Friday, May 27, 2016

50 Shad3s: Chapter 19

Ana is pregnant. ZOMG.

Guys I just read this chapter and I don't know. I don't know. So EL is getting increasingly desperate here in the home stretch. Less and less likely things are happening. And um. Yeah. I mean you read that top part. The spoiler. I mean, to the extent that this thing can be spoiled. Like, I want to get through this. I totally totally do. But um. It's not easy. It's really just not easy. This thing is non-non-non-non-non-non-heinous.

But before we get carried away--where were we again?

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. 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. 
  10. Christian spends a whole chapter pouting because Ana went out with Kate without telling him. 
  11. Christian pouts some more and reveals that he and Jack Hyde both used to live in Detroit. 
  12. I don't remember. So probably nothing I guess.
  13. Oh I guess in twelve everyone left for Aspen. And then in thirteen, Elliot asks Kate to marry him. 
  14. Kate says yes and someone touches Ana's butt and she slaps him and then CG hits him.
  15. They go home and nothing happens but Leila shows up at the end.
  16. That Leila thing is NBD but at the end Ana learns that her dad has been injured in a car wreck.
  17. Ana goes to Portland to be closer to Ray while he recovers.
  18. It's Ana's birthday and Ray is recovering. 
So Ray wakes up. That's cool. That thing we were so worried about--the death of a tertiary character--did not come to pass. I know. I know. Huge sighs of relief all around! I don't think any of us thought that Ray was going to die, right? Nah. We didn't think that. 

Once Ray is awake, CG immediately suggests getting him moved to Seattle so that his mom can be in charge. He is only comfortable with situations that he controls, or that his proxies control. Whatever. It does kinda semi make sense. I don't think Ray has got anybody in Portland really. Maybe José lives there, but Ray doesn't have any family there so whatever. 

Pretty soon, now that they don't have to worry anymore, our heroes return to their hotel room for some adult situations. 

It's not awful, but I dunno. They talk so. mutter. flushing. much. And I'm just like, really? Part of it is that I just think this style of little "quips" in books is really hard to pull off. "Gentle sarcasm" is one of the absolute hardest things to do in writing, I think. It's kind of like whenever characters are "flirting" in a movie and three lines in it's already slid into outright sexual harassment because whoever wrote the dialogue just can't handle subtlety. I think the same thing is going on here--the quips just feel too goddamn obvious and ham-handed. Here are some samples of things these characters say to each other in this section: "Mrs. Grey, are you seducing me?" "Variety is the spice of life." What a couple of absolute charmers!

Anyway. They do it. Shortest version: Ana touches herself while tied to a couch with the belts of bathrobes. And like, I'm fine with it? But it's yet another scene in this book that feels really tailored for the male gaze, which I find kind of a bummer. When does Ana ever like, want something? Would that really be so bad? If just for once, Ana showed some initiative? Whatever. 

Well. She kind of does, at the end of this scene? But of course that's cut off: 

Christian snorts. “I was hoping for round two.” And my mercurial Fifty is back. I arch my brow and stop by the bed. 
“Well, in that case, I think I’ll be in charge.” 
He gapes at me, and I push him onto the bed and quickly straddle him, pinning his hands down beside his head. 
He grins up at me. “Well, Mrs. Grey, now that you’ve got me, what are you going to do with me?” 
I lean down and whisper in his ear, “I am going to fuck you with my mouth.” 
He closes his eyes, inhaling sharply, and I run my teeth gently along his jaw. 
Section break.

Isn't it kind of a bummer that that's how EL frames the scene? We only see the parts where CG is in charge? Ana developing more sexual agency is one of the themes of this series, but EL is always dodging opportunities to explore it. Like this one, for instance. What's that about? Dunno. I know it probably sounds like I'm sad that I don't get to hear all about CG getting a beej. This is not the case. I'm just sick of these sex scenes that're like, "Ok you hold still and have no opinions and I'll decide what happens because why shouldn't the bedroom be a metaphor for our entire relationship?"

Next we get one of the more unlikely sequences in the book, and that's really saying something! A Seattle cop wants to talk to Ana so he says he'll just pop on down to Portland because why not? Why wouldn't he literally give up an entire day for a simple conversation, rather than do it over the phone or wait until Ana comes back home?

OMG GUYS it's just like the first book where Ana interviewed CG only now it's a cop interviewing Ana! THIS. MEANS. SOMETHING. JK no it doesn't. It doesn't mean anything at all. But seriously: this is hells of impossible, this think this cop does.

After breakfast they go see Ray again and promise to get him donuts from Voodoo and this is just the sort of detail that makes you feel like, "Whoa! EL definitely typed the words 'Portland' and 'donut' into google. Otherwise, she couldn't have managed anything like this v high degree of authenticity!"

The cop comes to talk to them at 4PM. Guys I'm really so annoyed by this. I mean I'm annoyed by this whole thing obvs but when EL tries to drift this thing into "thriller" territory and out of "sex book for people who don't read sex books" territory, it just kind of for reals doesn't work.

Anyhoo, the cop tells Ana that Hyde accuses her of sexual harassment and "lewd advances" and that's all very silly, yes, of course, but the thing about this sequence that's most implausible is the simple fact that surely by this point Ana would have given a statement about all her interactions with Hyde, right? And yet the cop is hearing about Hyde getting beaten down by Ana for the first time. Uh, ok. Good jorb, cops!

Also the cops tell Ana and CG what seems to me like an unreasonable amount of stuff about their investigation of Hyde. Whatever. I guess maybe it's what cops do for rich people--compromise an investigation in the rich people's favor.

The cop asks CG about a note and Ana makes it clear she doesn't know about any note so I gather that this is not something that I've just forgotten about and instead is a new detail that we'll doubtless learn more about later.

