Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Monday, May 9, 2011, or, “Return of The Chedward”

You guys didn’t really think I would leave, for a week, right after Grey hit the stands, and NOT do a recap before I left? Are you high? Why did you fall for that?

So, while I’m in Gay, MI, which I have renamed it in honor of A Concerned Home Owner, relentlessly Gay, MI, please enjoy this recap until I return.

letter reading: "Dear resident of 4900 Kenwood Avenue, your yard is becoming RELENTLESSLY GAY!"

What’s their home so concerned about?

This way, my silence on the subject doesn’t lead people to believe that I’m actually dead.

If you haven’t read my recaps of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy, here’s chapter one.

There are no chapters in this book, just dates. In recognition of this, here’s a new feature:

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: On May 9, 2011, while Christian Grey was meeting Anastasia Rose Steele, beloved Belgian cyclist Wouter Weylandt was killed an horrific (look it up) cycling crash.

So, you’re going to learn a little bit about 2011, I think, with every chapter. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll learn a little something about ourselves. You’re welcome.

The book opens with Christian dreaming of his childhood. But you don’t know right away that it’s a dream, because it’s not in italics and its offset margin isn’t clear due to it taking up the whole first page. So, when I started reading:

I have three cars. They go fast across the floor. So fast. One is red. One is green. One is yellow.

I thought this was just Christian Grey’s internal monologue and I was like, ohhhhhh shit.  I have like eight hundred pages of this left.

Luckily, he starts dreaming about his mommy, and how his car goes under the couch and she won’t help him get it (because she’s too stoned, I assume, because we learned in the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy that she is a “crack whore”).

Not now, Maggot. Not now,  she says.

As always, I can’t figure out how to do italics in this blog’s quotes, so just roll with underlines as italics.

Anyway, she calls him maggot. Wait. Maggot? Maggot…worm…grey…maggot…grey…

Grey Worm from Game of Thrones

Why are you bringing this poor guy into this?

Baby Christian laments the loss of his car, which he will never get to play with again. Then:

I open my eyes and my dream fades in the early-morning light.

Ah, starting a story with a character waking up. How Not To Write A Book Unless You Are Douglas Adams and Then You Get A Pass 101.

Christian–pardon me, Chedward–gets out of bed, puts on a sweatsuit, and contemplates a run in the rain, a la the opening credits of the 50 Shades of Grey movie. Instead, he opts to run inside, on a treadmill, and he doesn’t even have the decency to listen to Annie Lennox’s version of “I Put A Spell On You” while he does it. The ingratitude. As he runs, he thinks about all the meetings he has coming up, that Bastille his trainer would be coming by, and that maybe he should have dinner with Elena, a.k.a. Mrs. Robinson.

I stop the treadmill, breathless, and head down to the shower to start another monotonous day.

This is how you always want to start your books, by the way. I mean, some people like to start their stories in the scene where the break in monotony that will propel the protagonist on their journey happens, but she goes a boldly different route, giving us an incomprehensible dream sequence and a guy talking about how boring his life is while we read about him being boring.

After a section break, we’re at the office, where Claude Bastille, the champion kickboxer who kickboxes so good he won an Olympic medal for it even though it’s not an Olympic sport, is just leaving.

I scowl at him as he turns and leaves. His parting words rub salt into my wounds because, despite my heroic attempts during our workout today, my personal trainer has kicked my ass. Bastille is the only one who can beat me, and now he wants another pound of flesh on the golf course.

I got so much shit for calling Ana a “Mary Sue” by people who dislike that term, because “you never hear of male characters getting called a Mary Sue!” Well, here’s your chance, and I hope it thrills you. Because Chedward is a Mary Sue. A Gary Stu. You know what? From now on and henceforth, all male Mary Sue characters will be known as Chedward Sue.

As I stare out the window at the Seattle skyline, the familiar ennui seeps unwelcome into my consciousness. My mood is as flat and gray as the weather.

Lydia Deetz saying "My life is a dark room. One big, dark room."

Chedward is in a depressive episode wherein his entire life has become same. Nothing thrills him–except for a couple of cargo ships he’s sent to Sudan. Woe, but will anything in his life rattle him from his bleak, gray (grey?) Grey prison?

I have to endure an interview with the persistent Miss Kavanagh for the WSU student newspaper.Why the hell did I agree to this? I loathe interviews–inane questions from ill-informed, envious people intent on probing my private life. And she’s a student.

Whoa ho ho, let’s come down from our high horse there a little bit, buddy. She’s a student who’s about to graduate. You’re looking down on her? You dropped out of Harvard. Look, I don’t have a problem with people who don’t go to school (I didn’t finish college), but this dick was accepted at Harvard and quit because it was beneath him, but Kate is actually working hard to get an education. Also, “envious” people? Kate Kavanagh was, if I remember correctly, just trying to do a good job for the school newspaper to which she’d devoted a lot of effort during her lowly college student years.

“Miss Anastasia Steele is here to see you, Mr. Grey.”

“Steele? I was expecting Katherine Kavanagh.”

“It’s Miss Anastasia Steele who’s here, sir.”

I hate the unexpected.

Don’t worry, we hate her, too.

Well, well…Miss Kavanagh is unavailable. I know her father, Eamon, the owner of Kavanagh Media. We’ve done business together, and he seems like a shrewd operator and a rational human being. This interview is a favor to him–one that I mean to cash in on later when it suits me. And I have to admit I was vaguely curious about his daughter, interested to see if the apple has fallen far from the tree.

Not a lot of love for Kate, already. Jesus. I’m picturing E.L. at home, using a brunette Barbie like a hammer against a blond Barbie, screaming, “HE DOESN’T LOVE YOU! HE’LL NEVER LOVE YOU!”

A commotion at the door bring me to my feet as a whirl of long chestnut hair, pale limbs, and brown boots dives headfirst into my office.

Because of the use of “whirl” in this sentence, now all I see is Ana spiraling into Chedward’s office like a poorly styled football.

Repressing my natural annoyance at such clumsiness, I hurry over to the girl who has landed on her hands and knees on the floor.

Yeah, it’s totally natural to be annoyed when someone else falls. Like, if you’re doing pairs figure skating, for example.

One of the things I was hoping this book would clear up is the mystery of why Ana fell in the first place. I thought maybe, “She trips over the very expensive hole where the very expensive thing on my door latches into the floor…or something.” Anything. But all we get is that she’s falling for no reason, exactly as she was in the first book.

Now we’re going to need the floor’s POV on this.

Clear, embarrassed eyes meet mine and halt me in my tracks. They are the most extraordinary color, powder blue, and guileless, and for one awful moment, I think she can see right through me and I’m left…exposed. The thought is unnerving, so I dismiss it immediately.

She has a small, sweet face that is blushing now, an innocent, pale rose. I wonder briefly if all her skin is like that–flawless–and what it would look like pink and warmed from the bite of a cane.

Spoiler alert: he never finds out, because even though everyone talks a big game about canes in this series, nobody has ever gotten caned.

I stop my wayward thoughts, alarmed at their direction. What the hell are you thinking, Grey? This girl is much too young.

Let’s remember that at this point in the books, Ana is twenty-one, and he’s twenty-seven. You know, just so you can grapple with the obstacle of their impossible age gap as we read along.

She gapes at me, and I resist rolling my eyes.

My palm twitches.

Christian pretends that he doesn’t know she’s not Kate, because he’s trying to deliberately make her stop finding him hot. He’s good at what he does, because I’ve been dryer than sixty year old wallpaper since page one. Oh, and at this point, Ana has now blushed twice.

She’s quite attractive–slight, pale, with a mane of dark hair barely contained by a hair tie.

A brunette.

Just in case you weren’t aware of the definition of “brunette.”

“Miss Kavanagh is indisposed, so she sent me. I hope you don’t mind, Mr. Grey.” Her voice is quiet with a hesitant musicality, and she blinks erratically, long lashes fluttering.

So…

A furby

She explains who she is, and that she studies literature.

A bashful, bookish type, eh? She looks it: poorly dressed, her slight frame hidden beneath a shapeless sweater, an A-line brown skirt, and utilitarian boots. Does she have any sense of style at all?

the devil wears prada

Seriously, E.L.? Do you even know what medium you’re working in right now? You’re going to basically insult every reader everywhere by having the “romantic hero” they love viewing bookishness as a bad thing? You realize that many of the women, like the ones who fawn over you at signings and appearances, actually consider themselves “bookish” due to their love of reading, right? You just had the man you want their panties to get wet over equate reading with ugliness and a lack of style.

And you’re doing this? Look, I’m not normally one to attack others for their physical appearances (outside of my head…in there, I’m a real judgmental bitch), but you have $95 million or whatever. Get your bangs out of your damn eyes and stop insulting your readers.

Chedward, of course, notices that Ana “doesn’t have an assertive bone in her body.” In the erotic romance industry, we like to call this, “Instasub,” wherein the Dom intuitively knows that the random woman he’s just met is a sexual submissive, without bothering to get to know more than her name.

Well, I don’t really know if we call it that. I made that up. But we remark upon this phenomenon enough, that’s what we should call it.

he intuitively guesses she’s appreciating the paintings in his office:

“They’re lovely. Raising the ordinary to extraordinary,” she says dreamily, lost in the exquisite, fine artistry of Trouton’s work. Her profile is delicate–an upturned nose, soft, full lips–and in her words she has captured my sentiments exactly. Raising the ordinary to extraordinary. It’s a keen observation. Miss Steele is bright.

In her acknowledgments, E.L. James thanks “The FP ladies for help with my Americanisms.” So I just wanted to let you know, FP ladies, that I’m sorry you wasted your time. No American man who isn’t a PhD in English thinks like this in his talk-head. It would be more like, “Her profile is pretty hot. I like her nose. Mouth’s good, too. And she totally gets what I like about Trouton, so she’s pretty smart.”

 As I sit down opposite her, I try to bridle my thoughts.

And now we’re in a historical romance!

It’s obvious she’s never done this before, but for some reason I can’t fathom, I find it amusing. Under normal circumstances her maladroitness would irritate the hell out of me, but now I hide my smile beneath my index finger and resist the urge to set it up for her myself.

Set what up? Your finger? Your smile? Her maladroitness? Normal circumstances? The reason you can’t fathom? Because those are all nouns that have come between her fumbling with the tape recorder and you deciding to set it up for her.

Since we already know that they have children at the end of the trilogy, this impatient thing is going to make him a great father.

As she fumbles and grows more and more flustered, it occurs to me that I could refine her motor skills with the aid of a riding crop. Adeptly used, it can bring even the most skittish to heel.

Okay, we’ve got bridle, riding crop, bringing skittish things to heel… I feel like there is a lot of pony play missing from the original trilogy.

Man in smoking jacket with creepy horse mask on.

Mr. Neigh will see you now.

“S-Sorry, I’m not used to this.”

I can tell, baby, but right now I don’t give a damn because I can’t take my eyes off your mouth.

Baby. She’s been in his office for like five minutes, and he’s mentally calling her baby.

I need another moment to marshal my thoughts.

Horses, marshals, we are in  a western, dear reader.

Ana asks if she can record Chedward’s answers, and he’s like, you’re asking me after you fumbled with that recorder all this time, etc. You remember the drill from the first book and the movie, right?

She blinks, her eyes large and lost for a moment, and I’m overcome by an unfamiliar twinge of guilt.

It is “unfamiliar” for him to feel guilty about being rude and condescending to people. Oh, swoon, where is my Christian Grey?

Ana asks Christian if Kate told him what the interview was for, and he tells her it’s about the commencement address he’ll be giving at WSU. He doesn’t actually want to do it, but it will bring more publicity to the school and might help them match the grant money they’ve given him. Ana looks surprised to learn this, and Chedward is insulted that she didn’t come to the interview prepared (didn’t I say just the exact same thing in the first chapter recap? DIDN’T I?)

Ana asks him the “to what do you owe your success” question, and this is his reaction:

I trot out my usual response about having exceptional people working for me. People I trust, insofar as I trust anyone, and pay well–blah, blah, blah… But Miss Steele, the simple fact is, I’m brilliant at what I do. For me it’s like falling off a log.

Obama saying "You didn't build that"

Ana asks him if he’s just lucky, and he is deeply insulted.

Flaunting my erudition, I quote the words of Andrew Carnegie, my favorite industrialist.

“Flaunting my erudition.” Someone please remove the thesaurus from Ms. James’s computer. Thank you.

Ana calls Christian a control freak.

I glare at her, hoping to intimidate her.

How are we supposed to buy Grey as this Master of The Universe type when he’s unnerved by someone he’s already dismissed as beneath him?

