Just when I thought I couldn’t stand it anymore, just when I thought that surely I would die from the exquisite torture of it, I am done with recapping this fucking book. Let me tell you, it was almost more difficult re-reading it than reading it in the first place.
Before we dive into this bittersweet last recap, I want to just thank everyone who has come here and had discussions, pointed out errors (E.L. James’s and my own), who have enjoyed the recaps, and really, to the people who didn’t enjoy them, too, because you participated as well. This has been a lot of fun. I’m still on the fence about book two, but we’ll see what happens after my vacation.
Oh, what’s that, you ask? My vacation? Well, I’ll tell you. When this beauty posts on Saturday, I will be on my way up north, to Michigan’s beautiful U.P. That is, I’ll be leaving the part of my beautiful state that looks like a mitten and heading to the part that looks more like a shark or someone’s hand if they’ve worked in a paper mill their entire vocational life and they maybe had some industrial accidents. If you’ve never been to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you’re missing a really unique time capsule of a place. It’s like stepping back into the 1950’s in some places. It’s truly magical, and I’m going to spend a whole week on the shores of the big lake they call Gitcheegoomi, otherwise known as Lake Superior. That’s one of the Great Lakes, Chet. Be jealous. There’s a sea monster in it. I’ll be working on a book of mine own, for the first time in months, and hanging out with some like-minded author friends and probably passing my days in a Hunter S. Thompson style substance binge. Maybe it will cleanse my soul and I’ll be all geared up to read more about Jack Hyde. Who knows. Maybe I’ll blow off the Mighty Mac and die. I really hope not, because I think that’s only happened to like, one other person and it would SUCK to be the second person that happened to. I wouldn’t even make the papers.
So, without further ado, here is the final 50 Shades of Grey recap, with way fewer punches pulled, in my opinion.
I wake with a jolt.
I realize that this is the last time I’m going to have to read a chapter that begins with Ana waking up or going to sleep. Victory is mine!
Ana wakes up at five in the morning because of the three hour time difference. She was only there for four days, dude. She gets jet-lagged easily. She needs to take her pill, so she gets out of bed to do so. I wonder why she’s taking her pill so early in the morning, that she’s going to have to set an alarm to wake her up that early. Or maybe she forgot her pill the day before. Don’t know, don’t care, this is the last day of school for me.
Christian is playing piano, so she puts on her robe and goes to listen to the “melodic lament” he’s playing. Doesn’t this guy know any happy songs? Oh shit, that’s right, he couldn’t know any happy songs, because he’s tortured.
Shrouded in darkness, Christian sits in a bubble of light as he plays, and his hair glints with burnished copper highlights. He looks naked, though I know he’s wearing his PJ bottoms. He’s concentrating, playing beautifully, lost in the melancholy of the music.
I feel like this has happened before. I have the oddest sense of deja vu.
Just ignore it.
He looks lost, sad even, and achingly lonely – or maybe it’s just the music that’s so full of poignant sorrow. He finishes the piece, pauses for a split second, then starts to play it again.
That’s probably the only piano piece he knows, and he just plays it when women are over to like, impress them. Once, I saw some youtube clip where James May was talking about how even guys who can’t play the piano could learn to play this one, impressive sounding piece, and it would get them ladies. Let me see if I can’t rustle that clip up and post it here for all my James May lovin’ sisters and brothers:
Okay, I may have confused this clip with the one from Man Lab where he teaches the guy to cheat on guitar. But in any case, that’s what happened. Christian Grey only knows how to play one song on the piano, and I’m sticking with that theory, because it’s hilarious.
Full disclosure, I had to share that link because I love all of you who have come out to me with your James May crushes and I thought we should share this moment before the fickleness of the internet forces us apart. Know that I will forever remember your excellent taste in over-forty hotties.
I move cautiously toward him, drawn as the moth to the flame… the idea makes me smile.
You know, that metaphor will never get old. I assume I’ll see plenty of it in book two.
You know I’m totally going to read the damn thing.
Christian tells her she should be asleep. Well, maybe if someone with a piano wasn’t making a bunch of fucking racket and forcing us to experience scene deja vu…
I ignore his facial expression and very bravely sit down beside him on the piano stool, placing my head on his bare shoulder to watch his deft, agile fingers caress the keys. He pauses fractionally, and then continues to the end of the piece.
