The hardest thing about reviewing this book, more so than the first two books, is the fact that nearly every scene has multiple things wrong with it, or shouldn't have happened at all, but most often both. It is getting increasingly hard to not write five paragraphs for any one of hers and explain both why the event would never have occurred at all, AND all the overlapping things that were ridiculous once it did. Also, since Christian and Ana are always both wrong for different reasons, I feel like I should maybe start keeping score of who was the least wrong in every argument so we can see who wins at the end (spoiler: it won't be ME). Keeping score of who is "winning" tends to be extremely harmful to relationships, but this relationship is going nowhere anyway, and frankly I just need something else to do besides scribble notes in all caps and do all the research the author should have done but didn't, otherwise I'm going to hurt someone and I don't want it to be me.
We start off Chapter 7 with Ana explaining that the mysterious saboteur in the server room is Jack Hyde, followed by Christian being pissy with her for knowing what her FORMER BOSS WHO TRIED TO RAPE HER looks like. Though in his defense, the way she describes that she knows it's him - the "line of his jaw", the "shape of his shoulders" - does make me wonder why she was examining him in such minute detail. But hey, maybe she was trying to memorize his build so she could give an accurate description of her assaulter to the police, and she just never got to because her idiot husband never bothered to tell the police. Advantage Ana. Anywhore, Barney in security positively identifies Jack Hyde using facial recognition software (in no universe does a company in Christian's line of work need any such thing unless he's secretly running a casino) and then assures Christian he will "also scan the city CCTV and see if I can track his movements." I almost wanted to give this one to James since she does live in a country that has CCTV everywhere, but it took me 5 whole minutes to do the research so no dice. Seattle has no city wide CCTV coverage. The state of Washington has traffic cameras on major roadways throughout the state, and I found a mention on Boing Boing about someone protesting the CCTV cameras that had been installed at four public parks in the city, but it was from 2008 and there hasn't been a word about it since. This is a good example of what I was talking about above: He can't check the city CCTV because it doesn't exist, but EVEN IF IT DID, you still can't (legally anyway) just hack into the city's CCTV system to track the movements of one specific person. You would need to inform the police who would then either use the CCTV or not at their discretion to find him IF they felt it was warranted. Knock it the fuck off, James, Christian isn't the goddamn Batman.
Ana then goes off to make sandwiches for them (sub sandwiches because HAHA GET IT?), which is where Christian finds her and makes some dumb comment about her being barefoot in the kitchen. Ana asks if he meant to add "and pregnant" and this is the first time it dawns on them to discuss whether either of them wants to have children and when. Three weeks AFTER the wedding. This discussion is short, and then they move on to the much more important topic of the plans for the new house. Fab, guys, you will make awesome parents. Ana asks if Christian wants to put in a playroom and he is completely taken aback by the question. Not because his sexually ignorant wife made such a bold suggestion, but because "this will be a family home." And god in heaven knows, you simply can't have kinks AND children at the same time. You know what? I'm actually fine with that particular stupidism, it just gives me one more fabulous reason to avoid breeding.
The next day, Ana goes to work ("You know you don't have to do this," Christian reminds her for the 423,346,348,936th time) and everyone but her assistant and the moron at the door are treating her with barely disguised hostility, which for once she has enough social awareness to know is because she was handed a job she didn't earn and isn't qualified for because her husband owns the company. Speaking of her husband, an hour after dropping her off he emails her to complain that his first email bounced back to him because she hasn't changed her email address yet. Which is because she didn't want to change her name and hasn't told him, but that doesn't make it any more reasonable to expect that the first thing she would do after three weeks away from a job she's only just learning how to do is to make fucking sure her email has her magic new married name attached to it. She responds to his email telling him she doesn't want to change her name at work and she will explain why later on at home. She doesn't get an email back and assumes this means he's ok. Honest to fuck, I don't understand how she can be the one married to him yet I know him about a trillion times better. You are in so much trouble, Ana.
