Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Chapter-By-Chapter Synopsis: Fifty Shades Darker, Chapter 4

When last we left Christian and Ana (and yes, I'll recap because it's been a while), they had just made up after a lengthy absence of, like, a week away from each other. This was great because the author left us in no suspense, just sort of picked up where we left off with minimal angst. There was no character development, either, no soul-searching. Ana wants Christian because he's hot, he wants her because she's a doormat. It's a perfect relationship, really.

They had just had sex, after sexily preparing a mis en place for a stir fry that Ana was going to make before the sex took over. Both Christian and Ana accused her of being the one who broke them up, and apparently instead of it being about the fact that Ana didn't want to be Christian's living, breathing punching bag like the end of Book 1 said, it was really more about how Ana didn't say the Safe Word. I'm not sure if this was a continuity error as much as it was an author error, but let's go with neither. It is a mistake in Christian's makeup, at the end of it.

Christian is a Narcissist, and everything he does is for his own pleasure. Even the BDSM is not so much about mutual enjoyment over pain, but him doing what he wants with the girl he's with. Ana broke up with Christian and he was devastated, but when he saw that Ana had been too, it was a foreign concept to him. This is telling about his personality. He breaks up with his subs and goes about his life like it ain't nothin' but a thing. Ana broke up with him, so he never thinks that maybe it was a hard decision for her, he just thinks that she's moved on and ready to go because that's how he is, and that's just how everybody is because that's how he is. His comment, "You broke up with me, you know," is so dismissive, so cold and unforgiving. "You hurt me," he's saying. Who cares that she was also hurt, and that leaving him was a tough decision for her? This is not a concept for Christian.

And so, when they got back together, he makes a joke about how he's not going to touch her until she begs him for it. I don't know if he wanted full-down-on-knees, hands-clasped-to-chest begging, but he wanted her to want him. He needed her to need him.

It was a real cheap trick.

So, all that to say, Ana is coming down from an orgasm at the beginning of Chapter Four. Because there is apparently only one thing Christian can do right, and that's make her orgasm (but only if he feels like it).

He's holding her hands so she can't touch him, and he gives her a kiss, "asking for what? I don't know. It leaves me breathless."

Hey, Ana? Protip: you can actually say, "hey, what was that for?" and he'd probably tell you. I don't understand why she's always in her head. All she does is stand around wondering what's happening, biting her lip. I imagine her like a little kid, toeing some invisible line on the floor while she rocks back and forth, being completely useless. There is this wonderful, crazy thing called communication. Thankfully, Christian doesn't know how to do it either, so they're sort of perfectly horrid for each other, but my goodness. This girl wants to get into publishing?

Christian asks for Ana to promise to never leave him again (without giving any promises) and Ana says yes. Then he calls her a wench and orders her to cook for him.

It was funny when Thor shouted, "I need sustenance!" because he was an arrogant ass and it fit his personality. He also changed by the end (somewhat...we still want him to be a little arrogant) and gained perspective. From Christian, who will never change, it's just another demand, and as a reader, you roll your eyes. If it was actually not serious and playful, it would be funny. But all of Christian's orders, no matter how playfully he gives them, are to be carried out exactly to his personal specifications. Or else it gets the hose again.

I just want to point out that I was way less creepy than Christian.

They eat, and Christian finally gets curious about Ana's life. She finally explains about her mom's husbands, and how Ana preferred living with Ray and taking care of him. This is great. If this was their first or even fourth date, it would be great. But it's not. They've been together for a couple of weeks, even broken up, and Christian knows nearly zero about her. And she about him, too, to be frank.

He remarks that she's used to taking care of other people, and that he wants to take care of her. She points out that he's sort of psycho about it, and he agrees, but it's all he knows. Ana brings up how he bought the company she works for and asks that, if she left and got a new job, would he buy that company too? Yes. Yes he would. And Ana realizes she can't do anything about it, and she doesn't want to fight, so she drops the subject.

And there you go.

I as a reviewer could stop here. If I weren't, if I hadn't committed, I would stop here. This is all we need to know about this man and this woman. Really. It's all. This is the series in a nutshell.

Christian does something to make Ana unhappy.

Ana is unhappy.

Ana gets mad at Christian.

Christian gets mad at Ana for being mad at him.

Ana is upset with Christian for not seeing why she would be upset.

They have sex.

Forget conflict and resolution. It's's nothing. This book is less-than. In the real world, Ana is the sort of person who will wake up one day and kill Christian. Probably stab him to death with a kitchen knife eighty times. Then she'll either go catatonic or kill herself because she doesn't know who she is without him.

So, Christian wants to stay the night, and Ana is fine with that. He asks where she keeps her ice cream, and she snarks that it's in the oven. Christian says that sarcasm is the lowest form of wit. Only idiots who don't know how to use it effectively think that. People with brains know that it's fucking hilarious and also laugh at you behind your back.

Okay, people. Bear with me here. Ana has Ben & Jerry's in her freezer.

It's vanilla.

Do they make vanilla?

I guess they do.

Okay, okay. Deep breaths.

