Jenny Reads Fifty Shades Of Midnight Sun: Monday, May 23, 2011 or “Holy shit, a chapter of a reasonable length”

Every time I think this book has reached peak rapey-ness, we climb to an even higher pinnacle. Keep that in mind while you read this recap. It actually upset me, and I knew ahead of time what the events of the chapter would be.

Also, if this is riddled with typos it’s because I totally forgot I needed to proof read and schedule this, and I’ve got to leave for the U.P. in less than twelve hours.

Remember when I complained before, many times, that E.L. James has fucked up with this whole chapter/date thing? Here’s an example of why this doesn’t work (especially if you cling tenaciously to the format):

It’s after one in the morning when I go to bed. Staring at the ceiling, I’m tired, relaxed, but also excited, anticipating what the week will bring. I hope to have a new project: Miss Anastasia Steele.

That’s the opening line of this section. I’ve mentioned before that always starting a chapter with a character waking up and always ending a chapter with characters going to bed isn’t a great thing to do. But I’ll be god damned if E.L. James hasn’t found a way to do the reverse. So, why did this happen? Because it’s after one in the morning. Therefore, it’s no longer Sunday. But James wants us to know that Chedward didn’t just read a book. She wants us to know that he went to sleep thinking about Ana. Specifically, that he went to sleep mentally reiterating the same emotions he’s expressed at least four times per page since the beginning of the book. It would have been so much better if that little nugget of pointlessness had been left out entirely, but if we had to experience it, it should have been stuck at the end of the last chapter. Yes, it’s clumsy to end a chapter with your characters going to sleep, and that should be avoided if at all possible, but that’s far fucking preferable to starting a chapter with your character going to sleep.

After that single paragraph, there’s a break, and then we get to where the chapter should have started:

My feet pound the sidewalk on Main Street as I run toward the river.

Yes. Run toward the river. Run into the river. Into her dark, swirling embrace. Run, and never stop.

Chedward thinks about how peaceful everything is:

It’s 6:35 in the morning and the sun’s rays are shimmering through the high-rise buildings. The sidewalk trees are newly green with spring leaves; the air is clean, the traffic quiet.

And of course, he’s got some suitably tranquil music for this crisp new day:

“O Fortuna” from Orff’s Carmina Burana is blaring in my ears.

Are you familiar with Carmina Burana? I’m not sure E.L. James is. I mean, I assume she selected the piece because it’s recognizable, but has she looked up a translation of the lyrics? Because it’s basically about how life will steal your joy and cast you into misery. And while I’m sure fawning Cheward fans would insist that the song choice is perfect for him and how dark and complicated and tortured he is, it doesn’t make sense for this song to be the backdrop to a new romantic beginning.

Today the streets are paved with possibility.

Possibility for what, with that music on, exactly? The possibility that you might find yourself crushed by fate’s wheel? Why are so many of the supposedly “smart” references in this book used so inappropriately? Did no one read this before they put it in print? The whole point of the brief passage where he’s running is so that he can wonder, yet again, if Ana is going to email him. I’m really starting to believe I could just copy/paste my recaps the way Chedward’s thoughts are copy/pasted over and over.

After another break, it’s two hours later and Chedward is emailing his assistant and letting her know that he’ll be working in Portland all week and to reschedule all of his meetings. I’m assuming the conversation went like, “I can’t come in today. I’m sick. Also, I’m in Portland, creepily hanging around this girl I’m obsessed with.”

The logo for the TV show "Stalker". Against a black background, the hood and neck area of a gray hoodie is visible, and instead of a face, the word "stalker" is printed in red.

I bet he was so upset when this show was cancelled.

He does some work on stuff that is supposed to sound important, I guess, then emails Elena, who’s apparently been blowing up his phone all weekend. He basically just tells her that he’s too busy to see her for a couple weeks, so I’m super glad we got to see that slice of fascinating life. Ana does email him back, thus opening the seventh seal and loosing tiresome email-exchange passages onto the Earth. The email thing seemed incredibly dated when I watched the movie. I thought most of these exchanges should have been changed to text messages, because that’s what people are doing now. And then I remembered that, hey, that’s what people were doing in 2011, too, and these should have probably been texts to begin with. While arguing with him about whether or not he’s giving or loaning the computer, Ana calls him something. Not something I’d like to see her call him, but he thinks it’s important.

“Sir” with a capital S; the girl has been reading, and possibly researching.

This, of course, will encourage him to continue stalking and harassing her. After one message back to her, he thinks:

How long will it be before she responds? I resume reading my e-mail as a distraction while I wait for her reply.

So at this point, his job as the head of a multi-billion dollar business with the nebulous goal of feeding the world or something is a distraction from his primary goal, which is Anastasia Steele. Yikes.

There’s an executive summary from Fred, the head of my telecom division, about the development of our solar-powered tablet–one of my pet projects. It’s ambitious but few of my business ventures matter more than this one and I’m excited about it. Bringing affordable first world technology to the third world is something I’m determined to do.

There’s a ping from my computer.

Another e-mail from Miss Steele.

Bringing affordable first world technology to the third world is something I’m determined to do. Right after I flirt with this girl. Ana tells him that she has questions, but they’re “not suitable for email” and that she has to work for a living. Christian is annoyed that she doesn’t want to accept the computer as a gift:

But I suppose it shows she’s not acquisitive. She’s no gold digger–rare among the women I’ve known…yet Leila was the same.

Okay, in the spate of billionaire romances out there (mine included), there are always heroines thinking they don’t want to be labelled as a gold digger. In Ana’s POV of these books, she feels the same way. But it’s one thing for a heroine to think, “I don’t want anyone to think I’m a gold digger,” and another entirely for the hero to think that all women are gold diggers and only the heroine could possibly not be one. A woman not wanting to be perceived as a gold digger is pushback against the stereotype that women are only interested in money. A man saying he’s relieved that he’s finally found someone who isn’t a gold digger? That’s just ego-fueled misogyny.

Ah, Leila. She was a good submissive, but she became too attached and I was the wrong man. Fortunately, that wasn’t for long. She’s married now and happy.

Wait, Leila is married? I don’t remember that. Do any of you guys remember Leila being married? I thought she was at art school. I guess you can do both, but I just don’t remember her being married.

Christian tries to work, but he’s on edge waiting for Ana to email him back. When he finally does get another email, it’s from Elena, asking what he’s doing in Portland, but he doesn’t want to tell her. Then Andrea calls him and they go through his schedule. He asks her to set up a meeting and cancel his social calendar. Then he does a video conference, and there’s a section break. We go through his entire day with him. He looks at “tablet schematics” and talks to Taylor about a situation with Taylor’s ex-wife. I’m skipping all of that because it goes nowhere and I don’t feel like I care to know it. There’s a paragraph break, and then he’s finishing up work.

As I look out the window at the early-evening sky, my mind strays to a certain potential submissive. I wonder how her day at Clayton’s has been, pricing cable ties and measuring out lengths of rope. I hope one day I’ll get to use them on her.

I know he means the cable ties and rope, but I’m very tired at the moment and all I could think of was Ana naked and tied up, writhing in ecstasy as Chedward just goes to town on her with a pricing gun.

I know how I’d like to release this pent-up energy, but I have to settle for a run.

How many times does this guy run in one day? I’m not a multi-billionaire with a vast empire of technology and mercenaries on the ground in war torn countries, and I barely find the time to nap to that ballet exercise program I bought for its soothing music.

Because Ana hasn’t emailed him back since that morning, he emails Ana and says he hopes she had a good day at work. You know, if a female character sent this many emails to a male character, this book would be the movie Swimfan. After he changes into his running clothes, he sees that Ana has responded with a short message, once again calling him “Sir”.

But she hasn’t done her homework. I e-mail her back.

She hasn’t researched his sexual needs fast enough, so he scolds her with an email (subject line: “Do the work!”) and says that while she’s emailing him, she’s not researching. Of course, he’s the one who keeps emailing her, and of course she didn’t have time to research BDSM. She’s been at work all day. And he’s given her a ridiculously broad subject to “research”. She’ll have to look up the terms in the contract one-by-one, while also studying the basics of the entire subculture. And he wants her to do this in one night?

Look, if you want someone to go fly fishing with you, do you just invite them along and tell them to do some research before hand? Do you expect them to not only learn the craft of fly fishing in a single night, but also to make up their mind as to whether or not they enjoy fly fishing before they even put their waders on? Of course not. That’s not how fly fishing works. If you want your friend to go fly fishing with you, there’s an expectation that you’ll be teaching them some basics. Not just handing them a pole and saying, “Google it, I’ve been fly fishing for years and I’m not going to get in the river with someone who isn’t on my level.”

He tells her to stop emailing him and go do her “assignment”:

Her response is not as immediate, and feeling a little crestfallen, I turn away and decide to go on my run.

