Sunday, June 17, 2012

50 Tears of Woe

I read and review Fifty Shades of Grey so you don't have to.

So tedious. So irritating. Must finish book soon so I can read something that actually deserved to be published.

After doing some internet reading about the word "submissive", Chapter 12 begins with Ana going for a run for the first time ever in her life. She wants to run to Christian's hotel and demand sex, but it's five miles away and she doesn't think she will even be able to run one mile. From personal experience, I know it's unlikely she'll be able to run 100 yards. She also should have realized from her reading that she doesn't actually want to be a submissive, because if she did she wouldn't be considering "demanding" anything. She uses the time spent running pretending to think about what she wants. What she's really using it for is to piss me off: "I am plagued by one question - why is he like this? Is it because he was seduced at such a young age? I just don't know." There's nothing TO know. He doesn't have to have a reason. It's not a disease. It's not a sign of or the result of abuse. Some people just like their sex this way. I can't say this better than the great Dan Savage did on Twitter: "To Fifty Shaders: BDSM is cops and robbers for grownups with your pants off + orgasms. People do it for fun. It's not a cry for help."

During the course of her run, she makes the decision that she needs to talk to him about this further and let him know what is ok and what isn't. This should have been a given, but whatever, at least she's learned to read shit before she signs it. She goes home to tell him she wants to talk about it. Her way of expressing this is to send him an e-mail which reads, "Okay, I've seen enough. It was nice knowing you. Ana". She then laughs and hugs herself (what?) because she thinks this is such a great little joke. Oh yeah, that's fucking HILARIOUS, Ana. For once I'm glad the author feels the need to explain everything, because I am at a complete loss as to what might be funny about that to anyone, let alone to Christian Grey, and I genuinely wouldn't have known that was a joke if it hadn't been pointed out to me. She then proceeds to sit in front of her computer and wait for him to answer. After 10 minutes without a reply she's already having an anxiety attack, apparently believing that a man who is supposed to be single-handedly running a multi-billion dollar media company has nothing to fucking do all day but stare at a screen waiting for her to e-mail him and then immediately respond to it. After half an hour she gives up and decides to start making notes about the contract.

As luck would have it, Ana is right: he DOESN'T have anything better to do than to sit there waiting for her e-mail. The reason it took so long to respond was not because he had actual shit to do, it's because her e-mail (somewhat understandably given what a piss poor attempt at a joke it was) has upset him SO MUCH that instead of e-mailing her back, he drives over to her house to respond in person. She realizes this when she looks up and finds him standing in the doorway of her room with his pants hanging from his hips (6). She thinks "The joke is on me. Never in this or any alternative universe did I expect him to drop everything and turn up here." REALLY ANA? THIS NEVER OCCURRED TO YOU? THIS IS EXACTLY HOW STALKING WORKS, THEY TURN UP TO WHEREVER THEY KNOW YOU ARE. YOU SHOULD BE FUCKING TERRIFIED RIGHT NOW. Also, mostly unrelated, but this section marks the third time she's mentioned her medulla oblongata. As in "Finally, my medulla oblongata recalls its purpose. I breathe." You are a FUCKING MORON. If your medulla (and this is all you need to say, adding the oblongata part to try and sound smart has the exact opposite effect) stopped working you would be DEAD, because it controls all of your autonomic functions. IT DOESN'T JUST DECIDE TO STOP WORKING EVERY TIME A PRETTY BOY WALKS IN THE FUCKING ROOM. IF IT WORKED THAT WAY THE SPECIES WOULD HAVE DIED OUT FOREVER AGO. Actually I take it back, I hope this is exactly how yours works, because it would be fucking tragic for you to procreate.

Ana is shocked, SHOCKED, that her curt and dismissive "funny" e-mail has offended him. They have another cringe worthy conversation in which this happens:

"And you decided it was nice knowing me? Do you mean knowing me in the biblical sense?"
Oh, shit. I flush.
"I didn't think you were familiar with the Bible."
"I went to Sunday school, Anastasia. It taught me a great deal."
"I don't remember reading about nipple clamps in the Bible. Perhaps you were taught from a modern translation."