Look, I love vanilla ice cream. There is nothing I'd rather have sitting jauntily atop my boysenberry pie. But when I buy something that has more calories in it than a steak? It'd better be something like Americone Dream, Chubby Hubby, or Marsha Marsha Marshmallow.

(Incidentally, B & J: I'm still really pissed off at you for changing that to the name "S'mores." I mean, I understand if it was a copywrite thing,'s still Marsha Marsha Marshmallow to me. Also, can you bring The Full Vermonty back? Thanks!)

I keep saying that this author has no imagination, but this takes the cake. If you're going to buy Ben & Jerry's, why get vanilla? If you're going to have vanilla in a story, does it have to be Ben & Jerry? At least Haagen-Dasz would make sense! Their vanilla ice cream is like a statue erected (heh) to the vanilla bean. You buy B & J for the names and for the stuff they put inside. Plus, it's freakin' good ice cream.

Well, apparently it's Ben Jerry so that Christian can make the joke, "Ben and Jerry and Ana..."

Thanks for telling us how this story would suddenly get more interesting, Christian. I guess you guys are going to have sex again, huh?

So, my game is to suggest fun things for Christian and Ana to do instead of having sex so they can get to know each other better. Since we're just now learning more about Ana's life in this chapter than we did in the last book, I think it's a really valid game. But I said I was only going to play it when they have sex instead of talking things out like normal people, or instead of doing anything like normal people. Honestly, if this were any other couple, I'd encourage them to have sex at this point, so no game. Sorry.

I will skip over the sex for you, though. I'll only point out that Ana's whole body convulses when Christian tells her he's going to mess up both her and her sheets. Oh, and he puts ice cream on her and licks it off of her. It's as boring and uncomfortable as it sounds.

So, that's done. Ana voices concern that Christian might want to leave her, but he promises not to. In any other guy, this might be nice. In him, it's scary. He invites her to some charity dinner at his dad's house, and she says she'll go.

Ana has a dream about the girl who came to see her, the girl who looks just like her. Only she's the girl this time.

I want to point out to the author that this right here is a sub-conscious. Not the character who purses her lips at Ana and disapproves of stuff. Dreaming. That's the sub-conscious.

Anyway, she wakes up screaming.

Christian wants to know what's wrong, so she tells him about the girl and the dream. It ends up that the girl was Leila, a sub who put the song "Toxic" on Christian's ipod from the first book. I guess she's still not easing his foolish pride.

Christian goes into "crisis" mode, which means that he makes a phone call and sounds all important. Clearly something is up, but he's not talking about it. He wants Ana instead, but she wants tea because that's the answer when you have a problem.

Depends on who you have it with...

So, this is what happened with Leila: She was with Christian three years ago. About two years ago, she moved on and married some other guy. Then she had a psychotic break and went to Christian's house while he was in Georgia with Ana, and tried to kill herself. She was sent to a hospital, but checked herself out before Christian could get there.

I don't think you can check yourself out with a mandatory 48-hour hold, but whatever. Maybe things are different in Seattle. I'm not the author. I don't have to research this stuff.

Anyway, now Christian is turning the tables because he knows he should have told Ana about this girl a while ago, before she showed up at Ana's work, but he didn't so he goes for his trademark deflection and asks why she didn't tell him about Leila showing up at work. Ana has a good excuse (it wasn't all that important and other stuff was going on, so she forgot), so he decides on sex instead.

Now we get to play the game. Really, these two need to talk, and I don't see how either of them could feel sexy after all this. But for Christian, he has to re-mark his territory like a bull moose, so he needs to sex Ana up already.

I am still open to suggestions, but I'm getting through my list too. I think a really great thing that Ana and Christian could do with each other to open lines of communication would be for them to start either volunteering regularly at a soup kitchen/charity of some sort.

Soup kitchens are great because you don't necessarily have to be homeless to go to one. One in seven American homes have trouble putting food on the table every day, and soup kitchens can help. They run on volunteers and donations, so even if all you have is 25 cents, if you can find a soup kitchen, you can find a good meal.

I actually chose soup kitchens because in the first book, Christian admits to having been hungry a lot in his first few years of life before he was adopted by multi-millionaires and became batman a vain narcissistic billionaire who aparently cares about the agricultural department of an Oregonian college enough to donate a million to it. (Yes, a whole million.) (No, that's not very much in the state of education, why do you ask?)

I sort of got this idea that if Christian really cared (he doesn't), he'd want to give back in a tangible way (he won't), so this would help.

Soup kitchens get lots of volunteers at the holidays, but they sort of flounder the rest of the year. Since volunteers are needed to cook and clean and serve and do everything, the faithful often find themselves wearing several hats.

My dad is really involved with the American Legion and the VFW, being a VFW himself, so I know from him all of the issues that surround putting on even a weekly free breakfast for veterans (homeless and otherwise), so I imagine that someone with Christian's name would be really welcome to the community in Seattle, where there are a lot of homeless people and people who just need a hand-up for dinner tonight. I bet if he got involved, then lots of other people would, too. I mean, imagine if Bill Gates started regularly volunteering with soup kitchens. That'd bring awareness and also more volunteers. Of course, it might also bring lots of problems with it, but Christian isn't quite on that level yet. Bill gates gave 90 million to schools. That's way more than Christian did.

