Friday, March 1, 2013

50 Shades Freed recap Chapter 8 or "Guys, you're going to need a cigarette, for real."

I'll be closing the poll up today, but it looks like the results are pretty much in. Only two people strenuously objected to monetizing the blog, and so to those two people I say: sorry to disappoint you, but I understand completely that you must stick to your convictions. I'll be adding an option for donations via Google wallet in the next few days, as well as a Flattr button, because while some of you have expressed a desire to donate without having to sign up for some other service, I like the idea of Flattr. Those of you who use Flattr can feel free to use it, otherwise, the other option will be there.

I will also be opening Troutmart, a shop for all your snarky mug and t-shirt needs. More to come, because that shit is confusing and I've got some deadlines.

Annelia sent me these links, which are... phew. These are doozies, and will no doubt be enormously triggering to some of you, so... you know, warning, there are real images of domestic violence in progress in these links, and images of children witnessing domestic violence. The first is Photographer as Witness: A Portrait of Domestic Violence, and the other is I Am Unbeatable: Donna Ferrato's Commitment to Abused Women.

*Subtly moves from DV links directly into recap*

So, if you don't remember from last time, Ana was gearing up for this huge confrontation with the bitch architect who was going to steal her husband. Ana's husband, not the architect's - oh, never mind, you know what I was saying. But yeah, Ana got all tarted up to have some kind of vamp-off with this woman who... well, I'm getting ahead of myself. What are Gia Matteo's defining characteristics, beyond the cardinal sin of being female?
Gia Matteo is a good-looking woman - a tall, good-looking woman.
So, that's two strikes.
She wears her short, salon-blonde, perfectly layered and coiffed hair like a sophisticated crown.
I can't decide if the blonde hair is a ball or a strike, since it's "salon-blonde" and not "naturally blonde." The latter indicates a genetic predilection towards evil man-stealing, while the former is merely the mark of a wannabe man-stealer, right? I can never keep my girl hate straight.

But it doesn't matter, because she strikes out like the 2003 Tigers with her next sin:
Her clothes look expensive.
This is a really interesting theme that has run through all three books. Ana seems to have a very jaundiced view of people with money. She snarks Kate's wealth and the generosity of her parents. One of her chief objections to dating Christian Grey was that he had too much money, and his wealth made her uncomfortable. She's often saying how she doesn't know if she'll ever get used to having money. She passes all sorts of wacky judgement on other characters for having money, but most of them are helping her out financially. I wonder if Ana is just unable to face the reality that she hasn't pulled herself up by her bootstraps, but has relied on the generosity of others.

You didn't build that, Ana.

I'm sorry, was I just talking about Ana as though she were a fully realized character, much like a real human being? I must have blacked out.

More about Ms. Matteo:
She is well groomed - one of those women who grew up with money and breeding, though her breeding seems to be lacking this evening; her pale blue blouse is undone too far. Like mine. I flush.
Still not real clear on if Ana is trying to out-sexy Gia, or if she's trying to have sex with her.

They do the standard greeting thing where Ana overanalyzes everything the other person does, a dig about the fact Gia is wearing mascara (unlike Ana who clumped that shit on in the last chapter) and then Christian puts his arm around Ana.
See... he's mine. Annoying - infuriating, even - but mine. I grin. Right now, I really love you, Christian Grey.
Because she's "winning" the "competition" (which I'm pretty sure Gia has no clue she's participating in),  Ana can forgive everything Christian has done to make her mad. To further express her happiness and possession of another human being, Ana squeezes Christian's butt.

How uncomfortable would that make you, if you were Gia? If I were Gia, it would make me very uncomfortable. I would wonder if they were going to offer to make me their third. And I definitely would not want to fuck them, thanks.
[...] I'm gripped by the uncanny feeling that Christian and I are putting on a show, playing a game together - but this time we're on the same side pitted against Ms. Matteo. Does he know that she's attracted to him and is being too obvious about it? It gives me a small rush of pleasure when I realize maybe he's trying to reassure me. Or maybe he's just sending a message loud and clear to this woman that he's taken.
Mine. Yeah, bitch - mine. My inner goddess is wearing her gladiatrix outfit, and she's taking no prisoners.

Is it just me, or is this excerpt making Ana sounding just as awful as Christian? The only value she places on him here is as an object. I suppose it would be easy to blame Christian in this one; he is, after all, the only romantic interest she's ever had, and he is "guiding" her through how to be in a relationship. But we've seen Ana act selfishly about the people in her life before she was married to Christian. Is this a learned behavior? Or is Ana just as fucking terrible as Christian? Discuss.

So, they start to talk out the plans for the house, and Gia casually touches Christian. So, okay, she may be crossing the line or making a play. Or, she might just be naturally touchy. Some people are. She just touches his arm, but since we know Christian doesn't like to be touched, he gets all stiff and formal.
She makes him uncomfortable. Why didn't I see that before? That's why I don't like her.
Yeah, that's why you don't like her.

They talk about the plans for the house, which I am so fucking not interested in, so I'm skipping all of that part. I don't think you guys care if they have a glass wall or an alfresco dining room, either. Christian actually lets Ana drive the plans, though, which is nice:
"Like the bright blue shutters in the South of France," I murmur to Christian, who is watching me intently. He takes a sip of wine and shrugs, very noncommittal. Hmm. He doesn't like that idea but he doesn't overrule me, shoot me down, or make me feel stupid. God, this man is a mass of contradictions. His words from yesterday come to mind: "I want this house to be the way you want. Whatever you want. It's yours." He wants me to be happy - happy in everything I do.
Unless you would be happy doing something he doesn't want you to do. In that case, fuck you.

Notice the subtle misogyny in the fact that Christian considers the house Ana's domain. He trusts her to decorate, but not run her own career or life. The house, though, that's all her.

The entire exchange with Gia alternates between "Blah blah blah, boring house plan, blah blah blah stay away from my man, bitch." Ana decides she's going to have words with Gia:
When I turn to Christian, he's still looking at me - not at her at all. Yes! I am going to have words with Ms. Matteo.
If he had been expressing sexual interest in Gia, would Ana refrain from having these words? Gosh, when will an opportunity pop up, where you can be alone with her?
There's a discreet cough from the entrance to the great room. We three turn as one to find Taylor standing there.
"Taylor?" Christian asks.
"I need to confer with you on an urgent matter, Mr. Grey."
Of course you do. Because like three paragraphs before, Ana was just thinking how she was going to "have words" with the architect. Christian is conveniently called away by the author, and Ana gets to have her confrontation.
"So... the master suite?" Gia asks nervously.
I gaze up at her,  pausing for a moment to ensure that Christian and Taylor are out of earshot. Then, calling on all my inner strength and the fact that I've been seriously piqued for the last five hours, I let her have it.
"You're right to be nervous, Gia, because right now your work on this project hangs in the balance. But I'm sure we'll be fine as long as you keep your hands off my husband."
Wait, what? Hangs in what balance? I thought that was an expression you generally only used if you were mentioning two other things. So that there was a balance to hang in. I suppose "my husband" and "your work" would be those two things, but it seems weird to mention the two opposing things after the fact.

But there I go again, expecting waaaaay too much of the use of colloquial English in the best selling series of all time.

Ana warns Gia that she's about to get her ass fired, and Gia is like, "But it isn't him I want. It's you." And then they grab each other and hate fuck right on top of the plans.

Okay, that's not what happens. But wouldn't be awesome if that's what happened?

What actually happens is that they have a stare-off. There's some adverb or adjective that could be applied to the manner in which Ana conducts herself at this time, but fucked if I can remember which one it is...
But I hold my ground, gazing impassively into her widening brown eyes.
Don't back down. Don't back down! I've learned this maddening impassive expression from Christian, who does impassive like no one else. 
Fuck, I wish I could remember what adverb or adjective that could be used at a time like this, to describe an emotionless glare. I feel like it's right on the tip of my tongue, too. I'm sure if I heard it, or some variation of it, several times in close succession, I might understand exactly how Ana is staring at Gia.