Christian Grey reminds me of when my kids are crying about how they’re staaarving and when is dinner going to be done? but they won’t leave the kitchen so I can actually finish cooking. Chedward wants Ana’s full attention to be on him, while she’s giving that full attention to something else, too. It’s like his emotional growth arrested at age four, and everyone around him has just been fine with that, so he’s never grown up at all.

Ana does email Christian back, asking him what she should put into the search engine.

Shit! Why didn’t I think about this? I could have given her some books. Numerous websites spring to mind–but I don’t want to frighten her off.

Perhaps she should start with the most vanilla…

A pretty common component to the public criticism of Fifty Shades of Grey surrounded the fact that Christian didn’t do anything to educate Ana. So here’s another place where it seems pretty clear that James is trying to address that. But, like almost every other instance where she seems to be screaming, “Look! He’s not a bad guy! Look at how not bad he is and how wrong and mean you were!” via prose, just throwing in this aside is unconvincing because she can’t change the actual events of the story. They’re written in stone. Over 100 million stones, because that’s the estimate of how many copies are out there. She can’t change the fact that he didn’t do anything to help Ana, so she just throws in a line where he thinks, “Oh, I should have thought of that,” then does nothing. He was able to next-day a first edition Thomas Hardy to Ana via courier. The reader can’t be asked to believe that getting her a few trade paperbacks about bondage would present this huge challenge, any more than it would have been a huge challenge for him to change her white wine order to a Diet Coke in the last recap.

In other words, coulda woulda shoulda, E.L.. And you didn’t.

So, what’s the most “vanilla” BDSM resource Chedward can think of?

Always start with Wikipedia.

First of all, has anyone ever been to the BDSM entry on Wikipedia? There are pictures of strappado bondage, foot play, flogging, hell, there’s even pony play complete with a woman pulling a man in a chariot-type thing. One of the first pictures is a woman in latex manacled to a dirty wall. Second, Ana just graduated college as an English major. Why the fuck doesn’t she know how to do internet research? Apart from the fact that she didn’t have a computer or an email account, this is its own complete mystery. She knows bookstores exist. She knows there are libraries. But she has to ask him how to do research?

They have another, nearly identical email exchange in which he tells her to research and not email him, and she emails him anyway, and all of this is so cute and not repetitive in the slightest. Then Christian goes on a run, because that’s all he knows how to do. Isn’t this parallel to the run Ana is taking in another part of town at the moment? You remember, when she decided she didn’t want to do the whole BDSM thing after all, and sends him that email telling him so?

As I run under the Hawthorne Bridge I reflect on how at ease she is with the written word, more so than when she’s speaking.

Literally all of her emails are two to three lines long, but they’re suddenly John and Abigail Adams?

As I sprint down Main Street I dare to hope that she’ll accept my proposition. The thought is exciting, invigorating even, and I pick up my pace, sprinting back to the Heathman.

Drink every time we read “the thought is”. No, just kidding, you’ll die. Just like I’m going to die if I have to read this “will she/won’t she” much longer.

In Fifty Shades of Grey, Ana had her own life (until she met Christian). She was wrapping up her senior year in college, she had friends, she was in the middle of a move to a new city, things were happening. So, while we were reading all of this drama from her side, she wasn’t waiting for something to do. She was doing the contract/BDSM research thing around other parts of her life. From Chedward’s perspective, all he has is waiting. Pages upon pages upon pages of boring, pointless waiting. James can’t write anything interesting happening from Grey’s POV because she’s written him as having no life at all, outside of Ana. Sure, he’s doing things with work, but James doesn’t seem to have a real solid idea of what it is Chedward does, so she just bullshits around with, “I checked my emails” and “I looked over this thing someone sent me,” then throws in various locations and lofty goals to make him sound important. That leaves Chedward with a lot of time on his hands, and to fill that time, James just repeats the same actions/reactions/thoughts over and over again. Somehow, this manages to make the book longer than the original, which was boring enough as it was.

It’s 8:15 when I sit back in my dining chair. I’ve eaten the wild Oregon salmon for dinner, courtesy of Miss Dark, Dark Eyes again, and I still have half a glass of Sancerre to finish.

Like this. He could have just finished eating the salmon. I don’t mind details about what people are eating. I like to know what people are eating when I read a book. But why do we have to yet again know who served it? Why is this unnamed character getting so much attention from the narrative? Why is Miss Dark, Dark Eyes taking up so much page time?

Ana emails Christian:

Okay, I’ve seen enough.

It was nice knowing you.

And of course, Christian Grey reacts exactly like Christian Grey would:


I read it again.


It’s a “no.” I stare at the screen in disbelief.

That’s it?

No discussion?


Just “It was nice knowing you”?

What. The. Fuck.

I sit back in my chair, dumbfounded.




This could be a poem. It would be entitled, “Rape Culture”. The thing about “no” is, it absolutely means “that’s it, no discussion.” It’s no. No is not a jumping off point for sexual negotiation.

Speaking of rape culture:

She thought it was more than nice when her head was thrown back as she came.

Consent once is not consent forever. But he made her come, so she owes him her sexual subservience.

He tries to write her an email, but he’s too angry.

How could she dismiss me so easily?

Her first fuck.

Didn’t he express some kind of concern that having sex with virgins would make them get attached to him or something? I don’t remember, but I feel like that was part of his thinking. Either way, yes. You can dismiss someone you had sex with very easily if you don’t care to spend any more time with them.

Get it together, Grey. What are your options?

Maybe I should pay her a visit, just to make sure it’s a “no.”

That’s not one of your options.

Maybe I can persuade her otherwise.

Also, not one of your options.

Perhaps she’s looked at some particularly hardcore sites. Why didn’t I give her a few books?

Because you expect Ana to become a perfectly programmed Stepford submissive with zero effort on your part? Look, bro, I get it. Your negligently indulgent parents gave you anything and everything you wanted, when you wanted it, and now you’re frustrated that someone is telling you no. But you are a grown person. Deal with your disappointment and accept that the world is not a catalog for you to select people and experiences from. When someone tells you no, you’re not getting bad service as a consumer. You don’t get to be angry or put out.

She needs to look me in the eye and say no.

This is one of the most disturbing and damning things we’ve seen so far in this book. This is menacing.  This whole scene is menacing. For example:

This deal isn’t dead yet. From my messenger bag I take some condoms and slide them into the back pocket of my pants, then grab my jacket and a bottle of wine from the minibar.

He’s putting together a kit. He’s leaving his hotel room with the expectation that he is going to have sex with Ana. There isn’t going to be a “no”, because he’s going to “discuss” things with her until she sees reason (and is worn down), and he will be having sex with her.

Even if everything he ever does with Ana is consensual (spoiler alert: it’s not), even if every single partner he’s ever been with has consented enthusiastically, Christian Grey is a rapist.

There’s a break, then:

As I pull up in the R8 outside the apartment she shares with Kavanagh, I wonder if this is a wise move.

It’s not.

And notice that it’s not “Miss” Kavanagh? It’s Miss Dark, Dark Eyes and Miss Steele, but he’s not interested in fucking Kate, so she doesn’t get a “Miss”.

I’m pushing all the boundaries that I’ve set for myself.

No, you’re pushing Ana’s boundaries. She told you she was done with you. She set a boundary, and you’re trespassing across it. Your boundaries mean dick all in this situation.

If she does agree, I’ll have to manage her expectations. This won’t happen again.

The sheer ego. My god. If she does agree to the thing she already didn’t agree to, she’d better not get her hopes up that I’ll show up at her place uninvited.

Getting ahead of yourself, Grey.

Oh, you think?

Kate opens the door and lets Christian right in, and offers to get Ana:

“No. I’d like to surprise her.” I give her my most earnest and endearing look and in response she blinks a couple of times. Whoa. That was easy. Who would have thought?

You. You would have thought. Because on numerous occasions you have noted that all women are reduced to near-animalistic sexual fury whenever you’re near.  And hey, if Kate was like, “yeah, there’s her room, super,” to José, wouldn’t she be neglectful?

Christian goes to Ana’s room and watches her as she’s reading the contract. She doesn’t notice him there because she has her headphones in. He startles her, and she’s like, you know, how did this guy get in here, right? Because that’s what you would do if suddenly some stranger who gave you a fuck contract was looming in your doorway when you thought you were alone.

“Would you like a drink?” she squeaks.

“No thank you, Anastasia.” Good. She’s found her manners.

Dexter, from the show Dexter, screaming in serial killer rage.


You went to her house uninvited after she broke things off with you. And she is being rude?

This guy. This. Fucking. Guy.

“Are you biting your lip deliberately?” I inquire, my voice sterner than I’d intended.

“I wasn’t aware I was biting my lip,” she whispers, her face pale.

Four books later and I’m still always amused when we’re given and update on the state of Ana’s chameleon face. But doesn’t she seem legitimately afraid here? I’m consistently amazed by how horrible this book makes Christian Grey seem. Like, he was horrible before, but this might as well have been one page with “Yeah, turns out he actually is a rapist and an abuser.”

Can you feel this, Ana? That tension. This attraction.

