I'm reading this on Kindle, so I don't have page numbers - sorry. I'm going to assume that most of you have read the books multiple times however; so if I keep things together within each chapter, most of you will probably still know what's going on and "where I'm at" within the story. I'm just reading and inserting my thoughts as I go, and I AM trying to keep in mind that I have a heated slant toward this stuff - so I'm trying to be fair...
Preface: When life offers you a dream so far beyond any of your expectations, it’s not reasonable to grieve when it comes to an end.
Really – Dang, Edward better be GOOD! I’m not sure how I feel about this blurb, yet – I think I need to finish the whole story before I can form a complete opinion. But I AM wondering what the heck she means by this (yeah, I wondered about the variation of this in the movie at the time, too).
1) First Sight
It was to Forks that I now exiled myself – an action that I took with great horror (really, horror?). I detested Forks. …I’d already said my goodbyes to the Sun.
Bella doesn’t know Forks well enough to detest it as much as she does, yet - as I've said in my introduction to this reading adventure. BTW, it ISN’T a very good sacrifice if you really feel as bad as Bella seems to when you sacrifice something like this for someone else that you love. Bella should be taking things in stride and feeling good about her decision, even if she is nervous about her new life. But, she’s obviously miserable. That's not sacrificing - that's being passive-aggressive because she is resenting the "sacrifice" she is making; and she's trying to make us all feel sympathetic about her predicament by talking up this sacrifice of hers to us like this.
Charlie gave me an awkward, one-armed hug when I stumbled my way off the plane… automatically caught and steadied me. “You haven’t changed much.”
I didn’t realize Bella’s clumsiness started THIS bad ASAP in the book, sheesh! When people would say that Bella is written to be such an unbelievable klutz – I assumed they were exaggerating, ha!
…I wasn’t allowed to call him Charlie to his face. Again, WHY doesn't Charlie deserve to be called "Dad"? THIS is a guy who deserves it whether he was physically present or not in her life up to this point. He doesn't seem like an absentee Dad. If he was, then Stephenie should have written the story that way. Being a Dad who does not live with you is DIFFERENT from being a Dad who is not interested in you or your life. Charlie seems like the kind of Dad who would call and send you more than a measly $5 on your birthdays.
That would explain why I didn’t remember him (Billy Black). I do a good job of blocking painful, unnecessary things from my memory.
I REALLY doubt going fishing with her Father and Billy – and probably Jacob – was a memory SO painful to be forgotten.
No need to add that my being happy in Forks is an impossibility. He (Charlie) didn’t need to suffer along with me. This is another very passive-aggressive statement. She's trying to give us the impression of how selfless she is by not "making" her Father suffer through this torture along with her...
Talking about her new/old truck… it was one of those solid iron AFFAIRS (what is the connotation of this word? I’m sure it doesn’t belong here) that never gets damaged. AND, doesn't this sound like something an older WOMAN would say?
After Bella arrives at Charlie’s place, she talks about putting her stuff away and saving the “crying jag” for bedtime, later. You know, Bella doesn’t seem to me to be the type of girl to bawl over something like this. She’s supposed to be 17ish, right? She’s not going to be having a “crying jag” over this – maybe a few scared, lonely tears – but not a “jag” (what the hell is a “jag”, anyway? Good thing we’re all good at guessing, ha!)
I’m noticing how Bella is going on and on about how pale she is and how she will never fit in because she looks so unusual and she acts/thinks so oddly – really? Being pale and/or extra-white is NOT unusual NOR is it a telling sign that your fate is to become a Vampire, someday… I’m really hoping this isn’t supposed to be some sort of “clue” regarding why Edward eventually becomes so attracted to Bella. I know, I’m thinking ahead too far – but it seems to me that she is trying to be conspicuous about this point.
Is it my imagination, or does Bella go on and on about the specifics of her personality – she doesn’t fit in anywhere, she doesn’t think or act like anyone else – ever, she’s so pale that she sticks out, etc. These things should be being SHOWN through the story – not being said & promoted by Bella, herself. It’s like she’s trying to convince us all that she’s both cool and uncool at the same time – she’s giving us her own opinion of herself, over and over and over again. THAT’S NOT HOW YOU PORTRAY A CHARACTER’S PERSONALITY, you SHOW character’s personalities via their words & actions, etc. Narrative explanations should be at a minimum.
