Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Saturday, May 21, 2011 or “THE BIGGEST CHAPTER EVER: PART THREE”

Let’s have some happy news this time, about Fifty Shades of Grey-related movies, rather than the actual tragedy that will undoubtedly be the second movie.

First up, Marlon Wayans has given Fifty Shades the Scary Movie treatment. His parody, Fifty Shades of Black, will be out in January 2016, just a month before Fifty Shades Darker was supposed to have hit the screen. Knowing Wayans, the movie will probably be raunchy and in very poor taste, which is like, the #1 reason I like his movies in the first place. I feel like I should send him flowers and a thank you card for making my dreams come true with this one.

Also? Fifty Shades of Grey star and my imaginary girlfriend, a.k.a. most adorable woman alive, Dakota Johnson, has a new movie coming out soon with two of my other lady crushes, Leslie Mann and Rebel Wilson, called How To Be Single. Does it look like the most feminist and diverse thing that’s ever happened to cinema? Not at all. But it isn’t Fifty Shades of Grey, for which we can all be thankful.

Now, let’s plunge ourselves into something far more ridiculous. Let’s get into this recap of part three of the chapter that will probably never end.

Today’s recap is part three of a chapter that spans numerous chapters in Fifty Shades of Grey. So if you want to read this recap in tandem with the original recap, you’re going to want chapter seven.

This day in history: Iceland’s Grímsvöten volcano erupted.

So, Chedward has just shown Ana into his “playroom” a.k.a. his “safe space” a.k.a. the only place where he’s truly himself.

Ana stands in the middle of the room, studying all the paraphernalia that is so much a part of my life: the floggers, the canes, the bed, the bench… She’s silent, drinking it in, and all I hear is the deafening pounding of my heart as the blood rushes past my eardrums.

You know how I keep saying over and over that this book is written in a way that assumes everyone reading it has already read 50 Shades of Grey? Here’s yet another example. Here’s the description of the room from the Writer’s Coffee Shop version of 50 Shades of Grey:

The first thing I notice is the smell; leather, wood, polish with a faint citrus scent. It’s very pleasant, and the lighting is soft, subtle. In fact, I can’t see the source, but it’s around the cornice in the room, emitting an ambient glow. The walls and ceiling are a deep, dark burgundy, giving a womb-like effect to the spacious room, and the floor is old, old varnished wood. There is a large wooden cross like an X fastened to the wall facing the door. It’s made of high-polished mahogany, and there are restraining cuffs on each corner.

One could argue that since it’s Christian’s room, in Christian’s house, he’s not going to notice shit like the smell of wood polish. But he’s watching Ana looking at everything, giving E.L. the opportunity to cover at least some of this shit for the reader. But again, the assumption is that people should have already read the first book.

As a reader, I’m a fan of getting description of this stuff in books. Sometimes, if you’re reading a series, it gets tedious to hear the same thing described over and over, so I’m okay with descriptions sort of gently waning as the books stack up. But this isn’t part of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy. It’s a separate novel. We need some description.

It would also be a really good place to explain to us why the room is red (which, so far as I’ve seen in this section, is never mentioned).

Ana wanders around, taking her time as she looks at everything:

Her silence is unbearable. I need to know if she’s going to run.

“Do you do this to people or do they do it to you?”

Finally!

As always, underlines indicate italics.

Remember how E.L. James can’t understand why anyone thought Christian was abusive in her books, and how everyone was like, “Look at all these hallmarks of an abuser he displays”? This shit right here is a red flag we’re getting in his head. He shows something to Ana that he believes is shocking. He doesn’t care about her emotional reaction to his actions, he’s concerned about whether or not her physical reaction will be to leave, which would displease him. And when he finally gets the response he’s entitled to, it wasn’t immediate enough, which exasperates him.

In case it’s not already clear enough that Christian does not see Ana as a person deserving of her own thoughts, feelings, and actions, he let’s her (and us) know in his response:

“People?” I want to snort. “I do this to women who want me to.”

Women who want to submit in a BDSM relationship aren’t people to Christian. They’re objects, and hearing them compared to people inspires his derision.

Look, none of this is subtle. None of this is hidden. So I’m not sure why so many readers (and the author) defend Christian Grey as the most romantic hero ever written.

She frowns. “If you have willing volunteers, why am I here?”

Her phrasing here should give Chedward pause. She’s not categorizing herself as a willing volunteer. But that doesn’t even cross his mind:

“Because I want to do this with you, very much.” Visions of her tied up in various positions around the room overwhelm my imagination; on the cross, on the bed, over the bench…

The first-time reader doesn’t know there’s a St. Andrew’s cross in the room, so they’re probably picturing something like this:

A painting of Jesus's crucifixion with the words "BDSM Est. 33 AD"

“You’re a sadist?” she says startling me.

Fuck. She sees me.

Okay, like all this time for the entire whole book all of it he’s wanted to show her who he really is, so she knows what he’s like and she can melt into the arms of his abusive truth or whatever. Now he doesn’t want her to know what he’s into?

A photo of Prince Harry in camouflage fatigues and a high-visibility safety vest with the words "Do you want to be seen or not mate"

“I’m a Dominant,” I say quickly, hoping to move the conversation on.

GAME SHOW BUZZER NOISE. I’m sorry, but “sadist” and “Dominant” are not mutually exclusive. Christian gets off on control, but he also says later that he gets off on causing women pain. That makes him both a (shitty) Dominant and a sadist. You can be one without being the other, but Christian Grey is both.

Chedward tells Ana that he wants her to willingly submit to him. She asks why she should do that, and he says:

“To please me,” I whisper. This is what I need from you. In very simple terms, I want you to want to please me.”

What she actually wants is of terrifically little importance here. His needs are paramount.

He goes on to explain what he expects of her, and honestly, when I first read 50 Shades of Grey, I was too distracted by the shock of how bad the writing was that I totally missed how creepy this line was:

“I have rules, and I want you to comply with them. They are for your benefit and for my pleasure. If you follow these rules to my satisfaction, I shall reward you. If you don’t, I shall punish you, and you will learn.”

First of all, I highly recommend, when writing American characters, that you use “shall” as much as possible. We say “shall” all the time.

Just kidding. An American would say: I’ll reward you. If you don’t, I’ll punish you, and you’ll learn.”

Without Ana’s internal monologue telling us that she’s actually pretty curious and kind of into the idea–even though she’s into it for really bad reasons, a.k.a, she wants a relationship despite his near constant reminders that he doesn’t date–without those thoughts, it’s even clearer that he’s already exerting his control over her. It’s not, “There WOULD be rules, and I WOULD want you to comply with them,” it’s just, “I want, I want I want,” as though she’s already agreed.

And why, exactly, are the rules for her benefit? Yes, a lot of the rules have to do with Ana eating well and taking care of herself, but his assumption is that she doesn’t do any of these things already, and he’s doing her some kind of favor by forcing her to do them. He even refers to this as an “incentive package.”

 “It’s about gaining your trust and your respect, so you’ll let me exert my will over you.” I need your permission, baby.

I actually laughed out loud when I read that, because for most of their actions, the consent is either dubious, coerced, or just plain not given at all.

“Okay, what do I get out of this?”

“Me.” I shrug. That’s it, baby. Just me. All of me. And you’ll find pleasure, too…

I love this phrasing. “You get me, but don’t worry, there’s other stuff. It’s not all a bum deal.” Also, “all of me”…uh, excuse me, Mr. Proud Of Withholding, you might want to rethink that. Because at the moment, and through basically this entire book, the only thing you’re actually willing to give her is a sexual relationship. Unless sex is “all of you”, in which case I now understand why you’re so damned boring.

