Sunday, December 23, 2012

50 Shades Irate

I read Fifty Shades Freed so you don't have to.

I just want to quickly mention that I got a book for Christmas from StereoNinja called "How Not To Write A Novel". I'm only a few chapters into it, but so far, every mistake that's been outlined has appeared somewhere in the Fifty Shades books. Every. Single. One. I'm mentioning this because one piece of advice in particular: "PLOT: Not just a bunch of stuff that happens" is exactly the note I would have sent to E.L. James if I'd been sent this manuscript for possible publication and it made me laugh so hard I was actually sore from it the next day.

All right, I suppose I've stalled on doing this long enough. So.

Chapter 9 begins with Ana waking up to find Christian wrapped around her "like ivy", which she informs us is what she always wakes up to when they've had a fight, so I assume she means "how I wake up every single fucking day". She thinks it is a romantic expression of how much he needs her. I think he's trying to kill her in his sleep.

At breakfast, Christian informs Ana that he needs to go to New York, sparking - GUESS WHAT? - an argument about whether or not Ana should come with him because OMFG SAFETY! or stay in Seattle and work because part of having a real job is you don't get to only show up whenever you feel like it. Speaking of safety, Ana suddenly becomes very concerned because oh my god, what if he's taking the helicopter to New York because remember that one time when someone messed with it and it crashed? Remember that? Ermigerd it was, like, so scary! Once again, I am absolutely shocked by Ana's lack of knowledge about how helicopters work, i.e. they are SHORT RANGE AIRCRAFT with very low airspeed as compared to an airplane and therefore would never be used to fly all the way from fucking Seattle to New York City, which according to Google (note to E.L. James: Google is that thing people use to find stuff out instead of just fucking guessing. MAYBE YOU SHOULD TRY IT YOU LAZY DICKBAG) is a flight distance of 2408 miles. I did some math (of course I did): At the top speed of Christian's particular helicopter, that's a 13.5 hour flight. At its normal cruising speed it's more than 15 hours. That is not counting having to stop SIX FUCKING TIMES on the way to refuel given that it has a range of just under 400 miles. I don't expect her to know all of that, but I do expect her to have seen at least one fucking episode of M.A.S.H. in her lifetime, or at the very least to realize that until she met Christian, she'd never heard of people flying in helicopters, only airplanes, so it would be logical to assume that it is generally the more efficient method of transportation. Christian explains that much more succinctly than I just did, and also tells her that Charlie Tango is back to being a safe aircraft because "Five people have been fired because of that." He doesn't explain which five people, but if Christian handled this situation the way he handles every other situation in his life, I'm quite certain it was just the first five people he ran into when he was angry, and probably not the people who were in charge of security at the airfield or the person who did the last pre-flight safety check. The point is SOMEONE WAS PUNISHED AND THE PROBLEM IS THEREFORE SOLVED.

Which brings us to the beginning of what I didn't want to write about. "That reminds me," says Ana immediately following the news that five people were most likely terminated without cause, "There's a gun in your desk." After which we learn (or re-learn) the following things:
  • The gun is fully loaded,
  • and there's no safety on it (which Christian doesn't realize until she tells him).
  • The gun belongs to Leila.
  • Christian despises guns, supports gun control legislation in Washington State, and disapproves of Taylor "sometimes" carrying one.
If the last thing is true, than the first three things, as we've come to expect, don't make any fucking sense. If he hates guns so much, when he took Leila's off her, why didn't he turn it in to the police? They would be more than happy to take in guns you don't want to keep them off the street. And when he didn't do that, why did he instead decide to leave it fully loaded and to put it in his unlocked desk drawer? WE KNOW HE HAS A SAFE. At any rate, since it appears he's going to have a loaded gun in the house against everything he claims to believe in, Ana wants Christian to learn how to use it properly, and Christian wants no part of it, because somehow ignorance is the best way to improve this already terrifying situation.

