Chapter 21 of Fifty Shades is Tea-riffic!

So, to recap chapter twenty: blah, blah, blah, I don’t care, blah-ty bling blah blah. Chapter 21 starts as Ana wakes up. Damn. It happened again. Ana wakes up and thinks about how Christian’s fantasy Richie-Rich penthouse life must be a way to compensate for his mother being a crack-whore. Good theory except Christian has explicitly said he has no memory of his mother. She died when he was four ffs! And then he was raised by rich people.

Agh! She’s so dumb she rolls her eyes at herself. Then she’s glad Christian isn’t there because he’d beat her for doing that. That’s the number one sign of a healthy relationship. The beating.

Ana starts looking around for Christian in just a t-shirt and runs into Christian’s maid. Who offers her tea, and who Ana is immediately sure is one of Christian’s exes. Actually forget what I said earlier – these two are perfect for each other. Ana finds Christian in his study and interrupts him on a business call. After some perfunctory small talk, they have sex on Christian’s desk. I. Am. Totally. Serious. And it gets worse. He sweeps all his papers onto the floor with one swift motion so they can get it on. Cue funky porn music! Does it get any more clichéd than that?

No. It does not…

Ana heads off to shower, and is offered tea by Christian’s maid, which makes Ana blush furiously. Sigh. In the shower she thinks about Christian, and asks her Subconscious, and then her Inner Goddess what they think about the situation. Then she makes an admission that makes my whole millennium: “No,” she says, “we’re all clueless.”

Yes!

Finally you understand! You are clueless. You and all your weird multiple personalities.

After the shower Christian’s maid plies her with tea again. This is at least the third time. It’s sooo British. Wouldn’t you like a nice cup of tea? Just a little drop? What would you say to a nice cup?

Who is she? Mrs. Doyle?

Feck off indeed.

Then to breakfast! And the scintillating conversation therein! (And by scintillating I mean this. These people give me a headache.) They talk about Ana’s trip to visit her mother, which Christian is suddenly OK with. He tries to force her to take his private jet because, hey, private jet, but Ana refuses. She’s baffling, non? Why pass up all the perqs (and yeah, I’m that kind of stubborn pedant) of having a boyfriend who’s as rich as God?

Then they get all kissy-faced and googly-eyed and will-you-miss-me? Bleck *I* won’t miss either of you. In fact I hope Ana’s plane smashed into Christian’s penthouse in a fiery-fireball of fire. Too much to hope? Ah ye of little faith…

Then Ana heads off to her interviews. Remember them? We’re still operating under the sham that Ana is a fully functional person who can work. But instead of letting us see it happen, Ana tells us that the interviewers ask sharp questions, and that she wows them. But we’ll never know for sure. The few things we do get to hear make me doubt her account. Her only question for the interviewer is, “When would you like someone to start?” How awkwardly was that phrased? Not ‘what is the start date for this position’? Not ‘when should I expect to start, if you decide to hire me’? When would you like someone (anyone!) to start?

Ana you are the weakest link! Goodbye!

She goes home to pack and Kate gets all concerned-roommate-y with her. It’s tiresome because this is one of the only two modes Kate has: Concerned Kate, and Angry Kate. Yawn.

Then more email. Ana emails Christian to say the interviews went well, and waits with bated breath for Christian to answer. Oh God this is gripping shit! What is this, 1997? Who does this anymore? They exchange 8 emails in total. Ana accuses Christian of sleeping with his maid, and they nitpick each other’s grammar. Zzzzzzz…

I wake from my book-induced coma to find that Ana is at the airport where she is furious (furious I tells ya) to find out that Christian has had her upgraded to first class. That rat bastard!

Aaaand, cut! That’s where we leave our crappy couple because chapter 21 is over. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster…

Put on Your ‘Ta-Da Cape’ for Chapter 20 of Fifty Shades of Grey

Oh. My. God. Ana and Christian have sex in this chapter. It’s horrible and non-sexy. But, that should go without saying.

Christian literally carries Ana out to “The Boathouse” – he’s loaded so of course he has a boathouse.  My eyes! I can’t stop rolling them!

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Ana has time to notice is decorated in “a nautical New England theme.”  How imaginative! A nautically themed boathouse!  How deliciously different! Can you tell this is sarcasm?

Christian carries Ana upstairs and plunks her unceremoniously on the floor. Ana begs him not to hit her. Sexy, eh? If you go to any women’s shelter and ask the men lurking in the bushes outside, I’m sure they’ll agree. Christian agrees to compromise: they will have sex but Ana is not to enjoy it. Not one bit.

