Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chapter by Chapter Synopsis: Fifty Shades Darker: Chapters 2-3

Okay, Ana and Christian are back together again and it only took a chapter and a really stupid prologue to get us here.


Before I continue, though, I want to congratulate Emma Watson for saying that she wasn't interested in playing Ana, nor had she been sent a script. Good girl. Now don't have any tawdry affairs with any middle-aged men and you'll be better off than ninety percent of Hollywood.

Okay, onto the book.

Chapter Two

Christian takes Ana to a restaurant that she thinks is nice, but he thinks is just sort of middling. My cousin is dating a guy who was taking her to restaurants and then complaining that they weren't good enough and she confronted him about it. He apologized for bringing down what to her was a nice date, and he's been working on being positive since.

I'm just saying that Christian took Ana to IHOP in the last book, maybe the author needs to snob him down just a bit.

Ana starts getting worried about what Christian might say. Why, we're not exactly sure. It's not like she's done something wrong. I guess she's just worried because he's an unstable person in need of deep therapy so she's never sure what he'll say or do.

He orders steak for both of them (Steak and fries...has this author even been to America, or has she never left England?) and Ana snarks that she might want to make her own decisions. He calls her childish and tells her to not start with him.

Okay, I'm pretty sure that if she walked out right now, Jose would make sure she got home safe and she wouldn't have to rely on Christian's kindness. Honestly, what is it with this guy? Does he have crack on his dick?  Why is he attractive?

Oh, but he's not upset about her not wanting to eat steak. He's upset about how she "flirted" with Jose.


Okay, this is the whole of what happened with Jose: He took pictures of Ana and displayed them for sale at a gallery without asking her for permission. Ana forgave him when he apologized, and she honestly wasn't that upset. Then she hugged him and gave him a peck on the cheek. Then she said goodbye and left with Christian.

Christian says this was leading Jose on. Keep in mind that Jose tried to kiss Ana at the beginning of the last book and Christian hasn't been able to forgive him for that. Even if what Ana did was flirting (I have this idea that the author is a Duggar in disguise and would never dream of even touching a boy on the arm without first thinking of marrying him, I mean, this messed up relationship is a product of her rather than anything based in reality), why does Christian care? He thinks what she did was mean to Jose.

"My sister said, 'You shouldn't have kissed him. If you didn't plan on going all the way.'"

How many times do I need to say that I just can't with these two? If I had a nickel for every time I kissed a male friend of mine platonically, I'd have...maybe a buck. But still, people are intelligent! If Ana left with Christian, then I'm pretty sure even Jose has figured out that she's with him.

Finally, Ana accuses him of being grumpy. Understatement of the year. He's all, "And why would that be, hmm?" like she should be upset that it's her fault he's grumpy. He has no reason to be, but if he keeps gaslighting her enough, maybe she'll finally believe him.

Ana snarks that he's setting a great tone for a conversation about their future together. He apologizes, but we're not sure for what. He doesn't seem to understand what he's done wrong. Ever.

"Ana, the last time we spoke, you left me. I'm a little nervous. I've told you I want you back, and you've said...nothing." His gaze is intense and expectant while his candor is totally disarming. What the hell do I say to this?
Okay, let's break it down again. The last time Ana and Christian "spoke" was on the phone, making the plans for the night they're currently enjoying. But let's put that aside. The last time they were together, he beat the crap out of her and she left him. Both because he beat her and because he has a need to beat and subjugate women like her. He is taking something that he did to her and making it into something about himself. He is upset that Ana left him, but he can't see why she left him. He isn't apologetic about that. He is not empathizing with her or even accepting that Ana made a decision based on what was correct and right for her to do at the time. When someone is hurting you, you need to do everything you can to move away from that person, even if you hurt them. If they really care about you, if they are sincere in wanting what is best for you, then they will hide their hurt in order to help you make the best choice for you. Only a sociopath will try and downplay your hurt by displaying their own. That is called blaming the victim. It is also emotionally manipulative.

