Monthly Archives: January 2013

E.L. James needs to shut her ignorant mouth about abuse.

Dear Readers:

Since I’ve started on the long (the very, very, very long) journey of blogging about 50 Shades and why the relationship at its core is a predatory, abusive one between an aggressive stalker and his victim, a lot of women have come to me and said, “this is just like the abusive relationship I was in,” or “this reminds me of the ex who tried to stab me in the throat with a screwdriver.” I’m beyond horrified at the number of emails and comments I’ve received from women who have had their own “Christian Grey” and managed to escape him. This shouldn’t be happening as often as it does, and the only reason it does is because our culture tells us that as women, we need to be first and foremost available for male attention – and to not make ourselves so is to be rude and not a very nice woman.
So, when Emma sent me a link with E.L. running her ignorant mouth about allegations of abuse in her books, I lost my fucking mind:

James says she “freaks out when she hears people say that her book encourages domestic violence. “Nothing freaks me out more than people who say this is about domestic abuse,” she says. “Bringing up my book in this context trivializes the issues, doing women who actually go through it a huge disservice. It also demonizes loads of women who enjoy this lifestyle, and ignores the many, many women who tell me they’ve found the books sexually empowering.”

One would think that since she has at minimum a third-grade understanding of the English language, E.L. James would be able to understand a few core concepts.
  1. No one is talking about BDSM being abusive, you fucking lunatic. The elements of the relationship that are abusive have nothing to do with the incredibly mild BDSM in the book. Even though the BDSM is shitty and unsafe and portrayed as a mental disease, the BDSM sequences aren’t really where the abuse happens. The abuse happens in all the places where Christian asserts his dominance over Ana outside of the bedroom, by stalking her (showing up at her work, following her across the country when she’s asked him for space, putting money into her bank account – the number for which he got through a private investigator), refusing her any agency (she must be followed by his “security team” – read: spies – anywhere she goes, her clothes are purchased for her by a shopper who knows Christian’s tastes, he even tells her when and what to eat and bought her job), and getting her drunk (read: drugging her) to get her to consent to shit she doesn’t want to do. All that stuff is abusive. Tying her up and making her listen to Medieval chant while he fucks her? No one thinks that’s abusive.
  2. Bringing up the abuse in your book doesn’t trivialize the issue, you fucking lunatic. You know what does trivialize the issue? Ignoring very real concerns about the abuse in the book because you don’t want to admit you’re just a shitty writer or a shitty person and you don’t care about abused women at all because you’re making tons of money and omg, everyone is being so mean about the shitty book you wrote about a shitty guy who abuses a woman. Talking about an issue in a serious way doesn’t “trivialize” it. It brings awareness to people who might have been wrong in their thinking. The only problem is, the people – like E.L. James – who most need to listen and learn about why they’re propagating dangerous cultural stereotypes about what women need or want, refuse to listen. So, by dismissing the issue, E.L., you’re really the one doing the trivializing. 
  3. Protecting women from abuse doesn’t endanger the sexual preferences of women who like BDSM. Look, I’m going to say it. I love to be submissive during sex. I love to get spanked, bitten, slapped, choked, I like to have my hair pulled, to get fucked hard, you name something perverted and I am into it, so long as the person doing it to me is calling me a cheap slut while he’s doing it (and also as long as it’s Safe, Sane, and Consensual). Do I realize that some people feel that’s dirty, bad, and wrong? Yeah, but fuck them. Because it doesn’t matter if other people think that I’m gross or depraved or fucked in the head, because I know that’s not the case. There’s no reason for anyone to try to protect me from what I want to do in the bedroom. And I don’t need E.L. James to defend my lifestyle choices, either, so she doesn’t need to be the champion for all the poor, repressed women out there who like BDSM. There is, however, lots of reasons that we need to protect women who are being abused from abuse, namely because our culture won’t. It’s not setting back the sexual revolution to call out Christian Grey as an abuser pretending to be a Dom. It’s not taking away the sexual agency of women who like to masturbate to 50 Shades. It’s not “either, or” here. We can say, “Yes, freedom of sexual exploration is amazing, and what you do in your bedroom is not anyone else’s business,” while acknowledging that if the “Dom” attitude turns into an excuse to victimize and control a woman who doesn’t want to be a 24/7 sub, it has crossed the line from sex play into abuse. People in the BDSM community WANT to talk about this type of thing, and they were talking about it at length BEFORE 50 Shades came along. Now, E.L. wants to shut down that whole conversation as a matter of feminism, or something? Why? Because women are too stupid to handle nuanced issues? Or just because we can’t care about more than one thing at a time, and naturally jilling off to this piece of shit book is the highest priority, and we’ll get to the abuse later?
  4. Women going through, or who have gone through, domestic abuse are not fucking thrilled with 50 Shades. Before E.L. tries to stand up and say that she’s angry because highlighting the abuse in her books trivializes all those poor, battered women she supposedly cares so fucking much about, maybe she needs to talk to some of the women I’ve heard from. Maybe she needs to hear abuse victims saying, “You’re wrong,” so she could get it through her head. Oh, my bad. A lot of these same women HAVE tried to contact E.L. James, only to be blocked on twitter. That’s right. If you try to contact E.L. James with your heartfelt plea for understanding, based on your own personal experience at the hands of an abuser like Christian Grey, you’re going to find your twitter account blocked. Because she doesn’t want to hear it. The inability to listen to even the mildest criticism of her perfect, perfect hottie, Christian Grey, proves that E.L. James doesn’t get angry over those allegations on behalf of abused women. She doesn’t give enough of a shit about them to read 140 fucking characters, unless those characters are all glowing praise for her master work. Yeah, she really fucking cares about abused women, so much so that she sees their real-life experiences as an attack against her glorious creation (that’s making her so much money).
So, there you go. E.L. James cares so much about you, abuse survivors, that she’s willing to prioritize a woman’s right to be spanked over your right to not be stalked, intimidated, beaten, and controlled. She cares so much, that she won’t even listen to you when you try to tell her what’s wrong. And she’s so, so terribly concerned about you that she doesn’t want anyone to even talk about the abuse in her books or the potential for abuse in a BDSM relationship… because she doesn’t want to upset you, and she knows best. Or something. I don’t know, I’m honestly considering the possibility that this woman is gluing up before her public appearances.
Is E.L. James the real-life inspiration for Cheryl Tunt?

The bottom line is, this is a problem E.L. James could fix, easily. First of all, she has to drop this whole, “I want to protect abused women” bullshit line that is clearly not true at all. And she has to stop touting her books as some kind of sexual saving grace that women are learning and growing from. Then, when someone says, “Hey, Christian Grey is an abuser,” she can say, “You’re right. The relationship portrayed in my books is not a healthy one. However, as a fiction writer I am telling a story, not writing a how-to manual. If my books are encouraging women to be more open in their sexuality, I think that’s great, but I would advise them to seek out other, nonfiction resources for instruction in the BDSM lifestyle. And I would ask them not to hold up the relationship between Christian Grey and Ana Steele as one to aspire to.”
That’s all she has to do. But she won’t. Because at the end of the day, women, E.L. James doesn’t give a shit about you, or your experiences. And she was only writing this for school, anyway, so OMG SHE DOESN’T CARE IF YOU LIKE IT!
(The link to the original story I took E.L.’s quote from is here, but be warned there are two auto-play videos of the same commercial badly out of sync at the top and bottom of the pages)

50 Shades Freed recap chapter 5 or “False Tension Blowout! Featuring The Most Boring Car Chase Of All Time!”

Amy sent me a link to this chart about what to read this summer instead of 50 Shades of Grey. I know it’s not technically summer in my hemisphere, but still, it’s a pretty clever chart. Though I’m not entirely sure if someone looking for hot, sweaty, abusive naughty times is going to be that thrilled with Maus as an alternative.