Did anybody else immediately think of Spike’s attempted rape of Buffy? Raise your hand.

Ana tells him the she needed time to think, and he literally asks her what there was to think about. Um, I’m pretty sure he told her to take her time, research, and get back to him with her answer after considering his offer. Now it’s like,

I needed time to think,” she says.

“Think about what, Anastasia?”

Make up your fucking mind.

“Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me.”

And because this is a fucking disgrace of a book, Ana jumps into his arms. Now, please forgive me. I’m going to skim over a lot of this sex scene. This is the scene where he sucks her toes right after he’s gone on a run and hasn’t taken off her shoes or socks yet, and later spits wine into her mouth. I have OCD and those are just germ things I cannot read or think about. But I do want to discuss the section in the middle of scene where he goes into the kitchen to get the wine. Katherine tells him that they still have packing to do, and that Elliot is helping them move. She asks if Christian is planning to help, too.

“No, I can’t.” My voice is clipped, because she’s pissing me off, trying to make me feel guilty. Her lips thin, and I turn around to leave the kitchen, but not before I catch the disapproval in her face.

Fuck off, Kavanagh.

No way am I going to help. Ana and I don’t have that kind of relationship. Besides, I can’t spare the time.

Prince Motherfucking Charming right here. Hey, fucko. You are a literal billionaire. Do you think maybe you could hire a moving company for them?

So, the disgusting sex scene continues, and then they banter about stuff, then he says the thing about saying no without discussion again, and she’s like, I still don’t know, so he offers to introduce Ana to one of his former subs so they can talk shop. Ana reacts unfavorably to this.

“Anastasia Steele, are you jealous?” I sound bewildered…because I am. She flushes beet red, and I know I’ve found the root of her problem.

Yes. Jealousy is clearly the problem. Not, I don’t know. Your total disregard of the common courtesy of just not suggesting your new lover meet your former lovers so they can give tips.

Christian tells Ana he’s going to go, and she’s pissed off. In the first book, this scene seemed to suggest that she was angry because he was leaving, but now it seems like she’s still miffed about the past subs thing. They agree to meet up and discuss the contract on Wednesday, and then Ana kicks him out, but not until they make out passionately on the stoop.

I start the car and begin the drive back to Portland, analyzing what’s taken place between us.

She e-mailed me.

I went to her.

We fucked.

She threw me out before I was ready to leave.

For the first time–well, maybe not the first time–I feel a little used, for sex.

You literally…you…I mean, you have whole contracts drawn up specifically about how you’re going to use women for sex.

When he gets back to the hotel, the first thing he does is email Ana to remind her about the contract. No pressure. Then he goes back to his report on whatever that project was in Detroit. We’ll end this on my ongoing rage that people always make Detroit their dramatic story or their punchline. The end.

129 thoughts on “Jenny Reads Fifty Shades Of Midnight Sun: Monday, May 23, 2011 or “Holy shit, a chapter of a reasonable length”

  1. *HE* feels used for sex? That motherfuck just RAPED a woman and he feels used? Fuck this guy. I honestly don’t know how people can still say these books are romantic. They’re like a handbook for an abusive relationship.

  2. I really missed your reaction pictures for this one, but I suspect they would just be you with your head in the puke bucket the entire time.

  3. “Anastasia Steele, are you jealous?” I sound bewildered…because I am.


    James does this constantly in the narrative, both this one and in FSOG. “It sounds like x because it is.” YOU DON’T SAY? It just sounds so amazingly air-headed. An angry word sounds angry? What a concept! It’s like the “fat cat is fat” meme came to life and decided to write fucking erotica.

    I know it’s not blowing anyone’s mind here, but the writing on these books is so objectively terrible, even aside from the horrific content. It could be the most interesting love story on the planet, full of consensual happy fun times, and it would STILL be unreadable due to the lousy construction.

    In other news, I occasionally run across filming pictures from the movies and it is hilarious how much Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson can’t seem to stand being in the same room with each other. They’re holding hands and standing two feet apart. The silver screen can’t contain the sizzling passion they’re bringing, I can tell.

    1. My thoughts exactly. Even if you could somehow get past the one-dimensional characters, abuse, and terrible plot, it would still be unreadable. E.L. James is just a horrible writer, with only the flimsiest grasp of sentence construction and grammar. It bothers me so, so much that legitimately talented writers never achieve liftoff but James outsells them all.

  4. RE: “I like to know what people are eating when I read a book.”

    Hahaha…hah… you’d loooooove the Ghosts of Columbia series, then.

    (Spoiler: you wouldn’t. The writing’s clunky as shite, the only thing the author focuses on is what the main character is eating and/or wants to be eating all. the. time, and most of the plot and resolution comes out of nowhere and/or is shoved into the last chapter or two. I love the concept of the world it’s set in, but… in the hands of any other writer. I swear.)

  5. So. Much. Rage.

    I fucking hate this guy. I think the two parts of this chapter that bother me the most are:

    1. “She needs to look me in the eye and say no.” And then his creepy sex plotting. She doesn’t NEED to tell you anything in person. You barely know this woman, she doesn’t owe you a god damn thing. Take the hint, creepo.

    2. The entire exchange with Kate. Jenny, you basically summarized all my feelings about this. Seriously, how is ANYONE supposed to find this fuckwad endearing when he thinks shit like this? Elliot has known Ana and Kate as long as Christian has, and he’s more than happy to help. The way Christian thinks is not normal. He’s a fucking sociopath and I don’t understand why he’s considered a hero.

    Rage headache.

  6. I knew this chapter from his perspective would piss me off, but WOW. What a fucking douchebag. Because she kicked him out after he raped her HE feels USED. WOW. I feel like was written to be a response to this line: “But now I feel like a receptacle – an empty vessel to be filled at his whim.” from the original. She felt used, so EL has to show that he totally wasn’t using her guys, it’s all in her head and they’re so similar! No. Fuck Christian Grey.

    How angry he gets is also actively terrifying. I can understand getting upset that someone you’ve invested time and emotional energy in turned you down, but he gets really goddamn angry and that’s legitimately scary. The fact that he goes over there in a RAGE to fuck her is genuinely fucking scary! Especially since we already know from her perspective that she spent a lot of that encounter afraid of him and felt used and ‘brutalized’ afterwards. This isn’t a dominant trying to ‘punish’ a sub for ‘bad behaviour’ in a kinky way, this is an asshole who thinks he’s entitled to a yes and wants to make damn sure she understands that ‘no’ will never be an acceptable response. And he gets that message across loud and goddamn clear.

    I also don’t like that he gets upset about being kicked out after he expressly states that he has no intention of staying anyway. He probably wasn’t even planning on staying much longer than he already did he’s just pissed that she’s the one that chose when he would leave HER house because how DARE she have ANY control in this relationship, even over who is and isn’t in her home.

  7. “Ah, Leila. She was a good submissive, but she became too attached and I was the wrong man. Fortunately, that wasn’t for long. She’s married now and happy.”

    No, I’m pretty sure this was never mentioned. But also, this is incredibly clunky and clumsy foreshadowing.

    1. I think it was briefly mentioned that she went and got married and then he died in a car accident, which is what set her off to go after Ana.

        1. She got married, divorced, then her lover died in a car accident. (If I’m remembering correctly.) Then Leila got a gun and went after Chedward.

  8. “I’ve finally found a woman who’s not a gold digger” can also be said to be saying something negative about the hero’s character– namely that he hasn’t got any redeeming qualities other than his money that would cause women who are not gold diggers to be interested in him. (When Mark of Mark Reads did a read of the first trilogy, he commented on the fact that the books frequently acknowledge in the text how messed up the relationship is and brush it aside. Apparently that continues in this version.)

    Also, I’m sure there is pricing gun kink somewhere. There’s kink for everything else!

    And she is changing something from the original– Kate is, during the wine bit, surprised to find Christian in the apartment and therefore can’t have let him in, which implied he broke in. Changing things so she let him in would tend to make the surprise seem out of place, but then you can’t have your romantic hero *break in* and rape someone, because that would be *creepy*…

      1. Yeah, I expected her to use this book as an opportunity to clean up some of Grey’s worst features and make him seem less obnoxious, but she’s actually managed to make him seem worse. It’s mind boggling!

        1. Oh totally, when I heard she was re-writing it from Christian’s perspective, I thought it was to defend him from all the people saying he was abusive and manipulative. It is so much worse in his head, because you hear how utterly consumed he is with owning Ana.

  9. Bringing affordable first world technology to the third world is something I’m determined to do.

    Areas of true poverty and “third world” need potable water, food and medicine more than a solar powered iPad. But then again to Christian (and probably EL by extension), anyplace that isn’t Europe or the section of North America that isn’t Detroit is “third word” and by golly he’s just gonna white knight his way into their hearts.

    Oh yeah and wanting to give poor people tablets doesn’t change the fact that he’s an abusive rapist.