What is it with three letter names in this series? Ana, Gia, Mia. Ana Gia Mia. That sounds like an Italian car. "The Fiat Anagiamia's production was halted, because too many of the plant workers were committing suicide."
"Let me be clear. My husband is not interested in you."
"Of course," she murmurs, the blood draining from her face.
"As I said, I just wanted to be clear."
And to totally not sound desperately in need of proving something to yourself.
Now that I have the upper hand, I feel myself relax for the first time since my meeting with Christian this afternoon. I can do this. My inner goddess is celebrating her inner bitch.
Worst matryoshka ever.

Christian comes back from his super urgent flimsy authorial excuse (Hyde hasn't been to his apartment in weeks, hardly time sensitive information), and Gia leaves. Christian knows something is up because Gia acts like he's Quasimodo and will barely look at him. Ana admits to having said something about that bitch keeping your slut hands off my man, ho! and Christian is... ugh. This fucking guy.
His eyes grow wide in alarm. "You're not jealous, are you?" he asks, horrified.
It's horrific that Ana is jealous? I guess I can see where he's coming from. I mean, he has to be jealous. Ana is a woman, and therefore she'll just relentlessly fuck every male in her path if she doesn't have a man to be jealous at her whenever those rival males are in proximity. But Ana being jealous is just... well, that's silly.
"Ana, she's a sexual predator. Not my type at all. [...]"
Hey, he'd be a good Taylor, too.

 I choose to believe the wording of the sentence was meant to imply that Gia isn't Christian's type of sexual predator. Because Christian certainly burns a fucking torch for Mrs. Robinson, didn't he? And she wasn't exactly not a sexual predator. She looked at a severely emotionally disturbed teenager and thought, "Ah, I can fuck that. He's just broken enough to go for it."

I thought Ana would jump directly on a chance to slam Elena, but Christian is still kind of stuck on this "how can you be jealous of me" thing and he's not getting unstuck any time soon.
"How can you think otherwise? Have I ever given you any indication that I could be remotely interested in anyone else?" His eye blaze as he stares into mine.
Okay, here's the thing, Chedward. Jealousy has nothing to do with the other person, and everything to do with the person experiencing the jealousy. You, Chedward, have no self-worth, hence your incessant and ridiculous posturing. Pro-tip? Ana has no self-worth, either. What little she might have had has been systematically destroyed by your "love," so she's constantly doubting she's good enough to keep you from straying. You're both in the same boat. Despite any evidence to the contrary, you believe she's going to fuck around on you, so you treat her even worse, which in turn causes you to doubt she could ever love you, and, fuck it, you know what? This is hard to explain, let me provide a handy diagram:


"Oh, Christian" - my bottom lip trembles - "I'm trying to adapt to this new life that I had never imagined for myself. Everything is being handed to me on a plate - the job, you, my beautiful husband who I never... I never knew I'd love this way, this hard, this fast, this... indelibly." I take a deep, steadying breath as his mouth drops open.
"But you're like a freight train, and I don't want to get railroaded because the girl you fell in love with will be crushed.
Let's give E.L. a hand here, for not mixing a metaphor for the very first time in all three books. This calls for some kind of celebration.

And what'll be left? All that would be left is a vacuous social X-ray, flitting from charity function to charity function." I pause once more, struggling to find the words to convey how I feel. "And now you want me to be a company CEO, which has never even been on my radar. I'm bouncing between all these ideas, struggling. You want me at home. You want me to run a company. It's so confusion." I stop, tears threatening, and I force back a sob.
So, when I started recaping the first book, people would get furious with me. They would be like, "It's a series! You have to read the whole thing to see how the characters develop! You must not understand how a series works!"


That would make me so furious because the thing was, it really, really, really does not matter that Ana delivers this big speech in book three. Not one little bit. And it has very little to do with what comes before the big speech, and everything to do with what comes after it. Because she delivers this big, heartfelt speech, and NOTHING CHANGES.

Saying all of this stuff to Christian doesn't make Ana a strong woman, because she never makes it clear through her interactions with him that she actually expects him to change his behavior. If she is given the option to either do what he wants her to or force him to respect her boundaries, she will always pick shouting at him, then ultimately caving to his desires.
"I just want to give you the world, Ana, everything and anything you want. And save you from it, too. Keep you safe. But I also want everyone to know you're mine. I panicked today when I got your e-mail. Why didn't you tell me about your name?"
I flush. He has a point.
See? Immediately it becomes about him again. He wants to give her everything she wants - but what he really wants is to give her everything he wants for her, and to force her to want it, too. But instead of saying, "Hey, jackass, do you hear yourself?" she rushes to tell him how much she loves him - by quoting King Lear - and tries to reassure him that he's the only one for her. She does, however, ask him if he would consider taking her name, if having the same last name means so much to him:
"Would you change your name to Christian Steele so everyone would know that you belong to me?"
Christian's eyes fly open, and he gazes at me as if I've just said the world is flat. He frowns. "Belong to you?" he murmurs, testing the words.
He then agrees that he would, if it meant a lot to her. Spoiler alert? He doesn't. And even if he did, it wouldn't make up for aaaaaaall the other shit he's done to her. The fact that he can't even comprehend "belonging" to her the way he feels she "belongs" to him is a big, neon sign that he really does consider other people possessions instead of, you know. People.
"Does it mean that much to you?"
"Yes." He is unequivocal.
"Okay." I will do this for him. Give him the reassurance he still needs.
Boom. Right there. This is not a book about how a woman becomes empowered. This is a book about how a woman tricks herself into believing that she is empowered.

But hey, at least she's going to get a reward:
"Mrs. Grey, do you know what this means to me?"
"I do now."
He leans down and kisses me, his fingers moving into my hair, holding me in place.
"It means seven shades of Sunday," he murmurs against my lips, and he runs his nose along mine.
See, this book isn't anti-feminist at all! Stupid Jen, not understanding how the fact that he's willing to pay lip service to her concerns by saying he would do something he ultimately doesn't do and then rewards her by letting her have sex with him means this is the paragon of female enlightenment.

But just in case you think she's earned this reward too easily...
"I need you to cut my hair. Apparently, it's overlong, and my wife doesn't like it."
When Ana is all, hey asshole, I'm not a stylist, he says:
"Okay, good point well made. I'll get Franco to do it."
No! Franco works for the bitch troll!

So, since Chedward has subtly threatened to go see Mrs. Robinson if Ana doesn't comply with his wishes, Ana thinks:
Maybe I could give him a trim. After all, I cut Ray's hair for years, and he never complained.
I like how she says "after all," like that's totally a given that someone has been giving their dad his haircuts for years. Like, "everyone does this, right?"

So, Ana is going to sexily wash Chedward's hair, but they just can't keep their hands off each other. Their desire is painstakingly detailed by the author, who has a masterful grasp of the English language:
Sculptured, chiseled, whatever, it is a beautiful mouth and he knows exactly what to do with it.
Clearly, those words were chosen with the utmost care. "Sculptured, chiseled, whatever." I'm going to start writing all my books that way. "He was gorgeous, or something, and I totally felt, I don't know. Like I might want to fuck him. Or whatever."

Christian doesn't want to have sex with her, though, he really wants his hair cut:
"I want this," he continues. And his eyes are round and raw for some inexplicable reason. It's disarming.
"Why?" I whisper.
He stares at me for a beat, and his eyes grow wider. "Because it'll make me feel cherished."
Now, I hate to point out that yet again, Ana is doing something that she doesn't want to do because it's something Chedward wants. Or that there is a lot of needless drama surrounding a fucking haircut here. But what I really, really hate to call to anybody's attention is that a haircut makes him feel "cherished." Remember what Mrs. Robinson does?