So, Ana says that she can't be what Christian wants her to be. She's not that kind of girl. He says he likes her just the way she is.

Since they've been back "together," he has berated her for her eating habits, accused her of leading on a good friend by hugging him, called her childish, and ordered food for her. He does not value her as an autonomous human being. The fact that she lets him get away with that crap just goes to show that she doesnt' value herself either.

Christian says that what he did was stupid, but then says that she never used the safe word.

She made him do it.

"You never actually said, "Stop.""
Ana forgot the safe word. I have to quote again. I mean, this is "Domestic Violence 101" up in here.

"I don't know. I was overwhelmed. I was trying to be what you wanted me to be, trying to deal with the pain, and it went out of my mind. You know...I forgot," I whisper, ashamed, and I shrug apologetically.
Perhaps we could have avoided all this heartache.
"You forgot!" He gasps with horror, grabbing the sides of the table and glaring. I wither under his stare.
 Shit! He's furious again. My inner goddess glares at me, too. See, you brought this all on yourself!
"How can I trust you?" His voice is low. "Ever?"

Oh geez. How? This is the 21st century. How can we have this in a book with no victim advocacy groups standing up and yelling, screaming, trying to raise awareness that if a guy ever...ever...oh good gracious, EVER FUCKING BLAMED YOU AFTER HE BEAT THE SHIT OUT OF YOU THEN YOU NEED TO FUCKING RUN AWAY AS FAST AS POSSIBLE! HOW? HOW IS THIS A WOMAN WRITING THIS? HOW DID ANYONE PUBLISH THIS? THIS BOOK IS SAYING THAT IT WAS ANA'S FAULT THAT CHRISTIAN NEEDED TO BEAT HER SO HE COULD FEEL GOOD ABOUT HIMSELF.


I can handle a book about pseudo-BDSM. I can handle a book about a stupid heroine having sex with idiots. I can almost even sort of deal with the formatting and run-on sentences up there (seriously, a capital letter after a question mark and quotation?), but I cannot excuse victim blaming, nor can I feel sympathetically towards a character who doesn't even feel sympathetic towards herself!

I love how Christian deflects. That is classic abuse behavior. Ana has good reason to be upset with him, but then he deflects by bringing up the safe word. Like that would have made everything better. Like if she had just used it, it would make him a different sort of man and her a different sort of woman. And then he turns the tables by blaming her for what happened and finally says he doesn't know if he can trust her.

This author is a psychologist's wet dream, I swear. What sort of fucked up woman do you have to be to fantasize about being with this guy? To not only fantasize, but to write him into existence?

The inner goddess glaring at Ana is what sets the final pathetic nail into the coffin. She is now blaming herself. She has accepted that she could have prevented all of this. I am embarrassed for this author. I am embarrassed for my sex and any of us who find these books thrilling and erotic. I am embarrassed for the editor who had to read their way through this. But I am not embarrassed for any person, male or female, who has been abused. I'm sure they feel ashamed and guilty, but I will not let this book go on confirming their feelings. I will not let this piece of..."literature"...stand as a beacon of what women want, or what sexuality should be. And I most certainly won't let it stand as a blueprint for relationships. If this is you, then there is help for you. There are people who want to help you get out of your abusive relationship. It is not your fault.

It's not your fault. It's his fault. He was the one who hit you, you did not run into his fist.

Okay, are we all good?

Well, Ana's not. She apologizes and Christian says that yes, they could have avoided all of this with a safe word.

If you need to go and cry now, I don't blame you. I think I might need a moment.

Oh, and if you think Christian might change or go into the "honeymoon" phase of domestic abuse, then you need to know that he threatens to spank Ana if she won't eat her food, right there in the restaurant. This guy is just a gem.

I'm going to stop using the Bingley picture for him because I quite like Bingley, and I no longer want that actor associated with Christian.

