Petals Open to the Moon: The Host Chapter 59

You guys! This is the last chapter of The Host sort of! Matt’s doing the epilogue tomorrow, but aside from my comments on his post, this is the last post I have to write about this book, and this is almost the last post you have to read about this book! We can finally move on to better and brighter things. Better and brighter things that are still shitty, but perhaps more engagingly shitty.

Chapter 59: Remembered 

Wanderer wakes up in another human body, one that has no memories from an actual human, only the soul that used to be in her body. This soul’s last memory is of Melanie pretending to be all friendly before kidnapping her. It actually must be pretty weird and confusing for Wanderer to see what she used to think of as herself in this memory.

Matthew says: I was actually super confused during this scene. As obvious as it was that they’d just get another body to put Wanderer in, Meyer’s “The beginning would feel like the end […] But this time the end was a greater surprise than it had ever been. […] Greater than jumping down an elevator shaft […] The face in the memory jerked me back to myself. That was my face!” prose is such a clusterfuck that I had no idea the obvious ending was happening for an embarrassingly long time.

We find out  that the soul’s name was Petals Open to the Moon. What the fuck this means, I have no idea and probably never will. She usually goes by Pet, though, because as you’ll soon find out everyone basically sees this body as some sort of adorable, beloved Pet. I don’t want to get ahead of myself, but the way Wanderer is treated in this new body is pretty cringy.

As Wanderer wakes up and comes to terms with Pet’s memories (which, I still don’t get how this works since Pet isn’t actually in there anymore. How do you take someone’s memories when they’re not there at all?) things start to get really weird as we find out just how childish and girly these memories are.

I wasn’t used to so much civilization— at the same time, I knew nothing but civilization. A pretty dresser with all kinds of frilly and delicate things on top of it. A profusion of dainty glass bottles containing the scents I loved— I loved? Or she loved?— so much. A potted orchid. A set of silver combs.

The big round mirror was framed in a wreath of metal roses. The face in the mirror was roundish, too, not quite oval. Small. The skin on the face had the same silver undertone—silver like moonlight— as the hand did, with another handful of the golden freckles across the bridge of the nose. Wide gray eyes, the silver of the soul shimmering faintly behind the soft color, framed by tangled golden lashes. Pale pink lips, full and almost round, like a baby’s. Small, even white teeth behind them. A dimple in the chin. And everywhere, everywhere, golden, waving hair that stood away from my face in a bright halo and fell below where the mirror showed.

Meyer and Wanderer infantalize this body for the rest of the book, and it gets creepier when Ian is brought into it. You’ll see what I mean soon. But I can’t get over how weird it is that Meyer goes out of her way to explicitly show how feminine/childish Wanderer’s new body is. It’s like an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras only slightly less creepy because she’s seventeen and not three. ONLY SLIGHTLY.

Matthew says: Like so.
Matthew says: Only slightly.

Writing about Toddlers and Tiaras and The Host in the same paragraph got me thinking about whether or not the souls thought Toddlers and Tiaras was totally fun and fine. Or if they thought the stage mothers were too insane and violent to show on television. I wonder if the souls like Honey Boo Boo and her show. Now I wish there was a book about a soul taking over Honey Boo Boo’s brain and whether or not the soul was able to get rid of Honey Boo Boo, or if she pulled a Melanie and just wouldn’t fuck off. Oh my god can you imagine how miserable the souls would be that took over Honey Boo Boo and her family?

Anyway, back to the infantalizing thing. Here’s an even more explicit example of what I’m talking about:

“Where is she?” my high, reedy voice demanded. “Where is Pet?” Her absence frightened me. I’d never seen a more defenseless creature than this half-child with her moonlight face and sunlight hair.

So only when we fully establish how child-like this body is does Wanderer become a sexual being. Not exactly yet in this chapter, but I swear it’s coming. The more I re-read this chapter, the more weirded out I get, though.

sam-weirded-out

Melanie and the gang explain that they’re selfish and of course no one was going to let Doc let Wanderer die. She also explains that they were super careful and made sure they got someone young who hadn’t really had time to be human. They also made sure no human came back to life in the body.

Matthew says: Also, can we talk for one last time about how awfully written all of Melanie’s dialogue is?

“Listen up, Wanda. I know exactly what you don’t want to be. But we’re human, and we’re selfish, and we don’t always do the right thing. We aren’t going to let you go. Deal with it.”

I fucking hate when “strong female character” is shorthand for “doesn’t take anyone’s shit” and gets misinterpreted as “actually just kinda rude”.

Jamie starts getting all excited about how now Wanderer’s smaller then him, to which she replies,

“But still older. I’m almost—” And then I stopped, changing my sentence abruptly . “My birthday is in two weeks.”
I might have been disoriented and confused, but I wasn’t stupid. Melanie’s experiences had not gone to waste; I had learned from them. Ian was every bit as honorable as Jared, and I was not going to go through the frustration Melanie had.
So I lied, giving myself an extra year. “I’ll be eighteen.”
From the corner of my eye, I saw Melanie and Ian stiffen in surprise. This body looked much younger than her true age, hovering on the edge of seventeen.
It was this little deception, this preemptive claiming of my partner, that made me realize I was staying here.