Right there, that could have been a more interesting conflict than the name thing, the architect, any of it. But guess what E.L. does with it?

That's right. She ignores it and takes a self-indulgent trip to sexy haircut town.

Ana washes Christian's hair, at one point getting water in his eyes.
"Hey, I know I'm an arse, but don't drown me."
Do it.

And then there's more sexy hair washing I'm skipping because it's sooooooooo goddamned long and pointless.
Who would have thought after our argument this afternoon he could be this relaxed? Without sex?
I like how Ana is already viewing sex as marriage maintenance.

I'm skipping the sex scenes from now on. They're all exactly the fucking same. In this one, Ana has no idea what titty fucking is, but they don't do it, they just talk about it, and it's all the fucking same lines about fucking hard etc. until Chedward tells her to orgasm and she does, on command, and then of course she cries because it's the most beautiful, emotional sex ever in the history of anything.

Ana ends up wearing Christian's shirt, a garter belt and stockings, and then she scampers off to get the scissors so she can finish Christian's haircut.

Guys, this haircut is fifteen fucking trade-sized pages long. You probably could go get a haircut, start reading about this haircut, and then still not be finished with it by the time your hair was done.

So, Ana goes to get the scissors, as I was saying, and...

Okay, do you have your cigarettes handy?
As I enter the main corridor, I notice the door to Taylor's office is open. Mrs. Jones is standing just beyond the door. I stop, rooted to the spot.
Taylor is running his fingers down her face and smiling sweetly at her. Then he leans down and kisses her.
Okay, it's not a cigarette, it's a one hitter, but you get the picture.

That line is honestly the only part of any of these books that has given me any pleasure. But then, Ana has to destroy everything. Because Ana is a ruiner. Ana totally Brittas this whole thing.
Wow! I'm reeling. I always thought Mrs. Jones was older than Taylor. Oh, I have to get my head around this.
Not, "Wow, how weird, my domestic servants have hooked up, Bates and Anna style." No, she needs to get her head around the fact that a man would want to fuck an older woman. And yet, she's super jealous that her husband might fuck Mrs. Robinson. CAN ANYONE IN THESE FUCKING BOOKS HAVE ANY LEVEL OF LOGICAL CONSISTENCY? AT ALL?

But then Ana opens a drawer in Christian's office and finds a gun.
I open the top drawer and am immediately distracted when I find a gun. Christian has a gun!
You know how they say people who own a gun for home defense are more likely to be killed by their own gun than they are to kill an intruder? That claim is kind of bullshit, but whatever, I wish it was real now that I know Chedward owns a gun.
A revolver. Holy fuck! I had no idea Christian owned a gun. I take it out, slip the release, and check the cylinder. It's fully loaded, but light... too light. It must be carbon fiber.
I'm not sure there are full carbon fiber revolvers you can just buy. If there are, someone leave a link in the comments, because I'm actually interested to know if there are. You can certainly get a carbon fiber grip for a handgun, probably for a revolver, but it seems like if you made a revolver completely out of carbon fiber it would be super expensive to produce and it would probably have a fucking crazy kick that would possibly affect your accuracy on repeat shots. I can't imagine what the customer base would be for a totally carbon fiber revolver. They make sniper rifles with carbon fiber barrels, but it seems like it would just be super impractical for a mass produced revolver.
What does Christian want with a gun?
Wanna know how I know the author isn't American?
I put the gun back and find the scissors.
I vote you use the gun to cut his hair, Ana.

Ana runs into Taylor in the hallway, and she's embarrassed because she's half undressed. So, of course the first thing Ana does is tell Chedward that his bodyguard has seen her dressed provocatively, because she likes to make everyone's lives so super easy:
"I just ran into Taylor."
"Oh." Christian frowns. "Dressed like that?"
Oh shit! "That's not Taylor's fault."
Christian's frown deepens. "No. But still."
"I'm dressed."
Demand for circumspection coming from the man who has his cleaning lady wash his buttplugs.

Ana asks Christian if he knew Mrs. Jones and Taylor were knocking the boots:
"Ana, they're adults. They live under the same roof. Both unattached. Both attractive."
Right, because everyone knows that two attractive people who are single MUST FUCK.
"Well, if you put it like that... I just thought Gail was older than Taylor."
"She is, but not by much." He gazes at me, perplexed. "Some men like older women - " He stops abruptly and his eyes widen.
 I scowl at him. "I know that," I snap.
I hope this book ends with an explosion in which everyone except Taylor and Mrs. Jones are killed.
"I was thinking we could convert the rooms over the garages for them at the new place," Christian continues. "Make it a home. Then maybe Taylor's daughter could stay with him more often." He watches me carefully in the mirror.
"Why doesn't she stay here?"
"Taylor's never asked me."
"Perhaps you should offer. But we'd have to behave ourselves."
Christian's brow furrows. "I hadn't thought of that."
You hadn't thought that maybe Taylor didn't want to bring his daughter, whom he has the occasional weekend custody of, to the apartment where his boss makes women kneel naked on the floor, waiting to serve him sexually, exclusively on the weekends? Why wouldn't he want to bring his child into that environment?

Christian tells Ana that he pays for Taylor's daughter's schooling:
"Seemed the least I could do. Also, it means he won't quit."
ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS? This is how Christian Grey gets loyalty from his employees?! He puts the happiness of their children at stake?! Christian Grey cannot get through life without controlling every aspect of every other person around him. And people let him? This isn't about being left alone with his mother's body. Christian Grey is a dangerous person who doesn't understand personal boundaries or individual autonomy.

There is a reason Ana's subconscious is constantly reading Dickens. Because Christian Grey is Ebenezer Scrooge. This isn't Twilight fanfic, it's A Christmas Carol fanfic. The prompt was clearly, "What if Scrooge was a young dude, and he had some dummy telling him it's totally okay to ignore his conscience at every turn?" And Snowqueen's Ice Dragon grabbed that prompt in her utterly incapable hands and made this.

This guy. This fucking guy.

I hate this guy.

So much.


On the sides of my face.

Ana tells him basically that of course he doesn't have to do stuff like that to keep people close to him, because Taylor really likes him and blah blah blah because Christian Grey is somehow the man everyone wants a piece of despite the fact that he's truly horrible. Sometimes, when I'm really down in depression and telling myself I'm a piece of shit and no one loves me, I stop and think, "No. No, you're not Christian Grey. If he deserves love, then so do you."

Ana cuts his hair, and of course it's perfect because she does everything perfectly, all the time, nonstop perfection because she's a fucking Mary Sue, and then there's a section break and she goes to bed.
"What?" he says as he climbs into bed beside me wearing only his pajama pants.
Does he usually wear a three fucking piece suit to bed?

Ana tells him she doesn't want to run SIP, and he argues with her about whether or not she wants to run SIP, because he obviously knows better than she does what she wants.
"You see," he continues, "running a successful company is all about embracing the talent of the individuals you have at your disposal. If that's where your talents and your interests lie, then you structure the company to enable that. Don't dismiss it out of hand, Anastasia. [...]"
Oh please, tell us more about how to successfully run a business, Mr. If-You-Fuck-Me-I'll-Buy-You-A-Company.

Then Ana asks him something about tying him up during sex, and he wouldn't be down with that, and then they're going to have sex again:
And soon we're lost... lost in each other again.
I wish you were lost at sea. I wish you were lost in a haunted castle with a murderer on the loose. But the good news is, the chapter is over, so we don't have to see them get lost in each other.


  1. Bottom line. They don't trust each other. They have good reasons. Not only do they still barely know each other outside of sex, but neither has been good for the other, nor even for themselves. This is a relationship that would be over by the time she reaches 30, if she's alive that long.

