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Jenny Reads Fifty Shades of Midnight Sun: Thursday, May 26, 2011, part two or “We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do…until I want to do it.”

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It’s time for another Grey recap! I realize that somewhere along the way, I stopped putting in links to my older recaps. This is because I’m as capricious as the sea. You’ll note that instead of writing this, I could have put the link in.

Also of importance: I’ve noticed the occasional remark in the comments asking about inconsistencies in the book (like Ana taking off her graduation robe, etc.). These are just places where I skipped that passage or didn’t mention what seemed to me to be an inconsequential detail. If there is a massive inconsistency like that, I’ll definitely note it. My nit-pickery is the stuff of legend. I just don’t want you to get the impression that this book has errors in it that it doesn’t actually have. There’s enough badness in it already.

Okay, let’s get inside of this like a skin suit.

Previously, on Grey, Chedward made Ana’s graduation all about himself and his sex wants. Now, he’s leaving the graduation by himself. Taylor tells Chedward that the Audi A3 has been delivered to the Heathman:

Now I just have to give it to Ana. No doubt this will involve a discussion, and deep down I know it will be more than just a discussion.

I believe it turns into, “I sold your car without your permission,” actually.

Then again, she’s agreed to be my submissive, so maybe she’ll accept my gift without any fuss.

She agreed to be your submissive on weekends. Not your full time financial submissive whose property you can shuffle around all willy-nilly.

I call Andrea and tell her to put a WebEx breakfast meeting into my schedule tomorrow with Eamon Kavanagh and his associates in New York. Kavanagh is interested in upgrading his fiber-optic network.

What…what exactly does Christian Grey do? Is he in customer service? How important is Kate’s father that when he wants to upgrade something technical at his business, he actually speaks to the CEO of the company and not someone in sales?

Andrea also tells him that he has to be in Seattle for a charity thing the next night. I wonder if we’ll actually see the charity thing, or if it will be skipped in favor of more stuff about running or working out.

Tonight will be my last night in Portland. It’s almost Ana’s last night here, too…I contemplate calling her, but there’s little point since she doesn’t have her cell phone. And she’s enjoying time with her dad.

You like that little afterthought? No point in calling her, since she doesn’t have her cellphone. Oh, and she also has a life outside of my wants.

Now, we all know that there is no one so skilled as E.L. James at capturing the voice of a twenty-something American male, and here we have a shining example of that sterling authenticity:

Staring out the car window as we drive toward The Heathman, I watch the good people of Portland go about their afternoon. At a stoplight there’s a young couple arguing on the sidewalk over a spilled bag of groceries. Another couple, even younger, walks hand in hand past them, eyes locked and giggling. The girl leans up and whispers something in the ear of her tattooed beau.

This is practically right out of a Kevin Smith screenplay.

Of course seeing these two couples has made Chedward think of Ana and their impossible relationship:

Ana wants “more.” I sigh heavily and plow my fingers through my hair. They always want more. All of them. What can I do about that?

Consider the women you have sex with to be actual humans with thoughts and emotions of their own, that might not always line up with the things you want?

The hand-in-hand couple strolling to the coffee shop–Ana and I did that. We’ve eaten together at two restaurants, and it was…fun. Perhaps I could try. After all, she’s giving me so much. I loosen my tie.

Could I do more?

Probably not, Chedward. You scoffed at the idea of helping her move into her new apartment.

(Underline = Italics)

I’m still astounded at how sociopathic Christian comes off. I know, I know, don’t armchair diagnose behavioral disorders. But he has so many of the hallmarks. He can be charming to get what he wants, he has an inflated sense of his self and what he’s entitled to, he can’t empathize, he was violent as a child/teen, his emotions are very superficial, he’s a thrill seeker, and while he’s very successful in business, we see that he has a terrible work ethic. These are all red flags for sociopathy. And this instance is a pretty good example. He’s thinking, okay, I want to fuck Ana, I want her to be my sub, but she wants more. And he doesn’t think, oh, she wants more as in, she wants love. He’s thinking she wants the surface trappings of a relationship. Oh, she wants more? I guess I can hold her hand and take her to dinner. I guess I can imitate the actions of people I have seen who are in love, and that will be enough. Because he doesn’t understand that it’s not the actions that will make Ana feel loved, but that feeling love results in those actions.

There’s a section break, then Christian goes back to his room and changes his clothes and goes to work out, then there’s another break and he video calls Ros. They use the usual big business-y words and toss around the names of important cities, then he tells her the graduation was fine and then he emails Ana. So the whole thing with Ros is totally unnecessary scene number 4,926,510 for this book.

The email is basically that she looked beautiful and they need to talk about the soft limits. He also decides that since she didn’t call him back that morning, she needs a better cell phone, so they can be in constant contact. But the problem wasn’t that her cellphone isn’t good, it’s that she didn’t have it. Whatever. He asks Andrea to have a BlackBerry delivered to Ana. Then there’s a section break.

Christian’s mother calls and imparts information we’ve already gotten a few times now: that Christian needs to pick up Mia, that they’ll be having dinner on Saturday, that Elliot is bringing Kate to dinner. Grace tells him to bring Ana, and he thinks:

Take Ana to meet my parents? How the hell do I get out of that?

“Sorry, mom, Ana was busy.” There. You’re welcome.

Ana emails Christian back and tells him that she can come over to discuss the soft limits that evening, and Christian emails her back:

I’ll come to you. I meant it when I said I wasn’t happy about you driving that car. I’ll be with you shortly.

Christian prints out another copy of the contract and tells Taylor to pick him up from Ana’s place later.

Before I leave I stuff two condoms into the back pocket of my jeans.

I might get lucky.

This is the most human-like thing Christian Grey has done in the entire book so far.

The A3 is fun to drive, though it’s got less torque than I’m used to.

No shit? NO SHIT? You drive an R8. Of course a supercar has more torque than a compact car.

Christian goes to a liquor store to buy champagne:

I forgo the Cristal and the Dom Pérignon for a Bollinger, mostly because it’s the 1999 vintage, and chilled, but also because it’s pink…symbolic, I think with a smirk, as I hand my AmEx to the cashier.

Symbolic of what? Her vagina? Also, the liquor stores in Portland must be a lot different than the liquor stores in Michigan. If I wanted to buy any of those, I would have to go to a specialty wine shop, or a hoity-toity food shop. Liquor stores here are like, come buy Mr. Boston mixers with dust on the caps and some scratch-off lottery tickets. The floor is almost always chipping linoleum tile, one of the overhead fluorescents is out, and for a business that doesn’t sell car parts, it smells an awful lot like motor oil. #PureMichigan.

Ana is still wearing the stunning gray dress when she opens the door. I look forward to peeling it off her later.

The constant assumption that sex outside of their agreed upon arrangement is infuriating.

I hold up the bottle of champagne. “I thought we’d celebrate your graduation. Nothing beats a good Bollinger.”

“Interesting choice of words.” Her voice is sardonic.

“Oh, I like your ready wit, Anastasia.” There she is…my girl.

It’s funny because he said “beat”, and that’s how Ana views any and all BDSM. As abuse. That’s why it’s so funny. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

Ha.

I watch her wander into the kitchen. She’s nervous and skittish. Perhaps because she’s had a big day, or because she’s agreed to my terms, or because she’s here alone–I know Kavanagh is with her own family this evening; her father told me. I hope the champagne will help Ana relax…and talk.

So, Christian does notice that Ana is uncomfortable and wary around him. He thinks that it might be because she agreed to the contract. Hey, Chedward? Maybe this is a sign that she doesn’t really want to do it, and therefore probably wouldn’t make a very good sub? He also considers that it might be the fact that they’re alone together. Again, how will this private, one-on-one relationship work out? And he hopes that alcohol will “help Ana relax,” as though this is the only solution. How about talking to her? Not about the contract, not about what you want sexually. Talk to her as though she’s a person and not a sex toy, and maybe she won’t be constantly worried that you’re going to put her in a position where she feels unsafe.

Nah, that’s too much hard work, just do this:

Christopher Walken in the SNL sketch "The Continental"
I think I may have gotten some flack for bringing this dude up in a 50 Shades recap before, but I can’t remember why and am doomed to repeat my mistakes.

There’s a brown parcel on the table with a handwritten note attached.

“I agree to the conditions, Angel; because you know best what my punishment out to be; only–only–don’t make it more than I can bear!”