“What was that?” I ask softly.
“Chopin. Opus 8, number 4. In E minor, if you’re interested,” he murmurs.
There’s like, only one way to improve on that sentence, and that would be to add, “Pleb,” to the end of it. That would be hilarious.
Ana says that she’s always interested in what he does, and I’m kind of expecting him to say, “Not super controlling pseudo BDSM,” but he doesn’t, unfortunately.
“I didn’t mean to wake you.”
“You didn’t. Play the other one.”
Oh snap, she’s on to him and his one song repertoire!
“The Back piece that you played the first night I stayed.”
“Oh, the Marcello.”
Just play it, jackass.
He starts to play slowly and deliberately. I feel the movement of his hands in his shoulder as I lean against him and close my eyes. The sad, soulful notes swirl slowly and mournfully around us, echoing off the walls. It is a hauntingly beautiful piece, sadder even than the Chopin, and I lose myself to the beauty of the lament. To a certain extent, it reflects how I feel. The deep poignant longing I have to know this extraordinary man better to try and understand his sadness.
I’m sure that’s exactly what the composer intended. He was like, “Some day, not soon, but some day, my work will be immortalized in a book about an intensely unlikable woman and her abusive boyfriend.” And then Thomas Tallis swooped in and stole his thunder.
“Why do you only play such sad music?”
Christian asks Ana for what feels like the hundredth time in this scene already why she’s up, and she explains the timezone difference and that she has to take her pill. He chides her about starting birth control in another time zone, and then lays out this very specific plan for getting back on schedule. I realize that they really do recommend you take your birth control pill at the same time every day, but is three hours difference really going to matter on your, what, fourth or fifth pill? I don’t think it would. I’m not a gynecologist, but I just don’t think it would.
Christian wants to have sex, but Ana would rather talk. Because that’s what this book is about, one slow, teasing build up to a conversation. I bet you thought it was about the sex!
The sex was a red herring.
“Maybe on the piano,” he whispers.
Oh my. My whole body tightens at the thought. Piano. Wow.
Go for it. It will never, ever be as hot as this:
Nothing will ever be this hot.
Rather than have sex on the piano, Ana wants to figure out, once and for all, what is up with their relationship, and specifically the contract.
“Well, I think the contract is moot, don’t you?” His voice is low and husky, his eyes soft. “Moot?”
“Moot.” He smiles. I gape at him quizzically.
“But you were so keen.”
So… wait a second. You spend the entire book bitching about how you don’t want to sign the contract, and now you’re all, “Hey, why haven’t I signed the contract?” about it? Ana cannot make up her damned mind.
“Well, that was before. Anyway, the Rules aren’t moot, they still stand.” His expression hardens slightly.
So, he’s not into the paperwork anymore, but he’s still going to want total control over her entire life. You know, at least under the contract, thee were safeguards for the stuff she didn’t want to do. But before, he says? Before what?
“Before,”… He pauses, and the wary expression is back, “more.” He shrugs.
“Besides, we’ve been in the playroom twice now, and you haven’t run screaming for the hills.”
“Do you expect me to?”
“Nothing you do is expected, Anastasia,” he says dryly.
Are we reading the same book, Christian? I’ve been able to pretty accurately predict every thing she’s done so far.
“So, let me be clear. You just want me to follow the Rules of element of the contract all the time but not the rest of the contract?”
“Except in the playroom. I want you to follow the spirit of the contract in the playroom, and yes, I want you to follow the rules – all the time. Then I know you’ll be safe, and I’ll be able to have you anytime I wish.”
You guys got that? She doesn’t have to follow the contract, just the rules, unless they’re in the play room, but he wants her to follow the rules all the time. And the reason she needs to do this is so that he’ll be able to have her any time he wants. Look at how reasonable that is!
“And if I break one of the rules?”
“But won’t you need my permission?”
“Yes, I will.”
“And if I say no?”
He gazes at me for a moment, with a confused expression.
“If you say no, you’ll say no. I’ll have to find a way to persuade you.” I pull away from him and stand. I need some distance. He frowns as I stare down at him. He looks puzzled and wary again
“So the punishment aspect remains.”