Anyway. Christian gets on a plane for New York, and about five minutes later Ana starts panicking because he hasn't called her yet and OH NO WHAT IF HE'S DEAD? I myself am a natural worrier, but I'm pretty sure if I thought my entire world was crumbling around me every time someone I loved left the fucking room the stress would have killed me a long time ago. PLEASE DIE, ANA. I AM BEGGING YOU. Sadly, Christian's plane has not gone down in a fiery blaze of epic incompetence, and he calls her while the plane is still taxiing to the gate, because he promised to call her as soon as he landed. "See? He does what he says he's going to do," is what her increasingly abusive subconscious tells her. I rarely bother to tell you guys what either of her alternate personalities are saying, but in this case I felt like it made a nice counterpoint to what Ana's about to do. Because Ana has agreed to have a drink with Kate, something Ana originally told Christian was going to occur at the apartment because, again, SAFETY!, but she has now decided they should go out to a bar instead. Christian badgers her into a promise that she'll have her drinks with Kate at the apartment after all. The minute Kate arrives at the office and says she'd rather go to a bar, Ana ignores the promise she JUST made, and immediately heads to some bar with Kate, telling the security team of three that they would just have one drink. This never ends well and I write in my notes "over/under 1.5 pages for when the shit hits the fan." Being the most irresponsible and inconsiderate woman on the entire fucking planet, one strawberry mojito turns into four strawberry mojitos, she doesn't bother to eat any food at all to counter this sizable alcohol intake, and she's missed five calls, one text message, and one email from her alarmed husband whom she promised not three hours ago that she wouldn't do exactly the thing she just fucking did. This point goes to Christian.

At the end of this chapter and the beginning of the next one (Drama! Intrigue! Stuff that happens!), Ana and her bodyguards arrive home to find security guard Ryan standing over an unconscious Jack Hyde. I write two notes in quick succession: "Swiss Cheese Security strikes again!" and "I don't have words for how stupid this is." Ryan explains how everything went down: He was monitoring the security camera when he saw Jack Hyde get in the service elevator (wearing gloves so we would know he's up to no good), and decided to LET HIM GET IN THE APARTMENT so that Ryan could tackle him and be the hero of the day, or as he put it, "That way I knew we'd have him." No, you didn't know that, turdbrain, he could have had a taser and incapacitated you immediately, or had his gun drawn (he had a gun, we'll get to that) and shot you the second the elevator door opened, or he could have been a master of Taekwondo and beat the ever loving shit out of you before you had time to think "Oops", or any number of various scenarios in which you lose because you had no knowledge of what you were dealing with, and then you would be dead and a psychopath would be loose in the house. CAN YOU EVEN SPELL SECURITY? HOLY FUCK YOU ARE DUMBER THAN ANA. As he's explaining this COLOSSALLY STUPID decision, it suddenly occurs to him that *maybe* they should think about tying the intruder up. OH MY FUCKING GOD YOU STEAMING BOWL OF MONKEY JIZZ, HOW IS THAT NOT THE FIRST THING YOU DID? Ana goes to get some cable ties with great embarrassment because everyone in the world knows that cable ties are only used for dirty sex and that can be the only reason why there would be some in the apartment. When she returns, she notices Jack's gun laying on the floor right fucking next to him because Ryan the rocket scientist didn't know that it might be a good idea to kick it out of the reach of the deranged man he just deliberately let in the apartment. AND THEN I realize with a sickening feeling in my stomach that Ana is not only smarter than Ryan, she's actually the smartest person in the entire room when she asks "Should we call the police?" and four professional motherfucking security guards blink at her in confusion because they GENUINELY DON'T KNOW if this situation warrants involving the police, and they can't get Taylor on the phone to ask him. I write "Entire security team doesn't know how security works." Ana's wisdom (I am sick to my stomach from writing that phrase) prevails and the police come over and ask a bunch of police questions, telling her she'll have to come down to the station later to make a statement, because James' entire knowledge of how the police work is based on television shows. In reality, you can generally make a statement anywhere that contains both a detective and a piece of paper.

After a few more attempts at getting touch with Christian, who she believes isn't picking up the phone because he's angry, even though everyone else on the fucking planet knows he's on a plane coming back there because she can't follow through on a single thing she ever says to him, she goes to bed. When she wakes up, Christian is sitting in a chair next to the bed watching her sleep, and she is confused that he's back already, and I stab an icepick into my ear because Ana is incapable of learning ANYTHING from past experiences. Apparently Christian has never been so angry with her in their entire relationship (which, just to reiterate since I haven't said it in a while, is roughly 5-6 months long), and we can tell this because HE DOESN'T WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH HER. She even gets in the shower with him but he pushes her away. Ana is immediately convinced that this means he isn't attracted to her anymore. She says "I gasp as the pain sears through me." I can't wait to see how much self-loathing and jumping to conclusions she'll do the first time he tells her he's too tired for sex. OH MY GOD HE'S TIRED? HE MUST NOT LOVE ME ANYMORE.

