Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Nineteen

Ana wakes up to Christian saying that they have to leave in half an hour to get to his parents’ dinner party. This might just be me, but if my significant other woke me up with thirty minutes remaining until I had to be ready for an important dinner party, that would be the end of the relationship.

He says he’s ‘bought’ her a drink (I’m assuming the author means ‘brought’, unless he actually went out and purchased one for her) and that if she doesn’t get out of bed, she’ll be in trouble.

Ana notices that Christian has hung up her dress. The author can’t actually mention this dress without reiterating that it’s Kate’s plum dress, because nothing Ana owns could ever be considered attractive or remotely provocative, so we’re reminded that it’s Kate’s dress. Got that? Kate’s dress, Kate’s plum dress. Don’t forget. Kate’s.

Ana realises that Christian also still has her knickers in his pocket, that filth-bag. “I flush at the memory, after he, I can’t even bring myself to think about it, he was so – barbarous.”  For the love of god, please research the correct way to use a comma to ensure that your sentences actually make sense.

She showers and realises that Christian has done this on purpose to embarrass her into asking for her underwear back. Ana resolves not to ask him, and instead meet his parents ‘sans culottes’. Honestly, three weeks ago she’d never held hands with a man and now he’s going to meet his mum and dad with a distinctly cool breeze blowing around her private parts. She’s a bona fide harlot.

She steps back into the bedroom and puts on her dress (Kate’s dress, don’t forget, the plum dress that belongs to Kate) and glances down at the drink Christian has left her. “It’s pale pink. What’s this? Cranberry and sparkling water. Hmm… it tastes delicious and quenches my thirst.” I think I could sum up everything I hate about this novel just with this extract. Unless the fact that he’s mixed cranberry and sparkling water is an important plot point, I don’t see the reason to give it a whole paragraph. Why is it so important that she tells us this information? What’s wrong with saying she took a sip of the drink that Christian left her? This is exactly what is bad about fan-fiction writing; the author thinks we need to know every single insignificant detail, and I would put money on cranberry and sparkling water actually being E. L. James’ favourite drink because this novel is essentially her own mid-life crisis (and frankly quite vanilla sexual fantasies) in literature form. Whew. Okay, back to the book.

When Ana heads back downstairs, Christian is standing by the window wearing the grey flannel pants that ‘hang in that unbelievably sexy way off his hips’. This phrase always just makes me think of those teenage boys who wear their waistbands around their thighs and consider it to be terribly cutting-edge, not realising that the trend started out in prisons because inmates weren’t permitted to wear belts as they were prime suicide instruments. Urban myths also state that inmates who wore their trousers below their bum cheeks were making a statement of ‘availability’, if you know what I mean. Read into that what you will.

Anyway, Christian’s wearing his pants sagging over his arse, and listening to Frank Sinatra. Ana says hello to him and her ‘sphinx-like smile greets his’. We’ve been through this – I can’t stop picturing the cat from Friends which looks like it’s survived a few minutes in a microwave.

Christian asks Ana to dance to Sinatra with him. I couldn’t possibly cringe any more than I am right now. I hoped it would be a sedate prom-style swaying, for a verse and a chorus, max. But Christian is (of course) a capable dancer and proceeds to swing her around the whole room. “We cover the floor, from the window to the kitchen and back again… We glide around the dining table, over to the piano, and backwards and forward in front of the glass wall.” It sounds like circuit training to me. “Then we waltzed down the side of the building, tap-danced across the foyer and did the lindy-hop in the elevator all the way back up…” No, unfortunately that’s not in the book, but would you really be that surprised?

They stop dancing (mercifully) and Christian asks her if she has everything she needs, obviously hinting that now would be the time for her to ask for her knick-knacks back. Ana doesn’t ask, and Christian smiles. “Oh, the many faces of Christian Grey,” muses Ana. “Will I ever be able to understand this mercurial man?” I’ll be honest, I don’t think there’s much ‘mercurial’ about a man being chuffed his new girlfriend is going out with no knickers on. That’s a fairly standard reaction.

In the lift, Ana starts to panic about the fact that she’s decided to meet her ‘boyfriend’s’ parents for the first time without wearing any underwear. Another fairly standard reaction.