Dear readers, I shit you not, that is a DIRECT QUOTE from this fetid turd of a book. My brain exploded with two dozen things I wanted to point out about how stupefyingly fucktarded that entire exchange is, but it would have taken me three and a half pages of single-spaced notes to write it all out, so instead I just wrote "WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?" and then jammed a butter knife into my left eye to try and kill the pain. IMMEDIATELY AFTER THIS EXCHANGE, he reveals his real purpose in coming over: "Well, I thought I should come and remind you how nice it was knowing me." Translated into English, that reads, "Well, since I clearly thought your e-mail was telling me to fuck off, I thought I should come over and rape you until you come to your senses and change your mind." The author further drives this point home by describing his look as "waiting, coiled to strike." Again, Ana and I have different impressions here: I think: SCREAM FOR HELP, ANA! YELL FOR KATE TO CALL THE POLICE AND RUN THE FUCK AWAY. Ana thinks: I can't believe how lucky I am! LOOK HOW MUCH HE WANTS ME! and rushes into his arms. I HATE EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS BITCH AND I HATE EVERY WOMAN ALIVE WHO READ THIS PASSAGE AND DIDN'T IMMEDIATELY THROW THIS BOOK IN A FIRE AND CONSIDER VOLUNTEERING AT A RAPE CRISIS CENTER. THIS IS FUCKING BULLSHIT. He pins her down against her bed kissing her, and then actually has the gall to ask her to trust him, which of course she does since her entire goal in life is to be a victim. Having gotten her "consent", he binds her wrists together and ties them to her headboard using...wait for it...wait for it...THE EXACT SAME TIE FROM THE LAST TIME SHE WAS TIED UP. I GIVE UP. I HAVE COMPLETELY LOST THE WILL TO LIVE.

Another horrible sex scene begins. He pulls off her sweatpants and starts to undress himself, but then decides she shouldn't get to watch him, so he pulls her t-shirt up over her eyes and then walks out of the room to get a drink. He comes back with his drink, asks her if she's thirsty, takes a sip from the glass, and then kisses her while spitting the wine he just drank into her mouth. I write down: "Mmm. Backwash is delicious!" He also spits some wine into her belly button. I assume BrownsFan is dry heaving over this detail right now. He tells her not to spill the wine in her navel, which she does almost immediately because she completely and totally sucks at everything. Eventually, he flips her over to fuck her and she comes pretty much continuously the entire time, leading me to assume she actually suffers from Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome rather than having any sort of legitimate desire to fuck.

It's only after this sex that he asks her if she's still considering his proposal. And he follows up that question with a statement proving what I already suspected: "I thought you were saying no, no discussion at all." Read that again you guys. He thought she was saying no...so he came to her house to fuck her. There's a word to describe this. It begins with the letter "r" but is sure as fuck isn't romance. Rapists are not people that anyone has any business having a crush on or idolizing in any way. I'm past being annoyed that something written in such juvenile language got published. I'm just outraged that this publisher is so willfully irresponsible.

They have a conversation that had some stuff in it that was probably important, but I didn't really take any notes because I couldn't get over that I'd just read about a rape that was intended to turn me on in some way. They get dressed and she walks him to the door, not wanting him to go. She thinks, not for the first time, that she wishes he was normal, that he wanted a romantic relationship with her and a sex life that doesn't involve pain and punishment. I'm losing my mind trying not to scream out loud at this book because the bartender is sleeping. MOVE ON. THIS IS NOT WHAT YOU WANT. DECIDING YOU WANT THIS SPECIFIC PERSON AND THEN AGREEING TO A RELATIONSHIP THAT IS THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF EVERYTHING YOU WANT IN A RELATIONSHIP IS THE ACT OF AN IMBECILE. As if to prove my point, the minute he's out the door, she falls apart and starts crying. This is the state Kate finds her in. She explains the situation to Kate without a lot of detail, but says that she e-mailed him saying she didn't want to see him, and that's why he showed up at the house. Helpful as ever, Kate speculates that this is because he's "smitten" with Ana. Ana explains that, no, he just came over for sex, and Kate writes this off as him having commitment issues. Ana goes back to her room and finds an e-mail from Christian saying he looks forward to discussing the contract with her. She immediately e-mails back a long list of issues, impressive given that the second she'd sat down to write the list he'd shown up at her door, and she'd been either fucking or crying about it ever since.

