Tuesday, June 12, 2012

50 Stabs of Disgust

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

There are two things that are getting me through reading this book: the amazing and wonderful comments from everyone encouraging me to go on (THANK YOU SO MUCH) and this mantra I keep repeating in my head: "Publishers don't pick things that are good, they pick things they know they can sell. Publishers don't pick things that are good, they pick things they know they can sell."

Chapter 6 begins with Christian driving Ana home from kidnapping her the night before. In case we weren't sure that he is the most perfect and sophisticated man alive, he has been listening to opera in the car. But he's not stuffy you guys! He also listens to Kings of Leon! Sophistication AND coolness? MOTHERFUCK THIS GUY IS THE WHOLE PACKAGE. The entire ride to her place his phone keeps ringing. He is curt and rude to every single employee that calls. She makes a point of explaining that he never says please or thank you, he just issues commands and hangs up. Ana is SUPER IMPRESSED by this because he is SO IMPORTANT. I have a different reaction: Christian is a complete and utter dick, and STOP FORESHADOWING FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. He knows where she lives without being told because he is a stalker. In the meantime she can't stop thinking about that kiss. She is OVERWHELMED. She's not even sure it happened except that her lips are swollen from it. He'd held both of her hands up over her head and she wanted to touch his hair "but I'd been unable to move my hands. I am retrospectively frustrated." I don't know why you guys are making me read the rest of this book WE ALREADY KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.

At home, Kate is sitting with Elliot. Elliot is Christian's brother who had come with him for the kidnapping but decided to stay and bone Kate instead. Elliot is regoddamndiculous. He and Christian are about to leave when he turns to Kate for a kiss, dramatically DIPS HER so far her hair is on the floor and then says "Laters, baby." Thankfully I was reading this alone, otherwise I would have crotch punched anyone within range.

Kate and Ana discuss their evenings in no detail whatsoever and Ana informs Kate that Christian is picking her up after work and flying her to Seattle to talk about what he meant by "get written consent". IN HIS HELICOPTER. They make a joke about it being all about the money. We are meant to understand that it isn't, even though we already know Paul at the hardware store isn't good enough for her because he's not a literary hero and that to be as dramatic as a literary hero you have to be rich enough to afford fucking helicopters and shit, so really it's fucking ENTIRELY about the money. Kate decides that Ana has to be totes perfect for this meeting and sets about fixing her up to be presentable. This apparently means teaching her how to shave her legs and underarms, which presumably she's never done before. I write down "Again, 21 YEARS OLD".

She works all day and does her normal foreshadowing/self deprecating that I can't even bring myself to make fun of anymore because it is so fucking tedious. Christian shows up and drives her to the helipad, which is in the middle of the city, which confuses her because she doesn't know shit about anything, ever. "...and even I know helicopters need space to take off and land." NO THEY GODDAMN DON'T THEY ARE SPECIFICALLY FUCKING DESIGNED TO TAKE OFF AND LAND VERTICALLY HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU SO FUCKING STUPID AND SUPPOSEDLY A COLLEGE GRADUATE AND HAVE NEVER SEEN A RERUN OF M*A*S*H OR FOREST GUMP OR BLACKHAWK DOWN OR SAVING PRIVATE RYAN OR LITERALLY THOUSANDS OF OTHER MOVIES OR TV SHOWS THAT HAVE A HELICOPTER AND JESUS FUCK YOU ARE THINKING OF AIRPLANES, ANA. AIRPLANES. SHIT.

