Chapter 17 of Fifty Shades Darker: In Which We Find Tedious, Barely Believable Plot Points

Chapter 17 starts with early morning sexy times which involve hissing, for some reason. It also involves Christian showing off his amateur magician skillz, because he produces condom packets out of thin air just when he needs them. Ta-da!

During all this, Christian’s eyes manage to be glacial, volcanic, stormy, and blazing all at the same time. Those are some crazy-ass funky eyes. Ana is taken with a fit of giggles, and Christian tells her that sex is not the appropriate time for, you know, laughing or having fun.

“I need to stop you, and I think I know how,” he says ominously…

I love the choice of words here. Should sex ever be ominous? It almost sounds like he’s going to kill her. At least then the book would be over. Ugh.

And then it’s breakfast time! Because (yet again!) why describe the sex when we can skip straight to breakfast? The breakfast is granola – good wholesome granola. I’m not sure what kind of novel you thought this was?!

Ana is now dressed all in grey for her job that she has but doesn’t have anymore. She’s the personal assistant to the guy who just got very fired for trying to rape her. So, just exactly what is she going to do? Doesn’t matter! Christian owns the company and he says she still has a job.

They head off to work, and Christian finally lets Ana drive her own car. She asks to turn on the radio, but Christian says no.

“I want you to concentrate,” he says sharply.

Ana snaps that she can concentrate just fine with the radio on. They listen to King of Pain, by the Police. They make some lame innuendos about it, and I want them never to mention it again. It is one of my favourite songs. In fact, I choose to believe that they never mentioned it in the first place.

It turns out Ana can’t concentrate with the radio on. Instead of paying attention to the road, Ana mentally catalogs all the phone calls she will be able to make now that she doesn’t have to pretend to work. She wonders how she is going to fill her day, and who her new boss will be. Christian tries to snap her out of her daydream, but she immediately lapses into a montage of learning to drive.

They do make it to the parking lot without an accident, more by luck than anything else. They get all emo, and Christian bemoans the fact that Ana requires more than one day to think about his marriage proposal. They make kissy face until Ana insists that she has to go to work. She has important work to work at, you know, at work.

Ana arrives at work and is immediately promoted to her old boss’s position of editor. Yeah, that’s believable. It may just be the least believable thing to ever happen in this book. The HR lady tells her that Jack had “high hopes” for her. Well, he did, but those hopes involved putting his penis inside her vagina, so…maybe not the best qualifications for the job. Oh well, they’ll find out soon enough!

The promotion is so unbelievable that Ana doesn’t believe it. She immediately calls Christian on her Blackberry to accuse him of interfering. Christian is furious that she would ever suggest that he might interfere in her job. Like by firing her boss. Or, you know, buying the company. He would never, ever do that. For good measure he yells at her for not calling on her Blackberry, except that she did. Force of habit I guess.

Ana spends the day doing editor things, or so we are led to believe. She tells us that she reads the detailed job description until the HR lady buzzes her three and a half hours later. That is some detailed job description. She is so busy she doesn’t get to make any of those phone calls she was daydreaming about. Her two lunch dates, Mia and Ethan both show up and she sends them off for lunch together in a bout of emergency matchmaking. Ana briefly worries about Christian’s reaction, because no one asked his permission before sending Mia out on a date.

Because apparently his permission is necessary before sending his adult sister out for lunch with a man.

But it is all better in just a moment because Christian has sent roses! And a love note! That excuses any and all behaviour.They exchange some email, and Ana proposes a picnic and I hope to God that doesn’t happen. Please don’t make me go on a picnic with these two idiots. It’ll be like going on a picnic with Zapp Brannigan and Kwazy Kat. Sweet lord.

At the end of the day Ana suddenly remembers that it is Christian’s birthday soon. She ducks into a souvenir store to buy him a surprise, because if there’s one thing millionaires love, it is cheap mass produced tchotchkes. Our crappy couple meets up and Ana tells us he is dressed like a ‘bad boy’ in jeans and a white T-shirt. Ummmm…okaaaaay. Maybe in 50’s themed musical theatre. She exclaims, “You’ve showered.” As if that is something extra special. Well, for her it is, but Ana, normal people shower daily.