That attractive blush steals across her face, and she bites that lip again.

Oh man, this is like a trip down memory lane, but if memory lane was paved in broken glass and painful stupidity.

“Don’t you have a board to answer to?”

“I own my company. I don’t have to answer to a board.” She should know this.

Maybe she knows how real corporations run, and what CEO’s actually do? And that a corporation the size of Grey Holdings Industrial Blah Blah Blah I’m Special INC. would almost certainly have a board of directors or share holders?

As stupid and unbearable as Ana was, I’m like not even halfway through the first chapter and I would rather be re-reading 50 Shades of Grey.

She knows I’m pissed, and for some inexplicable reason this pleases me.

It’s not inexplicable. You’re an abusive piece of shit. This all makes perfect sense.

Ana asks him what he does to “chill out.”

Sailing, flying, fucking…testing the limits of attractive brunettes like her, and bringing them to heel.

I feel like E.L. couldn’t take a harder stance against her own creation if she stood up at a podium and said she was writing all of this as a social experiment to bring abuse and rape culture to light in our society. That she’s doing this on accident is either horrifying or hilarious. Hilarifying. Hilorifying.

Ana continues the interview, and the questions are as boring this time around as they were the last time. There’s more Kate bashing:

“Because I’m a benefactor of the university, and for all intents and purposes, I couldn’t get Miss Kavanagh off my back. She badgered and badgered my PR people, and I admire that kind of tenacity.” But I’m glad it’s you who turned up and not her.

because it’s very important that the reader know that Kate is unworthy of Chedward’s attention.

Ana asks him why he’s interested in farming technologies, and he explains it’s because he cares about people getting enough food.

She regards me with a puzzled look, as if I’m a conundrum, but there’s no way I want her seeing into my dark soul.

His Tumblr bio is “Welcome to my twisted mind.”

Ana asks him if his end goal is to possess things, and she calls him “the ultimate consumer.”

She sounds like a rich kid who’s had all she ever wanted, but as I take a closer look at her clothes–she’s dressed in clothes from some cheap store like Old Navy or H&M–I know that isn’t it. She hasn’t grown up in an affluent household.

Look, I write some capitalist trash. Hardcore, wealth worshipping, brand-name dropping capitalist trash. But at least I try to not insult my readers who are spending their money on my books and giving me the privilege of buying those “cheap” clothes from Old Navy. It’s very difficult to read a statement like this, even from a fictional character’s point of view, and give E.L. James the benefit of the doubt about how she regards her readership, especially in light of comments she’s made regarding her “lifestyle” and her “perch” above other Twilight fans.

Ana asks him more questions about his personal life, the fact that he was adopted, that he has no family aside from his parents and siblings, and then:

“Are you gay, Mr. Grey?”

What the hell!

I cannot believe she’s said that out loud! Ironically, the question even my own family will not ask. How dare she! I have a sudden urge to drag her out of her seat, bend her over my knee, spank her, and then fuck her over my desk with her hands tied behind her back. That would answer her ridiculous question.

How fragile, the skin of Chedward’s masculinity, like a soap bubble adrift on the vast bathtub of his own homophobia. As a reader, I’m supposed to be turned on by his virility and iron-clad heterosexuality, that can only be proved by an act of violence and rape in retaliation for ever questioning it.

Pam Poovey from Archer, saying "I swear to God you could drown a toddler in my panties right now."

And of course, Ana apologizes for making such an unforgivable implication, and admits that she didn’t come up with the questions.

“Did you volunteer to do this interview?” I ask, and I’m rewarded with her submissive look: she’s nervous about my reaction. I like the effect I have on her.

He enjoys intimidating her and making her uncomfortable, and of course, more “Instasub” mentality.

Chedward’s secretary comes in, and he tells her to cancel his next meeting, so he can enjoy making Ana nervous and uncomfortable even more!

“You’re driving back to Vancouver?” I glance out the window. It’s one hell of a drive, and it’s raining. She shouldn’t be driving in this weather, but I can’t forbid her. The thought irritates me.

It irritates him that he can’t control the actions of a stranger. You know who he reminds me of?

Dandy Mott from American Horror Story: Freakshow

She wants out of my office, and to my surprise, I don’t want her to go.

Well, just rape her, like you wanted to do earlier.

I can’t let her go like this. It’s obviously she’s desperate to leave.

I’m not entirely sure this could get creepier, but I know in my deepest, truest heart that it will.

As Christian walks Ana out, he asks her if she came in with a coat. When she says she did:

I give Olivia a pointed look and she immediately leaps up to retrieve a navy jacket, passing it to me with her usual simpering expression. Christ, Olivia is annoying–mooning over me all the time.

It must be terrible for you, Chedward, to believe yourself to be the paragon of manly perfection and to have people fall for it. Don’t worry, if Olivia were inside your head right now, she would not be simpering. You’re safe from her insatiable desires.

The jacket is worn and cheap. Miss Anastasia Steele should be better dressed.

Who are you, Mr. Blackwell?

Ana leaves, and Christian demands that Andrea get Welch on the phone.

As I sit at my desk and wait for the call, I look at the paintings on the wall of my office, and Miss Steele’s words drift back to me. “Raising the ordinary to extraordinary.” She could so easily have been describing herself.

My phone buzzes. “I have Mr. Welch on the line for you.”

“Put him through.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Welch, I need a background check.”

See, creepier already!

Stay tuned for the next recap, which really will be after the 27th.

293 thoughts on “Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Monday, May 9, 2011, or, “Return of The Chedward”

  1. Oh, Jen, it has been TOO long.

    “I have three cars. They go fast across the floor. So fast. One is red. One is green. One is yellow.”

    I once thought Caillou and nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker would never be dethroned as the most irritating children in fiction. I was mistaken.

  2. I found your blog ages ago through your 50SoG recaps and stuck with you through the soul-crushing slog. So is it terribly wrong of me to love that you’re doing this crapfest, too? Because I was laughing the whole time I was reading.

  3. A bashful, bookish type, eh? She looks it: poorly dressed, her slight frame hidden beneath a shapeless sweater, an A-line brown skirt, and utilitarian boots. Does she have any sense of style at all?
    * * * * *
    “….he looked for a moment at Elizabeth, till catching her eye, he withdrew his own and coldly said, `She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.’” – _P&P_, of course
    * * * * *
    Seriously, EL? You thought you could get away with cribbing from Jane Freakin’ AUSTEN?!!

    But that’s OK; her next target is Georgette Heyer, who never cribbed from Austen, but clearly admired her work:

    As she fumbles and grows more and more flustered, it occurs to me that I could refine her motor skills with the aid of a riding crop. Adeptly used, it can bring even the most skittish to heel.
    * * * * *
    “Altogether she’s as spirited a filly as you could wish for. All she needs is bringing to heel.”
    “Does one bring a filly to heel? I rather thought—”
    “As usual, my dear Lavinia, you are right: one does not. One breaks in a filly. I beg leave to thank you for correcting my mixed metaphor.”
    “Oh, pray do not mention it.”
    “I will cease to do so. She needs breaking in. It should be amusing to tame her.” – _The Black Moth_
    * * * * *
    (Except that Heyer’s villain was interesting enough that she reworked him into a similar character, but a more heroic and lovable version, in _These Old Shades_. He was genuinely intelligent, quoting Shakespeare in the middle of a kidnapping, rather than having his creator tell us he’s intelligent without giving any evidence to that effect.
    (Grey, on the other hand….)

    EL wouldn’t have a career, if it weren’t for the cut-n-paste function.

    1. Oh, I’ve never encountered Georgette Heyer before. “The Black Moth” sounds like something I need to put on my reading list. Thank you for mentioning it!

      1. The villain also quotes the KJV Bible while arguing with his best friend about his excessive gambling. A “bookish” type’s real fantasy!

      2. Richard Armitage reads some Georgette Heyer. That’s how you really want to experience her works. They’re out there somewhere and definitely on Audible.

        1. I own everything Richard Armitage has read. His voice is…phew. Problem is now, I can’t get his voice out of my head. This is going to be a real problem when he is Red Dragon in a couple of weeks. I can not fancy a serial killer.

    2. I think the fact that Tracy is a villain–who is defeated by the hero, might I add–just makes this better. She’s cribbing prose that was specifically used to describe a rapist, and attributing it to her hero.

      Nice, E.L. James. Way to go.

      I love Georgette Heyer, though, and bless you for mentioning her! Her books are BRILLIANT.

      1. Not only that, but Heyer is writing about a time with VERY different values. As we see in _The Black Moth_, a reputation for cheating at cards could cut a man off from society, but one for assaulting women sexually wouldn’t–as long as he stuck to women of no rank. Extending that mindset to a modern era is grotesque. For another example, I’m willing to recognize that Rhett Butler’s sexual and racial attitudes are typical of many men of his time and place, even somewhat progressive compared to others, but I can’t accept them in a “hero” who grew up in a different culture. James’ “hero” has grown up with modern values, and should know better.

  4. First of all, I salute you, Jenny! For slogging through more of this hideous awfulness. For enduring even more of E.L. James trying to write. I saw the first bit about widdle Christian and I immediately despaired. I hated that perspective the first time around and I see that it has not improved.

    Secondly, fuck you, E.L. James. I know what you’re trying to do. A whole bunch of people walked away from the FSoG trilogy thinking that Ella loved Christian (like only a mother could) and that she was doing the best she could. So, now you’re explicitly writing Ella like a monster. One word: nope.

    I do not accept this. In my headcanon, Ella will forever remain a young woman trying her hardest to be a good mom under the worst possible circumstances.

    I laughed so hard at ‘Mr. Neigh will see you now.’

    I vote for hilarifying.

    Christian’s reaction to the gay question is supposed to make him look so tough and straight – I guess, I don’t really know what the hell James is attempting to achieve there – instead it just makes him look super insecure about his sexuality and dickish.

    Also, I’m curious about what was so relentlessly gay about that garden.

    1. the relentlessly gay garden was so labeled because of those pretty rainbow colored mason jar lamps. Which the homeowner, a widowed mother of 4, has promised to post a tutorial on. yay crafts!

      1. I was picturing something more along the line of a giant screen in the yard playing gay porn around the clock, but this is much worse. Rainbow lamps? How dare she! Why won’t somebody please think of the children?

        The things people get upset about. Seriously.

      1. It’s quite pretty, but evidently, not gay enough. Clearly, she must add a replica of Michelangelo’s David, a cardboard cut-out of Judy Garland as Dorothy, a piano with a candelabra on it, and large posters advertising reprints of _The Well of Loneliness_ and _The Rubyfruit Jungle_. The piped-in music will feature Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, Bary Manilow, and k.d. laing.

        If I have left out any obvious components of this display, please feel free to suggest them.

        1. The linked article says the homeowner has set up a GoFundMe page because this note proves that her yard isn’t rainbow-y enough, but she needs help buying items and supplies to rainbow the heck out of her yard. She says if she gets enough money she will look in to getting a rainbowed roof.

          I think I love this woman with the ‘relentlessly gay’ yard. I can’t effectively copy/paste her response from this device, but the gist was that she refuses to kowtow to hate and to hateful cowards.

          Regarding the note, the bit about it being a “Christian neighborhood” confuses me. I wasn’t aware that neighborhoods had religions. Does the note-writer know for a fact that every other home owner in the area is a Christian? If so, does she know for a fact that they are all the types of Christians that hate and repress LGBTQ folks?
          I live in an area where Christianity is the norm in the extreme (south Texas. Those of us that are not Christian are very, very much in the minority), and I still wouldn’t assume that all my neighbors are Christian, nor consider myself to live in a “Christian neighborhood.”

          The gall it takes to not only be that hateful and ignorant, but also to speak on behalf of every one of her/his neighbors is astounding.

          1. The irony is there is no evidence that she meant anything political at all. She was just trying to entertain her kids with a fun craft project. What is that “Concerned Homeowner” going to do next: sue the sky after a storm?

          2. It’s worse than I thought:

            Genesis 9: 12And God said: This is the sign of the covenant which I will give between me and you, and to every living soul that is with you, for perpetual generations. 13I will set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be the sign of a covenant between me, and between the earth. 14And when I shall cover the sky with clouds, my bow shall appear in the clouds: 15And I will remember my covenant with you, and with every living soul that beareth flesh: and there shall no more be waters of a flood to destroy all flesh. 16And the bow shall be in the clouds, and I shall see it, and shall remember the everlasting covenant, that was made between God and every living soul of all flesh which is upon the earth. 17And God said to Noe: This shall be the sign of the covenant which I have established between me and all flesh upon the earth.

            This neighbor is going to have to sue GOD.

