We enter Ana’s dreams and find that she’s having sexy times with Christian and a riding crop in her fantasies. She wakes up with an orgasm and is sort of weirded out because, you know, he was hitting her with a riding crop.
Okay, throughout the book, Ana has an “Inner Goddess” and an “Inner Subconscious” giving us commentary on the state of her emotions. You know. Instead of just having her emote like a normal character. The whole thing is really super annoying, and while I’m sure I’m supposed to see both of these characters as looking like Ana, I really just see them as cartoon drawings of old ladies, which makes the whole thing even more ridiculous. The Inner Goddess does things like back flips and triple salchows while Christian is seducing Ana, and the Inner Subconscious gives disapproving glances and snide remarks when Ana is being seduced by Christian. (Note to the author: this is not a “sub” conscious. It’s just a conscience. You know, the little friend who tells you when things are good or bad?) I am not putting either of these things in this review because, frankly, I’m better than that. Too bad the author isn’t.
|Seriously, they look like this to me.|
Back to the story. Ana wakes up feeling conflicted because the dream was hot and something she’d like to try with Christian, if he were looking to be her boyfriend and not her employer. She feels that he’s offering her a job rather than a relationship, and it’s great, but we already did the angst thing last chapter. Can’t we move on? Note from the future: No. You will never move on.
Ana’s dad comes to take her to the school for graduation, and Kate is naturally the valedictorian. Earlier, Kate called Christian creepy to Ana, which made me like her a little more. But she’s still pretty annoying and stupid and I’m tired of Ana going on and on about how Kate is supposedly gorgeous.
Anyway, Ana takes her place in the auditorium next to two girls who are drooling over Christian Grey. Ana, very horridly, tells them she thinks he’s gay. I know she can’t say that he’s probably dating her because the girls would never believe her, but she could just keep her mouth shut. This is not an option apparently.
Christian gives a speech, and Ana has this idea that every woman in the room is hanging on his every word. This is really, really weird. Just every woman? And it can’t be that he’s giving a speech that these people are obligated to listen to? This author has a pretty dim and shallow view of women.
|Christian looks just like Paul! Wait, no...that's Ringo|
Christian’s speech is about how he went hungry as a child, and how the agricultural department is near and dear to his heart. This is great. Really. But every time Ana didn’t eat her food and he didn’t ask for a doggy bag come back to me, and really? I love leftovers and I never went hungry as a kid. I have a healthy appreciation for food and would never leave a bunch sitting on a plate. I take food home, or I hand it off to a homeless person before I get there, but I never leave it. This author tells us in gory detail about Christian putting a rain jacket on his little tadger, but no mention of taking food home or handing it off to a homeless person and then she wants us to believe that he takes hunger seriously?
And then there’s Ana’s reaction. Instead of thinking of the food she’s wasted and how she can start giving more and doing more for the homeless population around her, all she can think about is Christian as a toddler, starving. You know what? He’s doing fine now. Let’s deal with the actual issues at hand. Christian is a big boy with lots of money. He can find a psychiatrist. It’s not Ana’s job. What can be Ana’s job if she decides to take it, are the children in the here and now who are starving. Save a little righteous indignation for them, eh? And let’s not even get into how Christian is focusing on other countries when an estimated 17 million American children go hungry every day. I’m not saying to not worry about other countries, just that pretending it’s not a local issue is irresponsible.
Moving on. Christian greets all of the graduates as they go to get their diplomas, but of course he stops Ana to grill her about why she didn’t email him back the night before. This is totally a conversation that should happen on a stage in front of all sorts of people. What is wrong with this couple?
After graduation, Kate comes to tell Ana that Christian wants to see her. The two girls that Ana lied to gape at her, probably thinking what a jerk she was for saying he was gay when he wasn’t, and saying it like it was a horrible thing (in this world, it probably is), but I guess we’re supposed to think they’re jealous. Why does Christian want to see Ana? Why does he need to pull her away from her father and her friends and her special day that is all about her? Why, to talk to her about the Beetle, of course. It’s just “ A deathtrap.” Get a grip.
|Nein! Das bin ich nicht! Ich bin ein gutes auto. Und so shön, auch.|
Ana’s like, “It was José’s mother’s car.” Christian actually says, “And probably her mother before her.”
Okay, the Beetles have been created since the 1930’s, all the way through about 1998 in Germany. They were hugely popular in America during the 1960’s-early 1970’s. Assuming Jose’s mom was in her twenties when she had him, and he is now about 21 or so making his mother, if she was alive, about 45-50 maybe. That would mean she was born between 1961-1966. Maybe earlier if she had kids later in life. That means it is entirely plausible that the Beatle was hers originally. This is an incredibly ageist thing for Christian to say. Not only that, but the Beetle has been a staple in America’s past. He is overreacting and being an ass over this car that is made completely of steel and curves. This car is practically indestructible. It is one of the sturdiest and long-lasting cars on the market, and according to its Wikipedia page, it actually surpassed the Ford Model T in terms of production. Have some respect!