Heads up, that super romantic and totally about spankings quote is, in context, what Tess is saying to Angel after he’s like, “Hey, I had this affair, but please forgive me. You do? Awesome, then we can get married. Wait, you were raped? Fuck it, I’m out. If you need anything, you know where my parents are.”

Super. Romantic.

But you know, it accurately reflects the way Christian Grey would react in that exact same situation.

“A very apt quote.” I trace her handwriting with my finger.

Yeah, I know! Your author doesn’t know, though, and that’s what makes this so tragically hilarious.

“I thought I was d’Urberville, not Angel. You decided on the debasement.”

“Wait, I thought I was the rapist, not the guy who rejects rape victims. PS. have some literary victim blaming.”

“It’s also a plea,” she whispers.

“A plea? For me to go easy on you?”

She nods.

To me these books were an investment, for her I thought they’d mean something.

“I bought these for you.” It’s a small white lie–as I’ve replaced them. “I’ll go easier on you if you accept them.” I keep my voice calm and quiet, masking my disappointment.

Take note, dear readers: Christian will maybe respect your limits, but only if you do exactly everything he wants you to do. Is that so hard?

Look, to all potential submissives out there:

you DO NOT have to allow a Dom to overstep your personal boundaries in order to assure the Dom’s compliance with the agreed upon terms of your consent. Yes, even in a 24/7 relationship. If your Dom is telling you straight out, “If you don’t do this, I’m going to treat you however I want without regard for the agreement we’ve made and that you’re comfortable with,” then RUN.

Ana is asking to forgo hard play, and Christian is saying that no, that’s not a possibility if she doesn’t allow him to overstep her boundaries in other areas of her life. This is example #8375981735981735684756187346581734698609245860-92745986723874561837675923846-09245698273495872349086729457698237459263458623498679234976920384759283475092384769823476908273498672034765827346589723649872349672 of why he should not be a Dom. Actually, it’s reason # that same exact string of nonsense numbers that Christian Grey just should not be.

“You see, this is what I was talking about, you defying me. I want you to have them, and that’s the end of the discussion. It’s very simple. You don’t have to think about this. As a submissive you would just be grateful for them. You just accept what I buy you because it pleases me for you to do so.”

Translation: “Look, if you were a REAL sub, you would–”

A gif of Britney Spears in a beautiful, tight white dress looking disgusted, standing up, and walking away. At the bottom of the image it says, "LOL NO".

Chedward is preying on Ana’s insecurities about her inexperience with submission to get her to agree to stuff she doesn’t have to agree to. If she doesn’t want the books, she is under no obligation to keep them just because he wants her to.

“I wasn’t a submissive when you bought them for me,” she says quietly.

As ever, she has an answer for everything.

“No…but you’ve agreed, Anastasia.”

And accepting gifts without argument isn’t in the contract. She didn’t agree to that.  This is another indication that what is/isn’t in the contract really doesn’t matter. It gives her no protection or agency whatsoever, and at no point in either the negotiations or their relationship does he respect her wishes in anything.

Ana agrees to keep the books, but she’s going to give them to a charity in Darfur, so they can auction it or something.

“I will buy you lots of things, Anastasia. Get used to it. I can afford it. I’m a very wealthy man.”

A picture of Donald Trump making a dumb face, with one finger in the air. But not the finger you'd like to stick up at Donald Trump's dumb face.

Read it in his voice. It fits perfectly.

“It makes me feel cheap,” she says.

“It shouldn’t. You’re overthinking it. Don’t place some vague moral judgment on yourself based on what others might think. Don’t waste your energy. It’s only because you have reservations about our arrangement; that’s perfectly natural. You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.”

Translation: “What you feel is wrong. You shouldn’t feel that way. If you do feel that way, you’re thinking wrong. Don’t do that. This is what’s really bothering you, not that other thing. I know that because I know more than you do, even with regard to your own feelings.”

I know a lot of people throw the term “gaslighting” around these days, but if you ever need a go-to sentence to illustrate the concept, it’s his response there.

What if he had said:

“I’m sorry I made you feel that way. I understand now that because people do judge women who receive money or gifts from rich men, you worry that I see you in the same light. I should have thought of that before, but I’ve never been on your side of it, so it didn’t occur to me. I shouldn’t have pressured you into taking the gift, but please know that when I do give you something, it’s not because I think of it as a payment. I want to give you things because this is how I express my feelings for a person, and I sometimes forget that not everyone would see a very expensive gift as being over the top or pushy.”

Would that have made him “less sexy?” I use the quotes there because there is no way to make Christian Grey less sexy. He is already at rock fucking bottom. In reality, if you did remove his self-centeredness, nothing would be left behind. His entire personality is just the word “ME” emblazoned in ALL CAPS and vomited onto this manuscript.

“Hey, stop this. There is nothing about you that is cheap, Anastasia. I won’t have you thinking that. I just sent you some old books that I thought might mean something to you, that’s all.”

Translation: “Obey me. Other women are cheap, but not you. You’re not allowed to have that feeling. I gave you this very expensive gift, the value of which I will now downplay to make you feel guilty about not appreciating them properly.”

What if he had said:

“Again, I understand that you feel this gift is degrading, but I promise that if you keep it, my esteem for and opinion of you will not lessen.”

But we can’t have that. Because if we had that, we would have a book that is readable and a hero we don’t want to murder, and the crux of Fifty Shades of Grey‘s success is the huge market it had for hate reading.

They stop fighting about the books and open the champagne.

“It’s pink.” She’s surprised, and I haven’t the heart to tell her why I chose pink.

Can you at least tell us? I know that answer is supposed to be so super obvious, but there are so many options. Is it because she blushes? Is it because her ass is going to be red from paddling? Is it about her vagina? I must not understand the complicated nuances of this masterful prose enough to glean the answer for myself.

She raises the cup to her lips and takes a quick sip. “Shall we go through the soft limits?”

“Always so eager.”

It’s…why you came over. And you already spent at least ten minutes arguing about the fucking books.

“Your stepfather’s a very taciturn man.”

The cover the Merriam-Webster "365 New Words a Year" calendar

Thesauruses are NO ONE’S friend. That shit is how the phrase “masticating emptiness” ended up in my first novel.

They talk about her dad and fishing, and the wine at the reception:

“Yes. It was foul.” I grimace.

“I thought of you when I tasted it. How did you get to be so knowledgeable about wine?”

Wait…

“Yes. It was foul.” I grimace.

I thought of you when I tasted it. How did you get to be so knowledgeable about wine?”

The Grinch, smiling his iconic evil smile.
Me right now.

After they talk about how super wine-smart she is:

I refill her cup. She regards me suspiciously. She knows I’m plying her with alcohol.

Thank you, Chedward, for confirming my accusations from the first book.

“This place looks pretty bare. Are you ready for the move?” I ask, to distract her.

To distract her from realizing that he’s getting her drunk to manipulate her. Not because he cares or is interested in her life outside of his sexual wants.

 “I’d help you move,[…]”

No you wouldn’t, you fucking liar. We’re inside your head, we saw your thoughts on helping Ana move. So what we’re seeing in this scene is you lying, and using this lie to distract Ana from the fact that you’re trying to get her drunk.

He asks about jobs in Seattle, and gets frustrated when she tells him that she’s already looking for one. She’s two days away from moving, of course she was looking for a job. Anyone would assume this, and probably be shocked if she wasn’t looking. He also has never asked her if she was looking for a job, so why does he get to be upset that she didn’t tell him? He wants to know the names of every publishing house she’s applied for internships at, and she won’t give them up. Good for you, Ana.

Chedward pours her more wine, or “liquid courage” as he mentally refers to it, but also worries that she hasn’t eaten. She rolls her eyes at him and then:

Leaning forward, I take hold of her chin and glare at her. “Next time you roll your eyes at me, I will take you across my knee.”

“Oh.” She looks a little shocked, but a little intrigued, too.

“Oh. So it begins, Anastasia.” With a wolfish grin I fill her teacup and she takes a long sip.

“Got your attention now, haven’t I?”

She nods.

“Answer me.”

“Yes, you’ve got my attention,” she says with a contrite smile.

They are not in a scene here. They are negotiating terms. She is off-duty. He should not be ordering her around.

They get out the contract and go over some of the soft limits.

“No fisting, you say. Anything else you object to?” I ask.

She swallows. “Anal intercourse doesn’t exactly float my boat.”

“I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d really like to claim your ass, Anastasia.”

