In case you missed it, this weekend is the The Boss read-a-long at That’s What I’m Talking About. After this incredibly depressing recap, maybe stopping by there might lift your spirits a little.
I was in such a good mood when I started recapping this chapter. I was in the middle of a really bad day, pain-wise, so I was good and medicated (I know I have some new followers to the blog, so quick explanation: I’m disabled due to chronic illness and permitted by the state of Michigan to use marijuana as a pain relief method). I was pretty laid back, feeling chill, listening to the new Bowie album, thinking, “Right, I remember this chapter. This is the one where they went back into the Red Room of Pain.” Because it’s been a while since I’ve read this chapter, (and honestly, by the time I was finished reading all these books, it was like everything had blended together into this stew of horrible and sad and angry), I was thinking, “This isn’t a very bad one, if I remember correctly.”
I did not remember correctly.
So, Ana has just gotten home, and Christian is wearing “those” jeans, the all ripped up ones he only wears in the Red Room of Pain, and told Ana he’d been waiting for her. At the beginning of this chapter, Ana is all like, what’s up with this, but mostly she’s all, OMG HE’S SO HOT:
He looks hot – his jeans hanging that way from his hips. Oh no, I’m not going to be distracted by Mr. Sex-on-Legs.
Place your bets now as to whether or not she’s going to be distracted from her conviction to talk about their earlier fight.
Ana realizes that Christian is still mad. If you’ve forgotten, allow me to rehash for you why Christian is mad: He made a spur-of-the-moment, cross-country flight to try and stop his wife from spending time with anyone but him, and she dared to call him on it. That’s why he’s mad.
“I understand you have issues, Mrs. Grey,” he says silkily, and he pulls something from the back pocket of his jeans.
“Let’s fuck about them,” is not his next line, but it might as well have been. He’s got her email, and his eyes “blaze bright with anger.”
Remember, his eyes “blaze bright with anger,” because his wife went out with a friend without his permission.
“Yes, I have issues,” I whisper, feeling breathless. I need distance if we’re going to discuss this. But before I can step back, he leans down and runs his nose along mine. My eyes flutter to a close as I welcome his unexpected, gentle touch.
Emphasis mine. “I need,” followed by “but.” She needs this, but he won’t give it to her. And note how his “gentle touch” is “unexpected.” Was she expecting an ungentle touch? Sounds a lot like she is.
We already know E.L. James does not consider this relationship abusive. So marvel at how fucking creepy it is that she managed to write such a incredibly realistic portrayal of abuse. By accident.
Christian says he has issues, too, and Ana says she’s knows. Then:
Are we going to fight? I take a precautionary step back. I must physically distance myself from him – from his smell, his look, his distracting body in those hot jeans.
E.L. writes that Ana has to step back because she’s just so turned on by Christian. Even if we were to take this totally at face value – that her “precautionary step back” is out of a need to clear her head of desire, not fear that he’s going to physically harm her – he’s still being abusive. He’s trying to distract her from their very real problems by coercing her to have sex and forget all about it. He’s not respecting her needs at all, and he’s being very forceful about denying her needs.
“Why did you fly back from New York?” I whisper. Let’s get this over and done with.
“You know why.” His tone carries a warning.
“Because I went out with Kate?”
“Because you went back on your word, and you defied me, putting yourself at unnecessary risk.”
The unnecessary risk of going out with a friend, with an armed security detail. Keep in mind, Michelle Obama, our president’s wife, can shop at fucking Target if she wants to, but Ana is taking unnecessary risk by having drinks with a friend.
But Ana doesn’t appeal to Christian’s rational sense here:
“Christian, I changed my mind,” I explain slowly, patiently, as if he’s a child. “I’m a woman. We’re renowned for it. That’s what we do.”