The reason for his lack of a response becomes clear a couple hours later, when Christian (I am fucking serious, you guys, what in the shit does this man actually DO?) storms into the office to chew her out over this point. In the course of this, he manages to refer to her as an "asset" in need of "rebranding" and that he likes to stop by the companies he owns to keep management sharp and "wives in their place." IN THEIR PLACE. IN THEIR MOTHERFUCKING PLACE. I honestly don't give a shit whether Ana's argument is stupid or not, she has won this contest already (my contest, she has no hope of winning autonomy from her husband at her job). Not that I'm not angry with her. Because oh no, not wanting to change her name has hurt Christian right in his tender little feelings! She never wants to hurt his feelings! He just showed up to your job to put you in your place and call you an asset as if you were actual property that could be owned. FUCK his feelings. Fuck his feelings with an entire goddamn rose bush. Other completely retarded statements he makes during this argument:
- "I want everyone to know that you're mine."/"It's not enough." That she MARRIED him. She married him and it is NOT GOOD ENOUGH. MAYBE YOU SHOULD JUST SEW HER TO YOUR SHIRT LIKE A MERIT BADGE SO EVERYONE WILL KNOW.
- "I want your world to begin and end with me." Followed almost immediately by genuine shock that she feels suffocated. You could not be more suffocating if you held a plastic bag against her face with a pillow on top of it and a rope around her neck and you are underwater AND ALSO IN SPACE.
Sorry, I got a little off track there. Anyway, she eventually gives in to all his demands, but she's still angry about it when they get home ("I thought we had sorted all this in your office." CHOKE ON A DICK) so they fight some more even though the outcome will ultimately be the same, mainly because James wants to have Christian say more misogynistic and patronizing things since SEXISM IS SUPER FUCKING ROMANTIC: "Don't be mad. You're so precious to me. Like a priceless asset, like a child." FUCK YOU CHRISTIAN, I HOPE YOU GET TEABAGGED BY A GANG OF ELEPHANTS.
Chapter 8 consists of three things: Ana behaves like a psycho, Ana gets off playing Tune In Tokyo, and Christian gets a haircut. Or if you look at it another way, one thing: Amber wonders if jumping out her third floor bedroom window will kill her or at least put her in a prolonged coma. Gia Matteo is the architect Christian and Ana have chosen to remodel their new house. She is, of course, one of the finest architects in all of Seattle if not the world. Ana despises her because she is obviously trying to steal Christian, but she doesn't want to fire her because her drawings are breathtaking. Even in terms of first world problems this isn't a problem. Guess what, Ana? There are other architects, and you have enough money to hire any or probably ALL of them. Fuck, you could probably afford to have Frank Lloyd Wright exhumed and have his body reanimated so he can build you a pretty house. HIRE SOMEONE ELSE. She's not going to consider the most obvious option though. No, instead when Gia comes over to discuss the drawings, Ana is going to dress like a tart, because hey lady, two can play the "I am a desperate slut with no self esteem" game! Certainly the most mature way to deal with people who dare think you have an attractive husband. This scene is one of the finest examples of "everything is wrong with it" I have ever seen. James has really outdone herself with this one. Because for starters what's about to happen would never actually happen. I don't care how good an architect you are, if you behave grossly inappropriately toward your clients, let alone right in front of their wives' faces, you will no longer have any clients. So when Gia comes in and virtually ignores Ana while getting uncomfortably close to Christian and flirtatiously touches his arm, I am once again reminded that E.L. James isn't going to let plausibility get in the way of writing the soap opera she wants to write. But even if you can suspend disbelief that the scene even exists, what happens in it STILL doesn't make sense. When Gia touches Christian, who we know from two and a half books worth of nauseatingly frequent reminders HATES TO BE TOUCHED and must CONTROL ALL THE THINGS, his response is to timidly take a step away from her, say nothing at all about it, and wait for Ana to come stand in between them, giving her a relieved look at being "rescued". THEN, when Christian leaves the room for some urgent matter with Taylor, Ana goes into full on jealous psychopath mode and threatens Gia several times to stay away from her man OR ELSE. And then another thing that would never happen happens: Gia becomes terrified of Ana and suddenly starts to treat her with respect. In real life, no commission is worth having to deal with an unhinged crazy bitch who has hallucinated some sort of threat to her marriage, and certainly not the greatest architect since god, and a real life Gia Matteo would have said "fuck this shit" and walked away from the job. The only thing that could have made this scene any more preposterous is if they got into an actual Jerry Springer style cat fight (it comes close though - Ana thinks to herself at one point "Yeah bitch, mine" which is exactly the kind of thing you would hear on Springer, but she doesn't say it out loud).
