This was another short chapter, around 15 pages or so, and I honestly wasn’t expecting much out of it. I’m not exactly sure how to write this review, if I’m being perfectly honest. Or how to really lead into the review with this intro. I think maybe we should just get started.
Twilight review, Chapter 19: Goodbyes
Okay, so this is awkward. Like, really really awkward. I think I…kind of liked this chapter?
I know! I kept reading expecting it to turn terrible by the end of the chapter and it didn’t! That isn’t to say this chapter is perfect, however. There’s misogyny and victim blaming and bad writing aplenty, but if you take this chapter on its own, without the context of the rest of the book and the “characterization” Meyer has done over the last 400 pages, it’s genuinely kind of exciting. So let’s get into it.
The chapter starts with Edward, Alice, Emmett, and Bella arriving at Bella’s house. After using their super-senses to ensure James (the tracker vamp who’s after her) isn’t nearby, Edward and Bella walk up to the house. There’s some cheesy, kind of bad dialogue that I’ve pretty much come to expect from Meyer and whatever. I can deal. But then Bella does something that actually catches me as off guard as Edward: she kicks the door in and slams it in his face, screaming about how it’s over. I have to admit, fake breaking up with Edward is kind of genius (though not as genius as actually breaking up with Edward). If Bella breaks up with Edward, she’s emotional and irrational and her decision to up and leave Forks and go home to Phoenix doesn’t seem quite so out of left field.
Charlie—poor, poor Charlie—is completely unprepared for this. He’s clearly still new to raising a teenage girl fulltime and really just acts confused by the whole thing. I feel for the guy. Bella’s screaming and crying and slamming doors and Charlie reacts like he just got slapped in the face by a clown, equal parts confusion and fear. Edward has sneaked into Bella’s room and they’re both packing her bags as Charlie is pleading through her door to talk. Then Edward leaves out the window to get the truck ready and Bella comes out, telling her father that she wants to leave.
And this is where my heart kinda broke a little. I get that things are frantic and special circumstances and all that, but Jesus, Bella is really harsh with her dad. She tells him that she broke up with Edward because she likes him and she doesn’t want to put down roots because she HATES living in Forks. If I had been Charlie, I would have brought up the fact that moving to Forks was her own damn idea, but I suppose in the hectic atmosphere that is a teenage meltdown, it’s forgivable that he didn’t think of that.
Charlie begs with her to stay, tries to reason with her. When she sees that he’ll need a bit more convincing, she goes for the major hurt. She tells him verbatim what her mother said when she left him.
Yeah, it was brutal. Like, he’s gonna need therapy for months because of the emotional wounds Bella just tore open. I get that desperate times call for desperate measures, but goddamn. The one good thing (I guess?) is that Bella seems to genuinely feely awful that she said such hurtful things.
She gets into her truck and peels out. Edward pops up in the seat next to her and IMMEDIATELY GRABS THE WHEEL, SHOVES HER FOOT OFF THE GAS, AND SWITCHES PLACES WITH HER WHILE STILL DRIVING. Jesus Christ, Edward. I’m betting if you asked a little bit more and maybe impressed upon her why it would be best if you drove instead of just manhandling her all the time, you’d come off as less of a dick.
We find out that the tracker is hunting them now and tracked them to Bella’s house just as she was leaving. And he’s following them at that exact moment. Kinda creepy. But for once, it’s kinda creepy intentionally.
So Bella is quite understandably freaking the fuck out and Edward tries to calm her down.
“Bella, it’s going to be all right.
“But it won’t be all right when I’m not with you,” I whispered.”
Bella, shut up. Can you not be a whiny emo bitch for ten minutes, please? There are more pressing matters than how horrible you’ll feel being separated from your perfect Edward for a few days. Get a freaking grip.
Bella asks what I asked myself last chapter: why does this James guy want her so badly when there are tons of other people around. Edward proceeds to explain to her HOW SHE IS TO BLAME.
“I’m not sure if there’s anything I could have done to avoid this, once he saw you. It is partially your fault. If you didn’t smell so appallingly luscious, he might not have bothered.”
