Blogging New Moon: Part 1
A few things before we begin: One book down, three to go. For those just tuning in, I'm reading the Twilight series for the first time, and taking a moment after each chapter to jot down some thoughts, questions, and concerns. Then I create a lifelike drawing for each post.
As always, I will get things wrong, so please feel free to correct me. That said, let's get moving. These blogs won't read themselves…or will they?! (No. They won't.)
Like the first book, New Moon opens with a short preface that places Bella in a very tense, yet mysterious situation. This time, however, she's not in danger, but is racing across a crowded area during the day for some reason. She tells us that Alice cannot be any help because Alice can't run around in the sun, so it's up to Bella to save the day. The preface ends with a clock striking noon. I really hope Emmett is OK.
Chapter One: Party
Better title: My Kingdom for a Band-Aid
The story begins in a dream, and dream sequences, as you know, are awful, overused plot devices. Still, this one is pretty short. In the dream, Bella sees her grandma Marie, and she realizes this is a dream because Grandma Marie has been dead for years. The two share a look and mimic each other's shocked expressions. Before Bella can ask what the heck Granny is doing here, Dream Edward calls out to her. (Dream Edward is like real Edward, only so dreamy that if you gazed upon him, your brain would melt out of your nose and you would experience omni-presence…presumably).
Bella is happy to see Dream Edward, but worried about explaining her vampire love to Grandma Marie. Bella doesn't want Edward to come any closer. But then, the twist occurs. Grandma Marie isn't there at all. In fact, Bella was looking at herself in a mirror the whole time. Bella is Grandma Marie! She's old and Edward is still young, with crazy hair. Old Bella hugs him and he wishes her a happy birthday, thus ending the nightmare.
She wakes up and realizes it's her birthday. This upsets her, and for most of the chapter she complains about her special day. Being a little upset that you're a year older is understandable, but Bella takes whining to a whole new level. As much as I disliked her before, I like her even less as this chapter continues. The only way she can redeem herself is if she stops acting like the world's about to end and sends me $20.
It upsets Bella to think about getting older while her man-buddy Edward remains the same age. Since he refuses to transform her into a vampire, she only has a few options:
- Grow old and die.
- End her life now and try really hard to come back as ghost (perhaps by holding on to a heavy piece of furniture or a fat guy moments before dying).
- Dress up as a bear and hope an unsuspecting Edward will bite her, thus transforming her into a vampire.
- Tickle Edward into submission.
- Stop the aging process by using a good moisturizer.
- Catch Spanish Influenza and make sad eyes at Carlisle.
- Use Edward's toothbrush. (Depending on how contagious vampire venom is, this will either transform her into a vamp, or just give her nasty, super-powered cold sores that can read minds.)
- Shove her wrist into Edward's mouth when he yawns or sings opera, and then punch his chin upward with her free hand.
Bella drives to school in her old beat up truck that is not a vampire. She's happy to see Edward standing by his silver Volvo in the parking lot, looking like a god crossed with another, more attractive god.
Alice, Edward's spunky sister, is there too, and she's holding a present for Bella. This sets Bella off on another "I hate my life. My birthday is horrible. I wish I could die" rant. She doesn't want anyone to fuss over her birthday, which makes me think she's already 87 years old, because that's exactly the kind of thing my grandmother would say. If Bella starts eating dried apricots for dessert and talking about her dead friend Helen in the present tense, I wouldn't be surprised.
Alice wishes Bella a happy B-day and asks if she wants her presents now or later. Bella, the party pooper, decrees that presents shall be banned on her birthday. But that didn't stop her parents from getting her gifts; her dad, Charlie, got her a camera, while her mom, Renee, bought her a scrapbook so that she can record her senior year. Alice, who can somehow predict the future, already knows about these gifts, and asks if Bella likes them. I'm still confused about Alice's powers of precognition. I mentioned this before, but have yet to find a satisfying answer. Can Alice only predict things that pertain to the story, or does she spend her entire life flooded with visions, predicting everything from what song will come up on some woman's iPod in Albuquerque, to who will win an arm-wrestling match in Detroit?