Her eyes widen fractionally as she stares at me, saying nothing. It’s exasperating. “You’re not giving anything away, Anastasia. Let’s go back downstairs where I can concentrate better. It’s very distracting having you in here.”

There’s always a subtle blaming of Ana when she “affects” him. He brought her into the room, and when she’s not responding exactly as he wants her to, he’s exasperated.

I hold out my hand to her and for the first time she looks from my hand to my face, undecided.

Shit.

I’ve frightened her. “I’m not going to hurt you, Anastasia.”

Whenever a guy says “I’m not going to hurt you,” I’m 100% certain that he’ll probably hurt me. And I’ know I’m not the only woman who hears alarm bells at that phrase.

Christian takes her to see the bedroom she’ll stay in on weekends if she enters into his agreement, which he’ll negotiate with her. He tells her to come downstairs because she “must” be hungry.

“Weirdly, I seem to have lost my appetite,” she declares, with her familiar stubborn expression.

Heads up, if a woman says she’s lost her appetite after you talk about potentially banging, that’s not a great sign.

“You must eat, Anastasia.” Her eating habits will be one of the first issues I’ll work on if she agrees to be mine…that, and her fidgeting.

Looking past the obvious question of why Chedward would want to be with Ana in the first place if she’s such a fixer-upper, I want to circle back around to the eating thing. I not only beat this horse to death in my first set of recaps, but I kept on beating it long after it died, and when nothing was left but flies and bones and a harsh desert wind, I tracked down the horse’s family and I beat them, too. On this topic, my horse murdering spree is unchallenged in the face of human history.

Well, welcome back to my Red Room of Horse Pain, my pony friend, because I’m once again furious with Christian Grey. If Ana was overweight, and Christian thought to himself, “Her eating habits will be one of the first issues I’ll work on”, it would be outrageous. Maybe not to 88.88888% of readers, as the view that fat people universally need guidance from other, non-fat people in order to become less fat than they are, but more conversations would have occurred on the subject. There would be all sorts of discussions about how reading something like that would hurt girls’ self-esteem, there would be think pieces and hashtags and the whole nine yards. But since this is the fantasy of a woman who’s just too darn thin all the time, not because of illness or just because she works out a lot, Christian’s fixation on how much she eats not only strikes a certain type of reader as reasonable, but desirable. For all of our lives, no matter our weight, women have been trained to look for permission to eat. Having a sexy, mysterious billionaire that every woman wants telling you to eat? What greater level of permission could you be blessed to attain? And when you do eat, this paragon of sensuality still respects you as a person? That’s almost more appealing than any of the BDSM.

And let’s take that one step further, now that we’re in Chedward’s head. Women, raise your hand if you’ve ever been on a date with a man, and he’s commented on the food you order. “I’m so glad you’re not the kind of girl who orders a salad.” “How do you stay so skinny and eat so much?” “What are you, on a diet?” It’s a guessing game where there’s no right answer; no matter what you do, he’s going to judge you. How much simpler is it to just have a man tell you what you have to eat to make him happy? There’s part two of the demented, harmful “fantasy” this book weaves.

“I’m fully aware that this is a dark path I’m leading you down, Anastasia, which is why I really want you to think about this.”

A picture of a Hot Topic storefront.

Where all dark paths lead.

No, you don’t want her to think about it. Because if she thought about it, she might start getting some crazy idea about having a choice or autonomy. I mean, you already have to wear her down and weave an intricate psychological trap to get her to submit to you full-time, anyway.

If this is going to work, she’s going to have to communicate.

What he means is, if this is going to work, she’s going to have communicate in the way I expect her to. Because Ana has already communicated that she’s not into this. She said she lost her appetite discussing the subject with him. She’s communicated that she doesn’t want anything to eat. But these are not the things he wants to hear, so that makes her uncommunicative.

Christian looks around the kitchen for food to feed Ana, because her tiny female brain can’t possibly know whether or not she wants to eat.

Gail wasn’t expecting me to have company, and this is not enough…I wonder if I should order some takeout. Or perhaps take her out?

There are two ways one can interpret this. Either he wants to take Gail out for a lovely dinner, or he wants to have Gail “taken out” because she didn’t leave enough food at the house. Either way, this all applies to Gail and not Ana. But why the hell doesn’t Gail know that Ana is coming over for dinner? Christian invited Ana over for dinner, and there’s no dinner? Why doesn’t she immediately suspect that he’s a serial killer?

Christian doesn’t want Ana to get the idea that he’ll date her, because “the thought is irritating.”

Bread and cheese will have to do. Besides, she says she’s not hungry.

So, he acknowledges that she’s not hungry. Then the matter is settled, I assume.

Ana brings up the paperwork he mentioned before, and Christian explains that there’s going to be a sex contract that will keep things totally consensual. Because telling the reader that something is consensual makes it so, even when it isn’t depicted that way.

“And if I don’t want to do this?”

Shit.

“That’s fine,” I lie.

“But we won’t have any sort of relationship?”

“No.”

“Why?”

“This is the only sort of relationship I’m interested in.”

If Chedward was truly willing to say, no, I’m not interested in a relationship with you, that would be one thing. But Ana is clearly sitting here saying, hey, do I have a choice to have a relationship with you without the BDSM element, and he’s saying no, and he’s not willing to walk away. He wants to wear her down, or dazzle her into accepting his “incentive package.”

Then we reach the portion of the book that was paid for by the Wisconsin Dairy Council:

“Why is anyone the way they are? That’s kind of hard to answer. Why do some people like cheese and other people hate it? Do you like cheese?[...]”

A supermarket advertisement depicting a very blonde white lady eating cheese and crackers, with the unfortunate slogan, "Crackers love cheese!" directly above her face.

Ana asks him about the rules, and he says they’ll look at them once they’ve eaten.

“I’m not really hungry,” she whispers.

“You will eat.”

A supermarket advertisement depicting a very blonde white lady eating cheese and crackers, with the unfortunate slogan, "Crackers love cheese!" directly above her face.

Jeez, Ana, didn’t you read the sign?

She gives him a “defiant” look, because it’s somehow “defiant” to decline food when you’re not hungry.

“Would you like another glass of wine?” I ask, as a peace offering.

As a peace offering, guys. See, from Ana’s POV, it only looked like he was trying to get her drunk to bypass consent. It was really because he’s a great guy. I’m so relieved.

I pour wine into her glass and sit down beside her. “Help yourself to food, Anastasia.”

She takes a few grapes.

That’s it? That’s all you’re eating?

A supermarket advertisement depicting a very blonde white lady eating cheese and crackers, with the unfortunate slogan, "Crackers love cheese!" directly above her face.

Read the sign, Ana!

Is it striking anyone else as hilarious that he’s upset that she’s only eating grapes, but he pours her another glass of wine? If he’s so hell bent on the cheese thing, he should have given her a glass of milk.

Ana asks Christian how long he’s “been like this” and earlier she asks how he became “this way.” These are all questions that would be totally appropriate if you were dating Bruce Wayne, and he’d just shown you the Bat Cave–the real one, not a euphemistic one. But BDSM doesn’t need a superhero origin story. “Have you been like this for a while?” Like what? Like having a sexuality? Probably since he was born, Ana. It’s kind of something you either have or you don’t. The question you’re looking for is probably, “How long have you been interested in this? How did you get involved?” that sort of thing.

Ana asks why, if there are women who are willing to do this, would he want to have this relationship with her. There’s another P.S., guys: if a woman is asking why you don’t just find someone else, she’s not swooning with lust for you.

Baby, you’re beautiful. Why wouldn’t I want to do this with you?

“Anastasia, I’ve told you. There’s something about you. I can’t leave you alone. I’m like a moth to a flame. I want you very badly, especially now, when you’re biting your lip again.”