“Yes, but only if you break the rules.”
What the shit is this, the freaking LSATs? It’s like a logic problem, and in the answers it says “none of the above” right above “all of the above.” How is she supposed to figure any of this out? Is she writing it down?
Ana can’t really remember what the rules are. If she could hear me, I would remind her that the rules are as follows:
Rules for being Chedward’s girlfriend
- Do what he says, whenever he says.
- If you don’t, he gets to beat you.
- Don’t have friends or family he doesn’t approve of.
See, super easy.
Chedward goes to get her a copy of the rules, and Ana thinks about how weird it is that they’re talking about it early in the morning while his business is in crisis. Well, you know, Ana, you were the one who brought it up. It’s not like you didn’t know what time it is.
When he returns with the rules, I don’t see a lot of changes, though Ana assures the reader that some things are crossed out. she’s still expected to do whatever he asks “eagerly and without hesitation” sleep the number of hours he wants, eat the foods he approves, wear the clothing he approves, work out with a trainer, stay completely waxed, and behave the way he deems appropriate. She must do all these things, or be punished.
They start to talk a little bit about the contract, but then Ana has the audacity to roll her eyes. Christian wants to spank her for that infraction, but Ana tells him he has to catch her first.
“I’m quite fast you know.” I try for nonchalance.
“So am I.”
He’s stalking me, in his own kitchen.
Must be nice for him to be working from home for a change. Christian points out that if Ana runs and gets hurt, she’ll be breaking one of the rules, but she takes off, anyway.
Suddenly, he lunges for me, making me squeal and run for the dining room table. I manage to escape, putting the table between us. My heart is pounding and adrenaline has spiked through my body… boy… this is so thrilling. I’m a child again, though that’s not right.
So not right.
Ana outruns him for a while, and he says it seems like she doesn’t want him to catch her:
“I don’t. That’s the point. I feel about punishment the way you feel about me touching you.” His entire demeanor changes in a nanosecond. Gone is playful Christian, and he stands staring at me as if I’d slapped him. He’s ashen.
“That’s how you feel?” he whispers.
Those four words, and the way he utters them, speaks volumes. Oh no.They tell me so much more about him and how he feels. They tell me about his fear and loathing.
We can’t stop here. This is spank country.
Ana backs down from her assertion that she hates being spanked as much as he hates being touched, because she gets this crazy feeling that disliking being spanked due to not being spanked as a child is probably not the same as disliking being touched due to having someone put fucking cigarettes out on your chest as a child. Then she claims that she’s “‘ambivalent about it. I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it.'” Okay, that’s selling yourself a little short. You don’t like physical pain, speak up and be honest about it, don’t back down like, “Oh, I’m actually just ‘meh’ about it,” when you really feel strongly that you do not want to be involved in physical pain as a sexual fetish.
Because that’s what this is, readers. In the final chapter, we get to the crux of things. Christian isn’t into BDSM. He’s into causing pain, which, while sometimes falling under the umbrella of BDSM, is a pretty specific subgenre of BDSM fun times:
“I do it for you, Christian, because you need it. I don’t. You didn’t hurt me last night. That was in a different context, and I can rationalize that internally, and I trust you. But when you want to punish me, I worry that you’ll hurt me.” His gray eyes blaze like a turbulent storm. Time moves, and expands and slips away before he answers softly.
“I want to hurt you. But not beyond anything that you couldn’t take.” Fuck!
He runs his hand through his hair, and he shrugs.
“I just need it.” He pauses, gazing at me with anguish, and he closes his eyes and shakes his head. “I can’t tell you,” he whispers.
Ana asks if it’s “can’t” or “won’t” and he admits that he just plain won’t tell her. Because he’s afraid she’ll leave him. So, he just wants to cause her pain, for no reason, and she should be cool about it, because he knows exactly what she can/can’t handle with regard to his tortured past.
“Don’t leave me. You said you wouldn’t leave me, and you begged me not to leave you, in your sleep,” he murmurs against my lips.
Oh… my nocturnal confessions.
“I don’t want to go.” And my heart clenches, turning itself inside out.
