In case you're wondering, since this is practically the same story as Twilight, I'm going to be doing a lot of comparisons. I can't make all the same rants twice. I'm repetitive, but not THAT repetitive!
However, I will also be adding in some complaints and criticisms that I hadn't dreamed up in the first book. I was more riffing when I started this series, so some of its flaws passed right over my head.
Oh, and in case you care, I am often going to include text from the original book. Why? Because Meyer makes a lot... a LOT... of small changes. And some of them are pretty horrible. So bold text is THIS book, bold color text is the original. Got it? Good!
January 17, 2005
I assume the inclusion of the date is to remind us that this is the tenth anniversary.
So we're introduced to Beau... wait, Beau? Do the Swans hail from the deep South? "Beau Swan" sounds like a dandy love rival at an antebellum plantation with too-big sideburns and lace cuffs. Yes, I know it means "handsome" or "beautiful," and that's why a hack like Smeyer decided to name her character that... but couldn't she have called him Kevin? Alan? Bellamy? Kenneth?
Anyway, we're quickly shown that Beau is just as passive-aggressive and melodramatic as Bella, but in less of a Victorian Gothic damsel way and in more of an emo-listens-to-Linkin-Park way.
For instance, Smeyer smoothed out some of the incredibly awkward phrases here, and made the narration less hilariously Victorian-melodrama. But don't worry! Beau still treats Charlie like hammered shit, forcing him to only see his only child for a few weeks every year because GOD FORBID he spend time in Forks. Little prick.
And we're also assured that he's wearing his favorite T-shirt. See, Bella wore a lace shirt, because she's a girl. But a guy can be schlubby! And he can wear cool Monty Python T-shirts, which confirms that he is totally his own character and not just Bella with a penis.
Hmmm, Bella with a penis. I bet Edward would like that.
the Monty Python one with the swallows and the coconut that Mom got me two Christmases ago.
- You know, there are no actual swallows in Monty Python. They're just talked about. It would make more sense if he had a Spanish Inquisition T-shirt. Or a Black Knight T-shirt. Or a killer rabbit T-shirt.
- I will be fair, though. That is apparently a T-shirt that exists. I assume one of Smeyer's sons owns it, because she doesn't seem like a Monty Python kind of person.
- This is a woman who primly refuses to watch any R-rated movies. Do you really think she's going to watch a surreal sketch show with lots of fake violence, real swearing, gay people, and humor derived from "shocking" things? Especially one by guys who were as intelligent as the Pythons?
- Me neither.
- So girls wear lacy "ladylike" clothes, and guys get to wear T-shirts with classic British humor. That seems totally non-sexist.
It rains on this insignificant town more than any other place in the United States of America.
As opposed to some other United States?
It was from this town and its depressing gloom that my mom escaped with me when I was only a few months old.
Apparently kidnapping her only child and gaining primary custody despite criminal actions and gross incompetence. But it's okay because Beau didn't have to live in Forks!
And in this area, Smeyer is correct. The gender of the character doesn't matter - Beau/Bella is a selfish asshole who only cares about his/her own interests, and not in Charlie's feelings. Die in a fire, both of you.
Yet somehow, I now found myself exiled to Forks for the rest of my high school education. A year and a half. Eighteen months. It felt like a prison sentence. Eighteen months, hard time. When I slammed the car door behind me, it made a sound like the clang of iron bars locking into place.
Ooooo, you see? He's a GUY, so he thinks about prison. Bella, being a dainty feminine woman
who dresses like a lumberjack would never think of that! Or watch Monty Python!
Okay, just a tad melodramatic there. I have an overactive imagination, as my mom was fond of telling me. And, of course, this was my choice. Self-imposed exile.
I think you may have noticed how this differs from Twilight. See, Beau is saying all the same things and hitting all the same marks... but Smeyer just wrote short choppy sentences, with some of the flowery language taken out.
This is a problem for two reasons:
If your book is all about moping and romance, then just switching a bit of the language is not enough to turn a wilting bitchy damsel into a credible male hero. Yes, some female characters can be written exactly the same as men. Like Ripley.
But if you're writing a goopy feminine love story with a bitchy, whiny self-insert based on your super-femmy self, then you're gonna find that genderflipping the heroine is going to take a lot more than pronoun changes. While reacting to xenomorphs is pretty much gender-neutral, men are very different when it comes to love, romance, bitchery, etc.
The second problem is that SMEYER IS A TERRIBLE WRITER.
I know I love to rag on her melodramatic pseudo-Victorian drivel in Twilight, but that was still better than this. At least I could laugh and point at the writing in Twilight, but this is... really dull. It's like Anna Dressed in Blood if you sucked out all the plot. And all of Cas's likability. And all the fun supporting characters. And all the horror. And the good writing. So you're just left with... teen boy going to school, supernatural shit ensues.
And you know, the stripped-down writing style can work. It really can. But it needs to have at least one of two things:
- Wit and snark
- Writing ability. You know, the ability to evoke images, even if the story isn't flowery.
Preferably both, really.
I loved Phoenix. I loved the sun and the dry heat and the big, sprawling city. And I loved living with my mom, where I was needed.
- I loved the wrinkled leathery skin. I loved the melanoma. I loved the frequent droughts. I loved finding the dessicated carcasses of hikers. I loved the Graboid attacks.
- Yes, teenage boys talk about how much they love living with their moms. Totally something they'll admit.
- They especially talk about how much they love living with their moms... because they have to care for said moms due to said moms having the brains of a Kardashian. Totally reality-based.
“You don’t have to do this,” my mom said to me—the last of a hundred times—just before I got to the TSA post.
"Yes, Mother. I must!"
"No, seriously. I could just ask my sister to put you-"
"I must live as a martyr to my own saintly kindness!"
"Or you could stay with Steve and his mom for a few mon-"
"I have actively chosen to do something I hate and will whine constantly about, because I never think of myself! I am like Jesus, but better!"
"... yeah, okay. Just get on the damn plane."
"Marvel at my suffering!"
My mom says we look so much alike that I could use her for a shaving mirror. It’s not entirely true, though I don’t look much like my dad at all. Her chin is pointy and her lips full, which is not like me,
But does somewhat resemble someone else I can think of.
I wonder why.
And to establish that Beau is totally his own character and not just Bella with a penis, he has BLUE eyes instead of brown!
On me the pale blue is less youthful and more… unresolved.
- Unresolved... what? Does he mean his eyes look unfinished?
- Of course they don't look youthful, you dumbass. You're fucking seventeen.
So Beau has a brief panic attack about the idea of allowing his mom to do anything herself, because she's allegedly incapable of putting her own pants on without help. And after months and months of thinking about it, he's only NOW deciding that it's a problem.
I’m sure there must have been a time, probably when I was still in diapers, that I wasn’t in charge of the bills and paperwork and cooking and general level-headedness, but I couldn’t remember it.
Yes, I'm sure at the age of six, he was doing all the cooking and bill-paying... even though a typical math problem for a first-grader involves basic subtraction involving DOUBLE-DIGITS. He was totally doing all that. Because logic.
Yeah, I can only conclude that enough people pointed out how stupid this was that it penetrated Meyer's thick skull. So she fixed it... by pointing out that "it shouldn't logically work that way since Renee ran off when Beau was a baby, but that is totally what happened. SO MATURE!"
Of course she had Phil these days, so the bills would probably get paid on time, there would be food in the fridge, gas in the car, and someone to call when she got lost.… She didn’t need me as much anymore.
