Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Thursday May 19, 2011: “Misogylicious!”

I had a link to share, but then at the last minute I decided against it because I realized that the author was accusing detractors of jealousy while simultaneously suggesting that it’s not fair for E.L. James to be popular. Which was…confusing.

But here is a Buzzfeed quiz that is just as good! They ask you to pick out which lines are from 50 Shades and which are from Twilight. Since I know both franchises pretty well, I thought it would be a piece of cake. I totally failed it.

SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION TIME! I know that some of you awesome readers come to the blog just for the Fifty recaps, and that’s totally cool. But you may not realize that I’m a romance writer, and I have some books coming out on August 4th. You can find out what they’re all about (and find pre-order links) here. I mention it because lately I’ve been getting some flack from idiots for “copying” and “using” E.L. James to make money, so fuck it. If I’m going to be accused of that anyway, then why not do it? CHECK OUT MY BOOKS, THEY’RE AWESOME.

Anyway, we’re back, and ready for another heaping helping of misogyny, courtesy of our beloved Chedward. This chapter doesn’t synch up to Ana’s chapters, so I’ve left out the link to the corresponding recap.

This Day In History:  US journalist Katie Couric signs off as the host of the CBS Evening News.

My scream bounces off the bedroom walls and wakes me from my nightmare. I’m smothered in sweat, with the stench of stale beer, cigarettes, and poverty in my nostrils and a lingering dread of drunken violence.

So, I have this friend. She went on a trip to…I think it was Costa Rica? Anyway, she was on this bus tour with a bunch of upper-middle class white people of retirement age, and she was listening to a bunch of the stupid comments they were making as the bus was going through a poor neighborhood, and she goes, “Look darling, PAAAHverty,” like the stereotypical big-chin country club guy, right? Okay, so, that? That big chinned WASP at the country club pronunciation, “PAAAHverty,” is how I imagine E.L. James hears it in her head.

Maybe it’s because I’ve spent a lot of my life in poverty, but I’m a little touchy. I don’t remember smelling like poverty. I don’t remember it having a smell, but apparently rich assholes can smell us the way the Cullens can smell Jacob and Sam, etc.


A picture of confetti with "Congratulations on your one millionth Twilight jab! Go sit in your room and think about what you've done."

Chedward mentions that he’s been having nightmares every night for the last four nights, and it’s 3:30 in the morning. He thinks about how great it would be to get a full night’s sleep, but he’s a busy man:

And I have a round of fucking golf with Bastille. I should cancel the golf; the thought of playing and losing darkens my already bleak mood.

I bet when Edward loses, he starts stomping around the golf course, screaming about how great he is, and how everyone will pay.

A picture of Troy from High School Musical 2, singing "Bet On It" on the golf course

Actual footage of that happening.

Okay, here’s a thing. And I’m not saying that everyone who has ever had tragedy in their life has to be cheerful forever. But Christian Grey has this huge chip on his shoulder because his mom was addicted to crack, but then he got adopted by rich people, got every opportunity in the world, is the richest man on the planet and possibly in the solar system, and he still has this enormous attitude problem. Again, not saying that just having good shit happen to you after tragedy means you’re beholden to anyone to be a good person. But it would have been so easy to write him that way.

There are seeds of it. We see Christian go, “Yeah, I’m developing this technology to feed people, because I went hungry,” but in his every day life, he’s like, Oh shit, I can’t bear to lose a round of golf to someone, when really he should be like, That’s okay if he wins, I’m a multi-billionaire, it’s not like I have to have everything. He does have to have everything, and everything isn’t enough.

Now imagine if Christian Grey came up from tragedy. He meets Ana and he recognizes not the perceived weaknesses in her that will make her easier to exploit, but kindness and a naïveté that appeal to him because she reminds him that there’s good in the world. And she’s drawn to him because he’s made his life beautiful out of that tragedy of his childhood. And he’s not fucked up, he just thinks he’s fucked up, and he begins to realize, because he loves Ana and holds her in mutual esteem, that he can’t possibly be that worthless if someone as good and kind as her could love him.

I honestly think that’s the book E.L. James thought she was writing, and the book fans believe they read. But it’s not there in the text at all. What we get is a spoiled brat who can’t stand to lose a round of golf and who sees the heroine only for her potential as his sex toy, and a heroine who is too meek and self-loathing to resist him.

You turned her down.

She wanted you.

And you turned her down.

It was for her own good.

Underlines, as always, indicate italics in the text.

To me, the last chapter didn’t give me any strong indication that Ana wanted him. She asked him if he had a girlfriend, after he gave her the third degree on a coffee date he invited her on. But in Chedward land, him wanting something = everyone wanting something.

Perhaps I need a distraction; a new sub, maybe. It’s been too long since Susannah. I contemplate calling Elena in the morning. She always finds suitable candidates for me.

Well, except for that one that breaks into your house and holds you girlfriend at gun point later. But how creepy is it that he has the woman who raped him find his subs for him? (Before anyone gets into the “it’s not rape just because he was a teenager,” etc., if an adult approaches a teenager who has known emotional problems and exploits those emotional problems to coerce the teenager into a sexual relationship they aren’t ready for, i.e., a D/s relationship before that teenager even loses their virginity, then guess what, it’s rape.)

Christian thinks about how he doesn’t want anyone but Ana, and how maybe he might have given her the impression that he liked her with the whole inviting her out for coffee thing. Maybe going to her work with a flimsy excuse to be there might have done that too, genius. He’s going to try to think of a way to apologize to her.

