Friday, October 23, 2015

50 Shad3s: Chapter 9 part 2

We started this like, when? Ten years ago or something, right? Maybe longer? Seems like it. It literally seems like it. And it would be nice to say that we were closing in on the home stretch but we're not. We're so not. I'm getting slower. Each day that passes sees the average speed of this process decrease. Sadly, the limit of this equation is 0. Did I say that right? I think so.

It's like a blockbuster fantasy series where they split the last book into two movies. And then they see that last movie and they're like "ugh too long!" and split that in half. And keep doing that over and over and anyway here we are still on Chapter 9.

Have I been busy with other things? No. Yes. No. Mostly no but I've been procrastinating by working on music instead of writing which is a lot like when Michael Jordan was a baseball player only like an alternate version of that where instead of going from a thing where I'm an all-time great to a thing where I'm not that good at all, it's more like going from a thing where I'm just ok to a thing where I'm not that good at all. But hey maybe I'll post some here when some is post-able.

I had to remind myself what was going on in our story, because there wasn't much going on and that makes it harder to remember. But the good thing is that it doesn't really matter. This is one of those books you can pick up and start reading from any random page and then put it down again because it's terrible and what's the point and why don't you read a good book instead? That's my advice anyway.

Anyway. I don't know what's happening. Our heroes are still caught in a bad romance and Ana's ex boss is still trying to murder Christian and Christian is still legit spying on one of his ex gfs and Ana, in turn, is jealous that he might still like his ex.

Think about that right?

  • CG is getting updates on Leila from her therapist, which is totes illegal
  • He's probably paying her tuition just so he can keep track of her better
  • He has her gun in his office, stolen from a crime scene.
Look: if I'm Ana, I'm less worried that my husband likes his ex better than he likes me, and more worried that my husband is plotting his ex's murder because CG looks like a full-on murderer. I mean he's so murdery! Everything he does pretty much always is so murdery!

Wow. This book might actually end with Ana's former boss getting shot by CG and probably we'll be expected to applaud that or whatever. I mean we've been told all this shit about how Ana is a gun expert which is fitting because she's so competent and outdoorsy and stuff. But this is mostly a book about Ana doing absolutely nothing, so my bet is that CG is the shooter, and Jack Hyde is the die-er. I know this is pretty obvious but I just put it together now because I've been paying almost no attention to this book this year. 

Anyway let's see if I'm right! And if I'm wrong, I'll go back later and edit this shit so that future generations will be tricked into thinking I was right all along. 

Wait so where were we?

Ana Steele is married to billionaire / kink-enthusiast / child-abuse survivor Christian Grey. He is domineering and they are usually upset with each other except for when they're having sex. 


  1. Ana takes her top off on a beach while reminiscing about the wedding and Christian gets mad.
  2. They ride a jet-ski back to their honeymoon yacht and riding jet-skis cheers up Christian a bit. Then they have sex. 
  3. Ana discovers that Christian gave her a bunch of hickies and she is angry. But then she gets over it and they look at art together and CG learns that there was a fire in his server room. 
  4. Ana buys a camera.
  5. Ana and Christian return to Seattle. After visiting Christian's parents, they become embroiled in a medium-speed chase on the interstate. After eluding their pursuers, they have sex in a parking lot. 
  6. Ana figures out that Jack Hyde was the arsonist.
  7. Christian bullies Ana until she agrees to go by "Ana Grey" in her professional life. 
  8. Ana is extremely jealous of the architect hired to remodel the new home she will share with Christian. Ana cuts Christian's hair.
  9. Ana discovers that Christian keeps an unlicensed gun in his office. 

Let's catch up with the most erotic of adult activities: reading emails!

Seriously, EL's approach to email in this series is extremely 20th century. IRL, email is a thing you put up with because you have to because that's where your receipts get sent and whatever so you have to have one and you use it as little as you can. Like right now? I got basically everything dumping straight into that "promotions" tab and it's absolutely great. It's like, really so great. No way that real people send each other these little three-line emails in a post SMS world. I will never get over the way that EL timestamps all these messages and has these people like, change the subject line literally every time. Oh and their signatures. They're going out and adjusting the wording of their email signatures for each message. 

Here's Ana's last one, which is the last I'll say on this matter until next time which is probably like in one page: 

Anastasia Grey
Now Moist Commissioning Editor, SIP 
I genuinely wish I were making this up. But I'm not! Not even the littlest little bit. No, that's in there, gentle readers. Ana calls herself moist. Ana uses the m-word. Look it up! No don't. It's not worth it.

Nothing happens in these emails even though there are like 13 of them. I think that's the actual number. I was trying to count but not very hard because I don't care. It's a lot though. Many pages.


I just looked ahead. After those dumb emails, EL skips ahead two days and I know that it's two days later because of the timestamp on more emails. 