The next day (Chapter 13), Ana briefly speaks to her mother on the phone and finds out that she won't be coming to Ana's graduation ceremony because her husband fell over and broke, and no one in the family has ever heard of crutches. She has an e-mail from Christian in response to her list of (mostly) legitimate concerns, which is the dictionary definition of submissive. She writes him back with this statement followed by the definition of compromise: "Sir: Please note the date of origin: 1580-1590. I would respectfully remind Sir that the year is 2011. We have come a long way since then." Apart from the fact that she clearly is unfamiliar with anything else that is common knowledge in 2011 (e-mail, helicopters, basic grammar and sentence structure, penises) the definition of words don't generally change simply because time has passed. The word still means exactly what the dictionary says it means. Instead of pointing this out to her, he tells her she has a good point, and then they argue back and forth for a while about whether he's picking her up for dinner the next day or if she's driving there herself. Again, this entire exchange comprising seven back and forth e-mails occurs over the course of half an hour. I'd complain again about how IM would make a hell of a lot more sense for this type of conversation, but I'm secretly happy because this format of writing takes up a lot of space on paper, which means I probably don't have as much fucking crap left to read as it appears.

The next day she goes to work and Paul follows her around the store badgering her for a date the ENTIRE DAY. I write "Every man you know is a stalker." After work, she gets ready for her date, by putting on make up, a dress which she had to borrow from Kate, and stiletto heels which she also borrowed from Kate and which I frankly don't believe because given her propensity to trip over thin air, she should be terrified of wearing any such thing. She gets in her car to drive to dinner, pointing out "I have to drive in my bare feet...my sea-blue Beetle wasn't built to be driven by stiletto-wearers." YOU'RE SHITTING ME. PLEASE NAME THE CAR THAT IS MEANT TO BE DRIVEN IN STILETTOS.  She gets to the hotel and Christian greets her and ushers her to a secluded booth.

I really, REALLY, wish I didn't have to recount any of their conversations for you, because the dialogue is as terrible as I am telling you and it keeps getting worse. But I have to. Ana tells him what she's found out - that the contract and the NDA aren't legally enforceable, a fact which he says he has been aware of all along. She gets angry with him for not telling her this as if he was trying to trick her into something, even though he is the one who told her to go do some research AND pointed her in the right direction to find exactly that information. He starts to explain that these sorts of relationships are built on honesty and trust. In real life, this is absolutely, 100%, the gods-honest truth and the foundation on which the entire BDSM community is built. In the book however, he spends the rest of the evening undermining exactly what he just said, starting with Ana asking if he had this conversation with the girls who came before her. No, he tells her, he didn't have to because they were established subs and knew what to expect. As if every Dom on the whole fucking planet were exactly alike, and therefore if you've been with one, it isn't at all important to establish trust with the next one. So swing and a miss, Christian, that's strike one. He asks if she'd like to dine in the restaurant or in his room. She elects to stay in the restaurant, reasoning that they are in public and on neutral ground. He answers this by first threatening her: "Do you think that would stop me?", and then negating his having asked the question in the first place by escorting her to the private dining room he had ALREADY BOOKED. WAY TO ESTABLISH TRUST THERE, MOTHERFUCKER. STRIKE FUCKING TWO. Once he has her alone, he begins going over all her points. During this, they get into yet another argument about food. By now I've come over to Christian's side on this point. After having eaten almost nothing for the preceding three to four days, she admits to having not eaten anything all day today either and then goes on to barely touch her food. I'm beginning to think she has a serious eating disorder.

Despite her having repeatedly told him she wants nothing more tonight than to discuss the contract, he sets about trying to manipulate her into letting him fuck her in the dining room. When she balks and accuses him of using sex as a weapon against her, he unapologetically admits to this. Manipulating people into doing what you want against their will is the EXACT FUCKING OPPOSITE OF BEING TRUSTWORTHY. STRIKE THREE, YOU REPULSIVE PIECE OF SHIT. GO THE FUCK HOME ANA. She actually tries to do this, and he threatens her again "I could make you stay." HEY, ASSHOLE! THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS STRIKE FOUR. SIT THE FUCK DOWN. He doesn't, of course. Instead he says this: "You know, when you fell into my office to interview me, you were all 'yes, sir,' 'no sir.' I thought you were a natural born submissive. But quite frankly, Anastasia, I'm not sure you have a submissive bone in your delectable body." That is called BEING POLITE. I am not surprised you didn't recognize it since you are a complete piece of shit who has never tried any such thing yourself. Also, if she's NOT a natural submissive STOP TRYING TO FORCE HER INTO BEING SOMETHING SHE'S NOT. YOU ARE THE WORST DOM IN FUCKING HISTORY. THE MARQUIS DE SADE WOULD TELL YOU TO QUIT BEING SUCH AN ASSHOLE.