So back in the day, my response to this scene was something like, just try the butt stuff, and it was met with a lot of protest. I stand by my assertion: Ana, you are the heroine of what has been (wrongly) dubbed the single dirtiest erotic novel of all time. How are you not going to even try butt stuff?

That said, this whole thing is such bullshit. She tells him a limit, and he acts like her asshole is still on the table. Or…I phrased that poorly. She’s not a cat. But you know what I mean. She said no, he says, nah, your “no” doesn’t work for me.

“But we’ll wait for that. Besides, it’s not something we can dive into.”

I bet some of you were waiting for this.

I’m not going to disappoint you.

Here it is.

A diver breaking through the surface of the water, which is a near-perfect ring around him. The photo is taking from above. The text reads: "Your Ass not something we can dive into"
Thank you, Alyssa, your contribution lives on like…what is it, five years later? Jesus, I’ve been doing this for five years?

 

“Oh yes. It’ll need careful preparation. Anal intercourse can be very pleasurable, trust me. But if we try it and you don’t like it, we don’t have to do it again.” I delight in her shocked expression.

“Have you done that?” she asks.

“Yes.”

“With a man?”

“No. I’ve never had sex with a man. Not my scene.”

“Mrs. Robinson?”

“Yes.” And her large rubber strap-on.

Ana frowns and I move on quickly, before she can ask me any more questions about that.

This conversation confused me when I read the first book, because it’s never specified that he’d tried receptive anal sex. Now we know, but it would have made more sense to tell us this in Fifty Shades of Grey, because it was like, well, okay, anal intercourse is pleasurable and you’ve done it…but you weren’t the one being penetrated. And with all the “HE’S TOTALLY NOT GAY NOT AT ALL SUPER ABSOLUTELY NOT GAY” in that first book, I assumed they were talking about him doing the penetrating. I also think Ana assumed that, too, though I can’t remember what she thought in the other book. It was probably something like, “Holy crap” or “Oh jeez” that lends absolutely no context or clarity to the situation. But my guess is that a woman who had never heard of BDSM probably hadn’t ever heard of a strap-on, either, and just assumed Chedward was doing the giving and none of the taking.

Also, let’s be honest: “But if we try it and you don’t like it, we don’t have to do it again,” is not true. Not coming from Christian Grey. He’s more a “But if we try it and you don’t like it, I’ll convince you that you did by saying that if you didn’t, it’s because of some sexual hangup and you’ll keep on doing it to prove you’re worthy of my extreme kinkiness.”

The move on to other things on the list.

“And…swallowing semen. Well, you get an A in that.”

Thanks, I’ve been practicing.

He gives her either her third or fourth cup of wine:

Steady, Grey, you just want her tipsy, not drunk.

HE IS TELLING US IN HIS OWN THOUGHTS IN HIS OWN HEAD THAT HE IS GIVING HER ALCOHOL SPECIFICALLY SO THAT SHE WILL AGREE TO SEX ACTS SHE MIGHT NOT HAVE AGREED TO WHEN SOBER. It doesn’t matter if that sex act isn’t performed that night or the next night or the next week or month. He is using a drug to get her consent, ergo he does not have her consent at all and he never can, no matter what she signs.

I want to find every person who insisted that he didn’t get her drunk to get her to do sexual stuff and just take this page and smear it all over their fucking faces. I mean, really grind it in there. Probably while screaming, “DO YOU SEE IT NOW?! HUH? HUH, MOTHERFUCKER? DO YOU FUCKING SEE IT NOW?!”

This would all take place in the parking lot of a grocery store, but I’d like to think that I could cheese it before the coppers got there.

They’d never take me alive.

Chedward and Ana discuss sex toys, including vibrating eggs, which Ana thinks are real eggs–so I was right about the strap-on assumption, then–and Christian laughs at her. When her feelings are hurt, he apologizes,  and they move on to bondage.

“Don’t laugh at me, but what’s a spreader bar?”

“I promise not to laugh. I’ve apologized twice.” For Christ’s sake. “Don’t make me do it again.” My voice is sharper than I intended, and she leans away from me.

Shit.

Ignore her reaction, Grey. Get on with it.

What a fucking dick piñata this guy is! Don’t make you apologize again? How about stop mocking her when she doesn’t know what something is? How about apologies aren’t fucking miracle cures when someone’s feelings are hurt? And ignore her reaction? Lovely. Prince fucking Charming this guy is.

They discuss the use of gags. Ana doesn’t want to do it, but of course he explains that they’ll be doing it anyway. She asks him if the reason he ties up his submissives is because they can’t touch him, and he tells her yes, but won’t go into further detail.

“Would you like another drink?” I ask. “It’s making you brave, and I need to know how you feel about pain.” I refill her cup and she takes a sip, wide-eyed and anxious. “So, what’s your general attitude to receiving pain?”

I’m reading this book, aren’t I?

This is where I’m stopping, because there’s not great place to stop for this one. There are still fourteen more pages until the next section break and I haven’t the strength.

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109 Comments

  1. Lieke
    Lieke

    I totally pictured you in the parking lot of a grocery story “telling it like it is” to some FSoG fans. I laughed so hard.

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
  2. Buffy
    Buffy

    I haven’t even read the recap yet and I’m already in a rage over your title because this is the theme of the whole stupid series isn’t it – “We’ll do what ever you want, until I want something different.” Grrr these books. They give me heart palpitations.

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
  3. Katsuro Ricksand
    Katsuro Ricksand

    Ugh. Christian’s always the same–if Ana says she’s not comfortable with an activity, his first reflex is to try to coax her into doing it.

    Also, “taciturn” is one of those words that feels like it was made up specifically for spelling bees.

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      I use it, but then I’m a bit of a pretentious dickhead with my words.

      September 13, 2016
      |Reply
  4. terri Czarski
    terri Czarski

    “I want to find every person who insisted that he didn’t get her drunk to get her to do sexual stuff and just take this page and smear it all over their fucking faces. I mean, really grind it in there. Probably while screaming, “DO YOU SEE IT NOW?! HUH? HUH, MOTHERFUCKER? DO YOU FUCKING SEE IT NOW?!”’

    GIRRRRL…. Remind me to never make you angry!

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
  5. True story: my sister was recently asked to supply some “dirty” books for a charity her coworker is collecting baskets for (Sis works in an indie bookstore part time). My sister rattles off a bunch of erotic authors and her coworker goes “No no I mean like EL James level of porn writing. Her stuff is so hot and naughty”.

    My sister stared at her, turned around and refused to speak to her again until her coworker repented (though she needed to be told WHY she was in the doghouse for her comments).

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
    • Laina
      Laina

      I like your sister.

      September 9, 2016
      |Reply
    • A
      A

      Which authors specifically? Asking for a friend

      September 12, 2016
      |Reply
      • kate
        kate

        LOL seconded.

        September 13, 2016
        |Reply
    • Elisabeth
      Elisabeth

      ““No no I mean like EL James level of porn writing. Her stuff is so hot and naughty”.”

      LOL! Her writing is a complete turn-off, and as for naughty, I can think of hundreds of things I’ve read that are much naughtier (books, fanfiction, Savage Love columns). Hell, I could come up with much naughtier things off the top of my head.

      September 15, 2016
      |Reply
    • I’ve read k-pop fan fiction naughtier and better-written than this series

      September 15, 2016
      |Reply
  6. Maril
    Maril

    My roommate told me she likes this series, which caused me to go on a long, angry rant about how abusive and rapey it is. She got upset at me for ‘ruining’ it and making her see how terrible it was.

    About 2 weeks later it came up again and she had completely forgotten all the negative things I’d already told her about it and was going on about how she wants a Christian Grey in her life.

    For my sanity’s sake I have to assume that this is how the people who do like the series all think. They just kind of shut out the negatives and just picture themselves having consistently orgasm inducing sex with a hot billionaire that buys them expensive things. They just do not see the bad stuff, even when it’s so blatantly obvious… Which it really fucking is. I cannot imagine being able to read this and NOT see it as they seem to be able to do. I can’t get in that headspace at all…

    How do you NOT see it?! Even in Ana’s perspective she constantly uses words like ‘assault’ and ‘beaten’ and breaks down crying, and never actually thinks anything nice about him other than that he’s hot and makes her cum! She describes him as stuffy and arrogant, she points out that he uses alcohol and sex to get her to do things she doesn’t want to do. She hates that he’s so controlling, she hates that he buys her things, she talks about how uncomfortable he makes her and how she hates that he won’t let her spend time with her friends. But from HIS perspective it is SO MUCH WORSE! It’s like a guidebook on how to be a manipulative asshole!