    1. Okay, the trust issue is small beans now that I've finished reading. I'm pro-gun-rights and favor background checks and responsible gun ownership and all, but Christian is too volatile. I am scared of people like him owning guns. Of course if guns were banned tomorrow, people like him would keep them anyway. All it will take is one fight that goes too far (let's just presume, sadly, that the fights they have already are their "normal"), and someone will die. They're bringing kids into this fucked up relationship!!

      And then I got to the part about the business, and wanted to cry. I had an ex just like that. He was a rich guy with a trust fund, and he could have said that verbatim. I went into real estate for him, got licensed, set up REITs, got into a fight because I wasn't comfortable buying property in New Orleans (and a few months later, hello, Katrina!), felt like I was drowning. He wasn't as bad as Christian, but still.

      Christian is the combination of the two exes who screwed me up the most, and he's got a gun, and severe mommy issues. Seriously, if Ana was real, she'd be killed at some point by this juvenile, self-centered, unstable man-child who has wealth and power at his disposal that he is too immature handle. He's not a real person, but this is the chapter that takes me from scared of the thought of him, to feeling physically ill and trying to force my eyes to hold back tears.

    2. Two words- Oscar and Pistorius...

      I'm sorry to hear this horrible book has made you sad. it's awful it has the power to make anyone miserable.

    3. Erica just got the script for the movie. She posted it to Facebook, and then deleted it. I got a screen cap of the partial page she posted for about two minutes.

    4. Just FYI, but he did not go out and buy that gun. He did not get it through any of the usual legal channels. He explains this later in the book.

    5. Carbon fiber hand guns aren't made. Unless it's a display piece only, it doesn't exist. Further down in the comments, someone whose husband is a state trooper said the same thing.

  2. So I might have whipped something up from Gia's point of view while reading this. It takes no continuity into accounts and no previous characterization. Also, my only involvement with this series is through reviews, so there you go:

    I was not happy to be called in to consult so late at night. Usually my clients understood that I worked during normal hours, but Mr. Grey made it more than worth my while to bring the presentation out that evening.
    He was not my first wealthy client, so I knew what they expected to see. Blonde hair, expensive suit, nice makeup, I had no issue putting the look together. How could they expect me to decorate their home nicely if I could not decorate myself.
    I stood near Mr. Grey, waiting for his wife, who he only called Mrs. Grey for some reason, to join us. Our meeting was meant to start nearly 30 minutes ago, but he said she needed to freshen up after work. He had mentioned she was an editor at a publishing company that he owned. Of course he owned it, how else would a woman in her early twenties already have such a prestigious position.
    Finally, she entered the room. Negativity poured off of her as she made a beeline for her new husband. She looked me up and down, her eyes narrowing as she took in my new haircut. Mr. Grey jumped nearly imperceptivity. Did she just pinch his butt?
    I go over the plans, and Mrs. Grey takes no time in slipping in details about their recent trip to France. I begin to work in her suggestions, wondering if Mr. Grey would give any input. In an attempt to draw him into our plans, I lightly touch his arm. He stiffens and I quickly remove my hand. I can hear Mrs. Grey let out a huff.
    I apologize quietly to Mr. Grey, but Mrs. Grey does not seem to hear.
    Mr. Grey’s security man calls him away and Mrs. Grey and I are left alone. I can see that she is going through all the names that she wants to call me in her head. I wonder if she will work up the nerve to accuse me of anything.
    She speaks, claiming my job is in the balance and says something about my keeping my hands off her husband. What balance? I want to ask, but refrain. However insecure she seems to be in her position, she’s my employer.
    "Let me be clear. My husband is not interested in you."
    "Of course," I say, I never thought he was. And even if he was, I didn’t get involved with clients. That always ended messy on both ends.
    "As I said, I just wanted to be clear."
    This was going to be a long ass job. But I couldn’t wait to send them the invoice, the Greys seemed like the type of people who though marble tile cost $200 a square foot.

    1. LOL I love this!!!! Good job!

    2. This is excellent. Gia is more interesting in that ficlet than Ana in three whole gorram books.

    3. Brava! This shows so clearly how Ana is most likely overreacting. I know people who work in this sort of position for the richest people in America. Go look up Montecito. Where else would Oprah live? Ojai? That's for Johnny Depp and Reese Witherspoon. Anyway, you've got to be like Gia in this situation. Detached, yet attached enough to be perceptive to how your actions affect your clients/employers. I know of one lawsuit right now one of my relatives is dealing with because the client alleges he made it clear he wanted a certain type of windows in his $30-million mansion. It's a tough business, and one small possible misstep can take you from being on top of the world to living in your girlfriend's garage because you've blown everything you have trying to defend yourself against a client who wants you to reimburse him the entire cost of his mansion. (Kicker: D knew M when M was a new immigrant from Mexico and barely scraping by mowing lawns. D helped M cultivate his skills at landscaping. With D's help, M went on to found a landscaping company that became a multi-million-dollar business to the rich and famous. Now M is continuing to stab D in the back.)

      I feel so bad for Gia.

    4. Nicely done! I'm starting to see why people like fanfic...

    5. Oh my god, thank you!!! I was going to ask for this specifically, and you nailed it! Gia didn't deserve Ana's craziness. She was just a woman trying to do her job.

    6. Brilliantly done! When I first read this book, I had a feeling that Gia's inner monologue was pretty similar to that. Her reaction to Ana's "Get your hands off my man" was completely "wtf?"

  3. Clearly, those words were chosen with the utmost care. "Sculptured, chiseled, whatever." I'm going to start writing all my books that way. "He was gorgeous, or something, and I totally felt, I don't know. Like I might want to fuck him. Or whatever."

    I am hyperventilating. Seriously.

    1. I would love to read a book that read like that. "Airhead Erotica" has win all over it.

  4. I bet E.L James is picturing Tayler being like 28 and Mrs (? maybe I'm forgetting her story, shouldn't she be Ms) Jones is like 32.

    1. Maybe Mr. Grey insist his house be run like like Downton Abbey where all housemaids are Mrs?

    2. Or not housemaids... but whatever Mrs. Hughes is.

  5. Hey, sorry if I missed something, but did Gia do ANYTHING -- in this chapter, or in the past as mentioned in earlier chapters -- to indicate she wanted Christian? Maybe I'm forgetting an earlier mention. (And my only knowledge of this shitty series comes from these recaps, so it's possible I was snorting too loud with laughter and missed a reference to Gia's burning hot desire for Christian.)

    Completely random side note, I saw a few new releases from "Cherish"? I think, a romance line? And in one the hero is named CULLEN GRAY. Hmmmmmm.....

    1. She wears low-cut tops, I think? Ana figures women never dress up except for sex. Because obviously.

      ...which possibly explains why all her clothes are borrowed from Kate, or were until Chedward started treating her like his personal dress-up doll.

    2. Never mind being interested in or even desiring Chedward. I want to know what Gia did that got her labeled a sexual predator. Did she grope him? Make lewd comments? Criminal history? Does she wander into men's rooms "on accident" and snap pictures to post on her website without their permission? Is her architecture firm called White Homewreckers Obviously Rapists Engineering INC?

    3. She existed. That's all that's required.

    4. I agree with Marteani...sexual predator? How did he come to that conclusion??

    5. Because he's a goddamned sociopath who thinks that everyone is as awful as him?

  6. Oh fuck, fuck, fuckity-fuck! Am I allowed to type that? I'll never be able to cut my hubby's hair again after reading that tripe. Hubby likes me to cut his hair because, yes it's true, he likes "the pampering". Of course, I don't wear garter and hose for hairstyling - and won't try it after this tripe. First of all, you don't cut hair with office scissors! Second, it takes practice. The first time I cut hubby's hair with clippers? TWO BIG BALD SPOTS - one behind each ear where I was trying to shape it. (Thank goodness his coworkers had a sense of humor.) 10 years later, I can buzz cut anything - #3 sides #4 top.