@Aka_Kody suggests this horrible, and entirely true, lowering of the bar for love stories in a terrifying macro.

So, the false tension circus really comes to town in chapter five. Brace yourselves, there’s going to be a lot of drama with little payoff, for confusing reasons. Gird your loins.

After the nightmare Ana has for no reason in the end of chapter four – oh, silly me, of course there was a reason. She had the nightmare so it could be like Bella’s nightmare in the Twilight books – she wakes up to find Christian not there:

I stir, instinctively reaching for Christian only to feel his absence. Shit! I wake instantly and look anxiously around the cabin.

Is she worried that he escaped?

Not to worry, Christian is just creepily watching her from the chair across the room. And he’s wearing his cut-offs and a gray t-shirt. Raise your hand if the thought of a man in cut-offs only conjures up the most homoerotic beer commercial you’ve ever seen. E.L., you truly understand what straight women want to read about.

“Hey, don’t panic. Everything’s fine,” he says, his voice gentle and soothing – like he’s talking to a cornered wild animal.

Or the girl he has his in the pit in his basement.

“You’ve been so jumpy these last couple of days,” he murmurs, his eyes wide and serious.

Gosh, I wonder why she would be jumpy, Christian. You’re constantly telling her your lives are in danger and insisting she travel with an armed entourage to protect her. You think that might, you know, be getting to her a little?

This is the thing about abusers and paranoid people. They want to force the person they’re with to be as paranoid as they are. To be drawn into their delusion, so they have company in there. And as long as Christian can make Ana afraid and powerless in the face of some shadowy, ill-defined conspiracy  against her, she has to cleave unto him for protection. It effectively traps her, and now he also gets to show concern over the situation, making him her knight in shining armor! What’s wrong with that, besides the manipulation and control?

“I’m okay, Christian.” I give him my brightest smile because I don’t want him to know how worried I am about the arson incident.

WHAT ARSON INCIDENT WAS THERE SOME KIND OF FIRE I HADN’T HEARD.

“Were you watching me sleep?”

“Yes,” he says, gazing at me steadily, studying me. “You were talking.”

“Oh?” Shit! what was I saying?

You were saying something about how this was another thing plagiarized from Twilight. So, I’m going to assume Bella Ana said Edward Christian’s name while she was sleeping.

Why is she freaked out if her husband heard her talking in her sleep? Could it be because… they don’t really know each other? Because they’ve only been together like… three months and they’ve never had a real conversation because they’re both trying to be exactly what they think the other person wants, rather than having any genuine thoughts or feelings?

Despite constantly telling Ana to be terrified of everything and everyone, Christian doesn’t want her to be scared. But she’s not, see, she’s just scared for him:

“When you frown, a little V forms just here. IT’s soft to kiss. Don’t worry baby, I’ll look after you.”

“It’s not me I’m worried about, it’s you,” I grumble. “Who’s looking after you?”

He smiles indulgently at my tone. “I’m big enough and ugly enough to look after myself [...]“

Yes, remember, everyone, how big and ugly Christian is? Despite us constantly being told how hot and elegant and charming he is, he’s also a bruiser who can look after himself, provided he has twin French dudes and a scary bodyguard following him around 24/7.

Christian tells Ana it’s time to get up, because there’s one last thing he wants to do on their honeymoon. She thinks:

We’ve had a blissful honeymoon. With a few ups and downs, I admit, but that’s normal for a newly married couple, surely?

Actually, I’m sure lots of domestic violence assaults take place on honeymoons. But that doesn’t make it okay. And it certainly doesn’t make this tripe readable.

The thing Christian wants to do before they head home from France is go on the jet ski with Ana driving. They have some of the most boring banter ever:

“Fair point well made, Mrs. Grey. Are we going to stand on this platform all day debating your driving skills or are we going to have some fun?”

“Fair point well made, Mr. Grey.” 

OMG DO YOU GET IT HE SAID THE THING AND THEN SHE SAID THE THING BACK TO HIM THE THING THEY ALWAYS SAY OMG THEIR RELATIONSHIP MUST BE SO EXCITING WITH THE WAY THEY CONSTANTLY REPEAT THEMSELVES OVER AND OVER IN EVERY CONVERSATION.

They get on the jet ski and oh my god, Chedward has to sit behind her with his thighs pressed to hers and it’s so exciting and thrilling that she has to go zipping off toward the seaside airport. Now, she’s aware it’s an airport, and mentions that she is specifically heading toward the airport, but for some reason, this happens:

As we zoom over the cool blue sea toward what looks like the end of the runway, the thundering roar of a jet overhead suddenly startles me as it comes in to land. It’s so loud I panic, swerving and hitting the throttle at the same time, mistaking it for a brake.

“Ana!” Christian shouts, but it’s too late. I’m catapulted off the side of the Jet Ski, arms and legs flailing, taking Christian with me in a spectacular splash.

Ana gets scared by a plane. Outside of an airport. Which she goes to great pains to describe to the reader in the preceding paragraphs.

Anyway, of course she falls off and Christian panics, but Ana is thinking:

See, Christian? That’s the worst that can happen on a Jet Ski!

 Not the worst thing that could happen, Ana…
It’s pretty obvious that the winner of this scene is the jet ski, which bucked these two idiots off in a desperate bid for freedom. Float free, little jet ski. Your day will come.
There’s a section break, and we’re in the first class lounge at Heathrow, waiting for their flight home. I thought this guy had a plane? Plus, if someone is trying to kill him, isn’t he endangering the lives of everyone on board? He’s already had one instance of airborne sabotage.
In any case, because this is the most boring book in the history of boring books, we get to wait with them for their flight while they talk some more about the arson. For real. It’s like the bottom of one page, top of the next, and it’s all just waiting in the airport and talking about how Christian is going to have Welch’s balls if he doesn’t get to the bottom of the whole thing. Then there’s another section break, and they’re home, and totally exhausted.

I am so tired. Travelling is exhausting, even in first class. We’ve been up for more than eighteen hours straight.

Very soon, Google image search results for my name will be just pictures of me flipping off this book.

Oh wow, that must be so terrible to stay up for eighteen whole hours in a row. That must be unbearable. That’s like getting only six hours of sleep a night, how could you possibly do that? Do bodies even work that way? Never mind the fact that some people, like writers and parents and parents who are writers are lucky to get a full six hours. It must be terrible to have to stay up for such a long, uninterrupted block of time. Poor Ana.
Of course, it could have been longer, as she reminds us that in her “fatigue” she may have miscounted the hours. You guys. She could have been totally awake (except for the fact that Christian is waking her up in the car at the beginning of this section, and the uninterrupted hours of sleep she could have gotten on the flight) for like, twenty whole hours.
Christian picks her up out of the car like a fucking child. No, seriously:

I hear my door open, and Christian is leaning over me. He unbuckles my seat belt and lifts me into his arms, waking me.

So, not only wasn’t she awake for the paragraph before this one, but somehow narrating the events to us, but also it’s time to put your shoes on, sweetie, we’re at Grandma’s house.

I’m starting to agree with the pedophile analogy from the first set of recaps.