    1. In fairness, there are actual non-Chedward people working to get internet access to people in developing countries – I have a friend who works for a nonprofit focused on precisely that. That said, as someone actually working in that field, she’d roll her eyes immensely at the whole “solar-powered tablet” thing, because the sun is not always shining, and tablets are designed to look cool rather than to have much in the way of battery life, so those would be pretty stupid choices compared to the hand-crank-powered simple laptops her nonprofit aims to distribute. They’re pretty great resources for things like education and e-medicine, and if James had bothered to do the research and therefore have Chedward fund such a nonprofit, that might actually redeem him a tiny bit! But, of course, instead she just thoughtlessly tossed off something that makes him look like a dipshit who apparently thinks the ability to play Angry Birds is more important than the ability to use your computer at all if it’s raining. Sigh.

  10. Christian, to Ana: “Stop mailing me!”
    Christian, seconds later: “OMG WHY IS SHE NOT RESPONDING”

    …maybe because you told her to stop mailing you???


    1. It would be funny if it wasn’t so frightening. I knew a sociopath. He was a client at a firm I worked for. He was very personable when he wanted to be (translation = when he wanted something) and could be amusing, but he could change to cold and cruel in a split second and he was very pushy if you didn’t do what he wanted the moment he wanted it. I always felt a chill in his presence and could never relax when he was near. Grey makes me feel the same way. BTW the guy I knew ended up murdering his girlfriend and killing himself in the process, but declared his innocence on his death bed till the moment he died.

  11. I want Christian to be the BAU’s next case more with every chapter in his rapist POV. The fact that this series is sold as *romance* always makes me want to throw up, and I am glad that you are continuing to provide quality takedown material.

      1. For real. It was kind of amazing. In the ep, an Unsub influenced by an obvious in-universe stand-in for 50Shades titled ‘Bare Reflections’ kills women in poorly executed lethal BDSM sessions. The phrase ‘inner tigress’ is used. It’s not remotely subtle

        1. Please tell me Morgan got to tackle the asshole at the end.

          Mostly because I’ve always liked that TPTB chose to make Morgan the one with the molestation in his backstory (guys get abused too, and representation matters). “Profiler, Profiled” and I think “Restoration” (he goes back to Chicago and comes out on TV about the abuse) are automatic rewatch eps for me.

  12. I don’t understand why someone can be so upset with a book and still spend countless hours rehashing it and finding fault in it. Why do you give it so much attention by dissecting the entire book chapter by chapter? (not that any more is needed) It is referred to in almost every contemporary romance book written now. It seems to be that you can’t get over the whole phenomenon. It is just a book.

    I don’t particularly like the book, but again, it’s just a book. Albeit an incredibly famous and most talked about book, but just a book. Get on with it and write something new instead of rehashing this one!

    1. Perhaps it’s because its glorification of an abusive relationship with rape overtones deserves to be dissected and called out for what it is?

      Or maybe just for the pure “hate-watch” joy of doing so?

    2. I feel like Jenny’s addressed this several times before, and I hate to link away from her blog, so I’m breaking the link with a line break, but this is a good read if you think this is ‘just a book’

      I am also aware that other people have also written about this series and pointed out it’s flaws, but Jenny continues because there’s a new book and new bullshit to tear down.

      Some people seriously consider this novel romantic, some people don’t see the issue with that scene in this chapter that is clearly rape (particularly when combined with Ana’s version of events). It’s important to continue reminding people that these things aren’t okay. Even when they’re “just books”.

      1. Please don’t apologize for linking away. It would be one thing if an author came on here and was like, “Oh, come see MY blog and also here’s my amazon link.” That would make me be like, “Oh, come on. Really?” but it wouldn’t be a big deal. You’re linking to a resource that’s interesting and topical. Not a big deal at all.

    3. Jen does this (deliberately or not) to help boost discussion of rape culture in our society and how novels, especially this one, romanticize the rape. Discussing it is the first step in recognizing it, because if we can’t recognize it we can’t fix it.

      Erica Leonard (James) writes only what she knows, and she ROMANTICIZES rape. Something happened to her, I don’t know what, to romanticize rape.

      The big question is this, though: WHY did the 50SOG FANS (Not Jenny or her followers) eat it up and make it a bestseller– and then get all indignant when a CONVICTED rapist at Stanford only got away with 6 months?

      Let the discussions begin . . .

      1. I actually know the answer to that! The reason the Stanford rapist comes off as worse than Christian to most people is because one is easily identified as a criminal, the other is ‘just broken’. The Stanford rapist is the more traditional example of a rapist. He attacked a woman physically incapable of self defense, who he was not in a relationship with, behind a dumpster of all things. The only thing that would have made him closer to the stereotypical image of a rapist is if she’d been awake and he beat her into unconsciousness before it started.

        Stanford Rapist fits the cultural narrative of the boogeyman that all girls need to watch out for. Christian is a rich, ‘traumatized’ man who ‘loves’ Ana but ‘doesn’t know how to show it’. The problem though is the average rapist is a lot more like Christian than Stanford Rapist. Whose name I legitimately can’t remember.

        1. Brock Turner and fictitious Chedward Grey both benefited from their White Male Privileged status, the former because judge Persky only saw what he wanted to see (unfortunate white kid doing something stupid ‘just once’) and ignored the evidence (texts and cell phone data showing drug use back to high school and aggressive behavior to women) and Chedward barging into Ana’s room uninvited and backing her into a corner until she relented.

          Had Turner been anything but white his jail term would have been a LOT longer.

          But WHY the 50SOG fans enjoy (and defend!) the fictional story is troublesome. I mean, how are we going to change the attitudes of rape culture in men if novels written by women for women (& defended by women readers) condone it?

          1. I’m not saying that *I* view them as significantly different. I’m saying society does, because it’s been trained to view rapists more as monsters that stalk women in the night than regular people who have entitlement/boundary/self-control/anger/whatever issues. It’s also why people have a hard time taking men being raped by women seriously, because society has built up rapists as boogeymen that overpower their victims through physical strength and that doesn’t fit with the societal narrative that women are physically weaker than men.

            We need to reinforce that criminals are not inhuman monsters. It’s like how showing most people an image of Hitler doing something normal, even nice, tends to make them feel incredibly uncomfortable. When you dehumanize criminals it makes it harder to accept that someone you might have some affection for, or could see yourself spending time with, could possibly be like that. You make it easier to view the things they do as excusable because they can’t reconcile the person they know with the image of a monster they have in their head as the type of person that commits those acts.

            That’s also why the images the media releases of the people that are convicted of these crimes matters so much. When they release a clean cut picture, say from graduation, vs a scruffy, upset looking mug shot, the mug shot fits your belief of the type of person that would commit the crime where the graduation photo doesn’t, so you’re more likely to accept that person may be innocent or may at least have extenuating circumstances. That’s why in the Stanford case a lot of the outraged people made sure to include the scruffy mug shot instead of the clean cut photos other outlets were going with.

            How we combat this is incredibly tricky. Telling your children that anyone, even someone who they know well, can be a criminal, could be traumatizing if not approached well. But I think people like Jenny deconstructing these things to show that this isn’t sexy, this isn’t normal, and this isn’t acceptable, is a good start. Teaching children strong boundary enforcement would also be a good thing to do, so they feel more comfortable telling people where their line is and more comfortable telling someone they’ve crossed that line and that’s not acceptable. Most importantly though, teaching kids to respect other people’s boundaries. If you teach that personal boundaries are important it’ll be easier to identify that people that cross those boundaries are doing something wrong, even if they’re otherwise decent people.

          2. Mike,
            1 in 10 rape victims are male, and OF THOSE, 94% are perpetrated by other men, leaving only 6% by women. , i.e., only 0.6% of rapes are perpetrated by women on men.

            So having a statement “It’s also why people have a hard time taking men being raped by women seriously, ” in your leading paragraph drastically weakens your argument and actually comes across as unsympathetic to women because you use the time-honored diversionary tactic of bringing up the topic of the much-more-rare women-on-male rape.

            So let’s deal with the 90% of rapes that are perpetrated on women first, then we can deal with the other 9.4% of male-on-male, and leave the 0.6% for the last, OK?

          3. ???

            No, I-

            Yes, male rape victims of female rapists are very rare. No, that should not be swept under the rug! It DOES impact more people to make sure that all female rape victims can get the help and support they need because there are 9 times as many, but if we’re working to dismantle rape culture and victim-blaming mentalities, the whole “men always want it so they can’t get raped” attitude needs to go, too.

          4. …I’m incredibly confused as to why you think that fact hurts my argument. It sounds like you think I’m trying to divert the conversation to discussing male victims and make women sound like they’re the problem when all I was doing was giving another example aside from just the date rape vs stranger rape where the way people view rapists hurts victims and creates problems to emphasize how the societal view of criminals needs to be changed.

