50 Shades of Grey chapter 26 recap or “The end! The end! My god yes, yes, yes, the end!”

Just when I thought I couldn’t stand it anymore, just when I thought that surely I would die from the exquisite torture of it, I am done with recapping this fucking book. Let me tell you, it was almost more difficult re-reading it than reading it in the first place.

Before we dive into this bittersweet last recap, I want to just thank everyone who has come here and had discussions, pointed out errors (E.L. James’s and my own), who have enjoyed the recaps, and really, to the people who didn’t enjoy them, too, because you participated as well. This has been a lot of fun. I’m still on the fence about book two, but we’ll see what happens after my vacation.

Oh, what’s that, you ask? My vacation? Well, I’ll tell you. When this beauty posts on Saturday, I will be on my way up north, to Michigan’s beautiful U.P. That is, I’ll be leaving the part of my beautiful state that looks like a mitten and heading to the part that looks more like a shark or someone’s hand if they’ve worked in a paper mill their entire vocational life and they maybe had some industrial accidents. If you’ve never been to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, you’re missing a really unique time capsule of a place. It’s like stepping back into the 1950′s in some places. It’s truly magical, and I’m going to spend a whole week on the shores of  the big lake they call Gitcheegoomi, otherwise known as Lake Superior. That’s one of the Great Lakes, Chet. Be jealous. There’s a sea monster in it. I’ll be working on a book of mine own, for the first time in months, and hanging out with some like-minded author friends and probably passing my days in a Hunter S. Thompson style substance binge. Maybe it will cleanse my soul and I’ll be all geared up to read more about Jack Hyde. Who knows. Maybe I’ll blow off the Mighty Mac and die. I really hope not, because I think that’s only happened to like, one other person and it would SUCK to be the second person that happened to. I wouldn’t even make the papers.

So, without further ado, here is the final 50 Shades of Grey recap, with way fewer punches pulled, in my opinion.

I wake with a jolt.

I realize that this is the last time I’m going to have to read a chapter that begins with Ana waking up or going to sleep. Victory is mine!

Ana wakes up at five in the morning because of the three hour time difference. She was only there for four days, dude. She gets jet-lagged easily. She needs to take her pill, so she gets out of bed to do so. I wonder why she’s taking her pill so early in the morning, that she’s going to have to set an alarm to wake her up that early. Or maybe she forgot her pill the day before. Don’t know, don’t care, this is the last day of school for me.

Christian is playing piano, so she puts on her robe and goes to listen to the “melodic lament” he’s playing. Doesn’t this guy know any happy songs? Oh shit, that’s right, he couldn’t know any happy songs, because he’s tortured.

Shrouded in darkness, Christian sits in a bubble of light as he plays, and his hair glints with burnished copper highlights. He looks naked, though I know he’s wearing his PJ bottoms. He’s concentrating, playing beautifully, lost in the melancholy of the music.

I feel like this has happened before. I have the oddest sense of deja vu.

Just ignore it.

He looks lost, sad even, and achingly lonely – or maybe it’s just the music that’s so full of poignant sorrow. He finishes the piece, pauses for a split second, then starts to play it again.

That’s probably the only piano piece he knows, and he just plays it when women are over to like, impress them. Once, I saw some youtube clip where James May was talking about how even guys who can’t play the piano could learn to play this one, impressive sounding piece, and it would get them ladies. Let me see if I can’t rustle that clip up and post it here for all my James May lovin’ sisters and brothers:


Okay, I may have confused this clip with the one from Man Lab where he teaches the guy to cheat on  guitar. But in any case, that’s what happened. Christian Grey only knows how to play one song on the piano, and I’m sticking with that theory, because it’s hilarious.

Full disclosure, I had to share that link because I love all of you who have come out to me with your James May crushes and I thought we should share this moment before the fickleness of the internet forces us apart. Know that I will forever remember your excellent taste in over-forty hotties.

I move cautiously toward him, drawn as the moth to the flame… the idea makes me smile.

You know, that metaphor will never get old. I assume I’ll see plenty of it in book two.

Sigh.

You know I’m totally going to read the damn thing.

Christian tells her she should be asleep. Well, maybe if someone with a piano wasn’t making a bunch of fucking racket and forcing us to experience scene deja vu…

I ignore his facial expression and very bravely sit down beside him on the piano stool, placing my head on his bare shoulder to watch his deft, agile fingers caress the keys. He pauses fractionally, and then continues to the end of the piece.

“What was that?” I ask softly.

“Chopin. Opus 8, number 4. In E minor, if you’re interested,” he murmurs.

There’s like, only one way to improve on that sentence, and that would be to add, “Pleb,” to the end of it. That would be hilarious.

Ana says that she’s always interested in what he does, and I’m kind of expecting him to say, “Not super controlling pseudo BDSM,” but he doesn’t, unfortunately.

“I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“You didn’t. Play the other one.”

Oh snap, she’s on to him and his one song repertoire!

“The Back piece that you played the first night I stayed.”

“Oh, the Marcello.”

