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50 Shades of Grey chapter 13 recap or, “That one day when Jen started drinking at seven in the morning just to get through a recap”

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Look, I do this for you out of the goodness of my heart. Out of the goodness of your heart (and the survivor guilt you’re going to feel when you realize I threw my body on the grenade of chapter thirteen for you, all for you!), check out my interview at The Qwillery.

Chapter thirteen begins like this:

The following day, I call my mom when I’m home from work. It’s been a relatively peaceful day at the Clayton’s, allowing me far too much time to think. I’m restless, nervous about my showdown with Mr. Control Freak tomorrow, and at the back of my mind, I’m worried that perhaps I’ve been too negative in my response to the contract. Perhaps he’ll call the whole thing off.

So, right away, I’ve got good feelings about how this chapter is going to go down. After all her angst in the last chapter and her unwillingness to sign the contract, Ana is now worried that she’s blown her chance to enter into a relationship with Christian solely on his terms (the only choice she has besides cat ladydom).

This is what came up when I GISed “cat lady”. It’s not what I was going for, but we’re keeping it.

Ana’s mom is “oozing contrition” about missing her daughter’s college graduation. Her boyfriend Bob twisted a ligament, so they can’t travel. Bob could probably get some crutches and still manage to be there, but I recognize this tactic. It’s “keep the parents out of the picture so I don’t have to write about them.” It’s why all my characters are orphans. I’ll cop to that one. I do not like writing about relationships with parents and children (okay, I have written a few books with parents in). I recognize this lazy writing, as I am nothing if not lazy, and we can smell our own. I think if E.L. James was going to go this route, though, she needed to make it something a little more dramatic, but not necessary life threatening. Instead of a sprained ankle, why not a broken femur? Or gall bladder surgery? It seems like a pretty weak excuse, for missing your only daughter’s college graduation.

When Ana checks her email, Christian has responded to her list of concerns with a pithy remark about the definition of “submissive”, as well as the definition itself. Ana replies with the definition of “compromise”, because she’s still holding out hope that she can have her naive fairy tale romance she’s imagined. They fight over whether or not he’s picking her up or she’s driving.

He’s even grumpy by email. Doesn’t he understand that I may need to make a quick get-away? Not that my Beetle is quick… but still – I need a means of escape.

This is a sign that your date is going to go well. When you’re planning it like a bank robbery.

The original title of this show was “The Bachelor: Christian Grey”
After a needlessly long email exchange wherein both Ana and Christian are unwilling to let the last word go (remember when I thought those were a bright spot in this book? I rescinded that opinion in this chapter), Ana calls her dad, Ray. She calls her dad by his first name because she’s Bella Swan, just in case you were under the impression you were reading an original work of fiction:

 I call Ray, who is just about to watch the Sounders play some soccer team from Salt Lake City, so our conversation is mercifully brief. He’s driving down on Thursday for graduation. He wants to take me out afterward for a meal. My heart swells talking to Ray, and a huge lump knots in my throat. He has bee my constant through all mom’s romantic ups and downs. We have a special bond that I treasure. Even though he’s my stepdad, he’s always treated me as his own, and I can’t wait to see him. It’s bee too long. His quiet fortitude is what I need now, what I miss. Maybe I can channel my inner Ray for my meeting tomorrow.

See, he’s nothing like Charlie! I mean, besides the quiet fortitude and the fact that he’s constant where Bella’s mom, sorry, Ana’s mom, is flaky and undependable. Oh, and he likes sports. But Bella didn’t feel this way about Charlie in the first book of her series, so Ana feeling this way about Ray in the first book of her series means it’s totally fair game. And wait, Ana has an inner Ray? Isn’t it getting kind of crowded in her head, what with her inner goddess, her very conscious subconscious, and now her inner Ray? I knew I wasted that Herman’s Head joke when I used it in the chapter ten recap. A bonus to her inner Ray going on her date with her is that I’m now imagining Charlie Swann in a relationship with Edward Cullen.

Just to make your lives complete, I have ventured into the Pit of Voles (also known as to make my dreams real for you lucky people. Here was my favorite Charlie/Edward slash I found over there. Fast Lane, by HotHearts18. You will probably not be shocked to learn that it’s much better than 50 Shades.

Kate and Ana keep packing up their apartment and drinking wine, because these bitches need AA. Seriously, every single scene, every goddamned one, they’re drinking wine. If Ana had taken a water bottle on her jog, I’d be pretty convinced it was full of gin.