Eventually he lets her leave, though not without first making a huge deal of the fact that he doesn't trust her car because it's old. I have 20 bucks right here that says she winds up with a brand new BMW or Mercedes before the end of this book. As she drives away, she starts sobbing. This is now the third time she has cried over him in about two weeks. This is the very beginning of the relationship - the time when people are on their best behavior in an effort to trick you into liking them enough to want to repeatedly rub your naughty parts on theirs. If she is crying this much, this early, I can't imagine how she'll feel later when she finds out what the rest of us already know - that Christian Grey is one very pretty total cockburger. When she gets home, there is an e-mail from Christian. He doesn't understand why she ran, but they can make it work and she should trust him. This of course only makes her even more upset, and she winds up crying herself to sleep.

As soon as I'm done destroying my kneecap with this sledgehammer I plan on doing the same.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would very much like to read all " three and a half pages of single-spaced notes" about that exchange. lol hilarious. Keep it up.

steve_c said...

I would so much like to read your blogs as a book or as an audio file rather than this book itself! Can't wait for the next installment

Dustin Manley said...

I can see Christian organizing a corporate team-building retreat, and then pushing over everyone involved in the trust-fall exercises while screaming "why don't you trust me yet?".

Jelly Queen said...

Brilliant stuff! I agree with the above comment, I'm finding this blog way more unputdownable than the porno mills & boon it's reviewing.

Laurie said...

This blog is better than the actual book.

Anonymous said...

Jelly Queen, I'm not sure what would make you think that 50SOG is mills and boon porn, because if you'd read today's mills and boon books you'd know it was far from it. Most of today's romance books feature stories about people falling in love, overcoming obstacles together, dealing with life threatening illness, kids and building a future based on mutual consent. Not on unequal relationships involving stalking and rape- and never involving a clearly emotionally stunted young woman who is not ready for such things. I suggest anyone who has a jaded opinion of mills and boon books should try reading a few of the more recently published ones. 21st century stories for 21st century people.

Unknown said...

^Agreed!!!!

amberance said...

There is talk of some dramatic interpretations being filmed for youtube when I visit H-Town in August. I'll keep everyone posted.

antoniya petkova said...

Hahah, I had that same thought about the emails taking up a lot of space :D You are brilliant, your writing really entertains me (and yes, I started reading your posts in a reversed order for some reason). You are making me feel better for the fact that I stubbornly wanted to finish the book in order to be able to give an informed and educated opinion on how much IT SUCKS!

Alex said...

This is hilarious; I'm loving your descriptions (and the fact that I don't have to read it, of course).

One thing, though - could you not use the term "cocksucker" as a synonym for "twisted, manipulative bastard"? Some men manage to be one without being the other...

Alex K said...

I think your accusations of rape are over the top. Anna isn't saying no to having sex with him, only to his D/s lifestyle (in her "joke" email I mean). She would like nothing more than to "vanilla-fuck" him for the rest of her life and they both know it. I am not getting any rape vibes out of this.

Anonymous said...

What I particularly like about your writing is that you seem to have a clear distinction between S&M and rape in a way that makes it clear to us "vanilla" types. In addition, you are quick to pick up on all kinds of predictability in the novel, a sign that you are well-read.

Anonymous said...

I love that you can pick up all the fuck ups in this written novel. When i read it i picked up on how crap it was and skimmed over most of it so missed a lot of the detail you have outlined, but as you outline it i can also see exactly how badly posed the whole novel series is.... But i must say im struggling to not laugh aloud while i read this in my office!!!! Im hard at work obviously.

Anonymous said...

I love these posts... my sincerest condolences and thanks for putting yourself in harm's way for our benefit.

Daniel Rivera said...

Absolutely LOVE your reviews... OH man.

Candy from Olympia WA said...

I have the hate, and you are making me see the funny but I am most happy you are giving me ammunition about why this is so reprehensible to feminists. It's a huge step backward and 100 million copies sold (makes me sad) gives permission for these ridiculous expectations of what this must be what real women want. I got a rebuke on my Facebook for my hate, from a female, telling me to wait, in the end (spoiler alert?) Ana controls him. Ugh. What if no one controlled anybody and we strive for equality in our relationships? Respect for ourselves and others? Wouldn't THAT be rainbows and unicorns and sparkling vampires? I am scared about the rape culture aspects of this book, I could see it being used as justification for the behaviours presented. Or guys thinking that is what is expected of them....ugh.....