Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey, chapter two in which I wonder WHYYYYYYYYYYYYY

Okay kids! Ready for chapter two? I'm not traumatized to the point of drinking yet, so let's see how many chapters until I'm driven to drink!

Okay, we open with Bella Ana rushing with all her heart to get out of the building. She races outside. We are being given a girl who can not get away from this guy fast enough. This is not someone love struck, this is someone who was intimidated and deeply uncomfortable.

No man has ever affected me the way Christian Grey has, and I cannot fathom why. Is it his looks? His civility? Wealth? Power? I don’t understand my irrational reaction. I breathe an enormous sigh of relief. What in heaven’s name was that all about? Leaning against one of the steel pillars of the building, I valiantly attempt to calm down and gather my thoughts. I shake my head. Holy crap – what was that?” Okay, this answers a few of my questions from last chapter, namely, “Dude, what are you DOING?” because she isn't sure herself! Also, let's think about her list for a second because I want to point out civility. He smirked, sorry, suppressed giggles, at you and was eye fisting you that entire conversation with such gusto that you literally just RACED out of there. I don't think “civil” does that. Also, who the hell gets unnerved and boner-y over civil? Man, that much suck. “OH GOD HE EXCUSED HIMSELF AFTER HE BUMPED INTO ME! HYNGNGH!” then again, the author is based in New York.

Oh, God, the author is doing that thing where they tell you what you're supposed to think of the character. “Okay, so he’s very attractive, confident, commanding, at ease with himself – but on the flip side, he’s arrogant, and for all his impeccable manners, he’s autocratic and cold. Well, on the surface. An involuntary shiver runs down my spine. He may be arrogant, but then he has a right to be – he’s accomplished so much at such a young age. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but why should he?” GUYS I WAS TOTALLY WRONG LAST CHAPTER! He's not a creep who undresses random barely legal girls with his eyes and is a controlling creepy bastard, he's VERY attractive, and confident and commanding and these are things that are sexy so clearly he is! And he TOTES has a RIGHT to be arrogant! Arrogance is FINE if you are entitled to it! Ugh. Weren't you just crapping your pants over him in a bad way seconds ago Ana? Anyone think he used vampire glamor on her? That's my bet.

I’m driving more cautiously than I would on any other occa­sion. And I know it’s the memory of two penetrating gray eyes gazing at me, and a stern voice telling me to drive carefully.” Further evidence that maybe she's been enthralled? She shakes it off next paragraph and upon the happy realization that she never needs to see the skeeze weasel again starts driving more carelessly, hits play on her MP3 player and “listen to thumping indie rock music”. Thumping indie rock music. What? Don't get me wrong, I usually hate it when authors are all “AND THEY ARE LISTENING TO THIS SONG BECAUSE IT MAKES THEM LOOK COOL!” but I am authentically curious about what “thumping” indie rock she is listening to. Ideas?

Alright, so, Ana gets home and much to my surprise doesn't ditch the car (THIS time) to Kate who gives her what we're told is an inquisition, but, well, seems like pretty basic questioning to me. She asks what went down and even though it was a few pages ago, Ana once again tells us how intense and professional and blah blah blah he is that she told us like, one page ago. She DOES give Kate shit for not briefing her, but Kate is all “WHOOPS PANICKED SORRY!” and despite the fact that the text keeps trying to tell me Kate is tenacious and together, I keep seeing her as spacey and disorganized. Either way, I can only wonder how that conversation went down that it didn't come up.

Kate: Ana! I am in peril!

Ana: Did you break another nail?

Kate: No! My Super Duper Important Meeting is today but I can't do it! Can you go instead of me?

Ana: I dunno, I need to study for finals and-

Kate shows Ana her boobs

Ana: Yes Kate. Whatever you say Kate.

We also get an age for Grey (twenty seven, because I KNOW you wanted to know!) and then Ana is off to work, thinking “Oh good I can still make my shift!” So now we're off to work with Ana to Claytons, a home hardware store where she has worked all through university and even though she's a good Hard Worker who has learned a bit of everything she's crap at DIY (that's my Dad's foray! Because he has a penis!) because all she ever wants to do is curl up with a book by the fire place! Boooooring.