 Not only does Christian treat Ana like a child, there’s also this bullshit:

“Mrs. Grey, I am very pleased to announce that you’ve put on some weight.”

So, look, we all know she’s pregnant. It happened in Twilight, so it’s going to happen in here, too. But there are better ways to foreshadow that your heroine is pregnant. For example, she could think she had a stomach bug that turned out to be morning sickness, or she could get really busy with work and lose track of when her last period was. You know what’s not a good way for your heroine to notice she’s pregnant? By having the hero call her fat, when he’s completely aware that she’s got fucking food issues that he pretends to care about all the fucking time.

“What do you mean I’ve put on weight?” I glare at Christian. His grin broadens, and he clasps me closer to his chest as he carries me across the lobby.

“Not much,” he assures me, but his face darkens.

“What is it?” I try to keep the alarm in my voice under control.

“You’ve put on some of the weight you lost when you left me,” he says quietly as he summons the elevator.

Oh, that’s right, guys. Remember how dangerously thin Ana got in the five whole days she and Christian were broken up in book two? And lest we forget that Ana is suffering from anorexia nervosa with a heaping side of a narcissistic personality disorder,  she just described how hot her body is now two chapters ago. So, not only does it take next to no time for her to lose enough weight that people grow concerned about it, she also can gain weight and look totally hot. She’s the perfect woman, we all lose, pack it up and go home everyone.

Christian tells Ana how happy she’s made him, and she responds:

“Even though I’m fat?”

And he reassures her with:

“Even though you’re fat.”

Ah, romance. I hope there is time in this chapter to show her not eating, so he can tell her to eat, and then call her fat again, because I haven’t had anything really great to talk about in my therapy appointments lately.

Even though Ana is a land whale, they decide to have sex. I don’t know how they manage, what with Christian choking back his revulsion at bedding his fat wife, and Ana barely able to stay awake after a full eighteen fucking hours of consciousness broken up only by travel-induced naps, but the important thing is, we don’t have to read a fucking word of boring sex because it goes right to a section break and we pick up the next morning. Of course he’s still asleep, so Ana gets a chance to watch him and rehash all the fucking boring stuff we’ve already heard over and over again for the last two books:

So much has happened in the last three weeks – who am I kidding, the last three months – that I feel that my feet haven’t touched the ground. And now here I am, Mrs. Christian Grey, married to the most delicious, sexy, philanthropic, absurdly wealthy mogul a woman could meet. How did this all happen so fast?

He bought you, like he buys everything he wants. And when he gets bored with you, you’ll go into storage beside his glider and his broken helicopter and all the other stuff he used to like to ride. Congratulations on making the shitty life choices everyone tried to help you avoid.

Ana thinks about how crazy it is that she’s going to have to go back to work in the real world and spend time away from Christian, because it’s totally normal and healthy to want to be with another person nonstop without a break every moment of every day:

One would think that spending so much time together would be suffocating, but that’s just not the case. I’ve loved each and every minute, even our fighting. Every minute… except the news of the fire at Grey House.

I honestly can’t remember, can someone who has the poor fortune of owning these books on an e-reader do a search of them and tell me if his building has ever before been referred to as Grey House? It’s possible that the mind-wiping procedure I had done to try and Eternal Sunshine these books out of my head wasn’t entirely successful, but it definitely removed that detail.

My blood chills. Who could want to harm Christian?

Someone in his business? An ex? A disgruntled employee?

Someone who met him once, a person who has read this book, perhaps? How many people could possibly want to fucking murder this guy? EVERYONE.

Ana eventually stares at Christian so hard that he wakes up, and then they have sex. It’s off screen, though, so we can tag along with them to lunch at Christian’s parents’ house. It’s a lunch in their honor, to celebrate them coming back from their honeymoon. Christian and Ana are driving in the R8, and Ana feels pregnant out of sorts, so she picks a fight by asking if he would ever let her drive his precious Audi. His response is actually playful, instead of horrified:

“Of course,” Christian replies, smiling. “What’s mine is yours. If you dent it, though, I will take you into the Red Room of Pain.” He glances swiftly at me with a malicious grin.

Shit! I gape at him. Is this a joke?

So, Ana can’t tell if he’s joking or not, probably owing to Battered Woman Syndrome, but she appears to be in on the whole thing when she says:

“You’re kidding. You’d punish me for denting your car? You love your car more than you love me?” I tease.

So, she’s teasing him… that makes her in on the joke, right?

“It’s close,” he says and reaches across to squeeze my knee. “But she doesn’t keep me warm at night.”

“I’m sure it could be arranged. You could sleep in her,” I snap.

Okay, so wait, a minute ago you were teasing him, but now you’re offended?

I gaze at him and he gives me a face-splitting grin, and although I want to be mad at him, it’s impossible when he’s in this kind of mood. Now that I think about it, he’s been in a better frame of mind ever since he left his study this morning. And it dawns on me that I’m being petulant because we have to go back to reality, and I don’t know if he’s going to revert to the more closed pre-honeymoon Christian, or if I’ll get to keep the new improved version.

This entire scene in the car completely baffled me, and not in the cracked.com use of the word. Like, this entire exchange was legitimately confusing. At first, Ana is playfully teasing Chedward. Then, he gets in on the fun, and she gets mad. I was trying to figure out how this all fit into the dynamic of an abusive relationship. And then I remembered I wasn’t reading a book that depicted an abusive relationship on purpose, so it’s likely just bad writing. And then I realized what the real problem is:

“I’m kidding, Christian,” I mutter quickly, not wanting to kill his mood. It strikes me how unsure he is of himself sometimes. I suspect that he’s always been like this, but has just hidden his uncertainty beneath an intimidating exterior. He’s very easy to tease, probably because he’s not used to it. It’s a revelation, and I marvel again that we still have so much to learn about each other.

You guys. They don’t even like each other. They are totally incompatible. They do not belong together. They’re just two Barbies being smashed together and made to kiss. When we’re not watching, they’re just two actors without any chemistry pretending to be in love in a bad soap opera.

I have cracked the code.

At the Chevalier-Trevylan-Grey Manse, Carrick is grilling burgers in a stereotypical goofy dad uniform, and Ana is in a better mood until someone mentions a woman who isn’t her:

“Gia is due to come over to discuss the plans tomorrow evening,” replies Christian. “I hope we can finalize everything then.” He turns and looks expectantly at me.

Oh… this is news.

“Sure.” I smile at him, mostly for the benefit of his family, but my spirits take a nosedive again. Why does he make these decisions without telling me? Or is it the thought of Gia – all lush hips, full breasts, expensive designer clothes, and perfume – smiling too provocatively at my husband? My subconscious glares at me. He’s given you no reason to be jealous. Shit, I am up and down today. What’s wrong with me?

You’re pregnant. Also, I love the assertion that Christian has given her no reason to be jealous. For most of their very short relationship, he’s remained friends with an ex who openly admitted to trying to sabotage his love life. He keeps pictures of all the other women he’s fucked. He gave his ex-sub a bath in Ana’s tub, hell, he probably used her loofa to exfoliate Leila’ poor, crazy feet. There are all sorts of reasons for her to not trust him, but the biggest one is that he doesn’t trust her.

On the other hand, what are the chances that Ana has communicated anything about Gia to Christian? Slim to none, I would wager.