CG is flying to New York for business or whatever and then he does one of his tantrums because he wants her to laugh for no one else. And while he's away, he wants her to leave her makeup on her makeup shelf, and while he's in New York, he wants her to never leave the house.

Not really related to anything? But a couple years ago I figured out that I didn't like Weezer. I spent a long time asserting that Weezer had two cool albums and now I'm like, "Oh hey maybe it's actually zero?" Maybe! Maybe.

Here's some full-on post 9/11 world shit for you guys:

“Ana, I don’t want to keep you from your friends. But I thought she was coming back to the apartment.” 
“Okay,” I acquiesce. “We’ll stay in.” 
“Only while this lunatic is out there. Please.” 
“I’ve said okay,” I mutter in exasperation, rolling my eyes.
Look we don't want to take away everyone's freedom or whatever so this is only for as long as terrorists are all running around everywhere terrorizing everybody, ok?

What's kinda fun about this, tho, is that right before it, Ana is all flipping out because CG hasn't called yet after landing and maybe he crashed or whatever. So they're kinda perfect for each other, jealousy-wise. But of course CG has all the power in their relationship so their jealousies don't actually offset.

I guess they would in the NFL, right? "The offense did a bunch of shitty things and also felt jealous. The defense felt jealous. These penalties will offset. Repeat first down over and over and over and over and over." That's what an NFL ref would say about our heroes. This is v. topical because it is football season.

Here's the end of their phone conversation and it's awful so here: you read it. I know that this is the literary equivalent of handing you an old milk carton and saying, "Ooh this is spoiled. Smell it!" But that's what this whole endeavor represents, really, and you implicitly agreed to read this kind of shit when you came over here. That's what my lawyer has advised me: this is your fault, so quit trying to sue.

“Are you flirting with me?” 
I sense his grin. “I’d better go. Ana, do as you’re told, please. The security
team knows what they’re doing.” 
“Yes, Christian, I will.” I sound exasperated again. Jeez, I get the message. 
“I’ll see you tomorrow evening. I’ll call you later.” 
“To check up on me?” 
“Oh, Christian!” I scold him. 
Au revoir, Mrs. Grey.” 
Au revoir, Christian. I love you.” 
He inhales sharply. “And I you, Ana.” 
Neither of us hangs up. 
“Hang up, Christian,” I whisper. 
“You’re a bossy little thing, aren’t you?” 
“Your bossy little thing.” 
“Mine,” he breathes. “Do as you’re told. Hang up.” 
“Yes, Sir.” I hang up and grin stupidly at the phone. 
A few moments later, an e-mail appears in my inbox. 

RIGHT? I think the part that gets me most is the end. Where CG sends a follow-up email because yeah they love each other so much or whatever. Ugh. Just when you're like, "Finally! This is over!" EL is like, "But wait! There's more!"

One weird bit: the way Ana tags her own speech toward the top of the section. "I sound exasperated again. Jeez, I get the message."

So IRL people are pretty poor judges of how they sound, and not always even any good at judging how they feel. But I trust Ana more about how she feels compared to how she sounds. This sort of thing feels like a swing from Ana's point of view over to EL's. If Ana instead says, "Christian is exasperating" we could put it together ourselves. Or, EL could even drop the line. Ana could just think, "Jeez, I get the message," and it wouldn't be remarkable prose but we'd get the point.

Hey I just realized that I spell geez "geez" and Ana spells it "jeez" and my computer is ok with either but mine is better because mine is short for "gee whiz" which is v old timey and fine but "jeez" is short for "Jesus" and that's probably some kind of crime against god or whoever.

But geez the next thing you know, they get off the phone, and then immediately send each other emails and I'm like quit already ugh.

In a different context, this could be cute--we just got off the phone but I love you so I just had to switch over to some different mode of communication!

But it isn't cute because they do it literally every time and I'm tirrrrrrred of it. Especially because CG is just reiterating his bossiness and "I wear the pants around here!" bullshit.

Check out this smooth transition from reading emails to some different thing:

God, I love that man. Hannah knocks on my door, distracting me, and brings me back to the now.
Kate looks gorgeous. In her tight white jeans and red camisole, she’s ready to rock the town. She’s chatting animatedly with Claire in reception when I make my entrance.
So we cut from CG's email to Hannah knocking at Ana's door, and then cut again immediately to. . . not sure where. Takes until the end of the paragraph to actually establish where we are. 

And really? I'm fine with that. I was all prepared to complain about EL breaking point of view here because she kind of does. She sets up that second section more like a film than like a novel in first-person POV. You can kind of see it--establishing shot on Kate, then panning around to show Ana enter. Sure. Why not? It's not like we're confused by the out-of-sequence way that Ana narrates this. I think that writing school made me, on occasion, vigilant about shit that doesn't really matter. 