 God, grant me the serenity to accept the books I cannot change…

At Clayton’s the next day, Paul pursues Ana relentlessly. Because Paul barely makes an appearance in the book, and since Clayton’s is the stand in for Forks high school, I’ll assume Paul is an amalgamation of all the guys who constantly asked Bella to go to the dance with them. I get the feeling that Paul and Jose being so pushy and obnoxious is meant to throw Christian Grey’s aloof demeanor into some kind of positive contrast. Like, see, Christian is a real gentleman, because when he tries to emotionally manipulate you, it isn’t usually this obvious.

Ana gets ready for her date with Christian:

Kate has lent me two dresses and two pairs of shoes for tonight and graduation tomorrow. I wish I could feel more enthused about clothes and make an extra effort, but clothes are just not my thing.

Damn that Kate, always doing nice things for Ana. Remember how Ana doesn’t want to make an extra effort? And remember how she won’t do anything she doesn’t want to do?:

I shower, shave my legs and underarms, wash my hair, and then spend a good half-hour drying it so that it falls in soft waves to my breasts and down my back. I slip a comb in to keep one side off my face and apply mascara and some lip-gloss. I rarely wear make-up – it intimidates me. None of my literary heroines had to deal with make-up – maybe I’d know more about it if they had. I slip on the plum-colored stilettos that match the dress, and I’m ready by six-thirty.

What about signing sex contracts, Ana? Did your literary heroines do that? Also, stilettos? I think you’re structurally unstable enough in flats, sweetie. Kate tells Ana she looks hot, and Ana complains that she wasn’t going for hot, she was going for demure and business-like. Because nothing says “demure” like stilettos. Kate keeps flattering Ana for a few lines, and Ana accepts her compliments with grace. HA! No, she gets annoyed and leaves for her date. When she gets to the bar, Christian is just so impossibly beautiful that she can’t even give much thought (beyond a fleeting acknowledgement of her clumsiness) to how hideously grotesque she believes she is. Christian orders her some wine, even though she just got her one hour sober chip. They both confess to being nervous, although Christian is pretty cool and smooth for someone who’s supposedly nervous. Christian acknowledges that the contract is legally unenforceable. He’s obviously been reading the comments you guys have been leaving:

“You know this contract is legally unenforceable.”
“I am fully aware of that, Miss Steele.”
“Were you going to tell me that at any point?”
He frowns at me.
“You’d think I’d coerce you into something you don’t want to do, and then pretend that I have a legal hold over you?”

Well, you made her sign what seems to me to be a legally enforceable non-disclosure agreement (anyone want to confirm or debunk my suspicions in the comments again?), you made a big deal about needing her signature, the whole thing is written in pseudo-legalese, and you never once told her that it wasn’t a legal document, she had to find that out for herself. So yes, Christian. That is exactly what you were doing, you creepy, creepy rapist. He dances around that point with a lot of bullshit about trust:

“Anastasia, it doesn’t matter if it’s legal or not. It represents an arrangement that I would like to make with you – what I would like from you and what you can expect from me. If you don’t like it, then don’t sign. If you do sign, and then decide you don’t like it, there are enough get-out clauses so you can walk away. Even if it were legally binding, do you think I’d drag you through the courts if you did decide to run?” I take a long draft of my wine. My subconscious taps me hard on the shoulder. You must keep your wits about you. Don’t drink too much.  

You know what the biggest “get-out” clause is? THE FACT THAT IT ISN’T LEGALLY ENFORCEABLE, DICKHEAD. He’s still trying to make it sound official, like his cock is so fucking important, it needs insurance forms. Every time he opens his mouth in this scene, I hate him more:

 “Relationships like this are built on honesty and trust,” he continues. “If you don’t trust me – trust me to know how I’m affecting you, how far I can go with you, how far I can take you – if you can’t be honest with me, then we really can’t do this.” Oh my, we’ve cut to the chase quickly. How far he can take me. Holy shit. What does that mean?

Okay, Chedward, let’s talk about trust. Trust means not making a girl you have sex with sign a form saying she won’t tell anybody. Trust means having an open communication with another person about what you want from the relationship, not handing her a stack of forms and a laptop and hoping she comes over to your side as a result. Trust means not swooping down on someone when they’re out with their friends because you’re afraid they’re going to make a choice you don’t approve of. In fact, up until this point, Chedward, you have done nothing to build Ana’s trust in you, other than demand it before you tie her up and spit in her mouth. And it certainly is not built by pressuring a young woman to enter into BDSM as a full-time lifestyle when she hasn’t even had the opportunity to experiment with it in a lighter capacity.