Ana! I thought you weren’t going to make it today.”
My appointment didn’t take as long as I thought. I can do a couple of hours.”
I’m real pleased to see you.”” YOU SAID EARLIER THAT YOU THOUGHT YOU MADE GOOD TIME GETTING BACK! What the hell kind of staffing do they have here? I get that Ana is SUCH a hard working Good Girl, and the text is just trying to beat that into our heads. Why did it have to be here and not somewhere where it could serve an actual plot point? Or just come up later when she inevitably has to go to work because she'll run into Grey? I guess Ana has a fairly low key, unimportant can be moved around sort of job to explain the staffing being so lax? Yup. Restocking shelves today. And then she goes back home. No, really. That's it. I have no idea why this scene is in here. To show that Ana is still thinking about Grey, even though she really doesn't want to? To show how hard working Ana is? How selfless she is? Arg. Anyways, that's it, then back home to Kate tearing into her mini-disk (do people actually still use those?).

We are “treated” to an exchange between Ana and Kate where Kate is all “Why didn't you let him show you around he obvs wants to touch you where you pee” and Ana is all “Noooooo! He is important and in control and lady boners personified! He wouldn't be into me!” and then bites her lip. WE GET IT SHE IS BASED ON STEWART'S BELLA SWAN! Arrgggg!

Kate keeps pestering her about what a hunk Grey is and come on Ana you MUST think something because even though Ana doesn't care about boys usually, Grey is worth caring about and he's OBVS into you! It's worth caring about men who are interested in you when they are rich because they can buy you things. You can't see it, but my eyes are rolling. A lot of this is already touched on, or could have been earlier. More repeating of what she said earlier... Then working on her essay about Tess of the D’Urbervilles and says she was born in the wrong place at the wrong time. I at first thought this was just a random classic literature drop to try to make this seem classy, but then hit Wikipedia to see if I should be keeping an eye open for any themes to pop up later. So, spoiler, the quick and dirty about it is a girl, Tess, get's raped by a skeeze, Alec, knocked up, and the kid dies. She baptizes it herself and names if Sorrow. No, really. Then she takes off to work as a milk maid and falls in love and gets married to a dude named Angel. She at first doesn't tell him about her past, and when she does he's disgusted and they parted. Tess falls upon more hard times, and then a reformed Alec turns up and convinces her, after a long amount of time of Angel being absent, and repeated attempts, to become his mistress. Eventually Angel turns up and is all “SORRY!” and she is, too. He leaves at her request, and then she murders Alec and runs to his side. They have some happy wandering for a bit until the police catch up to them and she's sentenced to death, but she has been understood and loved as a person by the end so she's okay with it, I guess?

I'm going to assume the choice was to make Ana looks smart and well read, and not have any significance. Unless Grey is supposed to be Alec in that he ultimately controlled Tess's fate and there is no Angel? That would be surprisingly dark for an erotic fan fic. Fingers crossed? Fingers crossed.

We get a time skip, and a quick intro to Mom where we are told, not shown, that she is irresponsible and flighty through mention of her having a new business venture every week and is on husband number four. This book isn't even trying to hide the fact that it's Twilight fanfiction. I expected at least some change, but nope. Oh, and we get another “YOU NEED TO BE MORE INTERESTED IN MEN” which fundamentally bothers me. I think women, fictional or not, should be allowed a disinterest in romance. Kid's about the graduate university, move, and try to find her first real job. If it were my kid I would expect her to be too preoccupied with OH SHIT WHAT IS GOING ON to be thinking about booooyyysss. We then get told that her “Dad” is actually Ray, husband number two, who's last name she has. I admit I'm now really curious about birth-father. Abusive, or dead. Place your bets. Ray does not speak when his step-daughter calls him. He grunts to her gentle coaxing, and she tells us he does manly sports type things and is the reason she knows her way around her hardware job. Okay? Again, I'm reading this and wondering.... Why? Why is this in the book? Or at least, why is it here in the book. I get that the author wants to introduce us to everyone, but we don't need to meet the whole cast in the first few chapters. That said, I will give credit where credit is due. We see Ana's world is bigger then her love interest, and potential rivals. She has family that she cares about, she has friends, she works. I still think she's flat and boring, but I appreciate the attempts on the authors side to make her a little more real.

