Incidentally, I turned on my Kindle thinking that I had Fifty open only to discover that it was North and South instead which confused me because I didn't remember there being a Mr. Thornton in Fifty...so there you go. I can be dumb too, it's not just Ana.
Also, Emma Watson is apparently in talks to play Ana Steele in the Fifty movie, so if you had any lingering respect for Little Hermione Grainger, I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but then she did drop out of Brown U. Still, I didn't think she'd start slipping down the Lohan ramp so soon.
|Oh Emma...how could you?|
Onto the book
Chapter Twenty Four
Ana is dreaming. We know she's dreaming because Christian is in a cage. If it were real, Ana would be in the cage. He tells her to eat and "his tongue caress[es] the front of his palate as he enunciates the t."
I'll give you a minute to stop grimacing.
Okay, Christian wakes Ana up because he wants to chase the dawn with her.
|Better than Chasing the Dragon, know what I mean?|
(I don't know what I mean.)
Then, this happens: Ana is all reluctant to wake up because she's not an early riser, which I sympathize with. She realizes he's dressed (in black in case you were wondering) and she says, "I thought you wanted sex, yo," and he's all, "I always do, yo." Then Ana says this:
I gaze at him as my eyes adjust to the light, but he still looks amused...thank heavens.Okay...why wouldn't he still look amused? Why would Ana think he was angry with her? Or, I don't know, whatever it is Ana would think he is? He is waking her up. If anyone has a right to be pissed, it's her. The time is apparently 5:30 AM, which in my family is usually titled "O-dark-thirty." It's early. Painfully early. And they were up late the night before. When I say that this relationship is unhealthy, this is what I mean. Ana has no boundaries and she's constantly in fear of Christian being angry because, mostly, he is.
So Christian tries to force Ana to eat, but it's too early for her. She finally explains that her stomach has to wake up too, so I guess this is progress. At 85% of the book being done, progress is finally made in the "communication" area of this relationship.
Christian takes Ana out in a convertible and they have some conversation about classical music before Ana finds Britney Spears on Christian's ipod, and he tells her that an ex-sub called Leila put it on there. Ana wants to know why they finished and Christian says it's because she wanted more. Or maybe she didn't ease his foolish pride. Who knows?
Anyway, he says he never wanted more until he met Ana, which is sweet I guess.
|I'll admit it: When Grissom told Sara he'd only been interested in beauty since he met her, I melted a little.|
They start discussing the other long-term girls, and Ana says something about not wanting kids for several more years which makes Christian make a face and she realizes that he doesn't want them ever. I guess Ana's too young to have "deal breakers" in her relationships, but this is a deal breaker for a lot of people. But of course it's not discussed because why would it be? It's not like this is an important piece of information for Ana to know from a guy she sees herself with in five years.
We meet up with Taylor at the airfield, and Taylor says that Christian has been "hell on wheels" all week without Ana.
Okay, Christian's arrangement with Ana is that they see each other on weekends only. Why does he care what she does on during the week? The author can't set up this nonlationship like this and then have her characters react this way! It's really poor writing, and it's unfair to the readers. It gives us literary whiplash. You have to choose a point and stick with it, making small adjustments over time until you get a character to turn 180 degrees. This author spends so much time on birch veneer coffee house tables, Taylor's green eyes, the fact that there are indeed blondes in the Seattle area working in offices (shocker!), how beautiful Kate is, what The Red Room of Pain looks like, what hotel rooms look like, the British accent on the guy at the airfield, Ana's mom's eight hundred husbands, and all sorts of things that just. don't. matter, but we get nothing when it comes to the actual relationship between Ana and Christian.
Why do these two people like each other? They've never had a conversation or shared interests. We're only now learning what Christian's favorite movie is, and that he doesn't want kids. They have no common interests other than kinky sex that we know of yet, but we're supposed to believe in and support this relationship and think that they have such a strong bond when they've barely known each other for over a week.
For perspective: Pride and Prejudice takes place in the time span of two years. Emma is likewise about a year and a half look into the life of Emma Woodhouse. I'm not done with North and South yet, but so far two years have passed. I don't know how many years are taken up with Jane Eyre, but it's more than the others combined. There is no doubt in the reader's mind about why Emma and Mr. Knightly get along. Those books are as long as Fifty Shades, and yet you know more about freaking Lydia Bennet than you do about Anastasia Steele.
|"Then I said to myself, 'Self, if you marry Wickham, then Papa will have to love you more than he loves Lizzie.' It was a genius plan."|
So they're at an air field with a guy who has a British accent (is it a Northern accent?) and they're going to go gliding.
Little known fact: this romance novelist, Barbara Cartland, invented a specific Gliding Plane that was used during the Normandy invasion in WWII because she loved gliding so much, which renders her one of the most awesome romance novelists ever.
|You dream of being this fabulous.|
So, Ana has to put on a parachute which Christian of course straps her into. I was surprised that he trusted someone else to pack her parachute. Aren't you always supposed to pack your own? My army brother says yes.
So, a plane tows them into the air, and then it releases them, and Christian will use thermal wind changes to keep the plane aloft as it "glides" in a controlled crash to earth. It's basically like hangliding, but with a plane. Oddly, it's more secure. Go figure.
Ana loves it, and Christian does too.
They end up at IHOP where, of course, the waitress trips all over herself because of Christian. This is beyond old.
|Rootie Tootie Fresh n' Fruity Breakfast coming right up!|
We're still in the same chapter (!) and now Ana is back at home, and Christian is coming over for a nice family dinner. Ana gets a call from SIP, the publishing house she wanted to get a job from, and finds out that she got the job. I'm assuming that SIP stands for Seattle Independent Publishing or something similar. It's never actually stated.