Just play it, jackass.

He starts to play slowly and deliberately. I feel the movement of his hands in his shoulder as I lean against him and close my eyes. The sad, soulful notes swirl slowly and mournfully around us, echoing off the walls. It is a hauntingly beautiful piece, sadder even than the Chopin, and I lose myself to the beauty of the lament. To a certain extent, it reflects how I feel. The deep poignant longing I have to know this extraordinary man better to try and understand his sadness.

I’m sure that’s exactly what the composer intended. He was like, “Some day, not soon, but some day, my work will be immortalized in a book about an intensely unlikable woman and her abusive boyfriend.” And then Thomas Tallis swooped in and stole his thunder.

 “Why do you only play such sad music?”

For attention.

Christian asks Ana for what feels like the hundredth time in this scene already why she’s up, and she explains the timezone difference and that she has to take her pill. He chides her about starting birth control in another time zone, and then lays out this very specific plan for getting back on schedule. I realize that they really do recommend you take your birth control pill at the same time every day, but is three hours difference really going to matter on your, what, fourth or fifth pill? I don’t think it would. I’m not a gynecologist, but I just don’t think it would.

Christian wants to have sex, but Ana would rather talk. Because that’s what this book is about, one slow, teasing build up to a conversation. I bet you thought it was about the sex!

The sex was a red herring.

“Maybe on the piano,” he whispers.

Oh my. My whole body tightens at the thought. Piano. Wow.

Go for it. It will never, ever be as hot as this:

Nothing will ever be this hot.
Rather than have sex on the piano, Ana wants to figure out, once and for all, what is up with their relationship, and specifically the contract.

“Well, I think the contract is moot, don’t you?” His voice is low and husky, his eyes soft. “Moot?”

“Moot.” He smiles. I gape at him quizzically.

“But you were so keen.”

So… wait a second. You spend the entire book bitching about how you don’t want to sign the contract, and now you’re all, “Hey, why haven’t I signed the contract?” about it? Ana cannot make up her damned mind.

 “Well, that was before. Anyway, the Rules aren’t moot, they still stand.” His expression hardens slightly.

So, he’s not into the paperwork anymore, but he’s still going to want total control over her entire life. You know, at least under the contract, thee were safeguards for the stuff she didn’t want to do. But before, he says? Before what?

“Before,”… He pauses, and the wary expression is back, “more.” He shrugs.

“Oh.”

“Besides, we’ve been in the playroom twice now, and you haven’t run screaming for the hills.”

“Oh.”

“Do you expect me to?”

“Nothing you do is expected, Anastasia,” he says dryly.

 Are we reading the same book, Christian? I’ve been able to pretty accurately predict every thing she’s done so far.

“So, let me be clear. You just want me to follow the Rules of element of the contract all the time but not the rest of the contract?”

“Except in the playroom.  I want you to follow the spirit of the contract in the playroom, and yes, I want you to follow the rules – all the time. Then I know you’ll be safe, and I’ll be able to have you anytime I wish.”

You guys got that? She doesn’t have to follow the contract, just the rules, unless they’re in the play room, but he wants her to follow the rules all the time. And the reason she needs to do this is so that he’ll be able to have her any time he wants. Look at how reasonable that is!

“And if I break one of the rules?”

“But won’t you need my permission?”

“Yes, I will.”

“And if I say no?”

 He gazes at me for a moment, with a confused expression.

“If you say no, you’ll say no. I’ll have to find a way to persuade you.” I pull away from him and stand. I need some distance. He frowns as I stare down at him. He looks puzzled and wary again

“So the punishment aspect remains.”

 “Yes, but only if you break the rules.”

What the shit is this, the freaking LSATs? It’s like a logic problem, and in the answers it says “none of the above” right above “all of the above.” How is she supposed to figure any of this out? Is she writing it down?

Ana can’t really remember what the rules are. If she could hear me, I would remind her that the rules are as follows:

Rules for being Chedward’s girlfriend

  1. Do what he says, whenever he says.
  2. If you don’t, he gets to beat you.
  3. Don’t have friends or family he doesn’t approve of.

See, super easy.

Chedward goes to get her a copy of the rules, and Ana thinks about how weird it is that they’re talking about it early in the morning while his business is in crisis. Well, you know, Ana, you were the one who brought it up. It’s not like you didn’t know what time it is.

When he returns with the rules, I don’t see a lot of changes, though Ana assures the reader that some things are crossed out. she’s still expected to do whatever he asks “eagerly and without hesitation” sleep the number of hours he wants, eat the foods he approves, wear the clothing he approves, work out with a trainer, stay completely waxed, and behave the way he deems appropriate. She must do all these things, or be punished.

They start to talk a little bit about the contract, but then Ana has the audacity to roll her eyes. Christian wants to spank her for that infraction, but Ana tells him he has to catch her first.

“I’m quite fast you know.” I try for nonchalance.

“So am I.”

He’s stalking me, in his own kitchen.