Christian wants to meet Ana’s dad. Ana doesn’t think this is a good idea. Christian thinks Ana is ashamed of him. I think Christian has a flimsy grasp on reality. As Christian meets Ray, Kate and her brother Ethan come up. Ethan hugs Ana and Christian goes all Alpha Male because remember: there is no way that a man exists who does not want to have sex with Ana. Except maybe Ray and José Senior. Kate immediately tells Ray that Christian is Ana’s boyfriend because Kate sucks.
In this room full of people, with her father close by, Ana tells Christian that she hasn’t talked to him because she wants more. But she’ll try and she’ll sign the contract. Then Ray tells Christian to take care of Ana, and she’s like, “If he only knew…” because yeah. If he did know. Christian tells Ana he’ll see her later and he’ll drive to her place because he doesn’t want her driving the Beetle. If I were Ana, I’d get in the Beetle and go cross country and never come back, but then I have self respect.
So, I kind of feel like I’m beating a dead horse when I point out how destructive this “relationship” is, so let’s just go over some things.
Ana wants to give Christian the expensive first-edition books back. His reaction is to tell her that now that she’s his sub, she doesn’t get to think, she just needs to accept.
Ana decides then to donate the books to charity. Christian is angry at this.
Ana has interviews on Monday. She hasn’t mentioned them to Christian as of yet, but this is Wednesday, I think? So it’s not like she’s keeping it a secret. Christian is angry at this.
Ana hasn’t eaten at all today. Christian is angry at this.
Ana rolls her eyes at Christian. Christian is angry at this.
Christian wants to give Ana a shiny new car. Ana doesn’t want it. Christian is angry at this.
Ana believes that she is a human being endowed by her creator with certain inalienable rights. Christian is angry at this.
Do you sense a theme?
Okay, onto the chapter. Ana and Christian settle down to go over hard and soft limits and they are listed for the THIRD FRIGGING TIME IN ALL THE GORY DETAILS because this is a fanfiction and the author doesn’t post except maybe once every month or every other month, so the readers have to read this stuff over and over again to remind themselves what…oh. Wait. This is a book? The heck you say! You mean the author could just say that they’re once again going over the aforementioned hard and soft limits and expect the reader to remember them? That’s just crazy talk.
Ana doesn’t want anal. Christian does. Guess what happens?
Ana doesn’t want suspension, and Christian says it’s a hassle to set up and take down, so it’s okay that she doesn’t want it.
Ana doesn’t want caning. Christian does. Guess what happens?
Why are they even going over these limits? He’s just going to do what he wants. And don’t tell me that the sub has control. You put on a pair of handcuffs and a gimp mask and tell me who’s in charge. It’s not the person who’s all trussed up, that’s for sure. Especially in this case. Ana won’t be able to use safe words until AFTER Christian does something she doesn’t like. And how will she know ahead of time if she likes it or not?
I have an idea. Christian should give Ana the cane and the anal beads to use on him, and then let her decide if she wants to let him do it to her. What’s that you say? That’s not acceptable?
The final negotiation is that Christian is willing to give Ana “more” like flowers and cards and rainbow colored unicorns, but she has to accept the car. He’s talked it over with Ray, and Ray agrees. Ana is really angry, especially on Ray’s behalf. He originally bought her the car from Jose’s dad, so naturally it was probably pretty embarrassing to hear Christian tell him how dangerous and horrible it is. Finally, Ana says she’ll accept it as a loan and then begs him to not be angry. Since he doesn’t let her get angry, it’s only fair that she doesn’t let him get angry. But seriously, if you have to beg your boyfriend to not be angry, then there are issues.
I have this in my notes: “this. author. types. this. way. too. much. you can just say that he punctuated each word and write an actual sentence, you know?”
This is so totally annoying. You can do other things to punctuate words, you don’t have to use actual punctuation. That this person got published while my friend Cassandra had to submit her stories to publishers and beg before she finally got published makes me angry. There are seriously fantastic writers out there, and this idiot got a contract. EL James is the Kardashian of the literary world.
|Cassandra is not a Kardashian in any way, shape or form and her book is available at Amazon.UK!|
Our final thought for the chapter leaves us with this: Christian teaches Ana how to put a condom on him. It is so unsexy and stupid. I’m sick of condoms at this point. There is so much mention of tearing foil, rolling it on, taking the packets out of pockets, fooling around with them, removing them, disposing of them, etc. Other authors are not encumbered by this minutiae. Why is this author?