          3. She didn’t mean anything at all. The lamps say “Love” and “Ohana” and as far as I can tell contain sand, coral and shells. How can some one see that, add in the rainbow theme and think “Oh! What a cute Hawaiian theme for summer!”

            Is the fact that Ohana is a Hawaiian word not common knowledge? This is a sincere question since I’m a Disney freak and Lilo & Stitch is by far my favorite movie (I also worked at Disney World the year Lilo & Stitch was released and befriended a couple of the animators, so it holds an extra special place in my heart, even if I didn’t already love the movie dearly).
            Aside from that, surely it is common knowledge that rainbows are an icon of Hawaii. Rainbows go with Hawaii as much as cowboy boots go with Texas, peaches with Georgia, goofy smiling suns in sunglasses go with both California and Florida, etc.

            I do love that this woman was making a cute Hawaiian summer theme, got accused of being too political and inappropriately-un-Christian and said “oh, I wasn’t being political,before, but is sure as hell am now! It is on, bitch!”
            I wish I lived on her street. For one, simply so I could hug her, and two because I’d be rainbow-ing the hell out of my yard as a sign of solidarity.

          4. Something else just occurred to me. I live in a townhouse in a small, fairly insular complex. When we moved here more than a decade ago, my husband and I were the youngest homeowners in the neighborhood by probably 25 years, and younger than the average by more than 50.
            In the past few years more young families have moved in, though the elderly residents still out number us by far.

            My 5-year-old son and the 4-year-old girl right next door are 2 of only 5 children in the neighborhood. Our two side-by-side, postage-stamp-sized yards are a riot of color. You can walk around the neighborhood and say “well, young children obviously live there.”

            Rainbows frequently feature in our decor as my son loves them and loves bright colors (naturally). The neighbor’s yard also frequently features rainbows, though they’re usually more glittery and sparkly than ours, as fits her bubbly personality.

            Not once have we had a negative comment. And my busy-body neighbors are not afraid of commenting. All we’ve ever heard is “oh, it’s so nice to see children around again, to side step their toys on the sidewalk, see their colorful decorations and hear them laughing as they climb trees and play hide-and-seek!”

            I live in south Texas, y’all. I live in a city where on the last census, there were only 3 religions that really showed up in the stats: Catholic, Baptist and Other. Everyone not Catholic or Baptist (which includes my family) is too insignificant a number to add up. I truly do live in a “Christian community.” And no one seems to assume that random rainbowed objects are a political statement. They either think “oh, how cute” or “oh, how tacky” and move on with their day.

      2. Those lamps are really beautiful. I want them.

        To corrupt the children in my neighbourhood, of course. I mean, that IS one of the key topics on the gay agenda, isn’t it? I have missed the last couple of gay meetings at the gay headquarters where all the gay gays of the world come together to be gay (I keep forgetting the secret password), but I’m pretty sure that is one of the main things the gays want.

        1. Corrupting children and somehow magically making them gay.
        2. World domination.
        3-99. ?
        100. Equal rights.

        But maybe I shouldn’t be making these evil goals public? Haha, what am I talking about? Everyone and their mother seems to know what the gay agenda is anyway.

      3. Really? Love and family cannot be tolorated in a Christian Neighborhood? Weren’t rainbows symbolic of God’s promise to flood the Earth again? Arrgh!

      4. I’m ashamed to note that we live right around the corner from the writer of the letter. I’m proud of the “relentlessly gay” home owner. I was truly surprised by the letter–Baltimore is pretty gay-friendly, which is one of its few redeeming qualities.

    2. “instead it just makes him look super insecure about his sexuality and dickish.”

      This is exactly what I was thinking. He seems like one of those hella insecure frat boy types who are always saying “no homo” all the time.

  5. I can’t believe you have to read EL James’ fanfic of her own horrendous book. And thank god you’re willing to perform this service for us!

  6. “Welch, I need a background check.”
    * * * * *
    Granwel, his head spinning with the effects of wine and love,
    had no sooner reached the King’s antechamber than he became
    very aware that he was in no fit state to appear in the royal presence.
    He went home where, instead of sleeping, he devised the
    wildest and most extravagant plans for possessing the object of his
    desires. Having hit upon and rejected a hundred such schemes,
    each more frightful than the one before, the one he resolved upon
    consisted of driving a wedge between Williams and Henrietta, of
    trying if possible to tie Williams in so many legal knots that it
    would take him a very long time to get free of them, and meanwhile
    to seize whatever opportunities chance might offer to be with
    his inamorata, with a view to robbing her of her honour in London
    or else abducting her and carrying her off to one of his estates on
    the Scottish borders. There he would have total power over her,
    and nothing would prevent him from doing with her whatever he
    liked. This plan, suitably garnished with the most dreadful details,
    became for that very reason the one which appealed most to the
    wicked Granwel. And so, the very next day, all was set in motion to
    ensure its success.
    Gave was Granwel’s closest friend. Endowed with sentiments
    which were even more gross, he fulfilled on his Lordship’s behalf a
    role which is so common nowadays, that of furthering the amours of
    others, multiplying their debauches, and profiting from their follies
    with scant regard for personal honour. You may be sure he did not
    miss the meeting arranged for the morrow. But that day he had little
    to report, only that Lady Stralson and her daughter were staying, as
    had been said, in Cecil Street, with a female relative,
    – de Sade, “Miss Henrietta Stralson”

    See, EL: if you WANT to make a character creepy, this is how it’s done.

  7. Yeah, I’m thinking that if James wrote this bullshit to defend Chedward from all the absuive, stalkerish and rapist behavior accusations, she’s not doing a super awesome job about it.

    On the other hand, this shows Chedward is as conceited and self-centered as Ana (or that James can only write in one voice), so they deserve each other, I guess?

    Are the dream sequences the new “subconscious and inner gods” bits?

      1. OMG?! are you serious? Please tell me he has a talking, thinking, cock.. One that lounges on settees and waves pom poms.

      2. Just tell me he doesn’t refer to it as his “down there” ’cause I’ll start laughing and I don’t think I’ll be able to stop.

  8. …I’m brilliant at what I do. For me it’s like falling off a log.

    So this book doesn’t seem to have been edited any better than the original trilogy. I’m finding this a really jarring comment. Falling off a log may be “easy,” but it hardly correlates with “brilliant,” does it? Or with anything anybody thinks of as “professional work.” (Well, unless you’re a clown — in which case you probably had to practice falling off the log to make it look easy and unintentional …). What exactly does this guy do for a living, again?

    1. Cool, more recaps! Thanks for the link.
      And I see what you mean by ‘the alarming acknowledgment’. That is just… a bit frightening, actually.

        1. That part made me so mad. She’s out of her scope of practice. She can get discliplinary action from her licensing board for that. Hell. I’m only an MFT intern and I’m more qualified to offer mental health advice than she is >:(

  9. EL’s got some major issues with blonde women, first Chedward’s disdain toward Kate and his annoyance with Olivia, and it’s only the first chapter.

  10. When I heard this was coming out, I made a comment about how it would read like a serial killer’s notebook found after his apprehension. So far, I’d say that about nails it. Particularly this line: Sailing, flying, fucking…testing the limits of attractive brunettes like her, and bringing them to heel.

    1. Sailing and flying and fucking … and restraining brunette women and hitting them with riding crops, whips, belts, canes and myriad other implements including your hand, in association with various forms of bondage and sensory deprivation, to find out how much they can tolerate before you break them and bring them under your total control, are all universally acknowledged fun activities, Grey! *rolls eyes* *spits in the bastard’s eye*

  11. i knew that it would be worse (as in more creepy, uncomfortable, rapey) to be in chedward’s head… but i kind of expected ELJ to just ignore that and write him in a way that didn’t totally fit the FSOG books. nope! at least in this first chapter, he’s even more terrible than i anticipated. i’m really curious to see how fans of the first books will react to this.

    1. Oh, but she will conquer his Evil Intentions with her Spotless Innocence! See how it worked in Richardson’s _Clarissa_:
      * * * * *
      This was the reflection, that, with mingled compassion, and augmented love, arose to my mind, when I beheld the charmer reposing her lovely face upon the bosom of the widow Sorlings, from a recovered fit, as I entered soon after she had received her execrable sister’s letter. How lovely in her tears!—And as I entered, her uplifted face significantly bespeaking my protection, as I thought. And can I be a villain to such an angel!—I hope not—But why, Belford, why, once more, puttest thou me in mind, that she may be overcome? And why is her own reliance on my honour so late and so reluctantly shown?
      But, after all, so low, so dejected, continues she to be, that I am terribly afraid I shall have a vapourish wife, if I do marry. I should then be doubly undone. Not that I shall be much at home with her, perhaps, after the first fortnight, or so.
      * * * * *
      Oh, wait, that didn’t work out well at ALL.
      Y’know what? Skip James, and just read the 18th century originals.

    1. I promised friends I would do the same. Such a mistake….I am only through the first chapter before I ragequit for the day. This shit is worse than the trilogy!

      1. Ladies, in the spirit of the books you could just take Jenny’s re-caps and change a handful of words and the gifs and say you wrote them. It’s totally not plagiarism.

        1. Awesome! Because I have often wished I wrote Jenny’s recraps or many of the snarky comments people have posted, but so far, I’ve just been sending my friends links and telling them “You HAVE to read this: it’s hilarious and sick!” Now I know what to do: lavish use of cut-and-paste and change a few names. EEL, you have changed my life. EEL, you have changed the face of LITERATURE (or as Christopher Buckley once referred to a fairly ghastly Beltway roman-a-clef, “Cliterature”).

  12. 3 years ago your 50 shades recaps got me through long nights of sleep deprivation when my son was born. Now, with my daughter only 3 weeks old, you’ve come through for me again. I praise you, with great praise!

    1. I’m also reading while nursing! (This is my first, though- I read the 50sog recaps pre-parenthood.) Jenny, your sacrifice is trulya gift to mothers everywhere.

      1. My daughter’s been on an Animaniacs kick for the last four days. Big mistake letting her watch the first episode on Sunday. We are now two episodes away from the end of the entire series (it’s on Amazon Prime), and I’m sick of it.

        1. I loved it–the most subversive show for children since “Rocky and Bullwinkle.” And a necessary antidote to “Barney” and “Teletubbies.”

  13. I’m crying with laughter reading this. I didn’t think she could actually make this story worse, or more obviously abusive, and then she goes ahead and writes Christian like a Patrick Bateman-esque serial rapist.

    How is she still defending this as a romance?

  14. So glad you are back!!!! THe library that I work at just bought ten copies of this. :( At least one of my coworkers hates these books as much as I do.

    1. I just checked my library’s orders for it and we have a blessedly low number of holds on the print copy. And yeah, my one coworker and I rant about this on a fairly regular basis when we work together.

    2. My local library refused to buy the originals, so I assume they won’t get this one, either. Normally, I’m against any kind of censorship (which this sort of is), but I’m all for burning these books, so I’m OK with the library not having them!

      1. I’m also normally against censorship, but these books are too close to the NAMBLA book on how to have and conceal sexual relationships with kids. The Fifty Shades books are something of manuals on how to justify abuse, which makes them outright DANGEROUS. Usually censorship is done because someone thinks witchcraft is bad (Harry Potter), or masturbation will lead to teen sex (Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret). I can get behind censoring books that outright encourage the readers to step toward abuse and justification.

  15. So is Chedward’s equivalent of his inner goddess going to be creepy childhood flashbacks?

    Also, super, super skeevy that he calls her baby right away. Not just because I find that particular endearment super condescending to begin with.

  16. Oh good. Chedward is back and even worse than we ever could have imagined. And you’re going to slog through this for us?? I’m overwhelmed wih emotion and gratitude. You are a braver woman than I!

    But really, how is this supposed to make him a more understandable character in any good light? Just makes him even more creepy and awful. Ew.

  17. Oh good. Chedward is back and even worse than we ever could have imagined. And you’re going to slog through this for us?? I’m overwhelmed wih emotion and gratitude. You are a braver woman than I!

    But really, how is this supposed to make him a more understandable character in any good light? Just makes him even more creepy and awful. Ew.

    And yay for Archer gifs!

    1. I’m recapping this as well (my user-name links to my blog), a chapter a day, and May 20th, the night he stalks her at the bar… Oh my god. Literally the rapist mindset. I don’t want to spoil it for people who are waiting to read it in order, but if you want to know you can head to mine and see what I mean. I’m honestly not sure how anyone can call what happens when he gets her back to his hotel room romantic Ana’s version of things was bad enough. What actually happens is unbelievably worse.

      He looks worse, and James and her fans look worse.

