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50 Shades Freed recap Chapter Fifteen or: “Take the blue pill, it’s just better that way.”

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I had a whole bunch of links compiled for this post, and then I went and accidentally deleted my sticky note where they were waiting. Mea culpa.

We’re saved! Just as I was working on this post, I got an email from Thea K asking for me to share these links to her rip-it-to-shreds blog fest: link the firstLink the second.

At least I coming out of the haze of allergy, pain, and seizure medications I’ve been struggling with. Sorry for the long gap between recaps, I meant to just skip one week, do a Buffy recap during the first week and a 50 Shades recap in the second one, but then I got confused and did two Buffy recaps in a row. Hoping to correct that and get back to a recap each a week. But further patience would be awesome.

Another thing I want to address is the length of the recaps. I’ve had a few comments about the recaps of 50 Shades Freed being shorter than the recaps of previous books. There’s a really simple explanation of that, and maybe I should have mentioned it before: the chapters in the book are shorter. Which, by the way, is hilarious; remember when I was recapping 50 Shades Darker and I was like, NO ONE NEEDS TO WRITE A THIRTY PAGE CHAPTER THAT IS MADNESS? Okay, so, full disclosure time? There’s a twenty-nine page chapter in The Boss.

Whoops.

Okay, so get into the recap Jenny, Jesus.

Once again, Ana begins a chapter waking up. And once again, Christian is winding around her like goddamned kudzu:

I am too warm. Christian warm. His head is on my shoulder, and he’s breathing softly on my neck while he sleeps, his legs threaded through mine, his arm around my waist. I linger on the edge of consciousness, aware that if I wake fully I’ll wake him, too, and he doesn’t sleep enough.

This paragraph opens the chapter and somehow manages to sum up everything that is wrong with their relationship. One partner is willing to lie, hot and uncomfortable, so as to not wake the other partner. One partner is unwilling to let the other partner make a single decision for herself because it makes him emotionally uncomfortable.

Juuuuuuuuuuuust sayin’.

I drank too much- boy, did I drink too much. I’m amazed Christian let me.

“I am amazed another human being allowed me to chose what substance and what quantity of that substance I would put into my own digestive system.” Gosh, everyone who told me he gets so much better was completely right, I guess.

Let me tell it like it fucking is: there is a difference between a character learning and growing on an arc, and a character who doesn’t change at all while all the other the characters insist he has changed. The latter is what’s happening here. Just because some characters are learning to tolerate or ignore Chedward’s dickish behavior doesn’t mean he’s getting better or changing at all. Here’s a fun exercise, guys. Go back and read some of Ana’s parts in the first book. Compared to the character she is at this point in 50 Shades Freed, 50 Shades of Grey Ana is practically Xena, Warrior Princess.
Sorry, Xena. I know.

That’s because at this point, Ana has bent her hopes, her expectations, her own personality quirks (eye rolling, for example), everything about herself, into a pretzel to be what Christian wants. That isn’t character growth for Christian. That’s not how you do character growth.

My palm is still red from last night.

It’s nice that for once, she’s waking up with an injury given to her by someone other than her husband. It’s a refreshing change. But what was the creeper guy’s face made out of? Granite?

I smile as I remember him putting me to bed. That was sweet, real sweet, and unexpected.

So, you expected him to leave you in the car? Or at the nightclub? Or was it just that you didn’t have sex, and we’re once again heaping praise on him for behaving like a fucking human being and not a wind-up rape machine?

Christian wakes up, tells Ana that he cherishes her and he wants to take care of her, and then he flips out:

He clasps my hand and I wince. He releases me immediately, alarmed. “The punch?” he asks. His eyes frost as he scrutinizes mine, and his voice is laced with sudden anger.

“I slapped him. I didn’t punch him.”

“That fucker!”

I thought we’d dealt with this last night. 

“I can’t bear that he touched you.”

“He didn’t hurt me, he was just inappropriate. Christian, I’m okay. My hand’s a little red, that’s all. Surely you know what that’s like?” I smirk, and his expression changes to one of amused surprise.

“Why, Mrs. Grey, I am very familiar with that.” His lips twist in amusement. “I could reacquaint myself with that feeling this minute, should you so wish.”

So, remember how Christian always wants to punish Ana right after she’s done something “bad” and has caused him some worry or another? Is he saying he would spank her because some guy groped her against her will at the bar? That’s healthy. This is a healthy relationship.

“I’d fight you any day, Mrs. Grey. In fact, subduing you in bed is a fantasy of mine.”

Because he’s tired of jacking off to the many ways he’s subdued her in the rest of her life?

Ana considers the idea of fight-fucking from all angles:

What’s this about? Brawling? Fantasy? Will he hurt me? My inner goddess shakes her head- Never.

Check in with your subconscious, she usually makes more sense.

Remember how David Walliams in drag is Ana’s subconscious now? No, it’s not just an excuse for me to lust over David Walliams and I resent your totally on the mark accusation. Good day, sir!

It’s kind of sad that one of the first things Ana thinks when considering a new sexual kink to explore is will my husband, the man who is supposed to love me and be a caring lover, harm me. HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP!
They do this whole “let’s play rough” thing that’s basically just Christian holding Ana down so she can’t move. Well, actually, first Ana asks him if he wants to play rough, and her idea of playing rough is to get a drink of water, and… urgh:

Taking a leaf from his impressive repertoire, I lean forward and kiss him, pouring clear cool water into his mouth.

So, they’re apparently back to the spitting in someone’s mouth thing? You know how much me and my OCD love that old chestnut.

Anyway, then they do this whole thing I described before, where Christian tells her to fight him, but he can’t let her win even a little bit on anything, so it’s just a scene of her struggling while he holds her still, and then:

 I seize the front of his pajamas and yank them down, freeing his erection. I grab and squeeze him. He’s hard.

No shit, dicks are hard when they’re erect? I don’t have a secret filthy Tumblr, so I had no idea.

They have sex, and I skip it, because I’m tired of reading the same shit over and over. They have amazing sex, and Ana is just relaxing and chilling out and enjoying the afterglow when, nope, can’t have that:

“You’re quiet,” I whisper and kiss his shoulder. He turns and looks at me, his expression giving nothing away. “That was fun.”

Shit, something is wrong.

“You confound me, Ana.”

“Confound you?”

He shifts so that we’re face to face. “Yes. You. Calling the shots. It’s… different.”

So, after he tells her to fight him in bed because it’s a fantasy of his, and she does fight him in bed, he now has to make a big, dramatic deal about it. He is CONFOUNDED that Ana, the woman he has groomed from day one of their relationship to be unquestioningly obedient, has done something he asked. And of course, since he’s expressed how CONFOUNDED he is, she scrambles to try and fix it, because she wants nothing but his happiness.

“You’ve never indulged this little fantasy before?” I blush as I say it. Do I really want to know any more about my husband’s colorful… um, kaleidoscopic sex life before me? My subconscious eyes me warily over her tortoiseshell half-moon specs. Do you really want to go there?

Of course not. Because there are definitely things husbands and wives should hide from each other. Emotional intimacy is waaaaaay overrated.

“No, Anastasia. You can touch me.” It’s a simple explanation that speaks volumes. Of course, the fifteen couldn’t.

 This naturally leads into a discussion of Mrs. Robinson, the ghost that haunts their sex life due to Ana’s distaste at discussing Christian’s sexual past. She asks him if he liked it when Mrs. Robinson touched him, and he tells her that he did at the time, but not anymore. Which leads Ana to think:

My lost boy.

I’m starting to get this really uncomfortable feeling that if Christian ever did get mentally healthy and he wasn’t Ana’s lost boy anymore, Ana wouldn’t really be into him. Every time they’re together in any way, she’s like, “Tell me about your tortured past (so that I can feel bad for you).” I wonder if Christian would be as appealing to her if he wasn’t a wrecked up project. After all, this is the girl who apparently thinks Thomas Hardy was writing romance.

After they make slow, tender love one more time- off the page, so I don’t have to skim over it- Ana goes down to breakfast, where there is ACTUALLY A SCENE IN THIS GODDAMNED BOOK THAT I APPRECIATED AND ENJOYED:

As the two men amble across the lawn toward the house, lost in their conversation, Christian casually bends to pick up what looks like a bamboo cane that must have been blown over or discarded in the flower bed. Pausing, Christian absentmindedly holds out the cane at arm’s length as if weighing it carefully and swipes it through the air, just once.

