Can my whole review just be “BLARGH?” No? How about this?
This is how I felt reading this chapter. I don’t even know where to start, guys. There’s self-destructive behavior, there’s mental instability, there’s more fun sexism from Stephenie Meyer. Fun for the whole family. Let’s get this over with.
New Moon, chapter 7: Repetition
The chapter starts right off the bat with Bella’s narration saying that she’s doing something she shouldn’t be doing. She doesn’t say what, but it doesn’t take long to figure out what it is. She also admits that Jacob has been a positive influence on her.
“I should have gone straight down to La Push. I felt much, much healthier around Jacob. This was not a healthy thing to do.”
This is an important passage for a number of reasons. First, it shows us that Bella is capable of recognizing that she has unhealthy tendencies and she’s able to comprehend when she’s doing them. Second, this shows us that Bella, and by extension Meyer, recognizes that Jacob is a healthy influence on her. Jacob is good for her. Even as just a friend, he makes her feel good about herself. She feels relaxed in his presence and can smile and laugh and just enjoy life. In other words, the exact opposite of how she feels when she’s around Edward.
As much as I would like to, I won’t criticized Bella for acting stupidly here. It’s actually perfectly human of her. We’ve all done things we knew we shouldn’t because we just felt compelled to. We’ve all Facebook stalked an ex or spied on a group where we knew people were talking about us behind our backs. It’s human nature to cause ourselves pain like that. It’s dumb, but we do it anyway. If anything, I’m glad Meyer wrote this scene because she has Bella realizing that what she’s doing is unhealthy as she’s doing it. It shows Bella still has some semblance of a grasp on reality. Naturally, this all gets smeared with shit later in the chapter, but for now, let’s celebrate Bella and Meyer’s trademark moment of clarity.
“I didn’t want to admit the strongest motivation. Because it was mentally unsound.
“The truth was that I just wanted to hear his voice again, like I had in the strange delusion Friday night.”
You read that right, folks. Meyer/Bella’s lucid period is going on longer than ever. She not only admits that hearing Edward’s voice was a delusion, but that it is mentally unsound to attempt to seek it out again. I’d call this progress if I didn’t have so much faith in Meyer’s uncanny ability to sound like she’s completely in touch with reality just before she completely loses her mind.
At this point, Meyer still hasn’t explained what it is that Bella’s doing that she knows she oughtn’t, but it wasn’t hard to infer that she was heading out to the Cullens’ house. Sure enough, that’s exactly what she was doing. Her motivation was to hopefully trigger another “episode” (Meyer’s word) where Bella can hear Edward’s perfect voice in her head. She gets all freaked out by the house being empty even though I think she was only ever there twice. When no Edward voice-over gets triggered, she runs back to her truck and burns rubber out to go see Jacob.
Clearly Meyer is setting it up so that only dangerous situations trigger these events and Bella, being the fucking moron that she is, is going to put herself in increasingly stupid danger just to hear Edward’s voice. Talk about creepy and self-destructive. Something from later in the chapter clued me in to exactly what the culmination of this fucktarded and oh so pathetic plan will be because the only thing Meyer loves more than Edward Cullen is spoiling her own story.
“I was anxious to be gone, to get back to the human world. I felt hideously empty, and I wanted to see Jacob. Maybe I was developing a new kind of sickness, another addiction, like the numbness before. I didn’t care. I pushed my truck as fast as it would go as I barreled toward my fix.”
Honestly, I think in anyone else’s hands, in any other book, this passage would actually be a great piece of writing. It’s worded really well and paints an interesting picture of Bella’s emotions at the moment. But this is Stephenie Meyer we’re talking about, and this passage only holds up without context. In context, Bella is saying that she’s becoming addicted to being around Jacob, addicted to the way he makes her feel, i.e. not shitty. Meyer calls it a sickness and an addiction. She says Bella is rushing toward her fix. You see what she’s done here? She’s taken the only healthy relationship Bella has in her life and framed it with imagery of an addict and her dealer. She’s used words that can really only ever have negative connotation. Meyer is telling us in no uncertain terms that she—or at least Bella—believes that this relationship with Jacob is wrong, just one more way to be reckless. Despite writing Bella and Jacob’s relationship so well and even calling it healthy in-universe, she’s still trying to get us to dismiss it as wrong and only accept Edward. How sick is that? UGH.
Bella meets up with Jacob at his house and then Jacob makes me very sad with his on-the-money assessment of Bella’s intentions. He asks her point-blank what she would do if he were unable to fix the bikes. In other words, he wants to know what she’ll do if he’s no longer useful to her. And that’s a valid concern. Bella uses everyone. We already know that she’s just using Jacob. First it was purely to get her bike fixed up so that she could be more reckless, but now it’s morphed into a self-described addiction. She hangs out with him because she enjoys not feeling shitty. For normal people, that’s what friendship is. You hang out with people because you enjoy their company. But I can’t help but feel that this is just another instance of Bella’s selfishness. I’m not convinced she’s really friends with Jacob because she necessarily likes him so much as she likes how she feels around him. I think she began taking advantage of him in one way and has begun taking advantage of him in several new ways since. So I feel bad for Jacob. He really has no clue what a manipulative and selfish cow Bella really is.
