Let’s Read Life and Death: Chapter Five

I’ve been making it more of a habit to flag down bits of Life and Death that strike me as potentially edited lines, and it’s starting to pay off in, uh, weird ways. Don’t get me wrong–there are parts of this book I actually like. There are also an equal or greater number of parts that are making me claw at my face a little more than I usually would.

The gist of it is, sometimes Meyer leaves things be, sometimes she changes them, and there’s such an even chance it will be either a bad or good idea that I wonder if she edited this by way of a roulette wheel or a dart board.

Blood Type

Beau walks into class late because he’s in a daze from Edythe asking him on a pseudo-date. He says something about how Edythe “confuses his reality.” Maybe it would be because she’s a super villain with unholy powers? No, actually: according to Beau, her taking any sort of interest in him is way weirder than her body-checking a freaking van.

Edythe isn’t at her table at lunch, and Beau falls into a deep depression that lasts approximately four minutes because Edythe was really just sitting at a different table.

Her dimples flashed as soon as she knew I’d seen her. She raised one hand and motioned with her index finger for me to join her. As I stared, not entirely believing my own eyes, she winked.

O-oh. Okay. Phew, it got a little warm in here.

Beau sits with her at lunch, and in the span of a few lines she goes from cheeky and alluring to downright creepy again.

“I decided as long as I was going to hell, I might as well do it thoroughly.”

Jesus, really? Meyer kept this line? It doesn’t make it go down any smoother coming out of Edythe’s mouth rather than Edward’s.

“I’m tired of trying to stay away from you. So I’m giving up.” The smile was fading, and her eyes were serious by the end.

“Giving up?” I repeated.

“Yes–giving up trying to be good. I’m just going to do what I want now, and let the chips fall where they may.” The smile disappeared completely, and a hard edge crept into her silky voice.

Jesus. It probably helps to have a little context here–Edward (and presumably Edythe) used to murder people. Like, for fun. Or justice. I think she only killed the bad ones?

cool-motive-still-murder

And the reason E has trouble staying away from B is B smells like the best homemade Southern pecan pie you can imagine. Edythe’s basically saying “I’m just gonna hope I don’t kill and eat you, haha!”

That said, this conversation doesn’t go nearly as terribly as it did with Edward and Bella–Bella simmering with fury, Edward taking turns negging her and outright threatening her. There’s still the ridiculous “I think you were bitten by radioactive spiders” exchange, because I guess Meyer thought that was quality writing. Five and a half pages of them exchanging stilted dialogue basically amounts to

Beau: I think you might be like, different. Maybe.

Edythe: Oh, well, uh, I’m like evil and stuff, lol

Beau: No, you’re too pretty to be evil.

Edythe: Stay away from me tho because I’m really evil.

Beau: No, your prettiness

Edythe: Evil

Etcetera.

Edythe is skipping science class and Beau leaves her so he isn’t late. Guess what, it’s the BLOOD TYPING SCENE. Without a word of warning, or even asking for permission, the science teacher begins handing out cards and making students bleed. It’s an angry PTA board meeting waiting to happen. Beau feels faint and nearly passes out, because blood horrifies and disgusts him.

See… here’s the thing. Beau (and Bella)’s flaw is supposed to be “they’re accident-prone and clumsy,” when it could just as easily have been “they are extremely hemophobic.” Instead of it being a throwaway joke (and later a shaky justification for why B would be a blood-free vampire in Breaking Dawn) it could have been, like, a crucial plot thread. A really solid physical reason why the mortal and the vampire can’t be together without strife.

Whatever. I’m not the millionaire.

McKayla walks Beau to the nurse’s office, until Edythe swoops in and rescues him from mortal mediocrity. And color me surprised, because much like in Twilight, Edythe flippin’ carries Beau to the nurse’s office. Be still, my heart!!

Of course, this is short lived.

“I have a weak vasovagal system,” I muttered. “It’s just a neurally mediated syncope.”

This is new to the text. Because men like Beau don’t faint, they have vasovagal syncopes.

(Fun story: the only time I was present when someone passed out was in a high school science class. It was a guy. We were dissecting chickens.)

Then the school nurse shows up, an older gentleman–Meyer doesn’t flinch away from calling him a nurse! My head is spinning, I’m dancing the damn hokey-pokey trying to keep up with where she makes good decisions. Beau lays there for a while, marveling at how big and strong Edythe is, and another couple of kids come in fainting from the blood testing (the science teacher is on a rampage and nothing can slake her thirst). Edythe insists they bail and Beau does so without complaint.

