Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Breaking Dawn Book Review: Abortion is not a Democracy

If you don't know that Breaking Dawn is the last book of the Twilight saga, then congratulations. You sort of win at life.

Like all of the Twilight books, BD centers around Bella, her perfect, super-human, absolutely wonderful, god-like boyfriend Edward and his incredible, amazing, perfect, beautiful family. In BD, however, Bella and Edward finally get married and get to have sparkley sex. Yay! Or...ew?

The book opens with Alice, Edward's pixie-like fashionista sister planning Bella's wedding. To the last minim. Because it's not like Bella has a mom who'd probably like to be involved with the wedding planning. No, everyone is kept in the dark, and Bella even has to undergo her dress fittings while her eyes are closed so she can be completely surprised on her wedding day. You know, as brides are wont to do. What bride wants to be bogged down with all that planning, anyway? It's so much work.

We learn that Charlie, Bella's human, fallible, somewhat stupid (in her opinion) father who can't possibly measure up to the Cullens, is still unhappy about the marriage but determined to see it through because he loves Bella. I grew up with a father who looked at my life as the exact same as his life with no distinctions between the two, and who would not hesitate to make the world's most gigantic stink if I ever married in a way that he disaproved of, so I sort of hate Bella for the way she treats her dad. She never looks at her relationship with Edward through her father's eyes. I mean, she ended up in the hospital for days after Edward lied about her "falling down the stairs." Charlie is a police chief. There have to be some domestic abuse situations going on in his town. He has to have heard the "fell down the stairs" excuse a hundred times. And let's not even get into New Moon when Bella's break-up caused her to go practically catatonic with depression. Bella has a dad who cares, and she doesn't care, and I could just scratch her eyes out for it.

Bella also complains about the car Edward bought for her. Because teenaged girls just hate when their boyfriends buy cars for them. It's too flashy, too visible. It's a testament to Bella's human fallibility, a monument to her weakness, her smallness, her mortality. Bella finds the car annoying for these reasons, and yet she overlooks her boyfriend's controlling ways because she's in lurve with him and they're perfect for each other and she can't live without him. These are not reasons to get married. They are reasons to seek counselling.

After the wedding, which is huge and lavish and fablablablah...

Look, I'm going to be honest: if I decide to get married (rather than moving to Spain and taking a string of international lovers, that is), I will admit that I won't care much about the ceremony and that I am like Bella in that regard (please, God, let me find a guy who wants a TARDIS chuppah!). I would probably either have a very small ceremony with just the necessary friends and family, or elope at the Star Trek Adventure. But that doesn't mean, if I had to have a huge wedding because of other reasons (maybe I'm going to marry a Public Figure? LOL) ,that I wouldn't have opinions about it, or want to see my own tastes implemented. Bella has no opinion. This is because Bella has no interests outside of Edward. Her wedding ends up being photogenic and perfect with everyone and everything in the exact right place at the exact right time. The wedding is every bit as boring as Bella and Edward, and they were in exactly zero control of any of it.

Anyway, then they move onto their honeymoon in South America, and that's where things get interesting. I mean, Alice packed tampons for Bella (Alice packed the honeymoon clothes, too. Because there's no reason in Helheim that Bella would want a comfy pair of jeans and a baggy sweater or T-shirt. No, just lingerie.), but apparently forgot to pack condoms for Edward because Bells gets knocked up.

Now, the entire series, Bella has been in mortal danger of the universe imploding on her at any second, and the only person who is qualified to save her is Edward. We are told throughout the entire series that Bella is ineffectual, stupid, weak, clumsy, unattractive, and just all-around not a good human being. But Bella figures out that she's preggy and she is the one who steps up to the plate while Edward has some crazy existential crisis. He moans about how he's a monster and he's sullied his sweet Bella and he's ruined their lives and oh, oh, is just going to end! It's just going to be horrid! Help!

Bella in the meantime, is bonding with her baby. Her "nudger" as she calls it (come on, that's adorkable). It nudges her because it's growing at an alarming rate and she can already feel it. She is also calling the Cullens in order to make arrangements for going home, packing, and basically keeping her shit together. Looking back on the series, this is how Bella has always been. All of the stuff that Edward has done to keep Bella "safe" ends up backfiring on him (like going to Phoenix in T, or breaking up in NM, or the huge fight in E...), but Bella always manages to be strong and pull herself through. But Edward is always lauded as the saviour...

I don't know, all I can say is that SMeyers' is messed up and it comes out in her writing.

Anyway, they go home and the POV switches from Bella to Jacob because Bella is gestating CullenSpawn, and said spawn is killing her from the inside out.

So, here is the worst part for me. The absolute worst part. Jacob and Edward communally decide that Bella needs an abortion. Because abortion is a democracy. If you get pregnant, there will be a panel to decide if you can keep the baby.

I know there are pro-aborters who would totally try to talk Bella into having an abortion no matter what, and that there are anti-aborters who would talk Bella into having the baby no matter what, but neither group would be right. This is Bella's choice. She's not some unwed mother in the 1950's whose parents have the state-sanctioned right to 'send her away' for a year. She's a married woman. It is her life at stake and no one else's, therefore it is her decision to make. She knows that she can die, but her baby's life is more important than her own to her. I can't tell her she's wrong. But Edward will try. And he gets Jacob on his side.

"I would even let her have puppies," Edward says to Jacob, indicating that he'd 'share' Bella with Jacob because IVF does not exist in the Cullenverse. Jacob imagines a world where he 'gets' Bella on the weekends and Edward 'gets' her the rest of the week. Because women don't care who they have sex with apparently. Also, women are property to be lent out at the will of the owner.

I just...I can't with this woman.

The thing is, if Edward had just done as Bella had asked at the beginning (you know, taken her feelings and desires into account rather than just his own) and turned her into a vampire before all of this, Bella never would have gotten pregnant and they could have shagged happliy ever after. Edward's refusal to listen to Bella's wants and needs caused this issue in the first place. This relationship is so destructive and selfish that it's layered like a really stinky, rotten onion.

I like Jacob's reactions to stuff, and I even sort of like that Edward can read his thoughts. These two really have a much better, more equal relationship (at this point, but that will all change) and are totally better suited to each other than Bella and Edward. Jacob would never put up with Edward's navel-gazing, and Edward would never feel superior to Jacob for being bigger and stronger, and therefore his ego would be tempered. But alas! When you are a Mormon writer banging out a Mormon allegory, there can be no Ho!Yay! in Mormon territory. Not even Bromance. Edward and Jacob must be rivals or that would just be too gay.

Anyway, end of the second part, and I'll save the rest for later.


  1. The whole Edward-the-baby-killer thing was where I stopped finding Twilight amusing and started getting really angry. I know it's only the logical extension of his mission to control every aspect of what happens to Bella's body under all circumstances, but - yeah. That really, really upset me.

    I do love your reviews so much. Looking forward to Part Two.

    1. I just really want "Abortion is not a democracy" on a T-shirt.