Sorry about that, where was I? Oh yeah. They get in the helicopter and Christian straps her in with a dirty look on his face because I WONDER IF HE'S THINKING ABOUT TYING HER UP. Christian will obviously be piloting the helicopter himself because no man since the dawn of time has been his equal. Speaking of which, not to get off topic, but I was thinking about how they are obviously going to make a terrible movie out of this, but I am wondering how they plan to do that since there is not a man alive today or ever that can possibly be as beautiful as Christian Grey. I think he's going to have to be CGI, there is no human male that is up to the task. Anyway, not the point. The point is, she continues to be breathtakingly stupid during the flight because HOLY SHIT HOW IS HE FLYING AT NIGHT IN THE DARK? HE MUST BE MADE OUT OF MAGIC. He ACTUALLY EXPLAINS to her about these super neat thingys called instruments that allow you to see where you're going in the dark. She asks him how many women have been in his helicopter and of course he says she's the only one. This follows on him having told her earlier that he never sleeps in the same bed with anyone except that time he brought her home drunk and didn't rape her.  I wonder if he's going to fall in love with her you guys. My note reads: "oh em gee SHE IS THE MOSTEST SPECIAL." Blah blah blah, beautiful profile, blah blah blah square jaw...oh through the whole book she keeps saying she peeks at him through her eyelashes. She either has eyelashes like the Snuffleupagus or she is constantly stoned. Either way it's fucking annoying.

Christian's place is ginormous and everything is state of the art and shiny and new and I'm not even going to describe it because by now you know what to expect. She does say about the room she's in, "It's not a room - it's a mission statement." I write, "No, it's a room." They have a whole conversation about Tess of the d'Urbervilles and I think to myself this is futile since the audience for that book and the audience for this one are two completely different sets of people and no one actually enjoying this book has the faintest clue what she's talking about.

Before he can tell her what he flew her all the way to Seattle to tell her, he insists that she sign a nondisclosure agreement. "It means you cannot disclose anything about us. Anything, to anyone." I have legal questions about this and I need to speak to BrownsFan because unlike E. L. James, I like to know what the shit I'm talking about before I say stupid things that can be debunked in the time it takes to type them into Google. But I'm questioning how enforcible this actually is. What if he rapes her? What if she gets some kind of crotch rash and needs to tell her gynocologist what she's been up to? I feel like this only works in business situations, not in interpersonal communications. But again, I need to check because that's what you do when you write shit. Research.

Anyway, he asks her to sign this thing and she's like "Whatevs" and he's like "No, read it first" and she's like "No I'll do anything swoon swoon" and I'm like "SHUT UP you idiot read things you are going to sign" but she doesn't hear that because I'm not in the book so she just signs it without reading it because it's more romantic that way and I hate this so hard you guys. Once she's signed it, IT IS TIME. Time for her to find out Christian Grey's Big Secret that is in no way whatsoever a secret to anyone reading this book. He takes her down a hall, opens a door and she thinks "holy fuck".

And then it's Chapter 7. SURPRISE HE HAS A SEX DUNGEON. Christian's sex dungeon is equipped with everything you would expect to find in a sex dungeon: rope, chains, shackles, whips, and yes, YES! Riding crops! It says riding crops right here! I am so excited because I did actually write the review where I predicted this before I read this part so I wrote in my notes: "Riding crops! HA! I WIN AT LIFE!" There's a big giant bed covered in leather and a couch facing it. Ana No Sex and her wide eyed innocence take all this in and she runs screaming from the room.

Oh wait, no. No, she DOESN'T run screaming from the room. I'm sorry about that, I made the mistake of thinking there would be some sort of continuity in the personality of the main character, since anyone else with zero sexual experience and the emotional maturity of an 8 year old would, in fact, have run screaming from the room. MY BAD. Ana STAYS in the room looking at the impressive assortment of torture instruments and her reaction is to....(spins wheel)...fixate on the fact the the couch is facing the bed because THAT'S the part that's weird, and...(spins wheel again)...describes the room as, I am not fucking kidding you guys, "kind of soft and romantic." Fuck. You.

She asks a series of actual legitimate questions and I'm mildly relieved because at this point I was terrified she was going to be all "Wheeeeeee! Let's go play!" and I really, REALLY don't want to go to prison for murder. So he tells her basically this is what I'm like and this is what I do and if you're interested I'd really like to hit you with sticks (et cetera). As she's taking this in, this happens: "Kate has said he was dangerous; she was so right. How did she know?" She probably just read the first chapter of the book, it's spelled out as clearly as if he'd said "Hi, I'm Christian. Would you like to visit my sex dungeon for some romantic bondage and torture?" at the interview.

