Normal people would be spending their Sunday evenings relaxing. I can't do things the easy way, can I? As I've finished torturing myself (and triggering my allergies) and I'm not quite ready to get back to real work, it's time for a play by play of Fifty Shades of Grey.
As always, there will likely be offensive or triggering things in this post. I'm not going to pull punches over what I think. That'd defeat the whole purpose of doing this little exercise, right? Right.
So, before I begin actually reading, I was thinking. I know, I know–dangerous stuff, thinking.
I have a lot of feminist friends. Some of them are men, most of them are women. Some of them I get along with, in terms of world views, many of them I do not get along with. It's not a subject I'll talk to many about, as my views often do not coincide well with the views of others.
That's okay–really, it is. Every generation has a different opinion on gender equality, be it in the workplace or at home.
I'm going to be very upfront about this: I do not view myself as a feminist. I don't view myself as misogynistic either. I'd rather just head for cover when the two groups clash. If I had to put a label on myself, it's as an egalitarian. This is not feminism, by the way. It differs. It can differ significantly, especially as a broad group of feminists support women being brought up at the same time men are brought down. I don't agree with that at all.
Groups should never be brought down, in my opinion.
But anyway, back to Fifty Shades of Grey.
Here is a recap of the story for those who are just joining me on this… adventure.
Ana Steele, the main character, is a clumsy lady who had never held hands, let alone been kissed. She's recruited to go interview Christian Grey, the sexy rich powerhouse of a man from the next city over, all thanks to her ultra rich friend Kate, who got sick right before the interview.
I don't know how Ana hasn't died from tripping and falling into things at this point.
Anyway, her interview with Christian Grey is a horror show, but this sophisticate decides he wants to get into Ana's pants, and heads all the way up to where Ana lives to do a photo shoot. He also buys her three gloriously expensive first edition classic novels. (Christian Grey, you can do better than Ana. Come visit me, and bring those books with you when you come.)
At this point, she has several men wanting to also get into her pants. Jose, who is currently nicknamed Scum Sucker, attempts to rape her the first time that Ana gets drunk. She hadn't had any alcohol ever in her life before this point, too.
She faints in Mr. Grey's arms. He takes her back to his hotel and buys her new clothes and panties and bra and things like this. He gets her into an elevator and gives her quite the kissing. It's technically her second kiss now, since Scum Sucker was trying to violate her at the bar. (P.S.: If it hadn't been for Mr. Grey, she would've been in Scum Sucker's bed.)
Ana has no self preservation. She needed Mr. Grey to save her from a bicyclist, since she was so distracted by having her hand-holding virginity taken that she couldn't walk straight.
Anyway, Ana is about to move to Seattle, and Mr. Grey has invited her for an evening to show her what being involved with him curtails.
She accepts his offer.
And thus begins…
I typed chapter six as chapter sex originally. I almost kept it. The closest thing we've gotten to erotica was when Ana wanted to be kissed, and Christian hesitated before they got into the elevator, where he decided to give her what she wanted, albeit rather roughly.
Come ooon, chapter sex. You can do it!
He hasn’t mentioned the outburst of passion that exploded in the elevator.
This sounds horribly messy. The passion exploded! This is the sort of wince-worthy writing that makes me wonder what possessed me to do this to myself.
That's sentence three of this chapter, in case you're curious.
Reading, reading… sighing, and shaking my head over the things the other characters are having in the background, and that we haven't gotten yet in this book: sex, and apparently, lots of it.
Kate's got a new name: Bunny.
Yes, for that reason.
For the record, I really don't care who sleeps with who when and where, but at this point, if I were reading this for kinky funtimes, I would have curled in the fetal position and fallen asleep.
Maybe I should rename this to Chapter Sex People Other That Ana Are Getting. No? D'oh.
I read my way through a bit, until I get to this…:
“Anastasia,” he muses. I scowl at him, but he ignores my expression. “What happened in the elevator – it won’t happen again, well, not unless it’s premeditated.”
If I'm hit on the head with a “this is how we're showing it's consented instead of rape' stick again, I am going to take this book and shove it where the sun doesn't shine. I'm undecided if Rabbit or Ana will get the book. I'd give it to Scum Sucker, but he'd probably like it.
In short, writing skill seems to be optional in this novel, relying on telling, telling, and telling in order to do the job of showing and maintaining suspension of disbelief.
We're meant to believe that Christian Grey is doing things to Ana she wants. Words are supposed to speak louder than actions in this case. That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it.