            You wanted to know why people were outraged by Stanford but aren’t about Christian, so I explained that it’s the mentality that people view rapists as boogeymen is a large part of that problem and it impacts a LOT of rape culture, but just these specific situations. So just because I mentioned that it also impacts this one small section makes me unsympathetic to women?! I fail to see your logic. I wasn’t AT ALL trying to downplay the suffering of female victims. I don’t like that you completely disregarded my entire argument just because I brought up something you don’t think should be brought up. My argument is still completely valid, and it’s not even an argument. You asked a question, I offered an answer, you seemed to think I was saying one was worse than the other so I tried to clarify what I meant. I feel like you think we’re on different sides here and I’m REALLY not sure why.

      2. “Something happened to her, I don’t know what, to romanticize rape.”

        She grew up in our world, that’s enough for people to internalize misogynistic ideas about gender roles, relationships, and sex. My parents did their best to not teach me that kind of crap, but I still heard from lots of other sources – school, friends, TV, movies, music, guys, the news, etc. I was regularly hearing rape jokes by middle school, and the saddest thing is that I was more sheltered from the kind of fuckery than a lot of people.

        1. Note: I’m not making excuses for EL James’ internalized misogyny and romanticization of abuse and rape, just trying to understand it. I think she’s more than old enough to examine her attitudes and what she’s putting into the public eye.

        2. Actually, I think Ket and Gehayi may have hit on the reason for her fascination with rape. They also had speculated about the generational culture that may be surrounding why some women think of this as romantic. It won’t make you feel better, but it might make help you keep things in perspective when dealing with the fans when they try to tell you it’s romance.

    4. If you refer to the above tab, entitled “Read Jenny’s Books”, you will discover that she indeed does “write something new” quite often. She actually has the ability to both create and critique at the same time!

      As to your other objection, it’s important to discuss pop culture and how it reflects and enforces social norms, especially when those norms are harmful.

    5. “I don’t understand why someone can be so upset with a book and still spend countless hours rehashing it and finding fault in it.”

      Because it’s fucking funny.

      “Get on with it and write something new instead of rehashing this one!”

      Are you purposely ignoring The Boss series (written as a response to comments like this one) and other books Jenny has written since these recaps began?

    6. This series of posts isn’t just the dissecting and rehashing of a terrible book though. It’s a discussion of the insidious nature of rape culture and how many of us have internalised it. The book happens to be an excellent example of it.

      Maybe it bothers you that Jen is still recapping these books, but honestly you don’t have to read them. If you don’t want to see them then they are not for you, they are for people like me who are genuinely still interested and learning from them.

    7. Then don’t come here and read the recaps. Some of us actually enjoy them. We’re all here reading for our own reasons. There’s the rape culture aspect. Personally, as a writer and editor by profession, I’m flabbergasted at the books’ success and the mentality of the people who love these books. Being able to commiserate with like-minded people is cathartic.

      I don’t understand coming to this blog and complaining about other people doing their thing. You don’t have to come here and you don’t have to read these. Why are you so concerned with what Jenny is doing with her own time?

    8. Hey there! I’m in a practically no internet zone, so I have to use my phone, so excuse the typos. But I want to address this.

      The reason I keep doing the recaps is because people seem to enjoy them. When I first recapped 50 Shades, I only planned to do the first book. Then people liked it, and asked if I would do the rest. When this book came out, people asked if I was going to recap it, so I was like, sure. It might not make sense to you as to why people would want to read it, but they do, and I don’t really want to disappoint people and be like, “Yeah, I’m totally not going to blog about 50 Shades of Grey ever again, sorry.”

      As for writing something new, I do kind of bristle at that. I know some authors put out five or six books a year, but that’s not me. Even if I quit this blog entirely, I would still only be putting out two to three titles a year. That’s how long it takes me to tell a story. So it’s disheartening to be told, “Why don’t you write something new.” I feel like, you know, I’m writing. I’m putting books out. I’m busting my ass, but it’s not enough for some readers (not saying that’s your mentality, just that it’s a complaint a lot of authors hear from readers. You probably didn’t intend it that way, but it definitely comes across that way when I read it).

      I’m sorry you don’t enjoy the recaps, but I feel like there’s enough non-recap content on my blog. If that’s not the case, maybe it’s something I need to work on for my non-50 Shades readers. But I definitely feel like this is a damned if I do, damned if I don’t situation.

    9. Awww *head pat* don’t worry, honey. Soon you will learn about this wonderful thing called “The Innternet” and all the beautiful and imaginative ways people can waste their time. I myself have found hours of amusement in Jenny’s rich and voluminous archives. It warms my heart that this trainwreck of a book has given spawn to so much entertaining and thoughtful writing.

      But it’s just a website. Why give it so much attention by reading all the way through a post and comment section? It’s just one person’s opinion, albeit a very clever and right one. Why not get on with it and write your own website instead?

    10. ” It is referred to in almost every contemporary romance book written now. It seems to be that you can’t get over the whole phenomenon. It is just a book. ”

      Your first sentence there implicitly contradicts your third. You say how it’s just a book but also call it a ‘phenomenon’ and make explicit reference to how influential it is? It being so influential alone is a reason why criticism like Jenny’s is so necessary.

    11. You could always create your own blog to write your own stuff in the way that you like best, you know. You aren’t required to come here.

    12. Because it drives traffic to her blog, which is one of the ways that she gains publicity, which is important for an author.

      I know this answer because she has addressed it multiple times on her blog, and I’m sure a quick google search would have shown you the same thing.

  13. And because this is a fucking disgrace of a book, Ana jumps into his arms. Now, please forgive me. I’m going to skim over a lot of this sex scene. This is the scene where he sucks her toes right after he’s gone on a run and hasn’t taken off her shoes or socks yet, and later spits wine into her mouth.

    I’m reading this at my reference desk and almost yelled when I read that. Just… no.

    There are plenty of BDSM 101 kits, books, DVDs, etc. out there that he could have sent her since he’s so hellbent on her being into kink. He clearly has enough money to do Very Important Business-Type Things that he could chuck a She Bop gift card her way (s/o She Bop in Portland, haay). Then again, he probably would find female- and queer-friendly sex shops abhorrent to his nature because they involve people actually enjoying sex who aren’t him. There are even links he could have suggested beyond the Wiki entry on BDSM that would be better for first timers.

    This fucking guy.

    1. I don’t Dexter, but I hope you’ll accept this alternative:

      “Tell me, what’s your deepest, darkest desire?”

      “…I want Anastasia Steele chained up in my playroom so I can do unspeakable things to her with or without her consent. But I don’t need your help for that. It’s going to happen soon.”

      “Oh. And how exactly do you know that?”

      “Because I just went and fucked her. She’ll want me now.”

      “…that is incredibly disturbing, and I have heard some disturbing things in my time. You do know there’s a special circle in Hell for delusional rapists?”

      “Rapist? No. No, no. I’m not a rapist. It was consensual. She wanted this.”

      “And how are you so sure?”

      “I’m good. Very good. At sex. And I was her first fuck, so she’s attached. There’s no way she wouldn’t have wanted me.”

      “So you didn’t even bother to find out if she wanted you this time.”

      “I didn’t need to find out,” Christian scoffed. “Of course she wanted it. You didn’t see her last night-”

      “I’ve seen quite enough, thank you. Maze?”

      “Boss?” A leatherclad figure stepped out from behind the bar, still holding a serrated kitchen knife. Christian flinched before realizing that said figure was only a woman, and therefore nothing to be afraid of.

      “I’ve got a case today, so I can’t handle it personally, but it seems this man needs to learn what consent really means. Do you still have that Spanish Inquisition rack?”

      Shadows lengthened around them and the lights flickered and dimmed. Christian wasn’t scared; women didn’t scare him, but even he had to admit that this one’s smile was just a bit unsettling…

      1. I love Lucifer! What a great fan fiction. Although now I kind of want a 50 Shade/Law & Order: SVU crossover where our favorite detectives have to forcefully arrest a resistant Christan Grey.

        1. Sorry; I’m not up-to-date with Law and Order and don’t really know the characters. Hopefully this isn’t too OOC. Or annoying, but it’s kind of fitting that even the least popular detective is more appealing than Christian Grey:

          “[…] A Ms. Kavanagh reported a rape on this premise, and we’d like to look into it. If you’d please come with us…”

          The businessman’s handsome features twisted in rage. “Kavanagh?! That lying blonde bitch! I never take women without their consent, Detective! This is slander!”

          Lake sighed. The rich could be difficult. “If that’s the case, then you have nothing to worry about. It’s just a routine-” he broke off as the rich prick whirled around and glared at a young brunette woman who’d just arrived behind him.

          “Anastasia,” he said, his tone angry. Lake’s hand inched toward his taser.

          “Christian,” she echoed softly, and Lake sincerely hoped that wasn’t a quaver of fear he heard. “Please leave.”


          “Get out of my house.”

          “Not until you agree to our arrangement!”

          “Excuse me,” said Lake. “She clearly told you to leave. Staying any longer constitutes harassment and is technically a crime.”

          The woman breathed a sigh of relief. “Thank you,” she whispered.