They go back downstairs because he thinks it's a good idea to have this conversation over food. She asks about the other paperwork he mentioned and he explains the concept of a contract to her. "I need to know your limits, and you need to know mine." Yeah, well, here's the problem with that: she has no goddamn idea what her limits are. I try to restrain my rage because it's clear he doesn't actually know this yet, despite the fact that a normal person would determine some sort of common sexual interests with a person before showing off their sex dungeon. But it's not his fault she apparently grew up in a convent. There's a really annoying conversation, half of which is him telling her to eat and her telling him no. She asks for his number, which is 15, and this disappoints me because I really wanted him to have banged hundreds of broads before he falls in love with this completely worthless one as it would suit the totally implausible story. There are more questions about has he hurt anyone, will he hurt her, all completely reasonable, and then she asks "Have you ever been beaten?" and he says "Yes" at which point I lose my fucking mind. I know she's going to make this a central plot piece to how he got this way and I am dreading it because it's going to legitimize the idea that people are interested in this kind of sex because there is something wrong with them and it is NOT TRUE. It is so completely and entirely off base and there are not enough words for me to convey to you what a steaming pile of horseshit this is. And I know it's going to lead to writing a lecture instead of a review, and I don't want to lecture people, I just want to rescue as many people as possible from reading this book.

Moving on, he takes her to his study so she can have a look at this contract. The very first sentence in this contract starts with "The Submissive will obey..." and I sigh because the lecture is starting right now and because I have to ask my family members reading this to please leave. Family members: for everyone's sake, please go back to what you were doing before I drop some knowledge you don't want about me on all your asses. Ok, good. So here's what's wrong with that: in circles where these terms are freely bandied about, "Dom" or "Dominant" are capitalized. The words "sub" or "submissive" are all lower case. Now, some people give a shit about this and some people don't, but for the most part, everybody uses these conventions out of respect for the people who are serious about it. There is no way, none, on the earth, that a fellow like Christian Grey wouldn't know that. She can't have run this text past ANYONE in the BDSM community without this being pointed out to her. I hate this book. I hate this author. I hate, period. And just when I thought I couldn't hate this thing any more than I already do, she gets to the part in the contract about hard limits (well first they have a debate about how many times a week she'd have to work out with a trainer, which is fucking stupid as shit, but right after that). Hard limits are things that are absolutely off limits, no exceptions, which you probably could figure out on your own since you're not retarded. Christian has eight of them. Five of them would also be on my list (one of those is illegal). Two are things I haven't tried, but might under the right circumstances with the right people. And one is something that I fucking LOVE. (And no, I'm not going to list them here, that would be stupid. If you want to know that badly, google it exactly the same way E. L. James didn't.) And here is Ana's reaction to this list: "Any sane person wouldn't want to be involved in this sort of thing, surely."


You guys, if you think I was mean about this book before, you have no idea what is about to happen because Ana Steele is a fucking cunt and EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT IT. I WILL CRUSH HER SO HARD THAT SEX DUNGEON WILL LOOK LIKE A PILE OF PUPPIES AND MILKSHAKES. I AM COMING FOR YOU, ANA STEELE.

But before that, she's supposed to be adding anything to this list she feels strongly about. And she can't think of anything because she has NO IDEA WHAT SHE'S GETTING INTO. And after a very uncomfortable exchange between them, she finally admits to him that she is a virgin.

And that's it, right? That should be the end of the book. Because any responsible Dom, on hearing how breathtakingly unprepared she is to try out this sort of lifestyle, would have walked away right at this moment. So I'm done then, I don't have to read any more of this crap. Why are there still so many pages? Why does the page right after this one say "Chapter Eight" at the top? WHY THE FUCK IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?

I suspect I will be isolating the next chapter as a single chapter review. Because my sources tell me this is where the first sex scene happens, despite the fact that in no way should there be any sex scenes in this book unless Ana gets hit by a bus and the rest of the book follows Christian's story line and he starts making better decisions about who he ties up and fucks.

