I’m back after a much-needed hiatus from this wonderful book.
So. Chapter 9. It sure was Chapter-y. And Nine-y. Yup.
Plot-wise, Ana (or as I like to call her Herp Derpson) wakes up and heads for the bathroom. She looks in the mirror, and then has a Gollum style self-berating conversation with her ‘subconscious.’ “He doessssn’t lovesss you precioussss…only wantssss to make you his birthday present. What has it got in its nasty little penthouses? Gollum. Gollum.”
The conversation abruptly ends when Ana is distracted by seeing her hair in the mirror. Shiny! She then goes out and gets her phone to let her roommate, Kate, know she isn’t dead. She gets the machine. I guess her roommate wasn’t that worried about her. She leaves a message saying that she hasn’t “succumbed to Bluebeard.” Wut? Is that what the kids are calling it these days? Cuz if it is, she’s lying. I briefly wondered if this was a codename or an in-joke that I’d skimmed over, but then I realized I didn’t care.
The next bit here actually offended me. Ana finds elastics in her purse and puts her hair in pigtails because looking like a little girl will make her safe from Christian’s sexual advances. So to all you victims of sexual assault out there – it really is your fault. You must not have looked sufficiently girly. You know what else would make you safe from his advances, Ana? Leaving. But she’s dumb and she doesn’t. I tried to be charitable and attribute this opinion to Ana’s character, but Christian later tells her outright that the pigtails are no protection.
Ana then decides the best way to pass the time in the home of a raging control freak is to rummage around in his kitchen and make him breakfast. She’s briefly stymied by the cupboards, which don’t have handles. But she perseveres and figures them out. She deserves a Scooby snack! I hope Scooby snacks are somehow involved in later chapters, this book would be much better.
Again, they drink Twinings English Breakfast Tea. Did she get a kickback from Twinings for this? Because it’s hardly a luxury brand. I think I’ve established myself firmly as a nitpicker, but would it have killed her to research rich-people teas? The interwebs make this sort of thing soooo easy. Also, I’m a Darjeeling girl myself, so nyah!
Kate then calls and demands details of Ana and Christian’s sordid night. Ana is suitably mortified and hangs up on her. Ana thinks to herself, this is going to be a difficult square to circle. The whole book just screeched to a halt right here. C’est what? Isn’t it the other way around? Is circling the square a thing? Isn’t it squaring the circle?
And then the sex. Chapter 9 of Fifty Shades of Grey is very nearly as sexful as Chapter 8; you can tell that it was written with much more love than the introduction and set-up chapters. They have a sexy, sexy bath in what the author assures us is a very designer tub, although she can’t be bothered to describe it. Christian then stimulates Ana manually with a washcloth slathered in body wash. Holy yeast infections Batman! Burning rashes are sexy!
Ana then performs oral sex on Christian and is masterful at it. Of course she is. Sigh. What kind of erotica would it be if she made some mistakes the first time, or had to be shown what to do? I’ll tell you what kind – the kind that wouldn’t exasperate me.
They then move to the bed for more filthy, kinky sex. And by that I mean oral sex and then the missionary position. Adventurous! The sex is very, almost, soooo-not-quite good. E. L. James is actually pretty close to getting it right. But it keeps getting ruined by odd bits. Ana again refers to her genitalia as her belly, and later as her down there. And she thinks the phrase, oh my, so often that I’m ready to consider it an obsessive thought – Ana puts the ‘Oh’ in OCD.
Another case in point: when Ana has an orgasm she says, “Argh!” You know, like a pirate. Seriously, argh. Argh is what orcs say when you slay them. Not what women say when they have orgasms. To be fair I don’t imagine E. L. James has spent much time listening to herself orgasm. She was likely busy arguing with her inner goddess.
Ana also talks about her “subconscious” and her “inner goddess” as if they are separate people from her. They judge her and do autonomous things that have little or no relation to what is happening in the story. They glare, they judge, they dance various world dances. All while Ana is supposed to be having sex. It’s like that diet commercial where the couple is having sex and the woman is busy thinking about what she can eat on her diet plan. Not sexy.
The chapter ends on an odd and disturbing note. As Ana and Christian are in a post-coital embrace, they hear hostile voices in the hallway. It’s Christian’s mother demanding to be let in to see them. I guess we know where his dickish bossiness comes from. Christian says, “Shit! It’s my mother.” WTF?! He’s not living in her basement. What does he care? And why couldn’t the security staff keep her out? I’m sure they are paid handsomely to do just that. Also couldn’t someone have warned our crappy couple when Mumsy was still on the first floor?.
I just don’t know what to make of that. Christian Grey is the richest 20-something in fiction, and he’s still afraid of his mother barging in on him? Is this supposed to be endearing? See? He’s not just a heartless pervert – he’s a stunted man-child trapped in a heartless pervert’s body. I’m not sure how this is better.
I’m sure we find out in Chapter 10, though. Whether we want to or not.