This would be a great bonding experience for Ana and Christian, because he could talk to her about his childhood in a meaningful way that she could understand, and they'd both have crazy stories to tell at the end of the day. Of course, Christian would probably hover over Ana all day and be a menace to anyone who behaved even remotely kind to her, so that would suck.

Okay, so that's over. Our lovebirds shower and get ready to face the day. Ana asks Christian if she can start meeting up with his personal trainer, and Christian reacts like he's gotten Christmas early. Then they talk about how Ana needs a car, and he reminds her that she has an Audi and they have an argument about it. 

I have an argument about the Audi. Why an Audi? If I had more money than God, you'd bet I wouldn't get an Audi. I'd get a Mazerati or a Rolls Royce or something really freaking expensive and ostentatious. My Grandma owned an Audi.

Anyway, Ana says she'll give Christian her check from the sale of her VW for the Audi, but Christian isn't having it. She rips the check up and he calls the bank and has the money directly transferred to her account. Now they're both furious with each other. Hey, they should have sex!

Thank god they don't. But they don't have a resolution, either. Christian gets his way, Ana doesn't, he's mad at her for defying him, and she feels impotent in the face of his control.

I'm telling you, he's going to run into her knife nine times.

Pop, squish, six, uh-uh, Cicero, Lipschitz...
Ana and Christian head on down to a salon so she can get her hairs did, and Ana soon comes to realize that this is where he brings his women for their pampering. Even worse? Mrs. Robinson owns the place. You know, the lady who started all of this? Yeah. Her.

I think it's interesting that Ana can't even give Jose a friendly hug and kiss, but Christian gets to hang out with his ex-lover all the time. It's so...them.

End of chapter. I'll be back with more soon!


  1. I must admit I didn't read the first book going instead for the audiobook experience -unnabridged version-, which was even worse due to the voice the narrator gave to Ana, especially during the sex scenes... I must admit I was mesmerized at how horrid the writing and the plot is but endured it to the end just to see if it improved anyhow... Hope is a great gift, but an unwelcome one in this series.
    Anyway...I won't be reading the next books, but will follow what you post, as I must admit your comments and analyse of the situation is the only light in an otherwise bleak series.

    1. I can't even imagine being someone hired to do audio books. "Oh, oh my!"

      Of course, if it was George Takei saying "Oh my," that would be different.

    2. that is exactly how I hear it in my head!

  2. Thanks for the bit about the Ben and Jerry's. I always have New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream in my freezer (suprisingly not called "Chocolate"), and I like to eat it, not fuck it. Gross. And, I know Christian is a total douche, but honestly Ana is the dumbest, most irritating woman ever and I kind of hate her. Anyways, had to vent. Awesome recap btw ;)

    1. I really try to point out when Ana is an idiot, like with the way she never actually communicates, just says everything in her head. One of my friends had a Twilight theory that Bella is really borderline personality disorder, and I think the same is true for Ana. This girl is nuts! I'm still not convinced that all of this isn't in her head, and the last page will have her picking up a snowglobe with "Grey Enterprises Holdings" on a skyscraper or something...

    2. lol that would have been an awesome ending. the ending to this trilogy of crap is sooooo lame.

  3. I just love how every update reinforces my decision to NOT READ THIS SERIES. If I could even get past the two characters, I'd end up throwing the book in disgust because of other things.

    1. Convulsing, at any time, is not a positive bodily reaction. If anyone convulsed in my *bed*, you can bet I'd be dialing 9-1-1.

    2. So B&J Vanilla is what? An attempt at subtlety in clueing us in on Ana? That she's all vanilla, while he's...he's not even Rocky Road. There is no flavor for his crazy.

    2a. Vanilla is made for hot fudge. End of story.

    3. 1956 Corvette. I've never been a Rolls girl, but I like curves. Alternatively, I'd buy back my dad's Chevelle. I guess that means I don't have taste? :P


      I always say that if I married a guy who was good with cars, I'd let him buy himself (us) a classic and fix it up for us/do whatever. They're really expensive, but it would be cool to work on a car with someone I love.


      I totally love vanilla ice cream, but why Ben & Jerry's? Why? I mean, Dryer's is just as good for plain vanilla. It's great in root beer!


      Hang on, I need to get rid of Edward. He seems to have taken a wrong turn at Growing up Cullen...

  4. Great synopsis! Much better than the book, which I didn't read. Couldn't even make it through the first one. Fifty shades is sloppy writing and sappy plot. Nothing more than a romance novel with 'novel?' sex. I've read better sex scenes. Shows the banality of the world.

  5. Just came across this and it had me laughing hysterically. Your post is far more entertaining than the little bit I read of book one. Horrible, hollow, fecklessness in everything from the writing to every element of the story. It is nice to see that there are others out there not caught up in whatever crack-cloud that is responsible for this muck selling 70 million copies worldwide.

  6. hello, I want to invite you to visit this site, my giving me good results: Work From Home