You know how when a woman gets murdered, and they interview her husband on TV and he’s like, “She was so beautiful, she had such an amazing smile,” and that’s like, all he seems to be able to come up with about her, then he ends up convicted of her murder? Christian Grey doesn’t want to just sleep with Ana because she’s beautiful or he’s attracted to something about her personality (he actually wants to completely overhaul that), he’s into her because she’s an object she likes. We learn later, with the introduction of Leila, that these objects are disposable. The more time we spend in Christian Grey’s head, the more we see how deep his vile, misogynistic streak runs, to the point that it can no longer be chalked up as inept writing or the occasional poor phrase. The character we saw in Fifty Shades of Grey is exactly the character E.L. James meant to write, and perceived as the ultimate romantic hero.

“I think you have that cliché the wrong way around,” she says softly, and it’s a disturbing confession.

It’s okay for him to want her, but it clearly spoils the fun if she wants him.

“Eat!” I order, to change the subject.

“No. I haven’t signed anything yet, so I think I’ll hang on to my free will for a bit longer, if that’s okay with you.”

But of course, what does Ana do immediately after her next line of dialogue? She eats.

He tells her that he’s had fifteen past relationships like this. She asks if he ever hurt anyone, and he admits that he did, but not badly.

Dawn was fine, if a little shaken by the experience. And if I’m honest, so was I.

That’s it. That’s where it ends. Not a thought of remorse or an indication that he’s learned not to do that. Just a line to make him the victim, too.

Ana asks him if he’ll hurt her.

“I will punish you when you require it, and it will be painful.”

For example, when you get drunk and put yourself at risk.

We should have started a victim blaming tally at the beginning of these recaps. I fucked up.

Her lack of appetite is irritating and is affecting mine.

Yet again, he’s complaining that Ana isn’t having the reaction he wants her to have, and it’s victimizing him in some way.

He takes Ana to his study to show her the contract.

It’s a blessing that she’s curious–she hasn’t run yet.

Okay, we get it, you hobbled her so she can’t run away. You are clearly a superior horseman. Stop bragging.

Her eyes scan the page. “Hard limits?” she asks.

“Yes. What you won’t do, what I won’t do, we need to specify in our agreement.”

“I’m not sure about accepting money for clothes. It feels wrong.”

“I want to lavish money on you. Let me buy you some clothes. I may need you to accompany me to functions.”

In case you’re a reader who never experienced the joy of the original trilogy, this isn’t the first time Ana will say, “This is a hard limit” only to have Christian argue with her that it’s not a limit she gets to set. This is just the inaugural event in what becomes a solid tradition.

“And I want you dressed well. I’m sure your salary, when you do get a job, won’t cover the kind of clothes I’d like you to wear.”

It’s really inspiring how the Detroit-born, college drop-out, son of a crack addict has risen to such great heights that’s he’s able to perfectly imitate the bourgeoisie disdain for the proles.

Ana also says:

“Okay. I don’t want to exercise four times a week.”

“Anastasia, I need you supple, strong, and with stamina. Trust me, you need to exercise.”

This is super laughable, considering the most physically arduous thing Ana does in this entire book is move from one apartment to the other. During the sex scenes, she just lays there while he does stuff to her. But yet again, here she’s setting a limit and he’s telling her that she can’t.

Christian asks Ana if she wants to intern at his company, and she says no.

Of course she’s right. And it’s my number-one rule: never fuck the staff.

Dude, you’re the one who just asked her if she wants to intern at your company while she’s fucking you. Suddenly, Ana’s rejection of his offer is his deeply held principle that of course he would never go against.

He then gives her his list of limits, which of course she’s going to have to respect, and respect is not a two-way street.

This is it, shit-or-bust time.

That is not an American saying. So much so that I had to look it up to make sure it was an actual saying at all. And it is. A quick google gave me results pinning the phrase to Ireland, New Zealand, and Australia. In case you’re looking for the actual, American equivalent, it’s “shit or get off the pot,” or “fish or cut bait.” Those are how we would say “shit or bust.”

Christian is worried that his limits will scare Ana away:

How can I persuade her to give this a try? I should reassure her, show her that I’m capable of caring.

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Magnolia, with the quote "how to fake like you are a nice and caring person".

“Is there anything you’d like to add?”

Deep down I hope she won’t add anything. I want carte blanche with her. She stares at me, still at a loss for words. It’s irritating. I’m not used to waiting for answers. “Is there anything you won’t do?” I prompt.

It’s irritating that she won’t immediately answer him. It’s irritating that she won’t give him exactly what he wants as quickly as he wants it.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean you don’t know?”

Well, here’s the deal, pal. You tell her you want to discuss something with her. You invite her to dinner, but there is no dinner. You showed her your sex room and told her you want to have a D/s relationship with her despite the fact that you know nothing about her apart from the fact that she doesn’t want a relationship with you. And now you’re wondering why she might not have an answer at the ready, instantly, when you hand her a sex contract that you’re pressuring her to sign. While he does think:

Patience, Grey. For fuck’s sake. You’ve thrown a great deal of information at her. I continue my gentle approach. It’s novel.

Wheedling until he gets a woman to fuck him is “gentle,” and that gentleness is “novel”. Be still my flooding panties.

Christian notes that Ana can’t even talk about sex, because she’s so innocent, which suggests to me that maybe she’s not the person to plunge into a 24/7 submissive relationship with?

“Well, I’ve not had sex before, so I don’t know,” she whispers.

The earth stops spinning.

I don’t fucking believe it.

How?

Why?

Fuck!

A refreshing

return

to the random

line

breaks.

This reaction is probably the most realistic one in the whole book, to be honest. People react like that–often out loud–when adult virgins say they’re virgins. But hopefully only a small number react like this:

Anger lances through me. What can I do with a virgin? I glare at her as fury surges through my body.

“Why the fuck didn’t you tell me?” I growl, and start pacing my study. What do I want with a virgin?

And we’ll leave that there. Until next time, remember those paragraphs and remember that this man is the fantasy you should be longing for.

137 thoughts on “Jenny Reads 50 Shades of Midnight Sun: Grey, Saturday, May 21, 2011 or “THE BIGGEST CHAPTER EVER: PART THREE”

  1. I know there is tons of other stuff to be uncomfortable about, but I will never never never get over Chedwards obsession with Anas eating habits (or lack thereof). Gah. It stresses me out to the point where I have to click on another tab and look at something else for a few minutes. Before these books I didn’t know how bad my problems with eating apparently are *shudder*

      1. The even more frustrating aspect is that the first trilogy really did make it sound like Ana had a legitimate eating disorder, and I did kind of expect Christian to “notice” that in his version. So instead he’s just fucking obsessed with forcing her to eat, even though if she does have an eating disorder this behaviour would make it much, much worse.

    1. The whole thing with him telling her to “Eat!” made me think of this scene from Les Diaboliques where the wife of the school’s headmaster is being ordered to eat. He repeatedly tells her to swallow her food (sorry the clip doesn’t have subtitles, but “Avales!” is “Swallow!”) even though she doesn’t want to touch it.

      This series could benefit with a revenge murder plot so long as it doesn’t end up like the one in that movie.

    2. Nah man, I agree. Food is a really personal thing. I like what I like, I decide what and when I want to eat, and anyone who tries to control my decisions with food is trying to control me, and that is exactly what Christian is doing with Ana. I get a real visceral reaction from it too.

      1. I agree with you. If I’m not hungry, or just don’t want to eat because something’s happened that has made me lost my appetite, I am darn well not going to eat! It’s my choice, and no-one else’s business what and when I eat and if anyone tried to control what I ate I’d be out the door before he could blink. But I wouldn’t be there with Grey because I would never have gotten into the helicopter with him.