Okay, I guess I was wrong thinking that they're back together. Apparently nothing has changed for Ana. But Christian has a proposition. He calls Taylor to pick them up and they get in the car so he can drive them home. I guess taking the chopper would make too much sense.

So, Christian asks if Ana wants only vanilla, or if she's good with some kink. What she's not good with is punishment for crossing lines. She doesn't want rules, and she doesn't want to be something that he punishes to make himself feel good.

He's fine with that. No rules, no punishment. But he likes to spank her, and she likes being spanked, so that's a good thing.

She says that she is the undeserving one in the relationship. I sigh with resignation. People, you can actually have self-esteem. It's something that is really quite easy to get to. You can do it. Start by staring in a mirror and thinking only positive thoughts. The minute you think something negative, walk away. This isn't a failsafe way of never being taken in by an abuser--most abusers know how to worm their way into your life--but it gives you a good foundation.

I also want to point out that Ana looks at how "beautiful" Christian is and thinks that he's not for her because he's so perfect or whatevs. How someone looks is not the same as how they act, how they treat other people, how they treat you. It is no indication about whether or not they are an addict or a spendthrift or if they have herpes. If they regularly drive drunk. There are many things that make attractive people unattractive. Like my mom says, "Beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes straight to the bone." I don't care how "perfect" Christian looks. He acts like every cliche about a basement-dwelling pedophile with kiddie porn all over his computer.

Oh look! A panda nomming bamboo! How cute! Let us meditate on this image for a while.

So, Ana falls asleep on Christian's lap in the car and he wakes her up outside her apartment. She wants to go with him to his house. Oh, but Christian isn't taking her there. And he's not going to her apartment, either. He's not going to touch her until she begs for it.

Well, this won't last long. Anyone want to make a bet?

Christian is going to pick Ana up tomorrow night after she goes for drinks with her boss. Then he gives her a gift for her to open inside.

Inside the box is her old laptop, blackberry and a new ipad.

She listens to the music stored on it and they e-mail back and forth about it. Once again we get a spectacular playlist that means absolutely nothing  because we're reading instead of listening. I don't think I could hate EL James more if I tried, but I will try because of this. One last thought before the end of the chapter: the author seems to like Coldplay. Do with that what you will.

Chapter Three

Ana waltzes into her office grinning like a fool and her boss Jack Hyde (the author insists on using his name, so I will too) tells her she looks radiant. Ana thinks this is inappropriate. I am now going to keep a running tally of all the inappropriate things I think Ana will be doing throughout the day.

One: Ana immediately starts in with her cutesy e-mails to Christian instead of reading manuscripts for Jack Hyde.

Two: after lunch, Ana starts in again. Only this time, Christian tells her that her e-mails are monitored at SIP where she works with Jack Hyde. I want to point out that Christian initiated the e-mails, so...yeah. Here we go again with him blaming her for what he started.

Three: she seems to believe that her boss, Jack Hyde, is hitting on her for no good reason (he probably is, but there's no basis to think that.)

They're going to a bar called "Fifty's."

I really hate this author.

Ana goes to the bathroom to e-mail Christian on her blackberry and tells him what the bar is called. He then makes me yearn for the days of "Laters baby" by saying "Sooners rather than laters baby."

Ana examines herself in the mirror, and I only bring this up because apparently after a week of being all pale and wan and mopey, she looks happy. Gee, you think that this is why Jack Hyde noticed a change in her?

The eighth dwarf, Mopey.
On her way out, a strange woman approaches Ana. Ana wants to know who she is, but she just says she's nobody. She wants to know what Ana has that she doesn't.

We all want to know that, sweetheart. Apparently she has a high tolerance for being a doormat. I wouldn't call that a positive.

The woman has a bandage around her wrist and it disconcerts Ana. She also looks a lot like Ana with pale skin and dark hair that contrasts starkly against her skin. I mean, I've already figured out that she's a former submissive, but I have a feeling Ana won't parse this out for a few ages.