They head off to meet Christian’s therapist, Dr. Flynn. He starts the appointment under the impression that this will be a couples therapy session, but he quickly sends Christian out of the room. He proceeds to tell Ana about all about Christian’s past and all his diagnoses. To hell with client confidentiality. Dr. Quackenstein also tells Ana that she has basically cured Christian of all his past ‘illnesses.’ That is some solid professional assessment. See ladies? You can change your man! A doctor just said so! It must be true. He may not have a real “degree”, or actual ‘training” but you can trust him.

Ana has trouble absorbing “all these long words,” that Dr. Flynn uses. It’s funny because Dr. Flynn doesn’t really use any long words, and the two he does use – parasomnia, and haphephobia – he explains immediately. Ana tells him that she is afraid that Christian is a sadist. Dr Flynn tells her that is not a thing anymore.

“Dr. Flynn has lost me again. I blink at him. He smiles kindly at me.”

That speaks for itself. Doesn’t it? He gets that she doesn’t really know what’s going on. As a general rule. Then Christian barges back into the room, and tells them the session is over, so it is over.

Ana’s phone rings and she is scared because it is Jose. It’s a good thing they are out of the therapists office by this time because this is all kinds of wrong. She isn’t worried because she hates talking to Jose, but rather because Christian gets insane jealous rages when she does. Ana pretends everything is hunky dorey and invites Jose out for drinks even though Christian frowns and frets the whole time. After Ana hangs up, Christian makes the obligatory douche-remark about Jose ‘trying anything,’ which leads into a fight about Ana driving. Her own car. Christian allows it, but insults her and backseat drives the whole time. Eventually Ana is so angry that she pulls over and has a hissy fit on the sidewalk while Christian pretends that he doesn’t want to drive.

Ana is refuses to get back into the car until Christian agrees to drive. Which is what he wanted in the first place. Christian is all smug after that, and Ana has to tell him she does not want to argue. That’s funny. You did just a minute ago.

Then Christian mentions that he wants her to be “more” than just a sexual partner. The very word more (even though nobody ever explains what they mean by that) sends Ana into fits of ecstasy. Christian makes a sudden turn onto a street Ana doesn’t recognise, and we end the chapter with Christian telling her that their destination is a surprise.

Surprise Ana! You’re going to sleep with the fishes tonight!

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Chapter 3 of Fifty Shades Darker is Neither Fifty, Nor Shades, Nor Darker. Discuss.

There’s a lot of heavy sighing involved in this chapter, not because of the amazing hawt secks (heavens no!) but because I’m soooo bored by it. Can you die from boredom? Or terribleness? Because I must be pretty close.

It’s the next morning, and Ana listens to her Christian “mix tape” on the bus to work, and is thrilled to bits. It’s like she’s 12 years old. When she gets to work, her little happy bubble is rudely broken by her boss, who tells her how radiant she looks.

How inappropriate! Ana thinks.

Really? That’s your line in the sand? You look radiant? Mister Jeckyl-Hyde isn’t described as leering like a satyr or winking lasciviously. He just says it. And that is just too much for Ana’s delicate sensibilities. But instead of telling him to back off, she thanks him. Because that’s how you let somebody know they are making you uncomfortable. Face. Meet Palm. Oh wait, you already know each other? Have I introduced you to Desk as well?

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Ana is then momentarily horrified that her boss hands her some work. And wants it done! What an unreasonable prick! Ana gets right on it and spends the morning emailing Christian. Gripping, unputdownable emails. Like this one:

“I am eating a banana as I type.”

Of course you are. What else would one eat? Especially if one is a teenage girl who still thinks things like that are funny or sexy. Or whatever.

After a half dozen emails to Christian Ana finally starts to work. After lunch she emails Christian some more, until he tells her to stop because her work emails are monitored. Ana is flabbergasted. Mostly because I like that word. Flabbergasted. She has no idea that work email could be monitored. In 2011, I think this is set, she doesn’t know that work email is monitored? Give me a break.

At the end of the day Ana heads off for that drink she promised to have with her boss, at a bar coincidently called Fifty’s. She is surprised but happy that it is a whole-office affair. Being the self-centred baby that she is. she naturally assumed it was a date between her and her creepy good-morning-saying boss.

Ana heads to the bathroom to check out how amazing she looks, but first, we are “treated” to more email! Four more emails! From her phone! I know you’re as excited as I am.

Why she doesn’t text Christian, I’ll never be sure, but that’s the least of this story’s problems really. Just keep reading, you’ll see why.