    Ok, humor here. The troll picture has me rolling because hubby and I have an ongoing (18 years and counting) troll battle going on. He has an orange haired little troll in a tux. Tux Troll has had his hair buzzed, played hide and seek all over the place, got shipped in a care package to Iraq, and - my favorite - frozen in a block of ice and served in a soda to my hubby. LOL!

    Pro-gun here as well and that damn thing needs to be in a safe, not rattling around in a desk drawer. Heck, if you need it in the desk drawer, at least use a combo lock-box. I hate stupid people, they ruin things for the rest of us.

    And - love the opposite side Michelle!

    1. :D Always nice to stretch the old fanfic muscles again.

    2. I cut my husband's hair, too, using hair-cutting scissors. Mostly because it's cheaper and quicker. It comes out okay, but it's not like anyone cares what a hardware engineer looks like. If he was a CEO? He'd be getting it professionally done.

    3. So true Caitlyn. Hubby is an electrical engineer. When he was younger and we were first married, I learned how to do a decent scissor cut. He worked in Iraq for half a year and found he preferred the buzz cut. Now I just line him and my son (14) up on the porch every 2-3 weeks and buzz 'em!

  7. My husband is a Texas state trooper and I asked him about the carbon fiber gun thing. His answer is no, there's no such thing as a fully or even mostly carbon fiber gun. Reason being that carbon fiber is a softer material than metal, and over time a gun made from carbon fiber would begin to degrade and the gun would no longer be accurate, to say the least.

    Guns HAVE to have metal barrels, because it's the hardest and most heat resistant to the action of firing a bullet through it at such high speeds.

    So this "carbon fiber gun" thing is bullshit, basically.

    1. Also, he says it is true that there are sniper rifles with carbon fiber barrels, but they have chrome lined metal sleeves to prevent warping from the heat, and they're still pretty damn heavy.

    2. Yup. I was scrolling the comments after mine above to see if anyone else said anything I could reply to. I live in Vancouver and this town feels icky now. Anyway I ran to the grocery store, then to a gun store across the street and asked about this.

      Me: Hi, I'm reading some recaps of 50 Shades-
      Gun guy: *tenses*
      Me: I know. I'm not a fan. That's why they're recaps, snarky recaps. Anyway...*describe the handgun*
      Gun guy: I've never heard of such a thing. It wouldn't be stable enough to be safe. That stuff's light and good for racing, but not hard or rigid enough. *goes on about the sniper rifles that aren't for civilian use and get far more maintenance and less use than almost anything else out there*

      So I can confirm what Michaela said. No such thing. And if you could get someone stupid enough to make one, you'll probably end up severely injuring or killing yourself.

  8. "Hey, I know I'm an arse, but don't drown me."

    Christian Grey is totally American, y'all!

    1. Same thought here. :-) Except that I do say that a lot, but I also watch a TON of British television.

  9. This is just getting more and more painful to read, isn't it? Thanks for putting up with this drivel on our behalf, Jen. It's much appreciated.

  10. From the moment I read that Ana's inner goddess has an inner bitch, I started picturing Ana as the Land O'Lakes box:

    Also, when will someone explain how Mrs. Jones became "Mrs."? Did Christian have her first husband killed so she wouldn't clean for anyone but him?

    1. Well, she's the head housekeeper, in England they are always referred to as "Mrs." regardless of actual relationship status...another reminder that this EL James hasn't a clue

    2. We're not always referred to as Mrs over here in the UK, Miss or Ms. is far more commonly used if someone is unsure of our marital status. I'd have it down as weak character writing and EL James' odd ideas about women and relationships, there isn't any modern social convention to cover her on this one.

  11. He is SUCH a dickhead. I am beyond "oh it must be the hype that makes women love him so much" and well into "if loving Christian Grey was fatal, it would be a form of natural selection."

  12. Ditto, or a disease! Brilliant re cap and it all goes downhill from here!


    PS I am for lawful gun owners but oh, it would have been cool if she used the GUN instead of a scissors!

  13. I wonder if all the 50 Shades fans actually read this stuff and comprehend what is happening, or if they just skip to the " dirty sex" scenes? Or do people really find this romantic when they have these interactions? It just makes me sick the control he puts over her. Do people read this and think it's cute?

    1. I've been doing my own form of study on why I think 50 Shades is so popular. Christian's actions are absolving Ana of being the dirty woman who enjoys sex.

      These are just my own observations.

      And please pardon my political play and dancing around saying what I really think of Erica not condemning Christian's actions. I know for fact at least once agent has read through my blog this week (she told me right before I sent a query), and I don't want to come across as author-bashing.

  14. The housekeeper being referred to as "Mrs." is another Britishism. Housekeepers over the pond have always been given the title of "Mrs." despite the fact that the staff are generally supposed to all be single.

  15. Yeah, let's leave the gun just lying around fully loaded in a desk drawer. THAT'S safe.

    1. Quiet. I'm holding out hope this book ends in a murder/suicide and Taylor inherits everything.

    2. I was just hoping Ana would literally shoot herself in the foot.

  16. I was hoping Ana would pull a Her Alibi on him and find out if the ends of scissors would stick out Chedward's back.

  17. This really hits on something I cannot stand in fiction of any kind: all women are rivals. There's no female friendships of any kind. Mia is the only women Ana doesn't want to stab in the neck with a nail file and she barely features. Even Kate, BFF totes really, is constantly denigrated by Ana. All women who are not you are vicious, clawing sluts incapable of forming intimate non- sexual relationships with anyone. How many movies are about four girls who are all friends but secretly hate each other and spend the movie tearing each other apart? Could someone tell EL that Heathers is not a documentary?

    Ana got tarted up without even having met this nefarious bottle-blonde. All Ana heard was "tits will be in the same room as Christian" and she started unbuttoning her shirt to prove hers were better. There are no lesbians, no girls already in relationships, no girls who are simply disinterested in Christian. Women who don't want her man don't even exist, they are beneath notice until they wear a t-shirt that's just a little too flimsy.

    I'll bet if Ana had a cat she would get pissed off if it sat on Christian's lap too long.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. f my manuscript ever gets published, you'll see something different. Sorry to again link from my blog, but I don't feel like retyping. I'm sick of the same friend, the pseudo-friends who make the female protag look like a lonely kicked puppy we all need to like out of pity. Fourth paragraph down.

      Also obligatory "Ana couldn't stand ANY 'pussy' around Christian. So she wouldn't have a cat."

    3. I'm pretty sure Ana met Gia before this scene. But it's still stupid.

      And sadly, there seem to be a lot of women in the real world who are exactly this way. I'm thankful that has not been my experience.

  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

  19. Best line: "I vote you use the gun to cut his hair, Ana."

    Also, I can't wait to give you my money! It is burning a hole in my pocket right now, so eager is it to be yours. You need to get that donate button up pronto, before I run out of intact pockets.

  20. I find the whole 'you belong to me' thing very sexy, but only if it goes both ways: I am yours and you are mine.

    By the way, does anyone know which characters used to which when this was a Twilight-fanfic?
    Who Taylor and Mrs. Jones were in that version? Or Hyde? Or were they original characters?

    Also, I often cut my mother's hair as a kid.

    1. Ana = Bella
      Christian = Edward
      Kate = Rosalie
      Elliot = Emmet
      Ethan = Jasper
      Mia = Alice
      Grace = Esme
      Carrick = Carlisle
      Jose = Jacob
      Ray = Charlie (Ray...Charles)
      Carla = Renee
      Paul = Mike
      Bob = Phil
      Leila = Victoria crossed with Irina, or whichever Denali cousin wanted Edward really bad
      Jack = James
      Taylor = Tyler
      Lily = Lauren
      Claire = Jessica

      Mrs. Jones' Twilight role is debatable.