As they leave the building, Taylor pulls a massive Audi around for them and Ana and Christian get into the back. “I’m grateful that Kate’s plum dress is so clingy and hangs to the top of my knees.” KATE’S DRESS. GOT THAT? KATE’S PLUM DRESS.

About five minutes into the journey, perhaps less, Ana has a mini-breakdown and deduces that, because Christian is silent, there is something critically wrong with him, and it’s all her fault. “I can feel him slipping away from me. What is he thinking?” They’ve literally not been talking for less than five minutes.

Look, if you’re this insecure, don’t get into a relationship with a man where it’s all about satisfying him. It’s not even been ten minutes since he was swinging you around his apartment to Frank Sinatra, and just because he’s chosen not to fawn all over you in the company of his bodyguard, doesn’t mean he’s gone off you. Jesus, I hate these characters.

“Where did you learn to dance?” asks Ana, trying to fill the silence. Christian asks whether she really wants to know the answer to that question and Ana deduces that he was taught by ‘Mrs Robinson’, the ex-dom.

“I realise, in that moment, that I hate [Mrs Robinson]. I hope that I never meet her because I will not be responsible for my actions if I do.” I guarantee I speak for every reader of this blog when I say: hahahahahahahahaha.

Christian interrupts Ana’s downward spiral of hatred and empty threats, telling her not to overthink things. This sounds like pretty sensible advice, but he’s only saying it because he doesn’t want her to get freaked out and leave him looking for another submissive.

Ana changes tack and asks him why he used a cable tie on her in the playroom. “It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s something different for you to feel and experience. I know they’re quite brutal, and I do like that in a restraining device. Very effective at keeping you in your place,” replies Christian. I don’t for a minute think this just means in the bedroom. The subtext of this is that he’s keeping her in her place as his submissive, and as a woman too. Urgh.

They pull up at Christian’s parents’ house. It’s a palatial, colonial-style mansion – obviously. Ana meets Christian’s adoptive father, Carrick, and gets reacquainted with Grace, and everything is all irritatingly easy. She doesn’t stumble over her words, or accidentally spit a little bit, or make an inappropriate joke, or trip over the doorstep, or any of those things which are always guaranteed to happen when meeting the parents for the first time.

She meets Christian’s little sister, Mia, who is… well, really annoying. She comes barrelling down the hallway and hugs Ana, then doesn’t let go of her hand until they go to sit in the living room. I know what you’re thinking. Leave poor Mia alone, it sounds like she’s maybe seven or eight years old. Nope, wrong. She’s the same age as Ana.

They head through to the living room and Kate is there with Elliot. Kate hugs Ana, then Elliot hugs Ana. “What is this, hug Ana week?” wonders Ana. No, two of your friends have greeted you with a hug, it’s not like you’ve been set upon by rabid huggers desperate for a piece of you.

Christian’s dad asks if they want some drinks: “Prosecco?” “Please,” reply Christian and Ana in unison. “Oh… this is beyond weird,” thinks Ana. You’re right, that is weird, that you should both answer a question simultaneously with the same answer, when the only other option was ‘no thank you’, giving you a 50% chance of responding in the same way. Beyond weird. “You’re even saying the same things!” squeals Mia. I told you she was annoying.

As they sit with their drinks, Grace strikes up a conversation. She says that they had just been talking about vacations, and that Elliot had just decided he was going to join Kate and her family in Barbados for a week. “I glance at Kate, and she grins, her eyes bright and wide. She’s delighted. Katherine Kavanagh, show some dignity!” thinks Ana. The irony of this statement is just too perfect so I’m going to leave it lingering in the air for a while.

Okay, I’m done. On a serious note, what sort of message is it sending that a woman who is going on holiday with her stable, loving, attentive boyfriend isn’t allowed to be happy about it for fear of showing a lack of dignity, but a woman who is coerced and assaulted by her abusive partner is considered someone to envy?

Christian’s parents ask Ana if she has any holiday plans now that she’s graduated. “I’m thinking about going to Georgia for a few days,” replies Ana, before realising she hasn’t mentioned this to Christian yet.