Right, Friday night, and now we meets Jacob Jose, who she met at the start of university and her daddy and his daddy are friends and he's an engineer with an eye for photography, and he's got champagne and is all excited because his hobby photography is going to be on display in one of the galleries! He's “cute and funny” with burning dark eyes. He's later called “all shoulders and muscles and tanned skin with dark hair. YOU ARE NOT EVEN TRYING TO HIDE THE FACT THAT THIS IS TWILIGHT I HATE YOU. We are then told he's into Ana, but she just isn't interested. Again, WHY IS THIS SCENE HERE? We're going to meet Mr. Shoulders again, why not have him be excited about his photography exhibit then rather then just randomly info dumping him on us? We also get this gem dropped. Katherine often teases me that I’m missing the need-a-boyfriend gene. Kate, I hate you. No, seriously. There is no such gene, and anyone who has it should be on meds because they are crazy and co-dependant. I'm also curious, first chapter Ana keeps correcting herself on calling her Kate, and switching to Katherine, but in chapter two we see her being called Katherine a lot more. Which considering how tripped up she was over NOT calling her Kate last chapter strikes me as really odd. Anyways, Ana goes on about how maybe something's wrong with her because she's never felt the knee trembling butterflies, and lies to herself about feeling that way about Grey. ANA NO IT'S TOO EARLY FOR STOCKHOLM SYNDROME! 

Then it cuts to work the next day with mention that she's been having dreams about more penetrating grey eyes. HE'S EYE FUCKING HER IN HER SLEEP OH GOD. Right, we're back to work, and now ZOMG GREY HAS TURNED UP! CALLED IT! And His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel… or something. Or something? Even your inner monolog is embarrassed about this shit Ana. Also, gonna put this out there, but melted dark chocolate fudge caramel would be either tragic or sticky, not warm and husky.

So, Grey continues to glamor/enthrall Ana for a bit as she stands there staring blankly and blushing at him because He’s not merely good-looking – he’s the epitome of male beauty, breathtaking. Yup. A slight frown mars Grey’s rather lovely brow. He might be the epitome of male beauty, but his eyebrows are just rather lovely. Alright, so, I don't want to judge this book for being heavy on the female gaze, when I meet boys who I think just walked out of my dirty fantasies, I get distracted, too. I also get that we are in a young girl's head, and daaaaayyymmm. It's just... I feel hit over the head by it. She isn't being distracted by the way his brow furrows, something about that being graceful, his brow is just rather lovely. I guess what I'm trying to say is if you want to write enraptured female gaze, make her seem actually enraptured. You don't think “that's quite lovely” when you're enthralled (he is totally using vampire magic on her, I don't care if that doesn't come up in text or not, it makes too much sense to not be true) you catch onto things like movement, or bends, or color, or, well, almost anything but “also lovely”. We've also totally lost our narrator to her lady-boner, which makes for surprisingly dull reading. I mean, this thing is supposedly erotica. She couldn't be thinking about how she wants him to throw her against the duct tape display and ravish her right then and there? She couldn't be thinking about how she wants to run her tongue along his chest, tasting- you get the idea. I don't object to the female gaze it's self, I object to when it's lame. 

Anyways, Grey is smirking at Ana as she tries to do her job and help him find what ever nonsense he's there looking for. He smirks, bemused at her every little silly foolish girl movement and her inner monolog is fiercely fighting it's self all the while. She regrets looking at him because he's sooooo pretty just looking at him makes her blush. There's a lot of blushing going on right now. They keep mumbling and murmuring at each other as he selects his ties with a “These will do,” he says with his oh-so-secret smile, and I blush. What the fuck is an oh-so-secret smile? Does he hide behind a book or something to smirk? He then asks for masking tape, and despite her gentle (so far) prodding isn't telling her what it's for. I'm gonna guess bondage? He accidentally touches her and she, again, gasps. From a finger brush, and gets that crotch tug ZOMG BONER feeling which, from a finger brush, is impressive. He then asks for rope. Oh God. HE IS BUYING ROPE, TAPE, AND ZIP TIES AND YOU ARE NOT CALLING THE POLICE?! HE HAS SOMEONE TIED UP IN HIS BASEMENT! Also, just going to throw this out there, but don't they make bondage gear that is meant for these things to avoid hurting people? Dudes loaded, he doesn't need to be doing this "I buy my bondage gear at the hardware store" thing, and he could just buy it online, too, if he was that worried about being seen buying kinky sex toys.

