Tuesday, July 1, 2014

50 Shades Shadier: Chapter 18 part 1

Ana and Christian look at a mansion and then start eating dinner.

Look I know nobody is reading this anymore. I'm not even reading it anymore. Nobody is, except for maybe my friend Selena who sends me quote-texts that I am always extremely happy to receive because that is basically the highest possible compliment. Oh and also? I mean I'm not going to say I'm drunk because that wouldn't be entirely true but it wouldn't be entirely false either. Because I just watched the US lose to Germany by a single goal and that game started at 9 and what? Am I going to not drink during it? No. I'm not going to not drink during it. Are you following me? I barely am.

What's a bummer tho is that by the time you read this, the US may well have played Belgium and you're going to be like, "This guy is behind the times! I thought this blog was up to the minute!" And it isn't.

Whatever. I'm going to delete all this later probably anyway. (Editor's note: delete all this later anyway.)

Our story thus far:

Ana is a naive college student who dated a billionaire for a couple weeks but broke things off with him because he spanked her too hard.
  1. Ana starts her new job at a publishing company and agrees to let Christian give her a ride to José’s art show. It turns out they both miss each other or whatever.
  2. Ana and Christian eat steaks at a restaurant. They rekindle their “romance” and Christian says that they won’t have to have rules anymore and he won’t punish Ana. They drive back to Seattle and Christian gives Ana back the expensive gifts that she'd returned to him when they broke up, along with a new iPad.
  3. Ana goes to work. She is confronted by one of Christian's ex lovers on her way out for drinks with her coworkers. Christian picks up Ana from the bar, and then they venture to a grocery store so that they can cook dinner at Ana's house. But then they get too horny to cook so they have sex.
  4. Ana and Christian eat dinner and then have ice cream sex and then in the middle of the night Ana has a dream about Christian's ex lover Leila, which worries Christian. Later, Ana and Christian fight about money, eat breakfast, and then go to a hair salon where the woman who introduced Christian to BDSM works.
  5. Ana is upset by the sight of Christian's ex-lover, Elena, and storms out of the salon. Christian insists that Ana come to his house because his other ex-lover Leila may be armed. Christian picks up Ana bodily when she disagrees with him. Ana and Christian retire to Christian's house and Christian allows Ana to draw on him with lipstick so that she knows which parts of his body he is comfortable having touched and which parts are off limits. 
  6. Ana and Christian have sex and get ready for a fancy charity auction at Christian's parents' house. Then they go to the fancy charity auction, and Ana bids $24,000 on a weekend getaway at Christian's Aspen condo. 
  7. Ana gets auctioned off to Christian for the first dance of the evening, but before the dance, the couple retreat to Christian's childhood room for sex. Christian's ex, Elena, threatens to hurt Ana if she mistreats Christian. After the party, Ana and Christian drive home, where they are informed by Christian's security staff that someone, most likely Leila, has vandalized Ana's car and may have broken into the apartment.
  8. Christian's security goons conclude that Leila is not in the apartment, but soon she sneaks into Ana's room while she sleeps so Christian and Ana go to a hotel because Leila may be dangerous. Ana has another of her famous Sunday morning home appointments with her gynecologist. 
  9. Ana and Christian buy a car and ride on a boat. 
  10. Ana and Christian eat dinner and play pool.
  11. Ana returns to work and Christian follows every little thing she does from afar.
  12. Ana returns to her apartment to meet Kate's brother Ethan, but instead finds Leila, who holds a gun.
  13. Christian disarms Leila and Ana has drinks with Ethan. 
  14. Nothing happens in Chapter 14. 
  15. Ana's boss confronts her in the break room after work. 
  16. Ana thwarts her boss's attack. 
  17. Ana is promoted to her boss's job and talks to CG's psychiatrist. 

So when we left off, CG was driving Ana somewhere after he finished being just really shitty to her about her driving, which I'm sure was fine. Everyone thinks that they're an above average driver, but you know what? Literally half of people are below average at driving. THINK ABOUT THAT!

They drive into some magical corner of Seattle that EL invented that's like some part of Ballard that's filled with sprawling country estates.