Because he’s a creepy dick, Christian demands to know whether Ana trusts him or not. She doesn’t answer, but asks him if he had this conversation with the last fifteen subs he’s had. He tells her that since they were experience submissives, he didn’t need to, because they knew what he expected and what they expected to get out of the relationship. So, he didn’t need to earn the trust of experienced subs? Is that what he’s saying? He doesn’t want to talk about his past subs (probably because they’re all dead in a landfill somewhere), and says they should get down to the little details of the contract, or, as he puts it, “Your issues,” because yeah, Ana is the only person with issues here.

I swallow. Do I trust him? Is that what this all comes down to – trust? Surely that should be a two-way thing. I remember his snit when I phoned Jose.

No, he had a snit when Jose called you. That’s a pretty important difference. But we abandon that line of rational thinking so they can fight over what and when Ana has eaten that day.

“You have to eat, Anastasia. We can eat down here or in my suite. What would you prefer?”
“I think we should stay in public, on neutral ground.” He smiles sardonically.
“Do you think that would stop me?” he says softly, a sensual warning.
My eyes widen, and I swallow again.
“I hope so.”
“Come, I have a private dining room booked. No public.” He smiles at me enigmatically and climbs out of the booth, holding his hand out to me.

Excuse the ever-living fuck out of me? I don’t know what’s making me angrier, the fact that he basically just openly threatened rape and then denied her request to stay in a safe public place, or the fact that E.L. James keeps tagging one character’s dialogue with another character’s actions. A waiter shows them to the private rapetorium that Christian has reserved:

We follow him through a plush seating area to an intimate dining room. Just one secluded table. The room is small but sumptuous. Beneath a shimmering chandelier, the table is all starched linen, crystal glasses, silver cutlery, and white rose bouquet. An old-world, sophisticated charm pervades the wood-paneled room. The waiter pulls out my chair, and I sit. He places my napkin in my lap. Christian sits opposite me. I peek up at him. “Don’t bite your lip,” he whispers.

Or else you’ll rape her, Chedward? He’s already ordered their dinner. They start to get their contract on, and Ana has to “steel” herself again. I was missing that particular pun for the last few chapters, actually. They get to the clause about STDs, and Christian has this to say:

“My sexual health. Well, all of my previous partners have had blood tests, and I have regular tests every six months for all the health risks you mention. All my recent tests are clear. I have never taken drugs. In fact, I’m vehemently anti-drugs. I have a strict no-tolerance policy with regards to drugs for all my employees, and I insist on random drug testing.

Wow… control freakery gone mad. I blink at him shocked.

No, Ana, this isn’t the mark of a control freak. This is shit that pretty much all sexually active adults and/or business owners should be concerned with. If you agree to randomly drug test your employees, your insurance ends up a lot cheaper, because you’re not going to be paying for claims when your forklift driver comes to the warehouse all hopped up on PCP and hurts himself or someone else or your property. This is just common sense, Ana.

He’s still a creepy potential rapist, though.

Christian tells her that she can walk away from the contract at any time, but once she does, that’s it, they are completely over. It’s nice when two people with absolutely no middle ground can find something they have in common, even if it’s that aforementioned lack of middle ground. Their first course arrives:

“I hope you like oysters,” Christian’s voice is soft.

I hope so, too, because otherwise I’m going to have to read about the fight they have when she doesn’t want to eat them, and be annoyed when she finally does eat them just because he wants her to. Luckily, she likes them and we are all mercifully spared. There is some innuendo re: oysters, nothing you probably couldn’t find in an early ’90’s straight-to-video erotic thriller, and then Christian admits that he did once hurt a submissive by accidentally tying her too tightly in rope play. That’s actually a really realistic injury, so good job, E.L.. I was afraid it was going to be like, “I lost control and beat her too much,” but rope injury is so much more likely. He won’t agree to just one month of the contract, he wants her to try for three, and he doesn’t want her to have a weekend a month off. Instead, he’s willing to give her a day every weekend, so long as she makes it up midweek. This is fine by me, because I’m not really interested in reading about her going to work or whatever she does during the time that she’s not with Christian. Being alone with Ana and her headful of people is not something I want to do for a week at a time between sex appointments. He explains that when she comes into his house as his submissive, he’s going to literally do whatever he wants to her, and she’s going to have to put up with it, but he assures her that he’s going to earn her trust. How, Chedward? By just asking for it?