Oh…

This scene would be more funny and enjoyable if didn’t lead to a heart-to-heart two pages later, but I’ll take whatever meager crumb of enjoyment I can get, like a Dickensian urchin peering through a frosted window at a glowing feast of roast goose and treacle tart.

Pictured: Jenny writing a recap.

Kate sees Ana looking out the window, and then this happens:

“What are you doing?” asks Kate.

“Just watching Christian.”

“You have got it bad.” She snorts.

I think it’s weird that other characters have to blatantly tell the readers how Ana feels about her husband. It’s almost as if the main characters aren’t developed enough to prove their love to the reader on their own…

“And you don’t, oh soon-to-be-sister-in-law?” I reply, grinning and trying to bury the disquieting visual of Christian wielding a cane. I am startled when Kate leaps up and hugs me.

“Sister!” she exclaims, and it’s hard not to be swept up in her joy.

This is the most effusive we’ve seen Kate about the marriage so far, and of course, it’s because she’s gaining an Ana, not marrying the love of her life or anything. I’d personally rather chew my own arm off to escape a bear trap than be legally related to Anastasia Rose Steel Grey (most unwieldy stripper name EVER).

After a break, Christian is once again waking Ana up to start a new scene, to tell her to buckle her seatbelt because they’re about to land. So, they’re on the plane. Mia is sad and reading a book, Ana peeks up at Christian “through my lashes” (I had started to miss the one, actually) and Elliot is sleeping.

 I have yet to corner Elliot and quiz him about Gia, but it’s been impossible to pry him away from Kate. Christian isn’t interested enough to ask, which is irritating, but I haven’t pressed him. We’ve been enjoying ourselves too much.

We haven’t done a list in a while, so…

  1. It’s none of your business, Ana.
  2. It’s none of Christian’s business and at least he knows that.
  3. It’s more irritating to meddle in other people’s relationships.
  4. You obviously don’t care that fucking much if your good time can’t be compromised for something you apparently think of as super important to your friend’s happiness.
  5. You are terrible person.

Elliot rests his hand possessively on Kate’s knee. She looks radiant, and to think that only yesterday afternoon she was so unsure of him.

You know when you like a show or something, and you introduce someone to it, and then they start acting like they know more about it than you do? That’s how Ana is with Kate’s entire relationship with Elliot. It’s like Ana thinks she knows what’s best for Kate or what Kate is feeling just because Ana is married. Yet, Kate has the most experience with relationships, because she’s, you know, had them before. Ana’s love life is only months old, and she’s trying to speak to Kate’s uncertainty like she’s an authority or something.

At this point, the chapter begins doing its best to avoid plot and starts just filling up pages for no reason. There is a section break, then a brief scene of Ana and Christian in the car, where they talk about how fun the weekend was and how Christian was relaxed because Ana was safe. Basically, rehashing a scene we’ve already read a thousand times, in settings that are more striking than the backseat of an Audi. Then, Christian asks Ana if she’s ready to “face Gia”:

“I might want to keep you out of the way, keep you safe.” I smirk.

“Protecting me?” Christian is laughing at me.

“As ever, Mr. Grey. From all sexual predators,” I whisper.

Oh for fuck’s sake.

Then there’s a section break, and they’re going to bed. We don’t even get to see this supposedly exciting, nerve-wracking meeting between Ana and Gia. Now that they’re back home, Ana is thinking about the Jack Hyde thing again:

Tomorrow we go back to reality- back to work, the paparazzi, and to Jack in custody but with the possibility that he has an accomplice. Hmm… Christian was vague about that. Does he know? And if he did know, would he tell me? I sigh. Getting information out of Christian is like pulling teeth, and we’ve had such a lovely weekend. Do I want to ruin the feel-good moment by trying to drag the information out of him?

She brought up the woman who took advantage of him in his youth on the trip, but does she want to ruin the afterglow by asking questions about the dangerous man who was clearly plotting to kidnap and rape her and who may have an accomplice still gunning for her? Nah, that’s not important, because it has to do with Ana, and Ana’s entire life revolves around Christian.

It’s been a revelation to see him out of his normal environment, outside this apartment, relaxed and happy with his family. I wonder vaguely if it’s because we’re here in this apartment with all its memories and associations that he gets wound up. Maybe we should move.

You are moving, Ana. That’s why he bought a house.

I snort. We are moving- we’re having a huge house refurbished on the coast.

Oh, I see, that wasn’t a rhetorical statement you were making, it was an excuse to talk about Gia and the scene E.L. couldn’t be arsed to write:

I chuckle as I recall Gia’s shocked expression when I told her that I’d seen her in Aspen. Turns out it was nothing but coincidence. She’d camped out at her holiday place to work solely on our plans. For one awful moment I’d thought she’d had a hand in choosing the ring, but apparently not. But I still didn’t trust Gia. I want to hear the same story from Elliot. At least she kept her distance from Christian this time.

Wouldn’t it have been cool to see the scene where Ana, with her newfound backbone, confronted Gia and asked point blank if she’d picked Kate’s ring or was still involved with Elliot? Well, too bad, because E.L. isn’t interested in that scene. She’s more interested in hanging out in Ana’s head while Ana thinks about foreshadowing:

Yet with his family around him, he is less controlling, less anxious- freer, happier. I wonder what Flynn would make of all that. Holy crap! Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe he needs his own family. I shake my head in denial- we’re too young, too new to all this. 

You should definitely have a baby to fix your abusive marriage, Ana. That’s a great idea. Men never get more possessive or weird or crazy when their wives or girlfriends get pregnant. And he definitely won’t be able to hold the baby as a hostage against you leaving him.

Christian comes to bed, and Ana has to turn the only part of this book that I’ve enjoyed into something shitty because she’s awful:

“Do you miss it?”

“Miss what?” he asks, perplexed.

“You know, the caning… and stuff,” I whisper, embarrassed.

He stares at me, his gaze impassive. Then doubt crosses his face, his where-is-she-going-with-this look.

By the way, that’s the second time that description has been used in five pages, and I still don’t have any idea what the expression looks like.

“No Anastasia, I don’t.” His voice is steady and quiet. He caresses my cheek. “Dr. Flynn said something to me when you left, something that’s stayed with me. He said I couldn’t be that way if you weren’t so inclined. It was a revelation.” He stops and frowns. “I didn’t know any other way, Ana. Now I do. It’s been educational.”

It’s a revelation to Christian that he can’t force a woman to participate in sex acts she doesn’t want to engage in.

No, really. That’s what that says.

Someone else had to tell Christian Grey that it’s not okay to force women into BDSM if they don’t find it appealing. He is an adult and he’s managed to live his life thus far without figuring that out. He had to pay someone to tell him.

This passage just furthers the anti-BDSM message in the book, the message that E.L. James denies is there. While the author runs around every media outlet clamoring to interview her, boasting about how she’s been such a boon to the BDSM lifestyle and she’s introduced women to their deepest, most secret desires, she’s written a character whose involvement in BDSM is a mental illness that had to be cured. Christian has only been involved in BDSM because he doesn’t know better. How is this in any way complimentary to the BDSM lifestyle, or people involved in it?

50 Shades fans are even worse about this. I saw a woman tweet a couple weeks ago that people can’t judge those involved in BDSM, even though she doesn’t “agree” with it. And her tone, as she argued with multiple twitter accounts, seemed to be the tone of a born again Christian trying to defend their stance on gay marriage. It was very hate the sin, love the sinner, like she was secretly rooting for all the BDSM perverts out there to find their true loves and see the light or something. That is what E.L. James has done for BDSM with these books. She’s destroyed public perception of it.

She is the reason my face looks like this all of the time.

Then, as if this misunderstanding of BDSM isn’t enough, we have to continue:

“I don’t want you to hurt me, but I like to play, Christian. You know that. If you wanted to do something…” I shrug, gazing at him.

“Something?”

“You know, with a flogger or your crop-” I stop, blushing.

Uh… excuse me. But floggers and crops HURT. They’re supposed to hurt. That’s the draw. That’s why some of us like them. I suppose there are ways you could use both of these implements without causing pain. You could use a rubber flogger to tickle someone, or a crop to… train climbing vines? But the point of being flogged or snapped with a riding crop is to hurt. I just… I can’t get my head around this. Maybe because I like pain during sex. I just can’t see the point of using those tools in a non-painful way.

