I kinda quit this, obviously. And part of me is sorry, of course, because there were literally several of you reading it. But also I kinda couldn't take any more of this book, and a lot of that is about how this chapter here that I'm going to write about just kinda breaks the informal contract that a book has with its readers. The contract goes something like this: "Ok so I might not be a good book but I am going to kinda like keep talking about the same stuff and totally not go off on any dumb tangents for no reason."
Yeah so this chapter is just a dumb tangent for no reason. Let's talk more about it!
But seriously tho: this all started as a procrastination project, and yeah, I'm procrastinating again. I was doing this to procrastinate from writing fiction and then at a certain point I somehow ended up in a band and started writing songs as an even more involved act of procrastination, and I still do that, but in the meantime I've put certain efforts into writing fiction again, and that has been a rough process, so I say, "Hey let's do this again! Maybe catching up with 50 Shades will be like catching up with an old friend! Or at the very least, like catching up with a weird kid you kinda sorta remember from elementary school, who's now a billionaire but used to eat glue. And maybe still eats glue."
The thing about being in a band is this: if I write a song, my band has to listen to it! And even help me with it! You just cannot buy that type of gratification! It's basically unpossible! Blogging is solitary work that you just kinda shove out into the aether and hope that maybe someone notices other than Russian spam bots but you know that probably it's only going to be the spam bots. And even this is far, far more rewarding than trying to write fiction when you don't have anything established. When you're basically unpublished and you're seeing your peers get book deals and do stuff and things and you're like, "I could do that, maybe, if I could." But I don't know how and I don't know how anyone knows how so then I'm like, "Maybe I'll try to figure out that song about how drivers are jerks, because at least my friends in my band will have to listen!"
Here are the songs I'm working on:
- This one is about cars and the only lyric I know so far is, "Honk your horn and we'll all go faster." That's a joke because obvs honking your horn doesn't make anyone go faster. IRONY!
- Here's this one about how the internet is full of garbage monsters: "Don't read the comments! If you read the comments, you'll vomit!" That's a great rhyme and you know it! Hey and if any of you Russian spam bots have bands? Well. If you do, you're probably working in some super obscure sub-genre of EDM, I expect. But if any of you are in any kind of band that has lyrics don't you steal my sweet rhyme! It's a good rhyme, and worthy of being stolen. But don't!
Ok. Let's do this thing.
WHERE WERE WE:
Shit I dunno. I think Aspen? I think this is like a side-quest or something?
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.
- Ana takes her top off on a beach while reminiscing about the wedding and Christian gets mad.
- They ride a jet-ski back to their honeymoon yacht and riding jet-skis cheers up Christian a bit. Then they have sex.
- 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.
- Ana buys a camera.
- 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.
- Ana figures out that Jack Hyde was the arsonist.
- Christian bullies Ana until she agrees to go by "Ana Grey" in her professional life.
- Ana is extremely jealous of the architect hired to remodel the new home she will share with Christian. Ana cuts Christian's hair.
- Ana discovers that Christian keeps an unlicensed gun in his office. While Christian is away on business, Ana has a few drinks with Kate. When Ana returns home, Jack Hyde has been apprehended during an apparent home invasion.
- Christian spends a whole chapter pouting because Ana went out with Kate without telling him.
- Christian pouts some more and reveals that he and Jack Hyde both used to live in Detroit.
- I don't remember. So probably nothing I guess.
Right? Cool! So let's go! I think the characters ended up in Aspen for some reason, maybe at the end of chapter 12. IT IS ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!
We land smoothly at Sardy Field at 12:25 p.m. (MST). Stephan brings the plane to a halt a little way from the main terminal, and through the windows I spot a large VW minivan waiting for us.
|He's a pilot AND your guide to Aspen's nightlife!
I love this opening because it's both clinical and wrong. You see, this trip is happening in late August, so MDT would be correct. So why didn't EL write, "We land smoothly at Sardy Field just after noon." What is the point of this specificity? Also, England uses some version of daylight saving time, too, so it's not like this is some weird Americanism that ought not to have occurred to a British writer. Maybe she thought the S stood for Savings. Whatever.
Hey how long should we spend talking about this landing, tho, do you think? Well! Let's see how long EL spends talking about it and talk about it exactly the same amount!