“Discipline. There’s a very fine line between pleasure and pain Anastasia. They are two sides of the same coin, one not existing without the other. I can show you how pleasurable pain can be. You don’t believe me now, but this is what I mean about trust. There will be pain, but nothing that you can’t handle. Again, it comes down to trust. Do you trust me, Ana?”
“Yes, I do.” I respond spontaneously, not thinking… because it’s true – I do trust him.

No! He earns her trust by using her first name! Of course! It all falls into place now! That’s clearly enough to make a sane woman throw aside all her misgivings! Problem solved, none of this is wrong from an objective standpoint anymore! I’m so glad that got taken care of!

This is the sharpened weapon of my sarcasm.

Ana won’t back down on the food rules in the contract, because “No one is going to dictate to me what I eat. How I fuck, yes, but eat… no, no way.” Christian has this unbending need to know that Ana is eating. They argue over the dinner that’s in front of them, and how little Ana has eaten. When Ana won’t back down, this happens:

“And right now, I want to peel you out of that dress.” I swallow. Peel me out of Kate’s dress. I feel the pull deep in my belly. Muscles that I’m now more acquainted with clench at his words. But I can’t have this. His most potent weapon, used against me again. He’s so good at sex – even I’ve figured this out.

So, Ana is completely aware that he’s using sex to manipulate her, and she’s still sitting there. He openly admits to using sex to control her, like it’s no big thing, because whether or not he’s manipulating her, “Doesn’t change how much I want you.” Well, so long as you’re still happy.

“If you were my sub, you wouldn’t have to think about this. It would be easy.” His voice is soft, seductive. “All those decisions – all the wearying thought processes behind them. The – is this this right thing to do? Should this happen here? Can it happen now? You wouldn’t have to worry about any of that detail. That’s what I’d do as your Dom. And right now, I know you want me, Anastasia.”

This is easily the most insulting thing I’ve ever seen a hero say to a heroine in a romance novel. She has had no problem at all saying yes to anything he’s wanted sexually so far, and she’s thought about all those choices. Yes, there is freedom and excitement in the unquestioning obedience of sexual submission, but Ana doesn’t know that yet. She’s coming to you with very real concerns and you’re basically telling her, “Don’t you worry your pretty little head about what you want.”

Next, Christian tells Ana that he knows she’s aroused because, and you’re not going to believe this one, he felt the tablecloth move and he knows from years of experience that it’s because she’s clenching her thighs. Does Christian Grey work for the CIA? Because he tracked her cell phone, and now he’s reading body language via tablecloth. Then we get a really telling paragraph from Ana:

I flush and stare down at my hands. That’s what I’m hindered by in this game of seduction. He’s the only one who knows and understands the rules. I’m just too naive and inexperienced. My only sphere of reference is Kate, and she doesn’t take any shit from men. My other references are all fictional: Elizabeth Bennett would be outraged, Jane Eyre too frightened, and Tess would succumb, just as I have.

This is another one of those flashing neon “she cannot give informed consent” signs I’ve been talking about for many, many chapters now. She is not in a position where she can confidently say, “This is what I want out of this experience,” because she has no frame of reference. And I have to say, I think Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy might be into a little D/s play behind closed doors. But that’s another issue entirely. Someone has probably written a fucking terrible sequel about it already, anyway. It’s probably called, “Darcy’s Peculiar Proclivity” or something fucking awful that will make me want to burn the author’s house down. Please, no one leave recs for this book in the comments, I don’t have that many matches left.

Then, basically the scene from Flashdance where Alex eats the shrimp all sexy happens, but with asparagus.

The only difference is that Jennifer Beals’s pee won’t smell funny, and Ana’s will.

Ana decides that she’s not going to stay any longer, because she’s going to end up having sex with Christian if she does, and she wants some space for herself. 

“I could make you stay,” he threatens.
“Yes, you could easily, but I don’t want you to.”
He runs his hands though his hair, regarding me carefully.
“You know, when you fell into my office to interview me, you were all yes sir, no sir. I thought you were a natural born submissive. But quite frankly, Anastasia, I’m not sure you have a submissive bone in your delectable body.”

Again with the Prince Charming routine. No, you could not making Ana stay with you against your will. There’s this crazy thing called “the law” and they frown on stuff like forcing people to bend to your will against theirs, contract or not. I’m guessing the restaurant doesn’t want that kind of publicity: “Let’s try that place where the girl was wrongfully imprisoned!” No one has ever said that about a restaurant in the history of the entire world. So, Christian basically thought that since she was clumsy and nervous, he’d be able to exploit that as his sex fantasy. Again, women across America are resenting their husbands for NOT ACTING THIS WAY.