    If I didn’t know all behind the scenes reports say EL James is a horrible person I would genuinely believe that this was actually supposed to be a book about the horrors of abuse and how you can get swept up even if you kind of know better. That this was actually *intentionally* showing an abusive person and the world just didn’t catch on, so she made it from his perspective to try and make it more obvious. Alas, that does not appear to be the case…

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
    • CIB
      CIB

      “For my sanity’s sake I have to assume that this is how the people who do like the series all think. They just kind of shut out the negatives and just picture themselves having consistently orgasm inducing sex with a hot billionaire that buys them expensive things.”

      Ditto here.

      Alternatively, maybe they skim until they find the sex scenes, making it easier to not register Chedward’s extremely creepy, manipulative, and abusive behavior?

      September 9, 2016
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Now, that’s interesting! The sex scenes were so badly written I skimmed over THEM, looking for a plot.

        September 10, 2016
        |Reply
      • drmaggiemoreau
        drmaggiemoreau

        Yeah, my aunt said she read only the sex scenes, but they were too “vanilla” for her.

        September 10, 2016
        |Reply
      • Nellie
        Nellie

        Maybe you’re right and they’re just skipping to the sex scenes.
        But I think, all those girls and women like the books because of Chedwards wealth.
        Write the first “book” with a hero who’s poor (or middle class) and I bet the fans wouldn’t think it romantic or sexy anymore.
        Alongside Jenny’s recaps (of the first three “books”) I’ve been reading recaps written by a man who is in the scene. (And he’s a sub, not a Dom.)
        He points out details a newbie or someone out of the scene wouldn’t see, like unsafe activities, non- consent and total ignoring of SSC.
        Basically it’s his opinion (which I share) that FSoG is class porn, it’s all about the money.

        September 10, 2016
        |Reply
        • Carolina West
          Carolina West

          I’ve thought the same since I heard about the books, there’s nothing else about them that would garner so much attention.

          By the way, do you have a link for the other recaps you’ve been reading? I’d love to check them out!

          September 11, 2016
          |Reply
          • Nellie
            Nellie

            I had to search a bit but here you go.
            http://historyofbdsm.com/2013/08/master-list-of-the-curious-kinky-persons-guide-to-the-fifty-shades-trilogy/

            Peter Tupper also wrote a review of Fifty writers on Fifty shades of Grey and here is what he had to say about our own Jenny’s Essay:

            *Jennifer Armintrout’s “Every Breath You Take” essay is the most harshly critical of the Ana/Christian relationship, analyzing it by the criteria of partner abuse and in the context of our culture’s weirdly two-faced view of abuse. Armintrout cites the publicized Rihanna/Chris Brown case as an example of how people will excuse a violent man if he is famous and scorn his victims. In that light, the popularity of Fifty Shades and its ancillary media (“Why can’t my husband be more like Christian Grey?”) is frightening, suggesting a naked worship by heterosexual women of violent, controlling and unstable men as long as they are wealthy and privileged.*

            September 11, 2016
          • Carolina West
            Carolina West

            Thanks for this! 🙂

            September 11, 2016
          • Xebi
            Xebi

            Nellie, thanks for taking the time to dig up that link! Very interesting read.

            September 15, 2016
        • Noisyninja
          Noisyninja

          If it was about a poor or working class guy it would be titled “My Life: the College Years.”

          I have regrets.

          September 17, 2016
          |Reply
    • Quelaag
      Quelaag

      “For my sanity’s sake I have to assume that this is how the people who do like the series all think. They just kind of shut out the negatives and just picture themselves having consistently orgasm inducing sex with a hot billionaire that buys them expensive things.”

      Yep, I think this is probably the case for a lot of people who enjoyed it. My sister and roommate both read it and said they liked it. However, when I brought up certain scenes (the “trying to fingerbang her in front of her parents” scene, and the tampon scene), they had no idea what I was talking about.

      September 9, 2016
      |Reply
      • Nunyabizz
        Nunyabizz

        So… they only read the sex scenes, I presume?

        September 12, 2016
        |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      He’s the guy in the “Voices Carry” video. Or is that an insult to the guy in the “Voices Carry” video?

      September 9, 2016
      |Reply
    • “They just do not see the bad stuff, even when it’s so blatantly obvious… Which it really fucking is. I cannot imagine being able to read this and NOT see it as they seem to be able to do. I can’t get in that headspace at all…”

      Because seeing the bad stuff requires a level of critical thinking most consumers of fiction either cannot or will not do. Those readers’ first impulse is to simply accept at face value what they are told by the narrative without question–they were promised a love story with the ultimate romantic hero, ergo Christian’s thoughts/words/actions must necessarily stem from that place and any alternative interpretation simply never crosses their minds.

      Some readers may change their minds after reading a well-argued critical analysis like Jenny’s recaps. I have a friend who initially loved this series and Christian but after reading Jenny’s recaps, totally changed her mind. But others have probably committed so much to the romantic fantasy that they will dig in their heels and refuse to reconsider the story in a different light. It’s frustrating but if I had a friend who thought that way, I’d just say this series is like fight club, ergo we never talk about it lol.

      September 15, 2016
      |Reply
    • Bex
      Bex

      I got in an argument with cousin (40sf) about this last Thanksgiving. She was fanning herself talking about how *hot* 50SOG is and I was like wait up a minute – there is so much about this that ISN’T hot. And I proceeded to explain it to her.

      Her retort? “Well it definitely improved my marriage.”

      The marriage that ended the year before this conversation. With him taking all of his stuff and moving out while she was halfway across the country (all the while talking to her on the phone like everything was normal).

      October 14, 2016
      |Reply
  7. Melodie
    Melodie

    “Take Ana to meet my parents? How the hell do I get out of that?”

    Well, well. Doesn’t this just debunk the whole “I invited you because I wanted you there, Ana” argument that Grey used when Ana called him out for the reason she was invited to dinner. That really pisses me off because constantly, Ana is exactly right when she calls him out but he just argues around it or lies to make her feel ashamed for thinking the truth. What a manipulative and repulsive asshole.

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
  8. Quelaag
    Quelaag

    “I know, I know, don’t armchair diagnose behavioral disorders.”

    Well, someone has to. It’s not like his therapist is doing anything for him.

    I think he’s more malignant narcissist rather than a pure sociopath, though. Compared to sociopaths, malignant narcissists have a greater need for attention and adulation, and their egos bruise easily. Grey’s demands that Ana return his call even during her graduation are a good example of this … and also the fact that he made a slave-of-the-month system in order to get beautiful women to cater to his every whim…

    A sociopath would more likely be the partner who refuses to call or text back, often because they just don’t care.

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Soc’s can actually be less trouble. Frequently, they don’t even bother to stalk you. Narcs, however, have to prove a point.

      September 9, 2016
      |Reply
      • Quelaag
        Quelaag

        Yep, and that’s classic Chedward. Ana rejects his advances or merely requests some space? Chedward has to “show her what she’s missing.” He even stalks and controls ex-subs that he dumped.

        September 10, 2016
        |Reply
    • drmaggiemoreau
      drmaggiemoreau

      I can totally understand not diagnosing REAL PEOPLE, but I think book characters are fair game. Authors (who don’t always have a psych background) often purposefully give characters psychological or personality disorders, and you can critique their portrayal.

      I think you’re right, he’s got more of a bent toward malignant narcissism, because he’s so self focused. He also seems to be more emotional than a sociopath.

      September 10, 2016
      |Reply
  9. Angelee van Allman
    Angelee van Allman

    Okay, Portland resident here. In Oregon you cannot buy beer, wine, or champagne in liquor stores. Only liquor. All the liquor stores are state run and tightly controlled.
    That kind of detail bugs me. I know it’s the least of the transgressions here, but I’m just saying. You might as well drive South to Vancouver if you want that kind of action.

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
    • Artemis
      Artemis

      This makes me smile, because I’m weirdly obsessed with how liquor laws vary from state to state, and this is exactly the sort of nit I would pick.