After that debacle and another several pages of the same argument about her name they've had twice already, Ana decides that Christian needs a haircut so she's going to do it all super romantic-like and drags him in the bathroom to sensuously wash his hair, which is when I make a horrified choking noise in my throat and write "please god no, don't do this." The haircut doesn't go so well at first because they haven't fucked in FIVE WHOLE MINUTES. The hair washing is interrupted by Christian who is overwhelmed with lust over it, so he ties Ana's hands behind her back with her underwear and more or less gives her a titty twister until she comes everywhere. While this is happening he tells her how beautiful her breasts are and how he's going to fuck them someday. I'm not sure why that day isn't today and actually right now, but I'm in better shape than Ana is over that statement: What the hell does that mean? she wonders. Oh my god, I hate you. Ok, fine, you've never done that before, but you are having sex ALL OVER THE FUCKING PLACE, you must understand the mechanics by now, you should be able to sort this one out yourself without breaking all three of your brain cells. When Ana comes (the second time) while sitting on Christian's magical Boner of Ecstasy, she starts crying, which she does pretty much every single time she has an orgasm, and frankly I hope she drowns in her emo, emo tears. Especially after she thinks "After all our arguing today, my frustration with him, his with me - we still have this." Holy bananas do you suck at life. Hey, at least we have sex since the rest of our relationship is fucking terrible!
Once Ana's teargasm has subsided, she remembers that the whole point of this exercise was to cut Christian's hair, so she goes down the hall to his study to get some scissors and two things happen. The first is that she happens to see Taylor and Mrs. Jones kissing and HOLY SHIT IT IS EXPLOSIVE NEWS. Just to Ana, though - Christian already knows and points out that they are both adults and single and free to do whatever the fuck they want. But Ana just can't wrap her head around this because - no, for real this is her ACTUAL reason - "I always thought Mrs. Jones was older than Taylor." The woman ALWAYS has to be younger, how else will the man be able to romantically treat her like a helpless child? YOU ARE SUCH AN ASSHOLE ANA. The second thing that happens is while going through Christian's desk looking for scissors she finds a gun. Fully loaded. In an unlocked drawer. Despite multiple attempts on his life, a high speed car chase, and a mentally unstable ex stalking them, Ana is totally perplexed about why Christian would have a gun. I am only perplexed by the fact that every other sentence out of Christian's mouth hole is about how he is so afraid of anything ever happening to Ana, and keeping a loaded weapon in an unlocked drawer in an unlocked room in an apartment housing at least two other people besides Christian and Ana that has already had its security breached once by a woman who was so disoriented she couldn't even wash herself is pretty much the definition of asking for an accident to happen in which Ana gets killed. In fact, the only law of gun safety he hasn't violated right here is that he apparently doesn't sleep with a loaded gun under his fucking pillow. YET. P.S. This is the second gun you've mentioned in this alleged love story, Ms. James...you DO know that the stereotype of "every single American owns a gun" is not actually true, right? Right? Ana doesn't mention the gun to Christian when she goes back to finish cutting his hair, because if there's one thing they are both good at, it's never ever discussing anything important until it becomes a fucking crisis. Instead the chapter ends with her cutting his hair, another argument about her running a company, her fundamentally misunderstanding something he said earlier in a way that makes him panic, and frantic, desperate sex that solves everything. So, basically EXACTLY THE SAME FUCKING THING AS EVERY OTHER SHITTY PAGE OF THIS SHITTY ASS BOOK OF SHIT. SHIT.
Oh, the tally for these two chapters is Ana - 2, Christian - nil (I am counting the half dozen fights about the same fucking thing as just one long extra stupid thing).