“Christian is taking me to Seattle this evening.”
“Maybe you will then?”
“Oh, I hope so.”
“You like him then?”
“Like him enough to… ?”
Damn, woman. I could have sworn you had just graduated from hand holding this week. Now you're all ready to go all the way, aren't you?
I have a healthy respect for people who are either too shy or whatever to not get involved sexually with people. I'm totally cool with it. Ana has thrown down the gauntlet here. She's telling her friend how much she wants to get into his pants.
This is why you should already be dead, Ana. You lack common sense and self-preservation skills. You also are so unreliable as a narrator that I want you to shut up. Please?
Chapter Sex, you're failing me, come on. At least try to give me something by the time this is done, okay?
P.S.: Ana told Christian, quite directly, that she was into being roughly taken, per the elevator scene from Chapter Five.
At this point, I went to my freezer, grabbed a tub of ice cream, and also acquired a spoon. I think I'm going to need this to get through this chapter.
“We need to make sure you’re simply irresistible for this evening,” she says with determination.
Oh no… this sounds like it will be time consuming, humiliating, and painful.
“I have to be at work in an hour.”
Sure enough, Bunny dresses Ana up for her job at the hardware store.
Yo, saw blades, lumber piles, and miscellaneous assortment of dangerous doodads and doohickeys, I'm paying well for an ‘accident.'
Apparently Bunny can perfectly shave another woman, do her eyebrows, and a fully exfoliating buff treatment within one hour–all to perfection. I cry bullshit.
That sort of pretty is time consuming–very, very time consuming.
I guess this is why it's a fantasy.
I also have the José issue. He’s left three messages and seven missed calls on my cell. He’s also called home twice. Kate has been very vague as to where I am. He’ll know she’s covering for me. Kate doesn’t do vague. But I have decided to let him stew. I’m still too angry with him.
Wait, you're angry with him? You're actually angry with Scum Sucker? You, Little Miss Should Be Dead From Stupidity, haven't so much as paid an iota of attention to Scum Sucker. Even when Christian Grey pointed out Scum Sucker's sins, you were too busy wondering what it would take to get him to kiss you–or wonder how to get your hands in his hair.
:attacks her ice cream rather viciously.:
I hope the helicopter crashes, you stupid woman.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am of the opinion that this book is actually a subtle set of guidelines on what not to do as a woman in the real world.
My inner goddess glares at me, tapping her small foot impatiently.
Your what is doing what? I can't even believe this. Since when did you, utterly innocent, intensely stupid, and master-level clumsy so-and-so develop a serious case of narcissism?
Death by crashing helicopter is now too good for you.
Well, you know what my inner Goddess demands?
More fucking ice cream.
I'm not even thinking about bringing Richard in on this. It might lower his IQ, and he's a freaking stuffed animal.
400 ml of ice cream later, I put the tub away. I might get diabetes if I try to read this book with ice cream readily available.
At this point, Christian Grey is showing off is night-time flying skills. I'm already ready to be out of the helicopter, as the cabin gibberish is exactly that: gibberish.
I've been in a privately-owned helicopter, with a pilot who has the night time flying license. I've also flown in a helicopter taking off from a proper airport. I was seated directly next to the pilot, and pilots use a different channel in their headset for communicating with the tower.
There is zero way Ana could have heard this chatter unless her headset was configured incorrectly. This is done specifically to prevent unnecessary chatter from passengers on the important channels–the ones used to clear flights for take off, for example.
I hate this book. I hate this book so hard.
Chapter Sex, you're a failure. All I got out of this was Christian Grey's requirement to sign an NDA to keep his sexual life private and his confession of having a playroom–and that he won't sleep with her until she's informed what she's getting into. Once again, informing the readers via telling that this is all done with Ana's consent.
I think the rest of the planet, excepting Ana and Christian, got laid in this chapter.
Oh, by the way. That NDA she signed? She didn't even bother reading it. Christian asked her to read it. She refused, saying she wasn't going to talk anyway.
He could have written “I, Anastasia Steele, do hereby agree to be the toy of Christian Grey, from now until my death” and she would've been happy to sign it.
Can this woman possibly get any stupider? Christian even asked her to read it. He made a point of this.
The only good thing about “We wish this was accurately named Chapter Sex” is the fact that it is now over.
P.S.: I was ready to eat the novel if I had to put up with so much as one more word about the helicopter flight. Which, by the way, involved Ana undressing Christian Grey with the powers of her mind, pretty much.