      September 11, 2016
      |Reply
      • Indigo
        Indigo

        If you’re interested in other countries, Canada’s liquor laws vary from province to province, including drinking age. For example, in Ontario it’s 19 but in Quebec it’s 18. The absurdity of this is highlighted by the twin cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, which are directly opposite each other on the banks of the Ottawa River. You can walk across the bridge from downtown Ottawa to Gatineau and instantly be legal to drink if you’re 18.
        In most of Canada, you can only buy alcohol in liquor stores; the exception is Quebec, where you can buy beer and wine in depanneurs (kind of like a corner/convenience store). In Ontario, all liquor stores are run by the provincial liquor board, but there are some licensed locations in grocery stores; in my province, BC, there are government and private stores. The government stores are cheaper, but have more limited hours and selection. The private stores are usually open seven days a week and often until 11 PM, and are more likely to have niche, small-run products. It results in the bizarre situation where I can get imported beer and wine at the government stores, but if I want something from a low-volume Vancouver brewery or Okanagan vineyard I have to go to a private store.

        September 11, 2016
        |Reply
        • Angelee van Allman
          Angelee van Allman

          This totally gets my geek up. 🙂 Thank you!

          September 13, 2016
          |Reply
      • Angelee van Allman
        Angelee van Allman

        Ha! Well, having lived in a few different cities and states, I think it’s a fascinating topic. I love the lower prices in Portland (versus Vancouver, yikes!), so I’m all for the state mandate. Liquor prices are also considerably higher in Missouri, where liquor is available not just in grocery stores but in gas stations.

        September 13, 2016
        |Reply
    • Lili
      Lili

      Except Hollywood Beverage! They have it all. It’s amazing. Though I can’t see Chedward on Sandy. He’s definitely a “stick to the west side of the river” kind of guy.

      September 11, 2016
      |Reply
      • Angelee van Allman
        Angelee van Allman

        What! There’s a liquor store in Portland that has beer and wine??? IN NE???? WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING ALL THIS TIME! haha. I really need to check that out, and yes. I’m in complete agreement, Chedward would never, ever set foot on the East Side. All the better for those of us who don’t set foot on the West Side. 🙂

        September 13, 2016
        |Reply
    • Sarah
      Sarah

      I think this is another Britishism that’s made it’s way in. Over here we have off-licences and there you can get pretty much any kind of alcohol from wine and beer to spirits.

      Considering that attitudes and laws regarding drinking are so varied from place to place is definately the sort of thing that should be double checked at the research stage, not that there was a research stage with this book….

      September 16, 2016
      |Reply
    • Frankie
      Frankie

      This is interesting, because I was reading that comment in the context of living in Washington where we have big beer-wine-liquor superstores like BevMo or Total Wine, so you could totally buy fancy champagne at a place that could reasonably be termed a “liquor store.” So that scene totally would have made sense if it was set in Seattle instead.

      November 25, 2016
      |Reply
  10. Ali
    Ali

    I’ve been a lurker here from the beginning of the fifty shades recaps which I loved and now I come back for everything else too! I usually don’t comment on things, but I’m a crazy Britney fan ( yay Glory!) and I low-key freaked out when I saw her gif. I accidentally closed the tab. I just get way too excited when things I like mix. By the way, Britney has some awesome gifs. :p I had the same reaction when you started Buffy recaps. Lol.

    Anyway, I’m totally random and off topic, so I’ll say something relevant:
    I honestly don’t get how people can’t see the red flags. I have a friend who loves these books and she’s the type who won’t take crap from anyone. Her husband (my awesome best friend) is totally under her thumb. If he pulled this stuff she’d completely lose it, but she thinks it’s so sexy when Chedward does it. What kind of cognitive dissonance? There us so much to read and love. Why do they choose this?

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
  11. Amber Rose
    Amber Rose

    I laughed just as hard at the picture of the diver just now as I did five years ago.

    As an aside, there’s an animated porn starring Dan Green, of children’s card game Yugioh fame, where he stops mid-fun to instruct the girl he’s with to cluck like a chicken (I only listened to the audio, so I don’t know anything else about it). Husband has pointed out that this book is roughly as erotic as that, with none of the humour.

    September 9, 2016
    |Reply
  12. Alison
    Alison

    I have a friend who refuses to talk about these books with me if I haven’t read them. I’ve read exerpts, and I’ve read articles, and I’ve read all of Jenny’s recaps, but if I haven’t read the books cover to cover, I’m not allowed to criticize them to her.

    I am not willing to do that, so we don’t talk about them, but damn. If an apple is rotten, I don’t have to eat the whole thing before I make up my mind. One bite should be enough.

    September 10, 2016
    |Reply
    • Nunyabizz
      Nunyabizz

      If you’ve been reading these recaps, I’d say you know more than enough to just pretend you’ve read the books in their entirety. Tell her you have, and even ask her to quiz you. I guarantee you’ll pass the test.

      I’m going to guess she’s one of those people who claims “he gets better in the end.” If so, ask her to open up her copy of Freed and point to the exact moment in which he “gets better.” I’m positive his assholiness extends beyond that.

      I’ve never read the books either, but I know damn well that he DEMANDS that Ana get another C-section for HIS peace of mind (although I’d be willing to bet anything that he really just wants to keep her vagina in pristine condition). Oh, and he also refuses to let Ana name their second child after his biological mother, even though it’s not his choice. Mothers should ALWAYS have final say in naming a child because 1. she carried it for nine grueling months and spent hours in agony giving birth, and 2. the baby (usually) gets the father’s surname anyway, meaning he’s already given the kid a name.

      Oh yes, and the shitwit thinks it’s funny to “joke” about keeping his daughter a virgin until she’s 30, but of course, good old-fashioned double standards exempt him from saying the same of his son. Nope. Only his daughter must remain pure, because bodies with breasts and vaginas attached to them do not possess thoughts and feelings and must be kept sealed away in a trophy cabinet.

      September 12, 2016
      |Reply
      • Xebi
        Xebi

        “his assholiness”

        🙂

        *mentally files away for next time a pope says or does something shitty and/or hypocritical*

        September 15, 2016
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          It’s used in an x-rated parody called “Flesh Gordon” [stet], though I don’t know if that’s where it originated.

          September 15, 2016
          |Reply
    • kate
      kate

      “you don’t have to eat the whole turd to know it’s not a crabcake”

      September 13, 2016
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        I’m quoting you on that!

        September 14, 2016
        |Reply
  13. Lacey
    Lacey

    Do you suppose that Mystery guy and the rest of the dudes in the whole pickup artist scene are pissed off that a woman wrote a better guide on how to manipulate women than they ever could? That is NOT a compliment to EL James, just something that struck me.

    September 10, 2016
    |Reply
  14. “Hey, I had this affair, but please forgive me. You do? Awesome, then we can get married. Wait, you were raped? Fuck it, I’m out. If you need anything, you know where my parents are.” – I honestly don’t know who’s worse – Angel or Alec.

    Christian Grey has a serious case of It’s All About Me syndrome.

    September 10, 2016
    |Reply
  15. Irene
    Irene

    Buzzfeed made a video before about who said that: Trump or Christian Grey. It was somehow glorious.

    September 10, 2016
    |Reply
    • Emily
      Emily

      <>

      I’ve been saying for years and years that the whole Alpha Male Billionaire who dominates every situation because he won’t take no for an answer isn’t some sexy, young dude… it’s Donald fucking Trump. There’s your romantic hero, ladies.

      And to be fair, Christian Grey fangirls and Trump voters have the same habit of only skimming to get to the sexy bits they like, and overlooking the 95% of abusive awfulness that they say the rest of the time.

      September 10, 2016
      |Reply
  16. Amelia
    Amelia

    Ah, that does make sense. In all honesty I figured that was the case, but, I was struck by the image of Chedward and Ana wandering around the reception with Chedward’s arm stuck down her collar like he’s trying to find the last cookie that’s stuck in the bottom of the jar and thought I’d better ask, because if it was true that damn image would make it so worth it.

    September 10, 2016
    |Reply
  17. Nocturnal Queen
    Nocturnal Queen

    In the comment section of the last recap I wrote that I kept expecting a twist where Christian has kept his mom’s dead body somewhere. I thought about it some more and I wish the story was that as an adult he dug up his dead mama’s body but, since she had been dead for several years, she wasn’t perfectly preserved. To fix this, Christian started looking for women with a strong resemblance to his mom. After he has spent some time with these women to make them trust him he kills them and applies their skin to Dead Mama. However, the skin will inevitably begin to decay and thus he goes out to search for his next skin for Dead Mama which would be Ana’s.

    I would rather read that story than the crap that’s in the actual book.

    September 10, 2016
    |Reply
    • heather
      heather

      Good lord. That’s one hell of an imagination on you, that’s for sure!