Alice thinks the scrapbooking idea is great because you only get one senior year, prompting Bella to sarcastically ask, "How many times have you been a senior?" Ooh. Burn.
Edward finally speaks up and says he will not wish Bella a happy birthday because that is what she demanded of him. He's such a pushover. He says she should enjoy her birthday like a normal person. But she doesn’t like being one year older than him (though technically, he's 109, pushing 110). Each birthday is just another reminder that she and he will eventually lose each other.
Argh! Can't she just be happy that she gets to spend the next 70-plus year chilling with the most amazing, gorgeous, super-powered dude on the planet (next to Emmett, of course)? Be happy with what you have! Most girls end up with average guys who go bald and whose only superpower is the ability to pass gas without embarrassment. (Or if they're lucky, they marry amazing SparkNotes contributors who are as charming as they are provocative.)
And I bet that if she becomes a vampire, she'll start whining about having too many powers and wishing she could just be normal because she'll start to miss the taste of peanut butter.
Bella then learns that she's going to the Cullen's house that night for a birthday celebration, much to her displeasure. She tries to make excuses, saying she needs to watch Romeo and Juliet for school. But the excuse doesn't work, and Edward tells Alice that he will bring Bella back to the Cullen house around seven.
We learn that Bella has been working a few days a week at a local sporting goods store, and is using the money to save up for college. Right now, however, she is referring to college as her Plan B. Her Plan A involves being turned into a vampire and living with Edward. Um…are vampires not allowed in college? These two plans are not mutually exclusive. She could become a vamp AND earn a bachelors degree. What's she going to do if she turns into a vampire, just hang out eating squirrels and watching Room Raiders on MTV all day? Maybe Carlisle (who has several medical degrees, if I'm not mistaken) forbids higher education in his family because he likes to dominate when they watch Jeopardy.
Edward doesn't need to worry about money, because vampires live forever and can establish quite a fortune. Bella mentions that Alice's ability to predict changes in the stock market must help out, and once again, I'm confused by Alice's powers. I thought she could only predict events once a decision has been made. So does she sense when a particular stock "decides" to go up in value? Or is her mind barraged constantly with financial data? I'm starting to suspect that Alice cannot predict a thing and has been lying this whole time just to seem cool. She's like a guy who brags that he once had coffee with Samuel L. Jackson. It's too hard to prove him wrong, so everyone just goes along with it.
Edward is thrilled that Bella is thinking about college, and wants to pay her tuition. She won't let him, and while I find Bella's ban on presents irksome, I can understand wanting to earn your own way through college. It's quite admirable, and yet by the chapter's end, I will still hate Bella.
Things in cafeteria have changed a bit since last year. Emmett and Rosalie have graduated and there is no longer a "vampires only" table at lunch. Instead, Alice and Edward sit with Bella and her friends, though the vamps stay on one side of the table. Bella's other lunchmates include Jessica and Mike (who are no longer an item), Angela (whose name is not Peaches), Ben, Eric (glad to see he's OK), Conner (who?), Tyler, and Lauren (the girl that doesn’t like Bella, whose name is also not Peaches).
After school, Bella drives Edward back to her house. He complains about her rusty truck and its lack of a good radio. The two share a kiss, and once again, Bella can't control herself. Edward breaks it up, reminding us all that if he is overcome with passion, he would kill her. They go inside and watch Romeo and Juliet.
Edward says he's not a fan of Romeo. But Romeo is one of Bella's all-time favorite fictional characters. (No one asked, but my favorite characters include Atticus Finch, Huck Finn, and Hobbes from Calvin and Hobbes. But Emmett is creeping up the list.) Edward says Romeo is an idiot for ruining a good thing. Bella is a little ticked off at all this chatting, and says she needs to concentrate. Edward asks if she'll cry while watching the movie, and she says chances are good that tears will flow if she's allowed to focus on the story. He likes the thought of her crying, so he says he'll shut up. Edward is an old, perverted man who enjoys watching teenagers weep. This relationship gets creepier and creepier. By the end of the series, he'll be asking Bella to dress up as a sexy nurse and throw burning matches at his face while she cries into a bucket so he can drink her tears.