His alarm goes off after a section break, and he still hasn’t slept. There’s a story on the radio about the sale of a rare Jane Austen manuscript, and of course it reminds him of Ana.

She’s an incurable romantic who loves the English classics.

Again, I don’t remember Ana describing herself as an incurable romantic, at all. I remember her talking about how her mother had been married four times (and in Fifty Shades of Grey it was made very clear how Ana felt about that), and that she liked books. This is some messed up “sins of the mother” type shit if he feels she’s responsible for all of her mother’s marriages.

But then so do I, but for different reasons. I don’t have any Jane Austen first edition, or Brontës, for that matter…but I do have two Thomas Hardys.

It’s okay for him to love the English classics. For reasons. But when Ana loves them, it’s obviously because she’s a girl and obsessed with romance.

Christian realizes that he knows exactly how to apologize to Ana: with books.

Moments later I’m in my library with Jude the Obscure and a boxed set of Tess of the d’Urbervilles in its three volumes laid out on the billiard table in front of me. Both are bleak books, with tragic themes. Hardy had a dark, twisted soul.

Like me.

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

I’m just going to use this .gif over and over again.

Even though Jude is in better condition, it’s no contest. In Jude there is no redemption, so I’ll send her Tess, with a suitable quote. I know it’s not the most romantic book, considering the evils that befall the heroine, but she has a brief taste of romantic love in the bucolic idyll that is the English countryside.

And that’s all that Ana, a woman, would be interested in. The romantic parts.

I also like how he thinks it’s “not the most romantic book,” because it makes me think that E.L. James saw the criticism people were lobbing at the book and the fact that it was described as romantic in Fifty Shades of Grey. Which means that what she’s saying here is that Chedward is smarter about literature than Ana, who majored in it. It’s like this home run of author defensiveness (“See! I knew it wasn’t romantic! I’m still brilliant!”), glorification of the hero, and derision toward the heroine.

Ana mentioned Hardy as a favorite and I’m sure she’s never seen, let alone owned, a first edition.

Classist much? You have no idea if she’s ever seen a first edition. Some college libraries have rare book collections students can access. Maybe one of her professors knew she liked Hardy and happened to own a first edition and let her take a look. You don’t know her life story.


After a section break, Christian is in the back of his car, looking through the book for a quote he wants to share with Ana. He thinks about how fiction was an escape for him when he was younger, but his brother didn’t read much, because he didn’t need an escape. Because the only way we can experience Christian Grey is through comparison to other characters. He can’t just be tortured, he has to be more tortured than anyone else. He can’t be smart, he has to be smarter than everyone else.

Taylor drops him off and Chedward goes into Grey House, where he works.

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 that will take me straight to my floor.

Contrast this to how he responds to the male security guard:

“Good morning, Mr. Grey,” Barry on security greets me as he presses the button to summon the elevator.

“How’s your son, Barry?”

“Better, sir.”

“I’m glad to hear it.”

Is that all, Chedward? Are you sure Barry the security guard doesn’t want to fuck you? ARE YOU SURE? Because apparently everyone on the planet wants to fuck you.

Let’s just see how he treats some of his female employees, shall we?

Andrea is on hand to greet me.

“Good morning, Mr. Grey. Ros wants to see you to discuss the Darfur project. Barney would like a few minutes–

I hold up my hand to silence her.


But looking around I notice that Olivia is absent. It’s a relief. The girl is always mooning over me and it’s fucking irritating.

Can the misogyny in this be any more fucking blatant? Wait, yes it can. He wanted Olivia to make him a double espresso, but since she’s not there, Andrea is going to do it:

“Would you like milk, sir?” Andrea asks.

Good girl. I give her a smile.

“Not today.” I do like to keep them guessing how I take my coffee.

AAAAARGH! “Good girl”? Is she your fucking dog? IS SHE?

This guy. This fucking guy.

And it’s not keeping someone guessing if they ask you how you want your coffee, it’s just what happens when someone asks for coffee. Especially if that someone is a tantrum prone boss with exacting standards. You’re going to fucking ask.

And seriously? “Would you like milk?” Well, did he ask for a macchiato? A cappuccino? a latte? Because when you put milk into espresso, depending on the amount, it becomes any of those things. I love it when these books get something pretentious wrong. It’s like a gift from the heavens.

Christian makes a call to Welch and asks him to find out when Ana’s last final exam is going to be. I’m surprised he doesn’t ask when her last bowel movement was, too. Then he agonizes over the fact that he needs to find a quote from the book to present to Ana.

After a section break, Christian is meeting with Ros, his COO, about making vague shipments of something to Darfur. They talk about bribing a senator, and then:

“So the next topic is where to site the new plant. You know the tax breaks in Detroit are huge. I sent you a summary.”

“I know. But God, does it have to be Detroit?”

“I don’t know what you have against the place. It meets our criteria.”

“Okay, get Bill to check out potential brownfield sites. And let’s do one more site search to see if any other municipality would offer more favorable terms.”

Let me get this straight. The guy who was born into poverty in Detroit, who has dedicated his life to feeding the hungry in the third world or whatever (I still have no idea what the fuck his company does besides ship things to Africa and do something with solar powered cell phone technology, and that’s after reading the entire first series), who is supposed to be this big time philanthropist and humanitarian, is resistant to bringing money into the very city in which he was born? He doesn’t want to do anything to stop other children from being born into his situation by improving the local economy? He doesn’t want to take huge tax breaks and encourage the return of industry into the failing city that shaped his early life? It’s not like he would have to go work there. He doesn’t go to work in Darfur every morning, after all.