They banter a bit more, he comes onto her, and she's no longer uncomfortable about all his intense stares, but just has a raging lady boner. He asks about the article and Ana mentions that Kate wanted a picture, and Grey volunteers to a photo shoot and gives her his cell if she can find a photographer (LIKE YOUR OTHER BFFF JACOB JOSE!). Then Paul, her bosses baby brother (who's her age?) turns up and is super duper friendly and touchy with her while Grey stares on, watching like a hawk. She introduces the two and Grey is cold and petty. So, he is jealous. From watching Ana greet a friend who she hardly sees/her bosses brother who she probably can't tell to fuck off. She mentions that he's the bosses baby brother, and he isn't around much, so Grey knows this. So far I find my favorite character being the pantsless blond receptionist from chapter one, and black dude in a suit with dread locks. They need more page time.

He's then weird as he pays, peaces out with a comment about being glad Kate was plagued for the interview, and Ana comes out with Okay – I like him. There, I’ve admitted it to myself. I cannot hide from my feelings anymore. Because, you know, the five days it has been since she first met him, that's a long time to be lying to yourself about these sorts of things when you met a dude once. She then goes on to lament that she doesn't stand a chance and will admire him from afar. Or not that far when she sees him at a maybe photo shoot tomorrow. So she declares intention to stalk/have a celebrity crush?

And that brings us to the end of chapter two. Disjointed, awkward, boring, and could be about eighty percent shorter. Seriously. Give us one scene with Kate grilling Ana, then have Jose pop in to introduce him being a photographer then send Ana to work where Grey turns up. That could have been the whole chapter. The rest of it was just variations of Ana being a thirteen year old girl denying her crush? Totally unnecessary. I haven't had to start drinking yet, but I don't see that lasting much longer kids.

17 comments:

  1. Uuuugh. There's a phrase for this sort of stuff, a phrase I learned a long time ago from slacktivist: 'workmanlike retread'. This story isn't just Twilight-with-the-names-filed-off, although it painfully -is-; it's every story like this that has ever been written in the history of all literature. I'm a guy who usually doesn't mind repetition and cliches and tropes, etc, but here, it's really starting to get on my nerves.

    Typically when I get to something like this, my mind starts to wander to better-done things, and mentions of famous, popular, hot, etc main guy and photography immediately made me think back to one of my favorite shoujo manga, http://www.mangatraders.com/manga/series/3400 that. It's not perfect but man, the protagonist isn't a simpering ball of complete uselessness, either, and in this genre that's something I want to encourage.

    Thou art neither hot nor cold, though, Ana. Your character seems inconsistently developed, possibly because the author is attempting to draw on multiple stereotypes/tropes at the same time, the same way Charlie, Bella's dad, seemed inconsistently written because he had to both be The Absent and Neglectful Stupid YA Parent and the Overprotective Dad Parent Who Must Protect His Daughter's Virginity From Boys.

    I'm a person who loves worldbuilding and development, so I don't take as harsh a cutting-room floor approach to any scene that doesn't propel the plot forward, sometime, and I'll give credit for the author developing the world larger than 'girl and the boy she likes and this other boy she sortakindamightpretendtolike and useless parent(s)' even if that development is boring and lame.

    Yeah. For a story that's all about d'bidness, it's remarkably sizzle-free so far. She's caught up in his glamour powers but it's all presented in such an unexciting way.

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  2. We then get told that her “Dad” is actually Ray, husband number two, who's last name she has. (emphasis mine)

    ...
    ...
    .........
    ...I think this speaks for itself?

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    1. I hadn't even thought of that until you pointed it out. Still giving the pass for not seeing "Raymond" in front of Steele?

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    2. No, I revoke every point I ever gave this story. :< And sentence this author to using Behind the Name for all character names without exception until he learns how to control himself.