          The man – Christian – turned his glare on Lake, who was more annoyed than intimidated and shifted his hand to the canister of pepper spray on his belt. “Don’t tell me what to do,” Christian snarled. “And if you try to make a move on my girl-”

          “Any threats from you will be considered resisting arrest,” Lake said, bored. “You can come quietly or-”

          Christian swung at him with the misplaced confidence of years of beatboxing training. Lake dodged. He really wasn’t in the mood for this sort of thing, and instead of engaging simply shoved the pepper spray into Christian’s face and depressed the nozzle.

          Christian screamed. The pain was incapacitating, like nothing he’d ever experienced before, and he rubbed desperately at his eyes-

          “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” my subconscious interrupted. “Whoa. WHOA. Do you seriously expect anyone to believe that Christian motherfucking (almost literally) Grey has never been Maced before?! This guy showed up to the house of the girl he got a break-up email from and angrily fucked her without consent!”

          My Inner Goddess danced a graceful salsa in merry agreement.

          “…good point,” I said, deleting the last paragraph. “What was I thinking?”

          Christian felt the familiar sting in his eyes, blinding pain, and tried to calm himself enough to think through it like he’d done all those times before. He screwed his eyes shut, knowing from extensive experience that tears would come eventually and wash away the spray like rain from all those boring running scenes washing away the sins of his mother the crack whore (that’s what the rain symbolizes; it’s very deep), and lashed out with his right hand – usually he managed to grab the girl at this point and any further resistance on her part would be futile.

          Lake snapped his baton open and brought it down on Christian’s knuckles with a sharp crack. Before the rapist could pull back, Lake grabbed his wrist and yanked, making him stumble forward enough that Lake could pin his arms behind his back and secure him with the standard issue handcuffs that were sadly not lined with silk.

          “You are under arrest,” Lake recited dutifully. A strangled yell escaped the suspect’s throat, and he struggled against the cuffs. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you.”

          The psycho screamed again, and Lake wondered for the umpteenth time why he always got stuck with the stupid ones.

    2. “I now require a Dexter fanfic crossover where Grey gets what’s coming to him.”

      Or seeing as how Christian is played by Jamie Dornan, who was a serial killer in ‘The Fall’, maybe Gillian Anderson could reprise her Stella Gibson role and take him down?

  14. Not gonna lie, the main thing I get out of these recaps (and my attempt to read the book–I barely made it to the halfway point) is how much it looks like Ana DOESN’T want to be with Christian. It brings up the already rape-y subtext into overdrive.

  15. “A man saying he’s relieved that he’s finally found someone who isn’t a gold digger? That’s just ego-fueled misogyny.”

    ~ I’m sorry, but I completely fail to see how that makes any sense whatsoever. To me, it sounds like the exact opposite of “ego-fueled misogyny.” If you were rich, wouldn’t you be afraid that people you met AFTER you accrued your fortune only liked you for your money? Because I would, and I’m pretty sure most other people would, too.

    Thinking someone only likes you for something superficial IS the opposite of being egotistical. Even if you thought someone only liked you for your good looks. That means you fear that they don’t like you for who you are, meaning you don’t have enough confidence in yourself to believe you can attract people with your personality alone. That is the opposite of ego.

    And how was he being misogynistic? Again, it is perfectly rational to fear that someone only likes you for your money. If it was a rich woman being courted by a middle-class man, would you call her a misandrist for suspecting he’s a gold digger? Or if your favorite male character ever were rich (if he’s not already) and said he was relieved that his current love interest did not seem to be a gold digger like all his previous lovers, would you accuse him of “ego-fueled misogyny”?

    I am not trying to be rude or anything. It’s a legitimate question, because this is one thing about Grey that actually does NOT strike me as egotistical or sexist, but perfectly rational. I’m wondering if your hatred of him is clouding your judgment. Again, not being rude here. Not intentionally, anyway. If you see me as rude, you’re wrong, because that is NOT what I am trying to be. I am only trying to have an honest, open dialogue with you.

    1. I think( and I can be totally wrong) that she meant it is “ego-fueled misogyny” because if a rich guy thought all women were gold-diggers, that would mean he didn’t have very high expectations of women other than them liking money. That’s where the misogyny comes from I think.

    2. It’s because Christian is just so relieved that Anastasia isn’t like all of those gold-digging whores that keep hitting on him. If a random rich guy were like “oh, good – she’s not a gold-digger,” that would probably be a sensible expression of relief. But that’s not what happened here – Grey seemed to be assuming that everyone else (besides Leila) who’d hit on him in the past was a gold-digger regardless of their actual intentions. Which he didn’t know, because he’s Christian Grey and he never asks or bothers to find out what people actually think and feel, which is a habit he’s demonstrated numerous times. That’s the “egotistical misogynist” part. There’s the additional fact that Grey isn’t just a random rich guy; he’s Christian Grey, and he’s already demonstrated that he thinks lowly of women, has an enormous ego, and finds Anastasia Steele just sooooo different from any other girl he’s ever met, despite the fact that Steele might as well be a cardboard cutout for all the personality she has. So this feeling of “Ana’s one of the only people who isn’t a filthy gold-digger” is much more likely to stem from all of that than from his being insecure.

      In response to the last bit, yes, you’re being rude, intentional or not. Must be the “any sense whatsoever” part. And the condescending “I’m sorry, but”. Adding “not trying to be rude” after the fact doesn’t change anything when you could have just been more courteous from the start and tried to have a polite, open discussion where you stated your opinion and asked questions without getting too upset over it.

    3. First off, there’s this assumption among a lot of people that a woman who is interested in a rich guy must only be interested in his wealth. That’s misogynistic for a whole host of reasons. It assumes women marry first and foremost for money (a stereotype that has persisted for years now), which also feeds into stereotypes that women are cold and calculating. It assumes women can’t support themselves without a male partner.

      Secondly, look at what Christian actually said:
      “She’s no gold digger–rare among the women I’ve known…”
      It’s pretty obvious that:
      A) Christian assumes the women he’s dated (or even spoken with, hired, whatever) in the past are all gold diggers.
      B) Even if you want to argue that Christian has legitimately had bad experiences with gold diggers in the past, this plot point was still written by someone. And I guarantee this story was written by someone who assumes a rich dude would have to fend off gold diggers left and right. And considering E.L.’s track record of sexism – both in the books and in real life (with how she responds to victims of domestic violence who criticize her work) – I shouldn’t need to explain all the ways E.L. is a misogynist and how she writes her characters as such.

      I’d like to add that it wouldn’t be ‘misandry’ if a woman assumed a man was after her wealth because “men only marry women for their wealth” is not a sexist stereotype that men have to deal with. In fact, most people assume men can support themselves, so they wouldn’t ever need to marry a woman for their money.
      That’s certainly a dumb stereotype, but it’s a positive one that says men work for a living and are independent, so it’s not the same as “women are incapable of and/or usually don’t support themselves without a male partner.” It’s still stupid to believe either statement, but you can’t equate the two.

      I’m only adding this because I frequently see people acting as if ‘switching the genders’ leads to exactly the same scenario. It doesn’t and it’s harmful to assume it does. Men, women and nonbinary people experience sexism in very different ways and for very different reasons. We need to treat the sexism against men, women and nonbinary people as different and unique if we want to address the issues they face. You can’t just replace “man” with “woman” (or vice versa) and claim the situation is the same, because it won’t be.
      I hope I didn’t come across as aggressive; I just wanted to explain why your example doesn’t work the way you think it does.

      I agree that it’s not necessarily egotistical, though. There are better examples of Christian’s egotism.
      Still, “women are only interested in rich men for their money” IS a misogynistic statement no matter how you twist it. And if a rich man automatically assumes all the women he meets are gold diggers, he’s a misogynist, regardless of how ‘rational’ you think he’s being. That doesn’t mean he can’t protect his wealth (e.g. by refusing to buy things for his partners), but at no point can he assume anything about his female partners without being a sexist asshole, because ‘gold digger’ has been a stereotype about women for a long time.

      I hope that all made sense. Again, I’m not trying to be aggressive or argumentative; I’m sorry if it comes across that way.

  16. I’m still stuck on the fact that he runs to O Fortuna. Like… what? That’s terrible running music even without translating the lyrics! I love Carmina Burana but the things I love about it are what make it bad for running to.

  17. Apparently I live under a rock cus I have no idea who or what is Carmina Burana, but that’s besides the point.
    The point being, what the hell is wrong with people?! How could they not see this whole scene as rape. Honestly, from Christian’s POV Ana seems a lot more unwilling than in her own head, how is that even possible?

    1. Ahh, I’m afraid of linking something because I don’t want to get caught in a spam-net, but… yeah. It’s one of those pieces that, even if you don’t know the name of, you’d probably recognise it instantly due to how often it’s used in other pop media (especially movie trailers, commercials, and overly dramatic scenes in things). There’s a bunch of different recordings of it on Youtube if you want to go listen; it’s a pretty decent (dramatic) song, just… not for running, for a few reasons.