No, Ana. No, no, no. The situation is wrong because of his actions, not because he misunderstands a stereotype about female fickleness. And herein lies the problem: millions of women have read that line and thought, “Right on, girlfriend!” and believed this to be an example of feminism. It is not. Relying on misogynistic stereotypes to excuse female behavior isn’t empowering. It’s a cop out, a way to appeal to the misogynist while passively asking to be forgiven for our feminine natures. The problem isn’t that Ana is just too weak and flighty by virtue of her gender to do as Christian expects. The problem is that Christian has unrealistic and abusive expectations.
“And you didn’t think to call me?” He glares at me, incredulous, before continuing. “What’s more, you left the security detail short here and put Ryan at risk.”
If she had called him, he would have just come back, anyway. Probably not in time to stop her from going out, but in time to punish her when she got home. And since when is it Ana’s responsibility to keep the security team safe? Aren’t they there to keep their employers safe?
“I should have called, but I didn’t want to worry you. If I had, I’m sure you would ahve forbidden me to go, and I’ve missed Kate. I wanted to see her. Besides, it kept me out of the way when Jack was here. Ryan shouldn’t have let him in.”
Sometimes when I read a book, I’ll hit a line that reads like an editor’s note. I can almost see this in a comment in the margin: “But if she had called him, wouldn’t he have forbidden her from going out anyway? And shouldn’t he be happy that she was out, when Jack was there? Wouldn’t he be mad that Ryan let Jack in?” And then I imagine E.L. looking at that note, not wanting to do the work to fix the problem, and then just throwing in Ana’s dialogue there, followed up by:
Christian’s eyes gleam wildly, then shut, his face tightening as if in pain. Oh no.
Because the reader, as in love with the character as the author is, will obviously shift their focus from the logical inconsistencies in the plot to worry about Christian’s hurt feelings. This is a common mistake for inexperienced writers. Almost all of us do it at some point in our writing. But here, it’s just the worst, because we’re looking at Ana putting aside her very real and legitimate concerns because the situation that Christian has made is hurting him so much more than it is hurting her. This is a manipulation abusers often rely on, the “yes, I hurt you, but you hurt me, too, and you hurt me worse,” gambit that Christian has deployed more than once in this series.
“But it could have. I’ve died a thousand deaths today thinking about what might have happened.[…]”
Emphasis mine. Right there we see the bare bones of his manipulation. “What might have happened” is worse than “what I did.” Imagining that she might have been hurt by Jack Hyde is supposed to appear, to Ana and to the reader, much, much worse than being imprisoned by your husband and kept away from your friends.
“I don’t know how to deal with this anger. I don’t think I want to hurt you,” he says, his eyes wide and wary. “This morning, I wanted to punish you, badly, and – ” He stops, lost for words I think, or too afraid to say them.
“You were worried you’d hurt me?” I finish his sentence for him, not believing that he’d hurt me for a minute, but relieved, too. A small part of me feared it was because he didn’t want me anymore.
Ana is relieved that he didn’t reject her out of lack of sexual interest. It’s better, in Ana’s mind, that he’s afraid of losing control out of anger and seriously hurting her.
The heroine of the best-selling “romance” of all time would prefer an abusive “hero” over one who wasn’t “in the mood.”
Women are buying this. Women are gleefully buying this and envying Ana.
We’re doomed. The entire fucking human race is doomed. And we probably deserve to be.
“Christian, I know you’d never hurt me. Not physically, anyway.”
No, you don’t know that. There are numerous examples in this book alone, never mind the first two books, where you are afraid of him, of what he’ll do, where you ask him if he’s going to hurt you or if he wants to hurt you. I know my husband would never physically hurt me. He’s never threatened to “beat the shit out of me.” I’ve never had to ask him if he wanted to hurt me. You only have to ask the question if you don’t know the answer, Ana.
“Yes. I knew what you said was an empty, idle threat. I know you’re not going to beat the shit out of me.”
“I wanted to.”
“No, you didn’t. You just thought you did.”
Here, abuser. Have permission to express how much you want to cause me physical harm. I don’t mind, and no sane woman ever would. Because you are the perfect hero, and I know in my heart of hearts that I love you so much you will change through the power of my denial.