There’s a section break, and some emails that begin on August 29th, wherein Ana and Christian tell each other they love each other, and he reminds her about the Shipbuilding Association dinner. Apparently, Christian builds ships now. I don’t fucking know, and it’s not really covered. Ana’s assistant comes in and tells her she’s had to move some appointments around for her (spoiler alert, one of those appointments is for her birth control shot, but Ana interrupts her before she can mention that), Roach calls and asks Ana to come to his office, and we have another section break, followed by more emails on August 30th, in which Ana and Christian vaguely hint at the fantastic sex they had following the boring boat dinner. Then Ana’s assistant comes in again and tells her she’s had to move some appointments again, and then Roach calls again pulling Ana away to a meeting. Then there is another section break and HOLY SHIT AM I IN THE MATRIX?

Seriously, the deja vu is strong with this shitty, shitty, go nowhere chapter.

Pictured: A 50 Shades fan’s contortions to suspend disbelief.

After the section break, there are MORE EMAILS, dated September 1st. Christian tells Ana that Hyde has been refused bail and he’s been charged with attempted kidnapping and arson. Ana asks:

Does this mean you’ll lighten up on security?

I really don’t see eye to eye with Prescott.

No, Ana, you don’t see eye to eye with your husband. Prescott is just following his orders. We’ve never seen any evidence of a personal beef between the two women, just Ana’s exasperation at being shadowed. She gives the white men on the security team leeway in this, reminding the readers over and over that they’re just doing their job. But when Prescott, a black woman, does her job, Ana takes it personally.

Christian’s response:

What’s wrong with Prescott? If you don’t like her, we’ll replace her.

Note that when Ana has complained about being followed the white men, Christian has never offered to fire them. Which is pretty funny, considering how threatening Christian considers white men who are in Ana’s presence.

I scowl at his high-handed email. Prescott isn’t that bad.

WHAT? Ana, you have done nothing but bitch about Prescott since she’s arrived in the storyline, seemingly only to be bitched at. Prescott has, until this line, just been a vehicle for Ana’s pointless exasperation. What the hell, now she’s “not that bad?” Ana responds to Christian’s email:

I was just asking (rolls eyes). And I’ll think about Prescott.

Stow that twitchy palm.

Ah, the repetition of fanfic/fanservice writing. Also, nice to see Ana talking casually about affecting someone else’s livelihood and career in the negative. She’s certainly adapted well to being a part of the 1%.

Then there is ANOTHER SECTION BREAK FOLLOWED BY MORE FUCKING EMAILS.

These emails are dated September 5th, and the subject line of the first one is “Sailing & Soaring & Spanking,” so basically there was this amazing scene where they did interesting things and we get to hear about it like this:

Husband

You sure know how to show a girl a good time.

I shall of course be expecting this kind of treatment every weekend.

And then there is an exchange about how much they love each other and how their life is beautiful and perfect and romantic. Then there is a section break and:

The following day, I gaze at the calendar on my desk. Only five days until September 10- my birthday.

The emails are dated the 5th, and Ana is looking at them the next day, which means it’s only four days until the 10th. I guess it’s a good thing she’s an editor and not a mathematician.

Hannah taps on my door.

“Come in.”

Prescott is hovering outside. Odd…

How is that odd? All we’ve been hearing about Prescott is about how closely she follows you and how much you hate it.

“Hi, Ana,” says Hannah.

LOL, that rhymes.

“There’s a Leila Williams here to see you? She says it’s personal.”

“Leila Williams? I don’t know a… ” My mouth goes dry, and Hannah’s eyes widen at my expression.

Leila? Fuck. What does she want?

OH MY GOD! IS THIS A CLIFFHANGER THAT IS ACTUALLY GRIPPING AND INTERESTING?

I can only hope that the next chapter doesn’t begin with a five page series of emails hinting at what happened when she met with Leila.

Wait, no, I hope it does. Because I don’t give a shit about this book, the characters, or what happens to them. And no one else should, either, because the author doesn’t seem interested in writing the rest of this damn book, anyway.

132 Comments

  1. When my book is out, there will be a relationship that isn't a load of abusive bull. Info here. Shameless plug. But I'm not likely to make a fortune, and 20% of gross sales are going to women's shelters. http://alysbcohen.wordpress.com/

    Chapters that are 30 pages are fine if it's all important stuff. Erika writes a lot of fluff. Her books could have their word counts cut in half without sacrificing any of the story.

    May 12, 2013
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  2. When the FUCK are they going to find out Anna is pregnant?! 15 chapters and she's a MAIN character!

    In my wonderful Dragon Sex book series, we find out one of the females is pregnant- about 15 chapters in or so (or less- wait, no it was near the end because she uses the rage at finding out to kill an army. Never mind)- BUT she was 1) a secondary character (her story was the first book, it continued in the second but in the background) and 2) it wasn't the last book of the series and she gave birth in the third book. It also had far reaching PLOT reasons. Also the main character of that book also ends up pregnant and we find out at the end of the third book, which she was also in second character status. So being a secondary character and the ending of books gets you pregnant?

    What I'm trying to say is- I'M FUCKING TIRED OF THIS BULLSHIT! GET. ON! WITH! IT!

    Did Twilight take this long to get to the pregnancy? Some reason, I don't think it did.

    May 12, 2013
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  3. SPOILER ALERT:

    The cliffhanger is a thousand times more interesting than the scene that follows. EL is a freak show exhibit wherein she has the amazing ability to take scenes with great potential conflict and excitement and make them duller than reading the back of a box of crackers.

    May 12, 2013
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  4. There's story somewhere in these books?

    May 12, 2013
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  5. DUDE! It's like this book SHOULD HAVE BEEN EXCITING. All of them should have been. It's like she's got the reverse Midas touch or something. She touches an exciting plot and it withers and falls to pieces.

    May 12, 2013
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  6. “his legs threaded through mine”

    Does anyone else imagine his leg going between her fibia and tibia like thread through the eye of a needle?

    “I drank too much- boy, did I drink too much. I'm amazed Christian let me.”

    Since he's intentionally gotten her drunk so he can have his way without her consent, him “letting” her get drunk doesn't surprise me.

    “his erection … He's hard.”

    Padding. Erika learned well from Stephenie how to pad by repeating herself.

    “My subconscious eyes me warily over her tortoiseshell half-moon specs.”

    Something just clicked. Erika's cameo is Ana's subconscious. I pay enough attention to her Twitter (I've lured away a few of her fans who are now waiting to buy my books, so win for anti-abuse), and she often writes actions she does. If something displeases her, she will write, *peering over my glasses,* or some variation. She writes that a lot, and “good moaning” instead of “morning” because apparently that's just so clever when done every single day.

    “”through my lashes” “

    I have freaky long lashes that go over my eyebrows and, when I don't trim them, have people asking if I'm wearing falsies, and let me tell you, this just can't happen without curling your lashes down. Try looking up without your lids, with their upward-lashes, moving up too.

    “Maybe he needs his own family. I shake my head in denial- we're too young, too new to all this. “

    He's what, 27? Yeah. Hm, I guess most people are doing it wrong. More like ANA is too young and stupid, and she's only right overall that they're too new to their relationship. THIS IS WHY THEY SHOULD NOT BE MARRIED YET. Sure, a rare marriage comes quickly and lasts until death, but those are the relationships that would still be together to have a wedding in a few years. Most relationships in general break by by two years. It's nothing more than having a relationship that would have lasted ANYWAY. With Ana and Christian, she's got Stockholm going on, lots of fear and learning to toe the line to not make him mad and feeling trapped and trying to make the best of it since she doesn't know what else to do.

    This is such a lazy chapter. It's like Erika took to skimming things herself. They go from still being on the vacation and blargy blarg blah to the built-up meeting with Gia to getting home and back to work, yet it's been nothing but skimming. This chapter is one that reads like even Erika was getting bored and trying even less than usual.

    May 12, 2013
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  7. The story is nothing more than a rip on Twilight, and those books didn't have much of a plot either. In fact, the middle two books were filler and only written AFTER the last one because the publisher realized it could be drawn out into more money.

    So we have those books turned into these books, and these books manage to make the abuse front and center. I guess the story in these books is that a stupid woman supposedly with a college education despite never so much as using the internet falls in lust with a physically attractive man and his money, whines about how awful it would be to have access to the kind of wealth most of us would love if only to be stable and comfortable and be able to help people, then gets into an abusive situation, leaves, decides the man is too sexy, goes back, then they rush into marriage, she changes everything about herself to avoid beatings, and they push out a couple kids. In the hands of a competent author this could make for a compelling and tragic book. But it sure as Hades isn't a trilogy, nor is it a great love story.

    May 12, 2013
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  8. Exactly. I don't understand it. Well, I do understand it. She sucks as a writer and as a human being.