She managed to travel several states without assistance or killing her infant child, numbnuts. Then she managed to get her own home, and support herself with a job until she could find a toyboy. I suspect she never needed you at all.
But apparently you don't come across as a good, kind, unselfish person unless you are surrounded by people who are functionally retarded so you can "help" them with the most basic stuff.
“I’ll see you soon,” she promised. “You can come home whenever you want—I’ll come right back as soon as you need me.”
But I knew what it would cost her to do that.
... it would cost her a road trip? She wouldn't be there to flutter and be incompetent while her husband is trying out for minor league teams?
Whatever, it makes Renee look slightly less like a selfish boob who can't be bothered to be a parent, like in the original.
This part is actually a little rewritten, and it is slightly better than the original book. For one thing, it shits slightly less on Charlie and more on Renee. There's also a little more dialogue, and description of the actual airport experience in a non-theoretical way (such as mentioning the Asshole Brigade... I mean, TSA).
But of course, Beau still calls his parents by their first names. Because that's totally normal. How would we know their names if he didn't treat them like really dumb pets?
Charlie had really been pretty decent about the whole thing. He seemed genuinely pleased that I was coming to live with him sort of permanently for the first time.
... how is it being "decent" to do something you want to do?
But it would be awkward. Neither of us was what you’d call extroverted—probably a necessary thing for living with my mother.
Right, because you can't interact with an extrovert unless you're an introvert. That makes perfect sense. Oh wait, it doesn't. It actually means that Smeyer knows nothing about being an introvert.
But aside from that, what was there to say? It wasn’t like I’d kept the way I felt about Forks a secret.
Because the only thing people ever talk about is the stuff they hate. If you don't like where you live, you have no other topics.
"Hey Beau, pass the peas."
"Sure Charl... I mean, 'dad.' These peas are green, like the plant life I so despise in this place."
"Damn, this spoon is all smudged."
"Did you know a spoon is a utensil? Like a fork? And that I hate Forks?"
"Want to watch the football game?"
"Football games are usually cancelled when it rains, like it constantly does in this place I loathe."
"Go to hell, you brat."
"Hell is hot and dry, just like Phoenix. I wish I lived in hell instead of Forks."
But I guess I couldn't expect a selfish little shit to avoid mentioning it to make his dad feel bad.
My primary motivation behind buying a car, despite my serious lack of funds, was that I hated driving around town in a car with red and blue lights on top. Nothing slows down traffic like a cop.
Yes, Smeyer thinks of "male" speech as being how normal people talk.
And no, it doesn't make any sense that people would suddenly slam on the brakes because the one lazy corrupt cop in the area is nearby. Forks is not exactly on the Autobahn.
So Beau gets to Forks and Charlie actually seems happy to see him, despite the constant cloud of disdain and sneering that he's surrounded by. Yes, he's not QUITE as pretentiously bitchy as Bella, but I still have absolutely no reason to like this character.
“Mom’s great. It’s good to see you, too, Dad.” I wasn’t supposed to call him Charlie to his face.
Then why in fuck do you call him that at all?
We both understood that this question wasn’t about my own personal happiness. It was about whether I was shirking my responsibility to look after her.
- No. He isn't. Because he doesn't have one.
- You can try to push this "Renee is stupid and needs a babysitter, teehee!" thing as far as you like, but it doesn't change the fact that a child is not responsible for their parent.
- Especially since it's not like Renee is depicted as being disabled either mentally or physically, which WOULD explain why her son would feel a responsibility to care for her. She's just a dumb, flighty bimbo who puts her useless husband ahead of her child.
- And you remember how I said this book was Smeyer's "fuck you" to everyone who said her books were misogynistic? Well, gender-flipping Bawla and not her parents creates a rather awkward situation - there's only ONE female member of Beau's family, and she's depicted as being useless, stupid, flighty and in need of a male (Charlie, Beau, Phil) babysitting her at all times.
- Hell, apparently you can even put her in the care of a BABY, as long as that baby is male. If he has a penis, he's smarter and more capable than a woman.
- So what was merely obnoxious and manipulative in the original book is ALSO wildly sexist in this one.
- Nice going, Smeyer. Less than a chapter in, and you've already made it even more sexist than Twishite was at the same point.
This was the reason Charlie’d never fought Mom about custody; he knew she needed me.
- So much for the "a man would never get custody! Feel for the injustice!" excuse.
- According to the actual book, Charlie didn't TRY to get custody because he knew his stupid ex-wife needed his infant son to take care of her.
- Because she's a woman, so she needs a male to babysit her, even if that male is incapable of controlling his bowels, sitting upright, or speaking.
- And I know Smeyer is very sketchy on how divorces work, but.... if your ex is an incompetent moron who can't even care for herself, let alone someone else... that is a reason to fight for full custody. NOT a reason to deliberately NOT get custody.
- I might be able to believe this if Bella/Beau had been at least ten or twelve when the divorce happened, and therefore could express an opinion or show competence. But no parent who wasn't a selfish asshole would willingly leave an INFANT with their ex if the ex was incapable of even feeding him/herself.
- But if she gender-flipped Charlie and Renee into, I dunno, Carla and Reed... then that would mean that Beau was being raised by a single dad. That's unpossible! Children aren't raised by the dads, even if the mother is completely unfit!
- And it would mean that instead of a sensible male cop and his flighty, idiotic ex-wife... it would be a sensible female cop and her flighty, idiotic ex-husband. In the mind of a misogynistic person, that just doesn't happen.
I only had two big duffel bags. Most of my Arizona clothes were too permeable for the Washington climate. My mom and I had pooled our resources to supplement my winter wardrobe, but it still wasn’t much. I could handle both of them, but Charlie insisted on taking one.
I had only a few bags. Most of my Arizona clothes were too permeable for Washington. My mom and I had pooled our resources to supplement my winter wardrobe, but it was still scanty. It all fit easily into the trunk of the cruiser.
Notice that she makes a point of mentioning that Beau has BIG bags, and that he could totally lift both of them at the same time, no help needed. Bella? It's just mentioned how small her bags are (a dainty woman couldn't carry BIG bags!) and left ambiguous who carried them... except we know it's Charlie, because Bella is lazy.
So Beau starts whining about more stuff, like how it's too cold and rainy in Washington, and how he didn't have enough cold-weather clothes. Oh, and he's super-clumsy. And because he's a guy, he gets an actual excuse for clumsiness: he's had a growth spurt, which causes him to be a klutz.
Bella? She's clumsy because... she's weak and vulnerable. Because female.
Then something new happens! Beau accidentally bumps into a guy who doesn't conform to Mormon appearance standards! He has TATTOOS! Nobody nice or good has tattoos! And his girlfriend has dyed her hair BLACK! And she wears lipstick! Clearly they are evil amoral thugs!
“Sorry?” she repeated, like my apology had been offensive somehow.
"I'm a person who doesn't dress like an off-duty nun, which makes me a BAD GIRL! And BAD PEOPLE pick fights over absolutely nothing! Just to show how BAD they are! BE FRIGHTENED OF OUR TATTOOS AND MAKEUP!"
Then they notice Charlie in his cop uniform, and suddenly they scuttle away. So what was the point of this? Oh, just wait. It will make me very angry later on.
Charlie and I both shrugged at the same time. It was funny how we had some of the same mannerisms when we didn’t spend much time together. Maybe it was genetic.
Yes, the shrug. The rarest of gestures.
And then Charlie brings up the whole car issue, having gotten a super-cheap truck from his friend... Bonnie Black. So it was super-necessary to not genderflip Bella's dad, but his best buddy gets turned into a woman... and we're apparently not meant to ship this, since Charlie goes out of his way to mention that Bonnie's husband used to go fishing with them.