        1. The last man who tried to force me to eat ended up with puke all over him because I had food poisoning and his trying to get me to eat elicited a rather spectacular episode of projectile vomiting.

          1. A similar fate befell the last nurse who ignored my warning that I’m NOT good with needles and I need to lay down during a blood draw. She got puked on AND had to deal with me after I fainted. Puking on someone is great revenge!

      2. Same here. If someone indicates I’m eating too much, my natural reaction is to eat more as a “fuck you” to them. If someone tells me I’m eating too little…well, that doesn’t happen often, but it’s usually because I’m sick or something, in which case it’s another “fuck you” because I have my reasons for not eating. Anyways, point being, commenting on what someone’s eating is a rage-inducing peeve of mine.

        In this book, it’s all rooted in controlling Ana’s body and giving zero fucks about what she actually wants, which makes me hate Christian even more every time he does it.

    3. I understand what you mean.Personally, everytime we had dinner together and I pile on my favorite food, my father would always comment,”You’re going to eat all of that?” It always irritated me even if he was joking. He’s not the one who’s going to eat it, I finished whatever I got so I’m not wasting anything, and I’ve never had health problems with my eating habits. Then at the office my co-worker would lecture me how “dirty” pork is (because of her belief) while I’m eating my lunch of ham and bacon. I mean, I’m not forcing anyone to eat or not eat something, so I expect the same courtesy. I like eating so I wish this is the one activity I do that’s free from judgment. And you know, somehow, I get more annoyed when it’s done to me by men.

  2. This man is a total arsehole! This book removes any doubt.

    Speaking of arseholes, as an Australian I don’t reckon “shit or bust” is the equivalent of “shit or get off the pot” or “fish or cut bait”. Those latter two expressions imply there is a decision to be made and that failing to shit or fish, as the case may be, will not have dire consequences, whereas with “shit or bust” there is no choice and the consequences are likely to be fatal. If you don’t do the first thing, the second thing will inevitably occur: your gut will burst open. It’s like being faced with the choice of jumping out of a burning plane and using your parachute or staying put and dying when the plane crashes. I think “do or die” is more analogous.

    Mind you, I don’t think any of these expressions was appropriate in the circumstances, since the decision was to be made by Ana, not him, and, in view of Ana’s distinct lack of interest in his proposition so far, he has no reason, other than his ego and general fuckedupness, to believe that she would suffer if she did not agree.

    Thank you for your continuing efforts with this clusterfuck of a book. They are immensely entertaining and much appreciated.

    1. Is it just me, or is that the most disgusting expression you’ve ever heard? I don’t want to think about shitting, and I most certainly don’t want to think about my bowels bursting and shit getting into my system. Gross! Why would anyone say that!?! Ew ew ew.

      1. Fair point, well made! *snort*

        I don’t want to read about bursting bowels, either, or, for that matter, about someone sticking an object – any object – into someone else’s arse, either. As far as I’m concerned, that orifice is exit only, but Mr Grey wants to “claim” Ana’s arse, regardless of what she thinks about the concept. Which makes me hope that she has a nice hot beef vindaloo for lunch the day he decides to try it.

        1. IIRC, the expression was “dive”. He wants to dive into her ass. I remember because there was a hilarious picture of a diver to go with it whenever this came up. In any case, diving into someone’s ass sounds a lot funnier than bursting bowels.

          1. Oh, there was claiming as well as diving, and training, too. “I’ll agree to the fisting, but I’d really like to claim your ass, Anastasia. But we’ll wait for that. Besides, it’s not something we can dive into.” He smirks at me. “Your ass will need training.”

            And now I feel ill, because I had to look at the book to check that quote, and that meant I saw the words, “‘And… swallowing semen. Well, you get an A in that’. I flush, and my inner goddess smacks her lips together, glowing with pride.”

  3. Yay, recap!

    First of all, I highly recommend, when writing American characters, that you use “shall” as much as possible. We say “shall” all the time.

    Just kidding. An American would say: I’ll reward you. If you don’t, I’ll punish you, and you’ll learn.”

    Honestly, most Brits would say the latter, too. The only reason all those ‘shalls’ would be in there is if you were trying to give the impression a character was born a hundred years ago, which isn’t appropriate for…oh, wait, never mind.

  4. “People?” I want to snort. “I do this to women who want me to.”

    Women who want to submit in a BDSM relationship aren’t people to Christian. They’re objects, and hearing them compared to people inspires his derision.

    ~ As a woman herself, I’m pretty sure E.L. sees her own gender as people and not objects. I have a very strong suspicion that good ol’ homophobic Christian took the word “people” to mean both women AND men, which actually makes a shred of sense, because if Ana only meant women, she would have said women, after all. Most people tend to do this.

    1. I thought the same thing. It seems more like Christian’s trying to be super clear that he doesn’t wan to have sex with men people, just women people.

      On the other hand, considering the way ELJ has reacted to criticisms from women, including survivors of domestic abuse, and the way she portrays all the female characters who are not Ana or Christian’s mom, I still think she’s a misogynist. Also, she compares Ana to other female characters in the story to show that Ana “isn’t like other girls” with the unsubtle implication that every other woman is terrible.

      1. yeah, I took ‘people’ to mean both genders and that’s what he’s rejecting. he only has women in his room, never other men.

    2. I dunno, the way she writes about them, I’m not convinced EL James does see other women as people. Especially not blonde ones.

        1. Or pretty much any woman that isn’t her. She thinks very highly of herself.
          *insert massive eye rolling and gagging*

    3. Even though I strongly believe that this passage was to enhance Christian’s disinterest in having sex with other man, E.L. is still misogynistic trash. I’m not sure she really views women other than her as actual people given the way she portaits female characters and addresses to abuse survivors.

  5. Dawn was fine, if a little shaken by the experience. And if I’m honest, so was I.

    That’s it. That’s where it ends. Not a thought of remorse or an indication that he’s learned not to do that. Just a line to make him the victim, too.

    ~ Forget for a moment that it’s Christian talking. If it were any other man, would you still accuse him of having no remorse and trying to make himself out to be the victim? Because even though I hate Grey’s guts with every fiber of my being, I genuinely believe E.L. Fudge actually wrote that line to show that Grey DID feel guilty. If he didn’t feel any guilt, then how could he have been shaken by the incident? He literally has nothing to fear if he hurts or even kills someone. His wealth makes him faultless, in a sense. He can hire the best lawyers, hell, he can pay people to make his victims disappear entirely. So he can’t be shaken over a potential lawsuit or jail time.

    1. The problem here is that context is everything. If it was almost any other character, yes, it would be a very telling line to hint towards a deeper feeling of remorse. The issue however is that with Grey of all people saying it, the negative connotations come flooding in.

      First, the line is only said the once and never brought up again. The fact that he hurt Dawn never affects his character going forward as he’s still just as willing to hurt others like Ana and Leila. Two, from the original trilogy we see that he’s absolutely a master of lying through his teeth to make himself look better, even convincing himself of his own victimhood in order to facilitate that effect. He very clearly states here within the confines of his thoughts that he ‘needs’ her consent. Yet we all know that consent means absolutely nothing to him. I have no doubt that he -believes- himself to be remorseful and that consent is paramount. However simply convincing one’s self of a lie does not make it any more true. We’re being told one thing and shown another countless times and all it really adds up to is a character who is so far in denial he might as well be wrestling with crocodiles.

    2. The other thing to remember is that this time around, we’re actually IN Chedward’s head, and yet he doesn’t think about what happened, doesn’t flinch, doesn’t give any indication of what happened to Dawn or how he’s changed as a result of that experience – he just says they were both a “little shaken.”