Bella swears to Jacob that even if he can’t fix the bikes, the two of them will still be friends and hang out.
“I made a gesture indicating the two of us as a single entity. He liked that—he beamed.”
Manipulative. Fucking. Cow.
At school, it seems as though things have more or less gone back to pre-breakup normal. Mike and Angela in particular have accepted her back into the fold, though Jessica is less inclined to forgive and forget.
“Jess was more resistant. I wondered if she needed a formal written apology for the Port Angeles incident.”
Bella, you stupid twat, any apology would be nice. The one time you’ve spoken to Jessica since Port Angeles, you just pretended it didn’t even fucking happen. Not only were you a huge asshole that night, but you really freaked her the fuck out with your little “episode” in front of the bar. But by your own admission, you’d forgotten about her by the time you reached your front door later that night. You’re a selfish dickweed, Bella. Jess deserves at LEAST an apology. But she’s never gonna get one because you’re so self-involved, you don’t even think you’ve done anything wrong.
Apparently, Bella was late coming home from Jacob’s one night and Charlie ordered a pizza. Naturally, Bella was upset about it because Odin forbid Charlie have to fend for himself for dinner once. It’s not like he lived on his own for years before you moved in with him or anything. Honestly, this is just more of Meyer’s religious beliefs leaking through here. It’s painfully obvious that she views women as second-class citizens who belong in the home cooking and cleaning. Later, Bella is making lasagna and says, “I was being good, trying to atone for all the pizza.” It’s just so gross. Meyer’s treatment of women in this series is just so backward. If I didn’t know better, I’d think Bella was a 1950s housewife. Because that’s how she acts. Bella herself seems to believe her place is taking care of Charlie and the house. She cooks, she cleans, she even balances the checkbook. One thing’s for sure; she’s going to make Edward a perfect little wife someday. Ugh.
Jacob calls as Bella is doing a top-to-bottom deep clean of the house for no reason other than Stephenie Meyer loves filler bullshit and informs her that the bikes are finished and ready to be ridden. Bella literally drops everything and speeds out of the house to go see him. It’s a little nuts. She shows up at Jacob’s house and he’s got the bikes all ready to load up in the truck. He even tied ribbons to the handlebars. The poor, lovesick bastard. He has no idea the crazy he’s latched onto.
They drive up the coast so that they can ride without anyone seeing them (I guess?) and come upon a group of guys standing atop a cliff. One of them hurls himself off the edge and Bella COMPLETELY LOSES HER SHIT. The scene is genuinely embarrassing beyond words. They’re clearly cliff divers (as Jacob will confirm) and she even notes that they’re only wearing shorts, yet Bella slams the brakes and screams and leaps out of the car to do…something. She can’t believe the guy’s friends just let him jump. She finally settles down when Jacob tells her they’re just jumping into the water. Yes, Bella Swan is that fucking stupid. But don’t worry, it gets worse.
“I’d never seen anything so reckless in all my life. My eyes widened and I smiled. ‘Jake, you have to take me cliff diving.’”
Because I guess the bikes weren’t reckless enough? This stupid broad can’t make up her damn mind. She’s already got her death machine loaded up in the truck and now she’s already moved on to something else. Oh, and I’m now 100% positive that the only reason this idea of cliff diving was introduced was because Bella is going to use it as the climax of her danger-seeking obsession to hear Edward’s voice. Meyer is just that subtle. Oh, and I should note that Bella is so eager to go cliff diving that the moron tries to jump out of the truck again and go right then. Jacob has to grab her arm and pull her back in and talk her into doing it another time. Like when it’s not freezing outside. And also not from the biggest cliff there is. This is seriously the worst book ever, guys.
Bella starts driving again and notices that Jacob recognized the guys who were doing the cliff jumping. He goes into this long explanation about Sam Uley (the dude who found Bella when she wander off into the woods after Edward dumped her sorry ass like a sack of rotten potatoes) and his “gang.” It’s painfully obvious that his gang are all werewolves, but we aren’t supposed to know that yet. They’re super aggro and think they’re cool and they’re basically just dicks. He mentions that people sometimes go away with Sam for a while and come back different, like they’ve joined some cult or something. He tells Bella that his friend Embry (one of the two friends whom Bella met in Jacob’s garage the day she brought the bikes over) hated Sam more than anyone but now he’s suddenly part of his gang. And Sam has recently taken an interest in Jacob. Jacob’s father apparently just says he’ll understand in time. It’s so obvious that Jacob is going to become a werewolf that it’s just embarrassing at this point. Meyer is about as subtle as a 2×4 to the face, honestly.
And after all that, Bella finds herself upset on Jacob’s behalf. For some reason. It’s a little ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as when she practically starts sobbing and throws her arms around him and says:
“If it gets worse you can come live with me and Charlie.”
Guys, I really hate this book.