“Think about it,” I urge, wrapping my arms around him once more and nuzzling his chest through the black T-shirt. “About how you felt when I left. You’ve told me often enough what that did to you. How it altered your view of the world, of me. I know what you’ve given up for me. Think about how you felt about the cuff marks on our honeymoon.”
Think about all the times you’ve abused me before, and how really, really bad you felt about them later. Even though I’ve just cited them as being recurring episodes, I fully believe you won’t ever do it again. Even though I believed that after the first time, too. I’m sure this time, everything will be different.
Why do I have more faith in him than he has in himself?
Ana, have a sit-down with Tough Love Jen. The reason you have more faith in him than he has in himself is because you’re willing to believe anything, so long as you don’t have to confront the fact that you’ve married your abusive boyfriend and the wedding didn’t fix anything, he’s continuing to abuse. You thought that by giving in to his temper tantrum over wanting to marry you, he’d magically change into someone else. But he’s never going to be satisfied, Ana. He’s going to make more and more demands on you, and you’ll keep capitulating, because you believe he’s going to change. Every single time you give in to something he wants, he’s just going to want more, until there’s nothing left. You aren’t changing him, he’s changing you.
Sorry to be so brutal, guys. This chapter just has me incredibly down.
Then they laugh over the fact that they don’t have a sex contract, so he can’t hit her. Christian wants to go to bed, Ana wants to talk about the fact that he’s been keeping her ignorant of –
I spilled a potsticker in the book.
And I really don’t want to touch this thing with my mouth.
Ana wants to talk about the fact that Christian has been keeping her ignorant of the stuff going on with Jack Hyde. One might make the case that had she known the severity of the stuff happening, she might have chosen to stay home. But then she would have been present for the big fight, and in these books, all action must happen off screen, because it is more interesting that way. He tells Ana that the added security is necessary because Jack had all this stuff on his computer about every member of the Grey family, especially Carrick.
“I didn’t know he was going to attempt to burn down my building, or – ” He stops.
When Ana asks him about that “or” later on down the page, Christian responds by changing the subject to whether or not she’s eaten:
“Did you eat today?” His voice is sterner and his eyes frost.
I’m betrayed by my flush.
I don’t know how, because she is constantly flushed.
“As I thought.” His voice is clipped. “You know how I feel about you not eating. Come,” he says. He stands and holds out his hand. “Let me feed you.” And he shifts again… this time his voice full of sensual promise.
Rather than answer her question – and rather than admit he was in the wrong for hiding details that concern her personal safety – Christian turns the conversation to something he’s perceived as Ana doing wrong.
I open one eye and see him take a plum-colored silk scarf out of the back pocket of his jeans. It matches my dress. Holy cow. I look quizzically at him. When did he get that?
He probably stole it from Kate, just like the dress.
“Christian – ” He places a finger upon my lips, silencing me. I want to talk.
“We’ll talk later. I want you to eat now. You said you were hungry.” He lightly kisses my lips. The silk scarf is soft against my eyelids as he ties it securely at the back of my head.
You’re doing marriage wrong. You cannot fuck your relationship problems away, Christian. No matter how elaborately you tie her up, no matter what music you play, you are still using D/s power games to avoid confronting the real issues in your marriage.
“Can you see?” he asks.
“No,” I mutter, figuratively rolling my eyes. He chuckles softly.
“I can tell when you’re rolling your eyes… and you know how that makes me feel.”
First of all, how does one figuratively roll ones eyes? And how can Christian tell she’s done something figuratively? You can roll your eyes behind a blindfold, E.L. That doesn’t make it “figurative.” I’m at the point where I don’t think the author knows what literally half of the words in her manuscript mean.
Then Ana points out she wants to talk, and Christian teases her about it:
“Such impatience, Mrs. Grey. So eager to talk.” His tone is playful.
“I must feed you first,” he says and brushes his lips over my temple, calming me instantly.