So, it turns out that Christian has to cancel dinner because something suddenly came up.
The chapter ends eight pages later, and those pages are taken up with them e-mailing each other about how Ana talks in her sleep.
But now we're 91% of the way through!
Chapter Twenty Five
Ana's mom takes her to the airport and tells her to embrace life and remember how young she is and how much life she has ahead of her. When someone tells you how young you are, do you ever feel like saying, "Yeah, and you're so old!" back at them? I do. Anyway, Ana tries not to cry and gets on her plane. Something tells me she won't have Georgia on her mind.
Christian is of course what she's thinking of, but she starts wondering if he's capable of love. Because she wants to be loved. A lot.
Taylor meets Ana at the airport, and his eyes have turned brown somehow. The only reason I know this is because I made such a big deal about it in an earlier synopsis, so the change is grating. Are his eyes hazel? Do they change? What am I to make of this?
At Christian's apartment, he whisks Ana into the shower, and he's supposedly tense and upset about something that Ana doesn't know about, and she calls him a Greek god.
I'm pretty good with mythology, but I don't remember a Greek god being a redhead. Now, Thor on the other hand in the Teutonic pantheon, was a redhead. His mom was a Jotun giantess and his dad was Odin...he was supposed to have gotten his hair from his mom. I'm trying to remember what Poseidon was supposed to look like, but I think he was dark haired...
|Donnerstag, or Thursday, is of course, "Thor's Day." The more you know!|
Anyway, I'm sure it's supposed to be his body, but please don't try and pass some pasty Anglo-Saxon off as a Mediterranean hunk! This author wants me to think she's smart and witty, and she puts in passages from all sorts of classic novels, but she just can't try to go the extra mile and impress us with her vast knowledge of pantheons...if you're going to do something, do it all the way, is what I'm saying.
So, they have sex.
|Oh look! An adorbs Elf Owl (one of the smallest species of owl and the smallest in North America) has taken up residency in a cactus! How cute! And practical, too.|
After, Ana invites him to Jose's art show, and then he tells her that he's arranged "her" room for her and bought her clothes and stuff. Then he wants her in The Red Room.
I want to point out that they've had sex twice already.
In the room, Christian ties Ana to the bed and blindfolds her and puts earbuds in her ears. He elaborately flogs her in time to Spem in Alium, because knowing the name of the song is very important to us the reader, who cannot hear it. Again, if you can't have awesome characters, you can at least have an awesome playlist.
Chapter Twenty Six
We're 96% done! Woot!
Ana wakes up, and Christian is once again moping over his piano.
|Ai putz mah emush--immos--feelins in mah playin kthx.|
Ana wants to talk, Christian wants to screw. Who will win? Golly gosh, I'm on the edge of my seat!
Okay, so they do talk. Ana wants to know what happened with the contract, and Christian actually says the contract is moot. He expects Ana to follow the rules, especially in The Room, but he's willing to try for more. Ana can't remember the rules exactly, so Christian fetches a copy, and we are treated to them in all their glory for the fourth time.
Who needs three-dimensional characters when you can have three-dimensional rules lists?
Ana rolls her eyes at Christian, and then they run around the room. Christian for the second time says, "Life, the universe..." and leaves it hanging.
Okay, the first time he did it, I let it slide. But this is getting ridiculous. I don't care how clever and witty you are, Author. You are writing a book with your own words. Make up your own iconic phrases. Your inability to do so is only highlighted by your insistence of standing on the shoulders of other, better, iconic, time-tested and tried authors who actually brought new and interesting pieces of art into the world of literature. You are not Douglas Adams. The only room that you and Douglas Adams will ever be in together is the Library of Congress.
|E. L. James, for crimes against literature, you are sentenced to remain in a room and listen to Vogon poetry for all eternity. And you will never have a proper cup of tea again. Ever.|
This is very telling.
Ana finally tells him to do his worst. To punish her as hard as he can so that she knows what it's like. Personally, I think this is a bad idea, but we're at 98%, so don't let me hold this dog and pony show up.
Ana has to count six blows, and by the sixth she's in agony. She pushes Christian away and tells him that he has issues--which he's already admitted to--and says that he needs to sort his shit out. Then she goes to the room that's hers and cries.
Christian comes and holds her after a time and they talk. Ana says that she can never be this thing for him, this being that he seems to need, this creature that he has to punish to make himself feel good. She says that she's in love with him, and he says that it's a bad idea to love him. Finally! Someone says something intelligent!
Ana gives back all the stuff Christian's given her, and they argue about it, but in the end, what can he do? You really can't force someone to do what you don't want them to, not deep down. Ana wants the money for her Beetle.
Ana goes home and cries on her bed. The book ends.
If this were a book about a virgin exploring a sensual world of desire, I would wonder what would happen in the next book. Maybe she'd meet someone who was too soft after meeting this guy who's too hard, and then the third book would be her meeting a guy who's just right. But as the Smart Bitches say, in romance novels, the guy who gives a girl her first orgasm, whether he rapes her or kidnaps her or beats her to a pulp, is hte guy who ends up with her. Nothing ever changes in the romance world. Men are whores until they meet that One Special Woman, and women are virgins who can only give themselves to the Rakehell Who Deflowered Them.
Well, I hope it was as good for you as it was for me. I'll be picking up with the next book soon.