    I would be embarrassed if I wrote these books. I don't care how much money they earned me, I would be humiliated by how awful they are.

    May 12, 2013
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  9. The last book was written as three parts. At the end of the first third Bella found out she was pregnant, and at the end of the second part, written from Jacob's point of view, the baby is born and he imprints on the baby. How insanely sick for someone nearly an adult to be sexually attracted to a newborn.

    But Christian talks about his unborn daughter liking sex already and sensually sucks his toddler son's fingers, so I guess that's what passes for good family values these days, not protecting kids and accepting different types of families and adult relationships.

    May 12, 2013
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  10. I have long lashes, too. Not quite as long as yours, but they touch sunglasses when I wear them, which is one of the reasons I rarely wear them — that's uncomfortable!

    Anyway, I just experiments and if you squint really hard, with just a tiny slit, you can kind of look through your lashes. So Ana basically is constantly squinting when she looks at C, which makes sense since she's scared to death of him and is probably in constant fight-or-flight-mode and always flinching.

    May 12, 2013
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  11. Kay
    Kay

    “NO ONE NEEDS TO WRITE A THIRTY PAGE CHAPTER THAT IS MADNESS? Okay, so, full disclosure time? There's a twenty-nine page chapter in The Boss.”

    The difference being – The Boss is pure unadulterated awesomeness (in complete contrast to Fifty Shades of Grey, in case that wasn't clear!)

    Loved the recap, as ever 😀

    May 12, 2013
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  12. Agreed. The Boss isn't really my usual cup of tea, but it's written well and interestingly enough to hold my attention. I couldn't read the first two chapters of 50 Shades without wanting to scoop my eyes out with a spoon just to relieve the boredom.

    May 12, 2013
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  13. Jo
    Jo

    For the record, I'm Team 30 Pages Long Chapters, as long the author is good enough to keep it interesting. Which is not the case here.

    Oh, God, did she really did that thing with the e-mails back and forward for an entire chapter? Jesus, Jen, how did you manage not to die of pure boredom?

    Of the whole three books, this one seems to drag longer, and it's probably because at this point, E. L. James was fed up and didn't want to write anymore, but kept going because she knew if she stopped for a moment, the whole world would come to its senses and realize she's nothing but a con woman passing for a writer.

    Sort of like what happened with Stephenie Meyer, so she can't even be original about that.

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  14. I just tried that, and I think I'm looking through my lower lashes. Either way, it's either squinting really hard or rolling your eyes up very far (which may be looking through your eyebrows). Ana's supposed to seem all coy and stuff, but she just comes off as having issues of some sort, or a medical condition. Well, I think she does with how easily and often she blushes. Chronic blushing is a real medical condition.

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  15. Jo
    Jo

    The pregnancy is an important part of the Twilight “plot”, as it ties in with the abstinence and anti-abortion overtones the book has: Bella gets pregnant on the same night she loses her virginity. What are the odds, right? Specially when your husband is supposed to be a century old dead man.

    And about Christian… Jesus Christ, that comment about their daughter liking sex gives me the absolute creeps. I am so sorry for putting this image in your head, but does anybody else get the feeling is not going to be long before those kids start being sexually and phisically abused as well?

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  16. SMeyer did it weird. Originally she wrote the first book with it ending at the prom, and then the Bella parts of the last book with starting with them getting married. That was intended to be it. Then the publisher was all like, “Hey, we can make more money dragging this out!” and her editor said, “I want to see more Jacob.” Yeah, Jacob was only intended to be a smaller character and to imprint on the baby when she was a few weeks old instead of newborn. So SMeyer went back and wrote the middle two books, then made them not matter. You can skip those two books and literally miss nothing that matters in the last book.

    SMeyer and Erika Leonard (EL, so original) have both mastered fluffy padding, and not the delicious marshmallowy kind. It's the stinky, silent but deadly fluff that gags you and brings tears and makes you pray for death
    over experiencing another one.

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  17. Ah- so it *is* because Twilight takes forever to get to it. I knew this to be true but still…oh my fucking GOD!

    Even had to ensure the disturbing/gross adult/baby interactions have to be in there. Which both could have been relevant and interesting plot points if the authors knew how to write such things (other than cashing out on the freak show).

    For example- and to up the gross/disturbing bar- I've been told it's a thing for rule Chinese mothers to suck off their new born boys when they are being fussy/won't chill out (which to me, kind of adds to the whole entitlement/spoiled ass brat mentality their men end up having- but that is a different topic). To us, that is gross, abusive and all kinds of wrong and yet it's the thing to do when your pride and joy baby boy has the screaming fits in rule China.

    I'm not justifying/excusing the shit 50 Shades or Twilight does to their babies, I am saying there could have been relevant/plot points for it. Especially if they actually addressed the fact that Christian was sexually abused and has a hard time understanding that the shit that was done to him is not something you are suppose to do to others and had him…you know…actually improve/develop for the better through the books.

    But the whole thing is just a set of main stream abuse fetish books.

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
    • Anon
      Anon

      @War Writer,

      That is the most racist shit I’ve read in a while. Dear God. I’m actually kind of shocked it wasn’t removed from the site, because seriously. SERIOUSLY.

      November 6, 2013
      |Reply
      • The Unicorner
        The Unicorner

        mte like what the fuck did i just read

        i’m extremely late to this thread, but i’m glad someone called it out

        January 26, 2016
        |Reply
  18. K
    K

    Saw this today. It's not directly relevant to 50 Shades, but it pertains to poor writing and author sensitivity. Also, it is entertaining and wittily composed.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/10049454/Dont-make-fun-of-renowned-Dan-Brown.html

    Contains gems such as:

    “It made his insect eyes flash like a rocket.”

    “The voice at the other end of the line gave a sigh, like a mighty oak toppling into a great river, or something else that
    didn’t sound like a sigh if you gave it a moment’s thought.”

    ” If your books brought innocent delight to millions of readers, what did it matter whether you knew the difference
    between a transitive and an intransitive verb? “

    “Renowned author Dan Brown gazed admiringly at the pulchritudinous brunette’s blonde tresses, flowing from her head like a stream but made from hair instead of water and without any fish in.”

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  19. Jo
    Jo

    You can't miss nothing that matters in the last book because there's nothing that matters in the last book. There's a not-fight there, for God's sake! I can forgive Meyer for the excessive fluff and for turning Jacob into Rapey McPedophiley (by that point in the story, I hated him), but not for the anti-climatic ending.

    I had heard the story about the fourth book being written previously to the other two, but seriously, all three of them are irrelevant and awful. Twilight was bad, but it was the best one of the cycle.

    And then we had a bad fanfic of a bad novel, and then a bad fanfic of the bad fanfic of the bad novel (Devil's Brand). We're not living in the Matrix, people, this is Fic-ception!

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  20. Erin
    Erin

    Um. As someone who married into a Chinese family, has two Chinese-American daughters, and works with a lot of rural Chinese moms: what?

    I'd really like to hear some confirmation on that before too many people believe it. Admittedly, I've only lived in one province and there are thousands of Chinese traditions I've never heard of, but that one is totally new to me. Chinese mothers get picked on enough by the international community; I can't count the number of people I've heard spreading the same tired lies about Chinese mothers not feeling anything for their babies, or being emotionless monsters, and I hate it.

    I realize this is off topic, but before you accuse an entire culture of women of sexually abusing their sons, I'd really like to see some evidence that it actually IS part of their culture.

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  21. Meredith Canales
    Meredith Canales

    I recently joined Twitter because it seemed everyone in the known universe is on there except me. I'm struggling with it still, but today, after I read this, I decided to look up Erika's Twitter. Alls I can say is that chick must spend all of her goddamned time Tweeting. She tweets about EVERYTHING. And to EVERYONE (who has something positive to say, of course).

    What did I learn from her Twitter account? Nathan Fillion is still my favorite person on Twitter (as if Erika had any chance at all of ever being my favorite anything).

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  22. Meredith Canales
    Meredith Canales

    Alys, I have Rosacea. Very awful medical condition. When I started reading this tripe, the first thing I thought was, “Damn, Ana must have Rosacea to be so aware of her blushing all the time.” Sadly, no. She's just incredibly into herself and every little thing she does. It really makes me think EL James just lopped off 50 pounds and 25 years and made herself the main character.

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  23. I was confused about “rule China,” thinking this was something I should know, so I did some googling. I think she meant “rural China,” as there is no such thing as “rule China.” But I couldn't find a single reference to Chinese mothers performing fellatio on their sons.