He leans down to kiss me, but pauses before his lips touch mine, his eyes searching mine, wanting, asking permission. I raise my lips to his, and he kisses me and because I don’t know if I’ll ever kiss him again, I let go – my hands moving of their own accord and twisting into his hair, pulling him to me, my mouth opening, my tongue stroking his. His hand grasps the nape of my neck as he deepens the kiss, responding to my ardor. His other hand slides own my back and flattens at the base of my spine as he pushes me against his body. “I can’t persuade you to stay?” he breathes between kisses.

See how he does that? She says no, he thinks, “I’ll overcome her silly objections to what I want with ravishing kisses. No damsel could dare refuse me!” He is openly manipulating her, and we all know she’s going to keep falling for it. Not just because I’ve already read the book, either. Because this is the way Ana believes the world should work. She should be pursued, like the heroine of a classic novel, and in classic novels, those heroines had very little say in how their lives would turn out. There is a reason Ana is obsessed with classic literature. It’s all pre-sexual revolution. Ana wants to believe that she’s helpless and unable to refuse the broodingly handsome hero, because then she won’t have to think for herself. She’s already mastered the art of letting everyone else steer her course through daily events, she just has to figure out how to make this whole thing with Christian seem like it’s on her terms. That way, she can keep believing that she’s strong and independent, without ever having to be either of those things.

“I’ll escort you to the lobby.” He holds out his hand. Leaning down, I grab my purse and place my hand in his. Holy crap, this could be it. I follow him meekly down the grand stairs and into the lobby, my scalp prickling, my blood pumping. This could be the last goodbye if I decide to say no.
My heart contracts painfully in my chest. What a turnaround. What a difference a moment of clarity can make to a girl.

 That’s it, right there. Ana isn’t giving up all her aspirations for romantic love. She’s having a moment of clarity. A moment of clarity that doesn’t send her straight to the nearest weekly meeting, no matter how much she needs it. Christian makes a bunch of weak attempts to keep her from leaving, like giving her his jacket (so she’ll have to see him again, I presume), to arguing that her car doesn’t look safe (maybe she should spend the night with him after all?). To her credit, Ana resists all of these and balks at his suggestion that he buy her a car, but of course, he’s going to do whatever he wants to do. Contract or no, he owns Ana, because he believes that he is entitled to every woman he wants. This is rape culture, folks. This book is rape culture, distilled to it’s most potent form.

Ana drives back home bawling her eyes out, wondering if she decides to do this, will he be her boyfriend and do normal boyfriend things like meeting her friends and, you know, letting her touch him?

What if I do say yes, and in three month’s time he says no, he’s had enough of trying to mold me into something I’m not. How will I feel? I’ll have emotionally invested three months, doing things that I’m not sure I want to do. And if he says no, agreement over, how could I cope with that level of rejection? Perhaps it’s best to back away now with what self-esteem I have reasonably intact.

I would say you just gave yourself your answer there, Ana. Luckily, Kate isn’t home to stop Ana from talking herself out of her good decision. What is at home is the computer, and an email from Christian, that he has clearly sent while Ana drove the five miles home. She asks for space, and he can’t wait ten minutes before contacting her to guilt trip her about not fucking him.

I don’t understand why you ran this evening. I sincerely hope I answered all your questions to your satisfaction. I know I have given you a great deal to contemplate, and I fervently hope that you will give my proposal your serious consideration. I really want to make this work. We will take it slow.

Trust me.

Wow, you clearly don’t understand the concept of trust, Chedward. You couldn’t trust her to spend a few minutes out from under your manipulative thumb, you had to fire off that email before she was out of the parking lot. “[…]Answered all your questions to your satisfaction.” Really? You were evasive and gave very cryptic answers to everything she asked, leaving her more confused than when she got there.

Ana puts on her pajamas and Christian’s jacket, which I’m telling you right now is absolutely a worse look than any pink pjs Kate might dig up:

As I lie staring into the darkness, I think of all the times he warned me to stay away.
‘Anastasia, you should steer clear of me. I’m not the man for you.’
‘I don’t do the girlfriend thing.’
‘I’m not a hearts and flowers kind of guy.’
‘I don’t make love.’
‘This is all I know.’
And as I weep into my pillow silently, it’s this last idea I cling to. This is all I know, too. Perhaps together we can chart a new course.

After a night of obvious, unashamed emotional manipulation, after a threat to rape her in the middle of a restaurant, after a threat to force her to stay with him against her will, after an email that blatantly disrespects her request for space, Ana has come to a solution. A brilliant, elegantly simple solution, one that has been staring her in the face this whole time.

So, there’s chapter thirteen. May God help us all.

