Saturday, November 21, 2009
CHROLS--New Moon Book Thoughts, I
I finished New Moon this morning. Hmmm. Want to say I liked it and liked the books so far, but I can’t say I do. I’m still only barely sympathetic to Bella (and if it weren’t for Kristen Stewart playing her in the movies, I know I’d like her even less!), and I’m now less sympathetic to Edward than I used to be.
Overall, I still like Charlie, and I like the Cullens, and the La Push wolves, and Billy and Emily. To me, their ongoing struggle to transcend their biology and live in a new way that overcomes their baser urges and live with love and as family is the only really compelling part of the novels. Bella’s line to Jacob to the effect of “It isn’t what you are, it’s what you do” that is the heart of the story and the only thing (besides urging from all of you) that keeps me mildly interested in finishing any of the books. The Volturi were kind of fun (especially Aro) but at their glee when the tourists came to their lair for dinner, I lost interest in them.
The major exasperation to me, and where Edward fell many notches in my mind (though he still gets points for choosing the Cullen way of being), is how both Bella and he clearly hate themselves. (I know some people really do care this little for themselves so perhaps it's good to get a glimpse into this kind of mindset, but I just don't enjoy spending time there.) This mutual self-loathing causes them to cling so tightly together—they are each other’s fix—in ways that make me completely uncomfortable. And this is especially bad—-harmful to people, even-—because Meyer thinks, and I think that most readers must think, that theirs is some great love story when it’s really just major dysfunction. Romeo and Juliet are NOT models for genuine love yet Meyer and others hold their story up that way. These books (so far, at least) are, like that play, heroin for romance junkies. “If only I can find my one and only, I will be complete…” “I’d rather have him here with me for just a few more minutes and die than face life without him.” “I can’t live in a world without you in it…” Holy crap! That’s obsession, not love. It’s unhealthy, and far too many people who don't get that will feel badly that they have never felt so deeply about another that they will think there is something wrong with them. I know I need to give folks more credit than that but here in the midst of New Moon mania it's hard to think there is a lot of deep self-reflection going on. (Of course, much of it may simply be because of beautiful boys and beautiful abs and women now feeling empowered to lust much more openly than they used to.... I hope it's mostly that!)
I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m really feeling pretty worked up right now. Sorry to be so blunt! Please fire back and help mellow me!