      September 10, 2016
      |Reply
      • Mel
        Mel

        Ditto.

        Although when I did read the original FSoG all the backstory stuff about his mother reminded me of the first time I watched Dexter, and the backstory about his mother being an addict who was killed in front of him. Difference is, Dexter is a serial killer who actually seems to respect women, while Grey is a fucking narcissist ass-hole. How did EL James manage to write such a well-rounded jerk? Did she know one in real life? Maybe it was her daddy.

        September 11, 2016
        |Reply
        • Laina
          Laina

          Can we please not make “daddy issue” jokes? For one, they’re super misogynistic. For another, they make me, someone who *actually has a terrible father* feel gross and uncomfortable

          September 11, 2016
          |Reply
          • Aletheia
            Aletheia

            I’m sorry it made you uncomfortable, I really am, but I don’t think Mel was making a joke about it. New and/or unskilled writers (which I think we can all agree the Eel is) tend to write what they know; that’s why a lot of beginner writers’ main characters have the same interests as them, or have the same mannerisms, or are pure self-inserts into a story they wish were happening around them.

            In the case of Chedward and his personality, it’s a pretty safe bet that his inspiration (outside of Twilight) came from a father figure in her life (if not her actual father/dad, then someone with the same authority over her). He’s controlling, authoritative, sees Ana as a child (in the grossest ways possible sometimes), and so on, while being an abusive jerk otherwise. If this is the case, then… yeah. I feel sorry for her, too, if she grew up with an abusive jerk of a father figure, but it’s fair enough to point out, you know?

            September 13, 2016
          • Laina
            Laina

            @Aletheia Uh, no. There is enough to talk about within the actual book and James’ actual actions without speculating about her parents and childhood. As someone *with* an abusive parent, I am telling you that is NOT fair, and it’s hurtful to people like me, especially when you use “daddy”, which is incredibly infantalizing, I might add, and relies on the “daddy issues” stereotype which is, again, misogynistic and hurtful.

            So, no, I’m not going to agree that this is fair game.

            September 13, 2016
          • Aletheia
            Aletheia

            @Laina: Wow. Okay. I understand that your father was a shithead. You know what, though? You’re not the only person with shithead fathers or father figures, so don’t give me that “people like me” spiel. The majority of mine were, too. My real father left when I was two, and actively rejected any and all visitation attempts. My uncles stepped in as father figures. Two of them (out of three total) were almost exactly like Christian, minus the sexual activities (thank gods). You know, the whole don’t speak until you’re spoken to, anything bad that happened was our faults, if they were angry they lashed out at us, we could do nothing right and they let us know it, don’t dare have a differing opinion (and whatever opinions we did dare have were wrong, because they weren’t coming out of their lips), what they wanted they got (short of us serving them, because they were ~so enlightened~ and ~modern~. For context: they were my mother’s age. They grew up in the 70s). They made sure to keep most of the crap attitudes away when my mom was around, and we were too young to understand that their actions weren’t right or what decent people would do.

            Does that make me enough like “people like [you]?” Or should I keep my mouth shut, like a good little girl?

            When I critique the Eel on that point of having a jerk father figure (again, not necessarily father), it’s coming from three places. The first one is my experiences growing up with those father figures. The second place comes from having a few degrees in literature, of which the vast majority of course for them were spent on analyzing works in different ways; I informally specialized in angles that focused on history, the authors, and/or authorial intent (along with Marxist, Freudian, and feminist critiques, but that doesn’t really apply here, they were just fun 🙂 ), which intersect at the point of exploring “what from the author’s own life influenced these points, what parts came from their society around them, and what parts were pure imagination?”. The third place comes from being a writer and taking as many writing courses as I could in college. The most memorable creative writing course I took spent a whole month forcing us to break out of our comfort zones (writing what we know and are comfortable with, writing self-inserts, etc) and understanding how and why these things happen in writing (and when/why it’s okay to use what we know to influence our writing, but that came later in the course, after our habits were broken).

            I tell you this so you have an idea of where I’m coming from and why I’m not just talking out my ass. I’m sorry if it’s not enough for you. And again, I honestly, truly do understand the hurt and pain having an abusive father can cause, but you have to realize that your opinion and feelings aren’t the only valid filter to see the book through. Yes, your feelings are valid and you’re more than welcome to share them, but that doesn’t give you the right to shut down other people’s critiques, especially when you feel like projecting your own feelings on other people. In any case, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on whether it’s a fair point of discussion to talk about.

            (And… this is being asked out of pure curiosity: why is the term “daddy issues” specifically misogynistic? I’ll agree it’s infantalizing to say, but I’ve seen it applied equally to guys and women with hangups on male authority figures, issues in their childhood, projections, etc. :/ )

            September 13, 2016
          • Laina
            Laina

            @Aletheia …nice wall of text. And yet, “So and so has daddy issues” is not ACTUALLY a critique of a book, or someone’s behaviour. It’s just gossip that hurts other people than who you’re aiming it at.

            http://lmgtfy.com/?q=daddy+issues+misogyny

            And… do you not see the hypocracy in using 600 words to tell me how wrong my opinion is and how I should shut up and not point out that using a misogynistic stereotype is bad because I’m somehow telling them to shut up and keep their mouths shut by doing that? I don’t get to point that out, but you get to tell me not to???

            This is nonsense. I’m done.

            September 13, 2016
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            My dad was a wife-beater and kiddie-basher, but making sick jokes is part of how I cope. I find the wall of silence more offensive than anything.

            September 14, 2016
    • Katie
      Katie

      There’s an episode of Criminal Minds very close to that actually! It’s the season six episode Reflection of Desire.

      September 10, 2016
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        That or “Psycho.”

        September 11, 2016
        |Reply
    • Ivory Nethers
      Ivory Nethers

      I’d read the hell out of that. I’d write fanfic where Dead Mama reanimates, steals his yacht and goes on an epic bender.

      September 12, 2016
      |Reply
  18. Jessi
    Jessi

    You know what I don’t understand about this plagiarized version of Twilight*? If the original fanfic was supposed to be using BDSM as an analogy to vampirism… wouldn’t Ana really want to get into the BDSM scene, and wouldn’t Christian be desperately trying to keep her from it? In Twilight, Bella loves vampirism and thinks it’s beautiful and magical. Edward is ashamed and full of self-loathing, and wants to keep Bella human. So shouldn’t Ana think that BDSM is beautiful and wonderful? Shouldn’t Christian be really into BDSM himself, but ashamed, and having vanilla-only sex with her, to maintain her innocence? The journey could be Ana eventually getting into BDSM with him and showing him that it’s not a bad thing? His “family” could be his kink community… Carlisle could be his first dom (and hey, maybe the story wouldn’t have to be homobigoted)… and everyone would be enthusiastically consenting.

    *I’m not saying that a better analogy would make the books any less plagiarized, but this as a not-for-profit fanfic would have been a better story.

    September 10, 2016
    |Reply
    • Jessi
      Jessi

      Oh and if vanilla sex was analogous to being human, then Ana wouldn’t have to be some never-been-kissed virgin in the story.

      September 10, 2016
      |Reply
    • SamBeringer
      SamBeringer

      The only problem I see is that it was done before; that was the plot of “Secretary.”

      September 11, 2016
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        Whose anti-hero, played by the always-hot James Spader, was named Mr. Grey.

        Speaking of which, Spader has played a number of sociopaths and narc’s (obviously, Reddington, his pusher character in “Less than Zero,” an incipient soc in “Pretty in Pink”), but his are quite compelling–unlike Chedward. Anyone care to speculate as to why?

        September 11, 2016
        |Reply
        • Because Spader’s work is associated with better writers? Just spit-balling, here.

          September 11, 2016
          |Reply
        • falalala
          falalala

          Spader’s asshole characters are written and portrayed as actual people. Which is to say that they have charisma, they have senses of humor, they have interests, they have goals, and they have personalities. Even when those personalities are awful, they feel like awful human beings and not like an awful cardboard cutout. Christian Grey has no interests or goals beyond “fucking Ana.” (The books occasionally declare the existence of other interests, but we never really see them – like, Christian might inform us that he likes the music of Thomas Tallis, but you never get a moment where he actually displays genuine enthusiasm or knowledge about Tallis’s work beyond “it’s stuff to listen to while fucking Ana.”) He has no sense of humor whatsoever. His “charisma” consists entirely of “being rich and good-looking.” He’s basically a sociopathic sex robot.