“Good landing.” Christian grins and shakes Stephan’s hand as we get ready to file out of the jet.
“It’s all about the density altitude, sir.” Stephan smiles back. “Beighley here is good at math.”
Christian nods at Stephan’s first officer. “You nailed it, Beighley. Smooth landing.”
OH SHIT! Beighley is a . . . . she? And she's a she who's . . . good at math? Ok I take back all the complaints I ever complained about how EL hates women and whatever. This is some radical shit--asserting that a lady who flies planes could be good at math. I'm sorry I ever doubted you, EL! You are truly a champion for all womankind. Oh but then by the end Beighley sounds like a real teacher's pet. I'm legit surprised that this doesn't send um. . . what's her name? Kate? No. Ana! Doesn't send Ana on one of her famous jealousy jags where she's like, "Ugh that betch accepted a compliment from my husband. I bet she wants to intercourse him."“Thank you, sir.” She grins smugly.
Srsly tho: why are we padding this chapter out with this stuff? I've used this line before but a writing teacher used it in class one time so I'll use it again: "It's not your job to account for every drag on every cigarette nor every sip from every cup of coffee." I am so not interested in any of this. "Ok I get it! CG surrounds himself with capable people, even the unimportant ones, like the pilots, in whom he literally entrusts his very life." I don't know about you, but the fact that CG has a good HR department is making me feel v sexy right now. Just imagining him, going through that final stack of CVs, and doing interviews and whatever? Forget it!
Ok so somehow Taylor is there in Aspen ahead of them or something? Baffling. I don't think Taylor took the jet so somehow there was some faster way to get to Aspen then the private jet? But they didn't do that? WAIT is TAYLOR A CYLON? Is there more than one Taylor? Because that would explain everything I guess. Ok cool that's my new theory.
Anyway they've got a van rented for their vaycay. And that's like, so hilarious? Because vans are for poors, not riches.
“Want to make out in the back of the van?” Christian murmurs to me, a mischievous gleam in his eye.
Well, I don't have to tell any of you that that shit right there is just absolutely classic abusive behavior, right? That's what I thought. You're right there with me.I giggle. Who is this man, and what has he done with Mr. Unbelievably Angry of the last couple of days?
Here's what the Rockies look like: "They’re lush and green, and the highest are capped with snow and look like a child’s drawing of mountains." I mean, you could say that about anything, right? Maybe the kid in question is like, rill good at drawing. I don't know! Kids these days are wicked talented!
Twice in a single page CG mentions that he used to come to Aspen often when he was young. So that's some good editing! The editor was probably like, "Be sure to drive the point home, EL! It's vital!"
Anyway they get to CG's Aspen place which is another excuse for EL to list colors and to make up another unlikely name for someone. Colors: gray, beige, and red. Unlikely name: the live-in Aspen housekeeper, Carmella Bentley. Ah yes! Carmella Bentley. Another in the long list of names in this series that would not be at all out of place in the context of of the sort of internet browsing that would inspire you to immediately clear your search history. [Editor's note: hey which is a better made up porn name? Portia Bentley or Mercedes Bentley? Please advise.]
Lots and lots of space taken up with descriptions of CG's lavish vacation home. It feels a bit out of character, honestly. This is a rich guy, of course, but he's antisocial, and as a result, it doesn't make sense to me that he has a vacation home with four huge bedroom suites. I mean, I guess maybe he imagined bringing his family here? Exactly like he's doing now? But I dunno. I just don't really get why he would own this place, unless he's also making bank off it on Airbnb or whatever. But even that would seem a little weird for him--can't imagine that this is a dude who is comfortable with the idea of other peeps touching his stuff.
Anyway Ana also thinks it's weird that CG has this place and he doesn't really explain it in any kind of meaningful way. Meaning that EL got that this vacation home seems out of character but still liked the idea of setting a scene here, and so did it anyway. Fine. It's your book EL! N.O.M.B. The two have a little moment where we recap Ana's insecurities and CG's empty compliments, and then we move along.
Ok so I guess everybody was planning on hiking but it starts raining and now we're into some of that aggressively gendered shit that's just unbelievably annoying and just so far removed from real life as I've ever understood it. Gross and dummmmm.
