6 annoyings about Eclipse (the book)
So, I finished Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer the other night.
There’s a lot wrong with this book.
But I have to say that I got caught up in it. Meyer is a good tale-spinner. The book ended with quite a bang. The proposal scene with Edward and Bella was much less appalling in the book than it was in the movie. The farewell scene between Bella and Jacob near the end of the book was actually moving.
1) It’s very, very slow in the beginning.
Bella wants to reject Jacob’s love but still have him like her. She fills out applications for college. She blathers about Wuthering Heights. She and Edward have endless, dull arguments over turning her into a vampire.
2) There is a whole scene about fridge magnets representing their epic love triangle.
The last two magnets — round black utilitarian pieces that were my favorites because they could hold ten sheets of paper to the fridge without breaking a sweat — did not want to cooperate with my fixation. Their polarities were reversed; every time I tried to line the last one up, the other jumped out of place.
For some reason — impending mania, perhaps — this really irritated me. Why couldn’t they just play nice? Stupid with stubbornness, I kept shoving them together as if I was expecting them to suddenly give up. I could have flipped one over, but that felt like losing. Finally, exasperated at myself more than the magnets, I pulled them from the fridge and held them together with two hands. It took a little effort — they were strong enough to put up a fight — but I forced them to coexist side-by-side.
“See,” I said out loud — talking to inanimate objects, never a good sign — “That’s not so horrible, is it? (95-96)
Meyer writes, “as if I was expecting them to suddenly give up” instead of as if I were expecting…. It’s the subjunctive mood. Meyer should be using the past tense plural form of the verb because the magnets have no real will. But it’s a common mistake.
I also know that simple things like fridge magnets can become powerful metaphors in the hands of a skilled writer. That didn’t happen here.
3) Charlie is just disgustingly smug about Jacob forcibly kissing Bella.
He should be concerned that she hurt herself resisting Jacob. Even before Charlies knows what happened, he’s fairly cheerful about her injury. He wants anyone but Edward for Bella but this is going overboard.
I’ve edited it for length…
“What’s wrong with her?” Charlie wondered.
“She thinks she broke her hand,” I heard Jacob tell him.
“How did she do that?” As my father, I thought Charlie ought to sound a bit less amused and a bit more concerned.
Jacob laughed. “She hit me.”
Charlie laughed, too.
“Why did she hit you?”
“Because I kissed her,” Jacob said, unashamed.
“Good for you, kid,” Charlie congratulated him. (336)
“How’s your hand?” Charlie asked as I walked by.
I lifted the ice pack to show it off. “It’s swelling.”
“Maybe you should pick on people your own size,” Charlie suggested. (338)
4) There is a love triangle that fails to qualify as a love triangle.
The story is from Bella’s point of view and she never wavers in her fanatical devotion to Edward. Well, she does once, on page 526. She fantasizes about her possible future with Jacob.
On the other hand, despite Jacob’s insistence that she is attracted to him, she certainly doesn’t show it much:
Acting on instinct, I let my hands drop to my side, and shut down. I opened my eyes and didn’t fight, didn’t feel…just waited for him to stop. (331)
Yeah, I know she kisses him for real later. But this passage doesn’t scream sexual tension to me.
5) Emily Bronte does not deserve to be credited with inspiring a character like Bella.
On page 517 Bella thinks:
I was like Cathy, like Wuthering Heights, only my options were so much better than hers, neither one evil, neither one weak. And here I sat, crying about it, not doing anything productive to make it right. Just like Cathy.
Cathy may be as unproductive but she’s more interesting:
‘What now?’ said Catherine, leaning back, and returning his look with a suddenly clouded brow: her humour was a mere vane for constantly varying caprices. ‘You and Edgar have broken my heart, Heathcliff! And you both come to bewail the deed to me, as if you were the people to be pitied! I shall not pity you, not I. You have killed me – and thriven on it, I think. How strong you are! How many years do you mean to live after I am gone?’
6) There are lots of “muttered” speech tags. I’ve included the “murmurs” and “mumbles” but not the “whispers” or the “hisses” or the “sighs.” Yes, this is petty. It is also annoying.
- “I’m sorry I made you anxious,” I muttered. p. 141
- “Anxious is a bit of an understatement,” he murmured. p. 142.
- I mumbled unintelligibly as I stalked forward to snatch my things off the bed. p. 151.
- “But you love Emmett…,” I mumbled. p. 164.
- “No, you haven’t done anything,” she murmured. p.166.
- “Goodnight, Rosalie, ” I murmured. p. 168.
- “It’s not your fault,” I muttered. p. 169.
- “Sorry,” I muttered. p. 176.
- “We can’t all be freakishly strong,” I muttered. p.177
- “Sorry,” he murmured. p. 185.
- “Too late,” I muttered. p187.
- “So,” he murmured in a casual tone. p.191
- “No.” I took a deep breath, and then mumbled quickly through the explanation. p. 191
- “Glad over something that’s hurt you?” he murmured p. 192
- “It’s late,” he said again, murmuring p. 195.
- “Mind your own business,” I muttered p 197
- “Someone’s been here,” he murmured p. 200
- “Emmett,” he muttered p. 201
- “It’s going to be fine, Bella,” Esme murmured p. 204
- “That’s bad luck,” Edward muttered. p. 205
- “Close enough,” he muttered. p.218
- “Sorry,” I muttered p. 223
- “And you don’t have to pretend anything,” he murmured. p225
- “My visitor,” I muttered. p. 227
- “Just the person I need to talk to,” he murmured. p. 228
- “Or a death wish?” he muttered to himself. p. 228
- “It’s getting worse,” I murmured. p229
- “What a mess,” I mumbled. p230
- “Nothing,” Edward murmured. p233
- “That bad, huh?” I muttered. p. 235
- “It’s getting late,” I murmured to Jacob p243
- “No,” I mumbled p. 265
- “What were you reading?” I muttered p. 265
- “Amazing,” Edward muttered. p. 268
- “Carlisle promised,” I mumbled. p271
- “You’ll see,” I muttered p. 275
- “She’s such a pessimist,” Emmett muttered. p284
- “And all those innocent humans in Seattle,” Esme murmured p284