  18. Wow. Have to agree, this is so much more gut-wrenchingly horrifying than the originals. Ugggggghhhhhh. Jenny you are a saint for doing this recap! I hope you have a good store of comfort-reads to sustain between chapters! :P

  19. Your reviews of FSOG always make my day!!!! Your brutal honesty is refreshing in a world taken over by those books. I’d love for you to read the book I wrote and review it. You’re not afraid to tell it how it is!

  20. Ok so am I the only one that’s thinking the adventures of Mr. Neigh and his fabulous smoking jacket are going to be way more fun than this? He clearly needs to meet Miss Whinny, a shy, skittish young chestnut mare, who blinks rapidly and up is unsure on her coltish legs. Of course Mr. Neigh is a dark brooding presence, caused in part by his history with the older, sexy Palamino Mrs. Nicker, who manipulated Neigh into a sexual liaison when he was still barely a Yearling. Now as wealthy Stallion with his life organized to the second, ennui has set in and Neigh longs for a new challenge. Little did he think it would come in the shape of the ‘dangerously unstable on her hooves but beautiful’ Miss Whinny…

    Ok I ll stop now before I get too carried away. Seriously though there was a tiny part of me that hoped some of the criticism might have osmosed into EL James psyche (because she sure as hell wasn’t listening) and we might get something that addressed the issues, in character, plot and writing skills, that made the trilogy so horrifically, hilariously (to borrow from Jen) bad. Apparently not. EL seems determined to double down on all the faults of the first book up to and including research (I’ve seen somewhere that the quote Christian uses in the interview isn’t correctly attributed, so if that’s true she’s definitely starting out of the gate wrong and strong). Once again a huge thank you to Jen for making this shit show bearable. Dr. Who goodies my kid has saved in the post as bribery to continue/thanks!

    1. That is already way more interesting and funny and well-written and romantic than anything E.L. James has written.

    2. You’re right about the quote. In Grey, Christian claims it’s from Andrew Carnegie, even though it’s really from Harvey Firestone.

  21. Okay, okay, great recap but. . . can you explain how someone might find your yard relentlessly gay? Like. . . do you have naked men boning out there 24/7? I am at a loss for how a yard could be gay, much less relentlessly so.

    1. What got to me is that no one raised in Seattle would think of mere rain as “this weather” or consider it unsafe to drive in.

      1. Ah, thank you, that brought me up short, as well. Is there anyone *anywhere* who looks at rain and thinks “unsafe to drive, better stay in then”?

        1. We’ve been getting that lately in the midwest, but that’s because it’s so flat and the drainage is so poor that there is constant flooding and danger of hydro-planing. Anywhere hilly wouldn’t worry about it.

          1. That isn’t true. You most certainly can hydroplane on hills.

            As far as how dangerous it is to drive in rain, it depends on how hard it’s raining. We hit some pretty scary, serious rain in Georgia last week and had to pull over. Couldn’t see 5 feet ahead. I don’t get the impression, though, that the rain in this book is quite that bad.

          2. Thanks, didn’t know. Grew up in a hilly suburb in PA., and never saw anything like the problems we have in the midwest.

          3. It’s worse where it’s flat, but it can pool on hilly roads if it’s coming down hard enough, and especially if the roads slope a little. I live in a townhouse complex right now that’s built on a pretty steep hill. It’s Florida, so we get those tropical thunderstorms pretty regularly and my parking lot (a steep hill) floods pretty bad.

            I grew up in the Finger Lakes Region in New York and saw a lot of that. There were always hydroplaning accidents when we had a decent rain.

        2. People who live where it doesn’t rain much, and therefore other people don’t know how to drive in it.

          Trust me on this one, people around where I live do not know how to drive in the rain.

        3. Crystal, if that was the case here in Scotland, we’d never drive. Errr… ever. This whole book is giving me the mean reds!

        4. Half the state of New Mexico. I’ve got coworkers that freak out if we get even a sprinkling of rain. It’s not so much that the roads get bad, it’s that everyone loses their god damn mind when there’s any form of precipitation and drive like idiots.

      2. I have lots of comments but I wanted to say if you live in a place where you’re used to wet roads you wouldn’t view them as dangerous. I almost killed my whole family because we were in TN and it was snowing LIGHTLY I’m from RI we think we can do anything, give me a SUV or a 4wheel drive and I’m Mario Andretti. While everyone around my was playing it safe, while still crashing like my son playing with his red car, blue car, yellow car.

        I also looked up “all intents and purposes” the site had this to say
        “It’s often heard in speech, but it’s rare in published writing because it generally doesn’t pass through the editorial process”

        Proving yet again this S**** ain’t proofread.

        1. Actually, we West Coast people do refer to it as the I-5. I can’t remember if Christian was raised in the Pacific Northwest, but I found it unrealistic that she omitted the “the” for a Seattle resident.

          I’m on chapter 6….which is 80 god damned pages. Is there anyone who says shit or bust time? I have heard shit or get off the pot, but never that one.

          1. It’s not even strictly a West Coast thing. I was born and raised in Southern CA and called it “the 15, the 5″ and the like. When I moved to Northern California, the locals pegged me as an outsider immediately because they call them “15, 5″ and so on. The fact I use “the” is what gives me away every time.

          2. I live in Vancouver, and spend a lot of time in Portland and up north more. Saying “the” pegs you as being from SoCal, always. There’s definitely no “the” before the interstates because I5, for instance, is the name. When I lived in Carpinteria, it was “the” for everything, and I was mildly teased for being from NorCal since I omitted it.

            “The” is definitely a SoCal thing.

          3. Interesting. I am from SoCal, but I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Seattle and have acquaintances there, and I’ve always heard them add the “the” as well. Since you guys live there, I’m clearly wrong about that dialect differences.

            How about that? Ms. James got something else right! :)

          4. Don’t underestimate how many SoCal transplants are in the PNW. :) Real estate is too expensive down there, and so people have been flooding up this way for years, which is driving up real estate here too. :(

          5. NorCal born and bred; I-5 is visible from my living room window. In my 30+ years here, highways and freeways are identified by the alpha-numerical designation; I-5, 99, 299. What gives someone away as an ‘outsider’ is the inclusion of ‘the.’

          6. Up in BC we definitely call it “the I-5.” I haven’t really noticed if my Seattle/Washington friends omit the “the” or not. /shrug.

      1. Its just I-5 in Seattle, from a Seattleite.

        It’s in England they put the “the” before highway designations, like the M1, the M83, etc. At least they did on Monty Python.

        Christians SHOULD have been more worried about traffic jams on the drive to Vancouver than the rain.

        1. In Ohio we just say the number…cause everybody knows what 71 is. I always find it odd to hear people say I in front of the highway number because we also have a lot of state routes, so we’d be adding a lot of letters to stuff. Can’t be bothered.

  22. I know a lot of my kinky book reading and writing friends and I have been talking about instasubs for a while. So long in fact I actually thought it was a thing. Now I’m seriously just wondering if it’s only certain circles of people…..

  23. I usually go for “hillarible” (hilarious/terrible) but “hillorifying” has great potential… “hillarifying” sounds like it’s making one mute like Hillary (Banks? Clinton?).

  24. When I first saw “Flaunting my erudition” I read it as “Flaunting my erection” which I somehow feel is better.

  25. Despite reading all of your recaps, I had forgotten how balls-out terrible these books actually were until now. I was suspicious that “Grey” was an attempt to redeem Chedward from the accusations of abuse, but so far it just seems to be making him look worse.

    Jenny, bless you for recapping these. You are a stronger person than I.

  26. You missed one error. When Christian says that “I quote the words of Andrew Carnegie, my favorite industrialist,” the quote he recites is actually by Harvey Firestone, not by Carnegie.

    And the weirdest part is that in the original 50 Shades, he does explicitly state that the quote is by Firestone. I don’t know why James changed it here, but it’s a really stupid mistake.

    1. GOD she is just the worst. Can’t even be bothered to fact-check her own work. I feel the familiar rage headache coming on, which happens whenever I hear anything Fifty Shades related.

  27. You tricky minx! Of course you posted immediately. : )

    Honestly, I think this will be worse than the original. I was saying to my partner that this was James’ change to rebuke everything negative people had said about the books. This was her opportunity to show everyone that he wasn’t actually horrible (we all know he is, but in her heart of hearts she doesn’t seem to see it) – and lo and behold – she is writing him as we all know he is – disgusting, misogynistic, and abusive. She is essentially saying to you face – “Yeah, what of it?”

    I really don’t get it! It honestly baffles me that he is coming off even worse than he was portrayed originally.

    1. you forgot to add classist as he dropped out of Harvard because it was below him. Harvard. The number 1 on world list of Universities, in US which means you pay money for it. Below.him. There are tons of people who would LOVE to afford studying there, or studying at all but because they are too poor they can’t. But he looks at students as some plebeians. We can add “rich douche who doesn’t realize his privilege” to the list of his dreamy qualities.

  28. “I hate the unexpected.

    …Don’t worry, we hate her, too.”

    Thank you, Jenny, for this belly laugh :D

    I’ll just go clean the noodles off my sofa now.

  29. Chedward is so vain that maybe EL is trying to make him into an unreliable narrator? I mean, I know she’s not. She wants us to take what he says at face value. But it’s so much better to imagine this is all the ramblings of a crazy person.

  30. I haven’t read the recap yet, but I thought of you yesterday. Someone on FB posted the link to a Buzzfeed Twitter recap and reading just those few passages I wanted to tell you not to do this to yourself! It isn’t worth it! ;-)

  31. I laughed out loud at Mr. Neigh.

    “How dare she! I have a sudden urge to drag her out of her seat, bend her over my knee, spank her, and then fuck her over my desk with her hands tied behind her back. That would answer her ridiculous question.”

    Wow. Normally I like to poke fun at bad fiction and crack sarcastic jokes, but I can’t here. What the fuck is wrong with EL James? God, she’s as ignorant as a doorknob if she thinks people object to 50 Shades because of the BDSM sex.

    I’ve read a lot of fiction with douchey love interests who are condescending, rude, selfish, and arrogant, but I can’t think of any fiction where the love interest fantasizes about straight-up raping the heroine. He’s not fantasizing about consensual BDSM sex, but about taking Ana against her will and hurting her. It’s rape. Rape culture, actually. This guy encapsulates everything I hate about misogynistic males.

    I knew Grey was going to be bad, but I didn’t expect this. Wow. I’m shocked to my core. And I’m suddenly don’t feel bad anymore that I missed breakfast this morning.

    1. You know, I don’t read much Western romance fiction, but I have read a lot of yaoi in my time. And while the sub/bottom in those comics is supposedly male as well, he usually reads and is drawn like a girl, because the genre is written by women for women who still think along very heteronormative relationship roles. And most tops in those comics are EXACTLY like this – right down to the first time actually qualifying as rape in most stories, but the sub doesn’t mind afterward and the narrative interprets it as an okay start for a romantic relationship. The whole genre is kind of like a train wreck – I know 90% of it is really awful, but I can’t look away. These days I mostly just skim-read and leave comments to remind the uncritically squeeing fans that this isn’t romance, but an abusive relationship. It creeps me out so much because the genre seems to have such an appeal to young teenage girls who don’t yet know any better, normalising abusive behaviour for them. I’ve been wondering for years if the fact that the genre is so huge and popular (not just in Japan – there are even popular western web comics who use the same kind of characters and celebrate the same kind of behaviour) is a sign that the mental problems that lead some women to write love letters to serial killers in jail are FAR more common than we generally assume, or worse, that even though the sub is usually the viewpoint character, the people who write and love these stories really identify with the rapey, sociopathic top and just like the codependent doormat of a sub because it’s their fantasy of the ideal victim. Considering the really disturbing popularity of the shota subgenre (in which the sub is pre- or barely pubescent, with no acknowledgement that children can’t consent), I strongly suspect the latter explanation is more likely.

      Coming back to “Grey”, the only reason I can think of why the author doesn’t notice how awful and creepy her character’s thought processes are, is because she thinks along similar lines. With “50 Shades” it still seemed credible that she’s just one of those poor women who have been so brainwashed by rape culture and “bad boy” media tropes that they don’t recognise danger signs, but I can’t believe anyone who doesn’t have a personality disorder would write a supposedly sympathetic character fantasizing about raping someone without even adding a little self-aware guilt or something along the lines of “of course I never would do this in reality”.