      Since we have three other books in which we see Chedward continue to do a lot of things without consent, the fact that he only admits that once things got out of hand and then dismisses the incident immediately without any internal sign of remorse is rather damning.

      As for the “shaken” bit… I’m inclined to think its more of that generic “brooding hero” crap that bad writers fall back on when they don’t know how to actually show character. It’s more about how “dark” and “tormented” Christian is, rather than showing the risks of BDSM if people, including the romantic hero, aren’t careful.

  6. “Well, I’ve not had sex before, so I don’t know,” she whispers.

    ~ Oh my God, did she SERIOUSLY say “I’ve not”? Because that is the most British Britishism that ever came out of Britain. >_<

  7. It just hit me. Christian Grey is Kilgrave, but without the power of mind control. He is a sociopath and a narcissist who uses childhood trauma as an excuse for controlling and abusing others, especially women. He treats people as disposable objects and is an obsessive stalker. He’s Kilgrave, just poorly acted! (Oh, Jamie Dornan).

    1. Also less charming (I laughed at the Obi Wan bit. It’s a tribute to how talented Tennant is, because he NAILED that sociopathic character). And bless the Jessica Jones writers for consistently showing us how monstrous such a person is.

  8. It absolutely floors me how Christian is ten times worse in this book that was meant to humanize him. There was absolutely no attempt to show his supposed positive sides, save for a few throwaway lines that don’t past muster when aligned with his other thoughts and actions. What’s even more hilarious is that the portrayal of Ana here, which is I’m sure what EL was going for the first time around, Christian looks even more sociopathic than before. He can’t tell that behind that ‘defiant’ look she’s creaming herself over and over again just by the mere sight of him. All he can see is a young woman who is giving EVERY sign that she doesn’t want to be there, who has no reason to explain shit to him. Yet it’s all ‘me, me, me, I don’t care I want this’ from him. This is how you write a rapist, and given his actions in the first book where he broke into Ana’s apartment we know that assessment isn’t too far off.

    And oh lord, here we go on the ‘BDSM is for sadists only and something that needs to be fixed’ train of thought. It boggled my mind how EL painted it as such a damning life style one minute, yet cheerfully got off on some of the more vanilla aspects at others. She could never make up her mind as to whether or not Ana needed to cure Christian of it’s evil influence or masturbate to the fantasy of it.

  9. Yegh. I’m having actual medical conditions related to not-eating that I am well aware my partner actively worries about, and yet I still do not get this kind of random patronizing instruction. Even though my partner has actual reason to worry, “no, really, eat something”-type instructions only ever manifest immediately after a symptom for which “eat something” has been previously established as treatment. But then, I have a healthy and mutually-negotiated D/s relationship.

    The whole pissed-off-about-her-being-a-virgin thing is the part that really hits home for me, though. I imagine that’s going to get discussed more in the next chapter, but it illustrates some of the utterly toxic relationships our culture has with virginity.

    1. I am underweight due to an autoimmune disease mixed with a tyroid condition and eating a lot actually triggers my symptoms and pretty much guarantees that I will be miserable for the next couple of days. EVERY TIME I eat out, be it with friends or colleagues, there is always someone who gives “helpful” reasons on why I should eat more and it’s actually exhausting to have to give what sound and are interpreted as excuses for my eating habits. If Ana doesn’t want to eat, leave her the fuck alone. You don’t know her or what she’s going through and are apparently not willing to to even try to understand her apparent unease with the situation. *vent over*

  10. Everything I know about Hot Topic, I learned from South Park ;-) (Namely: emos love it, goths hate it.)

    Mainland cheese! Their advertising slogan used to be “Your friend in the fridge” (said in a rather over-the-top New Zealand accent, which leads me to believe the ad was made by Austrailans taking the mick).

    YOU NEED CHEESE, ANA! YOU NEED A FRIEND, EVEN IF IT’S IN THE FRIDGE! ;-)

    1. Is that “Crackers Love Cheese” a fair dinkum ad? I thought it was a joke. I’m surprised it’s allowed.

      I have lots of friends in my fridge, including some Mainland cheese! :D

  11. I’m from Ireland and I have never heard the expression ‘shit-or-bust’. Just thought I’d throw that out there.

    Between the eating stuff, the serial killer date, and the virgin shaming, I think I need to go lie down for a bit.

  12. Grey seems to have only one emotional state at all times – every singe line of dialogue seems to irritate him, every paragraph strains his patience. Eventually, being that uptight is going to do him in.

    I can’t help but imagine him working himself up like a snorting bull, while Ana just stands there, having totally reasonable boundaries and not conforming to his bizarre expectations… and then his head just explodes*, and Ana quietly steps past his remains and goes to live her life, and nobody finds Christian for a while, because even his cleaner doesn’t look into his Seeecret Room of Paaaiin.
    There might be some kind of epilogue, where the stench leads to his being found next to all these floggers, and his previous subs sell their stories to the papers, and it’s this big media scandal, and maybe Ana reads about it and is sick in her mouth a bit, but ultimately she and Kate think she was extremely lucky not to have been his next victim.

    (*like that scene in Big Trouble In Little China, which I won’t link, because body horror, but it’s on Youtube).

    Also, we haven’t had any updates from Chedward’s boner lately. What does his cock think about all this? Has it just been silently nodding along this whole time? Can you imagine the kind of complex Grey would have if his boner ever “disagreed” with him? He’d probably have to punish it, and then curl up on the floor and cry for hours.

    Christian Grey is every tedious fuckboi on OKCupid, really.
    “Yo, my dick wants you to fuck me. Here are my demands. Oi! Agree to let me bone you immediately!… How dare you say no?! Hello???”
    Totally the opposite of mature, attractive and interesting.

    1. Oh my god I cannot breathe. The very image of Twathead punishing his disagreeing boner and then crying for hours in the fetal position – YOU MADE ME SNORT AND I LAUGHED MORE.

      Brilliant.

  13. I actually can’t believe E.L. managed to make Christain an even worse character. I mean, he was already worse than horrible in the “original” trilogy!

    On top of that, I still don’t get how anyone could have seen this guy as any kind of hero, or that some readers have said E.L. wrote her “own” character wrong because he’s such an infuriating, pathetic ass in this book. I’m really wishing she had just stopped her slaughter of literature after the first three, but she’s so greedy she’s going to keep milking this cow even after it’s nothing but bones.

    And in a way, she really isn’t the one to blame. It’s the society where shit like this is seen as desirable. If he were poor or the roles were reversed, it probably would’ve been taken off the shelves because people are so screwed up like that.

    1. To a degree, maybe she isn’t to blame. But there are books that are far more feminist that have come from areas that were far more patriarchal (e.g. “Nervous Conditions” or “Women without Men”). It isn’t like misogyny in literature isn’t discussed, and ELJ utterly failed to address it in the books or in response to criticisms later.

  14. This has me thinking about that idea of “everything I need to know in life I learned in Kindergarten”, I think because, for all the billionare/sophisticate/businessman/pseudolegalese aura E.L constructs around Chedward, he’s just a little bully. I mean imagine a couple of little kids:
    “Heya, I like you, do you wanna be friends?”
    “No, I don’t like you enough to be friends – but you could be my weekend-friend”
    “What’s that?”
    “On the weekend you come sleepover at my house – only you don’t get to sleep in my room, you sleep by yourself – and in the day you help me play soccer”
    “So we play 1 on 1 games and stuff?”
    “…yeah, except I don’t like it when people get up real close to me in a game ’cause then I don’t have room to do really awesome kicks and stuff, so you’re just the goalie and go get the ball when it rolls away or goes over the fence”
    “But that’s not a real soccer game! And I don’t like ball games that much anyways! And I’d be scared of you kicking the ball at me all the time! Don’t you like doing other stuff?”
    “Duh, you’re my weekend-friend, I only do weekend-stuff with you – and that’s soccer games. I do other stuff with people who aren’t just weekend-friends. If you *really* liked me you’d do what I like to do”

  15. You know, one way in which Fifty Shades is superior to this crap (I mean, they’re both awful and should be killed with fire, but Fifty Shades is just slightly less crappy than Grey at least in this aspect) is that inthe original, Chedwad managed to come off as creepy and intimidating on occasion. Here he’s just annoying and irritating, like: “I want to fuck you, why won’t you let me fuck you? Pleeeeeaseeeeee, Ana, just let me fuck you, come oooooon…”

  16. Thanks for these recaps and thanks again because I don’t have to actually read the book and get even more riled up, like a dead horse watching my corpse, then my skeleton, then my family get beaten.