Ana heads out to the street and is confronted by a woman, who dares to call out her name. Ana is confused. How can a person know her name? How is this possible? Maybe it’s a candy-gram, I don’t know, but it’s not as crazy out of left field as Ana makes it out to be. Ana describes the woman as pale and “strangely blank” with “flat” brown eyes.

Sweet! E. L. James has sent a cyborg from the future to kill Ana and rip the space-time continuum a new one. Yes! This place just got interesting.

It had you interested there for a moment, right? Me too, but it isn’t to be. In fact something altogether more boring and clichéd happens. Sigh. Mysterious Ghost Woman turns out to be one of Christian’s evil exes, who asks, “What do you have that I don’t?”

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I, for one, am totally stoked to find out what Ana has that evil ex doesn’t. I’m very sure that it has something to do with Ana’s virginal goody-goodness luring Christian toward normality like a moth drawn to an incandescent bulb. Wait. I’m not stoked to find that out at all. In fact, I think I just threw up in my mouth.

Moving right along, evil ex #1 doesn’t actually do anything, just turns and leaves, but Ana is now terrified. The League of evil exes is on to you now Ana! You’d better run! Instead, she heads over to Fifty’s to get her drink on. Ana steers conversation away from herself by asking her co-workers questions about their lives. She calls this her ‘patented distraction technique’. I’m sorry to let you know Ana, but this is a well-known method to get others talking about themselves. Even a socially stunted neckbeard like myself is aware of it.

Ana then is forced to converse with her close-talking boss. Quelle Horreur! To make her discomfort with his presence good and clear Ana makes polite conversation, blushes and giggles. That’ll show him! Of course, Close-talk boss only exists to showcase how jealous and possessive Christian is, so hey presto! Christian shows up to act, you guessed it, jealous and possessive. Ana is relieved that someone here can deal with her boss, but is confused about why there is suddenly so much tension in the room. Christian actually has to tell her that he and her boss were having a pissing match. I get the feeling Ana was raised by those see no evil hear no evil monkeys. It would explain a lot.

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They head out to Christian’s car where Christian announces that he has just bought the company she works for, and threatens to fire Mr. Jeckyl-Hyde if he so much as winks at Ana. Ana is furious. Finally! An appropriate emotion. Because that is beyond creepy. Ana yells at Christian, and then calls it a brain to mouth malfunction. That’s right sister, you’d better keep it quiet or you’re going to end up stuffed in a fridge somewhere.

Our crappy couple repair to Ana’s house to sex it up. Nope. They cook dinner: Ana decides on a stir fry because it’s the fastest thing to make. It might be except that Ana doesn’t have any food in the house, because her roommate personal care assistant, Kate, is on vacation. Christian is furious. Furious! So we get to follow them on a gripping visit to THE STORE.

Christian is all awkward and stupid in the grocery store and Ana briefly gets to feel superior. Savour it baby, it won’t last long. Christian admits that he has no idea who buys his groceries. They just kind of appear. And he’s all “Waaaah! Why can’t I get good wine at a grocery store?!” Welp. Because it’s a grocery store?  Don’t worry Christian, you can just buy the grocery store and have all the employees killed for their blatant non-good-wine-having.

Back at Ana’s apartment, Ana conspires to get Christian into bed by touching him incessantly while she cooks. And it works. Of course it does. This is Fifty Shades of WTF after all. But it gets better! We finally get treated to page after page of that dirty BDSM we’ve been promised!

Lol, no! Not one bit. They do have sex though – regular, boring Harlequin romance style sex. You know you love it!

Christian forces Ana to spell out exactly what she wants, and refuses to do anything to her unless she does. Good idea Christian. I hope you’re recording this because you’ll need it at the trial! Ana is completely mortified (it doesn’t take much) and tells him what to do with a combination of pointing and blushing. A good time is had by all. Or so they tell me.

And that’s it. We can flush another nugget of “gold” down the toilet, and settle in for Chapter 4 of Fifty Shades Darker. Which, I have to say, is not particularly dark. I’ll be honest, I’ve seen episodes of Fairly Odd Parents that are more disturbing. Not a good sign. Not a good sign at all. But at least we got through a chapter without mentioning teh gays! It’s not much, but I’ll take it.

50 Shades’ Penultimate Chapter is Penultimate

Chapter 25 makes up for being nearly the last chapter in the book by being ridiculously, insufferably long. Seriously, it took me three tries to work my way through.