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  25. Sorry for blowing up the comments tonight. I'm doing a very good job of procrastinating when I'm supposed to be working on some freelance stuff that I actually get paid for. lol

    Anyway, I went hiking with a friend this morning and we were talking about these books. I always thought what bothered me most was that this crap got published when so many GOOD writers can't get recognized. And as a writer, that does bother me.

    But as a reader, what REALLY angers me is that this is so popular. That means that we are going to get more and more horrible books because they are what sells. And that means there will be fewer and fewer really quality novels available for those of us with IQs above 50. So what are we going to do? Just re-read the books we already love and give up on the new stuff? I mean, I guess there us still some good stuff coming out, but after the success of 50 Shades, will it stop?

    Everyone was so obsessed with Gone Girl (which was of course better than 50 Shades), but I found it predictable with poor character development and a poor copy of Rebecca (which I didn't like all that much, either). With everyone having orgasms over these kinds of books, that doesn't bode well for the future of literature.

    May 12, 2013
    |Reply
  26. Haha, yeah I saw this too. So funny. I did a degree in creative writing and one of lecturers told us that we weren't allowed to read anything by Dan Brown because it was so awful. I imagine now she tells her students not to read Twilight/50 Shades 😉

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  27. Meredith Canales
    Meredith Canales

    Is it bad that I still don't know what Tumblr is? I should really look that up.

    I struggled reading Dan Brown's books years ago. My husband loved them, but I just couldn't get into them.

    I DO enjoy Gillian Flynn's books, although I wouldn't say they're the best-written books in the world. The characters are incomplete and a lot of the decisions they make don't make sense. That being said, I still like them. I read anywhere from five to seven books a week (I'm a book junkie), so I'll read pretty much anything that's better than FSOG, which is anything.

    One of my favorite authors that I stumbled upon by a happy accident is Archer Mayor. I like mysteries if they're well-written and not cheesy. His first book in a long-running series he writes was free on iBooks, so I read it and really liked it. He has 22 books in that series out now, I think, and they just get better and better as they go. I ended up reading every single one. He does a POV shift mid-series and it really bumps the quality of the writing up.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  28. Meredith Canales
    Meredith Canales

    I think all the money would make me feel better about my humiliation, though.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  29. Here's a little weirdness – Jacob's named after her brother.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  30. Maybe her hand's still sore because she punched a werewolf.

    OH WAIT. THIS ISN'T TWILIGHT.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  31. I don't even know how it's at all possible for someone's hand to still be red hours after slapping someone's face! Bruised, maybe, if she caught his chin bone or something. But bright red? That would fade pretty damned quick.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  32. Please, don't ever sully The Boss by comparing any part of it to 50 Shades. Even chapter length.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  33. Jo, about 80 fanfics (counting trilogies and other series as just one) have landed traditional publishing deals. Meanwhile those of us writing anti-abuse where the victims escape get told to have the victims go back and reform the abusers. Ugh.

    Laina, that's just sick. If I was writing a character with my brother's name, he sure wouldn't be a character I'd be willing to leave my theoretical husband and kids for. With SMeyer actually saying she would leave her husband and kids is Edward of Jacob showed up at her door, I'm now wondering if there isn't something more going on in her life that we don't know about, and that's disturbing. It's a well-known fact that Twilight was sparked by a dream she had of herself being in a field with a handsome teenage boy….

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  34. Oh my dear, watch her for a week and you'll realize she really does tweet everything. From her morning cup of coffee to when she gets to a new hotel's room service delivering breakfast to traffic conditions wherever she is, she tweets it all. I'm on her radar and am frankly floored she not only hadn't banned me for not being a butt-kisser and openly being not a fan, but actually regularly replies to me.

    I'm @alysbcohen there. Give me a follow and I'll give you one in return. Anyone here has got to be good people.

    Nathan Fillion is one of my favorite people there too! I love the “advice” he gives. 🙂

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  35. http://alysbcohen.wordpress.com/2013/02/10/the-death-of-originality/

    I wrote a bit about this before, about the sameness. I think not only are readers becoming ambivalent, but trash is what's selling because trash is what publishers buy. It's the safe tried and true type of book that has sold in the past due more to a lack of options. Not many people have a lot of time to browse around bookstores, and so buy what everyone else is buying. Rather than give readers something different, publishers keep going with the same thing.

    With the merging of the major publishing houses and the rise of small presses that specialize in ebooks only that don't list on Amazon, we can start to see more of the same in stores, but a wider variety of better books on Amazon available as both print and ebooks. This may mean having to look past covers that are clearly amateurish because many self-pubbing and POD authors simply don't have the money to hire professionals, but the good books are going to be out there.

    I'm actually less concerned about poor writing and weak stories than about the proliferation of books that glorify and romanticize abuse.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  36. zee
    zee

    The pregnancy is the next chapter though, isn't it? She gets aggy because of Leila or Elena and then blames her assistant for her getting pregnant.

    Ana has to be a lesbian. She's blaming another woman because she got pregnant.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  37. zee
    zee

    I agree that Erika wrote herself as the subconscious (there's even a picture somewhere of her looking over her glasses) but I think she intended her cameo to be the doctor's wife. She's described as glamorous and makes 'witty' jokes about cricket that no one gets.

    although she's so spiteful that, lets face it, she is Ana.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  38. I… may be guilty of obsessive tweeting, myself. LOL.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  39. So, I was watching Sleeping with the Enemy the other night on Lifetime, and was flabbergasted by how similar Julia Roberts' abusive husband Martin is to Christian Grey. Right down to the inappropriate sex music!! So, I said the following on my facebook,

    “I'm watching Sleeping With the Enemy and am completely struck by how 20 years ago, the abusive husband was the villain, and now he's been renamed Christian Grey and is every woman's fantasy…”

    This, of course, caused a friend of mine to write the following reply,

    “Sleeping With the Enemy wasn't consensual and the husband was just creepy. Christian is…damaged. I totally realize you're going to rip me a new one but… Lol”

    Now, I love the woman dearly, so I didn't quite tear her a new one, but I did use a lot of words… and then I facepalmed so hard because I can't believe grown women defend this shit….

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  40. I suggested to a 50 Shades fan a while back that the actor from SWTE should play Christian since he's already familiar with the role. Her response was that he's too old.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  41. I find myself in a quandary. I love seeing new recaps because I love your blog writing style -especially your sarcasm and your wit. The problem is that these books are soul-sucking, joyless reads. It pains me to read even the bits you post. I can't imagine actually reading them for pleasure! The first couple books had (unintentionally funny) parts and some mildly interesting (if undeveloped) plots bits. But this book? Every chapter makes me want to squirm like I'm listening to nails on a chalkboard!

    Seriously, EL is making MILLIONS off this?!? WTH

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  42. Jo
    Jo

    I know. I'm a regular library raider, and the other I found this cool book with flames and a cool golden apple on it (I live in Argentina, so the cover art may be different), and I'm thinking: “Awesome, this gotta be about demons and temptation and such, right?”

    It was Gabriel's Inferno. I wanted to sit in a corner and weep for humanity.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  43. Honestly, I thought E.L. was supposed to be Elena. The character's full name is Elena Lincoln after all, her initials are EL *rolls eyes* Glad she inserted herself into the story as the woman who took advantage of a teenager and coerced him into a sexual relationship while underage…

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  44. Olive
    Olive

    Your choice of David Walliams in drag as Ana's subconscious made me laugh until I snorted and scared the dog.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  45. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    ” After all, this is the girl who apparently thinks Thomas Hardy was writing romance.”

    THAAAAAANK YOUUUUUUUUUUUUU! I know this is an awfully stupid part to be hung up on, but as someone who prides themselves in reading the classics because I wanted to (and not because school forced me) the fact that Tess of the d'Urbervilles was the book Ana seemed to base her romantic ideals on (although, considering Tess is too inexperienced to realize Alec is trying to get up her skirt, and then rapes her, it actually makes disturbing sense…) instead of, you know, an ACTUAL classic romance always drove me absolutely batty.

    I have a hard time believing E.L. James even actually read the book, and quite possibly just saw an awful fanfiction of it somewhere and thought, “THAT'S SO DREAMY <3"

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  46. Polliwog
    Polliwog

    As someone who has been mocking The Da Vinci Code mercilessly since it came out, that link just made me so, so happy. Utter perfection.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  47. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    @war writer
    I'm chinese and I've never heard of anything like that. Thanks for telling me (and hundreds other readers) how horrible chinese mothers are. Please tell me the title of your book and your pen name so I never accidentally buy them.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  48. Excellent as usual, Jen! I think by this point, I have run out of stuff to say. “How terrible!” makes me sound like a broken record. And yet she keeps writing awful things. It's like a tragedy that never ends.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  49. I've been staying sane by hoping against hope that this is the flawed but necessary beginnings of some people who would have never picked up a book, and will later find themselves reading and writing and educating themselves, and coming back to see 50 Shades for what it truly was.