This is a man in need. His fear is naked and obvious, but he’s lost… somewhere in his darkness. His eyes wide and bleak and tortured. I can soothe him. Join him briefly in the darkness and bring him into the light.
How is she going to do this? By letting him beat the ever living shit out of her. No, I’m not kidding. She tells Christian she wants to see how much it can hurt, and he expresses disbelief.
“Yes, I said I would.” But I have an ulterior motive. If I do this for him, maybe he will let me touch him.
This seems like the sort of thing you might want to work out, perhaps on paper, in a contract of some kind, perhaps, before you let someone unleash hell on your butt. Either way, he’s DTS (down to spank) and he takes her into the red room and tells her to bend over a bench. He’s going to hit her with a belt. A straight up belt.
“We’re here because you said yes, Anastasia. And you ran from me. I am going to hit you six times, and you will count with me.”
Six times, with a belt, so it hurts as much as it can possibly hurt. You dig? This is the moment, guys.
“I am doing this so that you remember not to run from me, and as exciting as it is, I never want you to run from me,” he whispers.
And the irony is not lost on me. I was running to avoid this. If he’d opened his arms, I’d run to him, not away from him.
Ana notices that as he talks, though, he sounds more like the Christian she’s used to, like he’s in his element or something.
I close my eyes, bracing myself for the blow. It comes hard, snapping across my backside, and the bit of the belt is everything I feared. I cry out involuntarily, and take a huge gulp of air.
So, the belt hurts. At least it’s not the canes, right? So, he hits her, it hurts, etc.
“Five.” My voice is more a choked, strangled sob, and in this moment, I think I hate him.
Once he’s done whipping her with the belt, she doesn’t want him touching her, but all he wants to do is straight up cuddle. Guys, pssh. Always with the cuddling, am I right, ladies?
“Don’t touch me!” I hiss. I straighten and stare at him, and he’s watching me as if I might bolt, gray eyes wide, bemused. I dash the tears angrily out of my eyes with the backs of my hands, glaring at him.
“This is what you really like? Me, like this?” I use the sleeve of the bathrobe to wipe my nose.
He gazes at me warily.
“Well, you are one fucked-up son of a bitch.”
Let me just remind you, he bought what appeared to be murder supplies in front of her in chapter two. Straight out of Dexter murder supplies. And then she found out they were just for sex. And only now does she think he’s fucked up?
Ana tells him to sort his shit out and then goes to her room.
What was I thinking? Why did I let him do that to me? I wanted the dark, to explore how bad it could be – but it’s too dark for me. I cannot do this. Yet, this is what he does, this how he gets his kicks.
What a monumental wake-up call. And to be fair to him, he warned me and warned me, time and again. He’s not normal. He has needs that I cannot fulfill. I realize that now.
Let’s keep on forgetting how he doesn’t meet a single one of your needs. Let’s roll around in our anguish about not being able to meet his. Oh, you’re going to do that for a whole bunch more paragraphs? Please, carry on.
Why, why, why have I fallen in love with Fifty Shades? Why?
Replace “I” with “Women” and you will be echoing my frustration with this book, Ana.
Oh, his distraught look as I left. I was so cruel, so shocked by the savagery… will he forgive me… will I forgive him? My thoughts are all haywire and jumbled, echoing and bouncing off the inside of my skull. My subconscious is shaking her head sadly, and my inner goddess is nowhere to be seen.
Maybe Christian beat her to death.
I have to go. That’s it… I have to leave. He’s no good for me, and I am no good for him. How can we possibly make this work? And the thought of not seeing him again practically chokes me… my Fifty Shades.
I feel like that phrase has been used so many times in this book, both the words “fifty” and “shades” are now meaningless for all eternity.
Christian comes in and tries to snuggle with her, but she’s still not having it. He’s brought her Advil and Arnica cream, but I don’t know what Arnica cream is, so I’m going to just call it ass cream.
Here goes. I need to say my piece. “I don’t think I can be everything you want me to be,” I whisper. His eyes widen slightly, and he blinks, his fearful expression returning.
“You are everything I want you to be.”
“I don’t understand. I’m not obedient, and you can be sure as hell I’m not going to let you do that to me again. And that’s what you need, you said so.” He closes his eyes again, and I can see a myriad of emotions cross his face. When he reopens them, his expression is bleak. Oh no.