Okay, maybe there was one funny thing that happened in this chapter. When I read him saying, “I must feed you first,” I immediately heard it in the voice of Antonio Banderas as the Nasonex Bee.
A loud twang of a guitar begins a song I don’t know. Christian turns the volume down to background level. A man starts to sing, his voice deep, low and sexy.
Ana never knows the names or artists of the songs, unless she’s holding the iPod in her hand (like when they were in the car on the way to go gliding in Georgia, and… wait, there’s some more of Christian Grey’s god complex, she can’t go drinking with her friends because it’s too dangerous, but an engineless light aircraft is fine because she’s with him). Remember this, I’m going to bring it up again in a few pages.
Cool crisp wine flows into my mouth. I swallow reflexively. Oh my. Memories flood back of not so long ago – me trussed up on my bed in Vancouver before I graduated with a hot, angry Christian not appreciating my e-mail. Hmm… have times changed? Not much. Except now I recognize the wine, Christian’s favorite – a Sancerre.
That’s really the important thing here, isn’t it? That she now can recognize wine while blindfolded? Not the fact that times have literally not changed, because they haven’t been together long enough for Daylight Savings Time to affect the clocks. Their entire dating and married life has taken place in a span of months, despite the fact that he’s emotionally fucked up and Ana is continually unhappy in the relationship. He pushed her to go really fast, and now he’s pushing her to get drunk so they won’t talk about their problems. But as long as it’s written real sexy-like, that makes it okay and something to aspire to.
His wedding ring clinks against the glass as he takes another sip of wine. Now that is a sexy sound.
Yes, your disempowerment is sure getting me wet, Ana.
The troubadour on the iPod is singing about wicked games.
First of all, troubadour? Second, how does she not recognize “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaac? It’s been in how many movies, tv shows, commercials? It’s a fairly famous song and she doesn’t recognize it? Again, keep this in mind, because I’m going to bring it up later.
Christian burns himself getting something out of the microwave, then asks Ana to “suck it better,” and she does, because they don’t know shit about first aid. “Another person’s mouth full of foreign bacteria is the perfect place for my vulnerable wound! Very sexy!” Good thing Christian isn’t a doctor, or every one of his patients would have staph infections.
After the anxiety and tension of today, and the nightmare of last night with Jack, this is a welcome diversion.
But it’s not. We know that it’s not because for the past two pages you’ve been telling Christian that you want to talk, not play sex games. I guess a person’s perception shifts when she knows she doesn’t have any choice in the matter, anyway. If you can’t beat them, join them?
“How mercurial you are.”
He stills beside me. “Fifty Shades, baby,” he says eventually and plants a tender kiss at the corner of my mouth.
“My Fifty Shades,” I whisper.
NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS IN REAL LIFE AND IF THEY DO THEY SHOULD STOP IMMEDIATELY BECAUSE EVERYONE THEY KNOW SECRETLY HATES THEM.
Christian feeds her, threatens to spank her if she’s not good, blah blah blah:
This time it’s pita bread and hummus. I realize Mrs. Jones – or maybe even Christian – has been shopping at the delicatessen I discovered about five weeks ago only two blocks from Escala.
I highly doubt that Mrs. Jones, the housekeeper who does all the grocery shopping, did not notice a deli two blocks away.
“Open wide, then bite,” he murmurs. I follow his command. Hmm – one of my favorites, stuffed vine leaves. Even cold they are delicious, though I prefer them heated up, but I don’t want to risk Christian burning himself again.
She doesn’t trust him to use the microwave without burning himself, but she trusts him to tie her up and beat her. Smart!
After she’s full, Christian picks her up and carries her off, still blindfolded:
“Playroom,” he murmurs.
Oh – I don’t know if that’s a good idea.
“You up for the challenge?” he asks. And because he’s used the word challenge, I can’t say no.
