Fifty Shades Freed: Like A Popsicle In Hell

Yes, we’re finally there. After twenty five chapters of paper thin plot, poorly written sex and bucketloads of interminable tedious whining, we have reached the end of Fifty Shades Freed. But fuck you for thinking we’re done with this shit. Sit the hell down. There’s an epilogue.

You thought you were getting away? Well, aren’t you adorable? Not a chance. Like a monstrous, needy-drunk party host, Ms. James is going to keep yammering on and making us dance to Demis Roussos until somebody actually dies. 

The pointless epilogue opens with Ana lying in the meadow (because lest we forget, this used to be Twilight) gazing up at the sky on a summer afternoon. After setting the scene she then dissolves into a sodding flashback to last night. A fitting end, really, considering that this book started with a pile of boring flashbacks that added nothing to the story and slowed its already glacial pace to a near standstill.

Thankfully I’m not going to have to read that because it’s just a meaningless spot of crap bondage, although I’m not sure if using chains and floggers on a six-months pregnant woman is a particularly good idea.

Anyway, so far so pointless. And we’re back in the meadow where Ana is knocked up with her second kid.

Christian lies beside me, his hand caressing my belly, his long fingers splayed out wide.

“How’s my daughter?”

“She’s dancing.” I laugh.

“Dancing? Oh yes! Wow. I can feel her.” He grins as Blip Two somersaults inside me.

“I think she likes sex already.”

Yeah. I have nothing coherent to say about this. Just for fun, why not arrange the following words into a sentence?: ‘the’, with’, ‘wrong’, ‘is’, ‘fuck’, ‘you’ and ‘what’.

“You’re a wonderful father, as I knew you would be.” I caress his lovely face, and he gives me his shy smile.

It’s all fun and games until someone buys baby Damien a darling little tricycle.

Christian then tells Ana that he’s ‘looking forward to the taste of breast milk again’ and I may never stop screaming. What the fuck is going on here? These books contained some of the most anodyne, inoffensive sex scenes I’ve read outside of Mills & Boon romances and suddenly she hits the epilogue and it’s like “Fuck it, let’s go nuts with the nymphomaniac foetus and hardcore lactation kink.”

Him drinking her breast milk is kind of stomach-turning all on its own, but considering that the entire three books have repeatedly established that he’s into her because she looks like his mother, we’ve plunged even deeper into the kind of thing that makes your average King of Thebes go postal on his own eyeballs.

Interesting factoid – in an interview E.L. James said that her favourite book was One Hundred Years of Solitude, a book that also contains a fair amount of relatives knocking boots with one another. So either she read that one about as well as she read Tess of the D’Urbervilles or she’s so dim that the staggeringly unfortunate implications writ large in every aspect of Ana and Christian’s revolting relationship never crossed her mind. In a word? Motherfucker. 

Then their first kid wakes up from his nap.

His patience with Teddy is extraordinary – much more so than with me. I snort. But then, that’s how it should be.

Should it? If you or your husband finds each other more infuriating than a small child slap bang in the middle of the notorious terrible twos then something is fundamentally wrong with your relationship.

Blah blah blah, bliss bliss bliss. For the first time in three books worth of bellyaching, complaining, bitching, disapproving and generally being an all round hell-queen bummer, Ana is finally happy. Because that’s where happiness lies, ladies. Finding the man of your dreams and bearing his children. Feminism – who fucking needs it anyway?

“Ted, I heard Mommy. Did you hear her?”

“Mommy!”

I giggle-snort at Ted’s imperious tone. Jeez – so like his dad, and he’s only two.

I don’t really need to add anything to this, do I?

Sophie, Taylor’s ten year old daughter, comes to cavort with Ana’s hellspawned child. She brings popsicles with her, which should be enough to make anyone who knows anything about the Twilight fandom run screaming.

I sit up, take the popsicle from Ted, and quickly slip it into my mouth, licking off the excess juice. Hmm…cranberry, cool and delicious.

“Mine!” Ted protests, his voice ringing with indignation.

Well, there goes any lingering doubt as to the brat’s paternity. Interestingly, although the little shit is already well-acquainted with the words ‘mine’ and ‘no’, his doting parents appear to be doing nothing to bring him up to speed on ‘please’ or ‘thank you’. If you ever needed any further proof that Ana and Christian are total assholes.

Sophie takes Damien off for a walk and Christian once again tries to persuade Ana to give up work, causing Ana to break out the clumsy exposition.

“Grey Publishing has an author on the New York Times bestseller’s list – Boyce Fox’s sales are phenomenal, the e-book side of our business has exploded, and I finally have the team I want around me.”