Ugh. Being a Michigan resident, this makes me hate Christian Grey even more.

Welch calls back and tells him that Ana’s next final exam is tomorrow. And after a section break, MORE MISOGYNY!

At 12:30 Olivia shuffles into my office with lunch. She’s a tall, willowy girl with a pretty face. Sadly, it’s always misdirected at me with longing. She’s carrying a tray with what I hope is something edible. after a busy morning, I’m starving. She trembles as she puts it on my desk.

Tuna salad. Okay. She hasn’t fucked this up for once.

If Olivia is such a bothersome fuck up, FIRE HER. Just fire her. If you’ve got such exacting standards and she’s not meeting them, then get rid of her.

Of course, if Christian Grey fired everyone who mooned over him, he wouldn’t have any employees. Except for Barry the security guard, the only person alive who doesn’t want to fuck Christian Grey.

Ridiculously attractive male security guard

“Nothing homoerotic is going to happen on my watch, sir.”

Chedward has found the perfect quote for his card to Ana:

I’ve chosen a quote. A warning. I made the correct choice, walking away from her. Not all men are romantic heroes.

A photo of a mushroom cloud and the text "We have a slight problem with the irony meter."

I’ll take the word “men-folk” out. She’ll understand.

There are actually versions of Tess where the word “men-folk” is left out, but this is a first edition, so it would be in there. Good job, E.L., though this was probably in response to people who mentioned the “wrong” quote.

Why didn’t you tell me there was danger? Why didn’t you warn me? Ladies know what to guard against, because they read novels that tell them of these tricks…

This is rich, coming from Cheward in this book. He’s been so dismissive of Ana’s love of reading and books so far, but he picks a quote from Hardy that suggests that women should read, to protect them from the dangers of the world. This didn’t stand out in Fifty Shades of Grey, because we don’t see how utterly dickish Chedward is about Ana’s love of reading in that book.

Christian tells Andrea to make sure the books get sent to Ana, then tells her to get him another set of the first edition. Except he tells her to have Olivia do it. Isn’t Olivia a huge fuck up?

Dismissing the thought, I wonder if that will be the last I see of the books, and I have to acknowledge that deep down I hope not.

It’s not really the books he wants to see again. It’s Ana. Did you get that? It’s subtle.

This was a short chapter this time around. Stick around for an Apolonia recap, hopefully next week.

113 thoughts on “Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Thursday May 19, 2011: “Misogylicious!”

    1. I sympathize; I got 14/15. Granted, a few were guesses, but the “wait let me think this through for a sec…” guesses.

      I…don’t even know…how proud or ashamed I should be.

    2. i got 13/15 too. quite disappointed in myself, to be honest. i mean, i did like twilight for a time, and i hate that i confused it with chedward’s lines.

  1. Folks, while you are at it, go order “The Boss”series where the characters in these two new books first appear. I just finished the first 4 books in the “The Boss ” series and I cannot wait for Book 5.

  2. So far, all I’ve read of the recap is: “My scream bounces off the bedroom walls and wakes me from my nightmare. I’m smothered in sweat, with the stench of stale beer, cigarettes, and poverty in my nostrils and a lingering dread of drunken violence.”
    and I’m already groaning.

    This is some seriously shitty writing! How are these books so popular?? This reads like the sort of stuff I would write for creative writing class when I was 13. Such horrible prose.

    1. Yes ! Plus when I read “My scream bounces off the bedroom walls and wakes me from my nightmare.” I thought is he a bat…

  3. I would love to see a clip of ‘God’s gift to women’ (gag) Christian Grey stomping around the golf course; cursing and acting like a giant ass because he lost a round of golf. It would be so in character.

  4. First I love the return of “This guy. This fucking guy.” I missed it

    I actually got 10 out of 15 and hated both books so there is something

    I also think that if Cheward ever managed to get a crane to get him off of that high horse he’d have a problem adjusting to our atmosphere.

  5. I would bet hard cash that those women he’s internally berating for flirting or mooning over him are either a) just being polite like office employees are expected to be to clients and office personnel of higher authority, or b) rightly scared shit-less of him and treading as sweetly and gingerly as possible to avoid him having a thermonuclear meltdown right there in the office. I’d also bet he would think they were ungrateful bitches if they sucked up to him any less…

    To quote you: This guy. This fucking guy.

    1. That’s exactly what I thought too. Why does he employ so many women if all they do is irritate him? Chedward is literally annoyed that they [supposedly] find him attractive – although I agree with you, it’s probably less about attraction and more about the fact they they will be fired and/or yelled at if they don’t suck up to him. E.L James writes all the side-character women exactly the same, to reinforce over and over again how desirable Chedward is. They are all rapidly blinking, breathless, trembling, mooning, lipstick-wearing irritants to his daily life.

      And the misogyny in this book is STAGGERING. Chedward actually held up his hand to silence a woman who had the nerve to…do her job? Tell him pertinent facts that directly concern him and his work? I would lose my fucking shit if someone, even my boss, did something so incredibly rude to me.

      This guy. This fucking guy.

          1. Just watch 9 to 5 and insert Cheddar for Dabney Coleman. The rat poison scene should be especially satisfying.

      1. Well, if he’d only employ hot, manly men, people might assume he’s *gasp* gay…
        And of course, Ana needs someone to be jealous of *rolleyes*

      2. I thought she was trembling because she was afraid of being berated again if she messes up. I was like, “Wow, the author is showing us Christian is so verbally abusive to his employees that they’re terrified of making one wrong step, and they’re still attracted to him because he’s hot and powerful.” It never even occurred to me that she could be trembling because she’s attracted to him. I’m sticking with my interpretation. I bet he enjoys his employees’ terror. He seems like that kind of guy.

