Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Breaking Dawn

Well, I read it.

Non-spoiler response: it was pretty good. There were some things I didn’t like (see Spoilered Response, below), but I kept reading it and was glad to spend a little more time with these characters. As I’ve said before, I think that if the story and characters don’t grip you enough to make it worth reading even when you see little things that bother you (needs tightening, too much growling, hissing, wincing, brow-lifting, sensuality, etc.), then you’re not a natural member of her audience anyway. I think there’s a place for beach reading in this world, and I’m not embarrassed to say that I kept reading. Also, I am all-out jealous of Meyer for her imagination and ability to pull it all off.

I do want to discuss one thing here that has bothered me since the beginning. Meyer has said in an interview (I’m too lazy to look it up now but you could probably find it with a google search) that one of the LDS elements she sees in her books is a great belief in free agency.

I strongly, strongly disagree.

It is the lack of free agency in the main romantic relationship that makes it unbelievable to me and highly unsatisfying. Think about it: why are Edward and Bella drawn toward each other? He: can’t read her thoughts and likes how she smells. Nothing else on his part to show why he is enchanted by her, why he would wait hundreds of years for her (and remember how much older he is!). She: finds him very, very attractive physically. Oh, and likes his superhero powers.

Are these things the basis of a long relationship?

I’ve never been a believer in the soul mate theory. I think that love is a choice and that in order for a relationship to last past the honeymoon it must continue to be a choice, and that the partners must always remember that they made this choice freely. We make the choice based on the Spirit and also on the things we observe about the person we want to love. (And remember that infatuation and love are not the same thing.) Bella’s and Edward’s romance has seemed so opposite of everything I find romantic because they are both so PASSIVE in the whole thing. The infatuation HAPPENS to them, having nothing to do with actually knowing each other and being together.

Which is why I have always rooted for Jacob. I am a sucker for relationships that begin as best friends, anyway. But when we see Bella and Jacob interact, we can believe in the relationship. It’s obvious they like each other, have a good feeling together, are seeing each other realistically. THAT’s the kind of relationship that a marriage should be built on.

And this whole imprinting thing. DUH—can you get any FURTHER AWAY FROM FREEDOM OF CHOICE? SHEESH!!!!

OK, now for the Spoiler response:

First, I have to say that I predicted Jacob’s subject of imprinting way before it happened, and I was a little disappointed to be right. I hate it when my predictions are right.
Second, and as a continuation of my argument that Edward’s love for Bella is not believable and certainly not something to base a marriage on: the whole thing about Edward not being able to read Bella’s thoughts and thus being drawn to her leads to trouble when we see that he might, eventually, read all of her thoughts someday. So there goes any sense of mystery or otherness in the relationship. I can’t believe a relationship would work in that situation. Really. I think people need some otherness in their marriages—otherwise, why marry at all? Who wants to be married to themselves?

Speaking of thought-reading, why didn’t Aro see Charlie when he read all of Edward’s thoughts? Wouldn’t he have used that as an excuse to attack? (They are not keeping the secret.) I mean, sure, Charlie doesn’t know EXACTLY, but I doubt Aro would be picky about that.

And what about Jasper’s giving away the secret to the lawyer guy?

Here are some other loose threads that bugged me. If Bella is allowed to let him read her thoughts when he gets inside her shield, why couldn’t he read them when she was protecting everyone within her shield during the showdown?

And what happened with Leah? There was so much plot time on her that I thought we’d see some resolution there, but that whole subplot just dropped off.

I felt dissatisfied with the explanations about why Alice had Bella get the ID cards and all. I think that ought to have been fleshed out a little more.

Some of the story was a little too much for me, stomach-wise. I did not like the whole baby-eats-its-way-out stuff. It was a very clever way of getting us through the whole Bella becomes vampire thing, though. But if I hadn’t already been so involved with these characters (over all the books), I may have been done at that point.

I did enjoy all of the pack/werewolf stuff. (I just love Jacob, I guess.) And I kept reading, which is really the mark of a success IMO. I’m glad I read them all.


Heidi said...

I'm so glad that I wasn't the only one who liked New Moon the best. I've heard so many people talk about how much they hated it, and I always think, "So, normal healthy (as healthy as teenage relationships can be) are just a turn-off for you?" I mean for Pete's sake, Meyer herself described the relationship, through Jacob's voice, as being like sunlight and air, whereas Bella's relationship with Edward is like a drug. I wanted her to be with Jacob. Knew it wouldn't happen, but wanted it.

I agreed with you about Leah's loose end needing to be wrapped up, but I kind of attributed the lack thereof to the whole "Bella's a Mary Sue goddess and no other female is worthy of attention to narration in comparison to her," thing.

Michelle said...

Readergeek that I am, I am so happy to read your full book report on BD. I agree with much of what you said(and you forget to mention how AWFUL the name Renesmee is!) but I really did have the love-at-first-sight-soulmate experience, so I really bought into that.

Which reminds me that we need to get together so you can critique the plotline for my novel. ;)

Darlene said...

That's exactly it, Heidi. I'd take "Sunlight and air" over "drug" any day.