Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chapter by Chapter Synopsis: Fifty Shades of Grey: CH 24-THE END

Aw yeah! 85% done my peeps! I'm going to try and power through to the end here, so sorry in advance if this post ends up being eighty thousand words long.

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 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 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.
Christian figures out that Ana doesn't want him to catch her. Why? Because she doesn't want to be punished. This is an odd concept for Christian. It ranks up there with Free Will and the enduring popularity of Beanie Babies. Ana wants to know why he wants to punish her, and he says he won't tell her. Not he "can't" tell, but that he "won't" tell.

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.

Laters, baby.


  1. I always look forward to one of your posts coming up on my google reader :) I've not posted a comment before now, but have been reading for a while!
    Your fifty shades posts are alternately wonderfully entertaining and highly disturbing. I have read all of the books (although thankfully didn't buy them myself!) and all the way through I not only despised the terrible writing, but was very, very uncomfortable about the relationship. It really came across as abusive to me (I sort of thought the same about Twilight in some ways, although way milder than 50), but I didn't pick up on as much as you have. I hate that this is seen as the relationship that women want, so very unhealthy and stifling.
    I'm glad you've decided to carry on with the next book, although I would have understood totally if you'd decided not to, it does make for rather depressing reading! Or it would, if you weren't so entertaining :)
    I got really bored of the sex after the second or third time too and just wanted them to stop it and watch tv or something!

    1. Let's be honest: the sex is about 60% of the content in this book. Another 20% is Ana angsting about how she feels about Christian, and then maybe another 10% is her corresponding with him via e-mail. Then maybe 2% is taken up with them talking, another 2% for her relationships with anyone not Christian, about 5% is her begging Christian to not be angry with her, and then 1% is bastardized quotes from other, better authors.

  2. I'm a bit lazy to write in english so I wasn't commenting anything for a while, but the final chapters deserve it.

    Fifty Shades seems to be one of the worst books I've never read. It's hard to judge it only by somebody else's point of view... but then you gave me more reasons to avoid this book then all my friends gave me to read it. I feel happy that you took the trouble to read it for me, but I feel sorry for you because it seems to be an exhausting experience. Thanks anyway!

    I really, really hope Emma Watson doesn't play Ana Steele. Although I laughed at "Lohan ramp", I expect much more from Emma than that.

    You know a person writes poorly/ridiculously when even a non-native english speaker can see that.

    You pointed out what I consider to be one of the most annoying aspects of Ana/Christian relationship: the reader just can't see why they like each other. We don't get to know them, but beyond that, they don't get to know each other either. How are we supposed to believe in this relationship? Attraction can do a lot in the beggining, but that doesn't glue the pieces together for too long if it's all you have.

    I suppose I could buy the idea that this is a porn book where sex is all that matters, but the author fails here too. The only thing that bonds them is sex, but even when it comes to sex they want different things. EL James can talk about "inner goddess" and other bullshits, but I still feel that Ana wasn't into kink and only accepted it because Christian coerced her to and she was too dazzled by him to say no. That's sad and creepy and gives the relationship more abusive tones.

    Why to develop your characters if you can just say what you want them to be and expect people to believe it? The author seems to think that if she makes every woman in the book love Christian then the readers certainly will love him too. I think that works with some readers, or at least it's the only explanation I see for his popularity. As for me, unless she makes him actually likeable, that won't work. Worst, it sounds like the author is cheating and not doing her job.

    I'm a sucker for cultural and geek references, but to sound witty you must do more then copy/paste the quote or passage you're refering to.

    One of the main reasons I started googling Fifty Shades was the ending. My friends said the book ended in an amazing way, it was like WOW!, and then you would HAVE TO read the next book... yadda yadda yadda. So, now that I know how it ends, let me say: a) it's stupid; b) I'd be Christian-angry if I read an entire book to see it ending like this; c) they will obviously end up together. Nothing interesting will happen before that. Why to bother making this last three books when a single one is more then it deserves? Oh, I forgot, everything must be a trilogy. Lord of the Rings was and Star Wars was, so if it comes in three parts it will automatically be good and iconic. Yep.

    So, I hope this comment wasn't too long or boring. You already have EL James to provide you content like that :B

    And of course I'll be here for the next book!

    PS: your posts about Fyfty Shades reminded me a lot of Newman & Mittelmark's "How not to write a novel". I really love this book and aparently EL James has no clue it exists. Too bad for us.

    1. I was going to address the pop-culture thing in its own post, but since you bring it up, I'll address it here.

      The thing about pop culture is that it changes very quickly. The written word does not. The literature that stands the test of time tends to create pop culture, rather than the other way around. Now, Fifty Shades *was* created by pop culture, it is a direct product of the Twilight phenomenon. However, I do think the writer should have tried her hardest to separate the book from Twilight once she got a writing contract. A fanfiction can put nods to pop culture or other books in it all it wants, but a published book *must* stand on its own.

      The only exception to this rule that I can think of is a memoir. I love reading memoirs, and the authors often reference what is happening in the world today. Case in point, Jen Lancaster has always referenced reality TV, Mad Men, Twilight, and any other bit of pop culture that she likes, and even though some of her books are ten years old and reference Paris Hilton and CD players, they stand the test of time because they are memoirs.

      EL James puts bastardized quotes from other books into her character's mouths in order to make them likeable and relatable, and because she's too lazy to give them any characterization of their own. Plus, like you said, we're supposed to like them and think they're cool because they know the books we know and quote them like we quote them.