And there it is. I thought Meyer was supposed to be a real prude about all this stuff. But now she’s getting all sexy on us, talking of “claiming partners” and lying about age for boning purposes. Who knew Wanderer was all about the peen! Ian must be so excited. Let’s just say I don’t think Ian and Melanie were the only thing that stiffened during that revelation.

Matthew says: This creeped the absolute shit out of me, but I’m having a hard time putting my finger on what’s actually wrong with it – aside from how if I did put my finger on what was wrong with it I’d be arrested. I guess my main problem is while this seems like the sort of thing that would empower Wanderer (and Meyer did make a very similar argument about Twilight empowering women because it was about Bella making choices), it really, really doesn’t. We see how heavily influenced both her physical and mental self is by her host, and when who she is is unstable and determined by others, it doesn’t feel genuine that she made this decision for herself.

Jamie, too, is learning the ways of being a Real Man from Jared.

“We tried not to scare her,” Jamie said. “She’s so… kind of fragile-looking, you know?  […] And then Jared liked this face, because he said no one could ever dis… distrust it. You don’t look dangerous at all. You look the opposite of dangerous. Jared said anyone who sees you would just naturally want to protect you, right, Jared?

Jamie goes on to add that Ian didn’t go on the raid, that he said he didn’t care what she looked like. He also wouldn’t let anyone else hold Wanderer’s alien body. Damn, that’s a new level of possessive.

Matthew says: Honestly, the fact that Ian didn’t go on the raid and said he didn’t care what she looks like is the only thing that makes this less creepy. Just imagine how much more awkward this post would have been if we had to summarize Ian going out and picking a new body for his girlfriend who only decided she had feelings for him about a chapter ago.

Shame that apparently Wanderer still has feelings for Jared. He hugs Melanie, and she’s all,

This caused me a fierce, aching pain. The delicate heart in my thin chest shuddered. It had never been broken before, and it didn’t understand this memory.
It made me sorry to realize that I still loved Jared. I wasn’t free of that, wasn’t free of jealousy for the body he loved.

So I guess there needed to be a little uncertainty in this chapter so the epilogue would have an excuse to exist.

Wanderer sees that Mandy (the former Healer that was formerly a human and is now, in fact, a human again) and also Sunny! Apparently Jodi never came back, so they let Sunny stay. I fucking hate Sunny. All she does is cling to Kyle. Literally. The word is used in the text.

Wanderer looks at Ian again and gets butterflies and blushes and stuff because this body isn’t used to being in love or something. Ian kisses Wanderer (in front of everyone!) and she tells us that her tenth life has begun. Heartwarming. I’ve actually read the epilogue already, and I like that ending better shockingly.

Matthew says: I read the last sentence, “And my tenth life began,” and this was immediately the first thing I thought of:

Sorry about that.

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0 comments

  1. E.H.Taylor Reply

    I am now trying to picture how the Doctor would have handled the souls and their invasion of earth… That would have been a much better book!

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  2. Bellomy Reply

    Petals Open to the Moon: Stupidest name ever, or ONE of the stupidest names ever? Discuss.

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    • A Reply

      It sounds awfully sexual. This whole chapter is creeping me out. And having looked up the movie, apparently they cast Emily Browning in this role, which sounds about right if you want a baby-faced character who’s totally up for sex scenes. (Although, to be fair, having Emily Browning in the movie makes me want to see it more)

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      • 22aer22 Reply

        This chapter was way creepy to read. The amount this young, underage body is sexualized by Meyer is really uncomfortable. Mainly the fact that she actively discusses that she’s underage as she’s sexualizing (and infantalizing) her. Why not just make her eighteen? What was the point of making it even weirder than it had to be?

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      • matthewjulius Reply

        If I had a dollar for every time this chapter had a line about people needing to touch the new host body, I could probably buy the new Call of Duty.

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  3. scummy48 Reply

    “I wasn’t free of that, wasn’t free of jealousy for the body he loved.” Why is Melanie a body and not a person..?

    Also, you know what would have made this terrible book actually kind of worth it? If Wanda had to be put in a male body, or at least a really unattractive female body, and then see how Ian responds. Like, how convenient is it that the first body they found that didn’t have a human in it and that also had a young enough soul that she didn’t become attached yet, was one of a beautiful girl who’s only issue was that she was a year under the legal consent age in a world that doesn’t even have human laws anymore. And the age of consent is actually 17 in a lot of states, so really she’s just perfect. So annoying.

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    • 22aer22 Reply

      I think they actively went out looking for someone young (both so she could date Ian and so there was less of a chance a human was still in the body) and attractive (for Ian). But it would have been WAY more interesting your way.

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    • matthewjulius Reply

      I actually misread the Wikipedia article around the time we started reading The Host and spent the entire book mistakenly under the impression they were going to put her into a dog at the end. I was very confused the closer we got to finishing this book.

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