Ana goes to work for no real reason since she spends the entirety of the day emailing Christian repeatedly. For some reason it is very important to her whether he flew back from New York early because he couldn't get her on the phone while she was out with Kate, or because he heard about Jack breaking into the apartment. GUESS ANA. GUESS WHICH ONE IT IS. She is also angry at things that haven't even happened yet, because she thinks Christian won't tell her what Jack has actually been charged with, something he wouldn't be able to keep from her if Ana knew how to use a fucking computer since that information is a public record. She has also convinced herself that she was right to go out with Kate last night, since IF she'd been at home she would have been in much more danger. You know, since accidentally being in the right place at the right time makes you retroactively right in the first place and therefore justifies behaving like a complete shitpencil. I can't even follow what the "plot" of this book is anymore. I have never read a longer series of random stuff that happens which does nothing to advance the story and doesn't even try to make any sort of logical sense. I need someone who read these books and enjoyed them to sit down with me and explain to me what, in the ACTUAL FUCK, they found compelling about this story because every single word of it so far sounds like it was written by a horny fifteen year old school dropout on crack.

Some housekeeping: If you've emailed me about meeting up to play the board game when I'm back in the UK in early March, and I haven't emailed you back yet, please be patient - it's Christmas and I've been running around like a crazy person since I got back from Florida. For those interested who didn't see my comment after that post, my email address is now in my blogger profile. We are trying to find some place that everyone will be able to get to, and since we have people who want to come from Scotland and  London and just about everywhere in between, we are looking at places that are roughly in the middle of the country (Birmingham? Nottingham?) I WILL respond to everyone who emails because I think, somehow, we all NEED for this to happen. I think I will also bring Cards Against Humanity in case the Fifty Shades game gets too terrible and we need to say horrible things. Or maybe we can find a way to combine them?

Also, StereoNinja finished editing the spare notes video I made on vacation. Sorry that the first part was so out of focus, but I make up for it by repeating "That's not how you suck a dick" about 97 times. You're welcome. You can watch it here:


Rebecca said...

This book just never ceases to amaze me with its stupidity. I know it's origins are in fan fiction, but there is fan fiction out there written by hormone crazed teenaged girls which is way more coherent and enjoyable than this.

Also 'a steaming bowl of monkey jizz' must be the name of some cocktail somewhere.

Kate said...

Wow, exactly how much stupidity can one trilogy contain? I find it more and more amazing that this thing even got past the publishers, let alone became a best seller.

Although I'm still sticking with my "Ana fixes him with the magic power of true love" theory for now, I've been trying to figure out if there's any other possible ending that could actually redeem the series. But I think by this point, no, there isn't. It's too far gone now.

BTW, here's a bit of trivia about Freed (if you didn't already know) it's the only one of the trilogy to have a different front cover in the UK. I've noticed before that the US version has a pair of handcuffs on the cover but over here, it has a key on a necklace.

Shawn Lucas said...

The gun situation is how I envision many (I don't want to say all because I know a few responsible owners) gun owners in America. They are both terrified of and completely ignorant of the situation that they have gotten themselves into. However, they have purchased a gun because they've fallen for the "it makes you safer because think of all the bad guys out there that have guns" routine.

Shawn Lucas said...

Perhaps cable ties are used to tie cables? Nah, too obvious. Fuck all I can't believe this piece of crap was published. Sorry, I'm reading this after a few beers and posting as I read things in case I forget.

Anonymous said...

She even stole the teeth thing from another fan fiction. It doesn't matter if they are good ideas or bad, EL will take 'em & toss 'em in a salad of, "ewww."

Terrye Toombs said...

I'm so thankful that you saved me the torture of reading this book. And I appreciate your honest, if not hilarious take on this 'novel.'

So many of my friends have read it and loved it. I just couldn't find it in me to summon the strength to punish my eyeballs and brain with it.

Kayla said...

So I just found this, I think all will enjoy:

Anonymous said...

I love this blog, I wet myself laughing at every 50 Shades of Shite update, thank you!
I can recommend good old Manchester for your UK meet up, it's easy to get to from both ends of the UK and has lots to do there. I am of course biased, being a Mancunian, it is ace though.
I eagerly await your next review.

Laura Mary said...

Soft kitty, warm kitty, little ball of fur...

Claire said...

I have the same top but in grey. I love your updates they make me lol. Your reviews are hilarious.

Anonymous said...

I also have that How Not To Write A Novel book, and I love it. I hasn't thought to apply it to 50 Shades, but that'd make a fun readalong wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for a while now, love the 50 shades reviews. I saw this article and thought you would love to know about this, actually wish you would teach it.

Fay Hancocks said...

"Because you're not a sofa. Glad I could help." I LOVE YOU.