I've now read over 1,000 pages of the 50 Shades trilogy. Willingly! I think that's the definition of sadism. Take note, Anastasia.
Like, I'm surprised I can even type this post now because my eyeballs should be permanently STUCK in the back of my head from ROLLING them so hard and so often. Plus, we all know how Christian feels about a woman rolling her eyes. #eyeroll
What I can't get over, what I really DON'T UNDERSTAND, is why everyone's got their PANTIES in a twist about the sex in these books. There is a lot of undressing and grabbing and sex, sure, but as our hero calls it...it's vanilla. There are handcuffs this go round but COME ON LADIES. If THIS is the kind of stuff that inspires an American woman to LEAVE HER HUSBAND, well, she needs to take a creative writing course. Honey, I guarantee you...you can come up with better shit than this on your own. I'll say by the end I was SKIMMING THE SEX SCENES because they were so BORING.
The writing is awful, as usual. I screenshot this page to show you what I've had to DEAL with. This is a singular page of text in 50 Shades Darker. If you'll turn your attention to the first and last full lines on this page. Hmm. Weird. IS THAT THE SAME SENTENCE? YEP. In the space of ONE PAGE. Maybe our shy, demure Anastasia Steele is a secret pothead and that's why she keeps forgetting questions she's just asked literally one conversation ago? Like maybe I'm gonna get Gone Girled in the next book (god, yes, I'm going to READ IT) and learn the narrator has been lying this whole time and it's just been one acid trip for Ana.
E L James also does this thing, which I mentioned last time, where it's as if she's just learned a new synonym for a word or thinks herself quite clever for coming up with a new phrase ("kinky fuckery" is one that makes MY palm twitch, Christian!) -- and she uses that one word or phrase just always. Just there's no other word or phrase except the one she's just learned.
And now we get to the part that's the real 50 Shades of Fucked Up. Like I mentioned 1,000 times before....it's not the sex. It's Christian as an AWFUL UNATTRACTIVE MAN. This book reads like a Health Center pamphlet for the Warning Signs of Emotional Abuse. It would be funny if it were funny....but it's enraging. I'm mostly enraged that any woman would write a guy like this and expect me, as another woman, to sympathize with this dude and even WANT him????
He's controlling, jealous, condescending, untrusting, isolating, posessive, secret, angry, insecure, needy, stalkery and dismissive of Ana's feelings. He counts an ex-lover as his best friend and tells Ana she just doesn't understand but yells (actually YELLS!) at Ana for wanting to see a platonic male friend for a drink (he wants in your pants, Ana).
"It's my body," I mutter, annoyed that he hasn't asked me. "It's mine, too," he whispers. And like yeah, I get it, that could have been kind of hot if they were making out or something but no, they were discussing Christian setting up a GYNO APPOINTMENT behind Ana's back to get her on birth control. Can you not even? Because I can't even.
- "Christian, you're always mad at me."
- "You're suffocating"
- "The iPad, the gliding, flying to see me, all his actions, his possessiveness, $100,000 for a dance. Is this love?"
(SPOILER ALERT: NO. IT ISN'T.)
- "Crap, he's going to be so angry and we've been getting along so well"
- "Phew, he's no longer mad"
- An exchange about Ana's work travel...."I hope they take on a new woman as my boss"..."Why?"....."Well, you're less likely to object to me going away with her."
- "Christian is finally letting me drive my car"
- "Can we have the radio on?" "I want you to concentrate, he says sharply".
- "Please don't interfere - I want to do this on my own. Christian, please. It's important to me" I say as gently as I can. His mouth sets into a hard line and I think he's going to berate me again.
(this is in reference to him BUYING THE COMPANY she worked for so he could KEEP AN EYE ON HER)
- "That dress is very short," he adds. "Do you like it?" "You look fantastic in it Ana. I just don't want anyone else to see you like that."
YOU GET THE PICTURE.
WHY would you write a hero of a romance novel to be such a SQUIRRELLY ASSHOLE? Isn't a confident, independent, secure man the sexy kind? Isn't jealousy and anger NOT sexy? I'm seriously hoping in book 3 that Ana realizes that while passionate and consuming, her relationship with Christian is NOT healthy and she ends up with Kate's brother, Ethan. Now there's a catch! What a cool guy -- he has, I don't know, FRIENDS and INTERESTS and a LIFE and he appreciates Ana for who she is AND he's hot! HELLO?
The thing is, a lot of us have had this kind of relationship once in our lives. I did. It was passionate and big but also awful and fraught. At the time (you know, IN COLLEGE), I thought that equaled true love. It didn't, and everyone has moved on. As people do. So, sure. I get it. What I don't get, and what I can't accept, is that James is writing this as an ADULT relationship and these MAJOR RED FLAGS as mere issues they've got to overcome together - you know, because Christian had a tough childhood.
It's a twisted "love" story in all the wrong places. Is it almost over?