anxious and nervous when you’re around people you love. This is foreign to you because Edward is an awful person to you. Jacob actually makes you feel good about yourself, not like a tiny, fragile, idiotic, annoying child who just gets into trouble if she’s not babysat 24/7. The fact that Meyer wrote this almost makes me think she recognizes all of this and just doesn’t care. I mean, why would she point out that Bella feeling good and happy is foreign to her if not to highlight the fact that she doesn’t feel this way when she’s with Edward? What the fuck is Meyer trying to say here? And why is she making Bella purposely avoid feeling better? This is so stupid. Is it just so that she can keep Bella miserable until she can be reunited with Edward and get the most out of her readers’ emotions? It’s so dumb and SO lazy and sends a really fucking terrible message to anyone reading. I think this chapter title has a second meaning. I think Meyer is trying to portray this new thing with Jacob as Bella somehow cheating on Edward, and that’s completely fucked up. Not only did he break up with her, but Edward was a complete fucking asshole. He was abusive. He despised Bella and showed it frequently. Cozying up to someone who treats you with respect is not cheating. Fuck you, Meyer. Fuck you sideways.
When Jacob mentions that fixing the bikes (Bella told him he could keep the best of the pair, a further manipulation to ensure his cooperation) would cost money, Bella assures him that she can pay for it by using her college fund. Because, you know, without Edward, “college schmollege.” She literally said that. Her life is over so what’s the point of a college fund, right? This book has the worst message outside of The Turner Diaries. Okay, that’s an extreme exaggeration, but you know what I mean. This is some seriously fucked up shit and everyone involved in getting this garbage out into the light of day should be fucking ashamed of themselves.
The final paragraph of the chapter is probably the worse, both in terms of actual construction and message conveyed.
“Only a teenage boy would agree to this: deceiving both our parents while repairing dangerous vehicles using money meant for my college education. He didn’t see anything wrong with that picture. Jacob was a gift from the gods.”
Not a fucking hint of irony there. None. This paragraph would be funny if you didn’t know that it was serious and not a parody. It reads like such a dumb, over-the-top description of the scenario that it’s hard to believe it was written with Meyer’s serious cap on. She fucking lays out everything that’s horrible about this last half of the chapter and then has Bella comment on how awesome it is.
I hate this book. This book is such trash. I know at least one of you enjoys this book (you know who you are) and I genuinely cannot fathom how you can read this and not be as infuriated and disgusted as I am. This specific chapter perfectly represents everything that is wrong with this abominable series. It was a pristine example of how horrible Bella is not just as a person, but as a character in a fictional work. More than ever, I fucking loathe this series. And not because the premise is hackneyed or the vampires are stupid and fangless and sparkle in the sun and not because the secondary characters are less than cardboard cutouts. I hate this series because of the underlying messages it is sending out. It glorifies abuse and misogyny, it tells girls that they should always have a big strong man in their lives to take care of them and tell them what to do, it seems to say that it’s acceptable to want to do yourself serious harm when your boyfriend breaks up with you. It encourages lust and obsession over genuine emotional connection and mutual respect. This is not a portrait of the perfect fairy tale romance; this is a warning to all girls showing them exactly what to avoid. If your relationship resembles Bella and Edward’s in any way, get the fuck out of it NOW.
Ugh. I don’t want to do this anymore. You guys suck.