We head up a tree-lined lane just wide enough for two cars. On one side, the trees ring
a densely wooded area, and on the other there’s a vast area of grassland where a once- cultivated field has been left fallow. Grasses and wildflowers have reclaimed it, creating a rural idyll—a meadow, where the late evening breeze softly ripples through the grass and the evening sun gilds the wildflowers. It’s lovely—utterly tranquil, and suddenly I imagine
myself lying in the grass and gazing up at a clear blue summer sky. The thought is tantaliz- ing yet makes me feel homesick for some strange reason. How odd. 
If you are in Seattle and find yourself near the Escala building, which is a real thing, there's a pretty decent chance that you'll see some poor doofus taking a photo in front of the thing as a little bit of a 50 Shades souvenir. You won't see them doing the same thing in front of this new place that CG is taking Ana because it's a weird fabrication but that's fine. It's a novel. Weird fabrications are allowed. And compared to some of EL's other nonsense, plonking a country mansion inside Seattle is really not that bad so I guess I should shut up about it already.

Here's one that I won't shut up about, tho. Ana is a real idiot. A real, real idiot. Here are some of the things she thinks:

  • Perhaps we're here to visit someone. Who? 
  • Hmm . . . I wonder who lives here? Why are we visiting?
He obvs wants to marry her and move there to make babies or whatever. And obvs this is a thing that's going to happen in this book and what the hell? Nothing is preventing this thing from happening. A plot is about obstacles and there are no obstacles to our heroes save the obvious: our heroes are shitty people, and I don't want them to succeed. I'm fine with them succeeding. If they should happen to succeed I won't wish that they hadn't. But who cares? I don't! Whatever. 

They meet a realtor. Olga Kelly is her name and she's Irish / Ukrainian. I made that part up but that's really her name. 


File photo: Christian Grey

“Mr. Grey.” She smiles warmly and they shake hands. 
“Miss Kelly,” he says politely. 
She smiles at me and holds out her hand, which I shake. Her isn’t-he-dreamily-gorgeous-wish-he-was-mine flush does not go unnoticed. 
“Olga Kelly,” she announces breezily. 
“Ana Steele,” I mutter back at her. Who is this woman?  

NO IDEA WHO COULD SHE POSSIBLY BE?!? Goddamn I'm glad that people don't actually flip the fuck out when they encounter someone attractive because that would just make my life so, so awkward.

(Editor's note: someone posted a missed connection-style note in a widely read local weekly that, process of elimination suggest May have been about the author of this blog. Oh but also? It totally happened at his workplace. So if she were actually intrigued she'd just come back again another day so we're pretty sure she wasn't really intrigued. Whatever.)

Look at this abysmal prose. Absolutely mutterblushing abysmal.

The panoramic, uninterrupted vista is breathtaking—staggering even: twilight over the Sound. Oh my.In the distance lies Bainbridge Island, and further still on this crystal clear evening, the setting sun sinks slowly, glowing blood and flame orange, beyond Olympic National Park. Vermillion hues bleed into the sky—opals, aquamarines, ceruleans—melding with the darker purples of the scant wispy clouds and the land beyond the Sound. It is nature’s best, a visual symphony orchestrated in the sky and reflected in the deep, still waters of the Sound. I am lost to the view—staring, trying to absorb such beauty. 

FTB y'all. Blood! Flame orange! Vermillion! Opal! Aquamarine! Cerulean! Darker purple!

Holy shit this is bad. 

From: Alden Eagle
Subject: Chapter 18 of Fifty Shades Darker
Date: June 26, 2014 13:06
To: EL James

Hi EL!
I was just reading Chapter 18 of Fifty Shades Darker and I got to that part where you were talking about the view from the mansion that Christian wants to buy Ana. And you've got this part where Ana is talking about the sunset and I just feel like maybe it's a little bit of a wasted opportunity to cram in some more color words. You've got blood, flame orange, vermillion, opal, aquamarine, cerulean, and darker purple, but there are so many different colors you didn't mention! For instance, the landscape has probably got a lot of different greens, but you didn't mention anything in that part of the spectrum. And opal isn't really a color at all, so you might want to skip that one entirely and replace it with a few different greens, maybe some extra blues for insurance.

Just something to consider from a devoted fan!

Alden Eagle

Editor-in-Chief, TheComplainist.com


CG eventually has to come out and say the thing that we all know: he wants to buy the place. Ugh. Ana is so bad at understanding context clues that I think it's pathological. I mean, how can she even get around safely when she's unable to understand what's going on around her? Can you imagine what it would be like to watch a movie with her? She'd be all, "Wait was that the bad guy?" And you'd be like, "Mutterblushing of course that's the bad guy! See how he was twirling his mustache? Oh and murdering people for no reason?" And she'd be like, "Ugh I wasn't sure!" And then she'd "flush" and fall down. 