Everyone toasts the happy couple for their safe return, and Mia quickly slips in:

“And congratulations to Ethan for getting into the psych program at Seattle,”

That’s right. Kate’s brother got into a good school, but everyone is celebrating these two idiots managing to not drown themselves on their honeymoon. I mean, even Kate doesn’t bring it up, Mia is the one who has to remind everyone, “Hey, someone at this table actually achieved something of measurable value.” Jesus Christ, these people are horrible.

Ana sits sullenly through the meal:

I pick at my food. Christian said I was fat yesterday.

Do we really need further proof that she has an eating disorder?

Elliot accidentally knocks his glass onto the terrace, startling everyone, and there’s a sudden flurry of activity to get it cleaned up.

I was honestly expecting Ana to be involved in that flurry. Then she could cut herself and Jasper Ethan could try to eat her.

Christian uses the distraction to warn Ana that if she doesn’t knock off her snotty attitude, he’s going to take her to the boathouse to spank her. And this makes her feel better, because apparently she lives in a never-ending state of subdrop that can only be cured by being treated like shit? I don’t know, I’ve seriously given up trying to make sense of this shit as though their relationship were happening between two actual people and not their cardboard cut-out stand-ins.

After dinner, they go inside and Christian plays piano and sings, and everyone gets all flustered because oh my god, they’ve never heard Christian sing before. It’s this big, dramatic moment that I think is supposed to show the reader that he’s made all this progress, but he’s really just singing a shitty pop song, and nothing about him or his psyche have really changed. It’s another moment of false tension, false plot. His mom hugs Ana and cries, because that’s all Grace does. If you open up her day planner, it’s like this:

  • 8:15PM marvel at Christian.
  • 8:16PM cry and hug Ana
  • 8:17PM say something crediting Ana with saving my son, even though I’m the one who adopted him and raised him and shit.
  • 8:19PM ignore the fact that my son is still waaaaay fucked up.
They leave the Grey compound to head back home, and Christian offers to let Ana drive with this stunning vote of confidence:

“Here.” Christian throws me the keys to the R8. “Don’t bend it” – he ads in all seriousness – “or I will be fucking pissed.”

So, no pressure. Which is good, because Ana needs to be relaxed and at ease for THE MOST NEEDLESS AND BORING CAR CHASE OF ALL TIME.

Where do I start criticizing the car chase? First of all, it’s too goddamned long. It starts on page 96 – and this is trade-sized, not mass-market – and goes all the way to page 102. They realize they’re being followed by a Dodge with false license plates. How do they realize this? Oh, because their security detail is in an SUV behind them.

That’s right. This is a big, scary, freak out scene with a safety net, because if the “unsub” (as security refers to him throughout the sequence) does catch up with them, they have an SUV full of security guards right behind them. Immediately, this destroys the tension. It’s also kind of odd, because there is no mention of the security detail at all in this chapter until the chase is underway. It’s almost as if E.L. began writing the scene, thought, “You know, someone might wonder why they went somewhere without their ever-present security. I should put them into this scene,” without realizing that once your hero and heroine are backed up by people who can easily step in and save them, the tension is gone. They’re not in any real danger.

Well, at least, they’re not until Ana starts trying to outrun this Dodge. Except, we’re not sure what kind of Dodge it is. Is it a Dodge Dart? A Dodge Ram? A Dodge Charger? Dodge makes an insanely varied range of models. Some of them could keep up with an Audi R8, but without knowing which one is chasing them, the whole scene, again, feels like there isn’t much tension there. The first thought I had was that there was a guy chasing them in a Dodge Neon, and I thought to myself, “Oh, well, they should be fine. The Neon was mostly styrofoam and shook like it was going to come apart if you got it over 80 m.p.h.”

Author abandons continuity from the first book:

I touch eighty-five. I don’t think I have ever driven this fast. I was lucky if my Beetle ever hit fifty miles an hour.

She drove Kate’s Mercedes pretty fast on her way back from interviewing Christian Grey.

Ana does the driving for the chase, by default since she’s behind the wheel. But Christian and Sawyer (in the SUV) feed her information like this is a goddamn NASCAR race. At one point, Christian says:

“Where are the cops when you need them?”

Why not call them? Oh, that’s right, because staying on the cell to your security, who are following the follower, is more important.

Because they’re being chased, the obvious thing to do is to head straight home, so the pursuer will know where they live. They don’t go into the underground garage, though, they pull into a parking lot near the building and fuck. No, I’m not kidding. First, Ana has to wipe her nose on fucking everything in car, though:

I wipe my nose on the back of my hand and take a deep steadying breath.

“Use my shirt.” Christian kisses my temple.

“Sorry,” I mutter, embarrassed by my crying.

“What for? Don’t be.”

I wipe my nose again. He tips my chin up and plants a gentle kiss on my lips. “Your lips are so soft when you cry, my beautiful, brave girl,” he whispers.

Then, without any hand sanitizer or anything, they just start banging. Leaving aside the creepiness of complimenting how sexy your wife is when she’s crying because she was just the driver in a high-speed car chase, GET SOME FUCKING KLEENEX AND PUT IT IN THE FUCKING CAR. Seriously, the infantilization of Ana is gross at the best of times, but it’s especially disgusting when it involves wiping her snot on her hands like a fucking four-year-old.

What’s worse is, they get right to the making out and intercourse in the car. Seriously, there is now snot on everything. Is this another of Chedward’s fetishes? Or are we supposed to believe that they’re both so turned on and hot for each other that snot doesn’t matter? Because I can’t imagine any situation, not even a high speed car chase, in which I would be such an emotional wreck that I could move from snot to sex without a stop at wash your hands junction for a track change.

I won’t excerpt the car sex, because it’s basically the same thing from every other scene, but this time in a car. Then they get out and call Sawyer for information on the person who was following them.

“Her?” he gasps. “Stick with her.” Christian hangs up and gazes at me.

Her! The driver of the car? Who could that be – Elena? Leila?

“The driver of the Dodge is female?”

“So it would appear,” he says quietly.

Is this an elaborate set up for a joke about female drivers? Because if so, I’m not impressed.

Christian drives the car to the Escala, while Ana asks questions about Sawyer and tries to initiate road head or something by feeling up Chedward through his jeans. Apparently, Sawyer is ex-FBI. Considering what we’ve seen of Christian’s bang up security operation, I think I know why Sawyer is ex-FBI. If you know what I’m saying.

I’m saying Christian’s security people are incompetent. Is what I’m saying.

I mean, they don’t even ride in the same car as the bodies they’re supposed to be guarding.

Juuuuuuust saying.

When they get into the parking garage at Escala, Christian suggests they should have sex again, this time over the hood of the car. But then they are smacked by the mighty hammer of foreshadowing, when a BMW drives in and this guy gets out:

He’s young, casually dressed, with long, layered dark hair. He looks like he works in the media.

What, like, he’s got a face for radio? Could you make that more of a broad generalization for us, E.L.? “He looked like he had a job doing something.” I mean, I still kind of get a sense of this person being a human male, are you sure you don’t want to be less specific in your description?

The guy introduces himself as Noah Logan, a new neighbor.

Noah flushes a little as he gazes at me a fraction too long. I mirror his flush and Christian’s arm tightens around me.

Christian is not psyched to meet Noah, and says he would prefer not to know the other people who live in the building. Which is, you know, totally safe, because if someone is trying to kill you, you definitely don’t want to know who is and isn’t supposed to be coming in and out of your building. The guy got on the elevator with them and asked a bunch of questions. What floor do you live on, how do you like the building, and he also drops the bombshell that he just moved in. Ana calls Christian a hermit:

“Hermit. Stuck in your ivory tower,” I state matter-of-factly.

