Let’s Read Life and Death: Chapter Three

The good news is that the looming partner abuse still sounds and feels uncomfortable as hell.

The bad news is this means I lose my fantasy of getting a decent Edythe out of this.

Phenomenon

It snowed overnight, and ice covers everything. Beau drives to school, mindful of how slick/dangerous everything is. There’s a few nods to his original counterpart’s being ~so clumsy~ but it honestly feels like a non-issue in Life and Death. Maybe this is because a tall skinny teenage boy is assumed to already be clumsy and it hardly feels necessary to remark on it. Oh, no, my mistake, it’s exactly the same with the genders switched. (chant with me: exactly the same)

At school, Beau realizes Charlie had gotten up early to put snow chains on his truck tires. We get a little more detail on how this blindsides and overwhelms the kid–he was taking care of the grown child that is Renée for so long that he forgot parents are supposed to do this kind of thing. It’s actually kind of a nice touch.

Then Taylor (aka Tyler) comes a-crashin’ in with her infamous van.

Even though this happens just like so fast, you guys, the crash takes two or three pages to resolve. Beau’s standing there all like, “what,” Edythe teleports in and shoulders the van/lifts it away from him. With a few cosmetic edits, the scene is largely the same as it was in Twilight, though we do have this:

And then there was her family, looking on from a distance, with expressions that ranged from disapproval (Eleanor) to fury (Royal), but held no hint of concern for their little sister’s safety.

I probably don’t need to tell you that in Twilight, Edward is never referred to as a “little brother.” I like Edythe as diminutive and angry–I do not like her as the Littlest Vampire Virgin. Ugh, that’s where this is going, isn’t it?

Beau repeats endlessly for another eight pages just how crazy it was that Edythe saved him.

All I could come up with was that I was having a psychotic episode. I didn’t feel crazy, but maybe crazy people always felt sane.

Thanks, dick. We don’t.

Everyone ignores Taylor, who is literally injured, in favor of treating Beau like a fragile glass figurine. I mean, Edythe is basically indestructible, so I can see where this is coming from. “You are so nerdy and frail, please do not cry to death (this is something mortals can do, right?)” But the whole damn school is so concerned for Beau, a guy who has really done nothing but make awkward small talk with everyone and stare at the unfriendly hotties.

Dr. Cullen arrives, and her description makes no sense:

Like someone sliced up Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, and Marilyn Monroe, took the best parts, and glued them together to form one goddess.

Not only does this give me no clear idea of what she looks like other than “pretty and white,” this is maybe the grossest mental image ever? Please keep Frankenhepburn’s monster away from me.

The good doctor diagnoses Beau (ignoring Taylor, who is actually really injured), and sends him off. Beau corners Edythe in an attempt to get her to confess that she has superpowers. Edythe gets really mean–like not even the cool kind of mean I like in a tough girl, just freaking rude.

“You think I lifted a van off you?” Her tone questioned my sanity, but there was something off. […]

I just nodded once.

She smiled, hard and mocking. “Nobody will believe that, you know.”

Yikes. Turn it down a bit there, Anton.

Edythe gets pissed that Beau won’t leave her the hell alone about it, and Beau thinks about “how beautiful her anger was.” Between the gaslighting and the trivializing each other’s emotions, these two might really be perfect for each other.

Charlie takes Beau home and sheepishly admits he called Mom. Beau talks down his (irrational, hysterical) mother.

Team Taylor’s Van

If I were a professional editor (which I will be some day), I would lecture Meyer for having the first real thing to actually happen not happen until page 51. She cheated with the prologue (something it looks like she never grew out of), taking a random excerpt of plot and dropping it right at the beginning as a way of plumping up a reader’s expectations. She fluffed the plot, if you will. For the first 50 pages, literally the only plot relevant things that happen are:

  1. Beau moves to Forks
  2. Edythe is extremely rude to him on his first day at high school

There are ways to make this work (I was 150 pages into American Gods before I realized that nothing had happened). Taking me through a point-by-point list of Beau’s mundane schedule is not one of those ways.

Then, when something does happen–Beau misses being ground into a fine paste on the front fender of Taylor’s van–it is dragged out to a ridiculous extent. This is one of the shorter chapters in the book, believe it or not, but the whole of it is “Beau is nearly hit by a van, Edythe rescues him, Beau harasses her about it for eight pages.”

Pacing is not Meyer’s strong suit, is what I’m saying.

I’m, ah… disappointed in Edythe. There’s being aloof, cool, maybe a little callous, and then there’s targeted meanness. I guess it speaks to consistency that I’m still freaked out by Ed’s behavior toward the main character. But on top of that, we have B’s pushiness. When I was reading about Bella, I considered it a necessary survival tactic for Edward’s bizarre, vaguely dangerous treatment of her. Having seen it in Beau, now, it feels like a lack of respect for Edythe’s privacy, and an unwillingness to accept “no.”

Basically, no matter how you look at it, B and E are awful, and they’re awful to each other.

The next chapter is one of those out-of-place prophetic dreams Bella/Beau kept having with no explanation (more fluffing the plot), and I think there’s a dance coming? Wait, didn’t Bella and Jessica go dress shopping in Port Angeles? What wacky male antics will Beau and Jeremy get up to instead?

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