Bullshit. I call bullshit on this one. Ana has backed down from numerous challenges in this series. In the rare event that the plot doesn’t just twist so she can avoid oncoming conflict, she backs down. For example, in this chapter, when she wants to talk to Christian, but he wants to play sex games, she just blindly goes along with what he wants. She doesn’t even think about it, she just does it. Now, she’s going to be all Marty McFly and act like being called a chicken is her fucking kryptonite? That is utter bullshit. It hasn’t been a part of her characterization up until this point.
Because he’s carrying her, Christian comments on her weight:
“I think you’ve lost weight,” he mutters disapprovingly. I have? Good. I remember his comment when we arrived back from our honeymoon, and how much it smarted. Jeez – was that just a week ago?
I know. It feels like a fucking lifetime.
I hate the weight thing. He disapproved when she had gained a little weight, he disapproves now that she’s lost some. And it’s only been a week, so it was probably just water weight. Ana isn’t even allowed to bloat without shattering Christian’s fragile expectations.
They go into the playroom, and Ana thinks:
I want this – whatever he has planned. I want to connect the way we know how.
But you’re not connecting, Ana. You’re avoiding.
He strips her naked and shackles her to the wooden St. Andrew’s cross. There’s talk about the citrus and polish smell of the room, and how he’s going to drive her wild. But he never explicitly tells her what is going to happen. He tells her they’re going to use “some music and some toys,” but he doesn’t tell her what he has planned. Sometimes, surprise is good, and I’m not saying you have to sit down and plan every scene out to every last detail – “Then I will put my hand on your hip, and then I will pick up the flogger,” – but when it’s something like what he’s about to do to her, yes, the Dom needs to let the sub know what to expect.
The speakers spring to life, and after a moment the strains of a single piano playing a soft, lilting melody fill the room. It’s familiar – Bach, I think – but I don’t know what piece it is.
This is something that just infuriates me to no end. Ana couldn’t recognize a super famous, often heard pop song. Not the singer, nor the title of the song even when the title was part of the lyrics that she specifically referenced. But from a few notes, she recognizes that a piano piece is Bach. I hate the perpetuation of the stereotype that smart people are smart because they don’t know anything about pop culture. Not knowing something doesn’t make you intelligent. That’s the opposite of intelligence. But so many people who shape our entertainment media seem to think that if you don’t know who Britney Spears is, but you do know who Beethoven is, it’s a mark of great intelligence. It’s not. It’s a mark of ignorance, and no one should pride themselves on their lack of knowledge. That’s asinine.
Also, it makes liking the character very difficult, because it makes them seem not terribly real.
Christian gets Ana all hot and bothered, until she’s right on the brink of orgasm, then he takes out a vibrating wand, and then this happens:
He plants soft wet kisses on my shoulder as he withdraws his fingers from me, and moves the wand down. It oscillates over my stomach, my belly, onto my sex, against my clitoris. Fuck, it’s intense.
“Ah!” I cry out, pulling hard on the restraints.
My body is so sensitized I feel I am going to explode, and just as I am, Christian stops again.
Okay, so at this point, he’s made her almost come, then stopped, three times. The vibrator in question is described as feeling like “a large ball-like object.” So we’re talking about a Hitachi magic wand.
BULL FUCKING SHIT HE’S GOING TO PULL OFF ORGASM DENIAL USING A HITACHI MAGIC WAND ON SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER USED A VIBRATOR.
Seriously? She would come like THAT. She has never used a vibrator before, this is the fucking Cadillac of vibrators, and she’s so close to popping off that she feels like she’s on the very edge. Bullshit, she just came.
He keeps doing the near-orgasm back off thing (referred to by many orgasm denial aficionados as “edging”), telling Ana that this is how frustrated she makes him:
The buzzing stops and Christian kisses me. He runs his nose down mine. “You are the most frustrating woman I have ever met.”
No, No, No.
“Christian, I never promised to obey you. Please, please – “
She isn’t enjoying this. At all. And not in a “I’m not enjoying this in the moment but in a few here, I’ll be so fucking hot,” way:
I can’t help but feel I’m being punished. I’m helpless and he’s ruthless. Tears spring to my eyes. I don’t know how far he’s going to take this.
