Thursday, 23 August 2012

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty

Christian bursts into the boathouse and turns all the lights on. “Fluorescents ping and buzz in sequence as harsh white light floods the large wooden building,” Ana notices. Christian proceeds to carry Ana upstairs, flicking on more lights, ‘halogens this time’. These descriptive skills could do with some work; how many times have you heard of someone walking into a room and the first thing they notice is the potential energy-saving credentials of the light bulbs?

As Christian sets her down, Ana looks at him and notices that he looks like a ‘rare and dangerous predator’ – what, you mean like a vampire? FANFICTION REFERENCE ALERT.

“Please don’t hit me,” Ana pleads. If this is something you routinely say to your other half, please, I beg you, reconsider your relationship. Ana seems to have confused Christian with this request, and while she has him stunned, she starts stroking his stubbly face. Christian seems to enjoy it, and Ana feels brave, so she starts to kiss him. “He tastes divine,” she tells us. I’m quite sure that he doesn’t, he’s just eaten a whole roast dinner and necked some red wine, which can make for stale breath at the best of times.

Christian asks her why she’s kissing him, and seems genuinely confused by it. Apparently the fact that she didn’t want him to grope her at his parents’ dining table led him to believe that she never wanted to have sex with him ever again. Why is everything so dramatic in this book?! No sane person would think this. A sane person would probably just accept the fact that his girlfriend probably didn’t want to engage in sexual activity whilst in the middle of a meal with her new in-laws.

“No one’s ever said no to me before. And it’s so – hot.” Of course Christian would find it a turn-on that someone has said no to him. Why don’t more people understand that this man has seriously abusive tendencies?!

Christian goes on to say that he’s mad at her for a whole load of things (none of which are actually worthy of anger whatsoever); he’s angry that she didn’t tell him that she was going to visit her mum, he’s angry because she went for a drink with her friend and didn’t tell him, and he’s angry because she didn’t let him feel her up at the dinner table.


“If you’re not going to let me spank you – which you deserve – I’m going to fuck you on the couch this minute, quickly, for my pleasure, not yours,” he says. Maybe it’s just me, but I always thought that sex was supposed to be a shared experience, causing pleasure for both parties involved. Obviously I’m wrong about that. “He moves suddenly so that his hand is cupping my sex.” If you’re going to write a grown-up story, please use the grown-up words. “This is mine,” he whispers aggressively. “All mine. Do you understand?” Oh, lovely. Just lovely. This really is the romance of the century.

“We don’t have long. This will be quick, and it’s for me, not you. Do you understand? Don’t come, or I will spank you,” says Christian. Yep, I can definitely see why this fictional character would have women queuing up outside his door. Sounds like a right treat.

There’s yet another paragraph voted to Christian tearing open a foil packet and putting a condom on, as though it needs a thorough explanation every time.

“Don’t touch yourself,” Christian says when he’s finished. “I want you frustrated. That’s what you do to me by not talking to me, by denying me what’s mine.” What’s yours? Tell me, ladies: would it turn you on if a man told you that he had claimed your vagina and it was now his? My vagina is mine, thank you very much.

Christian stands up, takes off his condom, ties a knot in the end of it and puts it in his pocket. So just bear in mind, the next time there’s a mention of smouldering grey eyes or his sexy jawline, that there will be a half-full sack of semen squashed into the pocket of his jeans for the remainder of this chapter. Remember when Christian came to visit Ana and threw his used condom on the floor? Doesn’t anyone in this book own a bin? Has Christian forgotten that they’re in a boathouse and he could quite easily just chuck it in the grass and hope that one of his family’s gardeners finds it? Does his really have to carry his own spunk around in his pocket?!

It seems that Christian has stowed his love-juice just in time; minutes later, Mia appears on the lower floor of the boathouse. “CHRISTIAN!” she yells. Jesus, she’s annoying. She’s come to tell them that Kate and Elliot are leaving so they should all say goodbye. “What have you two been doing in here?” she asks, her eyes narrowing. What a dim girl. She should check Christian’s pockets if she really wants to know the answer to that.

