So, as alluded to (read: explicitly stated) above, I have no previous knowledge of this book. I was given a 10 second rundown on the characters, so I apologize if I make fun of something that actually makes sense.
Haha, who am I kidding? That's not a real concern here. Let's get started.
...okay, I didn't think this would happen this quickly. I can't really capture my emotions right now, because they're some kind of combination between confusion, disgust, and arousal. This is the very first thing I read:
My hands fist in his hair
Uh, I'm not sure about you guys*, but to me, fist has only one meaning as a verb. I think the author was trying to say “my hands ball into a fist” or “I grab a fistful of”... but I'm having a really hard time trying to figure out how exactly you FIST HAIR.
My hands fist in his hair while my mouth is feverish against Christian’s, consuming him, relishing the feel of his tongue against mine. And he’s the same, devouring me. It’s heavenly.
I'm trying to understand the grammar here. I read the phrase “he's the same”, and I now I need to figure out what he's the same as. The noun in the first sentence was Ana's hands, so I guess he's the same as her hands?
Realistically, I get that it was supposed to be “and he's doing the same”, but words are important. Anyway, this chapter appears to be starting with a sex scene, albeit one with some odd connotations of cannibalism. I'm kind of concerned about how they go about this though. “I want to feel you”. Really? I would say that kind of thing if I was trying to be creepy. [Erika's Note: This is a thing that has happened.] But hey, maybe that works for them. And then I read this:
Boy, I want him inside me, now.
I didn't know I was reading the Hardy Boys! “Gee whiz fellas! Lets have some good old fashioned anal play!” “Boy, that sounds swell!” “Swelling is right!”.
Sorry, I disappeared into my childhood for a second there. So, they continue on with this sex scene, and it's frankly kind of plain. Nipple play, undressing, pretty straightforward. Except that it's never been like this. I guess that means that they don't have boring sex? Nice thinking, but she's saying it like it's special. Eh... apparently she's exerting some kind of power over him, but the only evidence I'm really seeing of it is the fact that the author is explicitly having Anna tell the reader that. It would probably have been more convincing with evidence, but I guess that would be asking too much.
I don't even really want to go through the rest of this scene. There's literally nothing interesting here. I mean, the author actually uses the phrase his mouth forming a perfect O as he exhales. I probably would have stuck with “HE MADE HIS O-FACE! GUYS! GUYS! OOOOOOO-FAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!!!”.
There's probably a reason I'm not a world-famous author.
There's also some weird non-sequiters in here – she talks about possessing him, possessing me, but there is zero context – it's straight up cowboy position. I honestly think it's a reminder that this is a “BDSM” book. In case you forgot. Given that the general audience for this book is fish-eyed 14 year-olds with a memory to match [EN: I explained it was in fact 50 year old Mom's and The Boy just shook for a while], I guess that's reasonable.
Actually, maybe I missed something. Is this book supposed to be post-modernist? The structure is kind of... missing.
“That’s right, baby, feel me,” he says, his voice strained.
I tip my head back and do exactly that. This is what he does so well.
What does he do so well? In this sentence, you're doing something, Anna. Not Grey. I get that he's bangin' you, but you probably should have mentioned that he's good at it when YOU SAID HE WAS DOING IT.
Moving on two sentences, and OH SHIT, she's in the VOID OF PLEASURE[caps added for awesomeness]. Once you're in there, there's no escaping Zalgo's orgasm. HE COMES**.
Anyway, the scene moves on, they have their mutual orgasms, and she collapses so her head is in his no-go zone. Good thing that's a hard rule. He then proceeds to tell her how beautiful she is, for all of 5 seconds before he descends into jealous boyfriend zone. Apparently, Anna should know how beautiful she is from all the boys pursuing her. There's a list. They want what's his.
This seems healthy, Grey. Have you considered that you might have attachment issues? Let's hope he doesn't go for scorched earth tactics.
Stalin thinks you should kill her now, before someone else can harvest her fertile lands.
So I moved on a bit, straight through the sections where she wants to explore his body where she's allowed (BORING), and now he's threatening to have some doctor come give her a shot. The previous scene they used a condom, so I'm assuming that “a shot” is Depo-Provera, as opposed to like, epinepherine or something.
