Let’s Read Life and Death: Chapter Eight

Last night I was going over my to-do list in my head, and when I got to “write a Let’s Read post” I realized that this is the Port Angeles chapter. Like, it’s even called, “Port Angeles.” Oh man! Stuff happens in this chapter. Like, intense stuff. That said, I can’t imagine Meyer would keep the “bunch of thugs attempt to sexually assault the main character” (call it a hunch), so I wonder how many more times I’ll get to chant “pretty much the same.”

I’m actually from the PNW, like probably some of you. I remember having a lot of issues with her portrayal of PA in the original Twilight—namely that it isn’t a place known for its back alley rape gangs. I wonder if she did a little more research for the second go.

Port Angeles

Beau, Jeremy, and Allen shop for corsages. It takes all of two paragraphs—for reference, Bella and co. shopped for dresses for several pages. Beau fishes for more Cullen info with the guys but they don’t know a whole lot. Jeremy wants to go buy a video game (because he’s a guy, right), and they split up.

Beau gets lost thinking about Edythe and how great she is and how she might be a vampire. He stumbles into one of those dark Port Angeles alleys we’ve heard so much about, where a group of ruffians with a gun mistake him for a cop. Because, see, in a part I was sure was a throwaway in the first chapter, Beau actually ran into one of those people at the airport when Charlie was picking him up. They assume Beau is a cop because they saw him with one. Okay. So I guess no one’s going to try raping him in this one…? Nailed it.

They stalk him for a few pages and there’s something going on they really don’t want him to know about so they’re going to try shooting him whether he’s a cop or not. I don’t know if this is going to ever pan out into anything or if Meyer’s just grasping for something that sounds all manly and terrifying. Edythe shows up out of nowhere in the vampmobile and rescues him. She has a moment where she really wants to go like, kill and eat the bad guys, but Beau deters her and they drive off.

It’s uh, actually kind of cool. She’s really cool in this part. Edward was a real dick in the Twilight version, but Edythe is cold and furious and concerned for Beau. He doesn’t ruin it by reflecting on how weird it is to be saved by a girl, he’s just really glad to see her and stupidly thinking about how pretty she is.

Also, it looks like Meyer did read up on Port Angeles just a bit:

“It’s completely ridiculous!” It seemed like she was working herself up again. “Who gets murdered in Port Angeles? What is it with you, Beau? Why does everything deadly come looking for you?”

Haha, good.

They track down Beau’s friends, who are just about to head into a movie. Bella’s friends in Twilight were just on their way out of a restaurant, I’m uh, not sure why this was changed. But Beau admits to Edythe he’s got no interest in this movie and they bugger off to dinner. Or, as Edythe puts it, she makes Beau take her to dinner. I… guess.

The restaurant is unnamed in this version! Which is kind of a shame. Bella Italia made bank off being the first restaurant Meyer found when she googled “Italian restaurant Port Angeles” ten years ago, and now she’s withdrawing the endorsement? I see how it is.

Beau and Edythe have what is I suppose their first date. Beau gets the special without thinking about it too much, Edythe doesn’t eat, and Beau accuses her of “hypnotizing” people with her dimples. What’s this…? No dazzling?? Is “dazzle” just not a masculine enough word?

Edythe attempts to diagnose if Beau is in shock over just barely not being, like, murdered. When he admits to being cold, she offers him her scarf.

She cocked her head to the side. “The hairs on the back of your neck are standing up, Beau,” she stated. “It’s not a lady scarf, if that’s what’s bothering you. I stole it from Archie.”

One, Beau would be bothered by “a lady scarf,” wouldn’t he? Jerk.

“Do you steal a lot of things from, um, Archie?”

She shrugged. “He has the best taste.”

Two, omg, she shares clothes with Archie?? I kind of love that?? I would be delighted if Archie still manages to be my favorite in this. Meyer keeps insisting that Edythe has long hair but I’m stridently clinging to my vision of Edythe as a very androgynous Kristen Stewart, especially now that I know she’s wearing dapper man-vamp clothes. Jesus!

Anyway, Edythe all but admits she can read minds, but they don’t go into detail about how Beau’s figured out she’s a vampire. She describes how she was able to find him by skimming the thoughts of I guess everyone in Port Angeles, until she found the unsavories thinking loudly about shooting him.

“I’m still not over how this could happen at all. How does anyone get into so much trouble, so consistently, and in such unlikely places? You would have devastated Port Angeles’s crime rate statistics for a decade, you know.”

Haha, I’m beginning to unironically love this chapter.

So they wax poetic about how much Edythe saves his life (including that one time she totally almost ate him in Biology class, remember that, what a riot, we have fun here). Eventually Beau finishes eating and Edythe finishes pretending to eat. She pays for dinner with grace and charisma, which Beau objects to. “Try not to get caught up in antiquated gender roles,” she retorts, which reminds me I’m reading a terrible novel by a backwards woman. Ugh.

They pile into the vampmobile, and Edythe lets him know it’s his turn to answer questions.

Who Gets Murdered In Port Angeles?

So, sexual assault is too terrible for Beau. Instead of being stalked through the dark and dangerous Port Angeles backways, he’s accosted by six people who think he’s a strangely youthful cop.

On the one hand, I’m always glad to see someone avoid using rape as a plot device. It gave me the slimy all-overs when Edward rushed in to save Bella in Twilight, especially when he used it as another excuse to belittle her. Not only have we avoided that, Edythe seems a lot more gracious than Edward.

On the other, though, what are Meyer’s reasons for changing the group of leering men into a larger group of men, one with a gun? Sure, we don’t hear a lot of stories hit the media about men being sexually assaulted in dangerous parts of town, but they’re about as common as—well, being murdered in Port Angeles.

I mean, you know where I’m going with this. Either Meyer realized using rape as a plot device is skeevy, or she thought there was no way a young man would be on the receiving end of an assault like what Bella was plucked from.

Aside from this, I didn’t really mind this chapter too much, especially after the snooze fest that was “Nightmares.” There’s more snoozing to come, I’m afraid, as we’re heading into the “both main characters acknowledge their feelings for each other and share long meaningful silences” part of the story.

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