What’s the Big Deal?: Fifty Shades of Grey Live-Blogging Edition, Chapters 25-26

This series has dragged on far too long (not the Fifty Shades series, but this blogging series, although it applies either way) and I’m ready to be finished. Who’s with me? All right, then let’s just put the final bullet in the head of this travesty known as…

Fifty Shades of Grey

by E. L. James

The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House, $9.99 Nook book, ISBN-10 1612130291

In the previous chapter, Christian and Ana went gliding, had a high-fat, high-carb breakfast, and got separated when Christian either a) had to rush back to Seattle to deal with a “situation” or b) ran screaming in terror from the prospect of dinner with Ana’s mom — you be the judge.

Chapter 25: Floggin’ to the Oldies

Ana’s mom gives her some fairly decent parting advice, which boils down to You’re young and inexperienced, so relax and try to take life slowly while enjoying it. She also imparts that old maxim, “You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.” Ana manages to make the moment unnecessarily dramatic by suggesting that she’s kissed a prince and now he’ll turn into a frog. Yeah, keep on taking responsibility for Christian being an ape and see how far it gets you, sweetie.

Bob anxiously points out that they’re calling Ana’s flight. He’s clearly terrified she’ll miss it and he’ll be stuck with Mopey the Stepdaughter for another endless day of Christian-obsession. Ana’s departure from her mother is teary on both sides, even though Ana’s bitched about every single thing her mom has done during the visit.

On board the plane in her once-again invasively upgraded first class position, Ana throws Christian a pity party because he didn’t get any love as a baby, so that’s why he can’t love anyone now.

Reality check, anyone? Okay, yes, he was an abused, neglected child. However, he didn’t spend his entire childhood that way! He got adopted by the Richie McRichersons and loved and cossetted and given every advantage. I’m sure he even had years of therapy. Can we quit with the Poor Little Rich Boy schtick? He had a rough start, but the guy is currently SPOILED. He doesn’t do love and intimacy because no one demands it of him. He won’t grow up and have an adult relationship because no one has held his feet to the fire. No, he’s rich, good-looking, and bossy, so he gets whatever he wants and therefore doesn’t have to act like a mature, responsible adult. He just has kinky sex whenever he wants and occasionally babbles something about Darfur into his cell phone while sitting in his ridiculously opulent penthouse getting ready to drive his ridiculously expensive car to his ridiculously expensive helipad. POOR HIM.

Ready for the epiphany Ana has during this pity party? Here goes: “I need Christian Grey to love me. This is why I am so reticent about our relationship–because on some basic, fundamental level, I recognize within me a deep-seated compulsion to be loved and cherished.”

So much wrong in two sentences. Not to go all pop-psych on Ana, but she doesn’t need Christian to love her. Millions of fish in the sea, ladies. No, Ana needs to start trying to love herself, or she’s never going to fill the enormous void of Daddy issues that is causing her to turn to this jerkwad for love he can’t or won’t give. Also, so she’s reticent because she wants to be loved and cherished? Wouldn’t it make more sense to say “I want to be loved and cherished,” and then go find someone else to do it if he won’t? Also-also, it’s not a compulsion, dummy; it’s called being human. Heck, it’s called being a mammal! Many fur-bearing, warm-blooded, live-young-having animals need nurturing from others of their species to function. Geez, she really IS one of the coke-can monkeys. Also-also-also, basic and fundamental pretty much mean the same darn thing. Editors, are you out there?

More blah blah blah about whether Christian can love her, and then on to more emails. Oh well, at least the book reads faster in cyberspace.

Ana: Thanks for the first class seats! Can’t wait to see you and find out what I said to you in my sleep.

Christian: Whatever, me too.

Ana: Is everything okay?

Christian: No. Stop emailing during your flight or I’ll spank you.

Ana: We’re on the runway, you grouch.

Christian: Oh. Sorry. Miss you.

Ana: We’re taking off. Bye.

Uh-oh, he’s not his usual verbose innuendo-making self! Maybe the “situation” is out of control, whatever the “situation” is. Possible explanations:

  • Someone has realized Christian never does any work and the board is trying to vote him out
  • Hester the Molester has left her husband and Christian must choose between life as an eternal submissive and life as an eternal Dominant
  • Christian has the clap and the booster shots aren’t helping

Ana’s not sure what’s wrong, but she’s kind of wondering if Christian bought the seat next to her, since it’s the only empty seat on the flight, out of his insane paranoia that she might associate with other human beings.

Taylor picks Ana up from the airport. She attempts to have a conversation with him, which goes nowhere. Apparently the fact that he went out in the middle of the night to buy her sexy undies didn’t create a lasting bond between them.