“We could go into town,” Mia pipes up. Ethan smirks at her.
“Perfect weather for fishing,” Christian suggests.
“I’ll go fish,” Ethan says.
Groan. Are you serious? Hey also: it's not going to be a surprise to anyone that I don't know anything about fishing, but what the shit do the fish care if it's raining? Are the fish like, "Oh nice! It's raining! That will keep people from eating us! Let's let our guard down!" OR and this is far more sinister: if it's raining hard enough can fish accidentally swim into the air? I just googled it. INCONCLUSIVE!“Let’s split up.” Mia claps her hands. “Girls, shopping—boys, outdoor boring stuff.”
|I am terrified!
CG offers to stick around the house during the fishing and shopping, presumably so that he can do some intercourse to Ana. Rejected!
“No, you go fish,” I answer. Christian needs boy time.Ugh. FTB. What is there even to say about this stupidity? Dunno! I legit dunno! Sorry.
Anyway some shit is going on with Elliot and Kate and I haven't really brought it up because I don't care at all and it's all innuendo and glances and so on and none of it has been interesting enough to even make fun of, but it's going to become "significant" eventually so there you go. Guess I gotta summarize it a little. They're being all weird, and Ana has decided that it's because Elliot used to get sweaty with Gia Something Italian who did some of the designs for the house and I'm like oh that's interezzzzzzzzzzzzzz and the zees are me falling asleep obvs. He's got something going on because he says he needs to go into town to buy a battery for his watch.
Cmon. Hey I just realized that the battery is dead in my watch and that's a bummer because I hardly ever wear my watch because I'm a modern human person so a watch is a bracelet that tells the time. Getting a watch battery is not a thing you do in the modern world while you're on vacation because you just look at your phone. Where do you get watch batteries? Watch stores? Jewelry stores? Oh ok cool you and I both figured out what this pointless chapter is about so we don't really need to even keep reading it but I guess we might as well because we've made it this far. Hey come up with a better lie, Elliot, if you don't want us to figure out your shit.
Anyway soon Anne, Kate, and Ima are all shopping because ladies be shopping! And then they want to go dancing because that's a thing ladies enjoy doing and men dislike because cooties but will probably go along with anyway. "We should throw some shapes this evening," Kate says because she is a #CoolTeen who is definitely well-versed in the way that young Americans use words and #slang.
The music playing in the store is by contemporary artists for young people like Aretha Franklin and Dionne Warwick. Hey is this cool boutique Ann Taylor? Pretty sure it is. NBD, Anne, but they got those everywhere. You don't gotta go all the way to Aspen.
Annabelle tries on a short dress that Mila says will be just the kind of thing that Crispin Gray will go crazy for because it is small and silver and that's almost like his last name. Hey that's normal for a sister to be like, "Hey let me tell you what will be sure to get my bro ready for a little bedroom foozball," right? That's like a cool sister / brother kind of thing? I thought so. Also: I'm willing to accept feedback on the phrase "bedroom foozball." Let me know if anybody can come up with a grosser pair of words plz. Tell me in the comments, or on snapchat, where all the cool kids like me and Cate are hanging out.
Anyway ZOMG Anna is looking out the window and RECORD SCRATCH there's Elliot, talking to Gia! OH NO HE DI-NT! Of course he di-nt. What was his plan? "I know I'll run off to Aspen to cheat on my girlfriend! Oh and since I'm going to Aspen, maybe I'll bring my girlfriend, too! I see no way this could possibly go wrong!"
Ana is getting all torn up inside over this Elliot / Gia situation, and meanwhile she and Kale and Meow are totally Carrie & Samantha & one of the other ones because they're shopping and buying Manolo Blahniks. Anne interrupts this with another RECORD SCRATCH because she says, and I quote, "Kate, how are you and Elliot getting along?"
That is a cool and not at all awkward question. Hey um. "Getting along" is like what you say about toddlers or pets. "Hey how is your new [cat name] getting along with your [dog name]?" That's not a question you ask about adults in adult relationships. Kate brushes it off but it's clear that there's more afoot! More things are going to happen in this whole Kate / Elliot thing! That's the thing we all care about, right? Not about catching that dude who's trying to kill Crispin Grey? That's what I thought. Give the people what they want, EL James! This is such a side quest. It's like when you're playing a video game and a NPC says, "Hey I'll give you ten gold if you go all the way back to the other side of the map and back for no reason," and you're like, "Ugh fine" because this is not a good game. In our analogy, you're playing a bad video game, which makes it more analogous to this bad chapter book. [Editor's note: haha chapter book? That makes it sound like it's for kids!]