Must be nice for him to be working from home for a change. Christian points out that if Ana runs and gets hurt, she’ll be breaking one of the rules, but she takes off, anyway.

Suddenly, he lunges for me, making me squeal and run for the dining room table. I manage to escape, putting the table between us. My heart is pounding and adrenaline has spiked through my body… boy… this is so thrilling. I’m a child again, though that’s not right.

So not right.

Ana outruns him for a while, and he says it seems like she doesn’t want him to catch her:

 “I don’t. That’s the point. I feel about punishment the way you feel about me touching you.” His entire demeanor changes in a nanosecond. Gone is playful Christian, and he stands staring at me as if I’d slapped him. He’s ashen.

“That’s how you feel?” he whispers.

Those four words, and the way he utters them, speaks volumes. Oh no.They tell me so much more about him and how he feels. They tell me about his fear and loathing.

 We can’t stop here. This is spank country.

Ana backs down from her assertion that she hates being spanked as much as he hates being touched, because she gets this crazy feeling that disliking being spanked due to not being spanked as a child is probably not the same as disliking being touched due to having someone put fucking cigarettes out on your chest as a child. Then she claims that she’s “‘ambivalent about it. I don’t like it, but I don’t hate it.’” Okay, that’s selling yourself a little short. You don’t like physical pain, speak up and be honest about it, don’t back down like, “Oh, I’m actually just ‘meh’ about it,” when you really feel strongly that you do not want to be involved in physical pain as a sexual fetish.
Because that’s what this is, readers. In the final chapter, we get to the crux of things. Christian isn’t into BDSM. He’s into causing pain, which, while sometimes falling under the umbrella of BDSM, is a pretty specific subgenre of BDSM fun times:

“I do it for you, Christian, because you need it. I don’t. You didn’t hurt me last night. That was in a different context, and I can rationalize that internally, and I trust you. But when you want to punish me, I worry that you’ll hurt me.” His gray eyes blaze like a turbulent storm. Time moves, and expands and slips away before he answers softly.

“I want to hurt you. But not beyond anything that you couldn’t take.” Fuck!

“Why?”

He runs his hand through his hair, and he shrugs.

“I just need it.” He pauses, gazing at me with anguish, and he closes his eyes and shakes his head. “I can’t tell you,” he whispers.

 Ana asks if it’s “can’t” or “won’t” and he admits that he just plain won’t tell her. Because he’s afraid she’ll leave him. So, he just wants to cause her pain, for no reason, and she should be cool about it, because he knows exactly what she can/can’t handle with regard to his tortured past.

“Don’t leave me. You said you wouldn’t leave me, and you begged me not to leave you, in your sleep,” he murmurs against my lips.

Oh… my nocturnal confessions.

“I don’t want to go.” And my heart clenches, turning itself inside out.

This is a man in need. His fear is naked and obvious, but he’s lost… somewhere in his darkness. His eyes wide and bleak and tortured. I can soothe him. Join him briefly in the darkness and bring him into the light.

How is she going to do this? By letting him beat the ever living shit out of her. No, I’m not kidding. She tells Christian she wants to see how much it can hurt, and he expresses disbelief.

“Yes, I said I would.” But I have an ulterior motive. If I do this for him, maybe he will let me touch him.

This seems like the sort of thing you might want to work out, perhaps on paper, in a contract of some kind, perhaps, before you let someone unleash hell on your butt. Either way, he’s DTS (down to spank) and he takes her into the red room and tells her to bend over a bench. He’s going to hit her with a belt. A straight up belt.

“We’re here because you said yes, Anastasia. And you ran from me. I am going to hit you six times, and you will count with me.”

 Six times, with a belt, so it hurts as much as it can possibly hurt. You dig? This is the moment, guys.

“I am doing this so that you remember not to run from me, and as exciting as it is, I never want you to run from me,” he whispers.

And the irony is not lost on me. I was running to avoid this. If he’d opened his arms, I’d run to him, not away from him.

Ana notices that as he talks, though, he sounds more like the Christian she’s used to, like he’s in his element or something.

I close my eyes, bracing myself for the blow. It comes hard, snapping across my backside, and the bit of the belt is everything I feared. I cry out involuntarily, and take a huge gulp of air.

So, the belt hurts. At least it’s not the canes, right? So, he hits her, it hurts, etc.

“Five.” My voice is more a choked, strangled sob, and in this moment, I think I hate him.

Once he’s done whipping her with the belt, she doesn’t want him touching her, but all he wants to do is straight up cuddle. Guys, pssh. Always with the cuddling, am I right, ladies?

“Don’t touch me!” I hiss. I straighten and stare at him, and he’s watching me as if I might bolt, gray eyes wide, bemused. I dash the tears angrily out of my eyes with the backs of my hands, glaring at him.

“This is what you really like? Me, like this?” I use the sleeve of the bathrobe to wipe my nose.

He gazes at me warily.

“Well, you are one fucked-up son of a bitch.”

Let me just remind you, he bought what appeared to be murder supplies in front of her in chapter two. Straight out of Dexter murder supplies. And then she found out they were just for sex. And only now does she think he’s fucked up?

