Somehow this book is worse when you re-read it. Don’t know how that works, since most books tend to get better on a re-read. It also made me want to look into some kind of self-defense class in case I ever run into a real life Christian Grey.
Oh look here’s Christian with champagne. I expect they’re going to drink Bollinger and talk about their sex contract now…oh yes, there they go. Bollinger Grande Annee Rose 1999, an excellent vintage the author looked up on Wikipedia as a fancy example of just how thrillingly rich this man is – this charmless, banal, boring, unshakeable dingleberry of a man. He reminds me of Stefan from Pulling– I can so see him acting out the ‘look at my money’ scene with Ana.
She’s going to get a job. He wants to know where, presumably so he can stalk her or buy the company and generally act like a twat. And then he threatens to hit her. Yeah – that’s healthy.
Oh Christ – there’s an appendix to the fuck contract? Are people honestly masturbating to all this dull paperwork? That’s so boring it’s almost looped right the fuck round to a new and exotic kind of kinky.
And he’s bought her a car. Just a mere trifle, you understand. Because he wants her to be safe, for obvious reasons. (Used to be a clingy Mormon vampire.) And because her safety will matter to him when she’s his property.
Then they bone some more and this time she goes on top. Woo-wee. Are you excited? I’m so fucking excited I could just shit. Oh hey – and now I am 51% through this interminable pile of poo.
Okay, so where were we? Oh. Post-coital. And they talk about contraception. If this book gets any more exciting I’m in danger of sustaining a severe nose bleed. It’s a non-stop thrill ride.
Oh bollocks. He just mentioned the c-word. No, not the fun one that D.H. Lawrence liked so much – the other one. The one that rhymes with ‘rontract’.
“So I could stretch this out if I don’t sign?” AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA. No.
“And then we’re talking TPE 24/7.”
What? Ah. Total Power Exchange 24/7, apparently. If you were wondering what Christian is blethering about. Which you weren’t. Ugh – he’s the worst kind of sex nerd, the kind that invents his own acronyms and won’t shut up about his really very vanilla fetish. Maybe I’ve just been listening to too much F-Plus but this spanky lark sounds dull as shit. If it was Fifty Shades of Feeder Inflation Burp Fetish Vore Porn Featuring Roy Orbison Wrapped In Clingfilm then maybe I might mutter an ‘oh my’. As it is, Christian’s wildest fucky-dreams are what many of the British judiciary would consider to be a quiet night in.
And then he spanks her. And she likes it. And then he fucks her and she likes that too, so much so that ‘my traitorous body explodes in an intense, body-shattering orgasm.’
I wish she had exploded.
Then she calls her mom and her mother, apparently the one sane person in this stupid book, points out that she sounds unhappy. Fucking hell.
Then Ana drinks more wine with Kate and complains about men and e-mails some more. It’s kind of like Bridget Jones Diary at this point, only without the humour and the charm and the writing that doesn’t make you want to claw your eyes out of their bleeding sockets.
And then the e-mails make her cry because he’s not the boyfriend she wanted (Hang on – weren’t they having explosive sex five minutes ago?) and why can’t she chaaaaaange him. Also she’s probably pretty fucking drunk by this point.
I am so confused. Apparently she’s collapsed in drunken tears because he gave a car and several orgasms. And now he’s come round to emotionally manipulate her because of something she wrote in an e-mail?
Didn’t this happen like five chapters ago or has my Mother been playing with my Kindle again?
“Since she met you she cries all the time.” I like Kate. She’s the other lonely sane person in this land of incredibly dramatic morons.
Ana complains once more that her billionaire boyfriend is too damn sexy. “You beguile me, Christian. Completely overwhelm me.” He also used to dazzle her, but copyright law came between them.
“Contrary to what your roommate believes, I’m not some kind of priapic monster.” He fucking is. Normal men have refractory periods of more than two pages – the only things that can go again so soon after orgasm generally require batteries.
Aww – and now they’re cuddling. So it’s okay. She falls asleep (passes the fuck out like the steaming lush she is) in his arms. Will this fuckery ever end? It’s so boring. It’s just two idiots playing tedious headgames with one another. The worst thing is they don’t even switch it up – IT’S THE SAME DAMN GAME ALL THE WAY THROUGH.
Ana wakes up from a dream about candles, moths, symbolism, blah blah blah. All she ever seems to do is cry, come and wake up from dreams written by someone who apparently dozed off face-down on an entry level psychology textbook. Still, at least she’s stopped falling over. Come to think of it, when did that stop? And why?
Oh, more e-mail filler la la la losing will to live. Apparently he’s in therapy. Ana points out that his therapist is probably a bit crap. Broken clock, etc. Now he’s bought her a Blackberry.
