Thursday, November 14, 2013

50 Shades Asinine

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

Here it comes, people. And it's a long one, so get your tea and snacks together now. God I hate this.

Chapter 17, as is now James' custom, starts off with the resolution to the cliffhanger she leaves at the end of the last chapter because she doesn't know how to write drama properly and has to manufacture it. Jose's dad has called Ana to tell her that they were in a bad car accident near Portland on their way back from a fishing trip. Ana panics, as I would, then calls someone at work to let them know she has a family emergency, tells her assistant the same thing, runs across the parking lot to get to Sawyer waiting by the car and tells him what's going on, and then gets in the car to be driven to the hospital, which is when she calls Christian. Christian's assistant answers the phone. Hearing in Ana's voice that she is terribly upset, she asks Ana if she would like her to track Christian down to speak with him, and then if she would like to leave a message for him. Ana says no to both of these things, because when your father is in an accident and you don't know how serious it is, it is very important that you give that information in detail to everyone you know except for your own husband. When he calls her back to find out what her problem is he tells her he will come to soon as he's finished with this meeting he has with some guys from Taiwan which he'd told her nothing about and which is somehow SO important that family emergencies will have to wait.

When she gets to the hospital, she is told by the ER receptionist that Ray has been taken to surgery, so she goes there and asks after him. The nurse at the desk calls her Miss Steele (since she's just said she's Raymond Steele's daughter) and Ana actually pauses in her panic to wonder about whether she should correct her, as she is MRS. CHRISTIAN GREY now after all. In the waiting room she finds Jose and his dad. Jose's dad has one arm and one leg in a cast and bruises on his face from the accident. Jose, who was also on the fishing trip, does not appear to be injured. They fill Ana in: they were on the way back when they were hit by a drunk driver. Ray took the brunt of the impact and had to be airlifted to the hospital, where he has been in surgery for several hours apparently. James peppers this entire scene with things we've been primed to know that Christian would not put up with if he were there - Jose holds Ana while she cries; he puts his jacket around her shoulders when she says she's cold; he holds her hand to calm her panic.

When Christian finally shows up, he sees Jose holding Ana's hand and "his face darkens momentarily". She jumps up and runs to him and I honestly can't tell if it's because she's relieved that he's there or to mitigate the damage of having been seen holding hands with someone at a time that she desperately needed comfort and her husband was too busy working to be there. When the surgeon comes in, he also calls Ana Miss Steele, and is sharply corrected by Christian. Yes, I know her father just had emergency surgery, but THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT. The doctor tells her Ray is in critical condition. He's had serious internal organ damage, which they have repaired, had a heart attack on the table from blood loss but survived, and most worryingly, suffered some severe head trauma and his brain is swelling. They've induced a coma while they monitor the brain swelling. It sounds remarkably serious and as though his life is still in grave danger, which will become important later when Christian does a bunch of inexplicably stupid things. But we'll get to that.

While they wait for their chance to go see Ray in ICU, Christian fills Ana in on his very important business meeting that made him so late in comforting his wife that she wound up wearing another guy's jacket (yes, he's clearly upset about it but smart enough not to say anything right now; yes, Ana pauses in worrying that her father might die to be nervous that Christian's little fee-fees might be hurt because a boy other than him was nice to her. I hate these people). Turns out he's bought a shipyard in Taiwan for some ships that he's building for some reason. Two and a half books into the story and I still can't tell you what it is the main character's company actually does. Ana goes to see Ray for a bit, and then Christian decides they need to go and rest for a while before they come back.

They are staying in the exact same suite they stayed in the first time Christian kidnapped her. Taylor has gone out and bought her a crap ton of new clothes. I think that Christian having several hours to tell his staff that they'd be going to Portland would be plenty of time for them to pack some of her clothes to take with him, but of course if he'd done that we wouldn't get reminded that he's so rich he can just buy new clothes for every trip when he gets there.

When they go back to the hospital, Jose is just leaving from visiting Ana's dad. He gives Ana a comforting hug goodbye, and Ana CONGRATULATES Christian on not killing him for it. Christian tells Ana he has a surprise for her, and when they walk into the ICU she finds out what it is - Christian has had his mother flown up from Seattle to look after Ray. His mother in turn has gotten her friend and colleague to lead the team of doctors overseeing Ray - we are made to understand she is one of the leading doctors "in her field". Given that the main issue facing Ray's recovery/survival is head trauma, I assume that's what she's an expert in.

The next day (Chapter 18) is Ana's 22nd birthday. She and Christian wake up in their hotel and he gives her a charm bracelet. They get ready to go to the hospital and go downstairs for Ana to discover Christian has also bought her an Audi R8. She asks if she can drive it to the hospital and when Christian says yes, she promptly does a dangerous U-turn in the middle of the busy street and then speeds off like a maniac. Hey dipshit, aren't you on your way to see your comatose father in the hospital because someone driving recklessly  nearly killed him yesterday? Ana goes in to visit with her father (who is recovering at a fucking miraculous rate by the way) while Christian calls his father to tell him to "throw the book" at the drunk driver who hit Ray's car. I know his dad is a lawyer, but the last time I checked, he wasn't the District Attorney for Portland. He's in no position to throw the book at this guy or probably be involved in the case at all given that he practices law in a different state.