    2. Irina was Mrs Robinson, Lauren was Leila and Lily was a Denali. (I hate myself for knowing that.)

  21. "This is how Christian Grey gets loyalty from his employees?! He puts the happiness of their children at stake?! "

    At least we finally know why Taylor works for him. Imagine the book from his point of view: A once respected military man made a grave mistake. Now he faces poverty. He wouldn't mind so much, but what about his daughter? She is so smart and ambitious, and he just wants the best for her. So he sells his soul to the devil, aka Christian, so that she can fulfill her dreams. Unexpectedly, he falls in love with a woman who shares his faith. Together, they plot Christian's death. PLEASE SUCCEED.

    1. Uhm, that was supposed to be fate, not faith. Oops.

    2. I'll write this fanfic if you don't claim it. I will start on it today, if that's okay.

    3. Mother of all, that is the best fanfic idea I've ever read. Someone please link to it if it ever gets published. I can't wait to see what they come up with for poor, poor Mrs. Jones.

    4. @ Alys: Go ahead! :)


      Short part, but it's a start. :)

    6. That was a great read, you're off to a wonderful start.

    7. I think you mean Waterslave Hotfish is off to a wonderful start. ;)

    8. I require more of this fanfiction, pleez. Like, right now.

    9. Alys, that fanfic (can we please call it something else so we aren't confused with FANS of EL? How about anti-fanfic?)..anyway..That anti-fanfic was AWESOME! I loved it and hope you write more. pretty please?

    10. Anon and Paula, favorite it, follow it, and comment, and I think that gets you notifications. :) Also please, pretty please, pleaseplease with a cherry on top, share the link. I'm getting a kick out of how fast it got over 500 views by people in two dozen countries.

      I'm calling it the non-fan-fic. It will go through the two years before the books at a pace that will pick up, and then, when it gets to the point of Ana coming into the picture, will show what Taylor sees. He'll see the relationship for what it is. I don't think Christian and Taylor are friends. That he doesn't let Taylor have even silent opinions shows he demands dominance. So Taylor's free to share his observations with you. I've got some moments between him and Ana planned, though he'll still see her as shallow.

      I do have a goal with this, other than to have Taylor and Mrs. Jones (who I've named Elizabeth) hook up. Maybe showing the relationship without all the sex could convince someone who thinks it's romantic that it really isn't. Yeah, I kind of have a thing for using literature to try getting points across. Now if only an agent would pick up my original manuscript where the girl goes on to kick major ass.

      Another chapter in a few days. :) Follow me on Twitter, @alysbcohen. I'll post releases there too in case notifications for following/favoriting don't work.

    11. We need to start a Christian Grey circle jerk of non/anti-fanfics. A central library for all the fucked up things we've gleaned from that series.

      I'm on it. If you want in, lemme know. More writers we have against perpetuating abuse and domestic violence, the more we can help forge and foster healthy relationships. They say imitation is the best form of flattery. With people acting out FSoG, that just goes to show you it's true. [/soapbox]

  22. Hearing Mrs. White's quote in my head produced some ugly laughter on my part.

    Good GIF well-used, Ms. Trout.

  23. Your blog and the commenters reinforce this: I'm frustrated by how interesting the characters could have been, if these books were written by someone completely different.

  24. Comment before I read the 50 shades recap: Photographer as Witness: A Portrait of Domestic Violence is a sharp kick of reality to the uterus. Those situations fucking suck shit encrusted dick and I am glad beyond glad that the cop in that situation actually said things that actually (in my mind) helped her. Can't say an ex in the army is any better than an ex SOS who's an ex-con (sadly)...but shit.

  25. Love the recap as always. To clear up the hanging in the balance thing - EL used it correctly. The phrase is used about some future event that may or may not happen and could go either way - the things that are supposedly in the balance are the event happening on one side and not happening on the other. In this case it could go either way based on whether Gia satisfies Ana that she is not a man stealing whore.

    Or if someone was unsure whether or not to dump their partner for whatever reason then their relationship would be hanging in the balance.

    1. Just chiming in to agree on this point. For once in her life E.L. does not fail at English.

  26. This was probably the best recap yet, dethroning the "folding unto itself into the very eye of God" one from the first book.


    On the sides of my face.

    You, madam, are the absolute best.

  27. Love the Community reference! :)

    Hate this book :(

  28. Hello, Jen. This is the first time I comment, but I have been following your blog for some time now. Your entries always crack me up, they are absolutely funny and insightful. I also would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart for reading these awful, awful books so I don't have to. You deserve some kind of award, woman.

    In the spirit of sharing weird things about this trilogy, a book called "Cinquanta sbavature di Gigio" (something like "Fifty Shades of Gigio") has been published recently. It's a parody by Italian author Rosella Calabro and it's incredibly hilarious. I don't know if it's available in English, I haven't been able to find it to share it with you, but if you do find it, don't let it pass you by. :)

  29. When i just finished reading this post of yours, I remembered of clip from Family Guy - . It was this one.
    But instead of Princess Peach, it was Ana. And I just laugh when I thought about that xD
    And this one is showing what I thought to make Ana open her eyes to the real world instead of being too naive about everything. -
    After I finished reading the Fifty Shades trilogy, I was like "finally, it's over". I just wanted to finish it so I could star reading another book. By the way, I recommend you the Crossfire trilogy. It starts with "Bared to You", then comes "Reflected in You" and finally "Entwined with You" (this last one is yet to be published. Despite having some similarities with Fifty Shades, "Bared to You" is (much) more concise and better organized than the other book. It's only my opinion.
    Well, I'm going to bed because I have classes tomorrow. It was fun to make this comment, honestly xD

  30. I am going to say that your "Clue" reference made me stand and cheer! Love your work. ;)

  31. Of course, James had to make the filthy manstealer in this chapter have a 'foreign-sounding' name like Gia Matteo. And if there's anything James knows about Italian female stereotypes, it's that we're all thieving temptresses and whores >.<

    1. Plus, a first name like Gia doesn't even exist in Italian, and Matteo is a boy's first name (even though it could be a last name, I guess). I don't know. I want to read of an Italian-sounding character in an English novel whose name is Carmela Locascio! Now THAT would make sense!

      (sorry about the rant, but it always cracks me up to read Italian-sounding names in foreign novels. Sophie Kinsella had TWO Italian characters in two different books of hers named Cara, which isn't a name, it means "dear". So hilarious!)

    2. I do know someone called Gia (as a nickname), short for Giovanna. But I find it strange because I always read it as "giĆ " as in "exactly!"

      Also... Italians being touchy-feely? Never! That would obviously only happen if she wanted in Christian's pants.

    3. Well, my name is also an Italian word, so... ;P

      Also... Italians being touchy-feely? Never! That would obviously only happen if she wanted in Christian's pants.

      Oh my god, I hadn't thought about that! XD Yeah, Ana, that's what Gia's doing... :P Then again, Ana has this weird sense of xenophobia where she can't see outside of her own Anglo lens. Hey, even I admit I can't help but do the same as Gia sometimes like touch someone on the shoulder or hug someone, but that's more for people I actually know well.

    4. SA

      I've been living in Italy a while now and I still can't get used to people randomly touching me. If I thought they were all completely hot for me that might make my life more interesting though XD

    5. Both sides of my family are Italian. Basically having people grab you and pull you into a hug and clutch your arm or shoulder is basically the norm. It's just our little way of saying you're awesome, by physically smothering you with our love :P Which part of Italy do you live?

    6. there are definitely people in the world called Gia and Cars, even if none of them are Italian -but that's the level of research we expect from ms James, i guess, to have a vague idea that something 'sounds foreign' and take it no further.
      Ana's xenophobia is weird, you're right. All that 'little miss european hair' stuff. considering she's a Mary Sue, this makes me suspicious of Ms James' own attitudes.