“Christian gapes at me, blinking a couple of times, his expression unreadable. Oh shit.” Oh shit?! I’m sorry, I wasn’t aware you had to run your every thought and plan past this man you haven’t even known for a month yet. Hell, most couples who have known each other for ten years don’t share their every thought or potential plan with each other.

Christian gets angry about this. Literally angry. His jaw clenches. He accosts her as they make their way through to the dining room and demands to know when she was going to tell him that she was going to visit her mother. I know I’ve said this a hundred thousand times about this book, but wouldn’t you be getting alarm bells in your head about this guy at this point, if not before when he was buying his Mad Axe Murderer Kit?!

Christian promises that the conversation is not over. “Oh, crapola,” thinks Ana. Crapola. That’s what she thinks of that. The word ‘crapola’ features in Britain’s best-selling book of all time. Crapola. I'm going to let Alan Rickman express how this makes me feel:

“Please don’t be mad at me,” whispers Ana to Christian over dinner. And Christian genuinely is mad at her for not informing him of her plan to visit her mother, who she hasn’t seen since before she graduated. I hate him I hate him I hate him.

At this point, Kate, the meddling cow, decides to ask Ana, very loudly, how her trip to the bar with Jose went the other night. This is a question we all wanted to know the answer to when the author decided to gloss over the details, but now is hardly the best time to go into it, right? Christian gets even madder. I hate everyone in this book.

Grace starts serving dinner, accompanied by a blonde woman with pigtails. “She blushes and gazes at [Christian] from under her long mascara’d lashes.” Mascara’d isn’t a word, just so you know.

Also, we’re back to this? We’re back to every woman in the whole novel wanting to get into Christian’s pants, because of course women don’t have brains, they just coast through life, waitressing or studying English literature and hoping that a rich, powerful businessman will sweep them off their feet. Oh, and they’re all blonde.

Everyone is still talking about holidays. Kate and Mia are discussing how lovely Paris is. “Christian, you should take Ana to Paris,” says Mia. Shut up Mia.

Christian says that he thinks Ana would probably prefer London, and Ana is all like, oh my god, he remembered that I love British literature… yeah, probably because you remind him with every spare sentence.

Mia starts talking about some guy she used to work for in Paris (Monsieur Floubert, a name which sounds like it was picked because it sounds as French as possible – may as well have just called him Monsieur le Frog and been done with it) and Christian, who happily seems to have forgiven Ana for doing nothing at all wrong, starts running his hand up Ana’s leg under the table. Ana completely loses her cool and starts spluttering wine everywhere. It sort of makes me like her for a brief moment.

Then the dinner is served. They have a huge roast with beef and lots of vegetables. “It is even more palatable since Christian manages to retain his good-humour for the rest of the meal.” I’m sorry; does your boyfriend’s mood really have an effect on your appetite? Is this the level of control he has over you already?  I realise that I am addressing a fictional character right now but I can actually see a lot of young women in Ana; women who are reading this book and wishing for this to happen to them. So I guess I’m addressing them, really, when I say: how are you okay with this?!

The Greys carry on their cosy family meal. “Mia regales us with her exploits in Paris, lapsing at one point into fluent French. We all stare at her, and she stares back puzzled, until Christian tells her in equally fluent French what she’s done, whereupon she bursts into a fit of giggles. She has a very infectious laugh and soon we’re all in stitches.”

“I sigh and peek at Fifty Shades.” Oh, this is his name now? Just because he said he was fifty shades of fucked-up? I was once described as a Calming Influence; I will now adopt this as my name.

Christian starts running his hand up Ana’s leg again, the filthbag. He asks if she wants a tour of the grounds (wink wink, nudge nudge), and leads Ana out of the dining room. “I’m going to show Ana the backyard,” he says to his mother.

He takes her out to the boathouse in the back garden. You know what’s going to happen next, right? 


- Sorry I haven't posted in a while, the Olympics literally took over my life. That's not even an exaggeration. Thanks to everyone who has read and commented, you're all the best.


  1. What I want to know is WTF is Kate doing at this dinner party?? This baffles me, but maybe I missed something.

  2. Also, how did she manage to find anything to wear without her plum dress lol