Twilight - Chapter One

I guess she's more of a spoon person.

Our story begins with Bella being driven to the airport by her mother with the windows rolled down. I'm not sure why Meyer felt it important enough to note the position of the windows, but there you go. After spending a paragraph describing her clothes, Bella immediately launches into a description of Forks, which will be the main setting for this story.

Mostly, she just goes on about how much she hates the place.

It was from this town and its gloomy, omnipresent shade that my mother escaped with me when I was only a few months old.

The way Bella describes it I imagine her mother clutching her infant form to her chest as she ran down darkened roads, fleeing from killers in black cloaks who seek to kill the child and offer her body in sacrifice to their Dark Lord.

It was in this town that I'd been compelled to spend a month every summer until I was fourteen. That was the year I finally put my foot down; these past three summers, my dad, Charlie, vacationed with me in California for two weeks instead.

Apparently she hates Forks so much that she can't bear to spend a single month there to spend time with her own father. If you dig a little deeper, this also gives you an idea of Bella's selfish state of mind.

When I was a kid I would vacation to North Carolina every year to stay with relatives. A city person, I'm not very fond of North Carolina, especially the part in which my folks lived. There is nothing to do and nowhere to go. It's boring. But did that matter? No. Being with family was more important to me than my own dislike of the locale. It's love of family that made the trips not only enjoyable, but worthwhile.

So what does it say about Bella's mindset that she is so obsessed with hating Forks that it completely overrides everything else? To be so selfish in her hatred of the place that she considers not going there but having less time with her father to be more desirable than going there and having more time to spend with her father?

And notice how she refers to her father by his first name, which denotes a feeling of distance on her part. I can't understand why that is. A father who would re-arrange his schedule to visit his daughter, just because said daughter had a hissy fit about having to visit him, sounds like a pretty stand up guy in my book.

(+1 Bitch) for Bella's spoiled princess attitude.

It was to Forks that I now exiled myself--an action that I took with great horror. I detested Forks.

Oh, cry me a river! (+1 Wangst)

Say whatever else you want about Bella, but I find her melodramatic choice of words entertaining. Her mother "escaped" from Forks with her? She now "exiled" herself there? I can just picture her wearing the eyelet lace she bought at Hot Topic, writing poems by candlelight about how nobody understands her as she cuts her own wrists.

Bella Swan, ladies and gents, queen of the emos.

My mom looks like me ...

Not a good description, being that your appearance hasn't even been described yet!

We also get an interesting description of her mother as a person.

I felt a spasm of panic as I stared at her wide, childlike eyes. How could I leave my loving, erratic, harebrained mother to fend for herself? Of course she had Phil now, so the bills would probably get paid, there would be food in the refrigerator, gas in her car, and someone to call when she got lost, but still ...

Childlike, unable to fend for herself, incapable of paying bills, getting groceries, pumping her own gas, or driving to places without a man to guide her.

I am by no means a sensitive person when it comes to matters of race, gender, politics, or the like. So I tend to think that when something is so obviously sexist that even I can't help but notice, there must be something terribly wrong here.

So Mrs. Completely-Incompetent-Without-A-Man practically pleads with Bella not to go, and says that she can come back at any time. From their tone, you'd think Bella was being shipped off to Iraq. She gets on the plane, and at this point I'm hoping that it crashes.

Bella comments about how she doesn't mind the flying, but she worries about having to spend an hour in a car with Charlie (her father, in case you may have forgotten, since she refrains from calling him Dad).

Neither of us was what anyone would call verbose ...

What teenager talks like that? The use of the word verbose sticks out at me. Verbose is a word you use to describe poor writing (oh the irony!) on the grounds of it being unnecessarily wordy, or an overly-wordy style of speaking. It does not describe a person's tendency to chat. A person can have a decidedly non-verbose style of speaking and still be very chatty, for example. It is simply the wrong word to use. (+1 Thesaurus Rape).