  6. I only got 6 right, which is more than I care for!

    But at least more people are starting to hate FSoG, or at least Chedward because of this book. That’s a good thing, right?

  7. I hate E.L. James for ruining Hardy and Bronte for me.

    See, I read Tess and Wuthering Heights in high school and loved them. I hate that she’s turned them into some sort of gimmick for her stupid plagiarized Mary Sue trilogy. And I wish Ana had gone all Tess at the end of the books and murdered Christian.

    1. I refuse to allow her to ruin Hardy and the Brontes for me, just as I refuse to let her ruin Chopin, Tallis, Vaughn-Williams, Bach, Faure, Delibes, and my other favourite classical composers for me, and I refuse to let her ruin my sex life. The fact that I share anything in common with her psychotic jerk-ass abuser of a male love interest nauseates me, but kink was around well before E L James barged in on the scene and tried to make it hers, and the composers and writers I adore were around centuries before she created the characters of Ana Steele and Christian Grey.

      I just keep telling myself that.

      Also, if I hadn’t posted an anti-FSoG diatribe on a friend’s Facebook wall, the woman who eventually became my girlfriend would never have sent me a friend request, and we would never have found each other. In a way, I should be grateful to E L James. So there’s that.

      This does not stop me from hating E L James and everything she has written and everything she stands for, but it does mean FSoG has no power to ruin my life, or my enjoyment of music, literature, etc.

      1. I’m writing one where all the ex-Subs get together and form a society where they stage interventions for anyone who gets involved with Christian, and keep each other out of his reach.
        Oh, and Christian is a psychopath who may or may not have been involved in the murder of a few of the ex-es that the Sub CLub didn’t get to in time…

  8. I actually had something funny to say. But then there was the picture of the sexy Cop and…. welp, my brain is empty D: (why is this guy so sexy, whywhywhy ;__;)

  9. I was all set to say that you can’t apologize with Thomas Hardy, but I thought it over and realized that if you fork a box of Milk Duds on there, you have possibly the most perfect apology known to anyone who understands what Hardy is about.

  10. Dude, seriously? That sounded like something a caricature of rich white people would say. Wow. Just, wow.

    And speaking of caricatures of rich white people, how the hell is this guy attractive to women? Even in the original trilogy he`s described with words like “sulky,” “like a teenager,” and even “petulant.” It`s like not even Ana/ELJ can deny how much of a whiny manchild Christian “Cockmonster” Grey is. Give credit where credit is due; Meyer never described Edward as such. And even his behavior could (sort of) be attributed to him being a teenager emotionally. It didn`t make it right, but it was a reason. Grey has no such excuse except for bullshit psychology.

    I don`t even get mad about this whole “every woman who`s not a lesbian/happily married/related to him is attracted to the Cockmonster” thing anymore. Because after getting into Dangan Ronpa, I`ve come to a wonderful realization. If every woman swoons after Grey, then that means Touko Fukawa/Genocider Syo is swooning after him. And anyone who knows about Fukawa/Syo knows what happens to men she`s attracted to. =D

    Every time ELJ tries to fix a mistake in this book, she only digs herself deeper. It`s actually kinda hilarious to watch.

    This chapter is my proof that Batman/Bruce Wayne is better than Grey. Wayne went through a worse tragedy and is living in a city that`s arguably a worse hellhole than Detroit (at least Detroit doesn`t have people like the Joker or Scarecrow running around), yet he doesn`t split town and leave Gotham behind. He stays and works as both Batman and Bruce Wayne to make it better, if only so that no child would go what he went through. Whether he`s making a difference or not is up for debate, but the important thing is that he`s doing more than Grey is.

    Finally, I got a 9/15 on the quiz. Not sure how I feel about that.

    1. Like, if you’re hooking a 17 year old up with a guy who’s over 100, you almost want him to be a little emotionally immature so it doesn’t seem like Bella’s dating Grandpa, you know?

      1. Yeah, this. Again, I don’t think it’s a good enough excuse and Edward is still a horrible person, but it still makes more sense.

    2. Oh, popping in here because Touko would be a perfect means to an end. She’s entirely his type, too, physically speaking. We just need to wait till she’s out of college, bring her to Faux-Portland, make sure she knows enough English to communicate because Chedward will obviously never learn, give her enough supplies for Syo’s M.O., and in a short amount of time, problem solved!

      (Well, it’d create the new problem of “oh crap Syo is loose in Portlandia”, but lesser of two evils and all that.)

  11. How did Christian come to be adopted by people who live in another state, anyway? Foster care typically doesn’t work that way, especially not in the 80s and I’d imagine particularly not in the case of a white 4-year-old without any disabilities or older siblings, who’d have lots of local homes interested.

    Were the Greys living in Michigan at the time? Was guardianship of Christian given to a grandparent or other relative, who decided to arrange for a private adoption? Either way, you’d think he’d have some sort of extended family of either the adopted or the biological kind in the area. Presumably he was also rescued by someone – a concerned neighbor or a kindly social worker or something – who he could have some gratitude toward. I mean, I’m guessing it’s just James not doing the research again, but it’s an odd character note.

    1. my memory is a bit foggy, but if I am remembering correctly, Christian’s adoptive mom was the emergency room physician that treated him after he was found? she apparently bonded with her patient. And I think Mia and Elliot are supposed to be adopted as well?

      There’s a lot that was just thrown in there for backgrounds for both main characters that weren’t entirely thought through.