      Except, the thing is, how often do you really quote other books? I think it should be obvious that I'm a total literary geek, and I have a great imagination so I tend to prefer books to TV or anything else, simply because it's so much better in my head than it could be elsewhere. But that doesn't mean I go around quoting Jane Austen at will. And people who quote Shakespeare at length are generally referred to as "That Douchebag" more often than they are referred to as "That totes awesome guy!" This is because quoting other people's work tends to make you look pretentious and silly. Most people understand this and only quote when it's appropriate, such as when they are around likeminded people and know definitely that the quote is a) appropriate and b) would be well-received.

      Finally, I think that an author quoting, especially bastardized quoting, another author or movie or anything that's in the pop-culture mentality is borderline plagiarism. People who haven't read Tess or Hamlet or HHGTTG might see the quotes and think that EL James made those words up herself. That's not fair to the original authors, and it's not fair to the readers.

      And if your comment is too long, then mine must be horrible! I love comments, though, so I don't care how long they are, please keep giving me them.

    2. I like to see cultural/geek references in books, movies or TV shows! It feels kinda like an inside joke. I'm not sure how they'll sound to a reader/viewer ten years from now, but I still like them.

      However, because of this time issue it's important for the dialogue/description/whatever not to rely entirely on the comprehension of the reference by the reader/viewer and be good on it's own. In a similar problem, I don't understand a LOT of north american cultural references, so there are jokes in movies or shows that simply don't mean anything to me.

      Now... References are not necessarily quotes. Quotes are just the easiest way to make them, but that's exactly why the excess looks so much like a lazy job. Anything in a book that gives the reader the feeling of "meh, I don't wanna take the time to actually develop/research this properly, so let's just take the shortcut" should be avoided.

      I do quote a lot of books in daily life, but mostly because my friends like the same books I do and I'm sure they'll know what I'm talking about. Everything needs to have a context. One does not simply make pop culture references (hah!).

      And you said something really important, that a lot of readers may not know those are not EL James words. I wouldn't get the Hamlet references, for example. So it's nice when the author makes it clear that she or her characters are quoting something else... I'm not sure how copyright works in mentioning somebody else's work, but it must be better than make a reference and don't let it clear it's not your work.

      After all, I didn't read the book, so I can't tell how she addressed those issues. But mediocre authors seems to think that cultural references alone will make their book/characters more likeable. It doesn't work like that. Like you said, the book must stand on it's own. If a clever reference can make a nice work even more enjoyable, a poorly made reference in a bad book makes it more clear how cheap the book in question is.

    3. I do think that there's a time and a place for people to quote things. Like, when I'm with friends who all like Dr. Who (and clearly I put the whole Northern Accent meme into anything I can get my hands on, so please don't think I'm not guilty of quoting other works), but if I'm with someone who doesn't know Dr. Who, would I say, "Don't blink" in front of a garden statue? Probably not. I would, however, take a picture of it and post it to my facebook with the caption "Don't Blink" and my Whoniverse friends would be like, "Aaaaahhh!"

      So, yeah. Time, place, etc. I totally put "42 is the meaning of life" on an algebra test and got an extra point for it because the answer was 101010....and I'm getting a little geeky here. Bottom line: if Christian had been reading Douglas Adams or Ana interrupted him in the middle of watching HHGGTG one night, or anything to indicate that he is in the HHGGTG fandom in any way, it would have made sense to have him quote Douglas Adams. And I would have thought it was fine because it would have fit with his character. Since he has no character, it didn't fit anywhere and looked like a writer using other people's work to flesh her own out. :)

      I really love this conversation.

    4. I love it too! And since I'm learning english, tell me if you spot any mistakes on my writing. Ok, I'm sure there are lots of them, so let's stick to the offensive ones :P

      I guess in the end cultural references can be really fun if you're willing to pay the price for them. That is, if your reference is too specific and/or your joke depends too much on it, your public will be smaller. Which is not bad to a book or movie if smaller doesn't mean "you and a couple of friends".

      The funny thing is that I've never seen Doctor Who and yet I understand the "don't blink" thing because all my best friends are whovians. So, that's what I like the most about pop culture: you don't have to watch every iconic movie or read every iconic book etc to understand the references. They're part of something bigger and you're kinda immersed in it.

      And I agree with you on the Fifty Shades' HHGTTG reference. Any reference is possible if it makes sense with that character or in that moment of the story. In this book's case, though, it felt like something random, something that is part of the author's personality and not her characters'. And I think it's a terrible deal to a book when you start confusing the writer with her characters.

      Oh, and there's always the possibility that she thought something like "hey, if I put this Douglas Adams reference here then everybody who loves Douglas Adams will also love me". Yep, nice try.

    5. Pri, your English is better than most people on the internet. I really haven't noticed any horrible mistakes at all, and aside from a few word combinations that perhaps native speakers wouldn't really use, you're just fine. Speaking and writing in any language takes practise, so please keep on going!

    6. I accept tips on word combinations too. Spelling can be easily googled, but sentence construction is more complex :(

  3. Is it possible that the author doesn't even know that 'Life, the universe, and everything' IS a literary reference? I haven't read the book (you've done it for me) so I don't know the full sentence it was quoted in

    1. "Life, the Universe and Everything" is the third book in the HHGTTG saga. It's also used in the books because it's the question that 42 is the "answer" to.(though it's stated that perhaps 42 is the Question and the answer reflects what Life, the Universe and Everything IS, so the Answer could be "How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?" so it's sort of...oh, just read the book! Ha!) (Or watch the movie, it's okay too.) (There was also a radio broadcast by the BBC that was pretty funny and my mom's boss put it on a jump drive for me one Christmas.)

      Anyway, for her to not know that it's a literary reference is pretty slim, but then again, she wrote this book so perhaps she's not as widely read as she wants us to think. Maybe she heard someone else use that phrase and thought, "Oh, that's awesome!"