Ana takes the car. I’m not saying she’s a gold digger but she ain’t messing with no broke billionaire with a helicopter and a private plane and an extensive collection of diamond encrusted buttplugs – if you know what I’m saying. And I think you do.
And she takes the Blackberry too. Saying nothing.
They’re moving house, it seems. Forgot about that. It’s hard to make notes on actual solid events when everything else is a total non-event, another sordid chapter of meaningless, hateful squealing about absolutely fuck all.
“He sounds so sad and resigned. My heart clenches. I picture him all those nights ago sat at the piano in his huge living room and the unbearable bittersweet melancholy of the music he was playing.”
Okay, I love this for all the wrong reasons. It reminds me of one of my favourite Larson cartoons – the one with the rich elderly couple in the mansion. She’s reading by the light of a crystal chandelier and he’s sitting behind a grand piano. The punchline? “Why don’t you play some blues, Andrew?”
Why not indeed? Also ‘all those nights ago’ is about six nights, by my present calculations. Ana and Christian have known each other for less than a fortnight and Ana in particular doesn’t understand why she doesn’t ~*know him*~ deep down in the roots of her soul yet. This is largely because Ana is as thick as mince.
Then Kate and Ana move house to an expensive three bedroom loft in a converted warehouse. Kate’s parents are picking up the tab for this one. Considering she’s definitely, categorically one hundred per cent not a gold digger, Ana has a real knack for making wealthy friends.
Aw – and then he buys a balloon, which is almost sweet. It’s a normal, two-week boyfriend gift. Except it’s shaped like a helicopter, so what could have been sweet is now another HURRR I’VE GOT A HELICOPTER LOOK AT MA HELICOPTER dickslap. This man has all the charm of a skidmark.
And then he takes her to the muff doctor.
ANA GOES ON THE PILL! This is thrilling shit – you know it.
Also her clunge is fucking magic or something because after peering up her flue the gynecologist is moved to tell Christian what a “beautiful, bright young woman,” Ana is. Seriously – what amazing thing has she got stashed up there? A large hadron collider?
Then they talk about music and caesar salad and drink more wine. And then they do boring vanilla bondage. Christian is now happy because Ana is sexually available whenever he likes. I wish he wasn’t, because when he is happy it’s a whole fresh hell of him and Supercunt cooing, mooing and admiring one another from various angles. The smugness here is so intense that it can only be measured in Paltrows.
More smuggery. They dance to Witchcraft – the ghost of Frank Sinatra rises snarling from the grave.
Ana is not wearing panties. Eeeeee it’s so daring!!! Should probably point out that that the no-panties thing happened in the Story of O. On the first page. And it was hot. Super hot. There is more eroticism on page one of the Story of O than there is in this entire insipid mess of a book.
Oh. They’re meeting his parents. That’s a thing. It’s a thing that is happening. What fun. Except didn’t she already meet his mother and his freak-litter siblings? Meh – don’t care anymore. Kate’s here too because she’s Rosalie and this is a Cullen family shindig. Baseball, anyone?
Carlisle Cullen is now named Carrick Grey. This poor prick can’t seem to catch a break in any incarnation. Alice is Mia – Mia is Alice.
Christian acts like a freak when Ana mentions that she might visit her mother. Everyone likes Ana, presumably because she is pantyless and nobody can resist the awesome power of her magical mind-controlling quim.
Ana hates the housemaid, Gretchen, because the housemaid is blonde and pretty and has probably been fucked by Christian. It’s worth mentioning that Ana is terrible.
They talk about fuck all. Christian pokes his fingers up Ana’s poon, in front of his parents. And I think I preferred it when they just played baseball.
They hang out in a boathouse and fuck. More drooling from the parents, because conflict is for pussies. And Shakespeare. Then they have another boring conversation about their tepid, pointless wanky feelings.
Then he introduces her to sex toys. Well, love eggs. Couldn’t just buy her a vibrator. Then she might have fun, and we couldn’t have that.
“Fuck, this is sexier than the toothbrush.” Yep – that is a line in an ‘erotic’ novel. That’s a real thing. (The ‘sexy’ thing with the toothbrush was when she used the same toothbrush as him and went all tingly because the thing in her mouth had once been in his mouth omg. E.L. James is so bad at erotica.)
And then as they’re falling asleep he casually mentions that his mother was a crack whore. As you do.
Chapter Twenty One
Ana wakes up. AGAIN. Look, unless there’s a corpse in the bed beside her or she’s turned into a massive motherfucking cockroach we don’t need to keep doing this. God. Just think of another way to start the chapter. Please.