Oh, wait, her subconscious seems to think that the girl has something to do with Christian. Well, nice to know that one of Ana's personalities is on top of things.

At the bar, Jack Hyde hands Ana a bottle of Budweiser.

Wow, I guess this guy really hates her. That's too bad, Ana. And he's your boss, too.

Someone urinated in this bottle!
Wait, that's how it's supposed to taste.

Hey, English authors of the world, I'm not a huge beer drinker, but I can tell you that we have plenty of good beers here in America, and a lot of bars have their own microbrews. You know. Like European countries do. It's amazing.

I was writing this last night, and now that I come back to it, I want to point out that a hipster capital like Seattel would more than likely NOT have Budweiser on bottles. More like PBR or something equally annoying. You can also find Guinness, Heineken, Jefer (some places), and of course the afforementioned microbrews.

Yes, the lack of research actually really bothers me.

Claire, the receptionist who brings our POC total in this book to a whopping two, the lady that Ana wants to be friends with (or at least wanted to in the previous book) notes that Ana seems happier today. Ana changes the subject without thinking that Claire is hitting on her. Why is that?

Claire starts talking to Ana about her weekend plans, and Ana suddenly realizes that she hasn't spoken to another woman since Kate left for Barbados. And she finally starts thinking about Kate.

I'm thinking about making some stuffed dates. Maybe bleu cheese? I have this idea that I can wrap them in fakon instead of bacon and have them be better for me.

Oh, wait, am I supposed to care about Ana and Kate? Because I'm having a hard time here considering the fact that Kate is about as three-dimensional as a cartoon.

Ana lets us know that Ethan, Kate's brother, will be moving into the apartment, and she muses that Christian won't be happy about that. Like Christian would be anything other than unhappy about any sort of news.

Jack Hyde then comes over and starts engaging Ana in conversation. He asks if she has plans for the weekend, and she thinks he's being creepy. I just want to point out that she asked Claire what her plans for the weekend were, so it's sort of disingenuous of Ana to get tetchy about Jack Hyde asking her in return.

Christian then comes in and pees on Ana so Jack Hyde will know she's his.

Oh, wait. He just puts his arm around her and kisses her hair.

It's just like saying "hello"!

I glance up at Jack who is mentally assessing the fine specimen of manhood in front of him.
So...Jack's gay? Or he's intimidated in the face of Christian? Or...what am I supposed to think of this exactly?

Jack isn't happy and tells Christian that he thought he was an EX boyfriend. They then start strutting and sticking their chests out in a primal display of beastial fury.

Seriously, WTF is wrong with this author?

Ana actually calls him out on his pissing contest and Christian says that Jack Hyde wants inside Ana's panties.

Well, that's good. I thought maybe he wanted inside of Ana herself. I guess she can just throw her drawers at him and we're all good.

Christian wants to know if Jack Hyde is good at his job, and Ana says that he seems competent. But you see, he seems to want what belongs to Christian, and we can't have that, so if he makes a move, Ana needs to tell her man so he can throw Jack Hyde out on his ass.

Ana says he doesn't have that kind of power...or does he...?

Oh, he's bought SIP. Come on people!

Christian needs Ana safe, and no woman has ever been safe working at a company that her boyfriend doesn't own.

I just...what sort of world does this author live in? Why? And what sort of communications mogul wants to buy a publishing company? I mean...this is making me laugh so hard. And it's ridiculous and stupid all at the same time, too.

Christian's like, "Are you mad at me?"

Ana calls him an ass and then gets scared because she may have gone too far. People, when you're afraid your partner is going to haul off and smack you, the fear makes sense. For everyone else, it's like, "Wha..? of course she's angry..."

Ana of course won't stay angry for long.

Pretty soon, they're inside and Christian is telling Ana that she still has to beg. Yeah, after everything he's been up to, she has to beg for him. See what I mean? it's all about him and what he wants. Anything to do with her is incedental.