We all know that they’re breaking up, so allow me to interrupt this recap to defend “a myriad of.” I know it sticks in some of your craws when it shows up in this book. And God knows I don’t want to be E.L. James’s champion or anything. But this is important. If you look up “myriad” in Miriam-Webster, it’s going to tell you that either “myriad” or “a myriad of” are correct usage. I’m sorry for your loss.
Ana and Christian continue to break up, complete with a whole, “You’re right, you should go”/”I don’t want to go”/”I don’t want you to go” back and forth, but then Ana lets loose with the game changer:
“Me too,” I whisper, “I’ve fallen in love with you, Christian.” His eyes widen again, but this time, with pure undiluted fear.
Remember how he had that whole commitment problem before, readers? Dropping L-bombs doesn’t work great with him, for some reason, and he flips out. Why? Because he can’t make Ana happy.
Holy fuck. This really is it. This is what it boils down to – incompatibility – and all those poor subs come to mind.
They make their break up official and Ana asks for privacy to get dressed, because she is going to leave.
I have had my eyes opened and glimpsed the extent of his depravity, and I now know he’s not capable of love – of giving or receiving love. My worst fears have been realized. And strangely, it’s very liberating.
The pain is such that I refuse to acknowledge it. I feel numb. I have somehow escaped from my body and am now a casual observer to this unfolding tragedy.
She takes a shower, gets dressed, and as she’s digging through her suitcase she finds the little gift she got for Christian. Bit reveal time, it’s a model kit of a glider. She even wrote a note that says, “This reminded me of a happy time.”
Wait, what? Reminds her of a happy time… yesterday?
She leaves the glider and the note on Christian’s pillow, thinking really dramatic thoughts about breaking up with her boyfriend of less than a month:
I cannot believe that my world is crumbling around me into a sterile pile of ashes, all my hopes and dreams cruelly dashed.
Okay, hold up. All your hopes and dreams? You’ve been with this guy like, a few weeks. Didn’t you have hopes and dreams before you met him? Or did you just throw those out when the more important boyfriend came along?
As Ana comes out of the bathroom, she hears Christian on the phone, yelling at someone, ordering them to “find her.” I assume he’s already stalking his next lady love, then?
Ana tries to return the computer and BlackBerry, she just wants the money Taylor got for selling her car. They argue about it, but he ends up giving her a check. While Taylor brings the car round, and after they argue some more, Christian says:
“I don’t want you to go,” he murmurs, his voice full of longing.
“I can’t stay. I know what I want and you can’t give it to me, and I can’t give you what you need.”
Ana leaves Christian in his sterile art gallery of an apartment, and goes downstairs to get in the car.
Embarrassment and shame washes over me. I’m a complete failure. I had hoped to drag my Fifty Shades into the light, but it’s proved a task beyond my meager abilities. Desperately, I try to keep my emotions banked and at bay. As we head out onto 4th Avenue, I stare blankly out of the window, and the enormity of what I’ve done slowly washes over me. Shit – I’ve left him. The only man I’ve ever loved. The only man I’ve ever slept with.
Ana starts bawling in the car, and then when she gets home, shit really hits the fan, because she sees the deflated helicopter balloon tied to the end of her bed.
I fall onto my bed, shoes and all, and howl. The pain is indescribable… physical, mental… metaphysical… it is everywhere, seeping into the marrow of my bones. Grief.
You know, I’ve had a similar reaction, myself. WHEN SOMEONE FUCKING DIED. GET YOUR SHIT SHIT TOGETHER ANA.
This is grief – and I’ve bought it on myself. Deep down, a nasty, unbidden thought comes from my inner goddess, her lip curled in a snarl… the physical pain from the bite of a belt is nothing, nothing compared to this devastation. I curl up, desperately clutching the flat foil balloon and Taylor’s handkerchief, and surrender myself to my grief.
So, basically what just happened in this chapter is the beginning of the second Twilight book. So, we’re going to leave our recaps just like this:
THANK YOU FOLKS! (AB)NORMAL BLOG ENTRIES RESUME JULY 2nd!
WE FUCKING SURVIVED THIS BOOK TOGETHER!