Jesus crap, this book. Please oh please let me off the hook and don't make me keep reading this. I don't want to die like this.


simmy said...

you have to at least get through chapter 8, b/c that's as far as i got. it made me laugh more than whatever else it was supposed to do.

Anonymous said...

haha Amazing! I'm so excited for the next review.

Pyxotic said...

I cannot believe how many times I have laughed out loud reading your review. This is soliloquy awesome thank you!

Anonymous said...

i'm at work and laughing out loud while i read this. don't lose your resolve now! at least it's a quick read, right?

Good Golly Miss Dolly said...

After a quick Google, I have come to the conclusion that Christian Grey is a pussy. Three of his hard limits are pretty much the most fun perverts can have.

Alex Morgan-Jones said...

Tonight, Miss Dolly. Tonight.

Anonymous said...

It took a while for google to get me the list. but WTAF! I'm probably fairly vanilla and even I do one thing on that list. *shakes head*

Elis said...

Your rant about helicopters had me cracking up to the point of tears. I work in a bookstore and I can't tell you how many of these I've sold. It makes me sad. It makes me sadder that people think just because I've got lady-parts that I'd be interested in this shit. No, thanks. I'm good.

Janet Hardy said...

I am utterly loving this series. Except.

It actually is fairly standard in legal (or, ahem, quasi-legal) contracts to capitalize the nouns that refer to the principals - in a publishing contract, for example, both "Author" and "Publisher" are usually capitalized. (Not a lawyer, so I have no idea if there's a legal reason for this or it's just a convention; I'd guess the latter.)

And there are plenty of experienced players who both loathe and avoid the stupid "Dominant/submissive" capitalization convention. Me, for instance.

Otherwise, thank you so so much. I read this book because someone asked me to comment on it, and I wish I'd had the balls to do it your way.

Unknown said...

Your blog is getting me over my otherwise depressed state that I finished all three books in a week. Thank you. Fucking Hilarious!!!!

Maureen Purcell said...

OMG. I am completely in love with your writing about a shitty book. Please tell me you write other things, like published fiction, because your writing style is quite possibly the best shit I've seen in months. Don't EVER stop writing because you actually have talent and every time a writer with talent stops writing a puppy dies.

Maureen Purcell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angry Gemma said...

I am soooo glad you put this hate down in words! This is exactly how I feel reading the book.... yet I keep reading AND just keep getting more and more wound up. I have had to stop reading it on the train as I am almost screaming "THIS IS SOOO SHIT".
I have paid for this shocking book, I WILL finish it.... even if I gouge my eyes out with a wooden spoon in the process!

Anonymous said...

Hilarious! "How did Kate know?" ... my first thought was that it was probably on the list of interview questions. Sorry I forgot that in keeping with the book's trend we weren't suppose to remember what you reviewed from another chapter. My bad.

Anonymous said...

I love this blog and all this rage. I keep reading more and cracking up.

Although I must tell you that so far is most of this book sounds like typical romance novel fodder.

Sometime last year I decided I would hunt down ALL of Barbara Cartland's 'novels' and read them. (512 romance novels in total, I've got 439 so far. Read about 300) - This virgin business is absolutely mandatory. (Women who are not virginal in romance novels are dirty conniving whores) as are the self-depreciating back handed complements ("Oh I wish my eyes weren't SO large for my face and SO blue." "Oh I wish I wasn't SO thin." "She placed her tiny, delicate hands into his big strong ones. They fluttered like a little bird")

Besides this, every one of BC's women is usually dumber than shit, and they really cant deal with managing their lives and ALWAYS need a man to sort stuff out. In fact this is how they get their man. The man thinks "She's so innocent. She can't be on her own. She's like a child. I must take care of her" Essentially the men are a tab pedophiliac.

These seem to be the absolute, bog-standard, basic foundations for a 'traditional' Barbara Cartland. They sell in the millions. Even though she's dead. This is part of the course. Romance novels of this ilk are formulaic. So I'm a little surprised at both the fuss and the outrage.