      1. OK. I wasn’t familiar with it, either, but after this comment I looked it up. Yep. I know that music.

        Every time the EEL tries to make these people seem all sophisticated and worldly, they’re just listening to or reading something super mainstream and well-known. I mean, really? She just picked something that’s everywhere, all the time.

        And what’s really funny about this one in particular is it gets used sarcastically and comically now because it’s SO overused and overdone. She’s ridiculous and her characters are ridiculous.

          1. I nearly shit myself laughing at Chedward running to “O Fortuna” on a peaceful sunny day. “Fate is against me… everyone weep with me!” And it also makes me laugh because I can’t think of “O Fortuna” without thinking of that misheard lyrics video.

          2. I had never seen that video before and now I can’t stop laughing. Thank you for adding this to my life. :)

  18. This has made me so mad. This. Fucking. Guy. It was creepy enough the first time round, this is downright dangerous material for young girls and women to read. How does E. L. James sleep at night on her massive bed of money without having soul-destroying nightmares about what she’s done? How is she so blind to this? When I think back to being a teenager and all the times I thought I was saying ‘no’ and they weren’t hearing ‘no’, my blood boils. There are grown men who used to know me at school who still legitimately think I was evil to them because I somehow owed them something. One of them still cites me as ‘ruining’ his life. Seventeen years later. If I’d read anything like this at the time, I’d have been questioning myself about whether I really was the bad guy, perhaps they somehow deserved me and I really was being a bitch.
    And the ‘kit’ bit – that’s truly terrifying. Carrying condoms is one thing, purposefully picking them up because you’re going round to convince a girl that no was just an opening for negotiations until the answer is yes is horrific.
    Man, I’m mad as hell. Grr! Rant over.

  19. This guy was scary enough when we were in Ana’s prop-crowded head, but now that we’re in his cock-filled one, I am completely terrified. How the freaking, freaking hell can so many women still be defending this guy??? There must be something seriously wrong with them if they’re willing and able to look past clearer-than-crystal signs of rape and abuse, or are they just so naïve that they really don’t recognize this behavior as such? Have we become so desensitized to this kind of thing that we’re now willing accept it as normal, and even desire it?

  20. This song is the soundtrack to ‘The big beer ad’ here in Australia, so that makes this all the more hilarious for me.

    1. Ha! FSOG is popular with the bogan masses, as is the beer, so this song coincidence is rather apt ;-) And thanks for giving an example of where I’ve heard the song before, because the title didn’t ring a bell :-)

  21. To Renee…….Personally, as a writer and editor by profession, myself, I don’t understand your need to be so defensive. Must make for some serious boredom at your house. My only question was why after 5 years there is still an interest in discussing those books. It only serves to create more interest, IMO. I’m not a defender of the books!

    I enjoy Jenny’s work, that’s why I come on her blog and because I’m on her mailing list…..just like you. What’s wrong with hearing an opinion that isn’t in complete agreement with yours or Jenny’s. Novel concept, I know!

    1. You don’t have to understand it, but obviously you care enough to keep commenting. and worrying about what the rest of us are concerned about.

      How about stop trying to police the Internet?

    1. I have tried watching “Firefly.” I don’t enjoy it. I also don’t enjoy “Star Trek.” I don’t go to blogs about those things and complain that those blogs exist, which is what you’re doing. So, “Back atcha’!!” doesn’t really apply.

      Jenny posts things here that don’t interest me. When they show up in my email, I click “delete” and move on with my life.

  22. ‘“No. I’d like to surprise her.” I give her my most earnest and endearing look and in response she blinks a couple of times. Whoa. That was easy. Who would have thought?’

    Poor Christian. When I hear something, and I blink a couple of times (usually combined with a frown, a little crease between my eyebrows and a confused look), it can mean two things. A) I’m confused. B) You just said something so incredibly stupid that I need a moment to wrap my head around what you said, disentangle its stupidity and find a suitable response to it. I’d love to see Kate collect her thoughts and ask him if he’s fucking kidding her.

  23. “So let’s deal with the 90% of rapes that are perpetrated on women first, then we can deal with the other 9.4% of male-on-male, and leave the 0.6% for the last, OK?”

    That would be fine if you weren’t male. Let’s not be so patronizing and quick to say what the rest of us need to do. A rape is a rape, whether it be male on male or male on female. They are all important to be addressed.

    1. I think she said somewhere that she basically wrote her fantasies so that seems likely. Many commentators have said that if she had written ‘rape fantasy erotica’ and labelled it as such (emphasis on the rape and the fantasy) this discussion would be a lot less heated. The denial of the lack of consent in the narrative and the blurring of the line between fantasy and reality has been what annoyed most people as far as I know.

  24. So, the whole “watching her read in her room without her knowledge” bit reminded me of a scary Halloween story from Jezebel from last year. The story was so creepy that I won’t ever forget it, and for something that is billed as romance to make me think of it immediately is rather unsettling (not that this entire series isn’t unsettling).

    If you get freaked out easily, I recommend against these. I usually take about a week to recover from these (but I’m a chicken, so ymmv).

    It’s the first one… “Look At Me”

    1. I just read a whole bunch of those stories on so thanks for posting that link! And yes that particular one is very creepy! I didn’t immediately realise that the stories were all meant to be true and well, it made that one even worse when I read the beginning blurb again and realised they were. Eek!

  25. No way are you a “damned if you do” author. I love your books and read all of them, without fail. None of this is coming from an overtly ugly frame of mind. I’m sorry it has turned out that way judging from some of the backlash. Blogs and forums are meant to discuss different opinions and thoughts. It’s sad that some folks just get really defensive when challenging their opinions. I’m not a fan of the books and I guess I feel like sometime it brings about more advertising and causes people to purchase them out of curiosity. The writing something new wasn’t meant for you per se. It was meant to say let’s read and write and talk about something else. She’s old news to me, I guess. Anyway, didn’t mean to come down as difficult just for giving a different opinion (according to some of the commenters), keep writing your stuff! I love it….it’s definitely your “sweet spot”!

    1. For the record, it wasn’t about your opinion but what seemed like an unnecessary attack on Jenny bringing important topics (i.e. rape culture, consent as portrayed in popular media) into an open discussion. But I understand now that that wasn’t your intent.

    1. Catchy song and I loved the theme. Would have liked it better without the video, or if the video hadn’t shoved the guys off the stage. I feel like having men agree with her statement was a more powerful visual than having men who were being quite reasonable given the same sort of treatment that women object to from men. I don’t know, just undercuts the message in the song for me. I would be willing to buy the song so I can listen without the visual, so thank you for sharing the link.

      1. The bit where someone’s got her hands all over the drummer made me cringe (my brain was screaming WORKPLACE HARASSMENT!!!)

        So yeah, I liked the song’s message a lot better than the video too.

  26. Really, an illiterate buffoon? How old are you? Just because I don’t agree with you?

    One thing to consider….this “illiterate buffoon” edits and writes for a living.

    We’re done here.

    1. Yes, really. Because you’re under the impression that books are “just” books and can’t have alarming undertones or perpetuate wrong stereotypes. Or that any media is that way, for that matter. And also because you completely misinterpreted my argument, which should have been fairly simple to understand. The “buffoon” part is because I can’t take you seriously enough to trade up for a better class of insult.

      I’d make a snide comment about how it can’t be that great of a living if you’re still under the mistaken impression that books are “just” books, but there’s no call for overly personal attacks here.

  27. Oh… I remember this chapter. It was the one that I had to stop reading the book on because I found myself comparing the costs of buying a gun vs. taking self-defense courses. I would be terrified of meeting a man like Christian Grey in real life. There is something knowing that so many women romanticize him that makes me feel very unsafe in my own head. Like if I did find myself in a bad situation that I wouldn’t be able to trust anyone around me to help me get out of it. Worse, they would be the ones trying to talk me into staying because he loves me so much. I guess there’s one good thing out to come out of this book, though. I now have a litmus test for whether or not someone is going to be allowed on my zombie killing team. If they like this book, then I can’t trust their survival instincts.

  28. At first I wanted to rage and rant but then I thought it would be better to bring some levity in this heated discussion.
    So I’d like to suggest this video I’ve found. It’s “Irish men read Grey”. I just love the Irish.
    I hope you like it and I hope it’s ok to share this link.

  29. You know, it might be that all these random side characters who are inexplicably brought up again and again were originally cameos of twilight side characters. It would also explain why there are some characters with full names despite being in all of two scenes.

  30. How did she make Christian seem so incompetent? I mean, okay, even in the main trilogy it was clear that Christian wasn’t the brain trust that Ana’s blithering seemed to think he was.

    Here though, he just seems so stupid. About everything. It’s pretty clear that his company is running in spite of him. He tells a complete newbie to “research” BDSM on her own and then is shocked/angry when she seems to balk at what she finds. What did he THINK she was going to find?

    I do like this Ana better than the one in Fifty Shades. When we’re just looking at her dialogue/actions and not her idiot thoughts (or that inner Goddess), she is much more tolerable. And Christian really is even more obviously a rapist, because she is not giving ANY indication that she wants any of this, and seems to be afraid of him. Ick.