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  3. So the daughter or a Left Behind character finds herself shoehorned into the Bella role of a Twilight fanfic with the serial numbers filed off.

    Oh, no good can come of this. None at all.

    (Hi, from another Ramblite)

    More substantively, exactly how does CEO Grey find Anastasia at her workplace, and how is he not mobbed by supporters/detractors because he's here al...oh, right. Vampire.

    Nevermind.

    From what I've heard of the book, I was expecting a less effective version of the film "(The?) Secretary". Instead, I realize I should be setting my sights on a less-effective version of a pulp Harlequin. And that's before we get to any smut.

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  4. Sooooo, "thumping indie rock music" = Nickelback, right? Am I right? Because this book is just that bad! Bless you for reading it, so we don't have to!

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  5. You know, I thought "eye spanking" couldn't be topped after the last chapter, but then... *cough*

    Also, props for actually checking what's in Tess of the D'Urbervilles, although now I'm really creeped out trying to figure out why she says she was born in the wrong place/time. Kind of hoping for the grim Angel-free reimagining.

    ---

    Brin's observation explains everything - Fifty Shades exists because Rayford Steele managed to break out of the Left Behind universe and hybridise with Twilight, resulting in a thing that is actually worse than Twilight.

    ---

    Do we have any actual evidence so far that Grey is a vampire? He seems to have glamour powers, but that's a standard not-actually-a-superpower of lots of romance hero dudes. And while he's jerky and his bondage shopping is easily mistaken for body-in-the-fridge preparations, he doesn't seem very existentially menacing yet. I'm wondering if this is actually going to turn out to be the 'hotter' version of Twilight (more sex) but also safer/cozier in the sense of no one being on the verge of murdering everyone else?

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  6. I happened to stumble on this... And this is just about the funniest sh*t I've ever read. Please keep it going!
    -Riptide80

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  7. I am almost certain now that I will read this book, and hear your voice (words) in the background being sarcastic and pointing out the same exact details that would annoy me. This might turn out to be a fun experience after all.

    Let me point out that so far, I am very angry that they are not trying to hide the fact that this was originally a Twi-Fanfic. (Again, let me say I LOVE Fanfics, but since this one has broken out and is being considered "Original" fiction, surely, there was an EDITOR who looked at it at somepoint???)

    Keep up the very entertaining and hilarious work, I will be back :)

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  8. I keep leaving you comments, and somehow they are nowhere to be found. If you can see this *waves frantically* know that I'm loving reading this, it is deliciously hilarious :)

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    1. I had been seeing your lovely comments in my inbox but hadn't noticed they weren't popping up on the page it's self. Seems the spam filters decided they liked you. All sorted out now though!

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    2. LOl :) Thank you! I like to make sure people know their work is appreciated :)

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  9. Duct tape. OW. They make this great product now that only sticks to itself, so it won't rip up hairs. It's like, $5.99 at any adult store.

    I have, however, bought rope at a hardware store. The adult store tends to sell pricey Japanese silk stuff, and you can get the same effect by buying ordinary rope and yanking out the core (so it's more flexible and less hurty).

    No experience with zip ties, though. The rope and tape was enough for us.

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  10. I just started these books because my friends just loved them and couldn't believe I haven't read them yet. I just came across your recaps here and I'm dying laughing! Honestly, you're better than the actual book! I'm not getting the love for this series. At all. Reads like what it is-fanfiction. And worse, bad fanfiction.

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  11. Black dude in a suit with dread locks never had a chance, poor lad.

    I would read the crap out of a romance with a black dude in a suit with dread locks as the lead male character. Especially if it was a kinky romance *u*

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  12. Wow, thank you in advance. I think if I keep reading your blog posts I may actually be able to get through this story ( I use story loosely). Kudos. You are more entertaining than the actual book. I've been trying to write as a hobby and I'm reading 50 Shades to try to get a better grasp on what not to do. And I also have a morbid curiosity for wanting to know just how awful things are (like bad horror movies... I guess that makes you MST3K). Anyway, thanks for the lovely commentary, and I mean 'lovely' in the actual way, not that in the way that I want to hump your blog.

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