Note to self: get epi-pen to use as aphrodisiac. 100% guaranteed to get her excitedTM.
Right, dep shot. So Erika just told me that she's already on the pill, but he wants her to get the shot so that they can start riding bareback right away. Overdosing on hormones definitely seems like a good idea to me. Maybe she'll grow hooves. That'd be hot.
So she goes back to touching him, which is TOTALLY WORTH MY TIME READING. She strays past the no-go line (SHOCKING), and he get's all tense. Tragic past time?
Tragic past time.
But only for a minute, because Christian Grey, Man of All Men, has a refractory period of 3 minutes. Thankfully, we are spared from another bout of the author's clumsy attempt at description. Time skips forward to Ana being in the shower, talking about how well he's handling “vanilla” sex. Haha, Anna, this definitely isn't your hubris showing. Nothing's going to catch up with you here.
So Ana ponders her relationship, get's jealous about the exes, and (justifiably so) has an internal rage-on for the statutory rapist ex. I'm glad that the author isn't pretending that it's a normal thing to diddle/torture teenagers.
HOLD THE PHONE.
My sweet, sad Fifty Shades.
This is a nickname for him. That's cool. Original. ANY SUBTLY THAT COULD POSSIBLY HAVE BEEN MISTAKEN IN THE TITLE IS GONE FOREVER. What a stupid twit she is – he's definitely never heard that nickname before, in all his time being named “Grey”. That's like giggling at someone who's last name is “Butts”. Sure, you thought it, but it's not clever or original.
Staring at my reflection, I smile at the memory of his words, my heart brimming once more, and my face transforms with a ridiculous smile. Perhaps we can make this work. But how long will he want to do this without wanting to beat the crap out of me because I cross some arbitrary line?
My smile dissolves. This is what I don’t know. This is the shadow that hangs over us. Kinky fuckery, yes, I can do that, but more?
This is not a healthy thought to have. You're in a situation where not only will he want to beat you if you do something wrong, you have no idea what that might be?! I feel like I'm watching the horror movie where the victim is going into the haunted house, except that she knows it's haunted by a ghost that's going to spread her entrails on the walls to touch up the paint!
My subconscious stares at me blankly, for once offering no snarky words of wisdom. I head back to my bedroom to dress.
Haha, even her brain was like “Fuck it, I'm done”. LALALALA CLOTHES. [author's note: that was screamed in a semi-pubescent squeaky voice. I think I made Erika uncomfortable.][EN: He definitely made me uncomfortable.]
She starts to get dressed, but apparently only makes it as far as expensive underwear that she couldn't be bothered to remove the price tag from (a black bustier corset creation with a price tag of five hundred forty dollars). Seriously girl. Those things come off. Anyway, Ana in underpants, Grey walks in, gawks, etc. Do something interesting, dammit.
Okay, somewhat interesting: he wants to put some sliver balls in her. That's cool. And he promises not to spank her – I know, you're disappointed. That's fine, so is Anna. Oh, but before he inserts them, she has to put her shoes on.
He holds out his hand to support me while I step into the Christian Louboutin shoes, a steal at three-thousand two hundred ninety-five dollars. I must be at least five inches taller now.
First: I don't give a fuck about how expensive your shoes are. Everything about that sentence makes you sound like a pampered tool. Second: you must be at least five inches taller? Seriously? You bought three thousand dollar shoes and you don't know how big they are? I'm going to throw out a guess here and say they're FIVE INCH FUCKING HEELS, YOU STUPID.
He gets her to bend over, presumably for insertion purposes. Then he gets her to suck on is finger:
He tastes of soap . . . hmm.
I didn't know soap was a turn-on. I truly hope her parents didn't wash her mouth out with soap as a child, because that brings up uncomfortable images.
Anyway, balls go in, both are aroused, world turns some more. He gets her diamond earrings. She melts into a puddle, because diamonds make girls happy. I saw the jewelry store commercials – well played, Mr. Grey. More clothing talk, some self-consciousness about her body (I guess this is how you connect with the target reader?), some makeup. I'm having so much fun.