    A person can dream. And weave those dreams as cocoons against the harsh realities of the world.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  50. AndiNZ
    AndiNZ

    It's the same with all mainstream media really, there seems to be an ongoing dumbing-down, appealing to the lowest common denominator.

    So we end up with endless talent and 'reality' shows on TV, sequels and remakes at the movies, and trashy novels like FSOG.

    Thank goodness not everybody is buying into this rubbish. Bring on the digital revolution, I say! 🙂

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  51. AndiNZ
    AndiNZ

    Yeah, I've had the same thought about Sleeping With the Enemy, actually. Can't watch that movie… 🙁

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  52. Okay, because this seemed sooooo bizarre a claim to me, I went and did some research. Some of the only resources I could find on the subject were about the Manchu and written by Russian authors in the 1920s-1940s, so I'm thinking those might be juuuuuust a leeeeeetle bit biased against the Chinese and therefore can't be trusted. I found a Straight Dope article that cites some different sources, and it can be found here: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3084/do-some-cultures-perform-sex-acts-on-babies-to-help-them-sleep

    There seems to be some confusion even within the various countries this rumor circulates around about whether or not it's actually true, but in each case cited it seems pretty clear that if it really is a cultural thing in these rural areas, it's definitely not sexual or a matter of performing oral sex on a child.

    So, go, check out the Straight Dope dude's sources, if it's something you're interested in knowing more about. And in the future, maybe if we're going to post controversial statements, links to why we believe them might be helpful for other readers. Just a suggestion.

    Either way, my search history probably just landed me on a watch list. *insert Chris Hansen photo*

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  53. It's totally possible for someone to look up at you and it appear that they're looking up through their lashes. That's just a trick of perspective. So it's like she's writing this as if Ana is describing how she looks to Christian.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  54. Olive
    Olive

    It just occurred to me that the books might have been even worse if Christian and Ana had twitter accounts. Can you imagine the extra drivel?

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  55. Ethyl
    Ethyl

    My partner and I tried out The DaVinci Code on CD once on a long drive, and after listening to the first disc, we threw the rest of them out the window of our moving car. I'm not proud of littering, but I also didn't want those fucking things in my car. Ye gods, that was bad.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  56. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    For something different in the mystery genre read Eliot Paterson – The Skull Mantra. Chinese detective in Tibet. Amazing…

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  57. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    What's Gabriel's Inferno?

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  58. Jo
    Jo

    It's another Twilight fanfiction that got a publishing deal while good original writers linger and die unknown.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  59. I hated da Vinci, but I really did enjoy Angels and Demons.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  60. Actually, Renee, my right hand is still bright red from when I read these books last summer. The whole face/palm thing has permanently scarred me.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  61. Hooray! I've spent the last 2 weeks reading all your blogs from the start of the 50 series and I've FINALLY caught up!! 😀

    Oh… No… Now I have no more to read and I has a sad 🙁

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  62. Yeah, apparently Depo flushed out of your system at three months on the dot….

    Know what's sad? She got the shot right after they met, and now that it's time for the second one, they're already married. This right here is easy evidence of how little time they've known each other at all.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  63. Except this isn't a trick. It's not someone saying she looks like she's looking through her lashes. Ana's telling us that this IS what she's doing.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  64. I always think of Dante's Inferno. I think Gabriel's was supposed to be at least partly based on that too. It's part of a trilogy.

    Grab some tissue and get ready to cry your heart out for literature.

    http://twifanfictionrecs.com/published-fics/

    Yet I know of so many good ORIGINAL books that can't get deals for not being enough like Twilight, and now like 50 Shades (I was told to have my abused main female character return to her abuser and “reform” him with her love).

    UGH.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  65. There's starting to be more push-back, things like Slut-walks and other attention being drawn to how women have long been shamed when victimized and blamed and demoted to nothing more than sex objects. (Why do so few people see any problem with Hooters, considering most women working there are simply trying to pay their bills and are stuck dealing with harassment to get tips?) I'm in Vancouver, and there will probably be protests if they follow through and film here.

    Too bad publishers are picking up more of the exact same trash though.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  66. Wow. This is…well, this is a shit chapter. Which isn't necessarily surprising for this series, except that this has somehow managed to be worse than the one before it. I have to hand it to E.L. James, she certainly has a knack for that.

    I'm kind of torn, honestly. On the one hand, these books are terrible and knowing that even three of them exists makes me sad. On the other hand, I love Jenny's recaps and I never want them to stop.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  67. Gabriel's Inferno?

    You kind of have to admire the way the Twilight fans keep erotocizing religion.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  68. I used to love Animal Planet and I learned so much from there. Now its just reality shows too and not good ones like Emergency Room Vets.

    May 13, 2013
    |Reply
  69. Now that I can believe! lol

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  70. I thought they were interesting at the time, but I think I was still in high school… I can't remember. Anyway if I went back and reread them I might think differently now. I plan on getting rid of my hardback copies though when I move again. Too many books, not enough space, and now I has an iPad with Kindle and etc., huzzah. Also speaking of authors behaving badly. Anne Rice was at it again. She posted a review of some small time blogger that turned Pandora into a decoupage and the fans lost it. Surprise, surprise, lol.

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  71. zee
    zee

    No, no, this is what Ana tells us she thinks she is doing. She thinks she's looking through her lashes to look all coy, but actually she just looks like she has something in her eye.

    I used to do this evil, evil face where I kinda lowered my head and looked right up so people could see the whites of your eyes (it's good to have a scary face as a girl) and every time Ana describes herself looking through her eyelashes, I just picture the EvilFace.

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  72. zee
    zee

    But at least your tweets are entertaining. It's thread made me go read Erika's and … Why? WHY? So she has twinings, bag out when she travels, just like her boring fucking character. The person who lowers down says about if Ana and Chedward had twitter? Just read Erika's.

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  73. zee
    zee

    The best thing to come out of 50 shades of shit is how many of us are discovering Jenny's work, and all the other amazing TroutNation members 😉

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  74. I know, right? She's very predictable. How often she tweets “Good moaning” like she thinks she's clever everyday is annoying. She also loves to send what she thinks are cryptic messages to the movie's producer.

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  75. Maybe she'll do Twilight next. That manages to always be hilarious times. I'm reading someone else's Twilight snark/recap right now. Every person I've read who does those has such different methods that I enjoy them all.

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  76. Maggie
    Maggie

    Did anyone else pick up on the 50 Shades element on last night's Mad Men? I hate to think that the MM writers would be influenced by 50 SOG, but I think they were. Or at least, someone at their network was. I hate to see crappy art trickle up into good art. Isn't it supposed to work the other way around?

    At least Sylvia Rosen was “bright” enough to know when the sex play was over and knew it was time to GTFO.

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  77. In my masochistic quest to explore the worst depths of humanity I discovered Harry Potter fanfic My Immortal (I know, I've lived under the rock), which is perfectly terrible written (the characters are gothic and go to My Chemical Romance concerts), but still it has one big redeeming feature – it was imho written by a troll unlike 50 shades… written in all seriousness. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it that somebody takes it seriously.

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  78. Neurite
    Neurite

    …not to mention following up an unsourced and highly skeezy claim about “rule Chinese mothers” with a casual implication that all Chinese men have an “entitlement/ spoiled ass brat mentality”. Lovely.

    Look, I am not going to doubt that numerous cultures have some deeply entrenched, culturally rooted sexism/male entitlement going on (including, y'know, Western/EuroAmerican culture, which I assume the “us” the poster is talking about when blithely talking about how this would be gross to “us” but normal to those weird, foreign “them”… because of course there couldn't possibly be any Chinese readers here, right?), but to just wholesale declare that all Chinese men are entitled spoiled brats? RIght after that bizarre claim about Chinese mothers? Yeah, that's straight into Holy Shit Racist territory. Ugh.

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  79. “It's the same with all mainstream media really, there seems to be an ongoing dumbing-down, appealing to the lowest common denominator. “

    I was just complaining about this to my Dad and he was all blasé like “eh, there will always be Penny Dreadfuls” and I'm like NO YOU DON'T GET IT. Ironically, he's the one always complaining about his favorite shows getting cancelled while reality shows and talent shows keep thriving.