      Also, all this 'that sounds a bit forrin so I'm suspicious' stuff is extra laughable coming from "Anastasia", the last of the Romanovs herself. More self-hatred?

      Once again this book is so confused, it twists around itself as you try to sort out exactly what's wrong with it. Ana's xenophobic about people that *she thinks* look or sound 'foreign', - and it's only by *her own* criteria (ie having an identifiably 'foreign' name) that she's one of them - but there's also a layer of wrong that's much worse than that. Ana's fictional idiotic racism and the way it feeds into her sexual insecurity is one thing, it's explicit in the text - but on top of it you have Ms James' own, actual idiotic racism that's implicit. All this 'dios mio' rubbish in her characterisation of Jose, for example, and her awful, tokenistic 'a black man walks out of the office, he's smart, see, I don't stereotype, I said he was smart, that means you can't say I'm a racist' stuff.

      UGH it's all so horrible. A vast pit of horrible.

    7. Cars, oops. Meant Cara, obviously.

    8. All true! It really got on my nerves how Ana would make all these snide xenophobic comments about other characters we don't even know and only see through her unreliable POV. And with a name like Anastasia, too! That's rich! XD

      It really shocks me because I heard somewhere that James was half-Chilean on her mother's side, so you think she would have at least a little ethnic awareness. But as she has proven through Ana and with Jose's stupid exclamations of 'Dios mio!' (Yeah, because the kid who was born in America of Mexican descent would punctuate his sentences with random exclamations of a language he doesn't actually speak...) and the littering of POC so she could appease the audience is just mind-boggling. Either James needs to get out more or it says a lot about her personal views on race and ethnicity that are definitely not nice at all...

  32. Merchandise: I want a bumper sticker! I DEMAND BUMPER STICKERS!

    I wanted to say that before I actually read the recap, bc I knew I'd forget.

  33. But we've seen Ana act selfishly about the people in her life before she was married to Christian. Is this a learned behavior? Or is Ana just as fucking terrible as Christian? Discuss. <---- yes, Ana is as awful as Christian. She's overly entitled (who just agrees to live with their best friend rent free and then looks down their nose at rich people?) and has it in her head that EVERYBODY is out to get what she owns. She's the ultimate bratty child... take take take, but has a mental blank when it comes to sharing. She would have been a bitch and a half to work with for uni group assignments.

    "He doesn't like that idea but he doesn't overrule me, shoot me down, or make me feel stupid." <--- how fucking generous of him. To think, you're in a relationship with a person who doesn't humiliate you. Oh my goodness, you've finally realised what YOUR STANDARD SHOULD BE.

    "A revolver. Holy fuck! I had no idea Christian owned a gun. I take it out, slip the release, and check the cylinder. It's fully loaded, but light... too light. It must be carbon fiber."... did I miss the part where Ana became a gun expert? Maybe that happened in the second book. I've only read the recaps, so I could be a little fuzzy on the details.

    I really was hoping for that plot twist... that Gia and Ana fuck on the house plans and then run away with Christian's credit card. Does that make me a bad person?

  34. Those links are really heavy. Makes me almost cry. I think they're really important and helpful for people who've never experienced DV to try to understand what it is like

  35. I am surprised to only see two commenters reacting to your DV links. They WERE heavy, and so important. The photos gave me chills. Thank you for posting. Perhaps your most important post yet.

  36. Found this with regards to the carbon fiber revolver:
    It does have a steel liner as a bearing surface, but it is mostly carbon fiber.

  37. I just came back to re-read the part about Taylor and Mrs.Jones. Best part in the whole three books. Someone write a fanfic about these two.

    1. a fanfic about a fanfic? how meta.

    2. I, I mean, Waterslave Hotfish, started last night. Chap 2 up soon!

    3. A fanfic about a fanfic that is about Taylor and Mrs.Jones as presented by Jenny Trout's commentary.

      Thank you for the link!

  38. Has anyone noticed that entertainment usually geared toward women (and which most often is touted as having a strong female lead) has a LOT of girl on girl hate? I can't be the only one, right? It's feels like this stereotype is fucking rampant. And yeah, I knew a girl in college who was a complete bitch to me only because my boobs somehow posed a threat to hers, but that was one girl out of the hundreds I was on friendly terms with. And this was a school where the biggest degree was fashion, gotta be a lot of evil catty women in fashion, right? NOPE. I loooooved having classes with the fashion students, as not only were they super sweet, they always wore kick-ass shoes.

    I mean, I'm not about to demand that every form of entertainment feature female characters who are all apart of some unspoken sisterhood of trust and love. But is a female character who is not threatened by other females on the sheer basis that they too have a vagina too much to ask for?

    I should drink more coffee before I babble further...

    Also, that Taylor x Jones things was almost worth reading all of these books for. Almost.

    1. Fourth paragraph down. I complained about this a few days ago.

      Stabbing best friends and hating other women is indeed rampant in anything for teen girls and women/

  39. Speaking of King Lear, hey, I've got a quote too! It's about how these books make me feel.

    ...I am bound
    Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears
    Do scald like moulten lead.
    (IV. vii)

    Seriously, though. EL James' fail knows no bounds. Ana's quote? Is said by Goneril when she insincerely grovels at her father's feet (King Lear) so she can get her inheritance. So congratulations, Ana! You just put a good show of kissing Christian's ass in order to get his money! Well done.

    El James should be fired from the English language. I just can't deal with her existence anymore.

  40. Question: Do the series pass the Bechdel test??

    1. *does the series, even. I just woke up, I shouldn't be typing yet XD

    2. I would be surprised if it did... but I also want to know.

    3. In order for it to pass, the rule is that two women have to have a conversation about something other than a man, yes? Well, then Ana fails way back in book one when she starts talking about Chedward to Kate and to her mother. Hell, she has a conversation about Chedward with EVERY WOMAN in the damn series! And most of the men!

  41. Thanks for the DV links. It's really shocking to hear about it, but seeing it is definitely heart breaking. Thinking about the fact that a lot of this stuff just goes on continuously because people don't report it and that kind of thing is also very saddening.

    On a lighter note I definitely loved the Clue reference so quotable. Mrs. White is awesome (Madeleine Khan is a queen).

    I assume we'll see some sort of playing out of the Chekhov's Gun principle, but probably with Jack Hyde rather than between Ana or Christian which honestly would seem much more realistic giving the uncomfortable not so sub subtext of this series.

    Aaaah Discussion!

    As much as 'This. Fucking. Guy.' is one of my new favorite phrases concerning Christian grey, thank you Jenny, I really find Ana to be an abhorrent character. (Which just to be clear doesn't excuse any of Christian's behavior AT ALL no one deserves that level of creepy psycho stalking and mental abuse.) She hates on her supposed BFF and rags on her all of the time, she is constantly hating on other women especially when it comes to Christian, and she's just presented as this crazy, jealous, selfish monster. She is nicer to the woman she's kind of friends with at SIP than Kate. I don't think I said that they're monsters that deserve each other, but I think I've seen others express that sentiment. I find Christian to be much more monstrous, especially because he is the one with the ability to bully to a greater degree, but I think Ana is no cakewalk either. Like I said I don't think any of their own behavior excuses the behavior of the other and maybe it is some sort of weird irony that they are together not inflicting their crazy on other people, but I do think they are both inherently unlikable protagonists. It's pretty sad when you're hoping one of them offs the other, and it's pretty sad when you can easily imagine this becoming a 48 hours special on the dangers of obsessive love.

    This book man. This fucking book.

  42. You had me til the gun comments. Been nice reading. I wish you success in all your endeavors.

    1. I find it sad that your view on guns (whatever it may be) is so rigid you cannot even read another opinion. How small your world must be if you practice that level of intolerance.