  12. “Would you like milk, sir?” Andrea asks.

    Good girl. I give her a smile.

    “Not today.” I do like to keep them guessing how I take my coffee.

    I bet he wacks off imagining their confusion over which condiment he will take in his coffee that day. “That’s right, baby, keep guessing. NO, NOT THE STEVIA!”

  13. Wait, what is this quiz everyone’s talking about? I don’t see it linked, and I’ve looked twice. From context, I’m assuming it’s to see if you can tell apart FSoG and Twilight quotes.

    Anyway, glad to see another recap up! Keep ‘em coming, please; I apparently can’t wait for you to dish out more of this crap and poke fun at it for me.

    1. The post weirdly reverted back to an older save. Now I have to go back and make sure other changes aren’t missing. WTF, wordpress plugin?

  14. “And seriously? “Would you like milk?” Well, did he ask for a macchiato? A cappuccino? a latte? ”

    I expect there’s been many occasions where he’s ordered an espresso, received an espresso and thrown a tantrum because he meant latte, so now the office girls just ask ‘milk?’ to clarify.

  15. Regarding the whole Elena/Christian clusterfuck, I’ve found out a useful test to help people realize why that is fucked up:

    If the genders were reversed, and Christian was Christina, an emotionally vulnerable teenage girl manipulated by an older, married man who is friends with her parents, into a sexual/BDSM relationship, it’d be consider child molestation in a heartbeat. Statutory rape, at the very least. And if later in her life he kept having a say on her relationships and partners of choice, it’d become clear how abusive and unhealthy that is.

    Or, you know, not, judging by the ammount of people who deny any abuse happening in these books and probably also think Lolita is a romance. We live in a bleak, bleak world.

  16. “Would you like milk, sir?” Andrea asks.

    Good girl. I give her a smile.

    “Not today.” I do like to keep them guessing how I take my coffee.

    I hate this exchange so much. I hate Christian Grey so much. I hate this book so much. But really, he likes to keep his assistants guessing how he takes his coffee? For real? What a massive dick. Why would he do that to them? Why not have a usual so that they don’t have to worry about fucking up or pissing him off. Enough pisses him off already without him purposely finding ways for them to fail.

    Actually, this is really horrifyingly foreshadowing his relationship with Ana because this right here, illustrates that he does indeed get off on making women make mistakes so that he can punish them. The power tripping in that line just gives me rage headaches.

  17. I got 8/15 on the quiz, so… about the same as chance? The only quotes I was 100% sure about were the Icarus one (eyeroll) and the one about a lion, because the whole lion/lamb thing was so prevalent in Twilight. The rest of them, it was pretty hard to tell. Brilliant quiz!

    Oh my god, this chapter. Chedward likes to keep them guessing about how he takes his coffee but berates them as massive idiots if they choose incorrectly? DOOOUUUUUUCHE.

  18. I feel like pointing this out is in itself tedious, but Chedward’s inner monologue is tedious as fuck. “NIGHTMARE! Fuck, another day of work and secretaries who want to bone me. I want to bone Ana. Business business business. Why hasn’t Ana responded to my e-mails? I want to bone Ana. Time to go home and be alone and horny. I want to bone Ana. I wonder what Ana is doing right now. Ah, a way to manipulate Ana into letting me bone her. I want to bone Ana. Zzzzzzz.”

    1. I saw a quote from EL James about what was fun for her to explore that was new in the book, and she said the relationship between Christian and Elliott. So, I thought, that’s cool, we’ll see some more of the family interaction stuff. Nope, not really. It’s pretty much what you describe in. every. chapter.

      1. Yup. If they have a relationship, it consists of Elliot asking Christian for shit and Christian thinking contemptuously about Elliot’s bro-ish mannerisms. And E.L. CANNOT write bros.

  19. Hi, Jenny–I think you brought this up during the last torture session you had in FSF, but Christian Grey/the other Greys don’t act super-rich. His plane isn’t decked out imaginatively–Frank Sinatra’s plane, for instance, was SuperRatPack in the air–or even his own, instead of the company’s, plane. He doesn’t have a butler who puts the toothpaste on the toothbrush for him. He doesn’t seem to go anywhere to get his suits and shirts tailored for him, or his shoes custom-made, and when he entraps Ana into marriage, she never has her shoes custom-made, either. He doesn’t have any of the skin treatments rich men, no matter how fabulously handsome, get. No mention of extra-special watches or cufflinks. No real collections of art–just badly-described stuff in the lobby or his office.

    The EeL has no imagination in any direction, is what I mean, and I think you meant earlier. One would excuse this ignorance, I suppose, in Ana, as she was ignorant about everything, but one would hope that from Christian’s POV the reader could vicariously enjoy what the really rich get to have. Nope….

  20. “…ship things to Africa…”
    like the illegal gun trade maybe?

    “At 12:30 Olivia shuffles into my office with lunch. She’s a tall, willowy girl with a pretty face. Sadly, it’s always misdirected at me with longing. She’s carrying a tray with what I hope is something edible. after a busy morning, I’m starving. She trembles as she puts it on my desk.”

    Urgh. How does one shuffle into a room. And what the hell is she trembling for and why does he assume he’s the cause? Maybe she’s cold. Or is tired. Or has some kind of natural chronic tremor in her hands. Or had anxiety. Or drank too much coffee. Or she gets nervous from his stares and nasty moods. Women working for him would notice his attitude change for genders after all.
    There is just… urgh.

    How can El James really think this guy is likeable?