You know those hermits. Always living in ivory towers.

Swanky!

Sawyer is waiting for them in the apartment when they get there. So, you know. Thank god he’s safe. Christian says he wants to be debriefed by security in an hour. Why an hour? Because he has to go have rough sex with Ana.
No. Seriously. He’s going to make his security team wait around for an hour to tell him some shit they already told him on the phone while he goes and has rough sex with Ana.
This is the bestselling book of all time.

Why do I keep doing this to myself, and by extension, to you guys?!

So, as you are probably already aware, I try to post my 50 Shades posts on Monday or Tuesday. Because it starts the week off right. But stuff keeps derailing me, like yesterday’s combination snow day/neck injury-a-thon that laid me flat on the couch with screaming children swarming around me. I didn’t get the recap finished, hell, I didn’t even get the chapter annotated all the way. I thought, “No big, I’ll just post it on Wednesday.”

Well, shit, Jenny. Do you even know what Wednesday is? That’s right. Wednesday is the 30th, aka, the day chapter 2 of The Boss comes out. If I posted a recap on the same day, the posts would be in direct competition with each other, and I happen to know that the recaps? Are big time hair pullers.
Instead, I’m posting chapter two of The Boss a day early, and you’ll get your recap tomorrow. If you’re not reading The Boss, then you have no one to blame but yourself for your disappointment at this announcement.
You can read chapter two here, and chapter one as well, if you’re not caught up. And the recap will be out tomorrow, barring anymore bulging discs or bad weather that traps me with my children.

50 Shades Freed chapter 4 recap, or “Tickle Me Chedward”

While I was dying from the flu, a lot of people sent me the link to the story about Alisa Valdes and her anti-feminist memoir. But all I’m going to say on the subject is that I’m very sorry she had to go through an abusive relationship, but I don’t feel she’s owed anyone’s forgiveness or understanding for continuing to promote and profit off a book glorifying abuse and denouncing feminism, especially when her comments about her current boyfriend writing her abuser a thank you note show that she doesn’t seem to really grasp why her book is dangerous. If you want a Cliffs Notes version, here’s the Jezebel article about it. For the record, you cannot spank feminism out of a woman, no matter how erotic you think you can make it.

In funnier news, Amanda sent me this comic, that illustrates the phases of reading 50 Shades of Grey that we’re all so, unfortunately, familiar with.

Meanwhile, Genevieve Burgess imagines a confrontation between evil!blonde hater Ana and evil!brunette hater Taylor Swift at her blog.

We last left Christian and Ana on the honeymoon that will never end. I hope you guys enjoy the boat, because we’re still. fucking. on it.

I’m restless. Christian has been holed up in the onboard study for over an hour. I have tried reading, watching TV, sunbathing – fully dressed sunbathing – but I can’t relax, and I can’t rid myself of this edgy feeling.

How does “fully dressed sunbathing” work? Do your clothes soak up all the vitamin D? Granted, it is better for your skin, and I think Ana mentioned before that she’s pale, so maybe fully dressed is the way to go.

Ana goes to find Taylor, because she’s bored. Don’t get your hopes up, she just wants to go shopping, and she wants to ride the Jet Ski. Taylor is reading an Anthony Burgess novel, which is absurd. Taylor is obviously an Ian Fleming guy. Taylor tells Ana that “Mr. Grey” wouldn’t be comfortable with her taking the Jet Ski.

Oh, for heaven’s sake! I want to roll my eyes at him, but I narrow them instead, sighing heavily and expressing, I think, the right amount of frustrated indignation that I am not mistress of my own destiny.

You have never been mistress of your own destiny, Ana. For this entire series, all you’ve done is get pushed around by one person or another. The only real decisions we’ve seen you make are when you took the job at SIP, which your boyfriend then bought, and when you’re buying a present for Christian. Or choosing which outfit you’re going to wear, but it’s from clothes Christian bought you.

Ana finds Christian in the onboard study, dealing with the fallout from his office fire.

Shit. Why do I feel like I’ve entered the principal’s office? This man had me in handcuffs yesterday. I refuse to be intimidated by him, he’s my husband, damn it.

The first time I read that excerpt, I was like, “Wait… what kind of schools do they have in the UK?!” Then I reread it and I was like, “Ohhh… she’s saying she SHOULDN’T feel like she’s in the principal’s office BECAUSE of the handcuffs. Got it. So, sixty-one pages into the third book, I finally got a moment of enjoyment out of this series, and then only because my reading comprehension wasn’t the best and I imagined, briefly, that schools in the UK routinely employed handcuffs for discipline and how great that would be if we did that here.

“I’m going shopping. I’ll take security with me.”

“Sure, take one of the twins and Taylor, too,” he says, and I know that whatever’s happening is serious because he doesn’t question me further.

Uh, did you think she was going to take the other security, Chedward? Because all we’ve heard about are Taylor and the twins.

Seriously, the references to “the twins” is messing my head up, because I’m reading A Dance with Dragons right now, and there’s a castle/bridge set up known as the twins that is constantly referenced in that series. All I see now, when someone mentions “The Twins” in that book are the guys from the Matrix.

Like this, but on wave runners with Chedward.
Ana decides that since Christian is her husband, she can kiss him without asking permission first. Yes, she actually goes through this line of reasoning for us on the page. His response:

“You’re distracting me. I need to sort this out, so I can get back to my honeymoon.” He runs an index finger down my face and caresses my chin, tilting my face up.

There was a fire at your business. There, sorted it out for you. What needs sorting out? “Hey boss, there was a fire, it’s out now, we’re handling it.” Either go back to your honeymoon, or go home and go to work. These are your options. Trying to micromanage shit from a boat is probably not going to achieve the results you’re looking for.

Ana’s subconscious reminds her that she never mentioned taking the jet ski, and Ana calls her a harpy. I don’t understand why Ana’s subconscious is suddenly worried about this. The way it’s been set up so far, the subconscious seems pretty anti-Chedward. Shouldn’t her inner goddess be the one whinging about making Chedward mad? Or is she too busy being passed out from amazing sex on top of a pile of dirty romance novels? Which stereotype are we supposed to be siding with here? It seems to me that Ana’s subconscious – if this were a book with anything even remotely close to consistent characterization – would be saying, “Ana, you are twenty-two years old, you don’t need permission to ride a jet ski.”

Taylor patiently talks me through the controls on the Jet Ski and how to ride it. He has a calm, gentle authority about him; he’s a good teacher.

Mmmm, I bet he is.

Oh my gosh, guess what happened while I was ill? My husband comes in from getting the mail and he says, “It’s Christmas for Jen,” and drops this on my keyboard:

 I bet you are, Jason. I bet you are.
So, Ana learns how to drive a jet ski. Reading the description of Ana learning to drive a jet ski takes longer than actually learning how to drive a jet ski, in case you were wondering. Also, Ana manages to stall the damn thing somehow, leaving my cousin D-Rock to wonder, “How fucking stupid do you have to be to stall a jet ski?” No, she hasn’t read these books yet.
Anyway, Ana manages to get the jet ski going, and she goes zipping around the harbor a little bit. Man, as a boater, there is nothing I like more than inexperienced people flying around on jet skis. That is the best.

This rocks! No wonder Christian never lets me drive.