The chapter starts in the airport as Ana bids farewell to Mumsy, crying tears that she describes so poetically as ‘watery.’ As opposed to ‘fiery’ or ‘earthy’ tears, I guess. Or these:

They trade frog and prince clichés and her mom promises to visit. Although considering she couldn’t be bothered to show up at Ana’s graduation, I am far from convinced.

On the plane, Ana thinks about her mother’s love and wonders, “What does Christian know of love?” Raven Lunatick wonders, “What does James know of clichés?” Not enough apparently. If I ever, EVER use a phrase that hackneyed please, please, PLEASE slap me into next week.

At this point, Ana has a revelation. What she really wants from Christian is…wait for it…love. And it took her four hundred and seventy-two pages to figure that out. Wasn’t that the whole problem all along? Hasn’t this been fairly explicit? When Ana was constantly telling Christian she wanted “more” were we supposed to be confused about what that meant? Was Ana? Because it was pretty damn obvious that it was love. Has E. L. James ever considered becoming a mystery writer? I think she has a bright future.

Ok. That was probably unfair, but somebody in the long line of people who read a book prior to publication ought to have mentioned it. Because it’s pretty insulting to the readers’ intelligence.

Ana goes on to muse that the BDSM was just a distraction from the real issue (she actually thinks this phrase). Wait? There was BDSM? Because I sure don’t remember any. :-/ They have a whole room of BDSM-themed equipment, but it’s more like a BDSM museum, because they never use it. They just stand around talking about how they could use it. Any time they wanted to. They just don’t want to. But later…ooooh baby you’d better believe they’re going to use it later.

So, after thinking for all of, oh, thirty seconds, Ana decides that Christian is not capable of feeling love; that he feels undeserving of it because of his early childhood trauma. Let me reiterate that Christian claims to have no memory of his early childhood, and was thereafter raised by loving rich people. Ana’s a regular Sigmunda Freud, isn’t she?

Then, lacking a good way to move the plot along, the characters exchange more email. Seven altogether. They say nothing of interest but it makes Ana anxious anyway. Christian doesn’t elabourate on the “situation” that made him skip out on dinner with Ana’s family, but to be fair, Ana never asks him.

Ana gets back to Seattle and Christian’s chauffeur takes her to Christian’s penthouse. On the drive there Ana asks him a couple of vague questions about the “situation” and gets a couple of vague answers. Ana characterises this as “mining a seam of gold.” Yeah that’s pure gold, Ana. Pure gold. She comes away from the conversation not knowing any more than she did before.

Ana arrives at Christian’s penthouse and all her questions remain unanswered as they sex it up. In the bathroom. Again. Sweet zombie Jesus, bathrooms are gross. I’m not sure this book isn’t about a guy with a bathroom fetish.

Then they shower and Ana tells Christian she got a job and she thinks that he paid off the company to hire her. Christian is just as impressed as you’d imagine. Then, to make it extra special, she invites him to Jose’s photography how in Portland. Remember Jose? Christian hates him. He is pissed off momentarily, but then forgets.

They have creepy bathroom sex again.

They dress, eat, and reconvene in the playroom. Finally! Some of that BDSM we’ve been promised. But first Christian tells Ana he has finally bought all those clothes he promised her 400 pages ago. One of Ana’s multiple personalities emerges to call her a ho. You know Ana, they can control that with medication. Several ‘oh mys’ and ‘holy craps’ later we finally get to the sex.

Christian reiterates the safe words several times. Just in case. Which is probably for the best. But Ana is insulted. “I am about to remind him of my GPA…” and all the blowjobs you had to give to maintain it?

So the great BDSM surprise we’ve been waiting for? Christian ties her to the bed and makes Ana wear an iPod while they have sex. Woo-friggin-hoo. I’m soooo…soooo…bored. No one has ever listened to music during sex. It’s so deviant. They throw in a flogger for good measure, but he really only tickles her with it so I’m not really impressed.

Afterwards Christian reveals what Ana said in her sleep (remember that bit of fakey drama from chapter the last?): that she misses him. Awwwww…sweet. That was a whole lot of nothing, eh? It’s like watching Ghost Hunters, or Destination Truth – they’re always all “Oh my God! We found something! Oh, wait, no we didn’t. Never mind.”

It gets tiresome. Christian then accuses Ana of hiding something from him. I’m sorry Christian, she’s not smart enough to hide something from you. Ana denies it, and Christian threatens to torture it out of her. Perhaps with more iPod playing?

