Guys, Bella may just be the most annoying fictional character ever created. For realisies.
Twilight, Chapter 2: Open Book
Okay, for whatever reason, I found this chapter to be much more readable. Maybe because I’m actually getting used to Meyer’s atrocious style or maybe because Bella wasn’t quite so insufferable in this one. The jury’s still out.
The chapter covers the rest of her first week of school, all of it spent obsessively looking for the dazzling (Meyer’s word, not mine) and utterly perfect Edward Cullen, who, after being a complete and utter dick to Bella, going so far as to not even look her in the eye when they sat next to one another, has been strangely absent from school all week.
Here’s the thing. See, Bella’s first encounter with Edward was bad. Really bad. He glared daggers at her when he bothered to look at her at all. He was so rude, in fact, that Bella cried about it (though I’m still not sure why). As far as first impressions go, that’s a pretty awful one. If I had encountered this person on my first day of school, I’d mark them as someone I’d rather not cross paths with again. But not Bella. No sir. See, Bella just can’t get over how perfect Edward is in every way. He’s just so beautiful (again, Meyer’s word, not mine). Because clearly physical looks are everything to her.
What really bothers me, and I’m positive this is setting the tone for their entire relationship, is that Bella is hopelessly smitten with Edward after having known him one day and being treated terribly by him, whereas this other boy, Mike, is friendly, helpful, and genuinely nice, and Bella is a complete asshole to him.
“Mike, who was taking on the qualities of a golden retriever, walked faithfully by my side to class.”
Uh, wow. I don’t know about you, but when I was in school and I was friends with someone, I walked with them to class. I talked to them between classes. I sat with them at lunch. That’s called BEING FRIENDS. But she compares it to having a loyal pet. And worst, she seems mostly just annoyed by it. She’s the new kid. What new kid wouldn’t be annoyed by being accepted by new friends FROM THE FIRST DAY?
I wish I could say she’s stopped complaining about everything, but I’d be a big fat lying liar. Bella spends at least a page and a half complaining about how awful her second day of school is, and the worst part about it is that Edward Cullen is not there. She complains more about her teachers, she complains about how awful she is at volleyball, she complains about not being able to sleep at night because of the rain and the wind “echoing around the house,” whatever THAT means. We get it, Bella. You’re unhappy. Your life is SO terrible and no one can understand how terrible it is. SHUT UP!
For a brief moment in the chapter, Bella seems to actually have a grasp on reality. This whole time, she’s been seriously obsessing over the fact that Edward isn’t in school and despite never having ever actually spoken to the boy, she automatically assumes she’s the reason he hasn’t been showing up. But then, suddenly, this:
“It was ridiculous, and egotistical, to think that I could affect anyone that strongly. It was impossible.”
YES! Yes, Bella, it IS ridiculous and egotistical! Thank you for acknowledging it! Now we can move on, yes?
“And yet I couldn’t stop worrying that it was true.”
Ugh, for reals guys, just ugh. And the chapter isn’t even over yet.
So eventually, Edward returns to school and acts like he WASN’T a massive douchenozzle the week before. He sits down next to Bella in their Biology class and says hello in a “musical” voice. I’m not gonna lie, that threw me for a loop. How does one say hello musically? Was he autotuned? Was it long and drawn out like Beyonce? But I digest, he sang a little howdy-do and apparently all was forgiven. Bella responded by essentially falling to pieces before then inexplicably acting like a bit of an asshole back to him. He gets her to talk about why she moved to Forks and she responds with, “Why am I explaining this to you?” Uh, you see, Bella, that’s how conversations work. Edward doesn’t apologize for his behavior the week before, but he does seem to be trying to make up for it by being friendly and genuinely interested in her and all she can do, when the boy she’s been creepily thought-stalking for the last week talks to her, is push him away. Bella, you’re a moron. I hate you.
My take away from this chapter is that Bella is intensely shallow. She reflects on the Cullen Clan’s physical attractiveness multiple times and suggests that you can basically do anything if you’re beautiful. When she finally speaks to Edward, her thoughts aren’t about why he’d been a dick to her for no reason, they were about how perfect his lips are, how dazzling his face is, and how, despite the rain, “his hair was dripping wet, disheveled—even so, he looked like he’d just finished shooting a commercial for hair gel.” And if you think that’s an over-the-top description, guess again. Practically any time Bella looks at Edward (or any of the Cullens), she describes them like that. Nothing about what they do or who they are, it’s all about how perfect they look. Apparently, if you’re good-looking enough, you can be excused of anything. Seriously guys, I think Stephenie Meyer just wants to bone Edward and she’s using Bella as a proxy. This isn’t a book, it’s literary masturbation. And it makes me feel icky.