Ana goes to touch Christian, and he tells her no, he still doesn't like to be touched. Ana suggests that they use a marker and make a map of places she's safe to touch. He thinks that might be an idea with merit.

Christian then decides they need to eat because Ana hasn't been taking the pill, and that makes so much sense. Ana, true to form, begins begging for sex. I'm telling you; he has a dick made out of crack and laced with heroine.
So, they need to go grocery shopping because Ana doesn't have any food. Naturally, Christian has never set foot in a grocery store.

Christian asks why Ana doesn't have any food, and she says he knows why. He's like, "You left me, bitch." Of course, the reason she left him can't factor into this. The fact that she left him is the only part of this that affected Christian. That everything that happened before caused Ana to leave is immaterial. The part that made Christian upset was her leaving him, therefore, it is the only part that matters in this conversation.

"I lost a bullet! Has anyone seen my bullet! OMG, you better not have gotten melted crayon all over my bullet!"

Ana finally thinks something relevant: that if she hadn't left, Christian might never have offered any sort of alternative for their relationship. She's got a good point. Of course, this is assuming that she really wants to have a relationship with Christian. I mean, she does, but a normal woman wouldn't.

So, Christian tries to find good wine in a grocery store. The author's snobbery rears its ugly head again, as there are many wonderful vineyards in California that produce excellent, award winning wines (but only in blind tests because the French would never willingly vote on a Californian wine), and most of them are available in grocery stores across America. Also, Seattle is painfully cosmopolitan. I'm sure you could get Cristal in a grocery store if you looked hard enough. I know you can here in OC, so why not Seattle?

While Christian leaves the store in search of drinkable wine (Barefoot Vineyards, just saying!), Ana concocts a plan to get him in bed. There is no way this can end badly.

So, at home, Ana starts thinking about how little she knows about Christian.

Finally, the author is agreeing with me! I feel like this is a long time coming. My god!

I love being right.
So, instead of talking, they decide to have sex.

Well, let me back that up. Ana starts chopping and prepping her mise en place, and in doing so, she starts bumping and grinding on Christian, so he finally gets hot and bothered enough to beg her for sex.

So, true to his threat, he won't do anything to her unless she asks for it, so she starts telling him what to do.

Fun new game time! I'm so excited, I hope you are too.

Every time Christian and Ana have sex instead of talking about stuff like normal couples do (I'm not going to do this when they have sex at normal times like normal couples do, in other words...which is never, so we'll see) I'm going to bring up an idea for a fun activity that they can do together in order to foster a better understanding of each other. What's funny is that preparing and eating a meal together is number 8 on the list, so we see how badly these things can go. But! We're starting with #1, which is something I would do if I were as rich as God, and that is to buy and put together the Lego Millennium Falcon.
Right? I know!
You can't tell me this toy was created for a kid. This is pure adult fantasy in action, and at five hundred bucks, only an adult could afford one.

Look at tiny little Chewy! And the buns on Princess Leia's head! And the wee little light saber in Vader's mighty fist! So adorbs!

Did I mention it OPENS UP?  Because it opens up.

I mean, think about this. You're making dinner and putting together a great little model with your boyfriend, and then the next thing you know, you're both talking about your childhood and how you would beg your mom to take you to McDonalds so you could get the Lego Happy Meal and use it to build more, bigger, better stuff than was on the little card. My brother and I had a castle that took us forever to build, and my parents got in on the action, too. It was great. This of course brings up other toys and childhood memories, and anything else in your past. THEN you can have sex. And you'll know each other better for it.

And that's the end of the chapter.

I think we've done enough for now.


  1. I can't thank you or love you enough for this. I read all three books on the insistence of my friend, and now I wish I had just read your blog. The third book will make you vomit, trust me. I hate it when he tells her to "sit". I hate that she comes on command. WTF??? anyways, read it...gingerly. ugh.