“I lie back for a moment, staring through the windows at the lofty vista of Seattle’s skyline.”
Also, please stop writing like an asshole.
“I’m in this fantasy apartment, having fantasy sex with my fantasy boyfriend. When the grim reality is that he wants a special arrangement, though he’s said he’ll try more.”
Oh God I hate these people so damn much. Oh, it’s so hard being rich and pretty and young and white. Also, is she even in love with him? They don’t connect. They have nothing in common. There’s no spark whatsoever – no warmth or humour. Even their jokes have the smug tone of people who laugh to hear themselves laughing. They’re just fucking horrible. I hope they get eaten by flesh eating bacteria. I’d read that sequel. Especially if his cock gets eaten first.
The housekeeper also loves Ana. Surprise!
Apparently Christian has a job or something? Now I really am surprised. ‘Work’ seems to consist of talking about ‘dead weight’ and ‘brainstorms’ and saying ‘shit or bust’, so I can only assume he’s a contestant on The Apprentice.
More fucky stuff. Whee.
“Pushing me higher, higher, to the castle in the air.” Ugh. It’s like she outsourced this particular bangy bit to Taylor Swift. I’m beginning to see why they excluded this book from the Bad Sex Awards 2012.
“I cry out a wordless, passionate plea as I touch the sun and burn, falling around him, falling down, back to a breathless bright summit on Earth.”
See? We’d be here until 2062 at the earliest.
Oh, and he has a private jet by the way. He fucking would, wouldn’t he? And yet he’s so ~*complicated and unhappy*~. Kill it. Kill it with fire.
Ana has a job interview. I don’t care. It also seems that Kate is moving house all by herself because Ana is busy having horribly described orgasms with a billionaire. Ana is awful.
Whee – more e-mail filler.
“Language evolves and moves on. It is an organic thing. It is not stuck in an ivory tower, hung with expensive works of art and overlooking most of Seattle with a helipad stuck on top.”
With writing like this, language is currently curled in a corner of the room, rocking back and forth and crying for its mother.
Any more of these dickhead e-mails and I’m going to chunder. Ana and Christian both write like a moron’s idea of What Clever People Sound Like. It’s like being stuck in an echo chamber with James Delingpole, Newt Gingrich and the entire Times comment section.
Ana’s flight to Georgia has been upgraded to First Class by My Little Plutocrat. She will complain about this – just watch.
Chapter Twenty Two
Pass the sick bucket. They’re e-mailing again. This time with added champagne, manicures, massages and smugness. Ana manages to whine about him upgrading her flight, but not before she’s gone hog wild on the delights of First Class. None of the bland, sickly sex in this book could reasonably be described as obscene, unlike the grotesque, relentless money porn, which is disgusting in the extreme.
Christian sends her hilarious e-mails about how much he’d like to hit her. Because this book bears absolutely no resemblance to what goes on in a consensual adult BDSM relationship, this comes across as fucking terrifying.
Then Ana writes another long e-mail she describes as ‘stream of consciousness’. Mrs. Dalloway it ain’t.
Ana narrates her way aboard another plane. I shouldn’t be surprised at this point – after all, this is a woman who narrates herself blinking and breathing, but it’s like the world’s longest and dullest NaNoWriMo novel. Any minute now she’s going to abandon all hyphens and contractions in a last ditch attempt to up the wordcount.
“It’s five in the morning in Seattle; hopefully he’s still asleep and not up playing mournful laments on his piano.”
As opposed to cheerful, upbeat laments, I assume?
Meet Mom and Bob. Hi Mom and Bob. Ana narrates the baggage carousel, the air conditioning, the air temperature and compares the dry heat of Vegas (Where she used to live about five years ago.) to the wet heat of Georgia. Also she details how the humidity makes her hair frizz. Beginning to realise why Christian wants to fuck her all the time – it beats talking to her.
Ana goes to the beach. Mom fails the Bechdel test immediately by bringing up Mr. Dickhole.
Dickhole then e-mails in a massive fucking snit, complaining that Ana only ‘communicates openly and honestly’ with him from a safe distance. Like, two time zones away. Probably something to do with the fact that when she’s in his presence he uses sex, sulks and threats of violence to get his own way.
And like these idiots have ever ‘communicated’ in any meaningful way. They’ve known one another for less than a month and in that time they’ve failed to take an interest in anything that isn’t directly related to their pasted-on psychological issues or their hyperactive genitals.