    Maybe if he’d offered her cake, she would come to her senses…. Like Tina did after Ike asked her, nicely, to eat some cake.

  17. Uuuggghhhhhh…I just can’t. Christian Grey’s internal monologue is fucking excruciating.

    But also, I have thoughts from a few different perspectives.

    From the perspective where I am actually a submissive in a relationship that involves an outside-the-bedroom power exchange: Like…the whole “the rules will be for your benefit and my pleasure” thing? I just…so they barely know each other, right? And he has this weird, kind of creepy, one-size-fits-all contract for all his submissive, right? How does he even know what would or wouldn’t be to her benefit?

    In real life, my Dominant and I periodically sit down together and talk about where we are with stuff and what we each want to work on. Like, when I was going through a time where I felt really down about my appearance, they gave me assignment of trying new things with my hair and makeup on my days off from work. Or, since we’re both into body service and they just got a new job where they’re on their feet 40s hours/week, they are probably going to have me work on improving my pedicure skills soon. Like…even in a D/s situation, people have preferences and goals and stuff. That whole “these are my rules and you’ll do this and I’m dismissing all your limits” thing reminds me of, like…Cosmo sex tips. Where everyone always seems to be too wrapped up in doing the “correct” thing that is supposed to be “sexy” that no oner considers whether or not they enjoy it.

    From a sex-educator perspective: Even if Ana had, like, a reasonable amount of sexual experience for your average recent college grad, she would almost definitely have questions about a lot of the things in the contract. I spend so much time at work just explaining what different things are and what you do with them and why people like that. Like…it is 100% within the realm of normal to not know what things are. Even things that I think of as pretty “ordinary,” like a wartenburg wheel are confusing as fuck without any context, especially if you’re just seeing it written down. I want to send E.L. James to shadow an employee at a good sex shop for a day so she can here how often people are like “What is this? Where does it go? What does it do? Do people really use that? What’s a ball stretcher?”

    Sorry. Didn’t mean to rant for quite so long.

    1. Actually I find your train of thought very interesting and what you said is spot on – how are we supposed to believe that Christian is into Ana when all he asks her to do is this formulaic crap he let’s every of his submissives sign? I mean, he even found out some things about her already and it seems that he didn’t even take them in account when he printed out the contract, down to the point he doesn’t even know she has never had sex. For a billonaire super into finding out everything about her he actually doesn’t even know or respect her basic boundaries or desires.

      How interested can a person really BE when they are not considering to learn more about their partner and fit the rules to meet the desires of both parties? Not really much.

    1. That line about if Christian had a personality or was just a dude into rough sex, was perfect. Summed up Christian perfectly.

    2. Lastly I’m low key mad at you for introducing this to me. Mainly cause now I have to binge watch all their videos. thanks!

  18. Also the whole “eat, Ana, eat!” thing while they barely know each other reminds me of when a college friend of mine was hospitalized for a bad case of salmonella poisoning and this one nurse kept trying to get her to eat Saltines despite her really bad allergy to wheat. “Just want the cracker! You’ll feel better!”

  19. So EL totally made Christian (side note: I just had a brain fart here where I really thought his name was Chedward, realized that was wrong, thought his name was Edward, realized THAT was wrong, then had to pause for a moment to remember the “C” starting name he really has LOL) way worse in this book, but I’m a silver linings kind of girl, so one positive thing I will say is that Ana is 100% more likable when we’re not in her head.

    I can almost kind of see why the characters think she’s funny/intelligent/kind when she’s not. She comes across as easy going, inquisitive, yet smarmy when you’re not in her head. Without knowing her thought process, her lines read as not only very reasonable, but blasé, self assured, and a bit smart-alecky. She doesn’t vocalize most of her stupid, naive, mean spirited thoughts so it’s easier to assume that when she asks questions or makes comments it’s because she’s being witty or assertive. Which of course make Christian look like that much more of a creep, and will probably make the book more troubling as he manipulates her more and more.

    I actually knew a girl kind of like this in college. She was soft spoken and demure so everyone thought she was just the sweetest thing, but if you spent a long enough period of time with her you realized that although she didn’t have a lot to say, 95% of it was super negative, judgmental, or at the very least boring. Like wow, you never talk, but when you do THIS is what you have to say? So now her personality is my head canon of Ana.

    1. “Ana is 100% more likable when we’re not in her head.” Chedward was slightly more tolerable before James put us in his tallywhacker.

      1. I have never heard of a “tallywhacker” before, but it’s my new favourite word. It’s a perfect word for Grey’s penis, bearing, as it does, a connotation of absurdity rather than potent masculinity. *giggles*

        1. Jenny actually had a contest to name Chedwad’s (I’m keeping that spelling from now on) smegma stick. I can’t remember the wining name, but all of the suggestions were pretty funny.

    2. One thing that’s actually somewhat surprising is that he doesn’t infantilize Ana half as hard as she infatilizes herself. He also doesn’t go fully the other way and try to pretend that she’s a completely autonomous, independent woman who’s “toying” with him, regardless of what she says out loud.

      This is the first time that you have a grasp of who she actually is — a somewhat funny, curious, 22 year old with limited experience.

  20. RE: well dressed

    I work in retail and it honestly sinister the number of women who say they need their husband to check their outfit before they buy. Even more sinister is when someone really likes it and their husband is like “no, that’s horrible” not even an actual opinion like “it looks baggy here” or something. They usually want them in something frumpy and suitable for a woman 20 years their senior.

    Everyone in the store tries to support the woman in her choice but it’s a difficult balancing act because you don’t want to piss their possible abuser off :(

    1. Uggghhh I’d somehow managed to forget that this is a thing, since it’s been almost 6 years since I left clothing retail behind. But yes, this used to happen all the time at the high-end maternity store I used to work at.

    2. I used to work at a retail store that was very popular with Chinese immigrants — great-quality basics that were at a reasonable price, but the store had a very minimal profile in the country where I live (Canada).

      I only mention the race angle because this often meant that I’d watch as very, very creepy-looking white men in their 40s and 50s would bring in women who could not have been older than 21 and stood leering at them from the counter (where they of course would stand to show that they basically ‘owned’ the place) and then would try to sit in the changing room area and evaluate each outfit.

      As this was a store that only sold women’s clothing, we couldn’t let men hang out in the changing area because we had other female customers who didn’t want to have to check out their outfit while some random dude looks on, so instead these very scared-looking women would have to timidly walk out and have this dude look over each potential purchase and decide whether or not he’d let them have it.

      This happened a LOT and it was never not fucking creepy.

      I have no idea what was going on between the men and the women in these scenarios, but these scenes where Christian calls up fancy stores and buys wardrobes of clothing, or he belittles her ability to choose or buy her own damn things, reminds me of these weird instances back in the store and I get even more creeped out.

