New Moon

Ever since I finished Twilight last week, I’ve been waiting ever so patiently for New Moon to arrive. I don’t buy books anymore (long story, topic for a future post), so I rely on the incredible Los Angeles County Public Library as my corner “book dealer” of sorts. It usually takes less than a week to get my hands on a hot title, so it took approximately five days to acquire New Moon, five excruciatingly boring days in which I filled my down time with such activities as figuring out if there really is “525,600 minutes” in a year. There is, says my trusty calculator. And then I asked my boyfriend, “Is that really how you measure a year?” In which he replied, “Don’t mention that musical again!”

Not exactly my shining moment…

And then yesterday New Moon arrived! I started it yesterday evening, finished it this afternoon. I am officially exhausted. My eyes are weary from overuse, my skin is pale from too much time out of the sun. All in all, I’d say it was a day well spent. Like its predecessor Twilight, New Moon is just that damn good! I tried to pace myself so the book could last me a week, but I felt like a reader possessed by the almighty cliffhanger and I just had to know the next chapter in Bella Swan and Edward Cullen’s tumultuous love affair.

If Twilight is about finding love, New Moon is about losing love. Bella gets dumped…and not gently. She gets her heart ripped out and stomped on and we learn that Edward Cullen, beautiful, talented, tortured vampire, is, above all things, a bad breaker-upper. And I thought they were so happy together! They went to prom at the end of Twilight. Prom! Doesn’t that mean anything to him! Apparently not…that pasty bastard!

For reasons that I can only surmise as irreconcilable human-vampire differences, Edward and the rest of the Cullen clan got the hell out of Forks and left Bella to approximately 500+ pages of lovesick, self-destructive mopping over Edward. In that time, sparks fly between Bella and Jacob Black, who is, incidentally, a teen werewolf and sworn enemy of the vampires. The plot thickens…

I have a natural propensity toward sarcasm, so bare it no mind. I love this sequel! Yes, I’ve read about other bloggers’ irritation with Bella’s lack of self-esteem and apparent absence of a personality outside of her love with Edward. However, Bella never irritated me enough to stop me from turning the page. I only wished that Bella could have done two things differently: she should have just given in and kissed Jacob and she should have slapped Edward during their reunion. He deserved it. He would have taken it like a man and then romanced her afterward.

Instead, when she had a second chance at happiness with Jacob, she persisted in torturing herself with Edward memorabilia. Sick. And when she should have told Edward off, she begged his forgiveness. Forgiveness for what? He dumped her and messed up half her year with his complicated mind games. I wanted to shout at her: “Where’s your self-respect?” Just because she loved him didn’t mean she’s prohibited from speaking her mind.

But it wouldn’t be fair to hold it against Bella for her crippling sense of unworthiness. Self-confidence is something you build through experience and 18 year old Bella Swan has a long way to go. In this respect, I can see why she’s so dead sure Edward is the love of her life. Their romance, as mentioned in the book, is like Romeo and Juliet’s fiery love affair. Young love: there’s no reason about it, just go with it.
Not that I don’t like Edward. He’s the teenage Byronic hero, the Heathcliff of Forks, Washington if you will. The Heathcliffs of the world are hard men to love. Oh, why do girls always fall for men who treat them like crap? It’s like going out with James Dean: who would turn down a date with James Dean? At the same time, you know you won’t be very happy because he’s got all that inner pain, convoluted angst…not exactly a stroll through the mall, eh?

The thing is, I liked Jacob. He occupies the thankless role of “the other man” and if you’ve seen a few romantic comedies, you’ll know that this character is a placeholder, a complication in the romance between the title lovers. In the movies, “the other man” is always screwed over and, consequently, he’s always played by James Marsden. In the book, Jacob Black is compared to Paris in Romeo and Juliet, but Jacob is so much more than a just a placeholder. He’s complicated, dark, animalistic, and a serious contender for Bella’s affection. Jacob certainly does complicate things; were I Bella Swan, I would be unable to decide between these two boys.

Bella Swan should feel better about herself. She has two handsome boys: one a sophisticated vampire, the other a hot-blooded young werewolf, both are mortal enemies, both are in love with her. That’s, for lack of a better adjective, hot…

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