She doesn’t trust him. How hot does that get you, reader? She’s shackled up and being tortured in a way she couldn’t have consented to, because he never asked her if she was open to orgasm denial as a form of play. He has initiated a sexual act without her consent. Basically, this is a rape scene.
He’s just going to continue. For how long? Can I play this game? No. No. No – I can’t do this. I know he’s not going to stop. He’s going to continue to torture me. His hand travels down my body once more. No… And the dam bursts – all the apprehension, the anxiety, and the fear from the last couple of days overwhelming me anew as tears spring to my eyes. I turn away from him. This is not love. It’s revenge.
Sexy, right? You totally want to be with this guy, don’t you, reader?
Ana safewords, and Christian stops immediately, unshackling her and taking her to the bed while she sobs uncontrollably. He tells her he’s sorry and asks her to forgive him… before asking if she’s okay. Because he is his first and foremost concern in this situation.
Christian Grey should not be a Dom. To anyone. Ever.
Because the author is so in love with the “romantic hero” she has created, she has to shift the blame off his shitty actions an onto something else, so the reader can still love him as much as she does:
So much has happened over the last few days – fires in computer rooms, car chases, careers planned out for me, slutty architects, armed lunatics in the apartment, arguments, his anger – and Christian has been away. I hate Christian going away…
HE NEVER GOES AWAY. He was away for one night, and you two are never fucking apart. Leaving aside the blatant misogyny of “slutty architect,” Ana doesn’t blame Christian at all for his role in her breakdown. She never does. Thinking back, how many times have we seen Ana use the “so much has happened” line as an excuse to blame everything but Christian’s actions for making her cry or get angry or frustrated? And if she does blame Christian, “So much has happened” is used to lump his bad actions in with other, seemingly more serious stuff. Because E.L. can’t make this relationship work the way she wants it to work if Ana has too many negative thoughts about Christian. So, rather than alter the hero she’s created so that he can become a better man for Ana, she clumsily tries to show the reader that it’s everything else in Ana’s world that’s the problem. Christian is the only good and perfect thing she has, even if it’s his behavior and Ana’s involvement with him that’s causing her so much misery. The whole series is like one long descent down a shit-covered water slide of Ana’s sorrow and pain as she loses her entire identity in this man who really deserves to be force-fed into a wood chipper.
Ana asks Christian to turn off the music, and his response is:
“Not a fan of Bach’s Goldberg Variations?”
Yes, Christian. That’s the problem. Not the fact that she used the safeword on page 248, it is now the second half of page 249 and you have yet to ask her if she is okay. He’s not even talking to her at all, except to ask forgiveness for himself, because his emotions are the most important.
“Why did you do that?” My voice is barely audible as I try to process my scrambled thoughts and feelings.
He shakes his head sadly and closes his eyes. “I got lost in the moment,” he says unconvincingly.
So… he’s lying? That’s what that means. He just lied about why he did it.
I frown at him, and he sighs. “Ana, orgasm denial is a standard tool in – You never – ” He stops.
Orgasm denial is totally normal and widely used in D/s play. He’s absolutely correct. But guess what? A responsible Dom lets his sub know what to expect. He doesn’t just spring it on the sub during a moment of heightened emotional turmoil, ie, IMMEDIATELY AFTER FIGHTING ALL GODDAMNED DAY LONG.
Page 250, and Christian still hasn’t asked Ana if she’s okay. He’s still only concerned with making excuses for his bad behavior and asking her not to cry. Because again, the most important person in this relationship is Christian Grey, and Christian Grey will not be held accountable for his actions. I’m sure that if Ana keeps crying, he’ll just fire her, like he fires everyone for situations he gets himself into.
What am I going to do with this controlling man? Learn to be controlled? I don’t think so…
I do. Because you already are. But again, I’m 100% certain someone is out there thinking about what a great feminist character Ana is, since she thinks internally that she’s not going to be controlled while outwardly surrendering all control over herself and completely changing every facet of her life and personality to please a man.