    1. Thanks so much. I'm really sort of regretting agreeing to do this, but at the same time, this book is ten times worse in terms of gaslighting and domestic abuse than the first one.

      Incidentally, I used to be worried that fans of the books would come here and roast me. Now I'm just concerned that someone who really likes Budweiser is going to start extolling its virtues. "King of beers, man! It says so on the label!"

    2. Please don't give up!

      I hated the implication that we only drink Budweiser in the states; I'm from CA and when we go to bars, imported beers dominate. And that bit about no decent wines at a grocery store? Where were they-food for less? (nothing wrong with food for less btw). EL James can bite me. Oh wait...

    3. Exacctly! Keeping in mind that this guy took Ana to IHOP in the last book.

      (Food 4 Less and Big Lots both often have crazy fun foods that you just can't find anywhere else.)

  2. I don't know you but I am LOVING your synopses / commentary! Please don't give up!!!

  3. My local library emailed me to say the first book was available for my Kindle, and I have three days to claim it before they pass it to the next person on the list.

    Tomorrow (Monday) is day three, and I've not claimed it, nor do I have any plans to do so. I think I've had fifty shades of enough of this tripe. I'll continue observing this train wreck from *your* viewpoint, thanks.

    Meanwhile--Something Else Normal Couples Do:

    *watching movie*

    "Oh, hey, don't we know that person?"

    "Yep, I think that's So-and-So."

    "Let me check."

    *pull out cellphones*

    *race each other on Google*

    "Got it! HA! My Google-fu is stronnnngggg."

    "Oh, shut up."

    "I was right. It IS So-and-So."

    *long conversation on what else So-and-So has done*

    /end scene

  4. I read the first book but have decided I don't need to read the second as I can just read your commentary - thank you!

  5. I am a high school librarian. What disturbs me is that my students' parents buy them this book and the girls want a "sophisticated man like Christian Grey." gag. And my adult friends think I'm being dumb for saying this story is not one of love but of abuse. Sigh.

    1. If I had a daughter, I'd let her read this book... so that she could no what type of man she should never be with.

  6. I found your blog through a Google search for a synopsis of this book. I read the first book and I just CANNOT read the others, but I still want to find out what happens. Please keep doing these summaries because they are a million times more enjoyable to read than the books!

    Also, thank you just for being a rational person and not loving these books. I read the first one because all the women at work were raving about it. Now I'm thinking maybe a counselor should be brought in?

  7. I found your blog like the person above me, by searching for a synopsis of the second book... I read the first book and hated it so much I wanted to throw up all over my Nook. Please keep writing these! They are so funny, and it is refreshing to know that not all women are obsessed with this trash!!

  8. So a thing happened whereby I thought the first book of this trilogy might actually be, like, sex positive and liberating and then somewhere around page 397 I almost vomited and stopped. But I'm a tattooed, bisexual, feminist women's studies major with a big mouth and so I had to know what happened in the other books so I could offer my invaluable opinion on them and how anti-feminist and disgusting they are. So anyway, I ran a google search and found this and now I think I might want to marry you. So, basically, just thank you!

  9. Ok, I have not laughed this hard in a long time. The book (I forced my way through the first and could not make myslef read the others) sucked, I hate the author as much as you, and I know that I lost IQ points by reading this poorly written rag.

  10. I never got around to reading these; twilight was enough, thanks. But this is really entertaining and pretty much the best way to procrastinate assignments.

    I just wonder if this author is perhaps in this type of relationship themselves, or has had experience in this kind of relationship, and this is their way of justifying that experience?
    In any case, this is a really excellent way of revealing what the book is really about.

  11. I think your commentary is quite sharp and insightful - I came here curious about these books that so many women are apparently swooning over, and I find my worst fears confirmed. I find myself with sick feeling in the pit of my stomach simply from reading your summary ... I have sisters, for God's sake. However, this is a great public service you're performing. Keep it up.