  31. So…ever since we first met Christian Grey, he has reminded me of my abusive ex. He really, really acts a lot like him. He’s manipulative in the same way, he gets angry the same way, he puts (certain) women on a pedestal the same way while all the rest are garbage.

    And running to “O Fortuna” is exactly the sort of thing my abusive ex would have done.

    On the one hand, it continues to freak me out that there are so many similarities.

    On the other hand, it makes me giggle A LOT that Christian Grey basically acts exactly like a shitty teenage boy with a massively inflated ego.

      1. I wish I hadn’t tried to read the whole book. I was expecting something genuinely erotic, and I was expecting that Ana would WANT to participate in BDSM, rather than being forced into it. The scene where she BEGS him not to hit her made me feel sick. It didn’t exactly trigger me (too much time has passed for that), but it certainly reminded me of a certain guy from my past.

  32. I actually do think I remember reading that Layla was married, but it was one of those obscured facts like that Jose was majoring in engineering (anyone remember that?) that was mentioned once then never again. It’s really funny that Mr. Sits-around-waiting-for-someone-to-email-him-back is suddenly super busy when it comes to actually doing something. I think this stems from trying to copy Meyer. Edward really couldn’t have a life because of the whole vampire secret thing, but trying to write a human with outside interests is apparently just too hard.

  33. “…the world is not a catalog for you to select people and experiences from. When someone tells you no, you’re not getting bad service as a consumer.”

    Well, shit, Ms. Jenny. You just summed up a fairly complex attitude that’s been bugging me my whole life in two sentences.

  34. Ok, so I never read Tessa of the d’Ubervilles, but I did see the movie Tess, which I actually found kind of beautiful and very watchable…but I’m confused now, because who is Chedward supposed to be? The asshole Rapist who wears her down until she kills him the moment she has a chance to escape? Or the self-righteous husband who doesn’t see her true value until he spends some time suffering in Brazil, and then only manages a fleeting happiness with her as they run from the police? I mean, I get the Ana/Tess comparison, she experiences a lot of needless suffering, but really, who is Chedward “aspiring” to? Darcy may have been a prickly asshole in the beginning, but he turned out to be a pretty good guy in the end.

    1. I’ve read Tess as well as seeing the movie, and YES, EXACTLY, NEITHER of the men in it are much good as romantic heroes! :(

  35. Lucius Valdescu handled being called “nice” a hell of a lot better and he was freaking 17/18 years old. In a YA novel. He even backed off when his love interest told him “no” when they were kissing!

  36. I think the neighbors are gonna call for how hard I laughed at the “suitably tranquil music” setup you put before the reveal of “O Fortuna”.

    As for pricing guns like the kind with the sticky labels that she’d be using in a hardware store…maybe not for kink, but you know those guns that attach the plastic dongle things for clothing tags? I’m just saying, I saw a workshop on staple guns once (pro-tip: put down a strip of duct tape on the skin first to make removal easier; also, obvs, only do areas with heavy fat/muscle padding). I think we could be onto a new kink here. (But not really.)

    “[J]ust throwing in this aside is unconvincing because she can’t change the actual events of the story. They’re written in stone.”

    Makes me wonder what it would have been like if James prefaced the whole book with an apology for her mistakes, then basically said, “I’m going to write this from Christian’s POV as it *should* have been the first time.” Still would have sold like crazy. Would have been more original. Would have been less horrifying, and the right thing to do.

    …Didn’t happen. Enough said.

    Wait, no, *not* enough said, because then James goes on to make it actually *worse* than the original. Because then Chedward has more awful thoughts and goes to set up his rape kit (as in, a kit with which to rape someone, not for evidence collected afterward).

    I still might have forgiven James at least a little if she’d sincerely apologized and written a new narrative from Chedward’s POV of how the original *should* have gone. At least *a little*.

    Anyway, hope you’re having a great retreat! I had a great Trout binge this morning, so thank you!

  37. “I wonder how her day at Clayton’s has been, pricing cable ties and measuring out lengths of rope. I hope one day I’ll get to use them on her.”

    This is a pretty minor nitpick, but cheap hardware store rope and cable ties are the WORST for bondage – the material is rough, and restraints that are too thin cut into the skin. Has EL James ever done any form of bondage in her whole life? Like, she references using masking tape as a gag, when masking tape is designed to not stick well and be removed easily I thought she meant duct tape, although someone really into bondage would use bondage tape instead, just like a bondage lover wouldn’t get their supplies from the hardware store.

  38. This is petty, I know, but just wanted to point out another example of James being out of touch: I’m pretty sure at 6:35 in the morning on Monday in any major American city, the traffic is NOT quiet and the air smells like cigarettes.

  39. “Yes. Jealousy is clearly the problem. Not, I don’t know. Your total disregard of the common courtesy of just not suggesting your new lover meet your former lovers so they can give tips.”

    Actually, of all the things Christian say and does, this one is pretty reasonable and it was irresponsible from Ana to not take on that offert. When a sub is just entering a new relationship with a Dom, it is costumary ask around for reference to know what they could be dealing with (do they stop upon hearing the safeword? how strict are they? how are their punishment? wich is their style of dominance? they aren´t a fraud that is just going to take my money or blackmail me with my partner, right?, that type of stuff) so talk with the former subs would be an ideal solution. The sub could also ask in the local community, but, of course, the best answer always come from the people that have been with the Dom.

    A D/s relationship, the type that Christian say he had with all those women, meaning they were only subs and nothing else, is not the same as one of lovers. It can be that a romantic relationship also is D/s, of course, but that is not how he supposedly rolls. He doesn´t have any emotional attachment to those women, except maybe Leila, in a very sick, sick way, so his confusion over the jelousy is KINDA understandable in this situation. It would be like if your boyfriend get upset that you go out with a female friend that is lesbian and is afraid of something happening. Ana would be the boyfriend, from the point of view of Christian. Make literally no sense to him because there is literally nothing to be jelous of, emotionally speaking.

    If we are talking about jelousy over simply the body (like Christian geting ultra mad just because someone touched Ana) that is another issue.

    This is kinda like Ana crying after her first spanking, wich is also pretty common among subs/bottom after something like that. James is completely horrible writing any kind of relationship, all sprinkled with their own brand of bullshit, but there are moments, very rarely, when by mere chance (because I can´t believe there is another explination) it seems like she almost gets it. To me that make all the more disturbing all the other times that she completely misses the point.

    1. My objection is less about the offer itself, more about the fact that he knows she has no experience (and therefore wouldn’t know why someone might offer that in the first place), but acts like she’s unreasonable for being jealous. With her knowing exactly zero about this type of relationship, it should be expected that she’s going to take this (and especially the presentation) badly.

    2. Also, I felt like the accidental accuracy of Ana crying because of getting spanked thing was completely ruined by the fact that Christian’s aftercare was so shitty. Literally the only thing I like in this book is the tampon scene, because THANK GOD this heroine menstruates and the hero isn’t disgusted by it.

      1. Completely agree. Christian is just a horrible Dom all around, no doubts about it. If he gave a damn about Ana learning the sub ways (bad moment for a pun? bad moment for a pun) he should have sat down with her and explain her all about it. But of course, if he did he would HAVE to realize that their goals regarding the relationship are complete opposites and would have to let it go.

        I personally fucking love aftercare. Is a moment where at least me and my sub can be all the sappy we want, where I can cuddle the shit out of them and spoil them all I want. So when I read about that moment I was full on rage. Especially if the sub is just having their first experience, is just unforgivable for any Dom to leave their sub alone. Even if you just pretend to not have any emotional attachment and they are just sub, not lovers, is still horrific and it has no excuse. Or you care about your sub or you don´t and then who the fuck would want a Dom that can´t care?

        More I think about it and more certain I am that any community that respect themselves would have kick out his rich misogynistic ass in no time. Probably also put him in a blacklist thing.

  40. Okay. I came back and read this again today, and like the first time I thought, O Fortuna… is that the Carmina Burana song I know? I only know the one.
    Yes, it is. So I listened to it, idly scrolling down through the comments, and holy whoa! It seems somebody “translated” O Fortuna phonetically into something reeeeaaaally silly.
    For your amusement, put on the song and read along.

    gopher tuna
    bring more tuna
    statue of big dog with fleas
    some man like cheese
    hot temperature cheese
    green chulk can taste like hippies
    you caught 2 rocks
    pet 2 coll rats
    you don’t get chess or chicken
    play chess all day
    hold his sock tip
    she sold me good hot chicken
    saucy hot peas
    get me cod please
    rock talk to boy who believes
    suck juice from moose
    fun handsome goose
    cement pizza newbie please
    open bra top
    get him locked up
    leaky aquateris
    look there fruit loop
    don’t sue youtube
    they wrote the dictionary

    1. ^^^^^ This person did not read all the comments and therefore missed the hilarious previously posted video with the misheard lyrics. Oops!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>