Anyway I love this blog. I hope this bad writer keeps writing to keep you fuelling your rants.

antoniya petkova said...

For someone who has not practiced any BDSM, not even mildly, I was appalled at this entire chapter (and the continuous theme throughout the book). The author's own prejudiced judgemental view on what people get up to in the bedroom made me really nauseous. 'No sane person would be in this sort of thing'?!?!?!?!? Are you freaking kidding me? And, apparently, for the rest of the book (and what I've been told the second one, too), we have to be convinced that Christian has had an OH NO terrible past which has screwed him so badly that on a few occasions he calls himself 'fucked up', and so does Ana. And 'fucked up' is not based on his absolutely creepy stalking or controlling, but on the fact he is into BDSM. And this is supposed to be acceptable, that anyone into any sort of unconventional lifestyle which most of society probably frowns upon must be deeply screwed up by some terrible childhood trauma they refuse to talk about.

If I were a virgin, I'd be running for the hills. Having sex was not something I entirely desired and my boyfriend wanting it too much was almost a dealbreaker for us. Now, I won't be so shocked by his contract and his desires, as I would be put off by his controlling and stalking behaviour, rage and all sorts of other issues, which have nothing to do with his sexual lifestyle. You'd think in this day and age people didn't need to pathetically use this sort of explanation for what other people like.

And, for that matter, you'd think in this day and age someone who is f*cking 21 would have heard of about 90% of the things she hasn's (I had to google only a few of the activities and I am not even slighly familiar with the field) and will be able to GOOGLE the rest on a f*cking computer! And not be completely and utterly shocked by them. Or, if so utterly shocked by them, would run away, rather than believe that through the magical power of love she can cure the little broken boy and he will love her the way she wants...

CyberpunkHero said...

Brilliant. I applaude your bravery and persistence.

Leanne said...

I'm so happy to find someone despised this book even more than me.

Anonymous said...

Extremes...why must stories always jump to them? Life is not like that! It's not black and white. There are ..yes, I'm gonna say it...FIFTY SHADES OF GRAY! That is irony in spades!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely hysterical!

Anonymous said...

I LOOOVE these reviews! Everytime you quote something form the book, it all sounds vaguely familiar and I do a quick google. The author (whos name I've already forgotten) is lifting so much shit from movies. "It's not a [room], it's a mission statement" is from jerry maguire. She just wanted to use the quote but couldn't figure out how to fit it in because she doesn't know what a mission statement is.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure Christian's list of hard limits prohibits both things that have nothing to do with BDSM in the first place (nothing to do with children? Really? That's not a given?) or cut out about 90% of all non-bondage or whip related BDSM. He's rather unadverturous in my personal opinion.

Also, is it really LITERALLY going to be whips and chains? The stereotypes are killing me and I'm not even actually reading it.

Note: no offense meant if all you're into is whips and chains.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE YOU SO MUCH GOD. I will love you from a far even when you're in prison for murdering every single person involved in the production of this fucking MOCKERY OF BDSM.

I tried reading 50 Shades and stopped at this point because I wanted to burn E.L. James into unidentifiable ash.

Just. Thank you for your reviews, hahaha. They're making my day.

Candy from Olympia WA said...

I want this in a book! I love you! I would stalk you if I was a billionaire who could fly a helicopter. You make my hate funny. I don't like to hate. Especially women. I love women. I really do.

As an editor I feel I need to eat some serious shit after a contentious month where I urged my [male] author to not do Cinderella complex and I made compendiums about infantalization. He listened to me but did I cost him a billion $? I thought this shit was dead and we had at least moved on to Strong Female Character TM.

Anonymous said...

I wanted you to know that I just realized you'd finished the review (since you stopped for an extended period last year) and I'm reading it again from beginning because it's so. Fucking. Awesome.
I recommend your review to anyone who asks what I thought of 50 Shades - I couldn't have said it better. :D

Anonymous said...

"but I was thinking about how they are obviously going to make a terrible movie out of this"

Confirmed. You are a psychic.