Sure buddy, I’ll get right on that.

Because Christian is mad. It turns out he’s all angried up because Ana wouldn’t let him feel her up at the table during dinner. I had to page back and see if this actually happened.  It did. It would have been nice if the author had in any way indicated that this might be important later. Because 8 pages later, I had already forgotten it.

So, they have sex on the couch in the boathouse, and Ana does her level best not to enjoy it. But she does anyway. Christian doesn’t seem to mind. Which is totally believable in a dominant. They make themselves presentable, and Christian surprises Ana by giving back her underwear, which he had pocketed a couple of chapters ago. Ana is elated and counts this as a win for her. Because that’s what healthy relationships are all about – winning at all costs.

I still can’t believe this mess was somebody’s fantasy, the thing they’d like to see happen. I mean, I know my imagination is broken, but I wouldn’t dream up this sucking bog of a relationship on purpose.

Seconds later Christian’s annoying little sister, Mia, bursts into the boat house and and shouts, “Christian!” And asks them what they’ve been up to. What is she, twelve? Because she’s written that way. Christian replies that he was showing Ana his rowing trophies. Is that what the kids are calling it these days?

Our crappy couple head back to the house to say their goodbyes to the family. Mia hugs Ana and says, again, that they never thought Christian would find anyone. Run Ana! Run for your life! If his own family thinks he’s too broken to have a proper relationship then he must be pretty damn screwed up.

They drive back to Christian’s place and engage in tedious relationship conversation. Ana is having second thoughts about their contractual arrangement (which BTW she has never signed onto). I think at this point it counts as at least 23rd thoughts. Christian asks why, and Ana gets distracted by shiny and stares out the window instead of answering. She thinks to herself, this man is dragging me down into the dark. Can I lead him to the light?

What the fuck?! Did they both just die in a fiery car crash and I didn’t notice? Go into the light Christian! Not the other place. Yeeeaaaah…okaaaay. Who thinks things like that? No one. Ever. Can you die from sighing heavily? Because I might have a terminal case. So now we’re back to the whole virginal virgin saves broken man because of her goody-goodness. Excuse me while I bllleeaaaaaaarrrrgghh….I…I just don’t know what. What a bunch of insipid crap. Seriously.

Ana tells Christian that she “wants more.” What? Pie? Or is that just me? Mmmmmm…pie. Christian promises to try, for Ana. Damn right man! She wants goddamn bumbleberry. And don’t skimp on the whipped cream. Wait. What were we talking about? Pie right?

Ana’s so happy that she unbuckles her seatbelt and gets in Christian’s lap for some kissy-face. Well. She’s not a smart girl, we’ve established that. Then suddenly chauffeur guy slams on the brakes and it turns into Crash! Nothing says Hawt Secks like going head first through the windshield. No. That doesn’t happen. I guess I didn’t wish hard enough…

They agree that Ana will take a vacation to visit her mother, and sign the contract (remember the contract?) after her vaycay. But first more Hawt Secks! Ugh. Please don’t. But who cares what I, the poor forgotten reader, want? Not E. L. James, apparently.

On the way to bed, they make lame jokes about the sex being in 31 flavours. I’m pretty sure all of them are vanilla, despite what the book claims. Then Ana’s Inner Goddess* “pops her head above the parapet.” What. The Flying. Fuck? There are not only about a half dozen people in Ana’s head, there’s also a castle? Mmmmmkaaaay…They get to the bedroom and Christian whips off Ana’s dress (not using an actual whip – just what kind of book do you think this is?) and says (I’m not kidding here) “Ta-da!”

0.o

I bet yer all warmed up and ready for some sexy, dirty sex now, eh? I know I am. But who cares what you want? Ana and Christian need to get ready for bed! They change, and Ana brushes her teeth with Christian’s toothbrush AGAIN! This is the part of the book that horrifies me the most. That is so gross! Eeeeeewww! Christian catches her and doesn’t mind(!) Because heaven knows an uptight control freak would not mind you using his toothbrush without his permission.

Now the sex, right? Wrong. Silly you! First Ana has to try and blackmail Christian. If he tells her about his sordid past, then he can spank her, even though she doesn’t like it. Christian agrees. He produces a set of Ben Wa balls, which confuse Ana (are you surprised?). They share good long spanking, and a thorough rogering. Then Christian tells Ana that his bio-mom was a crack whore, who died when he was four. And that’s all he tells her.

I'm going to hell
Christ, what an asshole.