    I try not to be pressed about all the lowest-common-denominator stuff that's thriving now but it's really hard, because you can't get away from it even if you want to. Yes, there were always penny dreadfuls, but they were easy enough to avoid in the past. Now in this post-Harry Potter age, it seems every modestly successful book series has to become a franchise which means we are constantly bombarded by it in every possible entertainment medium. It just makes me want to go all Walden on the world already.

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  80. I had the exact same reaction to it. Creepy.

    I am SO glad none of my irl friends are fans. I honestly don't know how I would react without being incredibly snarky.

    May 14, 2013
    |Reply
  81. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    The more I read of these books, the more I'm convinced that this is some pyschological/sociological experiment by E L James, to try and convince women to accept abuse fiction as romance, and that she's holed up somewhere writing a PhD thesis on it.

    That's got to be it, surely? I can't believe that a supposedly intelligent person would write some of the stuff she has written with the intention of it being romantic and/or sexy.

    May 14, 2013
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  82. Harry Potter deserved it. There is not much out there like it. Rowling is a genius. The world and characters she created are amazing and the way she spun that story over seven books, with book 7 resolving things from book 1 but never feeling like the individual books were unfinished …

    Anyway, I do love HP. You can't teach that. You're born with it.

    May 14, 2013
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  83. zee
    zee

    This saddens me, I love both Harry Potter and My Chemical Romance. But the two in a fanfic?

    May 14, 2013
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  84. I don't think that had anything to do with 50 Shades. Don has always been kind of that way. Plus, it was far sexier than anything in these books.

    May 14, 2013
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  85. What gives you the impression that EL is intelligent?

    May 14, 2013
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  86. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    @Alys Cohen:

    People looking at your work actually told you to have an abused woman return to her perp and 'reform' him?!

    I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

    It's bad enough that works by good writers that portray abusive relationships honestly as the nightmare they are will likely never come close to the popularity of 50 Shades of Shit. Actually encouraging authors to alter their truthful work to sell and glamorize domestic violence just…

    I can't. If anyone needs me I'll be in the angry dome. (I'm so mad I have to resort to ripping off Futurama to express myself.)

    May 14, 2013
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  87. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    “Let me tell it like it fucking is: there is a difference between a character learning and growing on an arc, and a character who doesn't change at all while all the other the characters insist he has changed. The latter is what's happening here. Just because some characters are learning to tolerate or ignore Chedward's dickish behavior doesn't mean he's getting better or changing at all.”

    YES, THANK YOU. The opinion that some share that Christian grows throughout this series drives me nuts. I haven't actually gotten past book 2, but just by reading your reviews I get things didn't really change after that.

    On that note, I was happily chatting with some colleagues about Game of Thrones yesterday and one of them had the nerve to compare Jaime effing Lannister to this man and his supposed “redemption arc”. I mean, even an unnamed squire written by George RR Martin has probably more developmen than these characters, how anyone could compare the complexity of the Kingslayer to THIS is beyond me.

    Thanks for these reviews, I'm catching up with them and having good fun. : )

    May 14, 2013
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  88. C
    C

    Ok I'm not a Twilight hater. Here's why: yes Edward is possessive, however he was a vampire and a fantasy. Girls around the world wished for their own Edward or Jacob but that was it. Harmless fantasy. Yes the imprinting thing would have been much creepier if it hadn't been explained as being an evolving relationship. He doesnt start out having sexual feelings for a baby. But I mostly pull the main difference between Twilight and 50 Shades from this: if you go looking for vampire or shape-shifter chances are, you won't find one. If you go trying to find you're very own Christian Grey, you may actually get one. And if you believed the tripe in these books you'll either A: be disillusioned by figuring out your Christian Grey clone really is an abusive psycho and take off in the opposite direction or B: be like Ana and think you can love him into being a non-crazy sane guy. These books are dangerous because of the fact that they seem humanly possible. realistic and idealstic at the same time. At least Twilight has the cover of being fantasy fiction to explain some of the creepiness. Most people won't think their Prince Charming will come in the form of a sparkly vampire. I can't believe this shit is being seen as a how-to manual!

    May 14, 2013
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  89. I read them all too. I recently read Dan Bergstein's recap of the Twilight books. (on Spark Notes I think). I could not stop, they were just too funny!

    Yes, maybe Jen will do Twilight. 🙂

    May 14, 2013
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  90. C
    C

    I also just want to say that there are couples who meet and click so deeply that it literally feels like puzzle pieces falling into place. Case in point: Me and my hubby. And we were very young to boot. We met the first day of my freshman year in college. Started dating a couple weeks later and were engaged a month later. We married in May of 1998. And we love each other more everyday. So it does happen and it can last. Unfortunately, many couples that get married that youmg do not know how to communicate at the depth level needed to build a strong marriage. Whenever someone asks me how we've lasted I always tell them that in any relationship you have to learn how to REALLY listen and you have to learn how to argue. Folks think that second one is weird but ot makes sense. If either of you clams up when you're pissed you never get the issue resolved. Even if you need to take a break to collect your thoughts, you need to be able to say that instead of going straight into silent treatment territory. Ana and Christian obviously don't know how to do either one of those things. You should be able to talk to your spouse about anything withoit the fear that he'll get pissed and take it out on you.

    May 14, 2013
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  91. Well at first I felt like going to cry but one can't take it too seriously. If you want to read about it in entertaining way google Markreads – it's like Jenny's review, it's not the original fanfic. It's fun I promise.

    May 14, 2013
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  92. Right? I don't really even like the romance genre in general, but I'm so fond of Jenny's writing that I'm planning to pick a couple of hers up when I can.

    May 14, 2013
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  93. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Forget Twilight. She should do The Lorien Legacies Series by Pittacus Lore. Holy bad novels, Batman.

    (Though Twilight would be fun, too.)

    May 15, 2013
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  94. @Forestminuet – Oh man, the Dan Bergstein recaps are the best. Seriously, I've read all of them three times and they only get better. Just like 50 Shades! (Sarcasm hand.)

    @Everyone – Yeah, Jenny is totally brilliant. And she should definitely snark something after this (while working on her other novels, of course.) I don't know what though. Maybe she can just follow the Twilight Trail and recap the 50 Shades fanfic someone will definitely write and then change the names of and turn into an “original” story.

    May 15, 2013
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  95. Yeahh… that part about husbands holding their wives hostage with their very young babies?

    Guess who was used as a bargaining chip to keep his mother in a horrible relationship for 17 more years! 😀 -_-;; *Points both thumbs at himself*

    It fucking happens, and the “BABIES WILL MAKE HIM A GOOD MAN” thing? Doesn't work in the real world.

    May 15, 2013
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  96. I personally have more than once put on mascara, and somehow before it quite dried opened my eyes wide enough that my lashes stuck to my brows, albeit very briefly.

    I also have these few hairs right in the middle of each brow that grow super long.

    May 15, 2013
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  97. I am chuckling here thinking of Ana squinting, rolling her eyes back, or putting on too much mascara, and thinking it's sexy. The commenters here are pretty smart, so if there was an attractive way to look at someone through her eyelashes, I think we'd have figured it out.

    May 15, 2013
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  98. Anon, a couple agents! My beta readers have loved that she not only didn't end up with the creep, but that she…well, I really want to give the end away, but won't. You'll have to get the book at this point to find out. Purchasing will directly benefit women's shelters with 20% of gross sales going directly to women's shelters (which is more than I'd have to donate if I went the print-on-demand route and donated 100%, which is why I'll be self-pubbing in the truest sense of the word and funding the printing – more info at alysbcohen.wordpress.com later this week on how that works, and yes, ebooks will be available too).

    You can also enter to win a couple copies of Sacred Blood with no countries excluded: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17238992-sacred-blood

    I decided to go the self-pubbing route because I not only couldn't stomach having Juliette go back to a creep who does something beyond even Christian Grey, but wanted these books to help women's shelters, and it would just be wrong having books sending the same message about love being all it takes to reform an abuser fund shelters. I just can't do that.

    Something's really wrong when the books agents and publishers want at the ones endorsing abuse. 🙁

    (Jenny, sorry for the shameless plugs, but I thought you'd be okay with it since it is for something that is anti-abuse and will financially benefit shelters.)

    May 15, 2013
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  99. It's not harmless fantasy when teen girls are thinking it's romantic when someone breaks into your room to watch you sleep because it just means he “loves” you so much, or that it's further proof of his “love” when he prevents you from seeing your friends.