      (Note: I’m personally a bit on the sadistic side, so I do get the appeal of the fantasy to a certain extent. And I know that ‘ravishing’ fantasies, both as ‘helpless’ victim and as power-tripping perpetrator, are very common. But there is a huge difference between sexual sadism and psychopathic sadism, and no non-psychopathic sadist would ever fantasize about punishing their sub in genuine anger, or about actually breaking someone’s will. It would go more along the line of “I wonder if she’d like it if I…” or “I wonder if she’d let me…”. That the author apparently can’t tell the difference between sexual sadism and psychopathy even in a scene were the abusive nature of the latter is this obvious and impossible to mis-interpret, is telling of more than just cluelessness about how BDSM works in the real world.)

      1. “I wonder if she’d like it if I…” or “I wonder if she’d let me…”

        That’s the key – Christian doesn’t fantasize about whether Ana would like to have rough sex with him, he fantasizes about doing it without her consent.

      2. I know what you mean with yaoi. I’ve read my fair share of yaoi, and the way those series can romanticize rape is pretty darn horrible sometimes. And of course, the stores shrink-wrap the series so that you can’t tell if it’s a rapey series until you’ve already bought it… Thank goodness for libraries.

        1. I used to love yaoi, but I lost interest in the genre partly due to the rapeyness, and partly due to the tired gender stereotyping (the effeminate guy ALWAYS has to be the bottom).

          I can’t believe I missed this, but Christian’s rape fantasy shocked me so much that it took me a while to notice the blatant homophobia. He sounds so much like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho.

          1. I think he is a cross between Bateman, Dexter, Little Ze from City of God and Rorschach from Watchmen.

      3. I’m with you.

        Kind of makes you wonder what kind of marriage E L James has, doesn’t it? The first trilogy (which I forced myself to slog through because I believe it’s important to know one’s enemy, and as a dominant and as a writer, I definitely consider E L James the adversary – she stands for so much that I oppose) was merely terrible. It read like an old-school romance novel, only without editing to make it grammatically correct or competently written. This latest attempt to foist her Edward Cullen stand-in on the world, though… Romanticized sociopathy.

        I’ve heard she is so thin-skinned that she blocks anybody who so much as slightly criticizes her on Twitter; that she got into constant ego wars with the director who tried to make the movie based on her book watchable; that she is the worst sort of diva. Your guess about an underlying personality disorder is a reasonable one.

        Either her husband is long-suffering, or he’s as messed up as she is.

        But that’s nothing compared to how our society is messed up. A few days ago I got to argue yet again with breathless fans that what is depicted is not, in fact, safe, sane, or consensual, nor is it romantic. Trying to argue with the face of rape culture is like trying to fight the ocean. You think you see evidence of it receding, but no, that’s just the tide doing what tide does. The ocean doesn’t really go away.

        I worry for my daughters. I worry for their entire generation. They’re growing up in a world that seems unable to grasp what rape is.

  32. Nice retcon with his mom there. It’s like James finally realised that calling a single mother, who’s trying to raise a child while dealing with drug-addiction and an abuser, a crackwhore might not go over well with the audience… so instead of Christian acknowledging that maybe he’s in the wrong, the mother turns abusive, when she really wasn’t shown that way in the previous books! Now it’s totally fine to call her slurs! Good job.

    1. He claims, in the initial trilogy, not to remember his mom, but then has two memories, one of her death and the other of her making him a cake. In this book, it’s clear he lied, and that he has a lot more memories. Also, rather than accidentally OD, her death was made something else.

      James really wants to make Ella look bad.

      1. She missed a chance for an ironic twist. Anyone who’s familiar with John Lennon’s life story knows that he was was shuttled between his aunt and his mother and his relations with women were either horribly abusive or co-dependent. He said in more than one interview, “I was never really wanted.” Flash forward to years after his death, when both his half-sister and his first wife learned that his Aunt Mimi had taken legal steps to get him away from his mother on the grounds that Julia was leading a lifestyle considered, in those days, to be less than respectable. His mother was devastated, but was afraid Mimi could legally bar her from visiting her son if she fought her.
        Not only was he wanted, but he had two women fighting over him when he was barely a toddler–but he grew up *feeling* unwanted, and it damaged him and the women in his life.
        Ah, but could our EL handle that kind of cruel irony? Quick, EL: steal this idea, and have Chedward discover, in a cruel twist, that Ella tried to be a good Mum all along, but was thwarted by fate–and all those other women have had their backsides blistered for no good reason at all.

        1. Jesus, I never knew that about Lennon. It’s also really funny that Chedward complained before about getting beaten by the pimp–he never said that he was beaten or physically abused by his mom–just the pimp. Which is just ironic because Chedward here is constantly flipping his mental nut and wanting to ‘punish’ women like Ana for every minor thing.

  33. “you never hear of male characters getting called a Mary Sue!”

    I’ve seen people call Jon Snow a Mary Sue.

    Also, I trip on the floor all the time! I don’t know how I’m not crippled from stupid injuries.

    “She explains who she is, and that she studies literature.

    A bashful, bookish type, eh? She looks it: poorly dressed, her slight frame hidden beneath a shapeless sweater, an A-line brown skirt, and utilitarian boots. Does she have any sense of style at all?”

    WHY DO PEOPLE HATE ENGLISH MAJORS???

    “Chedward is insulted that she didn’t come to the interview prepared (didn’t I say just the exact same thing in the first chapter recap? DIDN’T I?)”

    EL has been reading your blog!

    “Someone please remove the thesaurus from Ms. James’s computer.”

    It’s a Word-A-Day calendar. She sees a word she likes and figures out how she can include it in a sentence.

    1. I am an English major, and I’ve yet to meet an English major (‘bookish type’) who is bashful and frumpy. Every English major I went to school with was either a neckbeard, a hipster, or a new romantic and we were all so highly opinionated that Socratic seminars sometimes turned into shouting matches. We were like the drama departments’ slightly less flamboyant cousins.

  34. “Welch, I need a background check.”

    Why am I imagining J. Jonah Jameson from Spiderman barking this into the phone?

  35. “I loathe interviews–inane questions from ill-informed, envious people intent on probing my private life.”

    Why do I think, that this ist E.L. James personal opinion, about interviews and journalists…

  36. Ok, really…Chedward’s mom calls him “Maggot”? As a term of endearment? It’s like E.L was trying to really hammer home the point that Ella was the shittiest mom ever. But at this point, it kind of feels like overkill. We get it, she was “the Crack Whore” who fucked up her son. I’m not saying parents don’t have weird nicknames for their children…I was once in a store where a pre-pubescent boy was looking at something and his dad popped his head in and said “Hey Hammy? Hambone? You ready to go?”. And the boy was kind of large and pinkish so, it seemed simultaneously funny and mean. I just don’t get why E.L had to throw “Maggot” in there also. However, I don’t get why she does a lot of stuff.

    1. I once read a (not so good) thriller and the evil maternity nurse intent of fucking up the family kept calling the baby ‘Shrimp.’ In the beginning, it was creepy and dehumanising, but along the way I started to think of it as a cute, little nickname. It was kind of weird.

      But, yeah, E.L. James is trying her hardest to make Ella seem like a bad mother in case she didn’t succeed the first time around. Unfortunately, in the process she is making Christian look like a lying liar who lies because he constantly tells Ana that he has no memories of his mother (except the birthday cake and after Ella was dead). So, good job making your ‘hero’ look like even more of an untrustworthy psycho, James.

      1. My uncle has been known to call me “short stuff”. I could see Shrimp being cute depending on the family. I know a little girl whose nickname is “Bones”, because her grandfather nicknamed her that while she was still in utero, and it’s very sweet.

        Also, there’s a book, “I Love You, Stinky-Face”, and it’s cute, lol.

        1. ‘Short stuff’ does sound cute. My mom and I call my brother ‘Fluff,’ because his hair was really fluffy when he was younger. It really depends on who is saying it and how they’re saying it.

          1. Literal shortest person in the family XD

            I mean, “honey” or “sweetie” can be absolutely condescending if the person saying them means it so.

            I just read a book, actually, where the main character’s name was Hope, and her brother called her “Hopeless”, but it was a sign of the relationship between them.

        2. Oh, I completely agree. I mean, Christian calling Ana ‘baby’ in his inner dialogue came across as incredibly patronising (and, as always, creepy, because he’s met her like three seconds ago). It’s all about the context and the relationship.

    2. Could actually be a nickname for Hamilton or something. Especially if this happened in the South. Kids get named after some stuffy old ancestor, and an (affectionate) nickname is inevitable.

  37. One good thing that I’ve found from all your recaps of bad books is I’m learning more about what NOT to do while writing my next novel. The two examples that spring to mind are changing a passive sentence to an active one (from the Apolonia recaps) and adding a couple of sentences to avoid accidental Instasub.

    1. “she lamented the fact that Grey had been transformed into a ‘desperate sexual predator”

      What do they mean, transformed? He always WAS a desperate sexual predator. I suppose one good thing about Grey is that now when people reread the originals, it’s going to be more of an effort to explain away Chedward’s behaviour.

      1. Also: “Purves said: ‘With crafty economy of effort, Ms James has simply shadowed the whole plot of Book One, reproducing the clunky polystyrene dialogue word for word, and inserting italicised thoughts by Christian himself.”

        I was glancing through Goodreads reviews and saw the same complaint. I’m curious what they expected. I mean, she’s telling the same story. How can she change the dialogue and emails? It wouldn’t be the same story if she did that …

        1. Although I guess she could have shown some scenes of him by himself that weren’t in the books from Ana’s POV? Or did she? I’m not reading this one to find out, so I guess I have to wait for Jenny to get through it!

          1. Must be tricky, because those two idiots live in each others pockets. And the only time he’s away from her is when he’s working. And EL James doesn’t actually know what he does and clearly can’t be bothered to research it, so it all has to be vague and buzzwordy. She’ll probably steal all the workplace dialogue from Dilbert ‘s pointy-haired boss.

  38. I imagine that not a lot of people are reading the book along with Jenny, but for those who are: did you guys notice that Chedward spent a few pages not calling Ana by her name?

    When he meets her, he’s all, “the girl/she/baby.” When he addresses her, he calls her Ms. Steele, but in his head she doesn’t have a name. Not until he decides that Anastasia is, “… a beautiful name for a beautiful girl.”

    1. He did call her Anastasia A LOT in the original novels, despite her repeatedly telling him that she likes to be called Ana. Another sign of his immense dickishness and his tiny dick.

      1. Christian is a dick, but I don’t really think calling her by her full name is really that dickish. I’m in the midst of writing a novel and several characters call the protagonist by her full name instead of her nickname, but she doesn’t mind. I also know people that preferred to be called by their full name and other people still call them by a nickname, which is basically the same thing. Or when I was in school, all my male friends called me by my last name instead of my first. Some people just loathe using nicknames, even with their family and friends. Ana may prefer Ana, but if Christian wants to call her Anastasia, I really don’t think it’s a big deal.

        1. The difference is your protag doesn’t mind. Ana explicitly tells him that she DOES mind. If you KNOW what someone wants to be called, and you disregard them, that’s rude.

        2. This is a context thing.

          I once knew a girl and she went by Nancy. She said most people called her Nancy because her real name was foreign and a little hard to pronounce. Her real name (which I ironically don’t remember) was gorgeous, though, so I told her that and I asked her if it was alright if I called her *real name’.* She said that was fine. She didn’t appear to care either way.

          Christian, on the other hand, has Ana tell him that everyone calls her Ana and she really prefers that, yet he keeps on calling her Anastasia. The way he handles it is just weird and rude. It honestly seems like he’s trying to annoy her or something.

          1. It’s definitely in that vein. Like he’s doing it to pull rank on her in a microaggressive way. “Ana” is familiar, “Anastasia” is more formal. It also makes me think of how a parent would use a child’s full name when they were in trouble or something. Whatever the reasoning, it comes off as gross and done specifically against her will – much like everything else he does to her in this book.

          2. Yeah, it’s definitely a context thing. It just seems like Christian never calls anyone by a nickname, (he calls Kate Katherine) so James is trying to make him either incredibly formal or come off as condescending. Of course, to us it seems to be the latter. ;)

            I just haven’t known anyone who has a bug up their ass about being addressed by their formal name. My sisters both use nicknames and I use their full name and they don’t blow gaskets. I use my husband’s full name sometimes too (and not just when he didn’t do the dishes!) and it’s never bothered him. Maybe that’s why I’ve never seen it as a big deal. Seriously though, does Ana hate her full name that much that she’d snap her shit every time someone used it? Oi vey.

          3. Reply to Taryn:

            I think that you’re right that James is trying to make Christian seem very formal and, thus, older than his years. (Like Edward, you know). She just doesn’t succeed.

            It doesn’t really seem to bother Ana after the first few times Christian calls her Anastasia. However, Ana eventually comes to accept absolutely everything he does to her (and most of it is stuff she told him she didn’t like).