Not saying a man and woman can't be platonic friends, because that would be stupid. But when a single man and single woman go off for several hours, alone, together... you gotta at least wonder.
Oh, and how does Beau react to the news of a cheap car?
“What kind of car?” I asked, suspicious of the way he said “good car for you” as opposed to just “good car.”
That would explain why I didn’t remember her. I do a good job of blocking painful things from my memory.
Being a bitchy, ungrateful little twat. Just like Bella. It's nice that I'm not having to adjust my opinions at all, because adding a dick to this character doesn't make him any less of one.
“She and her husband used to go fishing with us during the summer,” Charlie prompted.
"He used to go fishing with us during the summer," Charlie prompted.
Because women never go fishing unless they are just accompanying Their Man.
“She’s in a wheelchair now,” Charlie continued when I didn’t respond, “so she can’t drive anymore, and she offered to sell me her truck cheap.”
“What year is it?” I could see from the change in his expression that this was the question he was hoping I wouldn’t ask.
Fuck the woman confined to a wheelchair. The Brat Princeling demands a chic up-to-date car!
“Well, Bonnie’s had a lot of work done on the engine—it’s only a few years old, really.”
"Well, Billy's done a lot of work on the engine — it's only a few years old, really."
Because wimmenz have to ask the Big Strong Men to fix their car engines, because only men understand mechanical things. Women just stand by filing their nails and reading romances.
So they continue with the dull dialogue about the truck that we KNOW Beau will instantly love, because he is Bella with a penis and writing different reactions would require effort.
The thing, I thought to myself… it had possibilities—as a nickname, at the very least.
"It reminded me of an alien horror that absorbs every living creature that it comes across, leaving nothing but hellish abominations in its wake... kind of like me."
Then Charlie reveals that he's already bought the truck for Beau as a homecoming gift. Beau is about as grateful as he can be, considering the constant tiny-violining he's doing.
“I don’t mind. I want you to be happy here.” He was looking ahead at the road when he said this.
“That’s amazing, Dad. Thanks. I really appreciate it.” No need to add that he was talking about impossibilities.
Oh, stop whining.
I know hacks like LKH and Smeyer can't quite grasp this, but just having something mildly unfortunate happen to your character does not automatically make us like them. And when that character either bitches endlessly about anything they don't like or uses it as an excuse to be an asshole, it makes us even less likely to like them.
If Shakespeare couldn't make me like Hamlet with the whole murdered-dad-tells-him-to-kill-his uncle thing, I sure as hell won't like Beau because BOO HOO he had to move somewhere he didn't like for a year and a half.
Charlie had never been comfortable with expressing his emotions out loud. Another thing we had in common.
Which is why Beau-with-a-vagina spent the whole second book shrieking and moping and acting like a crazy person.
It was probably beautiful or something. Everything was green: the trees were covered in moss, both the trunks and the branches, the ground blanketed with ferns. Even the air had turned green by the time it filtered down through the leaves. It was too green—an alien planet.
- HAVE YOU NOTICED HOW GREEN IT IS? HAVE YOU? HAVE YOU?!
- Does that mean there's a chance xenomorphs will appear and kill everyone?
After happily reflecting on what a failure Charlie's marriage is, Beau finally see his old red truck.
I wasn’t really a car guy,
"I was a gender-flip of a female character written by a Stepford Wife who doesn't believe women can like or understand cars! LOGIC!"
Yes, I know men can be disinterested in cars. Totally cool with that. The problem is that in New Moon, Smeyer explicitly blamed Bella's lack of interest in car stuff on her being female... while also fetishizing all the expensive cars the Cullens have. So women are not permitted to like cars because that is a Manly Thing... but she doesn't bother to change that gender-based characteristic when she turns her main character into a guy. He reacts exactly the same as Bella.
I don't know whether I should be disgusted because of her past misogyny, or her lazy continuity errors. Few authors force me to choose!
I mean, I didn’t even know if it would run, but I could see myself in it.
"It was grimy, run-down, boring and barely functional. Just like me!"
Plus, it was one of those solid iron monsters that never gets damaged—the kind you see at the scene of an accident, paint unscratched, surrounded by the pieces of the foreign car it had just destroyed.
Foreign cars? PSHAW!
It really says something about the character that he/she immediately thinks of destroying inferiors with his/her invincible clunker. Like, first thought.
“Wow, Dad, it’s awesome! Thanks!” Serious enthusiasm this time.
"Wow, Dad, I love it! Thanks!" Now my horrific day tomorrow would be just that much less dreadful.
So I'll give Smeyer a point... reluctantly... because she removed a smidge of eternal whining.
Not only was the truck strangely cool, but now I wouldn’t have to walk two miles in the rain to school in the morning.
Behold: first world problems! Seriously, two miles is not that far.
So Beau actually exhibits some (shock!) gratitude for it, and then goes on to describe Beau's bedroom. We're informed that now Charlie has bought an old secondhand computer, with... dial-up modem. Smeyer, I don't think more than six people had dial-up in 2005. I know you really want to pretend that this takes place in Victorian times, but giving the MC antiquated tech doesn't really help.
Oh, and allegedly this is so he can email his mother. Yes, only for email. Not for school or communication with friends or entertainment... just so he can email his mom. Not even Skype, which had been around for two years. Just email.
You know, you'd think that someone who bitches endlessly about how much he hates the place he's living would want the Internet available so he could watch porn and post self-pitying stuff on Friendface.
There was only one small bathroom at the top of the stairs, which I would have to share with Charlie, but I’d had to share with my mom before, and that was definitely worse. She had a lot more stuff, and she doggedly resisted all my attempts to organize any of it.
- Here's a thought, you sanctimonious little prick: maybe she likes things the way they are.
- Not everything has to be arranged the way YOU like it just because you think you've been in charge since babyhood. Fuck off.
- Hmm, he had to share with his mom? What about that stepfather? Was he forced to bathe in the backyard with a hose?
- And yes, this is another change from the original, where Bella moans about the horror of sharing a bathroom with a whole ONE other person. First world problems, huh?
Then Beau decides to sit in his room and be emo. Cue the Simple Plan!
Specifically, he angsts about how:
- Forks High isn't as big as the big public schools he attended in Phoenix, so he'll be fascinating to all the yokel locals because HE'S FROM THE BIG CITY!
- He's not one of the "cool kids," which is amended from being a blonde cheerleader to a football star/motorcycling bad boy/class president. Because once again, this is Smeyer's proof that she's not sexist: popular girls can only be cheerleaders, while guys can be class president. That is not sexist. Not at all. Sexism not here.
- He's too pale and quiet, and he doesn't know about "guy stuff" (ie what Smeyer assumes all guys and no girls must be interested in, but isn't interested in herself, and it would be too hard to write in Bella-with-a-penis having INTERESTS).
- He doesn't have any hobbies, because he's sooooooo responsible and has aaaaaallll these adult things to do for his poor bimbo mother. Funny how his stepfather can't balance a checkbook or go shopping.
- And of course, he's so UNIQUE and doesn't relate well to mere mortals, and NOBODY UNDERSSTTAAAAAAANDS ME!
It was nice to be alone, not to have to smile and look comfortable; a relief to stare out the window at the sheeting rain and let my thoughts get dark.
It was nice to be alone, not to have to smile and look pleased; a relief to stare dejectedly out the window at the sheeting rain and let just a few tears escape. I wasn't in the mood to go on a real crying jag. I would save that for bedtime, when I would have to think about the coming morning.
