Anastasia wakes and inhales ‘the most seductive scent on the planet… Christian’. She wants to breathe this elixir for eternity. Vomit. I took a brief hiatus from writing these posts for my sanity, and I felt just about sane enough to return to them, but one paragraph in and I’m already banging my head against a wall. She starts to stroke his chest, which apparently, is a big no-go area for him.
“Why don’t you like to be touched?” Ana asks. “Because I’m fifty shades of fucked-up, Anastasia,” Christian replies. *TITLE OF THE BOOK KLAXON*
He goes on to hint that he had a very tough introduction to life, but doesn’t want Ana to ask any more. “Miss Steele, you are not just a pretty face. You’ve had six orgasms so far and all of them belong to me.” Is there supposed to be a link between these two sentences? Like how clever she is correlates directly to how many orgasms she’s had? A sort of ‘well done, you can count’? (Also, as we know from our end-of-chapter orgasm count, this number is false. The author can’t even be bothered to read back over her own drivel and add them up.)
Oh, but wait! Ana hasn’t told Christian about that non-orgasm she had in her sleep. “Do you have something to tell me?” Christian asks, his voice ‘suddenly stern’. Don’t tell me – he’s going to punish her for having an orgasm and not telling him. Crime of crimes. People have been hanged for less.
Ana tells him that she had a dream about him and woke up having an orgasm. “And like a small child, I briefly entertain the thought that if I can’t see him, then he can’t see me.” Small child references. Again. Mature and appropriate. Christian starts getting dressed and Ana is all panicky: “I don’t want him to go. What can I do?” Then Christian kills the mood a little more.
“When is your period due?” he asks. Just what we all like to hear about in our erotica: menstruation! I love talking about my period with guys I hardly know. “I hate wearing these things,” Christian says, holding up a condom, putting it on the floor, then putting on his jeans. I worriedly read forward a few pages to see if Christian actually moves the condom from the floor and puts it in a bin, but he doesn’t. He just leaves it there. Menstruation and a used condom discarded on the floor, all in one paragraph. Steamy.
Ana tells him that her period is due next week (I was convinced she was going to disclose that she’s never had a period before, such is her inexperience) and Christian says that she needs to sort out some contraception. Christian arranges for his personal doctor to come and see Ana at his apartment to satisfy another of his stupid whims. He says that he must be going, but he’ll see her on Sunday because he wants to ‘do a scene’ with her. I hope it’s this scene:
Christian says that she has to sign the contract first, of course, and Ana wonders what might happen if she doesn’t agree to sign it. “Oh, you know, explosions, car chases, kidnapping, incarceration,” replies Christian. I think/hope he intends it as a joke but something tells me this is exactly what would happen.
Ana rolls her eyes. Oops. Big mistake. I’ve tried to gloss over the times this has happened since Christian first noticed it (of which there were so many) but this time, Christian decides to act on it. “What did I say I’d do to you if you rolled your eyes at me again?” he says. “I’m a man of my word. I’m going to spank you, and then I’m going to fuck you very quick and very hard. Looks like we’ll need that condom after all.” He’s such a smooth talker, no wonder women all over the world are falling for this guy…
Christian proceeds to spank Ana, eighteen times in total. "I cry out on the tenth slap – and I’m unaware that I have been mentally counting the blows," she says. How can you be unaware that you were counting the blows if you’re then aware of the number of blows there has been? Counting requires some sort of awareness; you can’t count without being aware of the thing that you’re counting, Jesus heavenly Christ, this is so bad.
“My face hurts, it’s screwed up so tight. He strokes me gently and then the blow comes. I cry out again.” Now, I’m not one to pass judgement on a BDSM lifestyle, but in my opinion, this isn’t particularly hot to read. It’s a little bit uncomfortable for me. I’m aware many people will enjoy reading this but I’m not one of them. “My body is singing, singing from his merciless assault.” Assault. Don't use this word in a sexual context.
“Next time, I will get you to count,” says Christian. “Now, where’s that condom…” Enough with the condom talk, PLEASE! We don’t need constantly reminding every two seconds that you’re being safe. Most of the people reading this are adult enough to assume that you’re having safe sex, without constantly having to endure lengthy paragraphs about the ‘rip of the foil’ from the condom packet and blah, blah, blah.
Ana has an orgasm within about five seconds. I think there is something medically wrong with her. She is one of those lurid, made-up headlines from the front cover of a Chat magazine. “I have four hundred orgasms a day… with my abusive lover!!”
“Oh, baby. Welcome to my world,” Christian breathes, as she collapses onto him. This is a vile, disgusting, cheesy line and it should be banned from the planet. Christian starts picking at the strap on her camisole and whinges that she should be sleeping in silks and satins, implying that her dress sense is far too common for his taste. Ana protests that she likes her sweats and camisole. “We’ll see,” says Christian. Is nothing ever good enough for this guy? Buy her some nice underwear or silky nighties, but buy them because you think she’ll like them, not just because you don’t approve of her sleepwear.