She heads downstairs, there's the obligatory “she's so stunning in the expensive dress” reactions from Grey and the staff, and the champagne comes out, because fuck it, that's what rich people do right? Oh, and I get to meet Taylor for the first time:
“Security team?” I ask.
“Close protection. They’re under Taylor’s control. He’s trained in that, too.”
He's trained in what? Controlling his staff? I should fucking well hope so, if they're the muscle. LEARN TO USE GRAMMER, E L JAMES. The word “that” refers to the preceding sentence, which was not “Close protection”. HATE HATE HATE.
Now he's giving her a present. OH NOES! A masquerade ball (Grey calls it a “masked ball”; I assume it's because the spelling of masquerade is beyond his grasp)! I'm pretty sure the “surprise masquerade” is the most clichéd rich-people activity ever. This definitely isn't going to lead to shenanigans. Also, as soon as the phrase “masked ball” came up, I immediately thought there was a face on the sphere in her vagina. I like to think it has a look of terror on it.
Okay, seriously now, does Grey do anything that isn't preceded with “I want to show you something”, or “I have a present for you”, or some other ham-fisted attempt at being “mysterious”?
You aren't being coy, Mr. Grey. You are being an asshole.
Aaaaaand you have a library called the balls room. It's okay, his brother named it that, presumably because there's a billiards table in it. I guess stupidity runs in the family. It's funny that this is her first time seeing it, but apparently Grey never gave her the tour.
It's the second book, Ms. James. Get your shit together.
Anyway, we now learn that Anna knows how to play pool. Make a note, people. This is important enough that a room was added to the building for it. And with a hint that she will meet his psychiatrist, they leave. Yaaaaay.
I'd like to say now that I've read 8 pages of this fucking book, and I really, really want to take the easy way out. I think I have a bottle of Drano kicking around, but I'm pretty sure it's the foaming kind and I'd just end up vomiting foam everywhere. In other words, it would have THE SAME EFFECT AS READING 50 SHADES. AUUUUGH.
So they're in the car now, driving to the ball. Speaking of balls (HUR HUR HUR), she's trying not to enjoy having a couple jammed up inside her. Grey takes advantage of this, and I'm reminded of David Bowie for some reason.
It's funny, that clip doesn't have the balls that I most associate that movie with in it... either way, I hope you enjoyed your taste of freedom from this. Back to Greyland, here's where I have another problem:
“So what can we expect at this event?”
“Oh, the usual stuff,” Christian says breezily.
“Not usual for me,” I remind him.
Christian smiles fondly and kisses my hand again. “Lots of people flashing their cash. Auction, raffle, dinner, dancing—my mother knows how to throw a party.” He smiles and for the first time all day, I allow myself to feel a little excited about this party.
He says “flashing their cash” almost in a derogatory sense – this is EVERYTHING YOU ARE, CHRISTIAN. I guess we add hypocrisy to the pile, assuming it wasn't already there in spades. Also, how do you say something “breezily”? Is he having an asthma attack? Should someone maybe be helping him? Maybe providing medical attention? I digress.
Long, pale pink paper lanterns hang over the drive, and as we inch closer in the Audi, I can see they are everywhere. In the early evening light, they look magical, as if we’re entering an enchanted kingdom. I glance at Christian. How suitable for my prince—and my childish excitement blooms, eclipsing all other feelings.
Holy shit, E L James, not only didn't you get your bizarre BDSM fantasies out of life, now you have to vicariously live out your Disney fantasies too? You couldn't come up with ANYTHING more original? This Cinderella redux makes me feel like I'm watching Avatar all over again***.
Anyway, they make it inside, there's TWO photographers, and Anna's surprise at this is odd, given that she's going to a bleeding mansion with a drive full of Audi's and valets. That's all fine though; it's the second person with the camera that throws her off.
Once they get inside, they move through a crowd of people who are – you guessed it – drinking champagne. Rich people in E L James' world are so dry. Grey's sister shows up, and Ana expresses that she has never felt so grateful for the dress Christian has given her. OH, except for all those times you talked about it before you put it on, then when you put it on, then when other people saw you with it on. Yeah, except for that. The sister drags Ana off to meet some girls, dropping jokes like “We all thought he was gay” TEE HEE. As if that's an insult. What if he was? Would it have embarrassed the family? You treat it like it is worse than being single.[EN: Not that there is anything wrong with being single.]