“And you’re making money in these difficult times,” Christian adds, his voice reflecting his pride. “But…I like you barefoot and pregnant and in my kitchen.”

I lean back so I can see his face. He gazes down at me, eyes bright.

“I like that, too,” I murmur, and he kisses me, his hands still spread across my bump.

The bestselling novel of 2012. Go back almost one hundred years to 1918 and E.M. Hull’s infamous Sheik played out pretty much just like this. Except that one contained even more rape. We’ve come a long way, ladies. (I’m so depressed.)

Then Christian says he’s not going to name the new baby after his mother. I don’t know why not – she’d stand out in a crowd. All the others would be trendy little Rubys and Ivys and Avas and then there’d be CrackWhore Grey.

Meanwhile the kid has dropped his popsicle on the grass and now he’s crying. And then the book gets creepy again.

I take his hand and kiss his sticky fingers.

“I can taste your popsicle here on your fingers.”

Ted stops crying and examines his hand.

“Put your fingers in your mouth.”

Given that every other sex scene (from the very beginning) involved Christian sticking his fingers up Ana’s muff and forcing her to ‘taste herself’, the parallels here are all kinds of disgusting.

“I think Daddy wants to taste popsicle, too,” I whisper in Ted’s little ear. Ted frowns at me, then looks at his hand and holds it out to Christian. Christian smiles and puts Ted’s fingers in his mouth.

“Hmm…tasty.”

There’s no way to explain exactly how gross this is without me telling you about popsicles and Twihards. It’s kind of a running joke in the community that since Edward Cullen is icy cold to the touch, his sparkly vampire boner must feel like getting down and grinding on a popsicle. Some enterprising sex-toy manufacturers even made a sparkly dildo and suggested that owners keep it in the freezer for the full icy Edward Cullen experience.

See? I told you it was terrible.

Then we have another pointless flashback in which Ana gives birth, because we couldn’t have surmised that had happened on account of the toddler currently calling her ‘Mommy’. She had a c-section, apparently. And the kid’s full name is Theodore Raymond Grey, which I suppose is better than Rayrick or Carmond.

“What is it?” Christian tilts my chin back.

“I was just remembering Ted’s birth.”

Christian blanches and cups my belly. “I am not going through that again. Elective caesarian this time.”

Yeah. Gotta keep that cooch nice and tight for your angry little weenie, right Christian? Really. It’s amazing. Every time I think this man can’t get any more repellant, he goes and outdoes himself. Is it any wonder I had a hard time making Crispian Neigh more repulsive than the (sort of) original model? Short of making him an actual Nazi I don’t think I could have done much more.

By the way, if you wondering what happened to her good friend José, too bad. He doesn’t get a future, because he’s not rich, white or married to one of Christian’s horrible family. But he is coming to a party for the brat king child, where hopefully he won’t spoil it by falling madly in love with Ana’s nymphomaniac foetus. Everyone will also be crossing their fingers extra tight and hoping the nanny doesn’t appear on the rooftop with a noose around her neck and start screaming “It’s all for you, Theodore! It’s all for you!”

Ray and José will be coming and all the Greys, including Ted’s new cousin Ava, Kate and Elliot’s two month old daughter. I look forward to catching up with Kate and seeing how motherhood is agreeing with her.

Remember how Kate was going to have a career as a journalist? Remember that? Well, no more. She’s not even twenty five and she’s already pooping out babies for the Cult of Grey, because that’s every woman’s dream, after all. To marry a man and have his babies. All of us who decided not to have kids or gave priority to our careers instead, those of us who would prefer to marry women, or any of us who listened to our grandmothers when they said ‘Your life doesn’t have to be like mine was’, well, we can just go cry into our pie like the sad, bitter rejects we are, because we will never know joy like Ana’s.

I’m heartbroken. I don’t know about you.

And then they exchange I love yous and the book ends. Finally.

Oh wait.

It doesn’t.

The author has shat a pile of Christian Grey fanfiction in the end of the book. Fifty’s First Christmas. Oh dear. I thought this was going to be some kind of hot mess with mistletoe cockrings and Santa-themed flagellation, but it turns out it’s just drivel about Christian when he was a poor neglected child.

My sweater is scratchy and smells of new. Everything is new. I have a new mommy. She is a doctor. She has a tetscope that I can stick in my ears and hear my heart. She is kind and smiles.

Yeah. I think that’s about as much of that as anyone can stand without vomiting themselves inside out.