“You actually listened to me,” she said, surprised.

“I smelled the blood.” […]

“People can’t smell blood,” Edythe contradicted.

Yes they freaking can. Why is this line still in here??

McKayla is upset that Edythe is still lingering around Beau, but they talk about the looming trip to the La Push beach anyway. Edythe is specifically not invited–not that she wants to go, anyway. Wait, La Push means… the other love interest soon?? Oh gosh, I’m actually a little excited.

Edythe bails Beau out of school entirely and insists on driving him home, herself, even though he’s fine. In the original Twilight, this scene is much more frightening–Edward is “outraged” and “indignant,” physically forcing Bella into his car, and threatening her with “I’ll just drag you back” if she tries to leave. Either Meyer realized this was scary as hell or she decided that since Edythe is just so little and petite and feminine, she wouldn’t possibly try to boss Beau around like that.

Beau takes a moment to shore up his manhood:

So, this small girl was stronger than I was. A lot. But I was willing to bet she was stronger than everyone else I knew, kids and adults alike. She could take Schwarzenegger in his prime. I couldn’t compete with that, and I didn’t need to. She was special.

He came real close to letting a woman’s strength emasculate him, but decided it didn’t after all–because her strength doesn’t count. Cut this paragraph in its entirety, and nothing changes, except I don’t get to hiss through my teeth in impotent rage.

Edythe pulls a “I can’t let you go home alone in your condition,” he’s all, “what condition,” and she responds with “I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you have a weak vasovagal system.” Which is actually kind of funny.

On the way to Beau’s place, Edythe asks about his mother. Beau describes her, thankfully refraining from going into detail about how childish and helpless she is, and finishes with “She was my best friend.” This was in the original Twilight but didn’t hit me as hard five years ago. There are moments when I genuinely like Beau.

But they’re followed by things like this:

“Do you think I could be scary?” She raised on eyebrow.

[…] Her features were so delicate, so symmetrical. Her face would stop anyone in his tracks, but it wouldn’t make him run in the other direction. The opposite.

“It’s kind of hard to imagine that,” I admitted.

She frowned to herself.

“But I mean, I’m sure you could be, if you wanted to.”

Edward is JUST scary. There’s no “that’s hard to imagine, you’re just so delicate and pretty,” he just “COULD BE SCARY.”

“And you probably want your truck back before Chief Swan gets home and you have to explain about the syncopal episode.”

She was good with the medical jargon, but then, her mother was a doctor.

Wh-b-but Beau knows the words “vasovagal” and “syncopal!” Why does Edythe have to literally be related to a doctor before she could possibly know these words?? fffffFFFFF

pbflipstable

All right.

Count to ten.

Edythe won’t be at school, she’s going bear hunting er, hiking with Eleanor and they’re starting the weekend early. Edythe cautions Beau against getting hurt while she’s gone, he seems “to be one of those people who just attract accidents like a magnet.” This isn’t a new line, but Edythe isn’t nearly as pushy and aggressive as Edward, so it feels less like a neg and more the like genuine concern it’s supposed to be.

Oh, and she stole Beau’s car keys.

She Was Special

I’ve made it a joke among friends how ambivalent I am with this damn book. For every fifteen pages of drudging boredom, there’s a line or paragraph that sends me into a frothing rage. Yes, there’s some stuff I like–maybe if we could stitch them all together, we’d have something worthwhile and moving.

I’m very angry at this chapter, and maybe I’m not giving it a fair chance.

I wish I knew whether Meyer was scaling back Edythe’s violence because she recognized it as violence (ideal), or because she thought “girl Edward” wouldn’t be as aggressive (less than freaking ideal). There are certainly moments where Edythe is allowed to be strong–the van scene is still there, and she physically carries Beau when he’s sick. But there were several more throwaway adjectives in this chapter pointing out how “little,” “small,” and “delicate” she is, completely unnecessary words used only to remind us that Edythe may be strong, but not too strong. Not strong in the way that makes Beau less of a man–can you even imagine?

Edward got to be “lanky” and “boyish,” and did you know these are perfectly acceptable adjectives to apply to women, too? Need I remind you of Stewart?:

shorthair-kstew

Or even (life goals/wife goals) Jovovich?

I mean, if Meyer just wanted to write a new novel with all new characters, that’s one thing. But you can’t tell me this is a “girl version of Edward” when the only things they share are a couple of terrible lines.

The next chapter is the one where they go to the beach and we get to see Miss Black!! I may have been spoiled on her name but I’ll hold off on presenting it until I actually read the chapter.

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