Ana heads up to the penthouse to find Christian all bent out of shape. He immediately jumps her bones, and she has never felt so “desired and coveted,” although she felt even more redundant of speech just a page or so back.

Christian whisks Ana away for a quick booty session and a steamy shower. During the festivities, she finally tells him where her internship will be since he’s so hurt when she suggests he might interfere with her career. Yeah, because it’s not like he’s interfered with her life on every other level. Seriously, Ana, you’re so paranoid. She also asks him to attend Jose’s photography show with her, which is pretty much the worst idea I’ve ever heard. Of course he agrees.

After dinner, he demands Ana meet him in the playroom. She acquiesces and kneels in mostly-nude reverie for a couple of pages before he comes strolling in and informs her that she better remember her safe words. Then he blindfolds her, straps her to the bed, and puts earbuds in her ears so she can’t hear what’s going on. Oh, and she doesn’t get to pick the music, either. Then he goes over her with what she assumes is a fur glove but could be a dead cat for all we know, and then he brings out the flogger. After an awful lot of allegedly not-painful flogging, they have the most bestest sex ever, whee. Afterward, he informs her she was listening to a forty-part motet by Thomas Tallis, because sex isn’t complete unless you’ve been pretentious to your partner during the afterglow.

Then he finally admits to her that when she was talking in her sleep, she said she missed him. When she’s relieved to hear that’s all she said, he immediately knows there is something she’s not telling him. Smooth, Ana. Really smooth.

Chapter 26: At Last, the Climax…of the Book, Not Ana

You guys, last chapter. I can’t wait to tell Goodreads I’m finished.

Ana wakes up, feeling all rested from the time change (it’s pretty nice, I’ll admit), and tiptoes into the living room because Christian has once again felt the need for a post-coital piano recital. Can I just say that I would be annoyed to the point of homicide if a guy felt the need to get up and play the piano in the middle of the night? Hi, I’m trying to sleep. How about you get one of those electronic keyboards and some headphones, Mr. Moneybags? Anyway, he’s back to his old melancholy melody. When he notices Ana, he tells her she should be sleeping.

UH, I WAS UNTIL SOME ASSHAT STARTED PLAYING PIANO AT 5:30 IN THE MORNING!

…is not what she says when she finds him in “a bubble of light” that is “shrouded in darkness.” (Laws of physics do not apply in Christian’s penthouse.) Instead, she wants to know what he’s playing, which is “Chopin. Prelude opus twenty-eight, number four. In E minor, if you’re interested.” If you’re interested, Ana. If you can possibly be deep enough to want to know the key of the piece. As though anyone could be as deep as Christian.

She asks him to play the song from the last booty-followup performance, and he does. Ana feels so connected to the piece because it’s just as poignant as her need to know Christian, just as poignant as my soul’s need to vomit out all the crap this book is trying to feed it.

When Christian again tells Ana she should be asleep, she points out that it’s eight o’clock in Georgia, and she needs to take her pill. At five thirty AM Pacific time. Because starting your birth control in another time zone is the smartest idea of ever.

Ana wants to talk, but Christian wants to do it on the piano. Ana still wants to talk. She brings up the contract and the fact that she has yet to sign it. Christian tells her it’s now moot, although he’s spent a good 50% of the book obsessing over it. Now he thinks she should always follow the Rules of the contract so he knows she’ll “be safe” (aka under his control even in his absence), and she can just forget about the rest of it unless they’re in the playroom. However, the Rules are still firm and he still wants to punish her.

When she says she’ll need to reread the rules, he scurries off to fetch her a copy. She’s nonplussed about how businesslike everything’s suddenly gone, but hey, he wanted to do it on the piano, and she just HAD to talk about their relationship instead. What did she expect?

The Rules are reprinted in their entirety in case she’s forgotten them. (If you’ve forgotten them, they’re covered in Chapter 7.)

After her reread, Ana rolls her eyes. Christian immediately wants to spank her, but she starts playing a coy catch-me-if-you-can game with him. Please, just catch her and spank her already. This attempt at creating lusty suspense is making my head hurt.

They have a duck-season, rabbit-season argument about whether he’ll catch her. Finally he says that it’s like she doesn’t want to be caught and spanked!

And FINALLY she spills it: “I don’t. That’s the point. I feel about punishment the way you feel about my touching you.”

AT LAST! We have honesty! Seriously, how hard was that? She could have told him this in Chapter 7 and saved all this angsting.

Christian immediately crumples like an aluminum can under the heel of Ana’s confession. She backpedals. “No, I don’t feel that bad. No way. Do I?” Yes, yes you do. That’s why you said you do. That’s why you’ve been moaning and moping and prevaricating over signing the contract. YES YOU DO. But of course she can only judge how she feels by how Christian feels, so now she’s so confused.