    2. I also strongly disagree with Jen's (and most Americans') views on guns. Like, really strongly. But, you know you are allowed to think someone is wrong about one thing and not disregard everything else they have to say.

    3. Wow, really? Politically, I disagree with a lot of Jen's views, but I'm still here. If she says something I don't agree with, I skip it and move on.

      Gotta say you're missing out on a lot of good stuff being so rigid in your particular beliefs, but I guess to each their own. I for one will continue to read and enjoy what Jen posts. Life's too short to be offended by everything.

    4. I also disagree with Jen's view on guns, and also don't understand the general American fascination with them. But I'm not going to let that ruin my enjoyment of her work. Why? Because we're all adults here, and adults are supposed to know that you'll never agree with someone all the time, and that fact is what makes life interesting.

      I think the internet age has made it easier to find people who share your opinions, and the internet culture has bred an attitude that if someone doesn't agree with you they're, "wrong/evil/troll" etc. when that's not the case. They're just HUMAN, and humans won't always agree. That's kind of the point of humanity: our differences are what make us human.

    5. Srsly? Well, have a nice life, dramatic exit anon.

  43. "Is Ana just as fucking terrible as Christian?"

    Yes. I hate them both. The most insecure, ridiculous characters in the history of literature. People like that in real life make me want to run far and fast in the other direction.

  44. So, Ana never used a computer, the Internet, or a vibrator, but at some point in her past she became a gun expert?

    She has *got* to get her priorities in order.

  45. You absolutely must make the tie with hair something in the Troutmart! I would buy the hell out of some tie with Chedward hair mugs.

    1. I would buy that AND a mug with the pic of Jen holding up both middle fingers in an earlier recap. You can never have too many coffee mugs.

  46. I've been a long time fan of your recaps. Your particular brand of sarcasm has me hooked, and I'm thrilled to have found people who are as deeply saddened by the success of these books as I am. Thought I'd share this: A cute fanfiction where Christian gets what's coming to him via some of Marvel's heroines.

    1. Omgosh. That fanfic is glorious.

    2. I've made it to chapter 3 and have tears streaming down my face from laughing! Love this fanfic, thanks for posting

    3. Is it bad that I first thought it was Christian vs. the Monty Python Pepperpots? I wonder how being beaten with handbags would fit into his kink? Hmmm...

  47. This may well be the worst chapter of the entire trilogy: the haircut scene, the rampant misogyny, the terrible sex, the sheer length of it, the "whatevers", and not least because this is when I lost all sympathy for Ana for her treatment of Gia. Ana's turning into a drunken, paranoid, over-privileged-yet-dependent bitch who is a Renfield to Christian's Dracula.

  48. Jen,thanks so much for these recaps,I just can't put myself through the torture of reading the books without your insights. The more I'm reading,the less I understand the popularity of it all,I'm 36,and have loved reading since I could,but I just can't read about people I don't like,characters I can't warm to.
    What genuine story/book lover can LIKE this vapid pair of assholes?? Let alone worry for 3 books about their fate? I want to read about engaging characters,that I'm going to root for and care about the outcome,just my vent as a story lover,I won't even get started on the abuse and DV,EL is making me lose the will to live knowing this gets published!

  49. Does it baffle anyone else that a control freak like Chedward doesn't seem to have any kind of anti-fraternization policy?

  50. Wait, wait wait... did you just say Brittas? As in The Brittas Empire? Jen, you are my soul mate. Let me marry you... or marry into your existing marriage.

    1. She means this Britta:

      There's also t-shirts:

  51. I've read this part like five times until I've started to cry

    Clearly, those words were chosen with the utmost care. "Sculptured, chiseled, whatever." I'm going to start writing all my books that way. "He was gorgeous, or something, and I totally felt, I don't know. Like I might want to fuck him. Or whatever."

  52. I'm not sure if you're familiar with the work of Tatsuya Ishida. He does a webcomic called "Sinfest." Lately, the comics have had a lot of feminist themes.

    You might get a kick out of the one entitled "One Shade of Grey:"

  53. I feel like we, your faithful readers, owe you a heartfelt apology for making you read this for our entertainment. It's like we are all Christian Greys in this relationship. But I guess Christian would never apologize, so never mind.

  54. Here's another non-fanfic. Contains glittery blood sucking zombies, nuclear fall out and Christian Grey getting 1 upped by Ana's Inner Bitch Goddess.

  55. Wait wasn't it Kate, Denali Kate that is, who wanted Edward... I mean Christian?? Shit I am soooooo confused right now.

  56. For a moment, I almost believed you that Ana and Gia were going to have sex, and I almost wanted to actually buy the book. That was a close call.

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  58. The Taylor/ Mrs Jones kiss is the first time I've gasped with excitement while reading the actual extracts from this damn book. I vote for a book about Taylor and/or Mrs Jones NOT written by E.L. James, please!

  59. "Wanna know how I know the author isn't American?"

    Um, because she just used arse instead of ass???

  60. On a prior chapter, I said I would have diagnosed Christian as narcissistic with psychopathic traits. I was wrong. He's psychopathic with narcissistic traits.

  61. her pale blue blouse is undone too far. 
    ^ Okay, fuck you, Ana. If I want to have my tits hanging out, I am going to have my tits hanging out. That doesn't mean I want to ~steal your man~, it just means I'm proud of my boobies and I want to show them off. Or maybe I gained weight and can't be bothered to buy new clothes. Either way, stop slut shaming other women when you're out there banging a guy you've known maybe three months 24/7.

    Because she's "winning" the "competition" (which I'm pretty sure Gia has no clue she's participating in),
    ^ well how could she not? I know when I married the most desirable man in trade school (intelligent, clever, good looking, really a sweetheart but with the snarkiest sense of humour), I immediately called for an assembly to tell all the other women, "I won. Go home and sew up your vaginas, everybody."

    Except I didn't. Because what mattered was that I found the best man FOR ME and not the best man FOR ALL WOMEN. Gosh, Ana's dumb!

     we've seen Ana act selfishly about the people in her life before she was married to Christian. Is this a learned behavior? Or is Ana just as fucking terrible as Christian? Discuss.
    ^ She's Bellana. She's just as terrible as Christian, because Bella is just as terrible as Edward. I think it is unintentional, though. Ana is meant the be the unassuming everywoman who captures the attention of the most desirable man (which is totally why she and Taylor should be a couple). Realistically, there are some people who don't understand how relationships, including friendship, work. They'll have the mindset of, for instance, "Kate is MY friend and you can't have her!" Ana does not seem to have that reaction towards platonic friends having other friends, THANKFULLY. She has, however, always sort of seen Christian as "hers". She got jealous of other women he'd been with even before they started dating. It makes sense that now they're married, she's going to parade him around like a prize poodle.

    Christian considers the house Ana's domain. He trusts her to decorate, but not run her own career or life. The house, though, that's all her.
    ^ Ana, get a blender, some paints, water balloons, and darts. Make sure the blender's top is off. You make that house look like a two-year-old's imagination exploded on it and you do it out of SPITE, girl!

    Gia is like, "But it isn't him I want. It's you." And then they grab each other and hate fuck right on top of the plans.
    ^ That would be a much better story.

    Sidenote: That cover art is lovely. Once I get back to home town, I will request your books at the library. And when my Kindle gets fixed, I might buy your books, too. Not just because of the cover art; because I love your personality and general style and I think I'd like your books because you know what you're talking about and what you're doing.

    You probably could go get a haircut, start reading about this haircut, and then still not be finished with it by the time your hair was done.
    ^ Dude, I could get a PERM and the damn scene wouldn't be done by the time I was.

    she needs to get her head around the fact that a man would want to fuck an older woman
    ^ *flatly* I am five and one third years older than my husband, and Ana is a stupid tit.

    it would just be super impractical for a mass produced revolver.
    ^ maybe it's custom made because mass production is for plebes.


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