            Personally, I find it just a tad disrespectful. I am of the opinion that I get to decide how I want to be addressed. It’s not some huge thing, but, yeah, I wouldn’t exactly be thrilled if someone disregarded my wishes.

          4. Some people don’t mind, and I think you’re misunderstanding is as if *some* people don’t mind, then *all* people shouldn’t mind. To plenty of people, their names, and what they are called, are a part of their identity. My husband goes by his middle name, and while he won’t say anything if called by his first, it does grate on him. My daughter goes by her full middle name, and does get upset if it’s shortened. Her name is NOT something else, she’ll tell you. It’s her FULL name. Call me by the name my family called me as a kid, and I will ignore you entirely, no matter how much you may like it, because there’s serious trauma associated with it that I don’t care to share with the world. Meanwhile one of my best friends doesn’t care if she’s called her full name or one of her nicknames. It’s personal choice, and it’s downright disrespectful to call someone by a name they don’t want to be called.

            You wouldn’t call Caitlyn Jenner by the name of Bruce, would you? I hope not. She’s made it clear she identifies with the name Caitlyn. Not Cait, or Caity. Caitlyn. Same thing with other people.

            If Ana identifies as Ana, then Christian should call her Ana. He’s calling her what HE likes instead, because screw what she thinks or wants.

            By the way, Elliot mildly chastises his brother for calling Kate “Miss Kavenaugh” in an informal setting. It’s pretty clear that ignoring what people prefer to be called is a typical thing for Christian.

        3. Another reply to Taryn:

          I guess what I was trying to say is that it isn’t really about the name.

          This is just one of the first examples of Ana clearly expressing her wishes and Christian doing the exact opposite. On its own, the name thing is fairly innocuous, but because it’s part of a larger pattern of Christian ignoring the likes and dislikes of the woman he claims to love it’s pretty grating.

          1. The other thing I always wonder about when people refuse to use a preferred nickname is whether they’re going to be pedantic jerks about refusing to call trans people by their preferred name. I just believe fully in addressing people how they want to be addressed. If you decide it’s okay to ignore someone’s preferences – not call them an alternative name they are okay with, but call them something they do not like – in one situation… where’s the line for other situations?

            Plus really, what do you get out of calling someone something they don’t like to be called? It’s kind of weird to be like “I know you don’t like the thing, but I’m gonna do the thing anyways”.

          2. Well, didn’t know that a little personal observation would cause such a large fuss. (I even got the internet hot button topic of Caitlyn Jenner, yay me!) I’m just saying that in my personal experience, I’ve never known anyone who would raise such a stink about their given name since it’s their name (and if I hated my name I would have it legally changed). Hating a nickname, yeah, of course. Now, if someone flat out told me “Please don’t call me this, I hate it and prefer this instead”, I’m not going to pull a Christian Grey and be a raging douche about it, I’ll just call them that instead because they prefer it.

            @Lieke Yes, exactly! I wasn’t looking at it as a whole, I was just focusing on the name thing, which, to me, is pretty harmless. But yes, overall it’s just another douche thing Christian does in disrespecting Ana and her wishes. Although I’d rather kick him in the nuts for demanding that she change her name to Grey than refusing to call her Ana, if I had a choice. :)

  39. Chedward has all the charm and appeal of your average YouTube commenter. His reaction to the gay question was exactly how one of those guys would reply.

    You’re my hero for mentioning the bangs thing, btw. Every picture I see of her makes me want to go at her with a headband or a barrette.

  40. When I heard that this book was coming out, my first thought was “well, the apocalypse is upon us,” but then I realized that you would probably be doing rec(r)aps, and my outlook improved. :)

  41. OMGosh, we have the first “hell of a tie” moment in this book, but you didn’t call it out?!
    “Clear, embarrassed eyes meet mine and halt me in my tracks. They are the most extraordinary color, powder blue, and guileless, and for one awful moment, I think she can see right through me and I’m left…exposed.”
    Those tracks are pretty dang impressive. In a … guileless … way. XD
    Also I have to echo what others have already said: I’m so, so sorry that you’re going through this, yet gleefully excited that I get to read more of your recaps!!

  42. I decided to read Grey just so I could follow along with Jenny’s recaps and I have discovered that I can only read it in very short spurts. As in, I have about twenty tabs open on Chrome and I cycle through them to find something that will cleanse my brain after each page of this horrid book. Christian is an even bigger tool in this than he was in 50SoG. I feel like this book will be a… painful experience. On the upside, Jenny’s recaps help me with my own writing!

    On the Mary Sue thing, I think the reason it’s barely applied to men is because it originated in fanfiction, which is mostly written by women and usually contained a female self-insert. I’m not sure of the ratio between male and female authors these days, but a lot of female authors (particularly ones who write YA) fall into the trap of writing heroines with almost zero flaws and have men falling all over them. *cough cough* Twilight *cough cough* Not to say that men can’t be Mary Sues/Gary Stus as well, it just seems few and far between. My favourite example (not from a book sadly) is Tommy Oliver from Power Rangers. ;)

  43. Thank you so much for doing this, Jenny. Your recaps to the first three books gave me an enormous amount of pleasure as well as introducing me to a lot of other witty, intelligent and informed women, and men, whose writings I have not only enjoyed immensely but from whom I have learned a great deal.

    I should thank ELJ for the entertainment the anti-50Shades crew have provided me with. But I won’t.

  44. The first thing I did when I saw this book had been released was head to this blog. You did not disappoint. I was crying laughing. Thank you

  45. This is the real inner monologue–if Chedward were intelligent enough to articulate it:
    * * * *
    ‘….you cannot doubt that she has a capacity for strong attachments, or she wouldn’t have abandoned the elegancies, and comforts, and friends of her former home, to fix contentedly, in such a wilderness as this, with you.’
    ‘She abandoned them under a delusion,’ he answered; ‘picturing in me a hero of romance, and expecting unlimited indulgences from my chivalrous devotion. I can hardly regard her in the light of a rational creature, so obstinately has she persisted in forming a fabulous notion of my character and acting on the false impressions she cherished. But, at last, I think she begins to know me: I don’t perceive the silly smiles and grimaces that provoked me at first; and the senseless incapability of discerning that I was in earnest when I gave her my opinion of her infatuation and herself. It was a marvellous effort of perspicacity to discover that I did not love her. I believed, at one time, no lessons could teach her that! And yet it is poorly learnt; for this morning she announced, as a piece of appalling intelligence, that I had actually succeeded in making her hate me! A positive labour of Hercules, I assure you! If it be achieved, I have cause to return thanks. Can I trust your assertion, Isabella? Are you sure you hate me? If I let you alone for half a day, won’t you come sighing and wheedling to me again? I daresay she would rather I had seemed all tenderness before you: it wounds her vanity to have the truth exposed. But I don’t care who knows that the passion was wholly on one side: and I never told her a lie about it. She cannot accuse me of showing one bit of deceitful softness. The first thing she saw me do, on coming out of the Grange, was to hang up her little dog; and when she pleaded for it, the first words I uttered were a wish that I had the hanging of every being belonging to her, except one: possibly she took that exception for herself. But no brutality disgusted her: I suppose she has an innate admiration of it, if only her precious person were secure from injury! Now, was it not the depth of absurdity—of genuine idiotcy, for that pitiful, slavish, mean-minded brach to dream that I could love her?
    - Wuthering Heights, of course

  46. This is neither here nor there and I’m not sure if it has been mentioned before, but I saw the latest Film Theory and immediately thought of your recaps. It’s about the 50 shades movie of course. If you haven’t seen it yet, do so! I think you might enjoy it :)
    Not sure whether I can link youtube videos here but just in case I can’t, it’s called “Film Theory: fifty shades of grey cult theory”

  47. Thank you!! I really didn’t want to read this book, but wanted to know how bad it is. This is so much better than actually reading it myself!

  48. Another thing, how can Ana be a whirl of, among other things, pale limbs, when she’s wearing knee-length booths, probably a knee-length skirt, and a sweater? Is Christian x-raying her?

    1. If she’d been wearing a circle skirt, it could have flown up, but A-lines aren’t very useful for that, even when one falls.

  49. More real world results of controlling relationships:
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3131858/Charleston-killer-Dylann-Roof-grew-fractured-home-violent-father-beat-stepmother-hired-private-detective-follow-split-claims-court-papers.html
    So ladies, it’s not just you making this decision. Think what you’re doing to any kids who are so unfortunate as to land in this kind of situation. Would YOU want to grow up with a father figure who treated women like that?

  50. “Because of the use of “whirl” in this sentence, now all I see is Ana spiraling into Chedward’s office like a poorly styled football.”

    In slow motion, to the sound of the Six Million Dollar Man running.

    “I glare at her, hoping to intimidate her.”

    This sentence is so antithetical to being a Dom that I can’t even express it in words at the moment.

  51. Bless you for doing this, Jenny, so that Ket and I don’t have to.

    Also, I’m really okay with Ella calling him “Maggot.” Obviously the poor woman was aware that she had birthed a demon spawn. I can’t blame her for hating the hellbeast; I hate him, too.

    1. I knew a mother who referred to her youngest, a rather rectangular baby with tiny little hands and feet at opposite ends, as a Hamster. She was once changing her, and soothing the crying baby by saying, “Yes, we’re going to be put some lotion on the Hamster’s rash, and she’ll be a happy Hamster, she’s a good little Hamster, she’s the best little Hamster in the whole world.” The baby calmed down beautifully even before the procedure was finished.
      As for Chedward, these flashbacks are one more indication that EL doesn’t know what she’s doing, scinetifically or from the point of literature. He understands himself and his traumatic early childhood too WELL to let it control him as it does. For this to work, he’d have to repress his memories, and then, as the recovered memories come bubbling out, Ana could “help” him.

      But given how violent he becomes, I doubt they could ever dabble in light S&M as they do by the end of the first trilogy. For a guy to be able to do that, he has to be able to keep control of himself and respect safe-words, boundaries, be alert to cues that his partner isn’t comfortable with something and it isn’t just playacting (“Oh, no, you ruthless pirate, I shall never give in to your wicked demands!”),–even if his partner doesn’t remember to use the safe words. This guy is like an alcoholic–he can’t take a “small” drink for the rest of his life.

      1. LOL “and she’ll be a happy hamster” omg. That’s actually hilarious.

        Chedward can’t ever do even light S&M safely. Remember how in the second book he blamed Ana for not using the safe word, and then in the third book he got mad at her for using it? There is no pleasing the Chedward. And I believe Ana ended up apologizing to him both times.

        1. THAT PART MADE ME SO RAGEY

          He blames her over and over for not using it and then when she does it’s a big traumatic moment FOR HIM?!

          Dude I have used my safe word because I got a cramp in my calf and needed to be untied. No big whoop.

          1. I often bring up this moment when people defend his behavior and the “kinky fuckery.” I always get the “you’re just a prude” crap from its fans, and I’m so not. But CONSENSUAL matters. So I point out this scene and then they either ignore it and argue around it or they stop responding altogether.

            This is a cult like any other. They have a religion and they will stick to it to the end and ignore all evidence that it’s completely screwed up and wrong.

          2. And, you know, you can still enjoy something while acknowledging its faults. I have heard a few people say they know it’s crap writing and a problematic relationship, but that they enjoyed reading it, anyway.

            I LOVE Top Gun. It will forever and always be one of my favorite movies. But it has no plot. Storytelling-wise, it’s a terrible movie. But I enjoy watching it, anyway. It’s just fun. I would never get angry and offended, though, if someone pointed out to me that really, in the end, it’s a bad movie. Because it is.

      2. I also thought “Maggot” was meant as a weird endearment, like, at first, when she found out that she was pregnant, she called the baby “Maggot” because she didn’t want it and like it, and then, when Little Christian was there, it gradually became a term of endearment.

        And as someone with her own fair share of early childhood trauma, I tend to agree that Christian’s dreams really don’t make sense. I didn’t relive what has happened to me in my dreams, like you play a video again and again and again… it was twisted and warped and sometimes I didn’t even realize that what I was dreaming had something to do with my trauma until I examined it more closely, years later.

        Even though I disagree somewhat on the “understanding his trauma” point. If he isn’t a sociopath, to whom “Ah, well, I hate my crackwhore of a mom so I’m going to torture series of brown-haired girls who look like her to feel better” definitely could seem like a reasonable train of thought, I rather doubt he’s really, consciously made the connection between his hatred and/or anger for his mother and his subs. He might have realized that they look like her, but I doubt he’s ever gone ahead and admitted to himself why he does what he does, because if he did that, he also would have to admit that this is fucking unhealthy behavior that needs a real therapist’s attention.