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Here for the first time because you’re in quarantine and someone on Reddit recommended my Fifty Shades of Grey recaps? Welcome! Consider checking out my own take on the Billionaire BDSM genre, The Boss. Find it on AmazonB&NSmashwords, iBooks, and Radish!


  1. Anonymous

    Y'know, when I was starting reading these, they were hilarious. Now, they're just really really scary. Really scary. I always heard the 'the whole thing is wrong on so many levels, I can't believe people think this is romantic' thing, but I didn't know it was THIS bad. I don't think I would've believed it if you hadn't quoted from the text itself. Wow.
    I'll still read on, though, because your comments are fantastic.

    March 30, 2013
    • CL

      This. One-hundred percent this.

      May 20, 2015
  2. Anonymous

    “All those decisions – all the wearying thought processes behind them. The – is this this right thing to do? Should this happen here? Can it happen now? You wouldn't have to worry about any of that detail. That's what I'd do as your Dom.”

    This is it, the reason this book is taking the world by storm. We women are socialized to worry about everything and everyone around us and what will happen if we should fall short of perfection. That shit is EXHAUSTING. This book is giving thousands and thousands of women an excuse (I won't say permission, because women have the right to their own feelings) to let go of that worry and put at least some of their decisions in someone else's hands. And who better to make your decisions for you than a powerful man who desperately desires you? He will fulfill all your possible wants and needs – provided you don't step off that pedestal he's put you on.

    April 7, 2013
    • Sarah

      Also it’s critical of the belief that making a decision should be a hard and thoughtful process. That making a decision about your life that could have a huge impact on everything (re a job, a relationship) should be easy and thoughtless. I’m sorry, what?!?! Yeah small decisions are easy and thoughtless (what should I eat or what book should I read) but life changing decisions and ones that have an impact on your physical health should be hard and should be considered and researched. No, the world usually doesn’t end if you make a wrong and/or bad decision but that doesn’t mean they should be made easily and thoughtlessly. I mean here the bad/wrong decision could wind up with her being chained and abused in a man’s basement for all she knows. He wasn’t buying a murder kit in the hardware store, he was buying a rape kit.

      July 26, 2014
  3. […] here’s what you’re all really here for.  Follow along with Jenny or miss out on the fabulous […]

    November 6, 2013
  4. You have my deepest respect for being able to read this… thing. I would have clawed my eyes out before the first chapter was over. I mean it. I love that you write this though, it’s hilarious but also spot-on 🙂

    January 6, 2014
  5. Silver

    You would have a field day with rape culture and Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick. Funny thing; the ‘hero’ is initially out to literally kill the heroine.
    ‘Private rapetorium’ slayed me btw.

    June 17, 2014
  6. CJ

    Wow. I tried to read this book once, but my attention span waned back at the contracts and lists so I gave up and skimmed it… but I obviously missed a lot.(Or blocked it out!)

    This book is awful.

    Thank you for outlining in a witty fashion what exactly is NOT OK about it. You’ve caught things I wouldn’t catch or wouldn’t be able explain beyond “It’s creepy.” so I’m really enjoying your perspective.

    July 7, 2014
  7. Kyrie

    Oh I resent that reading of Jane Eyre. She’s submissive and mousey on the surface, but if anyone’s a dom at heart it’s her. She’d eat Christian Grey for breakfast.

    I’m glad 50 Shades didn’t try to draw more parallels with Jane Eyre. Tess of the d’Urbervilles is much more appropriate, since that one really is about a submissive woman getting dominated by rapey, awful, abusive, awful guys. And it’s really REALLY not supposed to be romantic.

    August 5, 2014
    • Khan


      July 4, 2015
    • Khan

      *domme, though
      Also, wordpress just told me I was posting comments too quickly. What? Screw you, wordpress.

      July 4, 2015
  8. Maybe it’s because I’m such a stubborn mule, but the thing I find most annoying is how BellaAna lets Chedward order her around. The first time ol’ Rapey McRaperston laid his hand on mine and told me to finish everything on my plate would the last time he laid that hand on anything.

    I’ve never read 50SOG, and have never wanted to. I’d heard that it had some pretty bad shit in it, but until I read this and Pervocracy’s recaps I never realized it was just that sickeningly bad. This is not a romance.

    August 7, 2014
  9. JuneD

    “Someone has probably written a fucking terrible sequel about it already, anyway. It’s probably called, “Darcy’s Peculiar Proclivity” or something fucking awful that will make me want to burn the author’s house down. ”

    No recs, I utterly promise. Just your own reading badassery in getting through this should buy you a pass from such in perpetuity. But this quote made me cry with laughter (and not for the first time on your read-through, either).