Because teenage boys never cry. They just stoically stare.
Oh, and in case you had forgotten in the last half second that this book is reinforcing the sexism of the original, Beau doesn't stand in front of the mirror and mope about his unattractively super-attractive physical characteristics, like Bella does. She's a girl, so looks are super-important to her. Beau just mopes WITHOUT contemplating whether or not he's hot.
Unlike the other guys, I didn’t have a ton of free time for hobbies. I had a checkbook to balance, a clogged drain to snake, and a week’s groceries to shop for.
- Yes, remind us again that Renee is an unfit mother who really shouldn't have had custody of her kid due to her inability to manage basic tasks.
- Especially since allegedly he's been doing these things SINCE INFANCY.
- Because again, a male infant is more competent than a WOMAN.
- I hate to break it to you, Smeyer, but none of those things require ALL your non-school time. Plenty of guys do that much, and more, and still have time to have friends, hobbies, sports, etc.
- Just admit your character, like Bella, is a no-life-having loser.
Sometimes I wondered if I was seeing the same things through my eyes that the rest of the world was seeing through theirs....
Maybe there was a glitch in my brain.
OH WOE IS ME FOR I AM SO SPECIAL AND UNIQUE!
Yeah, I don't care what your gender is: whining about being so smart and nobody understanding you and not fitting in with the stereotypes of the world is NOT unique. Nor is it interesting. It's completely typical teen wangst that almost ALL teenagers go through, so having your main character moan about how nobody understands him/her just makes him/her cliched and fucking irritating.
I'll only accept that argument from protagonists who actually back it up with something "different." Like Cas from Anna Dressed In Blood. But Beau/Bella is only distinctive for being boring, prissy and whiny. Nothing special at all. NOTHING HE/SHE DOES IS SPECIAL, UNIQUE OR INTERESTING.
And Beau keeps bitching and moaning about the sound of wind/rain outside, having trouble sleeping, the weather, etc. FUCK, this is dull.
You could never see the sky here; it was like that prison cage I’d imagined.
They don't have cages in prison. They have cells. Moron.
Breakfast with Charlie was quiet. He wished me good luck at school. I thanked him, knowing his hope was a waste of time. Good luck tended to avoid me.
You know what? Whenever he's obnoxiously and disproportionately whiny, I'm just going to put this up here.
And for some reason, Beau then sits in the kitchen and looks at the decor, which hasn't changed at all in all these years. Rather than reflecting that Charlie just doesn't change things... at all... ever... Beau decides that it just means Charlie's a pathetic sad-sack who's been obsessing on his bitch of an ex-wife for the better part of two decades.
There is one addition that is almost likable: old photos of Beau with the bad haircuts, the braces years, the acne that had finally cleared up. Now, it's nice that she is actually acknowledging that teens aren't all dewy-faced TV-ready models, except for the Cliche Nerds. But this fails for two reasons:
- How convenient that a teen boy's acne and braces are gone by seventeen, so he can be gorgeous in time to be vamped. Even though seventeen-year-olds are still right in the middle of puberty, so the acne would not have "cleared up."
- She does this with the protagonist who is not either her fantasy self or her sexual ideal. Since Beau is a guy and not a girl, he's more removed from her, so it means a lot less that she gives him acne and bad teeth. No mention of bad hair, teeth or skin for Bella, who conveniently looks like a skinny idealized version of Smeyer!
It was impossible, being in this house, not to realize that Charlie had never gotten over my mom. It made me uncomfortable.
Because people who divorce NEVER move on. I'm sure he'll magically get over his ex-wife just in time to be paired with another pathetic single person.
Beau continues whining about everything except the truck: the raincoat, the boots, the sound of rain, the lack of gravel, and the fact that Forks' local high school doesn't look like a prison.
"Class, this is Beau Swan." "MY LIFE IS SO HAAAAAARRRDDDD!"
Where was the feel of the institution? I thought. Where were the chain-link fences, the metal detectors?
Where were the beatings by upperclassmen? Where were the drug dealers? Where were the bathrooms that were unsafe to go into? Where were the rapes? Where were the racial minorities being crapped on by the administration?
Actually, speaking of racial minorities, you notice that is the one thing Beau never brings up as a difference between Arizona and Washington. Arizona is known for some unpleasant racial tensions and controversies, and for having a fairly large Latino population - and yes, that applies to Phoenix. Since Beau went to a public school and allegedly did all the shopping, you'd expect he would encounter a lot of people who speak Spanish and have color, culture and fun.... and yet, there's not a single, solitary mention of how strange it feels to suddenly be in a town entirely comprised of SUPER WHITE PEOPLE THE COLOR OF WONDER BREAD. How about the sudden change from a culturally and religiously diverse area - including Armenians, Sikhs, a fair amount of Jews - to a place seemingly populated by WASPs?
Stephenie Meyer really is the YA sister to LKH, isn't she? Every city we see is bland, boring, entirely populated by white people and devoid of any defining characteristics, even if she claims she loves it.
Beau parks and goes into the front office for... some reason. The office is completely boring and unexceptional, so I won't bother to describe it... especially since I suspect we'll never see this room again.
He was wearing a t-shirt, which immediately made me feel overdressed for the weather.
I'm pretty sure nobody wears a T-shirt in Washington in JANUARY.
“I’m Beau Swan,” I informed him, and saw the quick recognition in his eyes. I was expected, already the subject of gossip. The Chief’s son, the one with the unstable mom, come home at last.
Play that tiny violin a little harder, prick. Here's an idea: he recognizes your name because you're a new transfer student in the middle of the year, and so probably this guy has had to deal with Charlie talking about his son Beau. This man has his own life to live, and thus doesn't give a shit about you or your existence here. You are utterly unimportant. Deal with it.
And no, switching genders doesn't make this absurd "I'm famous because small towns desperately care about the sheriff's kid coming to live with him OH THE WOE OF BEING NOTICED" thing any less grating.
The man is extremely nice, while Beau wangsts and whines a lot. Then he goes out just as quickly.
At home, I’d lived in one of the few lower-income neighborhoods that were included in the Paradise Valley District.
- And by "lower-income" he means "not the wealthiest part of the richest suburb in the whole fucking city."
- Seriously, I just looked this up, and the Paradise Valley District is a pretty wealthy area. Whining that you're "lower-income" there is like complaining that you only got a gold Rolex, not a diamond-studded one.
- Is Renee supposed to be an heiress?! I mean, this is a pretty expensive area. Her husband is a minor-leagues baseball player who can't get his ass hired, her ex-husband is a small-town cop, and she is allegedly too incompetent and stupid to manage grocery shopping. How in hell can she afford to live there with no job mentioned and no signs of higher education?!
- The answer: Smeyer lived in the area and went to school there, so fuck logic.
- And you know how Beau was bitching about the lack of chain-link fences and prison-like security measures? Well, I did some digging to find out what kind of public high schools you can find in that area. Most of the kids there go to Scottsdale, and there are five high schools. Wanna know what they look like?