      1. How horrible! I can’t imagine living like that. In over 30 years of marriage, I don’t think my husband has ever been clothes shopping with me. I always found Christian getting Caroline Acton to choose clothes for Ana creepy, because I like to choose my own clothes. There can be slight differences in the design of things that can make all the difference, and I like to be the one to make the choice. And I always thought it was creepy when he had Gail pack Ana’s clothing for her when they were going somewhere for the weekend. I wouldn’t mind her packing the bag once I’d chosen what I was going to take, but I would want to choose what went in the bag. All of this behaviour served to reinforce, for me, the idea that Ana was nothing more than a living doll to Christian, to be dressed and played with at his whim.

        1. I also felt like the scenes with him ordering from the personal shopper were weird, because he tells her to get “the capsule collection,” implying that there’s a regular set of clothes he gets for *all* of his subs, which… thanks for this used glass slipper, Prince Charming, but more importantly… fashion doesn’t work that way.

          If he really is getting her the ritziest shit in the world, it’s not like they have “the” dress lying around in the shop for 5 straight years.

          Unless by that he just means “three — one casual, one cocktail, one formal…” etc. and lets Caroline make the call. Which is, obviously, insulting to Ana for assuming she couldn’t possibly pick out anything acceptable.

          I don’t know. The idea that it’s romantic to surprise them with a bunch of clothes they might not want, that they didn’t get to pick out, and that you’ll force them to wear seems nightmarish.

          1. I really don’t know anything about personal shoppers, but wouldn’t they either
            a) take Ana out to a closed store and make her try on things to assemble outfits that look good
            b) interview her to get an idea of her taste, preferences, and body frame, then bring back a bunch of stuff and see what it looks like on her?

            With clothes shopping, 1/2 of the problem is finding something that fits nicely and flatters your individual body. The other half is just opinions and colours, ‘what about this outfit?’

            i don’t care how awesome the designer, only stretchy clothes, belted dresses or wraps are going to be guaranteed to fit a generic woman.

      2. hm, I’m in Canada and I’m trying to figure out what store you are hinting at. (Zeller’s and Target are gone, and I’m not sure Giant Tiger has fitting rooms).

        In any case, that is creepy and awkward.

  21. I know she didn’t research this, but if he and his mom were from Corktown, it’d explain his accent and the figures of speech he used. E. L. James is so wrong, she broke the scale and somehow ended right.

  22. About the eating thing, I recently listened to all the Mark Reads videos of the 50 shades series and I thought it was very clear when I heard all of it, that Ana really does not have an eating disorder. The only times she doesn’t want to eat is when he wants to force her and when she has lost her appetite because of him for very understandable reasons. She often eats and enjoys food, even some times with him.
    It’s actually extra disturbing that he is the one who puts her off food instead of it being some wish fulfillment about some rich, hot guy not minding what you eat all.
    It’s so amazing how EL James just got EVERYTHING wrong in these books.
    Also, when listening to those videos, and really hearing ALL of the text, I realised that even despite all the horror in these books, how incredibly, mind numbingly boring these books are. They’re soooo repetitive and nothing happens. As soon as there is a bit of plot, it’s dealt with in less than a chapter, but we need to go through 3 books of Ana droning on about how tragically fucked up her poor 50 shades is.
    Also, my goodness, there is so much rape in these books.

    1. There are a number of instances when she mysteriously “forgets” to eat all day. Plenty of people have busy schedules and can’t necessarily break for lunch, but it seems odd that unless he’s physically forcing her face-down into a bowl of soup, she mysteriously can’t find time to eat.

      And during the time when they broke up for like half a second, she spent about 3-4 days almost completely without food, to the point where she had noticeably lost weight.

      Given that Ana is fictional, I have no qualms about giving her an armchair diagnosis here. Even if she’s not a full-blown anorexic, her natural relationship with food is troubling.

      That said, being “forced” to eat by an asshole absolutely does not make any of that better — it makes it much, much worse.

      1. I still don’t think those are signs for an eating disorder. During that break-up time she felt miserable. Lots of people lose their appetite when they feel bad or stressed, doesn’t mean they have an eating disorder.
        And the forgetting to eat, again, that happens to lots of people. I love food, definitely do not have an eating disorder and I regularly forget to eat lunch when I’m busy working. Especially when I’m super excited about a piece I’m working on and am in my zone.

        1. If you read the books (original trilogy), Ana consistently displays classic ED signs. Not so much the breakup stuff (been there, done that — didn’t eat solid food for a month!). But other things. And the weird obsession with describing every meal in such pornographic detail makes me think EEL has some issues herself.

          it’s all really odd and uncomfortable. I believe someone a while back even made it a subject for a blog series, it was so prevalent. I wish I could remember the link, but someone here may have it. I probably found it through someone’s comment on this blog.

        2. All of that is true. The fact that it’s mentioned constantly, that her thinness is made one of her most appealing features, and that she seems to take pleasure in *not* eating all add up to a potential problem.

          That doesn’t mean that I defend some asshole forcing her to eat, but the signs are there.

          1. Oh, he’s a total asshole and his pushing her to eat has absolutely nothing to do with him being actually concerned about her health. It’s like a weird power struggle between them.

            I didn’t point this out to defend Chedward AT ALL. I think it points more to the author’s issues than anything else. but then you have women (and some young girls) who think this is all OK and even desirable and it becomes a huge clusterfuck.

  23. “Women, raise your hand if you’ve ever been on a date with a man, and he’s commented on the food you order. ‘I’m so glad you’re not the kind of girl who orders a salad.’ ‘How do you stay so skinny and eat so much?’ ‘What are you, on a diet?’ It’s a guessing game where there’s no right answer; no matter what you do, he’s going to judge you. How much simpler is it to just have a man tell you what you have to eat to make him happy? There’s part two of the demented, harmful ‘fantasy’ this book weaves.”

    I’ve heard men express frustration with women thinking they need to fit into a mold and starve themselves, but in all my 39 years, I have never experienced such a date. The eat/don’t eat pressure I’ve experienced has 100% always come from other women.

    If a man ever expressed an opinion about my food intake, it was with genuine concern that I was going to get sick if I went too long without eating and never once had anything to do with weight.

    Obviously, there are complete assholes out there who use a woman’s body consciousness to be abusive and controlling, but most men don’t care that much.

    Women do this to each other and then blame men for it.

    1. On another note, the “Crackers love cheese” theme is cracking me up.

      Also, I’m working my way through the Stephanie Plum series and I feel like the Eel (I stole that from someone here and I’d give credit, but I don’t recall who) must have read those books. Chedward is like the Bizarro World version of Ranger, right down to the modern style, obsession with what people wear and the husband/wife housekeeper/bodyguard-property manager. Or maybe Ranger’s evil twin? Chedward is wannabe tough, too. There’s a lot of tough talk, but no follow-through. And Stephanie is often in genuine, sometimes self-inflicted danger while Ana is always in some contrived situation that she needs “rescuing” from.

      I know a lot of that is also in Twilight, but there is so much Evanovich in this …

    2. Plenty of abusive men use food to control women, or use their perception about their own bodies against them. It’s not as simple as “all men” or “all women.”

    3. This is my personal experience too. Although I’m a lesbian and have never dated men so I have no experience in that, my male friends or men I know have never tried to control my eating.
      On other hand, mothers, aunts, friends, random women I don’t even know, have commented on my dietary needs.
      This happened when I was overweight, and this happens when I’m now underweight (I have issues with eating because of illnesses and treatments)

  24. ” I want to circle back around to the eating thing. I not only beat this horse to death in my first set of recaps, but I kept on beating it long after it died, and when nothing was left but flies and bones and a harsh desert wind, I tracked down the horse’s family and I beat them, too. On this topic, my horse murdering spree is unchallenged in the face of human history.”

    oh jenny, you never fail to make me laugh out loud at work, risking getting caught reading these hilarious recaps instead of actually doing my job lol

  25. How… how is she just writing him as a straight-up abuser? I’m genuinely shocked that she doesn’t try to salvage him in these moments, or to do a complete reversal and suggest that Ana had been spinning her side of the story in ways that made her look overly naive or innocent, but from Christian’s POV she would be more direct/flirtatious.