They go back into the house and say goodbye to Kate and Elliot. Ana wants to know why Kate kept antagonising Christian. “He needs antagonising, then you can see what he’s really like,” Kate says. I don’t approve of her methods but I agree with her point. “I KNOW WHAT HE’S REALLY LIKE – YOU DON’T!” Ana screams in her head, in caps.

Christian says that they’d better head off because Ana has her interviews tomorrow (oh right! Those interviews!) and there’s a whole sickening goodbye sequence where his parents gush over Ana and say how pleased they are that Christian has finally found someone. Vomit.

They get into the Audi and Taylor, who has been waiting for them outside the whole time, drives them home. During the journey, Ana has another mood swing and completely convinces herself that Christian never really wanted her at the dinner, and that he only invited her because he had to. Readers, does Christian Grey strike you as a man who would do something because he felt like he had to? No, me neither. But Ana, who proclaimed (in all caps) to know this man very well mere paragraphs earlier, thinks he would.

“Why are you so filled with self-doubt? It never ceases to amaze me,” says Christian. “You’re such a strong, self-contained young woman, but you have such negative thoughts about yourself.” Haha, really? Turns out that Christian doesn’t know Ana that well either.

At this point, Christian asks whether he can come with Ana to see her mother in Georgia. This would be a great point for me to stop and just reiterate that these two have known each other for less than a month and have been seeing each other for around two weeks. Fourteen days.

What follows is the most mindless conversation I’ve ever seen published. It goes like this:
C: “Are you laughing at me, Miss Steele?”
A: “I wouldn’t dare, Mr. Grey.”
C: “I think you dare, and I think you do laugh at me, frequently.”
A: “You are quite funny.”
C: “Funny?”
A: “Oh yes.”
C: “Funny peculiar or funny ha ha?”
A: “Oh… a lot of one and some of the other.”
C: “Which way round?”
A: “I’ll leave you to figure that out.”

What are they even talking about?! The most amazing books are the ones where not a single word is wasted; every syllable is laden with meaning, and contributes to the story or to some form of character development. And then you get these two fucking nits taking up an entire page with this nonsense, saying everything and yet saying absolutely nothing at all of worth.

Me reading this book.

Talk turns to Ana still wanting ‘more’ from this relationship. More than him taking her on a helicopter tour of Seattle at night, more than him doing things he’s never done for any woman before, more than meeting his family within two weeks. How much more is there?! She contemplates the fact that she loves him, but his mood swings and ‘scary vices’ put her off.

“This man, whom I once thought of as a romantic hero – a brave shining white knight, or the dark knight as he said. He’s not a hero, he’s a man with serious, deep emotional flaws, and he’s dragging me into the dark. Can I not guide him into the light?” Ana, if you’re so intent on changing him, you don’t love Christian, you obviously love the idea of what Christian could be. Important difference.

Ana, who didn’t want Christian to touch her leg at the dinner table, clearly has no problem with climbing all over him while Taylor is up front in the driving seat. She unbuckles her seat belt and throws herself at him, promising to sign his stupid contract in a spur of the moment decision after a few glasses of wine. Wise.

When they get back to Christian’s apartment, it becomes increasingly obvious that they’re going to have sex again. So far in this one day, that’s a few times in the Womb Room, once in the boathouse and now again at the apartment. Four or five times in a day. Is this normal? No, I’m genuinely asking, because if it is, I’ve been getting conned my whole life.

Ana says that she doesn’t want to fuck. She wants to make love. Doesn’t she remember what Christian said, when he was wearing his sexy ripped jeans?

I don't make love. I fuck, hard.

Christian is absolutely bewildered by this suggestion. Things start to turn sour: Christian literally says no to making love, and says that Ana touching him, especially on his chest, is a hard limit. Ana nags him a little, but he throws her a t-shirt and tells her to get into bed. There’s a little interlude where they go and brush their teeth and don’t talk about anything much. It’s really pointless, as is much of this book.