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-k3os6otDMeM/ViNMBTfm4EI/AAAAAAAALOw/P1k0Nt-jyAE/s400/arcadia%2Bhigh%2Bschool.jpg https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-vs94frQAILU/ViNMsyozgRI/AAAAAAAALPw/k-RRioz_eQE/s400/coronado%2Bhigh%2Bschool.jpg https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-UKU5eslYy44/ViNLp3oCqjI/AAAAAAAALO0/G6wBHJDs7pE/s400/saguaro-high-school.jpg https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-6hcOkKTqRGQ/ViNMkP24wWI/AAAAAAAALPU/K6V83E3Flag/s400/chaparral%2Bhigh%2Bschool.jpg https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OduRYwkSGYM/ViNMug-M8qI/AAAAAAAALP4/cQHM3SoQ8Ts/s400/desert%2Bmountain%2Bhigh%2Bschool.jpg
Yeah, not exactly the gritty prison-like environments that Beau/Bella suggests they are, huh?
It was a common thing to see a new Mercedes or Porsche in the student lot.
FEEL SORRY FOR MY POVERTY! Please sir, I want some more!
(Oh, and for a guy who doesn't care about cars, he certainly notices what kind of car they are. I personally can't tell ANY cars apart unless they have the name printed on the back)
The nicest car here was a brand-new silver Volvo, and it stood out.
Ah, the Volvo. Truly a luxury car, especially when it's in a nice gray tone that will blend into the road and cause massive accidents when its driver speeds like a lunatic.
This definitely doesn't say "mom car." Okay, this time Smeyer isn't pretending it actually IS an exceptionally cool car worthy of note compared to a Porsche, but it's definitely not a car that someone would notice, both because of the design and the color.
And oooh, it definitely is much nicer and more noticeable than a bright red BMW. Especially for a guy who totally isn't interested in cars.
Yeah, you don't need to be a "car" person to know that definitely trumps "silver Volvo" in noticeability or quality. Not sure why Smeyer thinks it doesn't. Two possible answers:
- One sign of true soulmatey love is to automatically adore each other's car... even though Edward is established to loathe Bella's car.
- Given her past snooty comment on "foreign cars," Smeyer doesn't realize the Volvo is a Swedish car, and not AMERICA FUCK YEAH COMING AGAIN TO SAVE THE MUTHAFUCKIN'... excuse me, in the spirit of this series, MUTHAHUGGIN' DAY, YEAH!
Beau goes full emo as he goes inside, wearing a black hoodie that probably makes him look like a bank robber.
They were two girls, one a porcelain-colored blonde, the other also pale, with light brown hair. At least my skin wouldn’t be a standout here.
"OH WOE! I am in a place where the sun doesn't shine, even though I clearly avoided it all the time when I lived in Phoenix or I wouldn't be mayonnaise-white!"
And of course, he's not hot for the attractive girls. I have no idea who these are genderflipped versions of, and I don't much care either.
and I could feel the blood rush into my face, no doubt forming unattractive splotches across my cheeks and neck.
Does Beau have rosacea?
So he creeps to the back of the class and mumbles the lyrics to Linkin Park songs while scribbling all the things about life he hates. One of those is the English curriculum, which is (like everything) unworthy of him.
It was pretty basic: Brontë, Shakespeare, Chaucer, Faulkner. I’d already read everything. That was comforting… and boring.
You know what's really boring? Ur whining.
And I'm sorry, but she can name-drop all the incredibly obvious authors a little more obviously? Yes, Smeyer, we know you can read. We know you like old-timey books with romances. We know you think of yourself as some kind of intellectual because you read some books assigned to you in high school and didn't understand them, since you have repeatedly demonstrated that you don't have the slightest grasp of any deeper meaning in any book you've mentioned. I shudder to think what you got from The Scarlet Letter or Fahrenheit 451 or The Odyssey. Probably something nauseating about Twoo Wuv.
Oh, and I don't buy for a second that someone as intellectually stilted and stunted as Smeyer has read Chaucer, especially in the original Middle English. It's not about romance, and it requires the modern reader to really work at deciphering what the hell it means.
I wondered if my mom would send me my folder of old essays, or if she would think that was cheating.
- Because no teachers give different essay questions from any others. They are ALL the same.
- Yes, teens have only essays in hardcopy, probably written with a quill. No teen would have computer files!
But OH HORRORZ! some nerdy girl (obviously a genderflip of Eric) speaks to him! And she calls him by his WHOLE NAME!
“Beau,” I corrected. Everyone within a three-seat radius turned to look at me.
Oh no! People paying attention to him! It's not like students at any school take the opportunity to look at anything that allows them six seconds of learning-free time! They would only stare if he was the most fascinating human alive! HIS LIFE SO HARD!
I'll reluctantly admit that the "don't call me ______" makes more sense here. "Isabella" is a perfectly pretty name, and there's no real reason to be pissed off that people call you that instead of a nickname. Bella just does that because she's incredibly bitchy, difficult and demanding. "Beaufort"... yeah, don't call anyone that.
Beau? He's bitchy, difficult and demanding... but he has a penis, so he's totally different.
“I’m headed toward building four, I could show you the way.…” Definitely over-helpful. “I’m Erica,” she added.
I forced a smile. “Thanks.”
"Ewwww! Girls are interested in me! They're TALKING to me! Where's my Mace?"
Yeah, you may have noticed this detail about Beau. As with Bella, Smeyer likes to emphasize that all members of the opposite sex find him wildly attractive... which he finds intensely annoying. Not only does he not find any of the girls even vaguely attractive, but he finds it actively ANNOYING that they find him attractive even if they aren't chasing him or anything. Also, despite never having gone on a date, he is bitchy and sneering at these girls because he has decided he doesn't like them for that reason. And this is regarded as his normal behavior.
So congratulations, Smeyer. You managed to write a character almost as gay as Edward from Midnight Sun, and that is no mean feat. All we need is a scene of Beau trying to avoid a hot blonde who wants to have sex with him.
We got our jackets and headed out into the rain, which had picked up. Several people seemed to be walking too close behind us—like they were trying to eavesdrop or something. I hoped I wasn’t getting paranoid.
Not paranoid. Just so self-absorbed that you literally think that everyone around you is fascinated by you, knows all about you, and literally have nothing better to talk or think about than you.
Beau continues being a dick to Erica while she is perfectly nice and amiable, asking him questions about Phoenix and its precipitation rate. Smeyer, people don't actually discuss weather unless it's immediately relevant.
“So, this is a lot different than Phoenix, huh?” she asked.
“It doesn’t rain much there, does it?”
“Three or four times a year.”
“Wow, what must that be like?” she wondered.
“Sunny,” I told her.
“You don’t look very tan.”
“My mother is part albino.”
... which was a stupid line in the original, and it's still stupid here.
And really, this exchange doesn't change my perception of Beau. She's trying to be nice and friendly (which he perceives as "overly helpful," whatever that means) and he is deliberately being obnoxious to her. Why? Because... no reason.
It looked like clouds and a sense of humor didn’t mix. A few months of this and I’d forget how to use sarcasm.
Sarcasm? Is that what that was? Because sarcasm is more than just saying something nonsensical. Since Beau has only ever said anything in a dull, bland way, he probably said this the same way.
The rest of the morning passed in about the same way.
.... with those annoying girls finding me attractive, and me trying to avoid it! UGH!
I'm only half kidding: Beau bitches that There was always someone braver than the others who would introduce themselves and ask me questions about how I was liking Forks. Which, of course, he segues into another whine about how he hates Forks and thus has to lie to these people.
In every class, the teacher started out calling me Beaufort, and though I corrected them immediately, it was depressing.
OMG MY LIFE SO HARD!
Seriously, anyone who has actually been to classes knows that the teachers ALWAYS call you by your full name at first. That's just how it works. They don't know you yet, and they definitely don't give enough of a damn about any one student to research their personal nicknames BEFORE class starts.
No one at home even remembered that Beau was just a nickname anymore. Now I had to start all over again.
