Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Chapter Five: Part Two

Chapter Five – Part Two

Ana has a shower and of course, Christian has sent his henchman out to buy her some new clothes to replace her vomit-splattered ones. The following paragraphs borrow very heavily from Pretty Woman, which is also disturbing, because the woman in that film is a prostitute. Is that how the author sees Ana? 

“I didn’t know what you liked, so I ordered a selection from the breakfast menu,” says Richard Gere, as Ana joins him in the kitchen. Ana says that this is very ‘profligate’ of him. I don’t know anyone who uses the word ‘profligate’ in real life. E. L. James has been at the thesaurus again.

When Ana offers to pay Christian back for the clothes, he refuses. “Why should you buy these for me?” asks Ana, fairly reasonably, in my opinion. “Because I can,” says Christian. Honestly, this man is so pompous and arrogant and utterly self-obsessed. Christian says he felt like he owed her an apology when he didn’t kiss her after her near-miss with the Cyclist O’ Doom, which is why he bought her the ridiculous first-edition book (that she won’t appreciate because she can’t analyse Thomas Hardy to save her life. I hope she failed her exam).

Christian then carries on with this complete oxymoron of a sentence: “You should steer clear of me. There’s something about you, though, and I’m finding it impossible to stay away.” So, loosely translated, that means: “You should probably stay away from me, but it won’t matter whether you do or not, because I’ll just stalk you and turn up wherever you are anyway – work, home, socialising… you name it, I can track it.” Looks like you found your literary romantic hero, Ana.

Mr Literary Hero is asking the questions, and he asks what Ana’s plans are when she moves to Seattle. She says that she’s applied for a few internships, which is funny, because just a few chapters ago she said she didn’t know what she wanted to do. This is what happens when fanfiction authors write real books. Fanfiction is generally written chapter-by-chapter, with no overarching plan - continuity is pretty much a myth in this type of story.

This bit is important, because you’re going to get mightily annoyed with the repetitive nature of this silly action. Ana bites her lip at something Christian says, and he comments that he’d like to bite that lip. This is a fairly sexy thing to say to someone really, but after the one hundredth time, it loses its edge. Just a word of warning for the future.

Christian says he won’t touch Ana without written consent. I’ll say again that if this guy wasn’t supposedly smokin’ hot, there would be an Ana-shaped hole in the nearest door. It is a sad testament to either a) Christian’s extremely appealing physical appearance or b) Ana’s pathetic sense of self-worth and poor risk assessment abilities that she decides to go along with this entire thing.

Ana agrees to meet Christian later that night to see what he means about the ‘written consent’ thing. He scolds her for not eating her breakfast and is very sinister about the whole thing. “Good girl,” he says as she finishes her pancakes. “I’ll take you home when you’ve dried your hair. I don’t want you getting ill,” says Christian. 

“There’s some kind of unspoken promise in his words. What does he mean?” ponders Ana. I’m guessing he means that he’ll take her home once she’s dried her hair because he doesn’t want her to catch a cold. Not everything he says is encrypted code that must be analysed and taken to pieces. 

For any men reading this: that is not the way women’s minds actually work. Ana Steele gives women everywhere a very bad name. What Ana Steele wants is most definitely not what all, or even the majority of women want (although if anyone does want to get me a first-edition Tess of the D'Urbervilles, I can tell you now that I'd appreciate it much more than this silly character).

There’s a very long, dragged out scene in which Ana basically just gets dressed. Fan-fiction writers aren’t generally blessed with great narrative skills, and here's a spoiler for the future: this story doesn't have a plot. So they pad out their chapters with a lot of mundane, pointless activity. Christian and Ana take the elevator down from his penthouse and, wait for it… the first real action of the book, you guys. I know, I'm excited too.

Christian basically pounces on her while they’re in the lift (because she bit her lip - see? It's annoying already), pinning her hands above her head and yanking on her ponytail until she has no choice but to kiss him back. “It’s only just not painful,” says Ana. I’m sure the first kisses of all of Ana’s literary heroines were just the same. Do you remember that famous scene where Mr Darcy pinned Elizabeth Bennett against the wall and held her hands in a ‘vice-like grip’ above her head so he could force his tongue almost painfully into her mouth, leaving her ‘helpless’? No, me neither. 


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