    The whole point of imprinting is sex and babies. In the vision Jacob has in the movie as soon as he imprints he sees Renesmee as old enough to get in the sack. SMeyer herself produced the Breaking Dawn movies (and gave herself too long of a cameo, just the camera on her smiling face for several seconds), and Jacob instantly seeing Nessie as a young adult in a romantic light is canon.

    You seem to think there are 27-year-old billionaires willing to date regular people like Christian.

    If you think fans are holding out for people who are the exact same, down to being a vampire or billionaire, then you are missing the point. Fans of these books are thinking the ACTIONS are romantic.

    May 15, 2013
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  100. I have a friend going through this literally right this minute. He's holding her in another state even though she lives near me, and he made her miss her plane and is controlling the money so she can't come home (where her birth control is), and is pulling the hole “stay near me so I can be a dad” think even though he complains about spending time with the baby. She's scared the guy will hut her, but is hoping he'll come around and turn into a good guy. It's killing me.

    It sounds like you didn't repeat your dad's actions, and I'm glad for that. Often boys grow up to be like their abusive dads. 🙁

    May 15, 2013
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  101. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    @Zee upthread — I also thought that EL James's cameo was as Dr. Flynn's wife Rhiann. But technically the cricket comment came from Flynn (because he's British) and she chides him for making a British joke (because she's supposed to be American, and Americans totally don't get cricket). Rhiann is one of the few pretty incidental female characters that Ana isn't openly hostile towards and doesn't give a snarky nickname, so that made me suspicious. The subconscious character also makes sense for EL's cameo, now that I think about it.

    May 15, 2013
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  102. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    @Alys I freaking LOVE all of the little background trivia about Stephanie Meyer/Twilight and EL James/Fifty Shades. Can't get enough of it. Where do you find all your deets?

    May 15, 2013
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  103. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    My links to the My Immortal fan fic died and I haven't been able to find it since. I laughed so hard I was crying as I tried reading it. I actually read most of it aloud to my brother, who was literally rolling around on the floor laughing. It had us in stitches for hours.

    Worst fan fic story ever= most amusing fan fic ever. Who knew?

    Fun fact: did you know that someone hacked the authors LJ account and posted their own version of one of the chapters?

    May 15, 2013
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  104. C
    C

    No, I understand the stalker tendencies and weirdness in Twilight. My downfall is the hope that people will see the fantasy as just that. Not as in dreaming that it would come true but that fiction books are like movie… Nothing ever looks that good in real life. Also NO I do not think that there is an abundance of 27 year old billionaires out there for the pickings. I was saying that it is all too easy to find someone who behaves like Christian does and that is what makes these books all the more dangerous. I lived in abusive home for 18 years. I know the signs in and out. The fact that these booka are being seem as a how-to guide for any part of any relationship. Please try not to take things so literal. Yes Edward sneaking in to watch Bella sleep is creepy. I also find Anne Rice's books creepy. I would hope though that people are smart enough to weed out the unlikely aspects. That may be my failing, that I hope that humanity still has a shread of common sence when it comes to these things.

    May 16, 2013
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  105. C
    C

    Please forgive the typos. It is 4 a.m and Insomnia and pain make my hands shaky.

    May 16, 2013
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  106. C
    C

    Sorry man. I went through the same thing. Except that my mother could be the textbook enabler one minute, saying that she couldn't take us from our father. Then when she decided to pack us up and go, he would stop at nothoin to keep us there. By the time he sobered up I dodn't give a shot what either of them thought. Then, of courese, HE left us. Which I still find hilarious to this day. It sucks having to deal with that kind of life. I suppose that the fact that I see Twilight as a complete work of never-gonna-happen fiction and 50 Shades aa hitting way too close to home sort of skews my point of view. I was molested by a real person instead of being laid claim to by a werewolf. I was watched at night by a father who was so drunk that he thought his family was a group of Vietnamese spies. I was beaten by a father who perceived any word or action that didn't match his own as a threat. I guess its just easier for me to see 50 shades as dangerous because the signs seem way more blaent to me due to my childhood.

    May 16, 2013
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  107. C
    C

    Sheesh with the typos. Sorry, again.

    May 16, 2013
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  108. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Another thing that gets my goat about Ana … why is she constantly 'idly' wondering? Why can't she just 'wonder' about things, why does E L always have her 'idly wondering'?

    A stupid point, but it really annoys me (as well as all the other stuff)

    May 16, 2013
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  109. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    Every time I hear about “Good moaning” I'm reminded of that policeman in the British sitcom Allo Allo, the one who couldn't 'speak' french so he spoke in a hilarious way. And he used that expression which, even after all these years, is still funny. Urgh, I can't believe EL is ruining that for me…

    May 16, 2013
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  110. C
    C

    I never knew that one could wonder idly. Oddly yes, but not idly. Or maybe if one is as dim-witted as Ana, their thoughts would be naturally idle since serious thought may cause brain damage.

    May 16, 2013
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  111. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    OMG thank you so much Zee!!!

    May 16, 2013
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  112. Erin
    Erin

    Thanks for calling out the assumption that all Chinese men are entitled spoiled brats. I noticed it and didn't say anything, which . . . I'm not exactly proud of. Standing up for women shouldn't mean I ONLY stand up for women. So thank you for that reminder, and for saying what I didn't.

    May 17, 2013
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  113. zee
    zee

    I guess it's a thought she's not emotionally invested in?

    May 20, 2013
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  114. Anonymous
    Anonymous

    You've accused Ana so many times of being a terrible person that I've recently started to imagine GLaDOS' voice saying it to Ana every time. GlaDOS is an AI in Portal games that insults the player all the way trough an endless set of test chambers she has trapped the player in. If you're not familiar with her, check some of her insults here so you know how she talks:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_V5AHoImqk

    I think what Ana really needs is GLaDOS as her “subconscious” (it's conscience E.L. you imbecile!).

    June 6, 2013
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  115. The first page of Google image results for “looking up through lashes” has no pictures of anyone, in fact, looking up through their lashes.

    June 7, 2013
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  116. kd
    kd

    Late to the game here, but I just had to point out that this:

    “Apparently, Christian builds ships now. I don’t fucking know”

    …is yet another rip-off from Pretty Woman. (“We’re going to build ships together. Great big ships.”)

    The further along I get in your recaps (I can’t bring myself to read the actual books), the more similarities I see with Pretty Woman. Super rich guy buys companies in trouble? Check. Sex on a piano? Check. “She rescues him yet back”? Pretty much everything E.L. James is going for.

    Clearly, someone watched a certain movie after an editor told her to change the character names from Edward and Bella. Holy shit, Edward…

    November 28, 2013
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    • kd
      kd

      Oops, I meant “She rescues him RIGHT back.”

      November 28, 2013
      |Reply
  117. watergirl
    watergirl

    “This paragraph opens the chapter and somehow manages to sum up everything that is wrong with their relationship. One partner is willing to lie, hot and uncomfortable, so as to not wake the other partner. One partner is unwilling to let the other partner make a single decision for herself because it makes him emotionally uncomfortable.”

    I do this with my cat. 🙁
    Am I truly then a crazy cat lady?
    When my cute little fuzzybutt is lying on me, I will stay uncomfortable for an hour to not distburb Prince Fuzzybutt.

    April 9, 2015
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  118. I just realized Anastasia’s birthday is in September. Bella’s birthday is in September, the 13th to be specific.

    I do love that Fifty Shades is a rip-off even in the little details…

    June 22, 2015
    |Reply
    • OH! And Christian’s birthday is in June–same as Edward’s.

      Man, E.L James. It’s that hard to switch around the months at least? At least she changed the days. That’s practically going the extra mile.

      June 22, 2015
      |Reply
  119. L
    L

    Still enjoying your recaps, I just realised:
    It would have been awesome if E.L. had chosen Christian’s last name to be “Edwards” or something like that, because Anastasia Rose Steele Edwards would have had great initials…

    November 9, 2015
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  120. Karen
    Karen

    That comment from Christian near the beginning of this chapter:

    “I can’t bear that he touched you.”

    I know that this is just reinforcing something he’s already said 50 billion times before in these shitty, shitty books but I just can’t stand it any more. Not “I was so afraid he’d hurt you.” No, someone had touched his fucking possession – how dare they!

    Fuck you, Christian shitface Grey and fuck you, TSTL Ana. God, I don’t think I’ve ever hated imaginary characters quite so much!

    March 2, 2017
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