Edward then goes on to explain that James fancies himself quite the hunter and to him, Bella, who is under the protection of a powerful clan, is a prize trophy. Here’s the thing. He pretty much says that his and his family’s actions in defending Bella are what made her seem like such an enticing challenge to James. So what was the point of making her feel bad by telling her it was partially her fault FOR SMELLING SO GOOD?! First of all, it’s not like she can exactly help the way her blood smells. And second, he knows that she has practically no self-respect or self-worth. Why would he even jokingly try to place any of the blame on her!? Oh, right, because he’s a massive bag of dicks.
Edward admits that they’re more than likely going to be forced to kill James to keep him from coming after Bella. We find out that vampires are absurdly hard to kill, succumbing only when torn apart and burned, apparently. How they’re going to manage that when they’re all seemingly impervious to everything, I don’t know. We’ll see, I guess.
When they arrive at the Cullen house, they’re joined immediately by Emmett, who apparently followed them on foot in case James tried to attack the truck. He apparently picks Bella up like a football and runs her into the house. Seriously.
“Emmett had my door open before the truck was stopped; he pulled me out of my seat, tucked me like a football into his chest, and ran me through the door.”
Listen guys, I’m getting awful tired of Bella getting carried everywhere. Yes, there’s a vampire out to get her, but he’s not going to attack between the truck and the house. This is just ridiculous. It’s just one more way Meyer is showing us that Bella is a weak, pathetic human who needs her big strong vampires to protect her.
They get inside and, to my surprise, Laurent, the leader of the rival vampire group, is already there. He fills in a few details about James. It turns out, James is their leader, and he’s batshit crazy. Laurent tells them that James isn’t going to stop until he gets what he wants, which confirms that the Cullens are going to have to kill him to protect Bella. He wonders out loud if Bella is worth the risk and as much as I personally think she’s not because I really hate her, it’s sort of an awful thing to say. And it doesn’t help that Bella already thinks so little of herself, so I’m sure she was already thinking she wasn’t worth the risk.
Carlisle tells Laurent that he’s got to make a choice: James or the Cullens. Laurent makes the smart choice and chooses neither. I admits he’s curious about the Cullens’ setup but he’d rather get the fuck out of Dodge. Carlisle agrees and Laurent skedaddles.
Once Laurent leaves, the Cullen house goes into lockdown. And I mean that literally.
“Esme was already moving; her hand touched an inconspicuous keypad on the wall, and with a groan, huge metal shutters began sealing up the glass wall.”
I have no idea why they would have these things installed, but I have to admit, that’s kind of a cool visual. I guess it’s to slow down vampires if they ever attack the house? I don’t know.
The Cullens decide to have Bella and Esme switch clothes to try to fool James and hide her scent for as long as possible, so Esme grabs Bella and carries her up the stairs to her room. Again with the carrying. Jeez. Once Bella and Esme have changed clothes, they head back downstairs and everyone is filled in on the plan. Esme and Rosalie will take Bella’s truck and lead the female vampire, Victoria, away. While they’re doing that, Carlisle and Edward will go a different way and get James to track them (since it’s more likely that Bella would be with the more powerful of the clan). In reality, Bella will be with Alice and Jasper hightailing it south. All in all, it actually sounds like a decent plan. And according to Alice (who can see the future, you’ll recall) it will work. Edward kisses Bella goodbye and I think picks her up by her head. Seriously. He’s holding onto her face and it says her feet leave the ground.
“He set me down, still holding my face, his glorious eyes burning into mine.”
The way I read that, he picked that bitch up by her head. I don’t even know.
Everyone but Alice, Jasper, and Bella leave (after a rather touching scene in which Emmett assures Bella that she is worth it). They’re waiting for confirmation from the others that the vampires have taken the bait. When they get confirmation, Alice does something that no one else has ever done in all 405 pages of this book. She asks Bella’s permission to pick her up and carry her to the car. WOW. I kinda really like Alice a lot.
Okay, so my overall impression of this chapter was…ultimately positive. I know! I can’t believe it, either. There were problems, to be sure, and the writing still wasn’t very good. However, it’s easily the best chapter of the book so far. It was shockingly enjoyable and parts of it were genuinely thrilling. Meyer managed to capture pretty well a sense of desperate urgency and I think it was ultimately a strong chapter. It’s not all that great if you take into consideration that Edward and Emmett both kidnapped Bella against her will and physically restrained her for a short time, but taking this chapter out of context, without any of the other 400 pages influencing it, it really wasn’t half bad. Believe me, I’m as shocked as you are. But even if I do still believe Meyer is a talentless hack, I’m happy to admit when she does something decently.