But hey! There are only six deliciously dirty chapters left! I’m soooo almost out of this morass. Then I’ll be doing the 50 Shreds of Grey official book-shredding and possible burning! Because I will never inflict this book on another unsuspecting soul. I promise. See you in chapter 21…

*If a woman you are dating ever, EVER uses the term inner goddess, referring to herself: RUN

Chapter 19 of 50 Shades of Grey: I Love the Smell of Facepalm in the Morning

Long story short, there is no sex in Chapter 19. Am I surprised? Not really. Am I disappointed? I don’t think I could be any more disappointed than I already am with this book.

The chapter starts as Christian wakes Ana up to tell her she has to be ready to leave for his parents’ house in half an hour. Back me up here people: there is no woman alive who can go from ‘bed’ to ‘ready to meet the parents’ in half an hour. It just isn’t done. Ana showers and heads downstairs to leave in fifteen minutes. ‘Half an hour? I only need fifteen minutes’, said no woman ever. Now I know this book was written by a man. For sure.

As a side note, Ana realizes that Christian still has her underwear. That’s probably for the best, as she’d just be putting her stanky panties back on. Yuck. She decides not to wear any, as this will, “drive him crazy.” At this point, 332 pages into the book, I’m not sure what Ana means by that.  Will it drive Christian crazy with lust? Will it piss him off that she is meeting his parents ‘sans culottes’ as Ana calls it? Or will he be frustrated that she isn’t begging for her panties back?  I’m a little sad that I there hasn’t been enough character development for me to infer her intentions here.

And therein lies the problem with this book. Or one of them anyhow. The characters aren’t developed enough to make this work as an erotic story featuring people I care about, and there isn’t enough sex to make it a porn worth wasting my time on. It’s like a horrible melding of the worst features of both.

Before they leave to meet the parents, they have time to dance – to Sinatra. They whirl and spin and ‘cover the floor’.  I’m led to think they are dancing the fucking polka. But whatever.

Off they go to meet the parents. Zzzzzzz…before they get there Ana manages to get herself all jealous about Christian’s first lover whom they uncreatively refer to as Mrs. Robinson. She’s mad because now Christian is all screwed up and Ana has to deal with it. Nope honey, you don’t. You can leave. There’s a whole world of screwed up men out there for your enjoyment.

Ana wants to be ‘part of his world’, but ‘not on his terms’. No you don’t want to be part of his world. Because then you wouldn’t be having this conversation with yourself. You want a different guy who just happens to look like Christian. There’s a difference.  An important one. You get the feeling, reading 50 Shades, (at least I do) that Ana was made in a lab and just dumped out of the maturation chamber right before the book begins, with a head full of implanted false memories, possibly by Christian himself (the evil billionaire genius). Because she doesn’t seem to know much about anything.

Christian offers her a penny for her thoughts. Ha! As if any of the muddled sparking that goes on in her brain counts as a thought. But, whatever. Oh Christian! Not only are you broken and unloveable, you also talk in clichés! Sweet!

The wacky antics begin right off as we meet Christian’s parents and have polite conversation with them. OMG his parents are named Grace and Carrick. Somebody watches too many soap operas! By, somebody’ I mean E. L. James. And by ‘too many’ I mean ever having watched one once ever.

And then they have dirty filthy sex right under the dinner table! No they don’t. Oh God, why would they? What, do you think this is porn or something? Geez you people! You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Lets see if I can get this over quickly: Kate and Elliot are there. Christian’s parents, and his squealy little sister. They are all thrilled to bits that Christian has found somebody. Because they all thought he was gay. Kate has a case of the can’t-shut-ups and tells everyone that Ana is going on vacation to Georgia. Christian is furious. Kate then blabs that Ana went out with Jose one night and Christian is livid, though he acts polite at the table. One of the servants makes googly eyes at Christian and Ana is furious. Interesting! No wait, the other thing: tedious.

They then tuck in to good old fashioned American foods, like Beef Wellington and Lemon Syllabub. This is sooo British I expect Rik Mayall’s Richard Richard character to burst in screaming, “Gasman! Gasman!” Because WTF?!

The whole meal screams to me zero research. Zero. These are Americans! They eat bacon-wrapped fried chicken, and chocolate covered bacon for dessert. Or so I’ve heard. Ahhh…

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So boring dinner stays boring. Afterward, Christian tells his family he is going to show Ana around the grounds. They get outside and Christian, still furious, hoists Ana over his shoulder, smacks her up good, and stamps off. He tells Ana that he is going to spank her and then fuck her. His words. Ana has no idea why, but then, she has so few ideas about anything really. All she knows is that she’s not happy about it.