 Ana tells him to sort his shit out and then goes to her room.

What was I thinking? Why did I let him do that to me? I wanted the dark, to explore how bad it could be – but it’s too dark for me. I cannot do this. Yet, this is what he does, this how he gets his kicks.

What a monumental wake-up call. And to be fair to him, he warned me and warned me, time and again. He’s not normal. He has needs that I cannot fulfill. I realize that now.

Let’s keep on forgetting how he doesn’t meet a single one of your needs. Let’s roll around in our anguish about not being able to meet his. Oh, you’re going to do that for a whole bunch more paragraphs? Please, carry on.

Why, why, why have I fallen in love with Fifty Shades? Why?

Replace “I” with “Women” and you will be echoing my frustration with this book, Ana.

Oh, his distraught look as I left. I was so cruel, so shocked by the savagery… will he forgive me… will I forgive him? My thoughts are all haywire and jumbled, echoing and bouncing off the inside of my skull. My subconscious is shaking her head sadly, and my inner goddess is nowhere to be seen.

Maybe Christian beat her to death.

I have to go. That’s it… I have to leave. He’s no good for me, and I am no good for him. How can we possibly make this work? And the thought of not seeing him again practically chokes me… my Fifty Shades.

I feel like that phrase has been used so many times in this book, both the words “fifty” and “shades” are now meaningless for all eternity.

Christian comes in and tries to snuggle with her, but she’s still not having it. He’s brought her Advil and Arnica cream, but I don’t know what Arnica cream is, so I’m going to just call it ass cream.

Here goes. I need to say my piece. “I don’t think I can be everything you want me to be,” I whisper. His eyes widen slightly, and he blinks, his fearful expression returning.

“You are everything I want you to be.”

What?

“I don’t understand. I’m not obedient, and you can be sure as hell I’m not going to let you do that to me again. And that’s what you need, you said so.” He closes his eyes again, and I can see a myriad of emotions cross his face. When he reopens them, his expression is bleak. Oh no.

We all know that they’re breaking up, so allow me to interrupt this recap to defend “a myriad of.” I know it sticks in some of your craws when it shows up in this book. And God knows I don’t want to be E.L. James’s champion or anything. But this is important. If you look up “myriad” in Miriam-Webster, it’s going to tell you that either “myriad” or “a myriad of” are correct usage. I’m sorry for your loss.

Ana and Christian continue to break up, complete with a whole, “You’re right, you should go”/”I don’t want to go”/”I don’t want you to go” back and forth, but then Ana lets loose with the game changer:

“Me too,” I whisper, “I’ve fallen in love with you, Christian.” His eyes widen again, but this time, with pure undiluted fear.

Remember how he had that whole commitment problem before, readers? Dropping L-bombs doesn’t work great with him, for some reason, and he flips out. Why? Because he can’t make Ana happy.

Holy fuck. This really is it. This is what it boils down to – incompatibility – and all those poor subs come to mind.

They make their break up official and Ana asks for privacy to get dressed, because she is going to leave.

I have had my eyes opened and glimpsed the extent of his depravity, and I now know he’s not capable of love – of giving or receiving love. My worst fears have been realized. And strangely, it’s very liberating.

The pain is such that I refuse to acknowledge it. I feel numb. I have somehow escaped from my body and am now a casual observer to this unfolding tragedy.

She takes a shower, gets dressed, and as she’s digging through her suitcase she finds the little gift she got for Christian. Bit reveal time, it’s a model kit of a glider. She even wrote a note that says, “This reminded me of a happy time.”

Wait, what? Reminds her of a happy time… yesterday?

She leaves the glider and the note on Christian’s pillow, thinking really dramatic thoughts about breaking up with her boyfriend of less than a month:

I cannot believe that my world is crumbling around me into a sterile pile of ashes, all my hopes and dreams cruelly dashed.

Okay, hold up. All your hopes and dreams? You’ve been with this guy like, a few weeks. Didn’t you have hopes and dreams before you met him? Or did you just throw those out when the more important boyfriend came along?

As Ana comes out of the bathroom, she hears Christian on the phone, yelling at someone, ordering them to “find her.” I assume he’s already stalking his next lady love, then?

Ana tries to return the computer and BlackBerry, she just wants the money Taylor got for selling her car. They argue about it, but he ends up giving her a check. While Taylor brings the car round, and after they argue some more, Christian says:

“I don’t want you to go,” he murmurs, his voice full of longing.

“I can’t stay. I know what I want and you can’t give it to me, and I can’t give you what you need.”

Ana leaves Christian in his sterile art gallery of an apartment, and goes downstairs to get in the car.

Embarrassment and shame washes over me. I’m a complete failure. I had hoped to drag my Fifty Shades into the light, but it’s proved a task beyond my meager abilities. Desperately, I try to keep my emotions banked and at bay. As we head out onto 4th Avenue, I stare blankly out of the window, and the enormity of what I’ve done slowly washes over me. Shit – I’ve left him. The only man I’ve ever loved. The only man I’ve ever slept with.