          September 11, 2016
          |Reply
          • Skippy
            Skippy

            Reminds me of the imaginary boyfriend from Inside Out:
            “I would die for Riley.”

            Except much creepier and less useful: Imaginary Boyfriend actually helps, albeit unknowingly.

            September 12, 2016
          • Jackal of all Trades
            Jackal of all Trades

            As far as I know the only way to have 50 shades of Grey become compelling and riveting would be to watch the Secretary on a black and white TV.

            September 13, 2016
    • Mel
      Mel

      Yeah and I would actually read that.

      Christian Grey makes my skin crawl. If he were more like Edward from Twilight – without the creepy controlling antics, like pulling the distributor out of her car to stop her from seeing her male friends – he’d be decidedly more palatable.

      September 11, 2016
      |Reply
    • Laina
      Laina

      Yeah, that would have made for an interesting fanfic from someone who actually cared about the source material and the fandom instead of just trying to make a quick buck off the fandom. But it’s easier to plagarize than to write original fanworks.

      September 11, 2016
      |Reply
    • JennyTrout
      JennyTrout

      Your comment must have clicked something in my brain, because I totally put all of this into the next recap. Sorry for the unintentional lifting. Also, someone actually provides an answer to that question on the next post, and it’s FASCINATING.

      October 6, 2016
      |Reply
    • Carolina West
      Carolina West

      There are actually a couple comments defending the dad. I only read half the article, but I’m pretty sure those commenters were reading between lines that weren’t there. That, or they’re just as nuts as Papa Audi-Buster over there…

      September 10, 2016
      |Reply
      • mydogspa
        mydogspa

        Yeah, I saw some of those, but it’s still disturbing, at least to me. We don’t know how old the daughter was (some of the comments said she had a couple of children already, but I don’t know if that’s true) So maybe she’s in her late teens, maybe mid-teens, maybe 20’s.

        What I do see, though, is a complete lack of respect for her (especially if she’s in her 20’s and if she’s a mother already. She’s grown up at that point, so get over it, buddy, and GTF out of her life) But if dear ol’ Dad truly did have a temper like this, then the poor girl is screwed because she grew up with the misogyny and lack of respect for the women in the family. That means her subconscious will latch onto those who have the same traits, so she’ll find others to abuse her the same way. If she’s lucky she’ll figure it out when she hits 30, otherwise she’ll go and repeat it again.

        This is where EEL has NO clue of the subconscious and what it does, and why it makes people attract to the very people that would be bad for them and shun the people that would treat them well. (It’s because the subconscious recognizes the familiar abusive behavior and has no clue what to do with the good person, and rejects the latter while feeling comfortable with the former. So an attraction builds and the person finds someone to replace Dad’s abuse. Unless the person recognizes the cycle and consciously tells their subconscious to “f**k off” the cycle repeats until they die.)

        So this kid is doomed, sadly.

        And this is what’s wrong with this series, as Ana has NO subconscious need to find an abusive controlling putz like Chedward, so why the two of them would link up is preposterous.

        September 12, 2016
        |Reply
        • Xebi
          Xebi

          All those “dare to date my daughter” type memes always without fail send me into a rage. I’ve never quite been able to articulate why: is it simply the misogynistic double standard (never seen “questionnaire for anyone who wants to date my son”), or something more subtle like the implication that the daughter is a possession whose use the father gets to gatekeep; the implication that girls, unlike boys, are incapable of looking after themselves or the implication that the daughter has little or no say in whom she dates? I suppose those are all part of the same package,and it’s one I detest and have done ever since I realised I wasn’t allowed to do stuff my brother was allowed to do at the same age and “well he’s a boy” was my mother’s explanation for this.

          September 15, 2016
          |Reply
  19. Shannon
    Shannon

    “Ana wants “more.” I sigh heavily and plow my fingers through my hair. They always want more. All of them. What can I do about that?”

    He’s freaking out about more, he’s whining because they always want more, he can’t understand why they aren’t content with what HE wants. And his idea of “more” is stupid, one coffee shop “date” (where he was trying find out if she’d be fitting for being his slave) and eating at two restaurants (where he forced her to eat and threatened to rape her the second time). he never wants to talk to Ana about anything, he dreads her meeting his family, and refuses to do anything remotely nice and consider for her such as getting her the diet soda she wants, helping with the move or even respecting her wishes.

    September 11, 2016
    |Reply
    • Shannon
      Shannon

      *considerate

      September 11, 2016
      |Reply
  20. *finishes reading Delariviere Manley’s “The Wife’s Resentment*

    *reads this recap*

    *desperately wishes “Grey” would end like “The Wife’s Resentment*

    September 11, 2016
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      *Spoiler alert:
      There’s a medieval version, in which the wife and mother do some of the nastiest things ANTE-mortem.

      September 11, 2016
      |Reply
  21. As a sidenote, I looked up the cost of a first edition set of Tess of the d’Urbervilles. It only clocks in at £375, which isn’t cheap, but it’s not something super-insanely impressive either.

    September 11, 2016
    |Reply
    • Amelia
      Amelia

      Yeah, it’s surprising what books are considered collectors pieces compared to others. I remember Antiques Roadshow did a segment on it. A lot of literary classics aren’t all that rare because they had large first edition runs, and were bought up by academics, scholars, critics and other upper class types who tended to take good care of their books, it’s pulp fiction and unexpected hits that are rare and valuable. I think they used the first Harry Potter book as an example. It had a short run, and most of the copies were sold to schools and library’s who tended to remove the dust jackets, laminate them, put stickers all over them, bend the pages, and otherwise devalue them. So a first edition copy of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in good condition can sell for tens of thousands of pounds.

      September 11, 2016
      |Reply
    • Mel
      Mel

      Although just from the excerpts that are in FSoG I don’t know why anyone would want to read that, either. Much less pay 375 bucks for it.

      September 11, 2016
      |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        You know, I think James’ is just tossing all these ’80s riffs into one cultural emetic: glitz novels where every sheet is Porthault and every dress is a Dior or Chanel; bodice-rippers where She Really Wants It; a touch of “9-1/2 Weeks,”; and lastly, the ’80s version of “Tess” (she probably never got around to seeing the superior 2008 version, where Angel’s prissy parents give a good idea how HE got that way, and he eventually recognizes that the double-standard they have taught him is crap–too late, of course).
        It’s called mommy-porn, but that must mean mommies NOW. The ladies who were mommies in the ’80s wouldn’t bother with this stuff–they had the original.

        September 11, 2016
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      • falalala
        falalala

        It’s worth noting that Tess of the d’Urbervilles is in no way, shape, or form meant to be romantic. I don’t know if E.L. James never actually read it, read it but totally failed to understand it, or understood it and is just a deeply disturbed person, but it’s very definitely meant to be a tragedy in which a good woman is mistreated horribly by assholes. It’s actually a pretty shockingly feminist book for its time – if there’s a “moral of the story,” it pretty much boils down to “it’s total bullshit to act like women somehow become polluted if they’ve ever had any kind of sexual contact with another person (even against their will!) while guys can have as much sex as they want without being considered insufficiently ‘pure.'”

        The way E.L. James uses Tess quotes in this story is fucked up as hell. This one’s awful, but the one before it is even worse. The whole “Why didn’t you warn me? Ladies know what to guard against because they read novels that tell them of these tricks” quote that Christian uses when giving her the books? “These tricks” in that quote refers to rape. Attaching THAT quote to THAT gift absolutely appears to mean “Consider this your warning that I’m totally going to rape you.” The first time I saw that, my head pretty much exploded into a firework display spelling out “WHAT THE FUCK” in giant letters across the sky.

        September 12, 2016
        |Reply
        • ViolettaD
          ViolettaD

          Of course she hasn’t read it. She saw the ’80s movie.

          September 12, 2016
          |Reply
        • Xebi
          Xebi

          “It’s actually a pretty shockingly feminist book for its time – if there’s a “moral of the story,” it pretty much boils down to “it’s total bullshit to act like women somehow become polluted if they’ve ever had any kind of sexual contact with another person (even against their will!) while guys can have as much sex as they want without being considered insufficiently ‘pure.’””

          I remember wishing that Thomas Hardy had been less subtle about this for those who would be determined not to see it unless it slapped them in the face.

          For the record, I had to study that book at school and I HATED it. But not because I thought it was a bad book. I hated it because it was dark and depressing and because things haven’t really changed in terms of the whole double standard thing. Even at the time I knew it was a good book, although I didn’t realise how important it was or why it HAD to be dark and depressing to demonstrate that this is what women had/have to endure.