Plants grew everywhere in pots as if there wasn’t enough greenery outside. WHAT does Bella have against greenery and/or plants, ha! I mean, I’ve lived in Arizona & California, too – and the Sun is really very very nice; but jeez, she just seems to be a little “too” on the anti-greenery side. What ELSE doesn’t she like? We get this already, she hates Forks because it’s lush and green, and she’s used to things being brown and dry – Ok, lets move on!
As Bella is nervously thinking about walking into school on her first day… No one was going to bite me. Ahhhh... TeeHee… we ARE reading a Vampire story after all, aren’t we? THIS is a definitive “fanfiction” line, and as cute as it is – I seriously DOUBT it is one that a professional editor would have left in. Maybe, it IS cute in a quirky kind of way, lol!
I took the slip up to the teacher, a tall, balding man whose desk had a nameplate identifying him as Mr. Mason. (Ok, I know that Edward’s original last name is “Mason”… THIS name thrown in here, while it IS a perfectly normal sounding name for a teacher or anyone; seems like Stephenie just thought up some bland-teacher-name on the spot and then never went back and changed it after she decided that it would make a good last name for Edward, too. No, it’s not that big of a deal… But unrelated, duplicate names like this are strange in a story that you’re reading. It isn’t very professional.
Definitely over-helpful… Gosh, Eric is a MEAN boy!
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. THIS is NOT a line that a teenager would normally think or say. It IS, however, a line that you might hear an over 30-something woman say! I’m just saying…
I KNOW that Bella is supposed to act older than she is... But until Stephenie's writing convinces me that she ACTUALLY WROTE it that way on purpose instead of accidentally leaving herself in here and then trying to cover her tracks with that excuse - lines like these will stick out.
Bella should maybe ACT older, but she should STILL have the voice and use the words of a teenager.
We sat at the end of a full table with several of her friends, who (shouldn't this be "whom"? I get who & whom mixed up. I'm terrible at grammar too, Stephenie, ha!) she introduced to me. I forgot all their names as soon as she spoke them. They seemed to be impressed by her bravery in speaking to me. (Does Bella not seem really really full of herself, or what? For someone who is supposed to be so observant and smart, she’s SO uninterested that she doesn’t remember any of their names?)
“Apparently none of the girls here are good-looking enough for him.” She sniffed, a clear case of sour grapes… This is another line that is NOT in line with a teenager’s thoughts – it’s an older woman’s who is familiar with this saying.
So, this is really starting to irritate me… Bella can’t remember any of the people’s names she just met; BUT she is honed in on the details of Edward’s reactions (whom she has just became aware of) in the lunchroom to the extent that she notices the most unusually-detailed expressions on his face and gives them her supposedly-teenage interpretations. She doesn’t talk OR think like a teenager!
When she enters the classroom after lunch, Bella “recognized Edward Cullen by his unusual hair” – really?! She couldn’t recognize him by his FACE at that point?
I watched him SURREPTITIOUSLY – I had to look this word up. I’ve never heard of it; and I’m willing to bet that most young adults have never heard of it much less used it OR thought it! It means “secretively” – what was wrong with using THAT word, Stephenie – or clandestine or stealthy? You know, a word that we’re FAMILIAR with.
“Was that the boy I sat next to in Biology?” I asked ARTLESSLY. Hmmm...
He (Mike) was friendly and clearly admiring.
Forks was literally my personal hell on Earth.
Getting back into her truck at the end of the first day of school… It seemed like a haven, already the closest thing to home I had in this damp green hole.
At the end of this first chapter, I’m not even sort of identifying with Bella, yet… Her character seems erratic and all of her “problems” seem forced - like she’s making them up and making them into a big deal as she goes. And, she keeps doing things like telling us she's shy - but she doesn't talk or think like she's shy. She's actually very forward and judgmental in her descriptions.
You know what this story reminds me of so far? It DOES seem like the beginnings of a really good story – BUT, it also seems like it is a story that is still a little rough in the draft. Like, it needed more time to be developed. I am definitely getting the impression that the character of Bella is seriously underdeveloped.
It feels like our/the readers thoughts are being “herded” – I don’t really know how to explain it. Like Stephenie is trying to control where she wants our thoughts to go, instead of just letting the story take us to the conclusions she’s trying to get us to. It’s weird…
If I didn't know any better, I'd say that Stephenie hadn't "found Bella's voice", yet. I've read where she says that Bella & Edward's conversations were pretty incessant in her head for awhile - but interactive conversations are not personalities. A character's "voice" needs both or their words are "just words" without much intent or meaning behind them. Bella's character should have been pretty solidified for us by the end of this first chapter.