The other thing at the back of the book is tantamount to a written threat to write the whole hideous trilogy again from Christian Grey’s point of view, a la Stephenie Meyer’s thankfully aborted Midnight Sun. Should this ever happen it will probably end literature forever, or cause some kind of mass suicides like in that awful M. Night Shyamalan movie with the trees and the world’s worst science teacher. It’s just as well it’s neither important or interesting, as right now I don’t have the mental resources to even attempt to recap it.

So. What can I say about Fifty Shades Freed, in summing up? I could say that it was the worst book I have ever had the misfortune to read. I could say that it was a pointless and astonishingly moronic insight into the plastic minds of two of the most charmless characters ever to be stolen wholesale from the pages of someone else’s lousy novel. Unfortunately, if I said these things I wouldn’t be doing justice to the shallowness, tedium and sheer intellectual and spiritual poverty of this dumb, squalid bumwipe of a book.

Attempting to point out the problems with this book would take forever, since absolutely nothing is done the way it should be. Pace, character, plot, dialogue, flow – everything is just wrong. You know the old story pyramid from creative writing classes? Inciting incident, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution? If this book were represented as a line graph it would trundle along as a long, flat line followed by a sad, lacklustre spasm at the end – sort of like a bored, half-hearted wank when the vibrator batteries have almost run out. A fitting description, really, considering these books were basically written for the grisly purposes of Twihard masturbation.

The writing is appalling, the plot is non-existent, the underlying message is profoundly depressing and the characters are just awful, awful people who should be locked in portable toilets and set on fire. However, I could forgive all or any of these things if the book was even slightly entertaining.

But it’s not. It’s about as exciting as having your teeth scraped. Even the sex is boring, due to the author’s habit of spinning out every bout of ugly-bumping for about twenty pages at a time. Every single time they get down and dirty we have to endure half a page of him fiddling with her right nipple, then she says “It’s erotic,” or something equally dumb, as if we couldn’t figure out that for our fucking selves, since we’re supposed to be reading a dirty book. Then another half page is devoted to his attention to her left nipple. And don’t even get me started on the pages dedicated to describing his newest sex mixtape or how he ties one hand first and then the other and then he begins to move, really move and then they have the greatest orgasms in the world every single sodding time.

I’ve read IKEA assembly instructions more erotic than the Fifty Shades of Grey series; they even fail as actual pornography. The only times I moaned and groaned when reading these books was when I was hopelessly yelling at the characters to shut the everloving fuck up or cursing God for letting these books happen in the first place.

These books are awful. Awful. I cannot even begin to articulate how dreadful they are. They make the Twilight series look like Middlemarch. The only good thing about them is that they end. Eventually. And they don’t even have the decency to do that in a timely manner.

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5 responses to “Fifty Shades Freed: Like A Popsicle In Hell

  1. Well. That was thrilling.

    Your recaps, needless to say, have been so ever much better than the books. Thank you for all your sacrifice.

  2. My friend Cee turned me on to your recaps (…that was a poor choice of words, wasn’t it? At least I said “to,” not “with”), and has since bought your first NEIGH book for me. We quietly fangirl you for writing these, which have served to negate much of the literary PTSD we’ve experienced as a result of reading E.L. James’s godforsaken travesty. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU.

    A suggestion (more like a PSA) for anyone who still opts to forge ahead and read the source material after laughing hysterically at your incisive posts (BUT OH GOD WHY): Do it the way we did it. Cee got the book secondhand, annotated/bastardized it in hilarious ways, then mailed it along to the next lucky recipient who added her own notes and diagrams in the margins, and so on. Thus far it’s travelled through our friend group – seven people and counting – via Canada, Ireland, the U.S., and England, and may next be heading to Australia if there’s any ink-free space left. Seriously, the 50 Shades of Support Group method, with your recaps as bonus reading, is the ONLY way to get through even one of these bloody books without racking up a therapy bill.

    Thank you so much for the laughs! And for taking all three for the team. (…damnit. That sounds wrong, too. JAMES POISONED OUR MINDS.)

    • Thank you! I agree – I think this is a great way to read Fifty Shades of Grey. Of course, you can also pick them up at any charity shop you care to mention, which is a nice way to sate your twisted curiosity while also making a donation.

      I’m planning on re-releasing Fifty Shades of Neigh in the New Year, but with added recaps of Fifty Shades of Grey. It kind of worked well with Fifty Shades Fatter – people could enjoy the parody without suffering the incredible boredom of the source material. So at some point I’m going back to the beginning to recap the first book. Not looking forward to it, but I figure if I do it, other people won’t have to.

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