The movie ends, and Bella does let loose a few tears. The ending of Romeo and Juliet (spoiler alert: they die) brings up the subject of suicide. Edward thinks humans are so lucky because they can easily kill themselves. Bella doesn’t understand what he's hinting at, and he finally comes clean, confessing he thought of suicide when he wasn't sure he would be able to save her from the evil James.
He says suicide is really hard for vampires, and the only way he could kill himself would be to go to Italy and upset the Volturi, a group of ancient vampires who don’t like being messed with. (You may recall these vampires were mentioned briefly in the last book.)
Bella is mad that Edward even thought about killing himself. There's more "you are my life" talk, and then Bella's dad comes home with pizza.
Apparently Charlie doesn't ask why Edward refuses to eat people-food. He just accepts it, like when you bring a friend over to your house and your mom notices that he uses a lot of toilet paper, but isn't about to ask why.
Edward asks Charlie if he can take Bella out tonight, and Charlie says it's all right. Charlie also encourages Bella to take pictures with her new camera. It also seems that Charlie digs Alice, since Alice helped Bella after the battle with James.
Bella and Edward leave and head for the Cullen house, where a birthday celebration is waiting. Edward asks that Bella try to have a good time and not ruin everything with her ugly attitude. He says the Cullens haven't had a birthday to celebrate since Emmett's in 1935. Why don't vampires celebrate birthdays? By now, they could have had, like, hundreds of free Happy Ending Sundaes at Friendly's.
The good news is that Emmett will be at the party. The bad news is that Rosalie, who doesn't like Bella very much, will also be there. Emmett and Rosalie were in Africa for some reason (were-rhinos? Please, oh please tell me there are were-rhinos in Africa and Emmett must hunt them down with an automatic crossbow and a chain whip!), but the cover story in Forks is that they went off to college. Emmett, who is awesome and great, didn't want to miss Bella's birthday, so they came home.
Bella is delighted that Emmett will be there, but she's no fan of Rosalie. Before they left for the party, Bella took a picture of Edward with her new camera, and now, as they walk into the house, she asks if vampires can have their picture taken, and what will happen when she develops the film. Develops? What the hell does that word mean? Perhaps she misspelled "upload."
The lovebirds walk into the house, and are greeted by everyone shouting, "Happy birthday!" The house is decorated with pink roses, silver, and crystal. It's very impressive, but a properly planned Dora the Explorer-themed party could be just as classy, and twice as fun.
Bella responds to the decorations and all the attention by telling us, "It was a hundred times worse than I'd imagined." After reading that sentence, I've decided that Bella is the worst character in literature, beating out Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Dr. Doom from The Fantastic Four. What an ungrateful, horrible, lousy person.
Emmett is happy to see Bella, but quickly excuses himself with a wink and goes outside. Alice and Jasper greet Bella, and Jasper, who still loves human blood a bit too much, acts distant and odd. Alice then says it's time to open presents, and gives Bella a box. There is nothing inside. The box contained a new stereo for Bella's truck, which Emmett ran out to install so that Bella wouldn't be able to return the gift. How tricky.
Alice then gives Bella another present to open, this one from Edward. She gives him a mean stare, but he assures her that he didn't spend any money on the gift. As she opens the present, the wrapping paper cuts her finger, and all hell breaks loose.
Edward screams, "No!" Jasper gets his hungry eyes and charges at Bella, and Edward comes running over and pushes her out of the way and over a table, crashing into some glassware (side note: Why do vampires have glassware? I thought most of their meals were eaten on the go). Jasper runs into Edward, creating a loud, rock-like sound. The amazing Emmett then holds Jasper back. As Bella looks around, she realizes the crash caused a more severe cut on her hand, and now she has six hungry vampires staring down at her.
Prediction: Jasper shouts "Five-second rule!" before diving for Bella's blood on the floor. Later, Bella nicks her leg while shaving. Jasper goes nuts, but Edward protects Bella. The insane, ravenous Jasper kills hundreds of people in his maddened state of bloodlust. The next day he apologizes to Bella and offers her a bottle of Nair with a sheepish grin. All is forgiven.