We learn how wonderful the sex was because Ana is floating on her sea of sensation. When I first read VC Andrews using this phrase when I was about eleven, I thought it was stupid. Guess what? It’s still dumb. Ana wants to touch Christian’s chest and back, but he’s got a hard limit on that one. Why? He’s “fifty shades of fucked-up.” Well, he’s keeping track of how many orgasms Ana’s had, so yeah, I’d say more than fifty.
Of course, now Ana has to talk about her dream because that orgasm doesn’t “belong” to Christian. This is not creepy in any way.
So, now that he’s hit, he’s going to run. Wham-bam, thank you ma’am. Ana rolls her eyes at him. In the last chapter, he threatened to spank her if she rolled her eyes again, so now he gets to spank her and he’s a little too excited about it. After he’s done beating her, he takes her from behind and we get yet another paragraph about him opening the foil packet and unrolling the condom on Little Christian. And then he leaves and Ana decides to call her mom at 10:30 at night PST making it one in the fucking morning in Georgia.
Mom, naturally, knows that something is wrong. Ana thinks she’s all insightful but let’s face it: your kid doesn’t call you at one in the morning because she wants to have a pleasant chat. Mom is like, “Whoever this guy is, he’d better deserve you.
Quote from the book:
“Wow, it’s unnerving when my mother is so insightful, but she’s just too late on this. Is he worthy of me? That’s an interesting concept. I always wonder whether I am worthy of him.”
Kate has been out with Ethan thus far and comes home to find Ana crying softly. She tells Ana to ditch Christian for her own sanity. Kate immediately ratchets up a few points in my estimation of her. She wants to know what’s wrong with Ana’s derriere, and Ana’s all, “I fell down the stairs.”
|"I fell. Onto his hand. Several times."|
The only thing Ana has to do to keep Kate from talking about Ana is to trick Kate into talking about herself. Kate falls way down the ladder in my estimation of her.
Christian e-mails Ana, but only to threaten her about driving her car again. “Don’t drive it, I’ll know!” or whatever. Ana’s like, “FU, I’ll drive it when I want.” Then she notes that he’ll let Taylor drive the car, but not her. You see, Taylor is accomplished and strong (meaning that Ana is not), so he can drive it without killing himself despite the fact that ANA HAS BEEN DRIVING SAID CAR FOR FOUR YEARS NOW.
Finally, Ana mentions that she’s not too fond of Christian at the moment. Why not, you may ask? Because he’s abusive? Because he hit her? Because he’s controlling her life and telling her what she can and can’t do? No, because he won’t stay with her. If we find out that this makes Christian angry, I will not be surprised.
Ana ends up sobbing into her pillow and Christian shows up uninvited. He gets into a shouting match with Kate but manages to strong-arm his way into Ana’s room where he finds her despondent and sobbing. Kate offers to throw the douche out, but Ana, an even bigger douche, tells her he can stay. Kate doesn’t call the cops, but leaves them alone instead.
Okay, why is Christian there? Because she said she wished he hadn’t left and it made her not like him very much. When he left, she begged him to stay, so why is he there now? It’s the same thing. Is it because she got mad at him and said she didn’t like him much? More than likely, but if he didn’t stay the first time, I don’t get why him staying now really matters all that much. He should have stayed, especially after he beat her like that.
Speaking of which, they talk over the spanking. Ana is confused because it aroused her and that seemed wrong. Also, she didn’t like being punished for doing what she had every right to do vis-à-vis being angry with the guy for not staying when she asked him to, for buying her a new car after she told him not to, for embarrassing her dad for buying her the car in the first place, and for basically rearranging her life to fit his whims.
Finally, she asks why he wants to change her. Why will he punish her for being who she is when he supposedly likes her the way she is? He insists that he likes her, but he wants her to please him. That means no more arguing over gifts or telling him to butt out of her life. You can’t have it both ways.
Christian says that she’s really bold in her e-mails to him, but again, she fought him in person over the car. She begged him to stay. How was she any different in the e-mails? And if he is going to punish her when she does speak her mind, then why would she have any incentive to open up to him at all?
Ana is the sort of victim who makes it really difficult for me to advocate for. Most abuse victims started out as fun, outgoing people with lots of friends and interests and then over the years, turn into the victim from the constant chipping away at their psyches by their abusers. Abusers start small and begin with isolation and criticism before moving onto hitting and withholding and extreme isolation. Christian did this with Ana from the beginning. And she wanted him to.
There is a huge difference between a D/s relationship and an abusive relationship, generally because the Dom never acts out in anger and the sub enjoys being “punished.” Those are really important tenets of the lifestyle. Christian reacts in anger. Ana makes him angry. Upset. Mad. She makes him feel like beating her. He reacts to that stimulation by actually beating her. He calls it D/s, or rather the author does, but this is your basic abusive relationship. He strikes out in anger, and she reacts in fear.
Sorry for the lack of pictures and jokes here, but I can’t with this. It’s just so depressing.