Renesmee? RENESMEE? RUH-NEZ-MAY!?! Holy shit. Of all the fucking stupid ideas in all the fucking stupidest gin joints in all the fucking dumbest paranormal romance books on earth: RENESMEE! That is the name that, in this chapter, Bella says she will be giving her baby, if it is a girl. So obviously it will be a girl because S. Meyer never met a crazy idea she didn't UGHHHH. Bella and Edward are going to have a daughter named fucking Renesmee, a portmanteau of Renee and Esme if that wasn't ABUNDANTLY FUCKING CLEAR. Bella and Edward just signed their daughter up for a lifetime, nay, an ETERNITY of well deserved mockery and/or a well deserved job at a strip club. OY GEVALT. I mean, as parents there is actually very little you can do to help your kids in this fucking world of ours, right? You can show 'em right from wrong, show 'em how to change a lightbulb and drive stick or whatever, and after that you're pretty much just hoping for the best and praying that your kid will sort the rest of the shit out for himself or herself and find love and peace and happiness and not get struck by lightning or something. As it should be! Best of all possible worlds, you are powerless, as a parent. Each and every one of us is on our own, really, and it's important not to be under the impression that it's some other way. But as a parent, if you want, you still have godlike power over the fate of your children. If you want it. There IS a way. After you push the kid out and the doctor slaps it on the ass and you recover from whatever drugs you were on the nurse comes in with a form. And that's when the sword of Damacles is hanging over your kids head and you've got those scissors that the fates use to cut life strings or whatever. You're Sisyphus, you made it up the hill, and you're holding the rock wondering if you should let it roll back down, see what it hits along the way. You can either give your kid a normal name and set the scale at zero, or, IF YOU WANT, you can dangle them over the fucking flames and name them whatever crazy ass set of sounds you like or can think of. You can willfully FUCK with their LIVES like that if you want. That's the power you can reach out and take, if you are so inclined. And then maybe your kid will work to overcome the name you've saddled them with, like the guy in the Johnny Cash tune. Maybe they'll be better for it. Or maybe it will be the very first nail in their coffin. You are rolling the fucking dice, and the safe thing to do is DON'T BET. You don't lose ANYTHING! But some people can't turn away from that opportunity. And I understand that need, intellectually anyway I do, that need to exercise what destructive power you have or are given. There are days when I understand it, I mean. Why do people throw furniture out of windows? Some of us apparently get sick of feeling the earth do the same lap, year after year, and we want to switch it up, flip the script. Who says you have to try to help your kids, right? Fuck it. Fuck him or her! Name her Renesmee! FUCK IT! My father's name is Dean, my father-in-law's name is Don. Maybe my kid will be named DeanDon, a thing like that, huh? Why not? The world keeps on fucking spinning no matter the fuck what. Renesmee! RENESMEE!
That Bella is going to name her daughter “Renesmee” is the revelation that comes at the end of this chapter, after Edward realizes that he can hear the child's thoughts and is moved by its affection for Bella and himself. That moment drives Jacob from the house, and Edward throws him a car key, the better to assist his getaway, as if to admit yes, I am a horrible creature, I want to father a life-destroying monster, my wife is terrible at names. And Jacob speeds away, taking us with him, away from this madness. God bless you, Jacob.
But before that happens, there's some other stuff.
Chapter 16: Too Much Information Alert
Jacob wakes up in the Cullen house, leaves, sets his phasers to wolf, and asks Leah to accompany him scouting a trail for the Cullen hunting party. Leah gets earnest for a moment when she thanks Jacob for letting her stay in his pack. He concedes that it's not so bad having her around, and she tells him he makes a good Alpha. That's all well and good, but I'm still at a loss as to why we should give a shit about the development of this relationship.
Similarly, there's some more talk about whether, after this is over, Jacob is going to disband the pack or what. All of that is predicated on the assumption that Bella is going to die while giving birth, and obviously that is not going to happen (though it would be kind of incredible and daring if she did). So it's a little irritating to have to hear Seth and Leah argue at length against a potential decision that we all know Jacob isn't even going to have to make.