Yes, it's kinda true that the first two sentences of that second paragraph kinda like pull back into what feels more like third person before slipping back into first, but whatever. It's completely fine. Or, at least, it's so low on the list of EL's crimes that I feel like a jerk for even mentioning it. 

What's weird, though, is EL's double transition. She uses Hannah to pull Ana away from the email she's reading but there's no reason for this. Ana's done reading the email. She doesn't need some external force to make her stop reading it because she's done reading it. And then EL just skips ahead to this scene with Kate anyway. So here's my rewrite: 

God, I love that man. 
Kate is chatting animatedly with Claire in reception when I make my entrance. She looks gorgeous. In her tight white jeans and red camisole, Kate's ready to rock the town. 
I couldn't help but reorder to keep everything strictly in Ana's POV. And I thought about putting Kate in a different outfit but honestly? EL is kind of ahead of her time by being so far behind the times. 

Follow me? When EL was actually writing this book, her 90s fashion palette was clunky and wrong, but times change, and now by accident, it's almost like she got it right. Almost!

But yeah. Sorry, Hannah. You're kind of a non-character, and I'm just cutting you down further. Nothing personal!

Anyway Kate of course insists that they go to the Zig Zag CafĂ© which is too bad because that's a real place and I feel kinda bad about any of the real places that get mentioned in this book because I worry about them getting ruined by 50 Shades re-enactors or whatever. 

And of course something is going to go wrong, right? Ana is the hero, but in this deeply reactionary book, CG's constant insistence that Ana follow his every whim seems rewarded at every turn. So *something* is going to happen, right? I mean, this book can't just be about *nothing* ever happening, can it?

Anyway. They drive over to the bar and Kate tells Ana about how the whole family is being followed by extra security and we're reminded that Kate and Elliot have a far, far more reasonable relationship than do Ana and CG but that's not a surprise; everybody's relationship is better than Ana and CG's.

“Christian hasn’t told you any of this, has he?” 
I flush once more. “No.” 
“Oh, Ana, how annoying.” 
I sigh. As ever, Kate has hit the nail squarely on the head in her usual sledgehammer style. “Do you know why?” If Christian’s not going to tell me, then maybe Kate will. 
“Elliot said it’s something to do with information stored on Jack Hyde’s computer when he was at SIP.” 
Holy crap. “You’re kidding.” A surge of anger pulses through me. How does Kate know about this when I don’t? 

Section included only because of Ana's overreaction. My favorite is the first one. Ok so Ana's husband is withholding information from her and treating her like a child. Kate says that's annoying, and it is annoying. I think that's an understatement if anything, but Ana's reaction to Kate would be more appropriate if, instead, Kate had said something more like, "Whoa that's fucked the fuck up." And I mean, it is fucked the fuck up. But that might be kinda harsh to say to your friend whose marriage you'd like to support. But anyway. Kate hardly seems like a sledgehammer to me. EL just keeps demanding that all characters have at max like, two traits.

And then the end is so vague. Ok so Hyde had some information on his computer. OH NOES! Not information!

I feel like this guy was retconned into being a villain, you know?  Like, he's creepy from the beginning. But let's be real. You can't throw a rock without hitting a creepy dude. Unfortunately there's still that chance that your rock-throwing could also injure someone non-creepy or do property damage so I can't endorse it as a general strategy--random rock-throwing.

But I kinda feel like this book has slowly escalated Hyde all the way to super villain.

See--he was fired within moments of explicitly trying to force Ana into sex. Literally a few minutes later, he's getting his ass kicked and getting thrown out of the building. And I can kinda get on board with the idea that he now seeks revenge or whatever. But the information on his computer angle means that he was plotting something before he got fired. Um. Why?

Oh right because he's a super villain. That's what they *do*.

Quick scene at the Zig Zag: Kate confirms that Gia the architect is a lady who likes having sex with men and therefore is a horrible person. EL hates every woman in this book.

Second quick scene at the Zig Zag: Ana and Kate are getting drunk. Their friendly banter rings pretty false but whatever. I just wanna get through this so we can learn about whatever thing is going to happen here to end this chapter with a crazy cliffhanger!

Oh, here it is:

Ana checks her phone and of course CG has called her five times and sent her texts and angry emails and she's so busted for having a nice time with her friend.

Then they go back home and the place is all messed up but one of the security guys has subdued Jack Hyde, and that's the end of the chapter. Hyde has not yet been shot yet, I don't think. So I still could be right on that one.

I seriously have been working on this chapter (half chapter!) for several months. I don't know quite what happened in the interim. I don't know quite where my summer went. Or fall. Or the last year. Or. . .

Anyway. Here's a little more, if anyone still looks at this, or is subscribed to it, or whatever.

If you are, thank you. I'm hoping to put up some non-EL James things before the end of the year. And some EL James things too. We'll see.

Anyway. Thanks. 

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