Ana starts bawling in the car, and then when she gets home, shit really hits the fan, because she sees the deflated helicopter balloon tied to the end of her bed.

I fall onto my bed, shoes and all, and howl. The pain is indescribable… physical, mental… metaphysical… it is everywhere, seeping into the marrow of my bones. Grief.

You know, I’ve had a similar reaction, myself. WHEN SOMEONE FUCKING DIED. GET YOUR SHIT SHIT TOGETHER ANA.

This is grief – and I’ve bought it on myself. Deep down, a nasty, unbidden thought comes from my inner goddess, her lip curled in a snarl… the physical pain from the bite of a belt is nothing, nothing compared to this devastation. I curl up, desperately clutching the flat foil balloon and Taylor’s handkerchief, and surrender myself to my grief.

So, basically what just happened in this chapter is the beginning of the second Twilight book. So, we’re going to leave our recaps just like this:

 THANK YOU FOLKS! (AB)NORMAL BLOG ENTRIES RESUME JULY 2nd!

WE FUCKING SURVIVED THIS BOOK TOGETHER! 

47 thoughts on “50 Shades of Grey chapter 26 recap or “The end! The end! My god yes, yes, yes, the end!”

  1. Well, that was awful. I'm not sure at what point I was supposed to get turned on (and I *am* turned on by pain and restraints, so you know…), as I spent more and more time with each of your summaries repressing the gag reflex. Bless you for reading it for those of us who want to keep our sanity. May your time in the sanitorium be short, and may the electroshock therapy wipe all knowledge of the book from your brain – except for the knowledge that you really don't want to read it.

  2. I,m really pleased I found this blog because I was becoming obsessed with analysing the concept of why CG is how he is. Now I have more of a reasoned look at it,,,,I'm still F***kin obsessed. I'm glad that you have found time read the next book and give us your thoughts. Then maybe, I can move on and listen to something elase on my ipod

  3. this has literally been one of the funniest things i have ever read. as someone who read the original fanfic way before it was made into a book, it’s nice to see an analysis of it now that it’s become this obsession for so many people. it really is a fucked up book, jesus.

  4. that was completely how i felt when i finished the book. i was like ‘but i thought they’d only known each other a month?’ god, my little sister carried on less when she broke up with the cheating scum she’d been a year with. and she was a teenager.

  5. FYI, arnica is a plant derived gel that lessens swelling and helps bruising heal faster. I used it after spraining my ankle and it helped a lot.

    Thanks for a hilarious/disturbing/depressing read!

  6. And FYI, it’s another Britticism. Arnica is pretty much a household word over here. No American author would use it without explaining what it is.

  7. I read the entire recap in one day. Thank you so much for doing this – I hadn’t read the books, but I had heard a lot about them, and it was absolutely fascinating to see them broken down like this. You did an awesome job.

  8. I think I left a similar comment in chapter 14 or something, but I need to say it again. This book has a reputation for having loads of kinky depraved sex. I counted maybe 6 instances of kinky in the entire damn thing. Some of them seem so brief it’s hardly worth mentioning, and others are described with all the sexiness and emotional depth of a Statistics Canada report. While it might kinda turn me on to hear it, “ow, fuck!” does not qualify as vivid imagery. I mean, I’m hardly an expert on smutty romance novels, being a 20 y.o. gay man with more fetishes than I can count with my socks *off*, but I somehow doubt it’s typical for the “main event,” as it were to be that far out of the spotlight. Granted I’m not sure why it is I’m surprised a book that’s sorta fallen into the role of “midwest soccer moms’ intro to kink” is pretty lightweight when it comes to the actual kinky stuff, but I need to reiterate: I have called harder stuff CUTE.

    Come to think of it, I’m not even sure I’d call this book kink-positive. Every time it comes up, the focus is on how much Ana hates it and how much of a freak she thinks Christian is for liking it.

    1. This is not kink positive, this is telling people kink is the result of emotional trauma or a traumatic childhood. This is telling people that kink is bad and abuse is kink.

  9. I am apparently coming to this recap (of awesome and laughter) very late I want to say that this showed me one thing. Horrible, but good? A relationship (I am no longer in) was really abusive. I’ve been telling people who tell me it was for a very long time that no it really wasn’t.

    Yeah. It was. Without the billionaire and the not really all that kinky kinky sex it was pretty much this abusive. But for 10 fucking years. Why is this book seen as anything other than a horror novel of the abuse and vileness of human nature.

  10. Have loved reading these re-caps, looking forward to the next set. I have to say, after reading you’re fabulously funny blog, that this book is the biggest load of clap trap, and melodramatic bullshit and to think it’s still,listed in the NY Times newspaper on the best seller pages.
    It mocks people who truly have serious, deep seat, fears and phobias.