CG quite fairly asks the cop why this couldn't have happened over the phone and the cop says some bullshit about visiting his aunt and that's the end of the interview. It's an absolute waste of time. Particularly odd that the cop decided to come all the way to PDX for this pointless chat, when the Hyde story has been on the back burner for like, half the book or so. Silly.

Ugh. They are literally back in Seattle the next morning, having transported Ray via helicopter to a Seattle hospital. Makes the interview sequence all the more impossible.

Ok. So. The end of this chapter guys. . . oh man. Please. Brace yourselves. It's like, rill bad.

While Ana is helping Ray get settled into his new room in Seattle her phone rings. She doesn't recognize the number so she lets it go to voicemail. This is a bit of a revelation since Ana is always answering her phone without looking at the caller ID but whatever. I guess it's nice to know that she doesn't have some weird phone without caller ID, which I'd kind of suspected.

Just as Ana is about to leave the hospital, she's stopped by her gynecologist, Dr. Greene, who reveals that she's the one who just called Ana. 

Let's back up. So in the first book, CG insisted on selecting Dr. Greene for Ana because I don't know maybe good yelp reviews or some shit. Dr. Greene made a house call for the simple act of prescribing birth control to Ana, also at CG's insistence because it's her body, his choice. We then have to deal with a second scene with Dr. Greene in the middle book and I forget why. Something about how Ana found it impossible to remember to take her birth control pills because I don't know why. So I forget what type of anti-baby regime Ana was on after that because let's be real: I hate this book and and I don't care. Plus I feel like of offended on Ana's behalf. Why is this shit in the book? That's none of my business. And it's not dramatic or whatever. I might as well be reading about the eye doctor flipping different lenses. A whole chapter of Ana saying whether the first one was better or the second one was better. Equally valid.

But anyway, here's Dr. Greene again. Let's think about this coincidence! Of all the hospitals in Seattle, Dr. Greene works at this one which is the farthest away from downtown where CG and Ana live. It's a small hospital that I presumed EL had just made up when it was first mentioned, because I've never heard of it and I literally live with a doctor who goes to all sorts of different hospitals all the time but never this one. Anyway, Dr. Greene and CG's mom both work at this same hospital somehow, and Dr. Greene makes her own calls about scheduling. Think about that for a sec. And then make up some excuse like, "Oh Ana is particularly wealthy and Dr. Greene runs a sort of special luxury OB-GYN situation for her very wealthy clients." And we will just pretend, just for a moment, that that's a thing and that that's what's happening. BUT we can't really believe that and believe that Dr. Greene is staff at a regular-ass hospital. If she's like an elite gynecologist I'm quite certain that she'd be private practice. So I just can't deal with all these different things being true that somehow are.

But then, we're asked to accept that Dr. Greene does her own appointment calls, works at this same hospital, and happened to call Ana during the one half hour or so when Ana was literally in the hospital? And that immediately after leaving Ana a voicemail, Dr. Greene looks up from her desk or whatever and happens to see Ana and then runs to catch her because Dr. Greene is tops in her specialty in all of Seattle but also always has time to do a house call or run around a hospital or whatever. Right? Makes total sense. Makes total total sense. All of this makes very much sense.

Anyway. Dr. Greene of course makes an appointment for Ana that mutterflushing minute because why not? Let's keep this stupid train rolling down the stupid tracks! Dr. Greene reveals that Ana has cancelled four appointments and whatever kind of birth control Ana is on, it's some kind where you have to keep visiting your doc all the goddamned time and that just seems extremely inconvenient and you know what you don't have to get via extremely frequent appointments with your doc? Condoms. That thing that CG just complained about at every opportunity over most of the first book. Whatever.

Dr. Greene makes Ana take a pregnancy test and also Dr. Greene's desk is full of cups to pee in. That's where Dr. Greene keeps her pee cups. Right in her goddamn desk, which I'm sure is what every OB-GYN does probably right? Sure probably.

Dr. Greene then literally tests the sample at her desk. That seems normal, right? Ana hands her doctor a cup of pee, and then while they're both sitting at the desk, Dr. Greene I guess is like, "Well, this is a cup of human urine, but no reason to like get up from my desk or like, put on gloves or whatever. I'll just do it right here, like usual. I hardly ever get pee on my desk and there's hardly ever any pee on the outside of the sample cup oh and also I only work for very rich ladies and rich people pee is completely fine. Not everyone knows this but it's true. Being rich is like the anti-asparagus when it comes to pee."

So anyway Ana is pregnant and she's very upset about it.

This says something about her relationship and I think it says something about abortion too but whatever. I mean, she hasn't been pregnant for long, probably. Gotta be early. So like, yeah, that's probably pretty inconvenient? But the way this meeting has been going, it feels like Doc Greene might next say, "Well, I'm free now! Let's get you un-pregnant. First one is on the house. Let's do it right here on my desk, where I perform all my procedures."

So I'm curious as to whether terminating the pregnancy is going to come up for discussion in the next chapter. It ought to. But also, with the house they're buying and everything, it sure seems like Ana and CG want human babies, at least at some point. But Ana's immediate reaction is to go into scared-of-Christian's-response mode and that's pretty gross. I mean, it's a gross situation and I wish it were different and I wish that Ana weren't married to someone she's so clearly scared of. Probably not the right person to be married to or having a family with!

But hey! That's the book we're reading. That's its deal.

So anyhoo. That's our cliffhanger for this chapter. Man. The organization of this novel is so weird. We had just a bunch of absolute nothing chapters in a row, and now we're getting all these dumb non-cliffhanger cliffhangers at the end of every chapter. But the thing is I'm pretty sure this is the one that's going to have lasting implications. Ana is going to have this baby. I hope the book ends soon enough that I don't have to hear about it. Fingers crossed!

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