Is there no end up his suffering?!
We're then introduced to gender-flipped Jessica, who is literally not even named until much later in the scene, because Beau doesn't care enough to remember.
It's also interesting to see how the character is handled differently in this book. See, in the original book, Jessica was presented as the hot but bitchy blonde who is secretly jealous of Bella... for some reason. It was pretty obviously Smeyer's big "fuck you" to all the hot Arizona blondes who were more popular than her in high school.
But without that "fuck you" aspect, the character holds no interest for her. So genderflipped Jessica has no characteristics except curly hair.
So Beau goes to sit with gender-flipped Jessica and a bunch of other people, who are all very nice and pleasant. Of course, Beau is antisocial and proudly notes that I forgot all their names as soon as he said them. Because when you are a superior type of person, mere mortals aren't worth being noticed.
The girl from English, Erica, waved at me from across the room, and they all laughed. Already the butt of the joke. It was probably a new record for me. But none of them seemed mean-spirited about it.
... I... wait, what? The butt of what joke? I'm not sure why they would be laughing at HIM. What's going on?
Oh wait, another attempt to make us sympathize with Beau for no reason.
It was there, sitting in the lunchroom, trying to make conversation with seven curious strangers, that I first saw them.
"They were... HOT! And RICH! I immediately felt a connection to them!"
Yes, it's time for the genderflipped Cullens... who are noted to not be talking, eating or looking at anything. So I imagine them just staring blankly into space like switched-off robots.
But it was none of these things that caught my attention.
They didn’t look anything alike.
... so? Are you only allowed to sit with people who look like you? Yes, I know they're posing as a family, but Beau doesn't know that yet.
So Beau describes:
- A really tall, athletic, dark-haired girl. Presumably gender-flipped Emmett.
- Another tall girl who has honey-colored hair, and is weirdly intense. Presumably gender-flipped Jasper.
- A small girl with auburn hair. Presumably gender-flipped Edturd.
- A very tall, handsome, athletic guy with a blonde man-bun. Presumably gender-flipped Rosalie.
- A shorter guy with a buzz cut. Presumably gender-flipped Alice.
And.. there are some interesting things to note.
she made me think of this actress I’d seen in an action movie a few weeks ago, who took down a dozen guys with a machete. I remembered thinking then that I didn’t buy it—there was no way the actress could have taken on that many bad guys and won. But I thought now that I might have bought it all if the character had been played by this girl.
So a woman killing multiple men when she's armed and they're not is totally implausible. It's only plausible if a woman with superpowers did it. Or if a man did. Feminism!
And you notice how he mentions watching action movies? Guys watch action movies. Girls watch romances and only romances, because they have vaginas.
The last girl was smaller,
So... does that mean Edward is also short? I know I noted that Bella would have to be a hobbit to hug fully-grown men around the waist, but I didn't think Edward was abnormally tiny.
with hair somewhere between red and brown, but different than either, kind of metallic somehow, a bronze-y color.
- Vague descriptions? What are those?
- "Somewhere between red and brown" is called "auburn," you hack.
- "Kind of metallic somehow"... pure poetry.
- "Metallic" is never a good look in hair. It screams bad hair dye.
She looked younger than the other two, who could have been in college, easy.
... except that Edward, and by extension his genderflip, have been to medical school. So.... yeah, clearly not.
And then it's on to gender-flipped Rosalie, who has... a very random style choice: His straight gold hair was wound into a bun on the back of his head, but there was nothing feminine about it—somehow it made him look even more like a man. Eh heh heh.... no.
Man-buns do not make guys look like more manly. At best, they don't make him look LESS masculine, but they definitely don't add to it. And the fact is, most guys with man-buns are gross and unkept. See also: Shia Labeouf and Russell Brand. That guy in the picture above actually has the cleanest, most luxuriant man-burn I've ever seen, and he doesn't look more manly for it.
I honestly don't know where the man-bun thing came from. I know Smeyer is like the Mormon tween version of LKH, but does that extend to guys with flowing locks?
And what of gender-flipped Alice? The shorter guy was wiry, his dark hair buzzed so short it was just a shadow across his scalp. That is literally everything.about this character. Nothing about him being pixie-like or what his features look like. I guess Bella's leg-wrapping crush in Alice doesn't carry over... or else, she doesn't think men can look delicate or pixie-like.
Totally different, and yet, they were all exactly alike.
DAMMIT, less than a page ago you said They didn’t look anything alike. Now you're saying they DO have some things that look alike. IS SOME FUCKING CONSISTENCY TOO MUCH TO ASK?
Every one of them was chalky pale, the palest of all the students living in this sunless town.
For some reason they spent a lot of time muttering about dice rolls and liches and experience points.
So Beau sits there observing how they all have dark eyes with deep shadows under them.
Or maybe they were recovering from broken noses. Except that their noses, all their features, were straight, angular.
... so becoming a vampire gives you a nose job? What are the chances that all these people would have perfect "angular" noses? Nobody has a snub nose? An aquiline nose? A broad nose?
And does he seriously think they all had the same injury?!
But that wasn’t why I couldn’t look away.
It was that they were all oozing green slime from their ears.
No, he's staring because they're the hottest hotties who ever hotted. Male and female. Hallelujah, Smeyer is keeping those unintentionally bisexual vibes alive.
They were faces you never saw in real life—just airbrushed in magazines and on billboards. Or in a museum, painted by an old master as the face of an angel.
Right, um... airbrushed models in magazines don't look anything like the angel paintings of "old masters." Standards of beauty are WAY different now. And even back then, angels weren't painted as inhumanly gorgeous or anything. Hell, early Eastern images of angels were based on eunuchs.
Here's what actual angels illustrated by"old masters" (which is a very broad term spanning centuries) look like:
https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-Fi2bRFcBBfo/VjJnU0J7VjI/AAAAAAAALSw/YypiQI38tcs/s400/rubens%2Bangel.jpg https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-p8wsQ7VhKe8/VjJnUOyWFoI/AAAAAAAALS8/4n166WVoCPI/s400/fra%2Bangelico%2Bangel.jpg https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-CviXBsQyDCU/VjJnUPMuZtI/AAAAAAAALTI/uE5w6IpEJqo/da%2Bvinci%2Bangel.jpg https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-x8hEpI6PBjo/VjJnUE4WVlI/AAAAAAAALSo/7W7m1Kudfg4/s400/da%2Bvinci%2Bangel%2Bwith%2Blute.jpg https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-I68PlQyEkns/VjJnUjzX5wI/AAAAAAAALTA/PwHEHG9LTqY/s320/rembrandt%2Bangel.jpg https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-1KFtSMSwm7Q/VjJnUEu00qI/AAAAAAAALS4/ebTRb2Nd7q0/s320/jan%2Bvan%2Beyck%2Bangel.jpg https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jActL7Cthcw/VjJnUQhA_hI/AAAAAAAALS0/p7gwuHnhae8/s400/raphael%2Bangels.jpg
Yes, a few of them are unusually pretty. But they're rarely, if ever, superhumanly gorgeous so no human can compare. They're usually just pretty young men with wings - and they're definitely not TEH HAWTNESS by modern standards.
Then again, do you really expect Smeyer to actually pay attention to "old masters"? She seems more like a fan of the sentimental 19th-century art depicting angels as non-threatening girls carrying children to safety, or as naked little kids.
It was hard to believe they were real.
And yet not only could I believe it, but I ALSO could believe they were vampires.