    2. That’s one way to look at it I guess, lol. I just figured EL made the mom call him something unpleasant to try to wipe out the empathy people had for her in the first books.

    3. I’m not okay with it, but that’s because my father calls me Maggot, affectionately (it’s a family in-joke–my real name is not even close to “Maggie,” but he started calling me that in public because he didn’t want to embarrass me with “Maggot,” and at some point I realized that while I don’t care for my birth name, I like “Maggie” [I haven't changed it legally yet, but at some point I plan to]).

  52. Loved the recap, Jenny! I have the book and I’m trying to follow along but the writing just sucks so bad! You are the greatest!

  53. I’m very much looking forward to your recaps on this. They help me to more effectively channel and articulate my rage. I made it partway through the second chapter (day?) before spiking my eReader against the kitchen table, soooo.

  54. First off, thank you Jenny for all that you’ve done in regards to this trainwreck of a franchise.

    Secondly, I’m actually thrilled James went ahead and wrote a canon version of Grey that is inline with how I portrayed him in my spitefic. Misogynistic, arrogant, obtuse… yeah. I nailed that fucker right on the head and so I giggle.

    Suppose we (or just I) owe James a thank you for clairifying how much of a ‘louche douche’ her ‘hero’ really is; there is no doubt how sociopathic Grey is at his core.

  55. Jenny, thank you SO MUCH for agreeing to recap the latest installment in the 50 Shades shitfest – er, I mean series. (No, I don’t.) Reading this warmed my snarky little heart.

    I can’t wait until the sex scenes. ‘I start to move, really move…’

  56. Today is my birthday and this is a wonderful gift! EL James blocked me from Twitter because I called out her atrocious writing. I sent her a screen shit of that scene where Ana asked if he was gay and his mental response was “What the Hell!” Shouldn’t that have a question mark? Oh Good Lord! She is so horrible.

    1. An exclamation point there is actually fine. It’s a matter of poetic license and the mood the writer is trying to convey.

      Not that there aren’t plenty of other examples of crappy writing in all four of her books …

  57. I just realized something. The idea of a professionally successful but emotionally unavailable man who surrounds himself with blondes because he was traumatized by his brunette mother was used years ago in Jackie Susann’s _Love Machine_. Robin Stone was a serial seduce-and-abandon type, not a physical abuser, but the outline is the same.
    Is there anyone James HASN’T “borrowed” from?

  58. For all the vomit-inducing awful Chedward is, I want to know how he has the first fucking CLUE what Old Navy or H&M are. This is a rich jerk from a rich family who probably never bought anything off the rack unless it was from a designer boutique, and even then probably has had all his suits custom-made since he was an adult, if not before.

    Maybe he read the clothing labels off of what his former subs have worn (and subsequently shamed for wearing “cheap” clothes)? Ugh.

    1. Actually, James stole that from _Silence of the Lambs_, i.e., Hannibal’s remarks about Clarice’s “cheap shoes.”

    1. Oh and I’m not sure if it was in the original or fixed later, but according the the ‘look inside’ preview on Amazon.com of Fifty Shades of Grey, she trips over her own feet going into his office. Along with adjusting the expression to ‘hit the petal to the metal’, which I still find off since I’ve only heard it as ‘put the pedal’ and the only person I have heard that used that expression is my father and I’m 30.

  59. So, I’m doing a recap of this mess for some friends. The first sex chapter covers THE WHOLE FUCKING DAY and is EIGHTY FUCKING PAGES LONG!

    It’s sad, because one of my complaints about the trilogy was that there were too many chapters where nothing happened. Now I’m getting my wish of fewer chapters, but they are eighty fucking pages. For the record, chapter 6 should have been 3 or 4 chapters. Who edited this clusterfuck?

    1. I think the answer to that is no one. No one edited this. And if they did they are never going to own up to it.

  60. Wow, a chapter in and I already want to smack Grey’s face with a cactus. Like you said, the fact that ELJ didn’t mean to write him like an abusive ass is an atrocity that’s almost hilarious. It’s a hilariocity.

  61. She actually included this scene and the scene in the hardware store with the original series. She had it tacked on after Freed under the heading, “Shades of Christian”, I believe.

    However, she edited her original chapter for this book. The hardware store chapter was edited for this book as well. It’s interesting to see what she felt she needed to change for the new book.

  62. I wonder if anyone’s digitised this piece of crap and run it through copyscape? It would be interesting to see the exact proportion of original content in this obvious attempt to cash in on an already painfully overstretched series.

    P.S The Amazon reviews are, I feel, ample testimony to the sort of person who reads the books.

    P.P.S Great writing by the way, particularly when contrasted against James’

    1. Something like the student paper site Turnitin would be perfect–it highlights and color-codes passages by source. There should be some highlighting in a good research paper, especially if the student is analyzing direct quotes, as one usually does in a literature paper, but if there is wall-to-wall highlighting and no un-highlighted analysis in between, it’s a dead giveaway something is wrong, even if the sources are cited–which, of course, they never are, in James.

  63. Oh God. Jenny, Alys, Louise, anyone who has tried to do full-recaps of this thing all the way through:
    My hat is off to you. I can’t submit you for sainthood, because (I hope) you’re all alive and well, but I would like to call you “Blessed.” Or, at least, “Venerable.”
    Requested it from the library so I could keep up. Or even give it a fair reading before having my opinion influenced.
    It is SO much worse than anyone can convey. A bodice-ripper with a title like _Sir Seduce-a-Slut and the Bumbling Bodice-Bimbo_ would have better writing. This is no doubt, in part, because the proofreaders and copy editors of _Sir Seduce-a-Slut_ are generally allowed to do their jobs, while any slight suggestion of alteration to James’ Mastur-Piece are no doubt met with indignant howls from the author or just plain shot down in advance by the Senior Editor, who can’t be bothered to argue with James anymore. The editorial staff are carried out on stretchers and regularly replaced by new ones.

    In no particular order:
    Chedward’s ego:
    p. 15: “I give Olivia a pointed look and she immediately leaps up to retrieve a navy jacket, passing it to me with her usual simpering expression. Christ, Olivia is annoying—mooning over me all the time.”
    p. 44: “The young receptionist greets me with a flirtatious wave.
    “_Every day…Like a cheesy tune on repeat_.
    “Ignoring her, I make my way to the elevator….”
    p. 69: Two room service employees: “Walking back into the bedroom, I catch their furtive looks, but I ignore them….”
    “’Just call room service when you want the table cleared, sir,’ Miss Dark eyes says with a coquettish look, as if she’s offering more.
    “My chilly smile warns her off.”
    Holy hand grenades: even Humbert had some embarrassment about constantly mentioning his own supposed physical attractiveness. (“I do not know if in these tragic notes I have sufficiently stressed the peculiar “sending” effect that the writer’s good looks–pseudo-Celtic, attractively apelike, boyishly manly–had on women of every age and environment. Of course, such announcements made in the first person may sound ridiculous. “) Chedward was miscast, alright. He should be played by Lee Pace in full Thranduil drag—complete with chair antlers.

    p. 57: Ana: “I’ve never been drunk before and right now I have no desire to ever be again.”
    I don’t care how shit-faced she is. NO English major with a 4.0 average would split that infinitive for no bloody reason. Some split infinitives are difficult to avoid, but that isn’t one of them. “…right now I have no desire ever to be again.” See? Easy as rolling off a log and running a multi-billion-dollar empire.

    p. 39: Christian’s inner monologue: “…I’m competing with Darcy, Rochester, and Angel Clare, impossible romantic heroes.”
    Darcy was a class-conscious boor who thought Lizzie would be flattered that he admitted to her was attracted to her despite her tacky family; Rochester had a slut-puppy history and tried to trick Jane into bigamy (sorry for the Spoiler, if you haven’t read it); Angel Clare was a hypocrite with sexual double-standard; even Hardy comments, “The wanton action of a man of maturity — the deceived innocence of an ignorant child! And yet, the man cannot forgive the woman!“
    p. 22: Christian’s inner monologue again, reacting to Ana’s major: “_British literature?_ The Brontes and Austen, I bet. All those romantic hearts-and-flowers types.”
    I’ve dealt with Charlotte’s _Jane Eyre_, so let’s move on to Emily’s _Wuthering Heights_ : Heathcliff is a wife-beater and just short of being a necrophiliac with somebody else’s wife. He also bashes his daughter-in-law and allows his own son to die for lack of medical treatment. Hindley is a drunk and a kiddie-basher. Catherine is psychotic.
    As for Austen, her books are full of Wickhams and Willoughbys who seduce girls and (by the customs of that day) ruin their lives, since the men will not lose their place in society for a few indiscretions, but the women will. Also the case with Hardy.
    Hearts-and-flowers?
    Is Grey that ignorant? Is Anastasia?
    Or…could it be….
    Right, that’s it for me. I leave complete recaps to the professionals, because I’m out of patience with this revenge-porn against hot blondes: that’s right, straw-hairs; multi-billion-dollar empire hot guy who could have anyone he wants ignores all of you and pursues a mousy little poorly-dressed English major. And since we’re on the subject of clothes, how does someone make it all the way through to graduation without having one suit for job interviews (or at least for awards ceremonies when she’s presumably made the Dean’s List)? You can get a nice one at a thrift shop, if necessary.

  64. I’m slogging through the 6th chapter, AKA Saturday, May 21st, and somehow James managed to stretch that damned day out into 90 days, which is almost 10% of the download. Somehow it is more repetitive than the original book. How many times can there be something to say about the constant erection Grey lives with?

    I think we’re supposed to find Ana’s lack of appropriate attire to be adorable, which it’s not. You’re right. There’s no way an English major would go through school without a suitable set of business clothes. This area has a lot of really nice thrift shops, with a lot of low prices. Almost everything I own, including my ultra-formals, are from thrift shops, and rarely is anything above $20. But not only that! Ana also borrows (well, steals) from Kate, and Kate, as a model, surely has appropriate attire for taking care of her modeling business.

    But worse than her clothing choice really is how she didn’t even bother reading the interview questions while waiting.

    1. English major here and I didn’t buy my first suit until I’d been out of college for several years. And I managed to interview for and get jobs without one. Even now, I just don’t have the shape for traditional business suits so I don’t wear them. I’m 38, work in a professional office and don’t own a business suit.

      I also split infinitives all the time because that is an archaic rule based on English’s Latin roots and sometimes it just sounds better to split them. I also am far less formal in conversation than in writing, so I don’t see an issue with Ana speaking that way.

      There are a lot of things wrong with this book. There are a lot of things wrong with Ana’s characterization. Those things, though, are kind of splitting hairs.

      1. “sometimes it just sounds better to split them.” Agreed. “To boldly go where no” scans better than “To go boldly where no,” emphasizing the assonance and the strong beats. There are other cases where the complexity of the phrase would require either putting the adverb at the end (“I wish to avoid a repetition of this incident completely”) or, French-fashion, before the verb (“I wish completely to avoid, etc.) in order to avoid the split. I wouldn’t turn a hair at “I wish to completely avoid a repetition of this incident.” And yes, it’s a carry-over from Latin, but 18th and 19th-century writers took it seriously enough that they often used to French formation.

        James , however, is not distinguishing between times where it is MORE awkward to split them and times where it is less. Read Ana’s dialogue aloud (if you can stand it), and you’ll hear what I mean.

        1. “I have no desire to ever be again,” sounds fine to me. I really don’t get your beef with it. And dialogue or first person narratives can get away with less-than-perfect grammar when it’s in character. I’m not saying James’ writing overall isn’t horrendous. But that specific line isn’t.

          1. I’ve done a lot of theatre, and to my ear, it just scans poorly. Although actually, it would sound best of all if she moved “ever” closer to th end “EVER again.”

          2. I once saw an protest article in the student paper containing the line, “Well, I am not going to so passively comply.” It made the writer sound like an aging flower child.

  65. Not that I’m saying it’s okay that he calls her Anastasia instead of Ana, but E.L. explains the reason. In his mind it sounds too much like Ella and that brings too many painful memories to the surface. Since he does suffer from PTSD, in my mind, I give him a pass on this one.

    1. I sent more years of my live with an abuser than Grey spend with his birth mother. My daughter’s teacher last year has the same name as my abuser. I still deal with issues from that ex of mine. That didn’t give me the right to tell my daughter’s teacher I wasn’t going to respect the name he prefers to be called. If Grey really can’t stand it, then he should call her Miss Steele until he asks her is he can call her by her full name, and simply explain it as her shortened name is too close to another name he has a hard time hearing. Without any further explanation, I’m sure most people would be okay with it since respect was shows by asking. But Grey decides HIS way is THE way. What is Ana had a hard time with Anastasia? There’s some indication her mother’s third husband may have hurt her. What if he called her Anastasia, and hearing her full name brought up fairly recent, traumatic memories? Whatever happened with her second stepfather was purposefully avoided.