Moving along, Bella notes how her fath--I mean, Charlie, seems confused by her decision to move to Forks. So, let me get this straight. Both her parents don't know why she's going there since she hates it so much, and her mother told her, according to Bella, a thousand times that she didn't have to go; yet she's going anyway. If I'm not mistaken, she could theoretically have just stayed home and been just peachy. Also, why does it have to be Forks? Is she saying that there are no other relatives she can crash with?

In other words, this is Bella's own damned fault, and could have been easily avoided. (+1 Stupidity)

So she arrives in Forks and it is, of course, raining. This makes me wonder why this book is called Twilight if it takes place in an area that constantly rains? Wouldn't a more fitting title, in this case, be Overcast?

After complaining about the lights on her fath--I mean, Charlie's squad car the two finally meet. He asks how Renee is doing, and Bella responds with "Mom's fine." So she calls her mother "Mom," but her father "Charlie." Interesting. Bella does call Charlie "Dad" in that same sentence, but notes that she only does so because she's not allowed to call him "Charlie" to his face.

At this point I am far more interested in learning why Bella has such distant and cold feelings toward her father than anything else that's been going on so far. A good writer would have used this as subtle foreshadowing to further develop Bella's relationship with her father at a later point. Meyer, for some reason, doesn't strike me as nearly that subtle or clever.

Charlie announces that he found a car for Bella, which makes her suspicious. She asks where the car was from and Charlie mentions a man named Billy Black. Bella doesn't remember who this person is, and Charlie says that he used to go fishing with them during her summer tips to Forks. Then we get this.

That would explain why I didn't remember him. I do a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from my memory.

Such a traumatic and horrifying experience, going fishing with your dad. I bet Bella suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and wakes up nights screaming in terror. "No! Not the trout! NOT THE TROUT!"

There are people who don't have dads, or people who have dads who don't give a damn about them. Do you know how many people would treasure the memory of going fishing with their fathers? I certainly do! Not Bella Sue. No, to her a thing such as family togetherness is so painful and traumatic that she must block out the memory from her very consciousness. What ... a ... Bitch! (+1 Bitch).

Charlie says that Billy is in a wheelchair now, so he has no further need of the truck. Bella, expressing absolutely no interest in a family friend becoming crippled, asks him questions about the truck. When she finds out it's an old truck she gets so irritated that she nearly slips and calls him "Charlie," changing it to Dad at the last moment.

Already deciding that she hates the truck, she asks how much it costs. Turns out Charlie already bought it, out of his own pocket, as a gift to her. She complains yet again about forks (and I am impressed that she managed to slip yet another Forks complaint in there) and looks out the windows.

Everything was green: the trees, their trunks covered with moss, their branches hanging with a canopy of it, the ground covered with ferns. Even the air filtered down greenly through the leaves.

It was too green--an alien planet.

I can only assume from this that Bella hates nature. She complains about rain, and now she's complaining about plant life? What's next, will find out that she also hates puppies?

So they reach Charlie's house and Bella makes an interesting comment about her parent's marriage.

Those were the only kind of days their marriage had--the early ones.

I find myself wondering more and more about Bella's parents, who seem much more interesting to me than Bella Sue.

So she loves the truck, and even while she praises the vehicle she still manages to sneak in yet another complaint about Forks, commenting on how having the truck will make the next horrific day less dreadful. My urge to bitch smack Bella rises.

She has a look at her room, unpacks, and then proceeds to resume her role as queen of the emos.

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.

(+1 Wangst)

Bella thinks about going to school the next day and complains about how she'll never fit in, how she'd be a freak. She whines about how no one gets along with her, how she doesn't relate to people, how she and her own mother are never on the same page, and so on, and so forth, until she finally cries herself to sleep.

I didn't sleep well that night, even after I was done crying.

Yeah, I was not kidding. She literally cried herself to sleep. After that last bit of wangst I was actually trying to resist the urge to give her another wanngst point, but if crying one's self to sleep doesn't count for wangst, I don't know what does. (+1 Wangst).

Yet more complaining about rain and Forks.

You could never see the sky here; it was like a cage.

Alright, enough already, I get it! Forks is a horrible, horrible place! If I agree to accept that statement as fact, will you agree to shut the hell up about it already?

Charlie left first, off to the police station that was his wife and family.