Sexy!

So, at least there promises to be some sex next chapter. Which would be great if it was consensual! But, yeah. Not so much. Sigh. Maybe chapter 20 will be better…

I Read Chapter 18 of 50 Shades: Another 15 Pages Down the Crapper

So they finally finally finally have some sex. Finally.

But first a medical exam!

Christian bills Dr. Greene as the best OB/GYN in Seattle, but when she shows up, it turns out he has hired her because she is tall and blond and looks exactly like all his other female employees. And she’s here to put Ana on the pill! So that Christian doesn’t have to be inconvenienced by putting on a condom! Liberating! You know what would be even easier? A vasectomy! It’s easy and fun! He’s into pain, right? So it’s win-win.

And anyway, if Christian’s so rich and so lazy why doesn’t he just pay someone to put condoms on for him? I imagine Christian pantless and betuniced (like Zap Branigan). He claps his hands smartly and orders, “Condom slave! Come here and unroll my condom! This instant!” Then out of a trapdoor climbs a little orange Oompa Loompa who runs over and…

See what it’s like to live in my head? Weird, huh? I would love this book, if anything like that ever happened. But it doesn’t. Instead they make out briefly and then eat Caesar salad. Sexy Caesar salad. Ritzy, huh? Nothing says sexy like garlic/anchovy breath. Yum! Ana is surprised that the salad is good, and surprised that she’s hungry. She’s surprised about a lot of things.

“Hey Ana, the sun rose in the east today!” “OMG! I’m so surprised!”

“Hey Ana the sky appears blue.”  “WTF?! How can that be?!”

See? It’s already gone from vaguely funny to tiresome. :/

And then the sex. Oh that wacky sex. That wacky, facepalm-y sex. They repair to the Red Room of Pain. I guess as opposed to the Brian Gluckstein ™ Beige Room of Boredom? (Sorry BG, but you *do* use a lot of beige).

Ana is immediately turned on by the smell of leather and orange glo. Christian tells her to stop biting her lip, as it turns him on. I know I haven’t banged on about this as much as I should, but Christian says this exact thing to Ana at least ten times per chapter. It’s gotten very, very old. And Christian, if Ana hasn’t cottoned on by now, she isn’t going to. She’s not very smart you know.

Christian strips Ana naked, and then puts her hair in a braid, because, you know, reasons. *shrug*

They play the whole ‘sir, yes sir game’, and then Ana is stunned that Christian pulls out the exact same riding crop that Ana saw in the dream of sex that she didn’t know she could have.

Which would be awesome, if there was any logical way (other than coincidence) that this could happen. Like Christian has a super villain type machine that can go back in time and see into Ana’s dreams, or he has telepathy or something. At one point Ana described the dream riding crop to Christian as brown plaited leather, but that doesn’t narrow it down that much.

Then she says this; “Could I be more excited?”

I don’t know.

Could you be more of a ditzy valley girl?

No. You could not.

As a side note, this scene would totally work as a Futurama-style parody featuring Zapp Branigan and a cartoonized Katy Perry. I’d laugh and laugh. Because this sure doesn’t work as a serious scene.

Christian ties her up and then beats the living heck out of her with the riding crop which Ana enjoys very much. But she’s very upset when she has to have an orgasm. Who knows why? Not me, that’s for Goddamn sure. Then she’s afraid (you read that right: afraid) to have another orgasm. It’s like E. L. James has gone out of her way to make Ana’s emotional responses totally random and inappropriate. The way I see it, if Ana enjoys herself, then good for her, right? Right?!

Wrong.

Apparently.  Ana’s a fictional character for God’s sake and she’s not even allowed to enjoy herself. She has to feel bad about enjoying herself and be all, ‘oh no not another orgasm! I hate those!’  Get some therapy Ms. James and spare us all your hang ups. We are approaching infinite facepalm territory, here people. We are definitely through the looking glass.

I mean, write me a book about a woman who has a lot of sex and enjoys it and I am right there. I get that. I’m all about that. But 50 Shades is not that kind of book. If you had an infinite number of sexually repressed catholic monkeys at an infinite number of naughty typewriters, this is the book they would come up with.

         

Ok, mini-rant over.

Ana wakes up some time later and realises that she is still tied up. She ‘forgot’ that she was tied up. Yeah, sure you did. One imagines that Ana forgets a lot of things. Like taking her meds. Christian then unties her and carries her down the hall to her private room.  And with that, my friends, we flush chapter eighteen down the crapper.  Good riddance.