“Why do you want to demolish it?” I ask, looking back at him. His face falls slightly.
Oh no.
“I’d like to make a more sustainable home, using the latest ecological techniques. Elliot could build it.” 
Hey one thing that's good for the environment is just using the shit you already got rather than building a lot of brand new shit but whatever. I don't actually care about CG's carbon footprint, particularly considering how many copies of this garbage-book are now filling up our landfills. I assume that they're in landfills. Because there were so many printed, and now nobody gives a shit about them, and used bookstores can't handle any more than they already have so I just imagine them in dumps, being shat on by seagulls. And you know what? That makes me happy. That makes me really, really happy.

Ana is all, "Oh hey maybe we could just live in this place and not tear it down like jerks" or words to that effect and CG is pretty shocked about the idea of not tearing down a perfectly good house but they kiss and are happy and whatever so it's pretty much a given that they're going to buy the place and that it's going to be remodeled instead of torched and OMIGOD THAT'S SYMBOLIC! They're going to compromise! CG is like, "Let's do the most extreme thing!" And Ana is like, "Let's do something less extreme!" And that's what they're going to do and you know what? Holy shit I think these crazy kids might just make it after all! Hurray for love! Hurray for romance and second chances! This book is soooooo great!

From: Alden Eagle
Subject: Chapter 18 of Fifty Shades Darker
Date: June 26, 2014 13:29
To: EL James

Hi again EL-
Can't help but notice that you haven't written me back yet. Please respond or call me on your Blackberry. Anyway. Just wanted to let you know that I picked up on the symbolism you were doing with the house and demolishing vs. remodeling? And I think it's great and I think you're great and everything is great and also I might just be high because the US escaped the group of death and Deandre Yedlin came in as a late sub in two consecutive matches and just how great is that kid, right? Even now that his hair is more understated, he's just impossible not to love, according to me. I don't even care about the ESPN commentators who called him Andre DeYedlin because that's almost his name and anyway I hope you write a hundred more books.

Alden Eagle
Chief Football Correspondent, TheComplainist.com


Ugh I hope I don't do anything weird or embarrassing while I'm ill with WORLD CUP FEVER CATCH IT! It's not fair to judge people on what they do during an illness, you know?

Next, having surveyed their future family estate, they "head for Seattle" and now I don't know where they were at all. I don't know if they were actually outside of Seattle when they were looking at the mansion, or if maybe Ana uses the word "Seattle" to only mean downtown. Also I don't care.

Here's a thing I do care about: all these mutterblushing adverbs. Look at this madness!

“Do you like being rich?”
“Yes. Show me someone who doesn’t,” he says darkly.
Okay, get off that subject quickly.
“Anastasia, you’re going to have to learn to be rich, too, if you say yes,” he says softly. “Wealth isn’t something I’ve ever aspired to, Christian.” I frown.
“I know. I love that about you. But then you’ve never been hungry,” he says simply.
His words are sobering.
“Where are we going?” I ask brightly, changing the subject. 

Darkly! Quickly! Softly! Simply! Brightly! Oh, man. One of the first things that a person who wants to write stuff ought to learn is that you gotta use those mutterblushing adverbs awfully sparingly. That's a joke. See? I used some. In contradiction to the statement I was saying. Clever! But seriously. The similarity of the words themselves just pops out in a pretty aggressive fashion and I can't stand it.

Also Ana has to keep changing the subject because her boyf is a monster who is easily enraged. But that's a thing we all know and not new so whatever.

Next Ana and CG go to some rich-guy club and things get amorous pretty quickly.

The "sexy" parts of this book are just something to be endured, like when you're a kid and you watch a movie with your parents and something racy happens and then you're like, "Ugh I hope this ends soon because it's impossible to enjoy in this context."

I guess the difference is that I can't imagine any context in which Ana and CG's trysts would be anything but the worst. I mean, check this out.

The Mile High Club is on the seventy-sixth floor of Columbia Tower, higher even than Christian’s apartment. It’s very now and has the most head-spinning views over Seattle.
“Cristal, ma’am?” Christian hands me a glass of chilled champagne as I sit perched on a barstool.
“Why thank you, sir.” I stress the last word flirtatiously, batting my eyelashes at him deliberately.
He gazes at me and his face darkens. “Are you flirting with me, Miss Steele?” “Yes, Mr. Grey, I am. What are you going to do about it?” “I’m sure I can think of something,” he says, his voice low. “Come—our table’s ready.” As we approach the table, Christian stops me, his hand on my elbow. “Go and take your panties off,” he whispers.Oh? A delicious tingle runs down my spine.
“Go,” he commands quietly.
Whoa, what? I blink up at him. He’s not smiling—he’s dead serious. Every muscle
below my waistline tightens. I hand him my glass of champagne, turn sharply on my heel, and head for the restroom.
Shit. What’s he going to do? Perhaps this club is aptly named. 
First, a question: what the hell kind of weird club is this? Are there no servers? CG is running drinks himself? And why doesn't someone come and tell them that their table is ready? Is it like a mutterblushing Chili's? Did they get issued buzzer to alert them when their table is ready? Or when their fried onion is ready?