    1. This. I keep reading these chapters (okay, Jenny’s suffering through the chapters for my delight) and wondering how anyone could think this crap could possibly redeem this fucking guy.

    2. “Like illegal gun trade”
      Now I’m imagining Delta Force or the SAS tracking him and taking him down. Imma go watch “Strike Back” and imagine Charles Dance as Chedward. Fits perfectly.

  21. I do like to keep them guessing how I take my coffee.

    That is hands-down the douchiest thing I’ve seen all week. What’s the point, except to be a jerkass?

    It’s funny to me that he complained about Jack making Ana go fetch lunch, but I don’t see Christian considering whether Olivia is dating an isolationist fuckwad who might object to her leaving the office to fetch his. And let’s not pretend that he hasn’t sent her back for something else if it doesn’t meet his exacting standards. I mean, he’s literally going out of his way to make life as hard as possible for his employees. Who wants to date someone like that?!

    And finally…he has first editions worth tens of thousands of dollars – and more, sentimentally, to collectors – just…hanging out in his library? Apparently? On his nightstand, maybe? You’d think Ana would have noticed in her Beauty and the Beast-rip off “You have a LIBRARY!” scene. Since she loves books so much, and all.

  22. I bet if Barry the security guard brought him lunch he’d be cheerful.
    I still say Christian is a sub. He wants to be taken care of. By a big strong man. One that symbolizes his mother’s pimp or his absent father. Maybe Barry fits the bill.

    1. The only three women he respects in the original series are his adopted mother, his ex dom, and his lesbian assistant. Clearly, the only way to get this guy to respect you is to never bow down to him or give him what he wants (the way Elena treated him was wrong but he doesn’t seem to see it that way). And I mean, part of why he hates his birth mother is because he views her as “weak” and probably his attraction to Ana actually stems from the fact that she resisted him so often.

      Since he has canonically subbed in the past, he’s really more of a switch who has been leaning heavily toward dom out of personal choice at this point in his life. I mean, he goes into that weird sub space trance in the original series and I honestly think if Ana had stepped up and been his domme in that moment, she could’ve owned him forever. It’s one of those “y’know, a novel twist here would’ve saved the series” moments.

  23. Am I the only one who imagines Chedward walks down the streets and is like “She wants to fuck me. Oh she definitely wants to fuck me. She’d beg to fuck me…” Seriously EL needs to take some time away from her keyboard (and her copies of Twilight etc) and rethink the whole enterprise because there is literally nothing about this dude that is in anyway attractive. Since I assumed the whole premise of “Grey” was to take the douche out of Christian ‘douchecanoe’ Grey, then I can only see this as a big fat writing fail. I know she’s sold like a gazillion books but doesn’t she have at least one friend who read it and took her to one side and said “look Erica you know he comes across as a total bollocks don’t you Hun?” Though given what I’ve read of her behavior I do wonder if at this point her head is wedged so firmly up her own arse when it comes to her “writing” that hiring a plane to sky write the damn message wouldn’t penetrate.

    In better news my autocorrect now recognizes “Chedward” as the correct form and doesn’t try to reset to Edward (which is ironic in and of itself) so result there!

  24. I got 11/15. 73%. A low B-. I haven’t even read 50 Shades and I haven’t read Twilight in years.

    The fact that one of Chedward’s poor employees has the same name as me (my first name) makes me supremely uncomfy and I want to chop his balls off. Since when has being a misogynic douchewad been considered sexy?

    You know, Chedward’s past could have work if he…you know…ACTUALLY EVER CHANGED. That’s the issue! He never changes from 50 Shades to 50 Freed! He never comes to realize or acknowledge what kind of impact his past has on him! He never makes the choice to move on from his past! All he does is sit and wallow in his past because it allows him to manipulate women because instead of giving him discipline as child, his parents just gave him everything he wanted because they probably felt guilty about his toddlerhood.

    This is why if I ever have a daughter, I’m teaching her that ‘fixing someone’ is a waste of time and finding someone who is healthy is far more fulfilling than wrecking one’s self in dealing and ‘fixing’ someone else’s emotional problems. At least when it comes to relationships.

    1. THIS. Honestly, there’s a part of me that really appreciates this book, because I’m so sick of bad-boy heroes who are all, “Oh, baby, I’m so fucked up, I’m damaged, you should stay away from me” — when actually they aren’t at all fucked up, or no more than 95% of the planet, and just have low self-esteem, so that we’ve all been trained by our romances to know that the right answer for that is, “No, you’re a good person, I can see it even if you can’t!”

      The thing is, Chedward ain’t just talk. He ACTUALLY IS just as fucked up as he promised he was. He’s selfish and shallow and contemptuous of most of the human race, volatile and grasping and manipulative and self-loathing and *legitimately dangerous* because of the way he can’t at all handle being thwarted or ignored. This book would’ve been a piece of shit if it was all just Chedward mooning around having low self-esteem, but James really went ham on her own concept and made him a toxic predator who hates women because he hates his mother and controls them because he couldn’t control her.

      I honestly admire her sticking the landing on this instead of retroactively romanticizing Christian. Now, I very much don’t admire her for the rest of the series, where the love of a good woman tames and heals him, but damn, after all these years of sustained squee from the fanbase about how Christian Grey is the WORLD’S MOST PERFECT MAN, it’s shockingly honest and pretty gutsy for her to come out with a book that’s literally like, “Nah, he’s a motherfucker, actually. What? Did you not read the first book? Because I said it there like twenty times, did you think I was kidding?”