  11. Wow! I should be mad at you because I spent a considerable portion of the morning when I should have been writing or doing dishes reading these recaps, but I can’t. You pointed out a nauseated/nauseous error, which is one of my biggest pet peeves. I try, I really try, not to have language usage related pet peeves, but that one annoys me because if I use the word “nauseous” correctly, people will think I’m wrong.

    Anyway, I really loved these recaps. I read about…a third of the book, then remembered that life is short and allowed myself to stop. But I really wanted to learn more about it and why everyone thinks it’s so all-consuming hot. I…still don’t understand that last part, but I don’t think I ever will.

  12. My inner devil is doing a sort of cheerleader routine, applauding you for:

    1. Having the stamina to get through this farrago.

    2. Making me laugh like a drain throughout reading.

    3. Sharing with us. Thank you for a good read!

  13. Hi Jen!

    I just finished reading your first book re-cap and I must say, never have I read anything funnier! your comedic timing, wit, and sarcasm are SPOT on! I definitely spent all morning at work..not working and instead chuckling quietly at my desk while simultaneously shaking my head at the fact that this book is the most read book in history :S THANK you for this awesomeness and I cannot wait to read the next one!

    1. Um, yes on the comedic timing, wit and sarcasm – I basically dropped into a black hole for the past two days just to read all of these, canceling almost everything I had scheduled (with many spoken aloud “OH MY GOD”s of complete disbelief – right along with “Seriously?” and “COME ON”, and many loud & long bursts of laughter that probably made my neighbors think I’m a weirdo). I want to compile a ‘greatest hits’ of all these to get a select few family and friends to read it, and it’s going to be effing hard to pick even just 5. Also, I feel like your careful explanations and understanding of BDSM vs abuse vs psychological treatment made the book’s over-romanticizing and ridiculous utter bullshit that much clearer.

      After seeing what happened to my bleak productivity levels, I’m not even thinking of starting your book two recaps until another weekend. Bravo, Jenny! And thank you for being awesome. (And for sacrificing yourself to read this for us.)

      1. Our friendship group has been doing the same with this blog… we’ve all checked out of our lives for a few days to read and post excerpts in our facebook chat group: crying with laughter at the olympic level snark: Jenny is a champion. I’ve stayed up reading these blogs until 7am two nights running, and passed out at 4am last night due to sleep deprivation!

        Quite sure all the other students in my block think I have gone crazy due to laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe at times, and shouting at my computer screen.

        I desperately want to see if Jenny did the next two books… I wish she would compile these blog posts into a book of some sort (if she did do the other two books, that is). I would actually buy: the literary critique, the social/psychological critique, the wit… these posts have it all.

  14. Is it just me or is 50 Shades of Grey simply a HORRIBLE ripoff of the beautifully written, concise and memorable erotic novel Nine and a Half Weeks by Elisabeth McNeill and the eponymous movie starring Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger?

    I mean, at least in Nine 1/2 Weeks, there is some real hot action happening and some pretty shocking sex scenes. I honestly found nothing even remotely shocking or exciting about 50 Shades of Grey.

    I mean, the big shocking event that ends their relationship is that he hit her ass with a belt six times? Maybe I have a high tolerance for pain but I thought the breakup would be over something so much worse, like humiliating her in public or insulting her by treating her like his fuck toy from the get go. I’m thinking that this would have been a better reason to break up than six consensual hits with a belt within a sexual context.

    Anyways, this whole phenomenon is both fascinating and depressing, because it says a lot about how low our standards have become for entertainment these days.

    1. Eh… I don’t think Ana could have meaningfully consented to being punished/beaten… also, I think from the text, he used the metal buckle of the belt on her, not just the belt: which could have broken her pelvis/hips.

      The fact he did it in anger (and this was made more explicit in the film than the book, the book makes it look more consensual, the film shows it to be actual domestic abuse), is abuse-dressed-as-BDSM, imo.

      We have an interesting law in Europe, which is handed down to all member states: that a person/sub cannot consent to being hit in such a way that either blood is drawn or lasting marks are made. That law is to protect people who are in DV/rape situations where the perp is saying “s/he likes it rough” or “we were doing BDSM”. It did come specifically from a bungled BDSM police investigation (the Spanner case), so it does relate specifically to the ability for people to bring charges against those who do non-consensually beat them and then claim it was consensual BDSM.

      I mean, if you consensually enjoy it, you wouldn’t bring charges right? NOT saying all those who don’t consent/enjoy would bring charges: but it does give more leverage for actual DV/rape situations.

  15. I loved your recaps. Thank you so much for doing this. It took me 6+ months to read this book a few years ago, and I hated it. I kept waiting for it to get better. Your recaps helped me remember why I hated it so much. I was hoping that you did the other ones too since I couldn’t bring myself to read them.

  16. I happened on your site from based on a post from someone on Dlisted. I am so glad they pointed me this way. I have not read the books–I’ve no desire to. I worked with someone who just about creamed her pants telling me about this book when it first came out. Ugh. I loved your recaps, every bit of it was fantastic! I don’t know how you did this. I wanted to slap the taste out of Ana’s and Chritian’s mouths. I cannot imagine the unmitigated horror of reading this tripe. Anyway, just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this!