          September 15, 2016
          |Reply
          • Promise
            Promise

            I love Thomas Hardy’s books, but it’s not because they’re fun to read. And they sure as hell aren’t romantic. I have no idea why anyone would think his stuff is romantic. Hell, I don’t know why people think most of the 19th century books that get characterized as romantic are touted as such, because if you actually pay attention when you read them, they aren’t. My only guess is people romanticize them based on the teleplays and movies and even then it’s mostly about the costumes and the scenery.

            September 17, 2016
  22. SamBeringer
    SamBeringer

    Ha! I’m split between imagining Grey as Trump for the rest of the recap or going on with just imagining him as Cletus Cassidy (serial killer and Spiderman villain Carnage). I mean, Trump fits him so much more, but Cassidy scares me way more. Though at least the latter doesn’t discriminate; he wants to murder everyone equally.

    Also, naming Kate’s dad Eamon only reminded me of Dragon Age; one of the characters has the same name. And then I remembered the magnificence of the Iron Bull and how much better this dreck would be if he was the romantic hero. Now to go reread that (a)DoriBull fic again for the umpteenth time. Along with some Oglaf.

    September 11, 2016
    |Reply
  23. Mel
    Mel

    “Would that have made him “less sexy?” I use the quotes there because there is no way to make Christian Grey less sexy. He is already at rock fucking bottom. In reality, if you did remove his self-centeredness, nothing would be left behind. His entire personality is just the word “ME” emblazoned in ALL CAPS and vomited onto this manuscript.”

    GOLD.

    Honestly, each and every time I read one of Jenny’s recaps I cringe over Grey’s speech, attitude, controlling behaviour and, well, just his entire personality, really. I cannot fathom how a female with a working brain could find him attractive once they began talking to him. Maybe from a distance, but then I’m going on the movie version of Grey rather than the book, since the book is obviously EL James’ crush on Robert Pattinson put into words. Nothing he says sounds like something a man in his mid-to-late twenties would say. I actually laughed out loud when I read a sex scene where he tells Ana to ‘come on’ during sex, like he’s a frustrated husband waiting for her to finish putting on her makeup because they’re late for an event. Not sexy at all!

    September 11, 2016
    |Reply
      • ViolettaD
        ViolettaD

        I’m very sorry, Gaston… but… but I just don’t deserve you!

        September 12, 2016
        |Reply
        • mydogspa
          mydogspa

          Ah. Grey uses antlers in all his decorating . . . .

          September 12, 2016
          |Reply
          • ViolettaD
            ViolettaD

            And every square inch of him’s covered with hair!

            (ergh.)

            September 12, 2016
  24. shel
    shel

    Not that this is a surprise, since why wouldn’t you rewrite your entire trilogy from the douche-canoe point of view…

    http://www.marieclaire.com/culture/a22549/new-fifty-shades-of-grey-book/

    But it makes me so sad that these things exist… though it will be fun to see Chedwards inner most thoughts when he beats Ana (is this the book with the you went topless! How dare you! or is that book 3?) and does more awful things to her in the name of being a dom. STOP PAYING FOR THIS CRAP, PEOPLE!!

    September 11, 2016
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      Oh God, our poor Jenny…
      Two more volumes of recraps–at LEAST…
      GOK what The Eel is going to perpetrate next.

      September 12, 2016
      |Reply
      • shel
        shel

        I think she’s just going to keep rewriting this same story from different POVs…maybe the next one she will just flat out say it’s from the POV of Gray’s penis instead of internal monologuing what his penis is thinking like in this book…

        September 12, 2016
        |Reply
    • Xebi
      Xebi

      I read the excerpt.

      That…that is a completely different character. Once again, it looks as though ELJ has become aware of the criticism and tried to “fix” things. Firstly, she tried to “fix” the problems with the original trilogy by writing in Grey’s POV to show he wasn’t abusive. Now critics have pointed out it shows he’s even worse than we first thought, she seems to have completely changed his personality.

      September 15, 2016
      |Reply
  25. Nunyabizz
    Nunyabizz

    Leaning forward, I take hold of her chin and glare at her. “Next time you roll your eyes at me, I will take you across my knee.”

    ~ I would fucking LOVE to know how he feels when Mia, Elliott, Taylor, Ros, his parents, etc. roll their eyes at him. Does he want to take them over his knee too? Does he give even a fraction of a shit when they do “dangerous” things like drive old vehicles or get drunk on an empty stomach? These are the questions!

    September 12, 2016
    |Reply
    • kate
      kate

      Alternatively, I’d like to know how Taylor feels about Christian rolling his eyes at him or engaging in unsafe behavior. Have we all already established this ship? Taylor topping the hell out of Christian every time Christian makes his job more difficult?

      September 13, 2016
      |Reply
  26. kate
    kate

    I’m not gonna lie, there are parts of the sex scenes that I think are kinda hot. I guess this is a sort of explanation as to why some people might like it. You get all muddled afterwards and don’t really go “oh, this is abuse,” but rather “oh, there are words here, but this is all just lead-up to the next sex scene, so nbd.” Still, though, it’s pretty much impossible for me to enjoy any of the sex scenes now given what’s actually happening.

    September 13, 2016
    |Reply
  27. Anon123
    Anon123

    Love your legendary nit-picking and capricious-as-the-sea nature, as always! 😀

    I have a slightly more sinister take on this one than you:

    “Then again, she’s agreed to be my submissive, so maybe she’ll accept my gift without any fuss.”

    I think this isn’t Chedward failing to understand that Ana only agreed to be a weekend sub. I think this is more like, “I successfully talked her into one thing she didn’t want to do. Now with every subsequent action of mine, that wench will become easier and easier to cow. Muahahahahaha.” (You’ll note my authentic use of Chedwardian phrasing there.)

    Also, I think it’s totally okay to armchair-diagnose when someone’s disorder is potentially harmful to you (or, in this case, to the public at large). Imho, the key difference between, “You have depression” and, “You have sociopathy” is what comes next. In the former case, usually it’s advice. In the latter, it’s a swift backing away followed by a terrified run. We all have the right to make judgments–even clinical-sounding ones–when the goal is protecting ourselves. (Or protecting the reading public by calling out danger signs in a “romantic” hero.) My 2 cents. 🙂

    And spot-on with the analysis of why Chedward’s view of love is sociopathic, btw–I don’t think I would have seen it so clearly without you.

    But I kind of wish you’d called out his extremely sociopathic view of gift-giving, too, when it came to the books. (He already owned them? “They might mean something to her, [but not to me because I’m incapable of emotion]”??) But I guess if I actually wanted *everything* called out in these books, you’d have to like, clone yourself several times or something. 😛

    P.S. Speaking of “masticating emptiness”, “mastication” is one of my favorite words that sounds dirtier than it really is. (The other is “formication”.) Mm, let’s do some mutual mastication, baby. I’ll get the teething rings. #stillsexierthanchristiangreytho

    September 13, 2016
    |Reply
  28. taycibear
    taycibear

    I understand that people like the books. Whatever. What I don’t understand is peoples refusal to see any negative in them. I started reading a romance series and most of the men are Alphas and some of the women are not and thats okay. I’ve read some of them several times and I will continue to do that, but I admit some of them are problematic and cross the line of Christian Grey level of controlling. I don’t understand why others can’t say the same for 50 Shades. Its okay to admit its abusive and still like them (though I do question their judgement).

    September 15, 2016
    |Reply
    • ViolettaD
      ViolettaD

      I think it’s the hypocrisy. The bodice-rippers of the ’80s were point-blank rape fantasies, with Lord Libertine and Sir Seduce-a-Slut being poet-shirted fantasy figures who were always, in the end, vanquished by their inability to resist Lady Captivating Cleavage, the Spirited Vixen who, etc.

      Ana also eventually dominates Chedward from the bottom, but meanwhile, a there’s lot of playing fast-and-loose with the idea of informed consent. Coerced consent is no consent at all

      September 15, 2016
      |Reply
  29. Razwick
    Razwick

    “‘Before I leave I stuff two condoms into the back pocket of my jeans.
    I might get lucky.’

    This is the most human-like thing Christian Grey has done in the entire book so far.”

    That’s an accurate statement, but despite it’s relative normalcy, in the context of this book, this line still made me recoil with disgust.

    September 21, 2016
    |Reply

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