    February 4, 2015
  10. Morgan

    It was lobster, not shrimp.

    February 16, 2015
  11. Emily R
    Emily R

    Contracts was definitely not my best class but my initial reaction to the NDA is that (1) that’s not what an NDA is for and (2) all contracts need consideration, meaning that for this to bind Ana, she needs to have gotten something out of it. Courts have said many times that “personal relations” can’t count as consideration, so I think the contract would fail there. However, Ana didn’t read it, so we don’t know if there’s some consideration in the text >.< But disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer yet and contract law varies between states.

    The sad thing is that it really doesn't matter whether it's enforceable, because Christian is the only one in this situation who can afford an attorney. He'd just win by attrition/ scare her into settling/ lose but still have made her spend all of her money. He seems like the sort of asshole who'd sue her even though he knew he'd lose in court.

    April 6, 2015
  12. Christin

    Hi Jen,
    I love this it’s hilarious. I hate to criticise something I haven’t actually read and now I feel I can really criticise the book and whip the quotes around women’s heads who think this shit is romantic and don’t even need to read E.L. James crap writing.
    I CAN’T SEE NONE OF THE PICS AND VIDEOS YOU POST THOUGH!!!! I tried on my phone and iPad. Nothing.
    I also hate this double standard women have regarding this. When the book came out my husband was berated on the train by a woman for reading his manga that featured a half naked girl in one tile. Guess what she was reading? Yep, 50SOG. So it is fine for you to read porn but my husband can’t read his manga in peace with one picture of a half naked woman? There are also so many women who won’t let their partners watch Porn but then read this shoddy book. Way to have a double standard there.

    May 22, 2015
    • Khan

      ngl there’s a difference between pornographic pictures and text description. Pictures (including videos) are a lot more in-your-face and there’s a much higher chance someone who wasn’t supposed to will see it over your shoulder (like your offspring)

      July 4, 2015
  13. Sarah

    Bob couldn’t have broken his femur because that happened to Bella’s step-dad in Twilight, and this book isn’t Twilight.

    June 4, 2015
  14. alloyjane

    I agree with the commenter who stated that these started out hilarious and are now just 1,000% disturbing. I stopped reading 50SoG somewhere around Blana’s forgiveness of Josecub. I just could NOT get past that. This was before folks started to speak out against the book as supporting the culture of abuse, so I didn’t have that as a frame of reference. I just knew that the writing was offensively shitty, and that if the so-called heroine was being sexually assaulted by her best friend and forgiving that action, then the “relationship” with this other sociopath was just going to keep pissing me off.

    So bless you for taking this on, and I just wish there was some course of study that used that shit book and these amazing recaps of it examining how detrimental the glamourization of abuse is to society.

    June 7, 2015
  15. Yvonne

    “A moment of clarity that doesn’t send her straight to the nearest weekly meeting, no matter how much she needs it.”

    Nearest weekly meeting of what? It can’t be AA; alcohol has nothing to do with this scene.

    July 8, 2015
  16. Krystenne

    I see a comment regarding this already, but clearly Bellana/Anabella and EL James have never actually read Jane Eyre, or read it all the way through. The whole thing starts out with her awful childhood building up to be a woman with the spiniest spine ever. If Bellana/Anabella was anything at all like Jane Eyre, she’d dump Grey the first time he did something she objected to, and if she ever did come back it would be when all her terms and conditions were exactly how she wanted them, so she could rule.

    November 15, 2015
  17. Krystenne

    I also have to add: HOLY SHIT, I KNEW they were bad from an excerpt of a “steamy, hot” sex scene I read (it was neither steamy nor hot), from the shitty representation of BDSM, and that it was rape-y, but I didn’t realize it was this bad or this obvious. And like I said, I already knew it was awful. That this goes far beyond my expectations of glorifying a creepy, abusive, manipulative relationship says a lot.

    But, thanks for this. You have made me laugh so many times through these posts.