  17. Thank you Jenny for reading these. Does knowing that there are lots of grateful people out there, help your pain? Grateful because I don’t have to read the damned book. I had no desire to read it when it first came out, but when the movie came out I wanted to find out what some of the scenes were people were talking about. So I read your recaps, and I have even less desire to read the books. At least I got to laugh while reading your recaps, while if I read the books I would have just got mad enough to smash things.

  18. Dear Jenny: Thank you. I HAD forced myself to read the books, and STILL didn’t understand their popularity. OK, it’s not just me: James really does make mistakes that a moderately intelligent 12-year-old using the Brontes to jump-start her own fantasy life wouldn’t make. Is our culture really that stupid, that of all the fanfic or erotic writing out there, THIS is what takes off?

  19. Thank you so much for doing this! I tried to read them just so I could see what everyone else was so excited about and failed early on. The only thing I wish is that someone had kept a running list of all the props and possessions Ana’s Inner Goddess has. The inside of Ana’s head must look like a theater company’s prop house-which explains a lot, really.

  20. Not even slightly drawn to the book, I thought maybe the movie would be, if not interesting, at least informative. But, the first thing I was, was late, thence to sit down alone in the crowded theater (I often see films alone, I know, that makes me seem weird, and I am. This I freely admit.) and it took about 5 minutes for my gorge to rise higher than a foot or two above my head, before I blundered forth to my exit. Looking around at those faces gazing upward in utter fascination with that irretrievable tripe did precisely nothing for the lifting of my opinion of my fellow Americans. We seemed surely doomed. Your recaps are evidence of several shreds of possible hope for humankind. Thanks at least a dozen times.

    1. The film was awful… mostly because ELJames had it written into her contract with Universal/Focus that she would have full artistic control and full power of veto over everything.

      They had award winning artists directing, filming, writing… she fought daily with each, and vetoed all their artistic visions… If you haven’t seen the film Closer (2004: written by Patrick Marber; staring Julia Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and whatsisname)… then go see on netflix/amazon: it is phenomenal storytelling… that is who they brought in to re-write 50shades into a decent, mature, intelligent, emotional story/script… and ELJames vetoed THE LOT, wanting HER OWN dialogue throughout… she demanded more and more graphic/gratuitous sex… oh, and the director, Sam Taylor Johnson, is an Evil!Blonde maverick photographer, who is mid 40s and married to 20-something hottie Aaron Taylor-Johnson… So I dread to think of ELJames’s internal monologue during the creative and filming process: I imagine it was somewhat like Ana’s about every Evil!Blonde woman she encounters.

      From everythign I’ve read about the backstage screaming matches, I think she is very much like her one character: controlling, cold, smothering, sulking.

      And… she is now putting Universal over a barrel, demanding to be the actual script writer for the next film… By the third film, what’s the betting she will not only be directing it, but staring in it, as Ana (who will miraculously have developed some ageing disease making her look 51 instead of 23)?

      I’m a sociologist, and as I have commented throughout on Jenny’s wonderful blog… this phenomenon (all of it, from mass cultural stockholm syndrome causing sales, to monstrous backstage behaviour) is fascinating/horrifying to me. I really want to understand the social phenomenon, and I just can’t get my head around it.

      1. Holy crap, I had no idea it had the same writer as Closer. I love that movie. That makes me so so sad. And I was already sad because the success of these books is kinda heartbreaking to me.

  21. After reading this book, it occurred to me that Ana is not really turned on by Grey most of the time. She is afraid of him and processes her fear arousal into sexual arousal. Ana wants to run away from him every time he scares her, but then she focuses that energy into how hot Grey is looking with some fabric across his hip.

  22. Thank you so much for reading/writing/enduring this for us!! The analysis was perfect, and the snark was olympic standard. I bet the stuff you toned down and edited out was even more hilarious and incisive.

    I have to write an essay today, but I will be back to read more of your blog when I am done.

    Thank you thank you thank you.

  23. Being deeply fascinated with human psychology and especially serial criminals Christian strikes me as a deeply troubled abused man. I would love to know more about his back story and a book from his perspective could be so enlightening and deeper than Ana’s story. But e.l.james will not want that. It will remain shallow poorly written moderately kinky fan fiction. :(

  24. I had a difficult time just getting through these recaps, I have NO IDEA how you made it through the book twice. Holy crap! I hope your comments circulate even more, now that Midnight Grey is on pre-order availability. Ugh, and LA Times Books tweeted about it. I told them “fuck you” and unfollowed them.

  25. I came here via a Livejournal sporking, and I’ve spent the last few evening reading your recaps – may I just say that I love your witty writing style and sense of humour? :D

    The reason why I’m commenting is this part: “The pain is such that I refuse to acknowledge it. I feel numb. I have somehow escaped from my body and am now a casual observer to this unfolding tragedy.”