We've talked about Leah as the symbol of the squandered feminist potential of Twilight, a loss ever more deeply felt as the 112th Congress attempts to drive back women's rights a hundred years or so, give or take, as we speak. But I'm starting to wonder if Leah is so prominent in this book because S. Meyer actually thinks she is a successfully feminist character. Every controversy surrounding Leah is a “women's issue,” more or less. She's the only girl in the boy's club, and here she identifies with the plight of Rosalie. But S. Meyer's understanding of “women's issues” is tragically closer to the opinions of the middle-aged white men in Washington than it is to, you know, feminists: Leah's troubled among the members of the wolfpack because she can't have her man, and she's in Rosalie's corner because she'd like a baby too. She tells Jacob she can empathize because she is a “genetic dead end”; we learn from Jacob's narration that Leah freaked out after becoming a wolf because her menstrual cycle stopped, in a direct echo of Rosalie's lament from way back when. Leah goes on to recall Sam's theory of why imprinting happens: to make sure the line of werewolves carries on. (This is also a satisfactory explanation as to why there are no gay werewolves. Satisfactory if you are a Republican, I mean. But it's not a satisfactory explanation as to why there are no gay people whatsoever. Other than Alice, sort of.) Jacob has a more refined explanation of imprinting: that wolves imprint in order to reproduce bigger, faster, stronger wolves. But the fact remains that no one will imprint on Leah because she can't have babies, and thus she can see where Rosalie is coming from. She says that even though she doesn't like Bella, if Bella had asked her she would have done exactly as Rosalie has done and is doing. Jacob is shocked by this show of sisterhood, which would be a great moment were it not entirely about how the secret to happiness is a warm uterus.
Jacob rolls into the Cullen house and is greeted by Alice.
She nodded. “Hey, wolf.”
I want Jacob and Alice to be in a buddy cop movie, Wolf & Shortie. Alice nonchalantly notes that Bella's baby has cracked her pelvis, but Jacob can see “the flames in the very back of her eyes.” For the tenth time Alice's allegiance is made clear, but Jacob notably leaves Carlisle out of his head count, thus lumping Alice in with Bella's suitors.
Edward and I weren't the only ones burning over this. Alice loved Bella, too.
It turns out to be a false alarm, the pelvis thing, and Jacob and Alice hear Rosalie gloating at Edward upstairs. “Edward's going to end up ripping Rose into small pieces, I think,” Alice says. She wonders if Rose thinks Emmett will be enough to protect her. Jacob offers to take Emmett, telling Alice “you can help Edward with the ripping part.”
Jacob gives the Cullens the all-clear to hunt, and everyone but Edward, Bella, and Rosalie leaves. Jacob and Rosalie bitch at each other, but are interrupted by Edward's aforementioned revelation that he can hear the child's thoughts. He abruptly asks Bella what she was thinking about after hearing something unusual, which turns out to be the kid. “Just... Esme's island. And feathers,” Bella replies. Jacob is oblivious but once Edward tells us the baby is happy, the rest of us should be concerned: Bella was thinking about sex! That's weird! “Hey, you know when you were turned on a second ago? Our baby was really psyched about that.” But Bella is overjoyed by the news; Jacob kind of wonderfully and sardonically describes the scene:
Her breath caught, and it was impossible not to see the fanatical gleam in her eyes. The adoration and the devotion. Big, fat tears overflowed her eyes and ran silently down her face and over her smiling lips.
Holden Caulfield over here. Jacob has the aforementioned fit of revulsion and flees, but maybe he should have stuck around long enough to note that it was strange that Edward couldn't hear the child until now. Could it be that life does not begin at the moment of conception? Twilight would seem to indicate something different! Has anyone taken to the floor of the House of Representatives to offer this as evidence? Compared to what else has been said there this year, it wouldn't be THAT ridiculous.