Hey I wonder how many times strawberry daiquiris have been created in a private home and then consumed by drinkers curled up around a fireplace. Anyway Ana and Kate talk and it's v interesting, I can assure you.Once back at the house, Kate decides we deserve cocktails after our shopping extravaganza and whips up some strawberry daiquiris for us. We curl up on the sitting room couches in front of the blazing log fire.
A series of events not worth really going into, nor even happening, leads many of our characters to end up in the garage at the same time. No one has a very good reason for being there. Anne is looking for firewood, perhaps so she can enjoy more daiquiris. CG is returning from fishing, and also Elliot and Kate are there too because they are characters in this book and might as well be somewhere. And anyway things are totes awkward still with Elliot and Kate and I'm just like, get it over with! Resolve this side quest so we can proceed!
Anyway they go inside and then Ana and CG have sex but accidentally forget to turn the bath off but that's fine I guess.
We sit at opposite ends of the bath, which is very full—so full that whenever we move, water laps over the side and splashes to the floor. It’s very decadent. Even more decadent is Christian washing my feet, massaging the soles, pulling gently on my toes. He kisses each one and gently bites my little toe.
“Aaah!” I feel it—there, in my groin.That's totally a thing, right? That nerve that connects the pinky toe and the um. Groin? C'mon EL James. This is a sex book about sex. Groin? Groin is where sports players get injured. Groin. Let's all try to think up a less sexy word than groin. Ok foozball obviously but we already talked about that. Besides foozball? Go ahead. I'll wait.
Anyway here's one of those weird EL Jump cuts that don't make any sense. Scene: in the bathtub. Cut. Scene: Ana getting dressed. Can't be too far from the bathtub because why would it be? Ana wants to know how CG thinks she looks in her new dress so she writes him an email. And rather than just walk over to her from wherever he is, CG responds to her email. Christ. It's not even that they should be texting instead of emailing. It's that literally CG should just walk in, like putting on his tie or whatever, and be like, "Mr. Grey needs to use the mirror, Mrs. Grey. Oh damn! You sexy."
Right? All these absurd things happen in this book, but like. . . the most ordinary things are somehow given these insane, complicated justifications. "Hmm what could possibly cause CG to be in the same place as Ana? Well, they are married, and are staying in the same room together in the house. And are both going out so logic would have it that they'd both need to get dressed since they were both in the bathtub higher up on this page. Oh I know! Ana will send some emails. Sexy!"
Anyway, Ana and CG have a little moment and it's sexier than anything else that happens in this chapter, but that's not saying much so don't like, get too excited, ok? Ok.
And then next we skip toward the end of the evening and they're at a restaurant and Elliot asks Kate to marry him because of course he does.
“My beautiful Kate, I love you. Your grace, your beauty, and your fiery spirit have no equal, and you have captured my heart. Spend your life with me. Marry me.”
Holy shit!That's a real fedora of a proposal, bro. Good jorb. And that's the end of the chapter!
Wow. We got through it pretty easily. I'm kind of impressed, honestly. Many times I thought about writing this up and every time I thought about it, I just thought of what a dumb garbage chapter this was in this dumb garbage book. Maybe I just needed a sabbatical. Needed some space. Maybe me and Fifty Shad3s needed to like read other people for a while? Yeah I guess so. I guess so. Also that puts us at about 51% of this mess, so that's something! You know, I bet we can do it. I bet we can. Maybe even before the new movie comes out, because let's be honest: they're probably not really making another movie so getting ahead of that should be easy. Hey did you guys see either of the new Superman movies? That guy who played Superman would be a good Kristin Grey in that both Kristin and this version of Superman are just B.A.S. My new thing is acronyms for you to solve. HINT: They always have at least one swear. That narrows it down!
Hey. I miss you. And by *you* I mean the like, four people who I think read this who I don't see all the time. Let's hang out sometime soon, ok?