“Wow, this is really fun! I totally understand why the guy who is supposed to love me would want to prevent me from having this kind of fun!” Congratulations, your new husband is even more of a selfish dick than you thought.

Rather than head for the shore and curtail the fun, I veer around to do a circuit of the stately Fair Lady. Wow – this is so much fun. I ignore Taylor and the crew behind me and speed around the yacht for a second time. As I complete the circuit, I spot Christian on deck. I think he’s gaping at me, though it’s difficult to tell. Bravely, I lift one hand from the handlebars and wave enthusiastically at him.

Bravely, guys. She bravely waves at her husband, knowing that he’s angry because she’s riding a jet ski. She’s practically Norma Rae here.

Ana rides the jet ski to the dock. Gaston and Taylor arrive behind her:

His expression is bleak, and my heart sinks, though Gaston looks vaguely amused. I wonder briefly if something has happened to chill Gallic-American relations, but deep down I suspect the problem is probably me.

Are you sure it’s something you did, Ana? Because you just made your brave aquatic stand, I’m thinking yeah, that might have something to do with the mood. Sure enough:

“Mrs. Grey,” Taylor says nervously, his cheeks pink once more. “Mr. Grey is not entirely comfortable with you riding on the Jet Ski.” He’s practically squirming with embarrassment, and I realize he’s had an irate call from Christian.

Is Taylor a bodyguard, or a babysitter? Because I think Christian is getting those two roles mixed up.

Hey, um, you might want to do a shot of something or take a handful of pills before this next excerpt. A cuddly kitten will be provided to help control your rage, afterward, but I just want you to be prepared.

I cannot believe how fond I am of Taylor, but I really don’t appreciate being scolded by him – he’s not my father or my husband.

Are we feeling calm again? Good. Because I’m about to lose my shit in an epic way.
I know for a fucking FACT that there is some dumbass out there going, “OMG ANA IS SUCH A STRONG FEMALE CHARACTER BECAUSE SHE WON’T LET SOME MAN BOSS HER AROUND UNLESS IT’S HER DAD OR HER HUSBAND WHO, BY RIGHT OF OWNERSHIP, AR THE ONLY MEN ALLOWED TO DO THAT! WHOO FEMINISM!And when I find that woman, I will scream “NO!” into her face as loudly as I can, until I burst every vessel in my face and blood boils from ruined eyes in my blinding rage.
Newsflash, Ana, EVEN YOUR FATHER AND YOUR HUSBAND DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO CONTROL YOU.
Newsflash E.L. WOMEN ARE NOT FUCKING PROPERTY AND I FEEL SORRY FOR YOU THAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS.
But wait! There’s more!

I sigh. Christian’s mad – and he has enough to worry about at the moment. What was I thinking? As I stand on the dock waiting for Taylor to climb up, I feel my BlackBerry vibrate in my purse and fish it out. Sade’s, “Your Love Is King” is my ringtone for Christian – only for Christian.

FUCK YOU.  Christian is obviously not that busy with work, or else he wouldn’t have come up on deck to spy on you, allegedly for your own good. “Your Love Is King?” That doesn’t mean that he’s literally your lord and sovereign. The fact that you want him to be? Means you’re a fucking idiot, and I hope you drown. Also, the “I sigh” part was italicized. Meaning Ana’s internal thought included, “I sigh?” What? How is this even happening? Why are other writers not committing suicide in droves after having read this piece of shit? This book is like proof that world is bad and people are too stupid to know what’s good for them.

At this point, I accidentally spilled coffee on the book, and I swear to Christ, I felt bad for the spilled coffee, that it now has to be a part of this mess.

Ana verbally prostrates herself before Chedward via phone, telling him that she won’t ride the jet ski again, even though it was fun.

He sighs. “Well, far be it from me to curtail your fun, Mrs. Grey. Just be careful. Please.”

Oh my! Permission to have fun!

I wish both of you were dead. Also, the phrase “curtail your/the fun” was used just a page ago. I guess there was a gas leak in the copy editor’s office, then?

Ana gets in the car and sets out to go shopping. At no point in this whole “riding a jet ski” thing did her shoes or clothes get wet? I’m sorry, but I’ve been on my fair share of jet skis. It’s not a dry activity. I mean, you can avoid getting totally soaked, but her shoes at the very least would be sopping. At least that will account for all the icy stares the evil!blonde shop assistants will be giving her.

Hey, ever notice how the evil!blondes looking askance at her in businesses are always like, the shop assistants? Not managers or owners? Probably because they’ve got vaginas, amirite?

Once she’s out shopping, Ana remembers that she hates shopping, and refuses to go to all the fancy stores, opting instead for some place touristy, where she buys a five euro bracelet.

This is me – this is what I like. Immediately I feel more comfortable. I don’t want to lose touch with the girl who likes this, ever. Deep down I know that I’m not only overwhelmed by Christian himself but also by his wealth. Will I ever get used to it?

Boy, I hope this entire fucking book is about how hard it is to be rich and what a terrible burden that is to bear. I mean, I’m struggling to keep food in the cupboards, but tell me, fictional character, how you don’t ever want to lose touch with the simplistic side of yourself that drove your rich roommate’s Mercedes and never had to pay rent a day in your life. I can see why  your integrity and fiscal humility are so important to you.

Ana thinks she needs to get Christian something to take his mind off the fire at his office. Here’s a souvenir keychain, sorry your job burned? Yeah, that should work.

When I spy an electronics store, our visit to the gallery earlier today and our visit to the Louvre come back to me. We were looking at the Venus de Milo at the time… Christian’s words echo in my head, “We can all appreciate the female form. We love to look whether in marble or oils or satin or film.”

It gives me an idea, a daring idea. I just need help choosing the right one, and there’s only one person who can help me. I wrestle my BlackBerry out of my purse and call Jose.

“Who…?” he mumbles sleepily.

“Jose, it’s Ana.”

“Ana, hi! Where are you? You okay?” he sounds more alert now, concerned.

“I’m in Cannes in the South of France, and I’m fine.”

“South of France, huh? You in some fancy hotel?”

“Um… no. We’re staying on a boat.”

“A boat?”

“A big boat,” I clarify, sighing.

“I see.” His tone chills… Shit I should not have called him. I don’t need this right now.

Further evidence that Ana is a shitty, selfish friend (as if we needed more): upon ignoring time zones and calling her friend on the west coast of the United States, a full TEN HOURS behind, wakes him up, and sighs at his confusion when she said “boat” instead of “yacht,” she’s mad at HIM for the way he reacts to her doing all this. But she still asks for his advice. I’m relieved it was just advice, I was worried she would call him and be like, “Get on a plane and get here immediately to take naked photos of me so my husband can have you murdered.”

After a paragraph break, Ana is back on the boat, wrapping Christian’s present. Raise your hand if you’ve ever taken wrapping paper, tape, and scissors on vacation with you. That’s what I thought.

“You were gone some time.” Christian startles me just as I am applying the last piece of tape. I turn to find him standing in the doorway to the cabin, watching me intently. Am I still in trouble over the Jet Ski? Or is it the fire at his office?

Why, did you set the fire at his office? I would like you better if you did, Ana. You can tell me, you are among friends.

Ana gives Christian the gift, which is a camera. It is also the emblem of all of Ana’s insecurities:

“Today in the gallery you liked the Florence D’elle photographs. And I remember what you said in the Louvre. And, of course, there were those other photographs.” I swallow, trying my best not to recall the images I found in his closet.