So in the final chapter we can look forward to more fakey, overhyped drama! Because I love that! Perhaps aliens will attack and dissolve our crappy couple in a vat of acid. Or take over their bodies. I suspect they would act more normal. But really, who cares? It’s the last chapter and I won’t have to read it anymore! Yay!

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!”

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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

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.

Chapter 17 of 50 Shades aka Anastasia Steele and the No Sex At All

Remember back in chapter 16 when I assured you (and myself) that we could finally dive into the creamy centre of all that steamy kinky sex, now that the contract was finalised? Well, I was wrong. There is no sex is this chapter. At all. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

The chapter begins with Ana dreaming that she is a moth flying into flames. I see what you did there. Subtle. Ana didn’t know she could dream sex, well I didn’t know you could dream clichés.

Ana wakes to find that Christian is still there. She is mildly surprised. Christian wakes up and is also surprised when he finds that he is in bed with Ana. Ok guys, did you figure the bed fairy was going to float you back to your separate beds while you slept?

 

Did I just ruin Fairly Odd Parents for you? I just ruined it for me?

Apparently they did expect a visit from the alarm clock fairy, because Christian looks at the time and realises he’s late for an 8 am meeting. I call bullshit. Seriously. We are supposed to believe that he’s a billionaire who can fly his own helicopter, but he can’t set an alarm on his cell phone? It’s pretty self-explanatory. Even I know how to do it.

Christian rushes off to work, promising to email her a time for the signing of the official contract, and then we launch into another gripping, sexy round of (you guessed it) email – twenty in all. Twenty. Twenty long, rambling, boring emails.

Ana tells Christian that she enjoyed the sex and spanking, but it made her feel bad about herself. He tells her she needs to get over herself, that she’s an adult, and that she could have used one of the safe words, or just left. Yes. Yes she could. But then she couldn’t be all overdramatic and feel sorry for herself.

Ana then goes to work – it’s her last day! I don’t care! And neither does anyone else! Christian, like the creepy-creeper-who-creeps that he is, has a blackberry delivered to her at work. So he can always contact her everywhere she goes. And so he can track her movements – something he has already admitted to doing with her old phone. Ooooh baby, are you as turned on as I am? I.e. not at all? I thought so.

 

So, of course, Ana hates the Blackberry. She hates every gift Christian gives her. She uses it to call him a stalker and suggest he get some therapy (ever notice how the word ‘therapist’ breaks down into ‘the rapist’? You will now). Or, you know, thank you, as we sometimes say. Don’t they make a great couple?  She wants to be an overdramatic bitch and he wants to beat somebody: it’s a match made in Heaven. Or wherever broken weirdo matches are made. Hell? Albany? I don’t know.

Then Ana goes home, and lords her new car over her roommate, Kate. The same car she was furious at Christian for buying. And that she initially refused to accept. Kate and Ana have Chinese take-out with Jose, and then Kate’s boyfriend shows up. Ana and Jose excuse themselves and head out to the local bar to give Kate and her boyfriend some alone time. When they get back Ana checks her phone to find five missed calls and a voicemail from Christian.

She returns his call and they get into a game of you-hang-up-first. Seriously. Literally. They say those words to each other. I don’t think E. L. James knows Americans as well as she thinks she does.

Then we travel forward in time (thankfully) to miss Kate and Ana moving into their new apartment. We find them settled in and ready to relax. A delivery boy shows up, and of course it’s from Christian, who is now sending a bottle of champagne and a helicopter balloon. Ana gets a huge rush out of explaining to Kate that Christian has a helicopter, and flies it himself. I’m just gonna be totally frank here: Ana is just a bad person. She is so unlikeable, I find myself hoping she’ll choke to death on the champagne.

Finally, mercifully, it’s Sunday, big bad contract signing day. Ana meets Christian at his penthouse (in those millions of emails he did specify a time). Christian reminds Ana he has hired a doctor to examine her and provide some birth control. Wow. That is soooo not creepy. At all. It’s even not-creepier that he tells her he’d pay good money to watch her examination, but he doesn’t think that’s appropriate. Luckily we are spared the filthy, sexy gyno appointment because that’s where chapter 17 ends.

You tell ’em Zoidberg. So its onward and upward to Chapter 18, and one sincerely hopes, some of the sexy, sexy sex that these books are so famous for. But I doubt it.