I decided the most beautiful of all was the smaller girl with the bronze-colored hair, though I expected the female half of the student body would vote for the movie-star blond guy. They would be wrong, though.
I mean, what right do silly stoopid girls have to decide the objective standards of beauty? Only Men With Penises get to decide THAT!
I mean, all of them were gorgeous, but the girl was something more than just beautiful. She was absolutely perfect. It was an upsetting, disturbing kind of perfection. It made my stomach uneasy.
Thanks for describing what was "more than just beautiful," you hack. Don't bother describing what was upsetting or disturbing, or even what kind of beauty she has (yes, there's more than one kind).
So Beau sits there, ogling them collectively, and then asks Guy From Spanish Class (seriously) who they are.
As he looked up to see who I meant—though he could probably guess from my tone—
Who else would a clearly superior being be asking about, if not the gods who walk among us? No one else is of interest!
While they're talking about this, the redhead glances up at them, then goes back to pointedly ignoring them.
In that brief flash of a glance, her face wasn’t interested at all—it was like he had called her name, and she’d looked up in involuntary response, already having decided not to answer.
I think I'm meant to feel bad for Beau, but the fact is, this is exactly the way he's been treating everyone else. So cue the schadenfreude!
My neighbor laughed once, uncomfortable, looking down at the table like I did.
My neighbor giggled in embarrassment, looking at the table like I did.
"Teehee! I'm a girl, so I giggle!"
So Guy Sitting Next To Beau reveals that they are the Cullens and Hales, whose names are Edith (Edturd), Eleanor (Emmett), Jessamine (Jasper), Royal (Rosalie) and Archie (Alice), and that they live with Dr. Cullen and HER husband. See there? See? The doctor was a WOMAN! SUCH FEMINISM!
And... wow, those names. Jessamine? Royal? Archie? Yes, I know that Smeyer is probably trying to make their names sound all old-timey, but this is going a bit far. Jessamine seems to be more frequently a place name than a person name. And "Royal"? She couldn't choose "Alan" instead of "Archie," which is actually closer to "Alice"?
And using old-timey names really highlights another big problem: if they're trying to be low-key and blend in, having unusual or weird names is the WORST thing they can do. Considering they are constantly using fake identities... why not make up names that sound more normal? The original book actually did this pretty well - most of the Cullens had names that weren't common, but they weren't glaringly implausible.
In fact, this is even more baffling because we've seen that vampires in the Twilight universe do this. Some of the Volturi have changed their names, like Jane, Alec and Chelsea (all of whom have probably been named after people she knows). So why don't the Cullens? Are they supposed to be superior to those name-changing vampire Catholics?
Weird names. Old-fashioned. The kinds of names grandparents had—like my name.
OMG HE SO TOTALLY IS DESTINED TO BE RICH AND HOT LIKE THEM BECAUSE HE HAS A FUDDY-DUDDY NAME!
Seriously, calling attention to the absurdity of these names doesn't take away the plot hole.
Maybe that was the thing here? Small-town names?
Considering Charlie is from here... fuck off.
And then I finally remembered that my neighbor was named Jeremy. A totally normal name. There were two kids named Jeremy in my history class back home.
Ah, he only remembers the names of people who are useful to him in some way. FUCK OFF.
Jeremy then confirms that “They’re all together, though—Royal and Eleanor, Archie and Jessamine. Like dating, you know? And they live together.” He snickered and wagged his eyebrows suggestively. Well, foster children with the same foster parents DO tend to live together. That's how it works. And I'm not sure why he's being so suggestive about people who are dating living in the same house, because.... lots of people who are dating have sex. And live together.
Oh, and you know what the original line was? Her voice held all the shock and condemnation of the small town, I thought critically. But, if I was being honest, I had to admit that even in Phoenix, it would cause gossip. So Jessica immediately earmarked as a judgmental bitch representative of everything Bella hates about the place... while Jeremy makes a sex joke that is shrugged off.
And for someone who actually lived in Phoenix, Smeyer sure acts like a fussy small-town priss here. Gossip? Really? In a large city? Uh, no. Maybe in the circles she lived in, but not in the city in general.
I didn’t know why, but his reaction made me want to defend them. Maybe just because he sounded so judgmental.
- HE sounded judgemental? HE did?!
- You fuckstick, you've done nothing in this book EXCEPT judge people and be an asshole to them! Who the fuck are YOU to criticize anyone else?!
- And no, he's not being judgmental. He's being suggestive about the fact that they date, and they live together, which means they probably have sex. You know, the same thing ANY teenage boy would immediately think about, because actual teenage boys think about sex all the time.
- And the only person who thinks that that inference requires a "defense" is a prudish, bitchy, hyper-conservative housewife who lives in a fantasy world where all teenagers have no sexual contact or thoughts until they meet their soulmate.
But what could I say? I didn’t know anything about them.
They're all hot, rich and white. Clearly they are superior.
So Jeremy exposits for awhile about the Cullen family and how they're all adopted. Beau just sits there drooling about the Hot Rich People who are still not eating.
“I think Dr. Cullen can’t have any kids, though,” he added, as if that somehow made what they were doing less admirable.
It certainly makes their motives less selfless, fuckstick. Especially since the ONLY case of adoption in the entire series is based on Esme's insane baby-lust and Carlisle's creepy pedo-ness.
And there's another little change from the book. In this, Beau discerns from Jeremy's dislike of the Cullens that he must be jealous of the whole family. Why? Because Beau's stupid and unimaginative, so he can't imagine any OTHER reason why a set of antisocial rich brats who look down on everyone else might be disliked. And remember, Jeremy has been living in Forks for the two years the Cullens have been here, so he probably knows them as well as anyone else. Beau? First time he's seen them, but he's arrogant enough to assume he knows the dynamics of all this.
But of course, Jessica is depicted as a super-mega-ultra-bitch for disliking the Cullens. Jeremy? Not so much.
“No. They just moved down two years ago from somewhere in Alaska.”
"No," she said in a voice that implied it should be obvious, even to a new arrival like me. "They just moved down two years ago from somewhere in Alaska."
Because Jessica's a bitch. Because vagina. Have you caught on yet?
I felt a strange wave of pity, and relief. Pity because, as beautiful as they were, they were still outsiders, not accepted. Relief that I wasn’t the only newcomer here, and definitely not the most interesting by any standard.
- Oh, play that tiny violin, fuckstick.
- You are not an outsider. You are fully accepted. Everyone you've met has been very nice and accepting of you ON THE FIRST FUCKING DAY.
- No, you're not the most interesting newcomer. You're boring, and so are they.
- Here's a thought: they sit in a corner not talking to anyone because they're boring, nasty and treat everyone else like piles of used gym socks.
- But no, that's not possible. Beautiful people must automatically be good and kind and wonderful.
As I immediately looked away, I thought that her look held some kind of unanswered expectation.
"I NEED DICK!"
I tried to glance casually in that direction, like I was just checking out the cafeteria; she was still staring at me, but not gawking like the other kids had today—she had this frustrated expression I didn’t understand.
"I NEED DICK!"
“That’s Edith. She’s hot, sure, but don’t waste your time. She doesn’t go out with anyone. Apparently none of the guys here are good enough for her,” Jeremy said sourly, then grunted. I wondered how many times she’d turned him down.
You gotta love how Smeyer thinks teen boys are as passive-aggressively bitchy as she/Bella is. Especially since... Jeremy is right.
Both Edith and Beau smirk at how totally-not-white-and-delightsome Jeremy is, before all of the Cullens sweep away from the table in their graceful, superior, rich white way.