Ana asks how Christian would feel if the tables were turned and he couldn’t touch her. It’s a fair point, but she’s setting herself up for something dangerous by questioning his hard limits. Surely he doesn’t have to give reasons for them? That’s the point of a hard limit – you don’t need to justify it. Does she need a reason why she doesn’t want to try anal fisting? No, of course not. She should just accept that it’s a hard limit for him and if she doesn’t like it, she knows where the door is. God, it’s so hard to decide whose side I’m on in this book. I think I’m actually on my own side, the side of sanity, the side of good literature and humanity in general.

Ana, in a moment of pure genius, tells Christian that if he tells her why touching him is a hard limit, she’ll let him spank her again. What a great bargain. This will end well. Who’s using sex as a weapon now?

Christian goes and retrieves some Ben Wa balls, which he wants to put inside her while he spanks her. Again, this is a girl who lost her virginity not two weeks ago. Has the man got no concept of taking things slowly? He tells her to put them in her mouth, then has her bend over while he puts them inside her.

He tells her to go and get a drink of water from the kitchen and, naturally, by the time she comes back, she’s ‘needy, needy for sex’. There’s something new, I don’t think we’ve seen ‘needy’ Ana yet. She returns with her water and notices that ‘there’s a foil packet, ready and waiting, like me’. Did Ana just liken herself to a condom packet? Will we ever find out whether Christian got rid of that condom that was in his pocket? Is it still there? Does his maid deal with that kind of thing? I can’t stop thinking about it, this condom side-plot is more riveting than the actual story.

He spanks her while she has the balls inside her. It’s actually exceedingly vanilla. Nothing too hard, not even any naughty words. Ana says that she’s lost in a ‘quagmire’ of sensation.

This is a quagmire. Looks like fun.

He pulls the balls out after a few minutes and they have sex. It’s boring, to be honest. Nothing we haven’t read before, and a completely superfluous, unnecessary scene. A desperate attempt to shoehorn a bit more sex into this chapter.

Just as they’re falling asleep, Christian follows through on his promise to tell Ana about why touching is a hard limit. “The woman who brought me into this world was a crack-whore, Anastasia. Go to sleep,” he says. Okay, cool, good chatting with you, goodnight.

Orgasm count: one for Ana, two for Christian.


This chapter was boring as hell to read, and to write, so I tried to liven it up with some funny pictures. That's what I've resorted to. It's not even funny anymore, it's just tragic.


  1. I love your blog! I imagine you haven't updated it since August because every second spent reading that abomination of a novel is a second you'll never get back but I really hope you finish it and maybe even review the two follow ups... so I don't have to read them. Frankly I got a lot more enjoyment out of your writing than I did from E L James' errrr "efforts". All the best!

  2. Please, go on... I want to know the end of the "story"

  3. I am trying to read this book, more skimming. It's hard to read. As it's godawful. And really - a virgin who has never masturbated can go from 0 to 100% orgasm in 21 seconds like three times a day? She talks about his 'length' constantly - no mention of girth - which = ouch!

    I'm actually here because I googled and I have to ask - wouldn't his family find the condom wrapper on the floor in the boat house? Does this come back to haunt them? Or is the author just stupid and doesn't realise he took the CONDOM but not the WRAPPER. Aren't his parents going to be a bit surprised to see it sitting there on the floor in the coming days?

  4. Please go on! I am listening to the audiobook while scrubbing the toilet and peeling potatoes just to know what the hype is about. I am shocked at the stupidity of the heroine, the absolutely unrealistic Grey character and the number of times the author thinks acceptable to use "oh my". I swear, the only reason to read the book is to come to your site and read your hilarious take on it. I understand this seems a waste of time to you (as it would to any sane person), but your blog is a real treat. Oh my! Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my!

  5. Come baaaaaaack! DO come back and let us feast on more witty criticism! :)