So, this is less about hot erotic sexy times, and more about trying to erase Christian’s sexual past. That’s healthy. Christian asks Ana why she thinks he’d want to take naked pictures of her, which, let’s be honest, isn’t the most reassuring thing a dude could ask you when you’ve just offered to let him take naked pictures of you. But at least Chedward has a good reason for asking:

“For me, photos like those have usually been an insurance policy, Ana. I know I’ve objectified women for so long,” he says and pauses awkwardly.

Leaving aside how stupid it is to have such an insurance policy – “How dare you tell people I like kinky sex! I have no choice but to release these photos of us having kinky sex to defend myself from such spurious allegations!” – he’s not really owning up to the objectifying being bad here. He just doesn’t want to objectify Ana, because she’s his wife, and the theme of this book seems to be, “it doesn’t matter what the man you love did to all those other whores, he’s not going to do it to you because you’re pure and virginal and good, and the power of love makes you special and not a whore.” So, Genevieve’s Taylor Swift comparison is starting to make more sense all the time.

“I am so confused,” he whispers. When he opens his eyes again, they are wide and wary, full of some raw emotion.

Shit. Is it me? My questions earlier about his birth mom? The fire at his office?

OH WAS THERE A FIRE AT HIS OFFICE I HADN’T HEARD UNTIL JUST RIGHT NOW ABOUT THE FIRE THAT HAPPENED AT HIS OFFICE WHEN HIS OFFICE WAS ON FIRE DURING THE FIRE AT HIS OFFICE WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN?

“Why do you say that?” I whisper, panic rising in my throat. I thought he was happy. I thought we were happy. I thought I made him happy. I don’t want to confuse him. Do I? My mind starts racing. He hasn’t seen Flynn in nearly three weeks. Is that it? Is that the reason he’s unraveling? Shit, should I call Flynn? And in a possibly unique moment of extraordinary depth and clarity, it comes to me – the fire, Charlie Tango, the Jet Ski… He’s scared, he’s scared for me, and seeing these marks on my skin must bring that home. He’s been fussing about them all day, confusing himself because he’s not used to feeling uncomfortable about inflicting pain. The thought chills me.

Damnit, I still have to finish this book, and now it’s going to smell like a goddamn campfire.

Ana. You don’t realize this, because you’re the victim of abuse, but CHRISTIAN SHOULD FEEL BAD ABOUT YOUR BRUISES BECAUSE HE’S THE ONE WHO PUT THE BRUISES ON YOU. REMEMBER HOW MAD YOU WERE ABOUT THEM?!

“Christian, these don’t matter.” I hold up my wrist, revealing the fading welt. “You gave me a safeword. Shit – yesterday was fun. I enjoyed it. Stop brooding about it – I like rough sex, I’ve told you that before.”

Oh. So. No, you don’t remember.

Here’s the thing. Safewords only work if you know what’s going on in the situation. She didn’t know he was leaving bruises. It isn’t unreasonable to ask that a partner not leave marks on you during a BDSM encounter, okay? Some people bruise more easily than others, and sometimes shit happens by accident, but what he did to Ana was on purpose, specifically to disfigure her so she couldn’t display her body/his property, and she did not want him to do it. That’s not a part of BDSM or rough sex. That’s a part of fucking abuse. Mark up your sub all you want, so long as it’s clear that s/he isn’t going to mind it. That shouldn’t be difficult for the guy who wanted all their sexual activity documented in triplicate before they could even vanilla bang.

Ana decides that if he won’t objectify her, she’ll objectify him, so she starts taking silly pictures of him:

“Well, it was supposed to be fun, but apparently it’s a symbol of women’s oppression.” I snap away, taking more pictures of him, and watch the amusement grow on his face in super close-up. Then his eyes darken, and his expression changes to predatory.

“You want to be oppressed?” he murmurs silkily.

“Not oppressed. No,” I murmur back, snapping again.

“I could oppress you big-time, Mrs. Grey,” he threatens, his voice husky.

You mean besides using her sexual inexperience to exploit her, rushing her through all the pesky steps of a normal relationship so she’s legally bound to you before she has a chance to think things through, and physically abusing her to keep her in line with your control freak behavior? Is there anything left to oppress her with? Do you want to sabotage her birth control, too?

So, because joking about how silly feminism is gets them hot, Christian starts tickling Ana, and then it turns into sex. Because everything turns into sex with these idiots:

I stare up at his dear, dear face bathed in the intensity of his gaze, and it’s as if he’s seeing me for the first time.

Then Christian kisses her, and he’s all, “‘Oh, what you do to me,’” because he hasn’t said that in this book yet. He gets them quickly bottomless, and then:

He holds my head and with no preamble whatsoever he thrusts himself inside me, making me cry out – more in surprise than anything else – but I can still hear the hiss of his breath forced through his clenched teeth.

I was about to say, “That would hurt both of them,” but then I remembered that Ana has an ever ready, autolube vagina. And then she has the biggest orgasm ever, blah blah blah, we’ve read this before. Then Ana asks him what’s wrong, and when he won’t talk, she starts reciting their wedding vows to make the point that he needs to communicate with her. Then, he starts reciting their wedding vows back at her:

“I promise to love you faithfully, forsaking all others, through the good times and the bad, in sickness and in health, regardless of where life takes us. I will protect you, trust you, and respect you.[...]“

There’s more to those vows, but I just want to point out that already, on their honeymoon, he’s broken the protect, trust, and respect part. He didn’t even make it a full month before breaking his vows.

Christian tells Ana that the fire at his company was arson, and he’s afraid that if they’re trying to get him, they’ll come after Ana. I like how the first thought isn’t, “I bet it’s some pissed off ex-employee who was trying to cause trouble after being let go.” No, it’s, “Someone set fire to the server room while Christian Grey was out of the country, they must be trying to kill him.”

Okay, because this book is shitty and stupid, we know that’s exactly what’s going on, but Jack Hyde needs to get better at murdering. He sat outside Christian’s parent’s house all night at the end of the last book, he couldn’t just, I don’t know, top of my head here, bring a gun and shoot him when he left? Instead, he waits for Christian to get married, go out of the country on vacation, and then he sets fire to the server room? How many CEO’s spend time in the server room of their company? How many CEOs actually work in the same building as their company’s servers? I’m a better assassin than Jack Hyde. I bet I could kill Christian and Ana in a day, day and a half, tops. For starters, my attempt would happen in the place where my targets actually, you know. WERE.

Then they talk about how Christian wasn’t tickled as a child or something, and Christian asks where she wants to go eat, and she says she wants to go wherever he does, and I guess they go across the country, because after the section break it says this:

We wander through the opulent, gilt splendor of the eighteenth-century Palace of Versailles. Once a humble hunting lodge, it was transformed by the Roi Soleil into a magnificent, lavish seat of power, but even before the eighteenth century ended it saw the last of those absolute monarchs.

First of all, Versailles and the building Louis XIV did on it dates to the seventeenth century, you ignorant twat. Second, I didn’t realize they served fucking lunch there, and it’s no where near Cannes, so I guess this is a flashback? Thanks for cluing the reader in, E.L.

It should really speak to the quality of my character that I’m more pissed off about the botched French history in this paragraph than I have been about all of the misrepresentation of BDSM, the glorification of abuse, and the anti-feminism of the entire series combined.

The most stunning room by far is the Hall of Mirrors.