This is a sad book. It’s sad to think that some people think this is romantic. There is no warmth, no sympathy, no real humour or forgiveness. Ana treats Christian like a puzzle, a thing to be fixed and figured out, in order to prove her worth as a woman. Christian treats Ana like a project, an experiment and a commodity. These people don’t seem to have any interest in one another as human beings. They don’t even talk much, let alone ‘communicate’. Apparently Mr. Mysterious and Little Miss Fixit are too special and intense for the usual blatherings of new lovers – those long, wonderful ‘cabbages and kings’ conversations that can outlive both sunrise and sore throats.
Instead we have a man whose idea of ‘opening up’ is to toss out “Apropos of nothing, mother was a crack whore,” while tucking her up in bed. He’s not brooding, he’s not complicated – he’s just an asshole.
Also he thinks Ana has self-esteem issues and should see a therapist. These would presumably be the same self-esteem issues he’s been preying on from the start. Why so many women apparently want to fuck this guy? The only reason I’d want him to be real is so that I could drop him down a well.
Anyway, Ana loves him. Somehow. Don’t give a fuck. These are loathsome, tedious people.
MORE e-mail filler, complete with full names and ‘hilarious’ subject lines. This really is NaNoWriMo, isn’t it?
Most ‘hilarious’ subject line simply reads ‘Plagiarism’. Okay, that one was funny.
“I thought I had a more concupiscent effect on you.” Christian talks like such a cunt. Really.
While she’s in Georgia he’s having dinner with the woman who molested him when he was fifteen. Okay then. Ana is supposed to be okay with this. Strangely enough, she isn’t and when she e-mails back he replies to reveal that he is watching her.
Yep. He’s followed her all the way to Georgia. Who needs romance when you have stalking?
Chapter Twenty Three
EIGHTY PER CENT THROUGH THIS THING GET THE FUCK IN
Christian introduces himself to Mom. Glares at Ana for drinking, which is hysterical considering he’s spent most of the book pouring booze down her throat.
Ana explains that the reason she has a problem with Christian having dinner with ‘Mrs. Robinson’ is that Christian was sexually abused by this woman. It’s the one sane thing Ana has said in a very long time, but Christian says she’s being ‘judgemental’.
Right. Judgemental. Like a judge. And jury. And a whole legal framework set up to protect minors from sexual predators. Christian really is an immature little fuck. Then he says he can leave if she likes (huff, pout, sulk) but Ana responds to his bullshit and says she’s ‘thrilled’ to have him there. Thrilled that he stalked her across the entire country and shoehorned himself into a private vacation she was trying to share with her mother.
GROW A FUCKING SPINE, WOMAN.
Mom doesn’t think this is fucked up either because like everyone else in this horrible fanfic she exists to validate this awful, awful traincrash of a relationship. Mom should also not be allowed another Cosmopolitan because when she’s sloshed she starts betraying the origins of Fifty Shades of FuckYouIhateyousomuch by breaking into Fangirlese. Yes, she actually uses ‘UST’ to describe the atmosphere between her daughter and the world’s wealthiest and stroppiest toddler. For those who don’t know, UST is a fandom abbreviation for Unresolved Sexual Tension, of which there is rather a lot in fandom. Also acronyms. They fucking love acronyms.
Oh dear. More fucky stuff. He wants to be sure she took her pill. You want to control your fertility, fucko? Then wear a condom. You may as well – at this point ‘the sound of tearing foil’ is synonymous with ‘sex about to happen’, so much so that Ana’s snatch drools like one of Pavlov’s dogs whenever she hears the rustle of a condom packet.
The word ‘libidinous’ is used. Between this and ‘concupiscent’ I suspect the author of masturbating to Rogets.
Ew. This is the bit where he yanks out her tampon and fucks her. Nice. Worth mentioning that he throws it in the toilet, earning the ire of sewage workers across the globe. Please use the bins provided.
“His breathing is ragged in my ear, in perfect synergy with mine.” Ugh. Synergy? That’s grosser than the tampon thing.
“Will it always be like this? So overwhelming, so all-consuming, so bewildering and beguiling?”
(Could you imagine these idiots in twenty years time? He’d be acting out his midlife crisis by tying secretaries to the desk, while Ana completes her drunken transformation into Lucille Bluth.)
Ana is still not happy that he’s on dinner-date terms with his abuser. He’s not giving an inch. This is a terrible relationship and a totally cardboard conflict. If this were real it would be a dealbreaker, but she’s prepared to overlook it because there are two sequels to this fucking monster turd.
He reveals that he’s into BDSM because he’s damaged and has mother issues. Pretty sure it doesn’t work like that.
Then they fuck again and they’re all in love and shit because he’s just barfed up the plot point he’s been gagging on for about twenty chapters now and so the air is apparently clear between them. Yes, they feel as though they’ve made some ‘progress’ on their relationship and everything is hunky dory. Except for the big old paedophile elephant in the room, but yeah – two sequels.