So Beau sits there drooling on himself and not interacting with anyone, until he drags himself off to Biology class with a boy named Allen... whom I assume is a genderflip of Angela. Angela, if you need reminding, is a useless doormat of a character who does anything Bella commands.
We walked to class together in silence. He was probably shy like me.
You're not shy. You're a bitchy misanthrope. There's a difference.
But oh noes! The only seat left in the lab classroom is next to Edith Cullen! Beau keeps staring at her in a really creepy, stalkery way, and I think he thinks nobody is noticing, but I suspect the entire class has noticed him drooling and mumbling while staring straight at the only girl at school with metallic hair.
Her face jerked up toward mine so fast it surprised me, staring with the strangest expression—it was more than angry, it was furious, hostile.
"How dare you make me feel sexual attraction! And to a MAN, no less!"
Nobody else in the room notices or cares that Edith is hissing and snarling like a cat in a swimming pool, including the teacher. So Beau bumbles and blushes around the room, then sniffs himself to make sure he doesn't stink. At least unlike Bella, he doesn't pull his hair over his face.
"If I put this in a man-bun, people will think I'm hot!"
I kept my eyes down as I went to sit by her, confused and awkward, wondering what I could have done to earn the antagonistic glare she’d given me.
Funny how he doesn't assume that... maybe... just maybe... she's a nasty bitch.
He continues creeping on her throughout the class, even though she's made it VERY clear she's not interested. I'm not talking about a quick glance - he's describing her muscle development, her clothes, her skin, etc.
and her forearm flexed with surprisingly hard muscle beneath her pale skin.
Because GIRLS can't have hard muscle. They need to be skinnyfat like Bella!
I couldn’t help but notice how perfect that skin was. Not one freckle, not one scar.
Except that giant tattoo of a centipede on her face.
I couldn’t help but notice how perfect that skin was. Not one freckle, not one scar.
He wasn't nearly as slight as he'd looked next to his burly brother.
Yes, for a girl it's about how pretty and unmarred she is... and for a guy, it's that he's so strapping and muscular.
Was it because the day was finally ending, or because I was waiting for her tight fist to loosen?
PAY ATTENTION TO SOMETHING ELSE, YOU CREEPY FUCK.
He has LITERALLY not paid attention to anything except this girl throughout the entire class. He hasn't spoken a word to her! Somehow it's even creepier than when Bella did it.
I questioned my quick judgment on Jeremy’s sour grapes at lunch today. Maybe he wasn’t just resentful.
But of course, we'll later find out that she WUVS him so, and so Jeremy was just bitter about being rejected. Twat.
Mrs. Banner passed some quizzes back when the class was almost done. She handed me one to give to the girl. I glanced at the top automatically—one hundred percent…
SHE SO SMART! Nobody would get a hundred percent at school except a genius... and ME...
and I’d been spelling her name wrong in my head. It was Edythe, not Edith. I’d never seen it spelled that way, but it fit her better.
... "Edythe"? That sounds like a "unique" spelling of the name, by some hipster couple who want to ironically give their kid an old fuddy-duddy name.
Yes, I know "Edythe" is a legitimate, if uncommon, spelling of the name. I just don't know why Smeyer decided to go with THAT spelling instead of "Edith." But I also don't know why you would name a child "Renesmee" unless you hated it and wanted it to suffer.
I sat frozen in my seat, staring blankly after her. She was so harsh.
Dude, that was harsh, yo.
And in case you're wondering, Beau's weird stiff reaction is a change from the original book, where Bella whined He was so mean. It wasn't fair like a child, and then started crying. Because you know, woman.
And then a girl randomly comes up to Beau and... wow, he actually is NICE to her. Imagine that. He was almost rivaling Edturd for misogynistic hatred.
“Beau,” I corrected her, smiling back.
- Is there a reason no semi-prominent character in this book has a semi-ordinary name?
- Excepting Alan/Angela, who probably has two lines in the whole series.
- Was "Michaela" or "Michelle" too exotic for Smeyer?
- You know, I'm starting to wonder if the reason so many people have ordinary names in the original book is that the editor went through and told Smeyer that these names are a bit much, and could we have some more common names?
- And I'm really trying not to make jokes about Mormon names, but... let's just say that if you google "McKayla Mormon," the name "McKayla" seems to be rather common compared to "Michelle."
She seemed thrilled, though it wasn’t such a big coincidence in a school this small.
It's not THAT small if there are multiple buildings, you snobby twat.
She was the nicest person I’d met today.
Who HASN'T been nice to you, prick?
So they walk to the next class, and McKayla reveals that she noticed Edythe's giant hate-ladyboner for Beau, which isn't surprising because neither of them was being subtle.
I winced. I guess I wasn’t the only one who had noticed.
I cringed. So I wasn't the only one who had noticed.
Insert mention of how a woman "cringes," but a man doesn't. Because Man Iz Strong.
“Yeah,” she said. “She looked like she was in pain or something.”
"It was almost like you were causing her to experience heterosexual lust for the first time in her whole life."
"GAY PEOPLE DO NOT EXIST!"
"Is God yelling at us?"
So he goes off to gym and whines about how awful it is to have to take PE, even though he doesn't have to actually play.
Here P.E. was mandatory all four years. My own special version of hell.
Which is less melodramatic than Bella's oh-so-teeny Forks was literally my personal hell on Earth, but is also more awkward and stiff.
He drops by the office to drop off some paperwork, but OH NOES TEH HORROR OF AWKWARD!, Edythe is already there and trying to swap classes. Which I don't think you can do in the middle of the year.
She was arguing with him in a low, velvety voice.
Interestingly, the adjective used for Edturd's voice in the original was "attractive." But I guess women don't get that description. They just wrap their legs around each other and sleep in each other's arms.
It was impossible that a stranger could take such a sudden, intense dislike to me.
Oh no, not impossible. It's actually very likely. If I met this little prick in the street, I would beat him to the ground with a tire iron.
I wasn’t interesting enough to be worth that strong of a reaction.
That much is true.
But then the wind blows through the room, and Edythe practically hulks out with highly specific hate aimed at poor wittle Beau.
For an instant, I felt the oddest thrill of genuine fear,
Smell that? It's the smell of misogyny. Smeyer rewrote that line from For an instant, I felt a thrill of genuine fear to the one above. Beau has to NOTE that his fear is "odd" because it's caused by a woman, whereas Bella acts like fear inspired by a guy isn't surprising or odd.
Oh, and to make things worse, in the original book Bella is described as moving "meekly" and speaking in a "weak" voice, and then crying when she got back to her car. Beau? He moves "robotically" and his voice is "cracking," and he just sits in the car staring and trying to think of nothing at all.
Only one chapter in, and already I've noticed a big problem with Beau. In order to show that he's a male character, Smeyer has removed all insecurities, all weepiness, all perception of vulnerability from the character... because male characters can't have any of those things. Only women can be weak, weepy or vulnerable. Not only is this sexist, but it completely goes against her whole "oh Bella only seems weak and pathetic because she's a human" claims.
And it's not like Midnight Bum, where she was writing the same story from a different perspective, so only the dialogue was the same. She went through the exact same text and REWROTE specific words and phrases just to make Beau less weak and pathetic than Bella. The only difference between them is that he supposedly has a dick.
So yeah, Smeyer is full of shit. Big surprise.
And like the prose, Smeyer also makes Beau really boring and stiff by removing all sense of vulnerability. Yes, Bella is nasty and whiny and pathetic, but her melodramatic overreactions were at least SOMETHING. Beau doesn't really react to anything.