    You know what this reminds me of? Dissociation, the kind where a person is in total overwhelm mode, and their mind has distanced itself from the surroundings to protect itself. (I wish I could explain it better.) At least this is how I feel when I disassociate, which is usually a sign that I’m a) not in a good place and b) haven’t been for quite a while. I know it’s just my personal theory, but if I imagine Ana being so overwhelmed and exhausted from being with Grey that she dissociates… it makes the whole thing ever creepier, and (although I can’t stand Ana as a character) very, very sad.

    1. That’s what rape victims usually do, too. If that doesn’t prove 50 shades is a book about an abusive relationship, I don’t know what does.
      Or maybe it’s the serial-killer’s shopping list. Then again, it could also be the way he’s a controlling asshole.
      Who knows ?

  26. Christian wants to have sex, but Ana would rather talk.

    ~ Jesus tapdancing Christ, FOUR times in only half a day? What man, in REAL life, has that kind of sex drive? 1-2 times in a day is average, 3 is rare and already pushing it. Even then, the guy’s gonna be too wiped out to perform for a day or two. :/

  27. “Well, I think the contract is moot, don’t you?” His voice is low and husky, his eyes soft. “Moot?” “Moot.” He smiles. I gape at him quizzically.

    ~AAAAAAAARRRRRHHHH!!! THAT IS SO GODDAMN ANNOYING! I fucking HATE it when a word gets repeated back and forth like that, especially when these fucktards already played this game earlier in the book, when she commented on how big his apartment was, and the word “big” gets tossed back and forth between them EXACTLY the same way “moot” was in this scene. WHO THE FUCK TALKS LIKE THAT IN REAL LIFE? Can you imagine how incredibly STUPID this would sound in the movie? I’m never going to watch the movie, so someone will have to tell me if they actually included this steaming pile of shit in the script or not.

  28. Did the following scene really read like this? Because it appears that Ana is the one saying “Oh” and then Christian is replying with “Do you expect me to?” I only get paid $200 per manuscript I edit for a tiny indie publisher, while you just KNOW the fucktard who edited this got paid THOUSANDS. Trust me, I am WAAAAAY more thorough than this dipshit.

    “Besides, we’ve been in the playroom twice now, and you haven’t run screaming for the hills.”

    “Oh.”

    “Do you expect me to?”

    “Nothing you do is expected, Anastasia,” he says dryly.

  29. I wish these books had been written 2 or 3 years sooner, and then your recaps and my subsequent standard of being behind by a couple years of reading things I should would have maybe helped me leave my own fucked up and abusive relationship sooner.

    I don’t know if that way too long sentence made sens, but basically, thank you for doing this chapter by chapter analysis. With a logically sane opinion of it.

  30. As many said before me, thank you for these recaps. It was a delightful (due to your commentary) and an awful (due to this abomination of a book) journey.
    A couple weeks ago, when I started to read these recaps, I had a dream about 50 Shades: It was a crossover with American Psycho. You can guess what Chedward did to his subs in this version (for those who don’t know American Psycho: The protagonist is a super rich guy who is also a psychopath, and he brutally kills the women he has been with). I still think it’s horrifying that a story which could have easily been a psycho thriller is sold as a romantic/erotic novel.

  31. Thank you for your delightful summaries ! I watched the film about 6 months ago & then read the wretched book & then read your recaps. I hated the book but do not consider the girl as a victim : she is really a solipsistic, silly person, always ready to blame her room-mate for everything. I shall not read the later books, as, frankly, I am apathetic about their fates, & , anyway, it is obvious that they will end up together in the end & deserve each other. Curiously, I liked the film, but if the original director & original writer ( s ) have been forced to abandon ship by the author of the book, then I might take a pass on that, notwithstanding the presence of a solid cast.

  32. Dear Jenny, after reading your recaps for the second time because of boredom at work, I just needed to finally say it: i love you and thank you! You made me laugh so many times the first time around, that it was kind of a surprise (or maybe not that much) that the second reading didn’t change anything – I’m so very glad that I didn’t buy the book “back in the days” when everyone was talking about it and I’m still searching for the most illegal way to get my hands on that movie just to have a drunk hate-watch-evening – that will not by any means make E.L. James just a penny richer – with like-minded friends. Thanks for trying to enlight us with your writing, you are indeed one hell of a woman!

  33. Thank you for doing the thankless task of reading this soul sucking piece of work and summarizing it for the poor souls who can’t bring themselves to read it. I was curious about all the hype but just couldn’t do that to myself. You are a braver soul than I.

  34. Thank you for these recaps! I just found your site and I’ve already laughed so much. I caved and read the first 50 when it was a big thing just to know what people were talking about. It was horrendous. I must have blocked the tampon scene from my mind in sheer trauma, which is a first for me. I might have read the next book out of disbelief that it could continue being so awful…..either it was a homogenous awful and they’ve melded in my memory or there was more trauma. Dread will not keep me from the next recaps however!

    Mostly I’m still stuck on my plans for a 50′s-style monster film “The Hymen that ATE Seattle!” //Duh duh DUUHHHHNN!//

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