      What does Grey plan to do if he has to speak with another tech mogul, Mr. Ellison? Ellison is closer to Ana. If Christian likes to be called Mr. Grey, they he doesn’t get to go off insisting that he get to call Mr. Ellison Larry.

      Besides, he has no problem calling Elena Lincolm just plain Elena. Again, closer to Ella than Ana is.

  66. Business ATTIRE. Doesn’t have to be a business SUIT. I’m sure you had appropriate business clothing instead of just whatever you happened to have in your closet that you wear every day. A pair of slacks or a neat skirt, and a button-up is just fine. Something that passes for professional. We know Ana borrows from Kate (if you can call wearing and not returning “borrowing”), without any sizing issue ever mentioned. We know Kate’s family foots the bills. Rent doesn’t ever cross Ana’s mild. Ana, whether through Kate’s closet or her own earnings since other people pay the bills on bills, has no excuse to not have appropriate business attire. It was unprofessional for her to show up in ill-fitting stuff, and it’s a middle finger to the interview especially since she’s otherwise neatly dressed in clothing that fits right.

    1. Honestly, I really didn’t have much. I worked in a grocery store and then I worked in a facility for troubles teen girls where I could wear pretty much whatever I wanted. I had to go shopping after graduation. I guess I had something appropriate for interviews or I wouldn’t have had the jobs I did. But I really didn’t have much. I didn’t need it at the moment and hadn’t really thought about it.

      But, yeah, Ana does seem to figure out fashion pretty quickly and easily once she starts screwing Christian, so it doesn’t make much sense for her character. I don’t, however, think it has anything to do with being an English major. Not everyone is that together.

    2. English major here. Nope, no business attire of any sort. Why would I? I was a student. I went to classes, the library and home. Oh, and grocery shopping when I could afford it. I didn’t even really have anything I’d consider “business attire” after I graduated and got a job working for a medical charity.

  67. Can i just say how much i hate the sentence, “raising the ordinary to the extrordinary…”?
    James obviously thinks this is a clever phrase and when i was 13 i would have agreed with her but now as an adult i see it akin to saying “it was good but it got better.” Its not some marvelous observation on anabella’s part.

    1. And what the hell were the paintings she was looking at? The comment is meaningless without a description of the artwork.

      1. That’s because the whole idea is lifted from the title of Sandy’s theological work in _The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie_: “The Transfiguration of the Commonplace.” James very likely thinks her wordplay is a clever improvement, unless she knows the multiple meanings of “Transfiguration,” especially for Catholics. Well, possibly, even if she does. Our EL isn’t above lifting anybody else’s work, even Muriel Spark’s, and “enhancing” it

        1. Yup, she’s cribbing from Spark. Chedward notes that Ana’s mouth tastes (instead of, logically, remnants of her late-night hurl) like “orchards of mellow fruitfulness.” “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” is a line from Keats’ “Ode to Autumn” which Miss Brodie quotes to her class. It’s possible James read Keats, but I doubt it. Again, when Heyer has her villain quote Shakespeare and the Bible, it’s obvious he’s quoting something. This is just supposed to be Chedward’s inner monologue.
          Isn’t anyone, EVER, going to sue this woman successfully?

    2. Margot: I agree completely. It’s like a kid saying “Chocolate sauce makes yummy ice cream SUPER yummy!” And right afterwards, Christian makes sure to tell us that it’s a smart thing to say, possibly reflecting James’s subconscious knowledge that, on its own, the sentence does not give a clever impression.

  68. On 3, all you Les Mis fans…and one…two…THREE:
    One day MORE
    Our Jenny’s going to help us face this awful mess
    She’ll lead through this literary wilderness
    The book is giant chunks of trash
    But she will chop it into hash
    One day MORE….

    1. “Is anyone going to ever sue this woman successfully?”

      I’m afraid not, because EL can quote anything she likes as long as it’s out of copyright – as Keats’s poetry is. Cribbing is supremely distasteful in my book, even if it’s not strictly illegal. It just makes her out to be an even more abysmal writer than she already is.

      *singing along with “One Day More”* Someone, PLEASE WRITE MORE LYRICS! This is so much of a relief after slogging through the book with Jenny.

  69. I am going to go out on a limb here and say that, with heavy editing, this book would be a decent porn novel. Notice I said *porn* not romance, not erotica, not erotic romance, not thriller, not contemporary lit or chick lit.

    It’s not PC, of course, or in any way realistic or edifying, but neither are a lot of sexual fantasies, and the story is a well-worked, popular one in the genre, a sweet young submissive thing being seduced by a more experienced, kinky, dom. But if Grey had been available, say, on bondage.com, trimmed of its excess verbage — of which there is a lot — and heavily edited, I might enjoy it as a private sexual thrill, the same way it’s more fun to take a ride on a roller coaster than a leisurely bicycle ride around the lake. As a porn reader, the realism or unrealism wouldn’t matter to me, only the sex, and the context for that sex. Context is all-important, even if it’s cliched. It’s like the idea of the story becomes what’s sexy, not the characters and how stupid or how misogynistic they are. Which is the opposite of most literature, but there you have it.

    (Note that I HATE FSOG for all the reasons, and more, that have been listed for a year on this blog. They are badly written, boring drivel that have no right to be labelled romantic. I am just saying, that with a lot of tweaking, Grey would be a perfectly acceptable BDSM porn novel.)

  70. I thought I heard something about EL and her husband being the ones to direct (ugh) and have more control (ugh, shoot me now) over the next film (just toss me off a cliff, already!)

  71. I’ve been trying to read this thing so I can appreciate what Jenny and Alys are doing, but it’s just…it;s true that lots of men think with The Other Brain, but Chedward has made a bizarre routine out of it. He has a talking cock. There are talking cocks and “queyntes” in medieval fabliaux, but they were supposed to be *funny*, and if there is anything EL does well, it’s take herself all too seriously. (Except for laughing all the way to the bank.)

    I know Jenny’s readers submitted a name for Chedward’s wee-wee in the first trilogy, but this version is much more violent. Since it also has a playroom, I propose referring to the pervert pee-pee with a playroom as….

    http://lightwayart.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/chuckie-family.jpg

    Chuckie.

  72. Oh my god, I finally figured out why Ana finds Christian desirable! “When I open my eyes I’m wrapped around her, our limbs entwined. {Side note: Good thing that “wrapped around her” bit got cleared up, I was sort of imagining a pig-in-a-blanket type of configuration, which may be dirtier than anything that actually happens in this book.} She’s regarding me with a tender smile. Her face is no longer blotchy and puffy; she looks radiant. My cock agrees, and stiffens in greeting. ‘Good morning.’” Do you see it now?! His penis can talk, as in, it can produce actual words. His. dick. is. magic… and also very courteous in its morning greetings. This explains a lot. Thank god for this new POV book, or we might never have gained this incredible new insight.

    1. Oops, looks like you all beat me to the punch! Props on being able to slog through this horrible book as fast as you have. I think I will set it aside forever now, I’m afraid it won’t be funny anymore by the end.

  73. I love that you take all of our curiosity on this books without the brain damage, and your comments are always fun. Bue, you totally missed the oportunity with the “Mr. Neigh will see you now.”

  74. (I’m one of those dupes that actually did fall for the ‘recap after vacation’ thing. Oop)

    Well, this chapter was alarming. Double crap.

  75. 1. Oh goddamnit they met on my birthday. Why. WHY?
    2. Perfect use of an Archer image.
    3. Is it too much to hope that this actually convinces people that what we’ve been saying about Christian being abusive is right after all? I mean, it’s even more obvious here.

  76. For some reason I got hung up on the line “her hair barely contained by a hair tie”. Was her hair fighting the tie? It is a moving, living organism. Cause I got a lot of hair, but even on it’ craziest day I can control it with a hair tie. It doesn’t fight back. She’s got some freaky hair.

    1. *snort* Either that or she looks like Cousin Itt and no hair tie is large enough to physically hold all her hair.

  77. “I feel like E.L. couldn’t take a harder stance against her own creation if she stood up at a podium and said she was writing all of this as a social experiment to bring abuse and rape culture to light in our society. That she’s doing this on accident is either horrifying or hilarious. Hilarifying. Hilorifying.”

    The word you are looking for is probably ‘Horrormirth’.
    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Horrormirth

  78. I started reading these yesterday, after a recommendation on YouTube, and I’m just dying. I love them, and now there’s Grey? I’ve been trying to explain to too many people why I hate 50SOG and now someone hates them as much as I do!

  79. I immediatly run to your blog after running into this book while grocery shopping and I can’t believe how horrible it is.

    That last bit about his secretary mooning over him must have been written by a teenager ghost writer who has just discovered fanfiction and self-insertion.

  80. Late to the party, but just wanted to say that I adore this recaps, they are probably the only good thing that has come off the nightmare that is FSOG, and I love you for enduring the pain of reading this fucking books just so that we can have some fun.

    Also, this “book” is only in chapter one or day one or whatever and already we have inconsistencies. I’m talking about how stupid is to have Chedward asking himself why he said yes to the interview when he hates them, only to think a bit later that he did it because he wanted Kate’s father to own him one and was curious about Kate. What kind of idiot wonders something he already knows?

    What a moron.

  81. “Seriously, E.L.? … You realize that many of the women, like the ones who fawn over you at signings and appearances, actually consider themselves “bookish” due to their love of reading, right? You just had the man you want their panties to get wet over equate reading with ugliness and a lack of style.”
    “But at least I try to not insult my readers”
    Dear Jenny, clearly EL has been reading that book ‘The Game’. In particular the chapter on ‘negging’ and how it makes women work harder to win your approval :/

    I am deeply offended by Ella’s use of the term Maggot, because even if she’s a Slipknot fan, she has no right to give that encomium to her dipshit son.

    Also, in the wonderful world of HP slash fiction, we call them Marty Stu’s, rather than Gary Stu’s … but, whatever :D

    And final thought … it may not be much … but, whenever I’m in a bookstore/supermarket/other purveyor of literature and I see these hideous trash-fests (or their hideous trash-fest movie), I make a point of placing decent books (DVDs) in front of them, because I’ll be bloody well damned if a single penny goes to James out of idle curiousity

    1. There are a whole bunch of them in my supermarket. I’m not sure if they keep replacing them or just nobody’s buying them.

  82. Oh Jenny, how you managed to read all four books in this terrible series astounds me, as I couldn’t even make it through the first one without screaming for ten minutes straight. I decided instead to just read the hilarious recaps instead so I don’t have an aneurysm.
    I guess were supposed to conclude that Ella hated her son because she calls him maggot (because parents always bake cakes and buy toys for children they desire, right?). My parents called me “booger” when I was little, so does that mean they hated me?

    Who would have thought that one college journalist had the power to make the alleged richest CEO in the world do what she wants. His PR team must not do much work if she did the most badgering. I guess Time magazine isn’t knocking on Chedward’s door for the cover.
    Seeing as this creep has like one outfit he wears on a regular basis, I don’t think he’s qualified to be making fashion criticisms.
    “…but as I take a closer look at her clothes–she’s dressed in clothes from some cheap store like Old Navy or H&M–I know that isn’t it. She hasn’t grown up in an affluent household.”
    I guess no one told Chedward to never judge a book by its cover. Not all rich kinds dress in designer labels and not all poor kids go around in rags like orphans in a Dickens novel. This is especially insulting because I usually can’t shop in these stores unless there’s a sale.
    And didn’t he claim he fell in love with her the moment she fell into her office? All he’s done is feel frustrated, unnerved, and make threats to hit her. If this is E.L.’s idea of love, I feel bad for her family.

    1. My grandfather was a patent attorney married to a pediatrician. They invested heavily and successfully in the stock market and when he died, his assets (not even counting the house!) were well above a million dollars.

      He wore old, torn, who-knows-where-he-got-them plaid shirts all the time. He took my aunt and her friend out to dinner once and the friend wanted to pay because she thought he was destitute, based on how he dressed. My father buys all his clothes at garage sales, I think, and while I don’t know his net worth, I know what he was making when he retired and how much he inherited.

      Chedward’s an idiot and an asshole. But I guess we all know this. :-)

  83. He didn’t even think about it. She’s left his office for like a second and he’s already ordering a background check on her.

    Funny, midnight sun softened me a bit on Edward. Seems like this book would just make me hate Christian more.

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