Ana explains that maybe she doesn’t hate it as much as he hates being touched, but while she’s actually okay with some light BDSM in the boudoir, this whole punishment business scares her.

Christian explains that he won’t tell her why, but he needs to hurt her! “But not beyond anything that you couldn’t take.”

I feel like I’m repeating myself as my as E. L. James by saying this, but why would he get to decide what she can or cannot take in the way of pain? It’s her ass, not his.

Anyway, he knows why he wants to hurt women, but if he tells her, she’ll run away, and he doesn’t want to lose her. Um, Ana, he wants to hurt women. That alone is a good reason to run away. You don’t need the backstory.

Ana then makes the worst decision she’s made in the entire story, which is saying something: she asks him to give her the maximum punishment he would ever give her so they’ll know if she can really be his sub, or if she can’t handle it. This request is monumentally stupid for a girl who has only been lightly slapped up to this point when she knows he’s into caning.

Christian marches her to the playroom. Ana is so freaked out that she’s light-headed.

Christian grabs a belt and asks Ana to bend over. He tells her he’s punishing her because she ran from him, which she thinks is kind of ironic because she was running so he wouldn’t punish her.

He hits her six times with the belt and makes her count the blows. Big surprise: It hurts. A lot! Being hit on your bare butt with a leather strap really hurts! You guys, did you know that? This is an amazing discovery!

When Christian tries to comfort Ana, who is weeping, she goes off on him and tells him to “sort your shit out, Grey!”

Okay, granted, it’s not exactly wonderful that he wants to hurt her, but in his meager defense, he told her what safe words to use, and instead of using them, she stood there and cried and got mad. She didn’t even give him the opportunity to stop, she just “thank you sir may I have another”-ed it through the entire beating.

Ana runs to her room and sobs into her pillow, realizing that she was stupid to have asked him to go all-out on her, and realizing that she cannot live his lifestyle.

Well, no shit! She’s terrified of his lifestyle. OF COURSE she wasn’t going to accept it.

Her thoughts bounce wackily from why she has to love Christian to whether they can forgive each other to her mom’s advice to follow her heart. “I did follow my heart, and I have a sore ass and an anguished, broken spirit to show for it.” First of all, put on your big girl panties, Ana. You’ve known this guy less than a month. Also, quit blaming your mom. I don’t think she’d have told you to follow your heart if you’d explained that it would involve corporal punishment.

Christian brings Ana some aspirin and arnica cream. They agree that they are no good for each other. Oh my God, they’re sane. They’re actually, at least for this page, sane.

She doesn’t want to go. He doesn’t want her to go. Blah blah, schmaltz schmaltz. And then she tells him she loves him, which just freaks him out. Then they go through “I have to go” “But I don’t want you to” “But I don’t want to” “So don’t” “No I must” for a while.

Finally he leaves her alone. She gets herself together, leaves him a model glider kit that she bought for him while I was bored and not paying attention, uh, I mean, while he was not paying attention, and stares at the “pale and haunted ghost” in the mirror. No, it’s not an episode of Supernatural, it’s Ana taking one last potshot at her own appearance.

When Ana goes into the living room, she hears Christian having a tense phone conversation that ends with him snapping, “Find her.”

Find her? Find who? His lost cat? What is this stupid “situation”? Oh. I know what it is. It’s the setup for the sequel! Christian’s begging his minions to find the editor before they let the current draft of book 2 go into print.

Ana asks for the money from the sale of her VW Bug and leaves Christian with her Audi keys, Macbook, and Blackberry. See, she’s not really a prostitute. She only accepts gifts in exchange for sex. Oh. Wait.

They argue about whether she should keep the gifts, but in the end, Ana convinces Christian to just give her the money from the VW. Ana briefly regrets the loss of the opportunity to have sex on the piano, which I think sounds pretty uncomfortable.

Taylor insists on driving Ana home after one more round of “We’re breaking up but no one wants to.”

Ana goes home to her empty room, hugs her deflated foil helicopter balloon, and cries.

Um…the end. Huh. No afterword? No acknowledgements? What is this, Twilight fanfic?

Oh, right.

Well, that’s it for Infinite Reads’s skewering of Fifty Shades of Grey! I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey. I sure as hell didn’t.

I’ve had people ask if I’m going to do the second and third books. The answer is NO. Unlike Ana, I know when to walk away from a bad relationship. I had a hard time finishing this book because it was Gawd-awful. I have too many promising books to read to go back into this mess. Plus, as far as I’m concerned, the outcome was pretty good. Maybe Ana’s sad, but she and Christian broke up. To me, that’s a happy ending.

Fairy tales DO come true!

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