Built during the third building campaign and begun in 1678, completed before the eighteenth century, just a heads up, E.L. and also HAVE YOU NEVER SEEN THE FUCKING CHAPEL? THE MOST STUNNING BY FAR IS THE HALL OF MIRRORS? HAVE YOU NO EEEEEEEEEYYYYYEEEES?!

“Interesting to see what becomes of a despotic megalomaniac who isolates himself in such splendor,” I murmur to Christian as he stands at my side.

He dies of gangrene after a long and prosperous reign in which France sees sweeping technological and industrial reform? BECAUSE YOU’RE THINKING OF THE WRONG KING ANA.

“I would build this for you,” he whispers. “Just to see the way the light burnishes your hair, right here, right now.” He tucks a strand of hair behind my ear. “You look like an angel.”

And then he buys Versailles for her.

Totally kidding. But couldn’t you see it going down that way? Nothing else in this book is believable or correct, why shouldn’t he just write a check and give Ana Versailles?

There’s another section break, and then they’re actually at lunch. Christian asks Ana what she’s thinking about, and she says she’s thinking about Versailles, so I guess that was a flashback. For no reason, by the way, except to set up a “nightmare” Ana has later. Seriously. Nothing earth shattering happened at Versailles (well, to Ana and Christian, at least), but because it’s a cool setting for a nightmare, we had to endure that flashback full of historical misinformation about one of my absolute favorite monarchies in European history. It’s like this book was written as a direct slap in my beautiful, beautiful face.

Ana decides to catch up on her emails:

There are e-mails from my mom and from Kate, giving me the latest gossip from home and asking how the honeymoon is going. Well, great, until someone decided to burn down GEH, Inc….

I love that the abbreviation for Christian’s company is phonetically the exact sound I make every time I turn a page of this POS.

Kate has sent her an email asking about the fire:

Kate is online! I jump onto my newfound toy – Skype messaging – and see that she’s available.

I will never understand people who use Skype to instant message. I know you’re probably out there reading this right now, going, “What’s wrong with Skype messager?” but listen. Skype is the technology that has been peddled to us since The Jetsons, and we’re using it to IM people? Why not just open up Skype and make a video call? It’s not like you can’t afford it, Ana.

Kate asks Ana about the fire, and rather than using this conversation to further the plot in any way, we just read about how about no one knows anything still. No new information is revealed, it’s just the same shit we already know, but instead of Christian telling it to Ana, it’s Ana telling it to Kate. We do learn, however, that Kate knows about the whole D/s aspect to the relationship, because she asks how the “ex-dom” is:

Trust Kate to be on the trail of this story. I roll my eyes and shut Skype down before Christian sees the chat. He wouldn’t appreciate the ex-Dom comment, and I’m not sure he’s entirely ex…

I sigh loudly. Kate knows everything, since our tipsy evening three weeks before the wedding when I finally succumbed to the Kavanagh inquisition. It was a relief to finally talk to someone.

Ana, you’re a shitty friend. Kate expresses concern over the fact that your new husband’s business was on fire, and you think she’s just out to gossip. You spill the beans about your relationship to her and you acknowledge the fact that you’re glad you did, but you blame her for finding out? Fuck you, Ana. You’re the worst friend ever and I hope Kate won’t participate in the 48 Hours episode they’re going to make after Chedward kills you.

There’s a section break before Ana’s “scary” “nightmare” that we had to get wrong information about Versailles for:

I am in the Hall of Mirrors and Christian is standing beside me, smiling down at me with love and affection. You look like an angel. I beam back at him, but when I glance into the looking glass, I’m standing on my own and the room is gray and drab. No! My head whips back to his face, to find his smile is sad and wistful. He tucks my hair behind my ear. Then he turns wordlessly and walks away slowly, the sound of his footsteps echoing off the mirrors as he paces the enormous room to the ornate double doors at the end… a man on his own, a man with no reflection… and I wake, gasping for air, as panic seizes me.

Jesus Christ, even her nightmares are boring.

Blah blah blah, he’s there for her, he soothes her, blah blah, chapter is over.

Jess Haines once dropped her iPhone in a corpse. Also, here is her cover reveal and a giveaway!

So, once upon a time, Jess Haines and I bonded in a cemetery, where she let a stranger drop her cell phone into a corpse.

She probably didn’t want me to tell you that story, but what she does want me to do is reveal the cover of her upcoming Forsaken by The Others. Here is the awesome cover:

What’s this awesome looking book about? Let’s find out, shall we?

The Others–vampires, werewolves, things that go chomp in the night–don’t just live in nightmares anymore. They’ve joined with he mortal world. And for private investigator Shiarra Waynest, that means mayhem…

Have a one night stand with a vampire, and you can end up paying for it for eternity. P.I. Shiarra Waynest, an expert on the Others, knows that better than most. Yet here she is, waking up beside charismatic vamp Alec Royce with an aching head…and neck. Luckily, Shia has the perfect excuse for getting out of town–namely, a couple of irate East Coast werewolf packs who’d like to turn her into a chew toy.

On Royce’s suggestion, Shia temporarily relocates to Los Angeles. But something is rotten–literally–in the state of California, where local vampires are being attacked by zombies. Who could be powerful enough to control them–and reckless enough to target the immortal? Following the trail will lead Shia to a terrifying truth, and to an ancient enemy with a personal grudge…

So, do you want to win this book? Of course you do. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out other stuff about Jess and get more chances to win on her blog!

Yesterday, my home country swore in its 44th president for his second term. Because a president’s term of office always ends at noon on January 20th (because this government is nothing if not inconsistent about the importance of setting specific dates for important shit – our presidential elections don’t have a set date, but are always on the Tuesday that falls between November 2nd and November 8th), Obama was actually sworn in yesterday, but since we do all of our official government shit on Mondays, he gets sworn in twice. He’ll actually be the only president to ever be sworn in four times for two terms, because last time he was inaugurated, the dude who swore him in botched it and they had to do it over the next day.
But you know what’s really cool about the second swearing in and the inauguration festivities happening today? One of the floating holidays here in America is Martin Luther King Jr. Day. It’s beyond fair to say that without the work of Dr. King, Barack Obama would not be president, so I thought it was so cool when Allison Morris got in touch with me and asked me to take a look at an infographic she helped create. I thought it would be awesome and appropriate to share it with you guys today (from http://www.onlinecollegecourses.com/life-of-mlk):
MLK Infographic

So, thanks, Allison, for sharing this with us!

I also want to take this opportunity to point out that many public schools don’t close on this day, and people like John McCain and Ronald Reagan were at one time opposed to this holiday. There are people in the United States vehemently opposed to honoring the sacrifices of a civil rights leaders, but the majority of people still somehow support Columbus day, when we honor the legacy of slavery and genocide that Christopher Columbus left us when he “discovered” America.

Juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust

sayin’.

Are you reading THE BOSS? Do you want to talk to other readers?

The lovely Vampbard and Jen from That’s What I’m Talking About are hosting a read-a-long of the boss! The Saturday after a chapter posts, they’ll be hosting discussion about it. You can ask questions and chat with other readers, it’s like a book club but you don’t have to put on pants or leave your house for it!

The first post is live now, so have a look. You can find it here!

Roadhouse Cancelled Due To Illness

Don’t worry! We’ll have part 2 of our Jossverse discussion next week. I was just way too shitty feeling to do literally anything this week. So instead, look at this cute person I incubated, singing “Still Alive” from Portal at his school assembly:

I’m just about out of the woods with this devil disease, and everything should be back to normal with a recap on Monday.