Meyer keeps throwing in these interesting tidbits about Bella's parents that really makes me wish she'd develop their characters more. I think she could have written the books almost entirely about Bella's family and it would have been better. But that's just me. I tend to like actual drama rather than this contrived, artificial drama Bella is creating (Oh my God, a place where it RAINS! How horrible!).

This is expanded upon when Bella notes how Charlie keeps pictures of him and his wife together, and pictures of Bella throughout her school years (which Bella wants removed).

After some unnecessary narration Bella finally arrives at school. She enters the office and, being her nature-hating self, complains about the presence of potted plants. She also complains about one of the staff recognizing her name, immediately assuming that it's because she's a topic of scandalous gossip. It couldn't possibly have anything to do with, I don't know, the fact that she had been registered at the school shortly before and was therefore expected. This once again shows us just how full of herself Bella is.

After slipping in a quick Forks insult, she goes to her class. It turns out that the other students are naturally curious about the newcomer, and she meets a boy named Eric, who Bella seems to either immediately dislike or, at best, tolerate. It's also interesting how Bella chooses to describe Eric.

... a gangly boy with skin problems and hair as black as an oil slick ...

Is this rather cold treatment of Eric, then, based on the boy's looks? I wonder.

Overall everyone is being very nice to Bella. People try to talk to her, show her to her classes, and are helpful overall. It's a very nice reception, as good as any new kid at school can hope for.

Naturally, Bella hates every moment of it. She pretty much ignores everyone.

And then she sees the Cullens and marvels at how beautiful and pale and statuesque they all look.

Every one of them was chalky pale, the palest of all the students living in this sunless town. Paler than me, the albino. They all had very dark eyes despite the range in hair tones. They also had dark shadows under those eyes--purplish bruiselike shadows. As if they were all suffering from a sleepless night, or almost done recovering from a broken nose.

The image that immediately pops into my head?

Why so serious?

But all this is not why I couldn't look away.

Oh good. So the beauty you went at lengths to describe isn't why you're staring. Tell me, then, why are you staring?

I stared because their faces, so different, so similar, were all devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful.

But ... you were just describing how beautiful you think they are, then you say that's not why you're looking, then immediately say that's exactly why you're looking? That doesn't make any sense!

They were the faces you never expected to see except on the airbrushed pages of a fashion magazine. Or painted by an old master as the face of an angel.

Oh that does it! (+1 Purple Prose)

They talk about the Cullens some more. At this point, reading this really starts getting painful. It takes an act of will for me to get through the sheer inanity of this scene. So let me sum it up for you: The Cullens are beautiful, the Cullens are perfect, and the Cullens are graceful. The end.

Bella walks into Biology class, meets Edward, and Edward then proceeds to jizz in his pants.

After class Bella meets Mike, who she describes as the nicest person so far. Mike makes a comment about how Edward was acting strange and says, "if I were lucky enough to sit by you, I would have talked to you."

It kind of makes me wonder why Bella treats him like dirt later in the book.

Forks was literally my own Hell on Earth.

Why? Where is this horribleness about Forks you refuse to stop reminding us about? Your father seems like a nice guy, the kids at school (except for Edward) practically threw you a welcoming parade. Everyone seems to be going out of their way to help you adjust and be comfortable. Why is this place so bad? I'm not seeing it.

It was impossible that this stranger could take such a sudden, intense dislike to me.

Why not? I certainly did.

... his face was absurdly handsome--with piercing, hate-filled eyes. For an instant, I felt a thrill of genuine fear, raising the hair on my arms.

And it seems that Bella is an instant away from having an orgasm as if she's doing an Herbal Essences commercial. (+1 Eye Sex)

Finally Bella retreats to her truck after complaining about Forks some more. Meanwhile I am shaking my head and wondering "this is our protagonist, this vapid, whiny, bitch?" She tries not to cry on the way home because Edward was mean to her, while at the same time I am trying to hold back tears of joy that this chapter is finally over.

I need a drink.

Final Tally:

Bitch + 2
Wangst + 3
Thesaurus Rape + 1
Stupidity + 1
Purple Prose + 1
Eye Sex + 1