I mean, here's the real answer: EL is just a writer who's bored with all aspects of her book besides conversations between Ana and CG and also them having sex together. Anything that's not that has absolutely no business being in her book and is treated like an unwelcome guest. Makes for lean, efficient storytelling! Just kidding.

I don't know exactly where this is heading, but it would be way, way better if Ana were like, "Oh hold on I gotta powder my nose or whatever," and then made her own panty-related decisions, right? Because as it stands, it's quite difficult to tell if she's even that interested.

But look at that last line again because it's the worst: "Shit. What's he going to do? Perhaps this club is aptly named."

Ugh. Mutterblushing of course they're going to do it. "Huh. My boyf told me to take off my panties. I wonder why. Maybe he forgot to wear panties and wants to borrow mine?" She is dumber than I can stand.

Ana spends several paragraphs in the loo. EL burns almost an entire paragraph telling us what the bathroom look like and who cares? This is the only description of the club so far: the bathroom. It's tall. We get that the club is way up in the air. But this is the most substantial description we get of this place: "The restrooms are the height of modern design—all dark wood, black granite, and pools of light from strategically placed halogens." SO MODERNY! I love that she says "restrooms." Plural. I mean, probably they're similar, sure. But I expect she only enters the one. Whatever. She takes her panties off. 

Next EL does that thing where she just rips a sequence from the previous book and jams it in here and doesn't even try to make it seem like she's doing something new because Ana remembers doing the exact same thing before and is all, "Oh hey! That thing again! Bet you're super happy to reading about that thing again!" And she's wrong. I'm not. I hate it and it's the worst-worst. 

CG has ordered oysters while Ana was away. Makes the club feel like this weird ghost-club. CG brought Ana her champagne. CG knew somehow when their table was ready. CG orders while Ana is in the modern bathroom. It's almost like they're the only people there because they're in love or whatever? No because this author is terrible.

The oysters are brought to the table by a server so I guess there's at least one other person around. Great.

Then CG feeds Ana a half-dozen oysters. Groan. Groan groan groan. FTB.

Here: look at this bullshit:

“I think you liked oysters last time you tried them.” His voice is low, seductive.
“Only time I’ve tried them.” I’m all breathy, my voice exposing me. His lips twitch with a smile.
“Oh, Miss Steele—when will you learn?” he muses.
He takes an oyster from the dish and lifts his other hand from his thigh. I flinch in an- ticipation, but he reaches for a slice of lemon.
“Learn what?” I ask. Jeez, my pulse is racing. His long, skilled fingers gently squeeze the lemon over the shellfish.
“Eat,” he says, holding the shell close to my mouth. I part my lips, and he gently places the shell on my bottom lip. “Tip your head back slowly,” he murmurs. I do as he asks and the oyster slips down my throat. He doesn’t touch me, only the shell.
Christian helps himself to one, then feeds me another. We continue this tortuous rou- tine until all twelve are gone. His skin never connects with mine. It’s driving me crazy.
“Still like oysters?” he asks as I swallow the final one. I nod, flushed, craving his touch. “Good.”

SO HOT RIGHT? There's just nothing redeeming in this book. Not any shred of decency anywhere. Like what the hell are we even reading here? Everything reads like a double entendre but it's not even a single entendre. It's a non-tendre. And what the hell is he talking about when he says "when will you learn?" What a dick thing to say.

This is supposed to be sexy, right? I can only assume that this is supposed to be sexy. But it isn't. It's garbage and I hate it.

And you know what?

That's enough of that. There's like pages and pages more of this shit--this shit where they're eating food and they've made it perfectly clear that they're going to have sex somewhere and I believe that I've made it perfectly clear that I don't care at all and so this is going to be a short entry. We can read about their boring, post-oyster sex next week and that will just be enough of that.

4.5 chapters to go. We can beat this thing. Together. I believe that we will win!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

definitely didn't read this.