      *Ana* saw him as a poor distressed woobie, so the books from her perspective mute the threat he presents (although she’s still pretty threatened by him). And yeah, it’s gross that eventually the power of her uncomplaining devotion does fix him. But the one shining light in the whole FSoG phenomenon so far for me has been this book, which is forcing even the hardest core fans to look at Christian’s naked id and recognize that being fifty shades of fucked-up is actually pretty unpalatable. The unromanticized user who’s the POV character in this book is far more gripping to me than Ana’s imaginary wounded-innocent who just never learned better.

  25. Oh, Petra, he’s totally doing that to every woman he sees: young, old, fat, thin, obvious butch, nun in complete nun outfit, girl scout troop, Slutwalk participants, random joggers, that nice lady smoking a cigarette and drinking coffee, the mom nursing a baby (“She Wants Me!”), the cop at the intersection directing traffic, Hillary Clinton driving by in her van….

    All the ladies want him.

  26. I get the sense that EL James writes Christian Grey’s total disdain for all these women so as to reassure us that Ana is the only one he can be twuly, absowutely in wuvvv with. It would be much more interesting if we observed him find other women attractive, and perhaps if he even, gasp, hooked up with one of them as a sub, but found himself drawn back to Ana.

  27. Why do you keep posting dates from four years ago with your Grey recaps? What happened on Thursday, May 19th, 2011? Is that the date that the chapter takes place on?

    1. This book doesn’t have chapter titles. Every chapter is labelled with the date the events took place on. Which is a weird choice, IMO, but whatever floats James’s publisher’s boat, I guess.

      1. It seems really weird in this book. I read a book about the events leading up to WWII and it made total sense as they did not go day by day, but jumped a bit every chapter or so. It helped to remind me where we were in relation to history. But this is more a day by day thing…and I do know Tuesday comes after Monday.

  28. Brilliant recap as always. I must say, I think James had a missed opportunity for a m/m subplot with Christian and Barry the security guard. Sounds much more interesting than the actual novel.

  29. As someone who had to work customer service, and gotten the “memorize every regular’s order! but be alert to the possibility that they might change things up! we have 70 regulars, for the given value of “comes in every week or so,” speech, and you need to a) memorize their “regular” order, b) come up with a subtle way to say “hey, Dick, you lookin’ for your (complicated, detailed order) or are you gonna try something new today?” because if you don’t, c) Dick will throw a fucking fit and demand a minimum-wage worker who has memorized his needs and desires. but also never assume that they’re actually going to ORDER their “regular,” because that will be the day they want to “mix it up”? as that miniumum-wage worker? FUCK YOU, chedward. Fuck you for suggesting that your employee who recognizes that you are a detail-oriented asshole does something SO OFFENSIVE like ask you how you want your coffee this morning. You and I and she both know that if she brought you the coffee you wanted yesterday, you’d throw a three-year-old’s fit about how she didn’t ASK YOU what you WANTED this morning.

    oh god. i am infuriated all over again.

  30. So – I’ll buy that there are men in the world who sometimes think things that are not nice. God knows I’m glad my unfiltered thoughtfeed is not broadcast to the whole world, especially the people I love and want to think well of me. Much nicer people than me sometimes think things that are mean and nasty and shocking, and what makes them lovely people is that they keep those thoughts to themselves.
    And I’ll definitely buy that there are men who think like this shitferbrains. Sad but true.
    But the thing is, isn’t this supposed to be a fantasy? And isn’t the whole point of fantasy that you can have things that are impossible? You can read dude’s thoughts and omigod he never thinks shitty petty stuff like a real person does? WHERE is the sexy part about getting into the head of a hot dude and discovering he’s a complete dickweasel? We have those in the real world already.

    1. I’ve been revising a book I wrote several years ago, and my favourite part is adding in ways to make the romantic dude a completely and total DORK. ‘Tis very fun.

    2. What gets me is that 95% of what he thinks is shitty. We can all be assholes sometimes, and in our heads especially. But my running thoughts aren’t as horrible as what Chedward is constantly thinking, and I think that’s probably true of most people. So what the fuck is his problem?!

  31. “Now imagine if Christian Grey came up from tragedy. He meets Ana and he recognizes not the perceived weaknesses in her that will make her easier to exploit, but kindness and a naïveté that appeal to him because she reminds him that there’s good in the world. And she’s drawn to him because he’s made his life beautiful out of that tragedy of his childhood. And he’s not fucked up, he just thinks he’s fucked up, and he begins to realize, because he loves Ana and holds her in mutual esteem, that he can’t possibly be that worthless if someone as good and kind as her could love him.”

    Idea: what if Ana of the Much Better Book was not an innocent pure virgin but a kinky ethical sluts who bottoms because she loves it and gets off on it? Like – in Christian’s head he sees his kink as a result of being fucked up /a trauma sufferer because he internalised that kind of bullshit from mainstream culture – and she shows him that no, it doesn’t have to be like this.

    What do you think?

  32. This might be just me, but I find it odd that for someone apparently so dark and mysterious and alone, Christian really isn’t introspective at all. Here he is, having lots of dark uncontrollable thoughts and traumas. EL James clearly thinks she is writing a work of psychological levity. And yet does he ever worry about his health? Foes he reflect on how different he is from other people, on whether he will change or if he wants to change? How his therapy is going? No. He’s just ‘really messed up’.

  33. I’m slightly mortified to share that I got 11/15. It was… weird. Anyway! First time commenter, long time lurker. Love your recaps – including Apolonia – and really enjoyed The Boss. I’m looking forward to reading The Girlfriend.