“I never what?” I ask.
“Do as you’re told. You changed your mind; you didn’t tell me where you were. Ana, I was in New York, powerless and livid. If I’d been in Seattle I’d have brought you home.”
I can’t. I literally cannot even.
“You have to stop doing this,” I murmur.
His brow furrows.
“For a start, you only end up feeling shittier about yourself.”
He snorts. “That’s true,” he mutters. “I don’t like to see you like this.”
This is Ana’s rationale? That he should stop abusing her because it makes him feel bad?
“And I don’t like feeling like this. You said on the Fair Lady that you hadn’t married a submissive.”
“I know. I know.” His voice is soft and raw.
“Well stop treating me like one. I’m sorry I didn’t call you. I won’t be so selfish again. I know you worry about me.”
First of all, he’s not treating you like a sub, Ana. Submissives generally get treated better by their Dom/Dommes than you do. And you just rewarded him for sexually abusing you. You gave in.
Page 251, and Christian has still not inquired as to how Ana feels or if there’s anything he can do to make her feel better. But he does say:
“Your lips are always so soft when you’ve been crying,” he murmurs.
At this point, I feel like this book is victimizing me. I’m sure there are a lot of readers who have had bad situations in their past who feel the same way.
“Deal with it, please. For both our sakes. And I will try to be more considerate of your… controlling tendencies.”
So, there we have Ana telling him to not control her, but if he does, she’ll just roll with it.
He looks lost and vulnerable, completely at sea.
I feel real fucking bad for him, let me tell you.
This is what this is really about – his fear… his irrational fear for my safety. An image of Jack Hyde slumped on the floor in the apartment with a Glock comes to mind… well, maybe not so irrational, which reminds me…
In which our heroine explains why it’s okay for our hero to abuse the fuck out of her, both physically, mentally, emotionally, and sexually. Christian Grey has basically EGOTed every abuse category. Well, except religious. I assume that will happen in a later series, when he finds Jesus. Or appoints himself Jesus in the cult he creates and forces Ana to join.
Ana asks Christian about his earlier “or” with regards to Jack Hyde’s attempts at malicious property destruction, but first she has to point out that she’s talked to his mother about Mrs. Robinson. Christian isn’t down with that, but Ana tells him that Grace blames herself for his involvement with Elena. Which is weird, because I distinctly remember Grace blaming Christian for his molestation in the last book. But here I am, looking for consistency in a book that has never once displayed any at all. Ana tells Christian that she didn’t talk about it with his dad, and thinks about how she doesn’t have “that kind of relationship with Carrick,” because of the prenup conversation. So, Ana doesn’t like Christian’s dad because he tried to suggest a prenup to protect his son? That’s mature.
Ana is incapable of forgiving anyone for imagined slights against her (Kate asking too many questions, Mia being overly friendly, strangers looking at her husband, a father giving his son good practical advice) but she can totally forgive Christian for all the shit he’s done to her. That’s a symptom of abuse, in case you’re keeping score at home.
Christian tells Ana about the “or”:
“The cops found… things in the van.” He stops again and tightens his hold around me.
He’s quiet for several moments, and I open my mouth to prompt him, but he speaks. “A mattress, enough horse tranquilizers to take down a dozen horses, and a note.” His voice has softened to barely a whisper while horror and revulsion roll off him.
So, basically, Jack Hyde’s plan was to drug Ana and rape her. It never says it explicitly, but I’m reading the incredibly unsubtle space between the lines. This is unacceptable to the reader, because only Christian is allowed to rape Ana.
Christian tells Ana that the connection between him and Jack Hyde is that they’re both from Detroit. Christian is from Detroit, so is Jack Hyde.
Why, E.L.? Why did you have to bring Detroit into this? Hasn’t Detroit suffered enough? With the economic downturn, Kwame Kilpatrick, and the 2003 Detroit Tigers? Why are you dragging your shitty fucking book into the mix? Jerk.