Not that it matters, because they literally have enough time to introduce themselves and speak two sentences (total) before Grey returns to claim her. Where did he go in the intervening 40 seconds? I'd like to think he stood there, staring. Intently. Like a hungry dog.
Hey, I'm pretty good at this erotica stuff. Maybe I should try writing a book like this.
They do their rounds of the party, meeting lots of [insert high-class sounding occupation here], and she fails at not drinking too much – her explicitly stated goal. If there's anything I'm learning from reading this, it's that Ana is utterly useless. Dinner bell rings, boring description of rich dining room, boring greetings with family to emphasize that Grey doesn't like them. It's just so unimaginative and pointless – there is nothing here that hasn't been done in over 50 movies. The parents, the grandparents, their whole personalities are 1-dimensional. It hurts me.
Grey's father takes the microphone, tells each table to select a “table head” and to each put their name on a piece of currency and put it in an envelope for said table head to guard. The protagonists – and I use the word with something like vomit in the back of my throat – give their money to Grey's sister, which will totally end well.
Oh boy, then I get to look at a menu. Pro tip, E L James, I don't care what's on the menu. You didn't need to fluff an entire page in your book for it. Individual servers, nice touch. I guess you get this kind of service when you're rich like the Greys, but that's not important. What is important is that Ana and Grey are eye-fucking each other again. Wait, sorry, I got mixed up. That's not important either. Sorry.
Boring table talk continues, Ana daydreams, and now we get to my favourite thing ever:
Christian and Lance talk animatedly about a device Christian’s company is developing, inspired by Schumacher’s principle Small is Beautiful. It’s hard to keep up. Christian seems intent on empowering impoverished communities all over the world with wind-up technology—devices that need no electricity or batteries and minimal maintenance.
Watching him in full flow is astonishing. He’s passionate and committed to improving the lives of the less fortunate. Through his telecommunications company, he’s intent on being first to market with a wind-up mobile phone.
A wind-up mobile phone. For communities that have no electricity. Tell me, where are the signals going to go, Christian Grey? Are you going to have wind-up cellular distribution networks too? Are you going to provide the network service for free?
Then this: Lance seems unable to comprehend Christian’s plan to give the technology away and not patent it.
First, just because you patent something doesn't mean you have to charge for it. It DOES mean that you can protect your design from someone else who might want to patent it though. Not that patents are particularly effective in the mobile device world, other than for vexatious lawsuits. If you're ever bored one day, read up on patent law in the electronics industry. It's brutal, confusing, and pointless. Kind of like this book.
Going back to the book, someone else at the table wins a gift basket. Ana decides she has to go to the “powder room” with Grey, and his sister cock-blocks him. I cheered. She goes and removes her vagballs. I did not cheer. I did not care. Then I get to look at a list of auction prizes that E L James felt is necessary to print out on a full page. I'm pretty sure the point of the list is to beat the idea firmly into the side of your skull that the Greys are, indeed, quite rich. I got it already. The auction begins, and Ana and Grey pout at each other because they didn't get their bang on. Poor babies. Suck it up, it's for charity.
Oh, and apparently this is important: Grey has a property in Aspen, Colorado. It's up for auction. I say it's important because this is the last thing that happens in the chapter:
And I don’t know what possesses me, but I suddenly hear my own voice ringing out clearly over the throng.
“Twenty-four thousand dollars!”
Haha, Ana, you don't have that money. Looks like your suffering gets to continue into the next chapter. Mine, however, blissfully ends here. I'm going to go drink some cough syrup now and fall into a pleasant stupor, hopefully to never think of this horrible book ever again.
*I'm from the Ottawa valley; I use the term “guys” in a unisex fashion. I'm sorry if I offend.
** Internet joke. It's going to be funny to me, and probably 2 other people, but that's two more than is important. HAYO.
***If you think the plot to Avatar was original, go take a 1900s culture class at your local college. Seriously. Mighty whitey ad infinitum.
That brave bastard. I hope you all show him some love in the comments, back to your regularly scheduled angry Erika for chapter 7! Also for those of you who need more fixes of my brain, you can follow me on twitter @SnappyErika