    I wondered if you had heard of The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness. I was reading it this week and I kept wondering what your thoughts on it might be. I’ve heard it described as Twilight for adults, but I’m not really sold on the description. I liked the first book, I *abhorred* the second book, and I’m so far into the third book that it would be a waste to stop now… despite the fact that it is MIRED in WTFery. Just curious to see if you had heard of it!

    1. Too funny! You do realize, though, that actor Jim Backus also was the voice of Mr. Magoo, which makes your concept even funnier . . . .


  34. How is this asshole attractive? At ALL? I would really like to know. He is the biggest DICK and women are still falling all over themselves for this prick.

    1. Because the writer wanted him to be. EL gave him lots and lots of money because she wanted him to have it, not because the character could actually invent or create anything akin to Steve Jobs or Musk that would be worth that much money, nor does he excel in two professions needed to not only create the widget but also run the business that makes it. (Musk and Jobs were proficient in engineering AND business and invented things that people wanted. Grey, not so much.)

  35. Hahahaha loving the pic you choose to describe Barry! That guy is actually Guilherme Leão who was elected the hottest security guard from São Paulo’s subway (Brazil)

  36. Every time Chedward narrates something about his dark soul, I crack up more and feel even more encouraged to take up writing romance. Clearly the bar cannot be set very high, if this gets published.

    At least this time, he didn’t say it in dialogue.

  37. For some reason I’m really stuck on how mean he is about the other women who (supposedly) are sooooo hot for him. Like their mild crushes (which they aren’t even acting on) are some sort of huge imposition, and how dare they. On the occasions when I’ve been the object of a crush that just *was not happening* for whatever reason, and the crush-er wasn’t being inappropriate, I was kind about that shit, and just sort of pretended I couldn’t tell. But of course, I’m not a goddamn sociopath.

  38. Not sure how many of you guys have heard of Zig and Zag here. They were huge here in Ireland in the late 80′s, early 90′s. They were a pair of puppet aliens from the planet Zog. They eventually moved on to British TV and released a few obligatory novelty singles. One of them is how I like to think it goes when Chedward is going about his day thinking about all those women who want him!

  39. OMG! I laughed so hard at the guard pic!!
    Also, the coffee thing:!! How many real people actually enjoy their coffee differently every day?? Sure you like to get something different now and again, but milk or not in your coffee or tea is a pretty standard thing for most people. This guy is taking his coffee differently every day just to mess with his assistants??? What a douche!
    Also, a pet peeve of mine is men thinking women in service positions are flirting with them when they’re justbeing professionally friendly. And the poor girl is trembling! That’s how much he scares her. He is the worst privileged asshole ever!

  40. My birthday is May 19 and this chapter has kind of tainted it. What if this book had been published first? I think we could have skipped the whole trilogy and mass hysteria.

  41. …I got 9/15 on that quiz. I don’t know whether to be ashamed or impressed.

    (I’ve never read Twilight and I’m only on chapter 6 of an actual, full read-through of FSOG.)

  42. The bit about finding out when Ana’s exam is made me wonder… Who on the other end of the phone is giving out this personally-identifiable information about the students under their administrative care?

    Wouldn’t the uni’s Examinations Department have to comply with the Data Protection Act, or some equivalent legislation?
    It’s not as if Welch could obtain the time-table by pretending to be Ana on the phone, although I guess if he knew the subject and module, he could make a general timetable enquiry…

    But still. That’s at least the third request Grey’s made for information on Anastasia Steele, and everyone in his office is enabling what is clearly unprofessional and stalkerish behaviour.
    Does nobody stop to ask “Why would you need to know so much about that girl who interviewed you for an inconsequential school paper?” or notice the pattern of controlling and following his girlfriends? He must do this often to be so… thorough about it.
    I doubt his kink stuff is the dark secret he thinks it is, since Olivia, Andrea and Barry all probably meet up in the employee break room to compare notes on all the weird errands he’s made them run for him on company time, and speculate on what messed up stuff goes on when Grey’s not in the office.
    It must so obvious that he doesn’t know how to have a normal personal relationships, even if only in that vague uncanny-valley way that people can sense insincerity. They must all hate him, but he’s too brooding and self-absorbed to notice their barely-repressed contempt.

    1. There is this little thing called FERPA (Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act) that means I can’t give out any information about a student, even their parent, without the student’s written consent.

      So yeah.

  43. “Not today.” I do like to keep them guessing how I take my coffee.

    This fucking kills me. He doesn’t actually have different preferences, he just wants to make his employees’ lives harder. What a dick.

  44. I read a Sabrina Jefferies novel where the hero was cold and gruff to his female servants. He didn’t do this just to be a dick (like someone we know), but rather because he wanted to not be like his lecherous father. He held the women at arm’s length so they wouldn’t think he wanted to take advantage of them. The heroine of course points out that this had the opposite effect he was hoping for, because all the women in his household were terrified of him. He genuinely didn’t realize this and changed his behavior so they would feel more comfortable. That is how you show character growth. If Chedward started out as this control freak asshole who always had to have his way, but his quest to win Anna’s heart made him realize his behavior was unacceptable this story might have some redeeming value. His employees are probably terrified of him, but he of course thinks everyone is in love with him.
    In literally any other story, the guy who always has to have his way, is rude to employees and service workers, has no friends, and threatens to hit the heroine would by the villain. E.L. James must have missed that somehow

  45. I was paging through your blog for the Buffy recaps and I got all excited when I got to this post because I remembered the “PAAAHverty” part from when it was first posted. I still think of it whenever I have to deal with people like that.

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