Moronic sentence #13827: “We lie for a few more minutes, hours who knows, and I think I doze.” Words fail me. I wish words had failed E. L. James when she came to write this book.
Moronic sentence[s] #13828: [on being spanked] “I really don’t get it. But strangely, I do.” Oh, come on. You either get it or you don’t.
Christian goes to get some baby oil from Ana’s bathroom and rubs it into her backside. “From make-up remover to smoothing balm for a spanked ass, who would have thought it was such a versatile liquid,” thinks Ana. They should put this on the next advert.
Christian leaves. Ana gets all upset about losing her sense of self and identity (yeah, really) and decides to call her mum. “Her voice is soft and comforting, and I know that she cares.” She’s your fucking mother, of course she does, you dimwit.
Ana cries about Christian, carefully omitting the parts where he wants to tie her to the ceiling of his sex dungeon. Her mum comes across as a vapid moron, who is more pleased that her daughter has finally found a man than the fact that she graduated earlier that day. Conforms to the tone of the rest of the book, really.
Ana’s mum invites her to Georgia to stay with her for a while. “Oh boy, this is tempting. Run away to Georgia. Grab some sunshine, some cocktails.” You didn’t drink until a week ago.
Their phone call is interrupted when Kate comes in, and Ana recounts the whole sorry saga back to Kate (minus the S&M parts). If the rest of this chapter is just going to be Ana whinging about how awful her love life is, then I might just skip to the next one.
Kate and Ana decide to drink their sorrows away with yet more wine. “[Kate] hands me a cup of wine. It won’t taste as good as the Bolly.” The Bolly, she says. She’s a connoisseur now, apparently.
Ana decides to check her emails before she goes to bed, and finds one from Christian saying that she’s, among other things, ‘exquisite’, ‘brave’, ‘witty’ and ‘intelligent’. Did he mean to send this to someone else? He also tells her never to drive her Beetle again, and if she does, he’ll know about it. I bet he's got the car bugged or her house under surveillance. The guy’s an utter control freak.
There’s a vile exchange of emails in which Christian implies that only Taylor, his henchman, can take Ana’s car and sell it because he’s a big tough man and will therefore be able to handle a slightly-older-than-average vehicle. Women are helpless, clueless creatures who couldn’t maintain control of a Segway. This book, I swear…
Ana makes a little joke about how she doesn’t like Christian very much because he never stays with her. It’s a completely throwaway remark. Ana closes the laptop and gets in bed. She cries for a bit, for good measure.
Minutes later, someone bursts into the flat and is heard having a shouting match with Kate. “What the fuck have you done to her now?” Kate is shrieking. Oh. Wonder who’s at the door? Christian bangs open Ana’s bedroom door and switches on the light. He gazes down at Ana, his expression ‘grave’. “What’s going on?” he asks.
Basically, Christian is to humour what Ana is to feminism. He storms in and demands to know what’s wrong. Her innocuous email with the joke about him not staying has spooked him and now he's desperate to know what he's done wrong. Insecure, much?
“I’m sure I’m responsible, but I have no idea why,” he says. Let’s just rewind. She’s known this guy approximately three weeks. They’re both adults. She made a joke about never seeing him again (after he spanked her red raw for ten minutes) and he came haring back to her house, stormed in and demanded to know why. Now tell me that if this happened in any fledgling relationship, you wouldn’t run an absolute mile. (If you wouldn’t run a mile, you are probably the key demographic for this book. I feel bad for you.)
The conversation moves onto why Christian wants to inflict pain on Ana. He says that he likes the control that it brings. He wants ultimate control over another human, which I guess is just one stop away from saying you want ultimate control over the world, and that’s how evil dictators are born.
“You beguile me, Christian. Completely overwhelm me. I feel like Icarus flying too close to the Sun,” says Ana. I’ll be right back; I’m going to put my eyeballs in some bleach. They will never be the same after reading that vomit-inducing sentence.
Christian, however, seems to enjoy it. He gasps. “Oh, Anastasia, you’ve bewitched me. Isn’t it obvious?” Actually, I think I might just drink that bleach.
Chapter orgasm count: 1
Alcohol unit count: 'Bolly'. Red wine. Planning cocktails with her mum. She's a bona fide alcoholic already.
I know I haven't updated in a while, I honestly needed a break from this mess of a book.
If anybody is interested, I was recently provided with a link to the original fan fiction version of 50 Shades, called Master Of The Universe. It can be found here, and it'll make you weep for all humanity. Don't say you weren't warned! Thanks to @TheSimonPeter for the link.