    What is the point of flipping the POV if you don’t play with that aspect of storytelling at all? Change up the dialog — wouldn’t it be somewhat interesting if Christian changes the conversations so that they *do* sound properly American? And then we could speculate on the way in which Ana was perceiving Christian as a romantic British hero when he really is just some American businessman.

    Or if in the moments where Ana felt Christian was pushing her, we actually see much less force?

    Instead, EL James wants to be sure we know he’s 100% the biggest prick in the world. Who’s finding that attractive?

    1. 1. EEL thinks this IS romantic behavior and doesn’t recognize the abuse.

      2. She’s a shitty writer and a shitty person and doesn’t have the tiny bit of skill or insight necessary to do that.

      1. I can see how, if you’ve been raised on bad rom-coms and romance novels that push the idea of “he’ll teach you to love him!” and “he’s just damaged! Your love will heal him!”, then this is mostly par for the course, but…

        That only really made sense when we were in Ana’s head. Having him straight-up admit to being a prick doesn’t work at all.

        I mean, I say that, but apparently her fans’ biggest criticism was that she made him sound too “weak.”

    2. You’re acting as if James were an actual WRITER. Of course she can’t do multiple viewpoints for her characters–they aren’t even her characters.
      You want different perspectives? Read Fowles’ “The Collector” or (if you can wade through all of it), Richardson’s “Clarissa.” Or read fiction with deliberately unreliable narrators (“Lolita,” most stories by Poe), and imagine how these self-justifying characters appear to the people around them.

  26. Wow. That last bit of “What do I want with a virgin?” just really underlines how much of a douchebag Christian Grey is. Given how he act through the entire 50 Shades series and this joke of modern literature, I think I will keel over and die if he ever shows an ounce of genuine respect for Ana. It boggles me why Christian Grey is considered by some to be this great romantic hero.

  27. ““Why the fuck didn’t you tell me?” I growl, and start pacing my study.”

    It’s almost amazing, and by amazing I mean disturbing, how little they know each other at the time he starts pulling shit like this on her. I read that line and immediately thought of his outburst of anger at her being “stupid” enough to get pregnant in the last book. It’s just sad, how early the GIANT RED FLAGS of entitled anger outbursts start and how it doesn’t send her running for the hills because “romance”.

  28. I wonder if EL made Chedward enraged over Ana being a virgin so that the reader wouldn’t think he’s one of those weirdos who thinks non-virgins are filthy and used and defiled?
    If so, she went way too far the other direction.

    Btw, my inner goddess loves the shit out of these recaps.

    1. She may have been trying to do that, but in any case, she failed. You remember how he was upset to find out Ana had made out with someone before him? Yeah, he was totally into her being “only his” because he’s a possessive creep. That sort of feeds into the whole virginity=purity thing in my opinion.

  29. Now that you mention it…

    “I have rules, and I want you to comply with them. They are for your benefit and for my pleasure. If you follow these rules to my satisfaction, I shall reward you. If you don’t, IT GETS THE HOSE AGAIN.”

    There. Fixed it. Now the creepiness comes through nice and clear, though I do appreciate E.L. James trying to explore the wondrous realm of subtlety for a change.

    As for your, “But these are not the things he wants to hear, so that makes her uncommunicative,” I’d like to point out that it takes a certain *special* kind of person to basically say, “My selective deafness is not only *your fault*–it’s also a sign of a deep character flaw in you!”

    And “Whenever a guy says ‘I’m not going to hurt you,’ I’m 100% certain that he’ll probably hurt me,” is straight-up Gift of Fear territory. :-/

    Nice work as always, keep it up! One day, like maybe when you’re 93, this franchise will have spun itself out and you can finally rest with nary a recap in sight. If the going gets tough, you’ll have that pleasant thought to rely on. Don’t say I never gave you nothing.

  30. Christian Grey sounds exhausting to be around. Not just because he’s creepy, but he’s also so BORING. Like the dude can not just relax and have fun. He’s the human equivalent of wet toast.

    1. That was how I felt listening to the audio of the original trilogy. He IS exhausting. He’s a spoiled brat and you can’t relax around him. I know people like that and I avoid them.

  31. “Women, raise your hand if you’ve ever been on a date with a man, and he’s commented on the food you order. “I’m so glad you’re not the kind of girl who orders a salad.” “How do you stay so skinny and eat so much?” “What are you, on a diet?” It’s a guessing game where there’s no right answer; no matter what you do, he’s going to judge you.”

    This literally just happened to me this evening! I just told him I wanted a steak and he immediately came out with ‘Oh! You bad girl!’. Damn it, not all my decisions revolve around ‘does this make me a good or bad woman?’

    1. Interesting. I’ve noticed if I order a black-n-blue steak (burnt on the outside, raw and bloody on the inside), their eyes gleam as if I had said “I’m wearing kinky underwear.”

  32. Thank god for another recap! Such a long wait! Had thought you had gotten too frustrated and just abandoned the project.

  33. Has anyone seen ‘The Dressmaker’ yet?

    Councilman and Mrs Perry are almost exactly as I picture Christian and Ana in 30 years… if 50 Shades had been set in 1950′s rural Australia.

    … and had a far more satisfying ending.

  34. After my husband died, a (married) friend of ours helped out, and also came by to help with a couple of chores I couldn’t do due to height/strength limitations. We talked, and he gave me a bunch of philosophical comments about death, the after-life, etc.

    Then one evening he came over and ANNOUNCED that we were going to have a “relationship” where I would be humiliated and submissive. He was really really excited about this, to the point that he absolutely did not notice the look of shock/horror/anger on my face, and kept babbling about how I would be humiliated and submissive, then turned and grabbed a pair of my underpants out of the laundry basket and went into the bathroom and shut the door.

    Seriously. He came over, I said, “Hi, what’s up?” and he told me about this “relationship” we were going to have. I know from other widows that men, men you think you knew well, and were friends of you and your husband, might hit on you, but I never thought….this.

    When he emerged from the bathroom and tossed my panties back in the basket, I told him to leave. He asked for a hug. I walked him to the door, and then he hugged me anyway. I slammed the door as hard as I could and ignored his existence from then on but I am sure he did not understand why I did not fall to my knees or something. I didn’t exist as a person, a friend, to this guy. And here I thought I had. If you know what I mean.

    And that is Christian Grey all over.

    Oh, I threw out my panties, and bleached all the others, just in case.

  35. “Be still my flooding panties.”

    Best.
    Line.
    Ever.

    Also, Chedward is what the youth nowadays would call a “fuck boy”. Seriously, it’s a thing. The definitions on Urban Dictionary can explain better than I (seriously, they’re hilarious), but basically, he’s a sorry, selfish dude.

    1. Do not trust Urban Dictionary about it.

      cw: rape

      That slur comes from prison slang . It refers to those who are raped and passed around the other inmates like a sex doll.

      If you hear someone using that word, stop them.

  36. Not sure what happened up there – I’ll try again!

    The picture of Hot Topic after the ‘dark paths’ quote…I really need not to read your recaps and drink tea at the same time. Hilarious!

  37. Yeah, she’s always stubborn when she does or says something he doesn’t like. I don’t know why he just can’t accept that she’s an adult. As for controlling her diet, I have diet issues and I found his attempts to dominate Ana’s food infuriating rather than endearing.

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