    November 15, 2015
  18. Kassandra

    This is my second time reading through your 50 shades blog. A friend introduced me to your work about a year ago and we read through all three book recaps together. At the time, I was in a miserably abusive relationship (though I didn’t see it at the time) and I had an incredibly skewed perspective on relationships and romance. My ex was Chedward sans money and power.
    Your recaps gave me the strength to end the relationship and get myself to a better, safer place where I actually have respect for myself.
    This kind of maltreatment is so real that it’s sickening. I found myself reading along thinking “Yep. He’s said that to me before” and “boy does that sound familiar”. Emotional abuse and manipulation are not erotic. In my own experience they have been the cause of an enormous amount of self-destructive behavior and even a year later I am still recovering from the damage. Whenever I lose perspective, I come straight back here and read your recaps.
    I cannot even begin to tell you how much I appreciate your wisdom, and I thank the lord that you bit the bullet for all of us and trudged through these god awful books. May the rest of the women in shitty situations find the shining lighthouse that is your work, and spare themselves a lifetime of anguish.
    Thank you for all of this. You make a fucking difference, and I love you.
    Forever and faithfully a Troutlet,

    December 28, 2015
    • Congratulations on getting out of that relationship! You’re an amazing string person. Im so happy to see your comment here.

      January 26, 2019
  19. Jen

    again very late to the party but maybe other readers are only discovering this awesomeness now (and do bother reading the comments)

    I think the force her to eat had something to do with pro-Ana (maybe pun intended?)

    A lot of the thinking going on in this community is about how eating is disgusting and no one should watch you eat, ever. eating in a sign of weakness. But having someone come over and tell “eat! come on you have to eat!” feel like they are truly caring for you.

    A lot of Ana’s behaviors and thought process (without all the creepy inner voices) resembles the ones I had when I struggled with eating disorders. Refusing to accept compliments, being angry at other girls for being attractive, thinking in all-or-nothing patterns, refusing to accept guys are interesting in me unless they are very aggressive.

    So, maybe that’s part of that? Have we seen her eat at any other times other than with Christian?

    April 17, 2016
  20. Hippiepoints

    Hi. Super late to these, but I’m amazed that these is an actual thing. Never read the original, and found you through coffee and kink. But thank you so much! These are wonderful!

    July 27, 2017
  21. PersephoneUnderground

    These are both hilarious and horrifying. (Yes, I’m years late, but I’m never reading these books myself but was morbidly curious… also I’m procrastinating, like your tagline says :p )

    Almost makes me want to write/get a better writer than me to write a real romance based on my relationship with my husband. He proposed to me in a parking lot while I was crying because I had failed the stay sober and was afraid to go back to rehab because I was afraid I’d need inpatient treatment in a locked ward, which is really scary. He got on one knee and told me he was there for me, we’re family, and he asked me to marry him so I’d know how serious he was about it. I said yes, and we were engaged all through my successful treatment (and another two years after, because we didn’t want to make that decision for good until we were both in a healthy place). Very few people know this story because it’s related to my alcohol treatment, but my mother still says it’s the most *actually romantic* thing she’s ever heard.

    Tl;Dr – We need more romances based on healthy relationships! There can be plenty of outside drama and hardship, and the romance comes from the couple coming through for each other- not generating drama from being stupid or abusive!

    Also, I bet real BDSM training is hot – to me the whole Dom taking care of you and the level of empathy needed for it to work between a couple sounds hot. But this Grey a** isn’t interested in that, just in the reluctant damsel trope but with whips thrown in. Which just is even more rapey than the reluctant damsel trope already is because of how hardcore BDSM has a very high standard of consent for good reason! I have read some good stuff but clearly need to find more.

    Again, apologies for the thread necromancy but maybe it will up blog hits on Google or something 🙂

    May 15, 2019
    • Jules

      Now that is a romantic story! You found a good man, who will love you at your lowest and help you get out of it. That is sexy as hell. The idea that he would then wait until you were in a better state of mind. He’s a keeper! I would definitely read a story like that.

      I’m totally into the rich male Dom concept, it’s just Eel forgot to let them get to know each other first, to make it sexy instead of abusey. And there is nothing sexy about being actually afraid of your partner, you know, unless you’re into rape. Afraid you’ll get caught because you’re doing it somewhere naughty, sure, afraid someone is going to hear you as you scream out with pleasure, okay, afraid he’s going to beat the shit out of you during sex? no, not ever romantic, sexy, okay and not at all what BDSM is about.

      That said, 50 Shades is a good abuse story, wait, no, the writing is still total crap. This just isn’t a good anything story. The last thing it makes me want to do is go find a Mr. Grey. *shiver* I want to find a Mr. PersephoneUnderground now. lol

      May 15, 2019
  22. JANE

    Actually I’d say the most potent form of rape culture, is prison rape (primarily guards(male and female) raping prisoners) and how people tend to ignore it unless it’s laughing at it or acting like they deserve it, which is the subject atter that coined the term, but was quickly forgotten once women decided to make it all about them…

    June 14, 2022

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