It finally occurs to Ana that she should maybe call her mom and tell her that her stepfather may be dying, but her mother doesn't answer the phone. Ana immediately decides her mother has forgotten her birthday, though nowhere in any of the books does she make her mother out to be the sort of person who would do that. The mystery is solved (for me, not Ana) when Christian takes a foreshadowy phone call from his assistant asking if the hotel "has all the details". Gee I wonder if Christian flew everyone Ana knows to Portland for her birthday?

After a bunch of fucking around all day while Ray's unprecedented recovery continues (his brain swelling is all gone and totally back to normal!), Christian tells Ana it's time to go to dinner and when they get there, SURPRISE MOTHERFUCKERS EVERYONE ANA KNOWS IS THERE. WOW I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING. Did he send his private plane to pick everyone up from around the country? YOU BET YOUR ASS HE DID. They have an entirely forgettable dinner party and the next day everyone but Christian and Ana go home.

Ray is awakened from his coma at the beginning of Chapter 19 (actually it's the very last sentence of Chapter 18 because OMFG DRAMA!). On hearing this news, Christian immediately begins preparations to have him transferred to Seattle. This is where the major head trauma/massive internal injuries become important. To me, not to anyone in the book. You see, Christian has WORK to do because he is VERY IMPORTANT, and he simply can't stay in Portland and do his work, and he certainly can't leave his wife there unsupervised because WHO KNOWS what she might get up to if he's not watching her every minute. Therefore, the only solution is to pick up a man who had major emergency surgery and a heart attack two days before, and who is still in intensive care, and move him to a different hospital. In fact, this is WHAT'S BEST for Ray - if he's at the hospital in Seattle, Christian's mother can look after him. The fact that the head doctor on his case, the one who is a specialist in traumatic brain injuries, which is his main problem, will NOT be at that hospital in Seattle and that Christian's mother is NOT a specialist in this field does not even cross his mind.

Back at the hotel, it is TIME FOR SEX. Ana is scandalized when Christian ties her legs apart and then tells her she has to touch herself. Keep in mind, up until now, Ana has never ever masturbated in her whole life. In fact, I'm pretty sure there were some passages in earlier books where Christian was just fine with that, because it meant that every orgasm she had ever had in her entire life was because of him. YOU ARE SUCH A MASSIVE STUD CHRISTIAN, YOU FUCKING OWN THAT PUSSY.

I had temporarily forgotten that Jack Hyde was in custody for his breaking and entering Christian's home. Luckily, Detective Clark, lead investigator on the case, has not forgotten at all. In fact, he is so conscientious and diligent about his investigation that he comes all the way to Portland to re-interview Ana. And he is very clear that he only wants Ana in the interview as well, but Christian is NOT having that: "Anything you wish to say to my wife you can say in front of me," he declares, which confuses me because that decision is really hers, is it not? Oh wait of course not, Ana has no agency in this or anything else. Christian is the sole decider of all. I'd forgotten. My bad. Anycock, the reason Detective Clark came all the way to Portland wanting to talk to Ana alone is that it seems Jack Hyde is alleging that it was actually Ana who had sexually harassed him, and when he wouldn't bang her, she got him fired. I write in my notes "this is why you go to the POLICE you fucktards" because, as you'll recall, when Hyde tried to rape her, all they did was fire him and allow him to roam free. If they'd told the police at the time it had happened, she'd already be on record with her side of the story AND he wouldn't have been free to skulk around Seattle trying to murder them. Also, I'm not really sure why Hyde thinks that some story about sexual harassment by Ana is going to justify his breaking into her house to try to kill her and her husband. That's kind of a massive escalation. Probably the place to start would have been a wrongful termination lawsuit. But what do I know? I'm just some nitwit who goes straight to the police when crimes are committed against my person. Ana calmly explains what actually happened, and the detective appears to believe her...for now. Christian asks after the other investigation from the first time Hyde tried to kill Christian by sabotaging his helicopter, but is told they haven't found any evidence. There is also some mysterious mention of a note that has not been mentioned in the book before. It's something foreshadowy again I imagine, and I assume some threatening or blackmail "anonymous" note from Hyde indicating his desire to kill or financially ruin Christian and Ana, no doubt spelled out in letters painfully cut from a newspaper and glued to another sheet of paper, that Christian didn't tell his wife about because he actually believes that ignorance = safety. Whatever, I'm sure we'll find out soon enough when they have a massive screaming match about it that ends in sex.

Back in Seattle the next day, Ana checks Ray into his new room at the hospital. She ignores a phone call from a number she doesn't know purely to set up the last scene in the chapter, which is that on her way out of the hospital, Ana is accosted by her gynecologist. How in the world this woman knew Ana was even at the hospital is not explained. Dr. Greene, who was the person phoning Ana earlier, wants to know why she has missed her last four, that's FOUR, appointments to come in and get her birth control shot. She's WAY overdue for one, so she goes back inside with Dr. Greene to get that taken care of. Before she gives the injection though, Dr. Greene wants to make sure that Ana is not already pregnant, so she sends her off to pee in a cup, and when Ana comes back, sure as shit she is all kinds of knocked up. This is the point in the review where I am about to lose my shit. I'll try not to come off as too much of a soulless asshole, but I make no guarantees.

Chapter 20. The conversation with Dr. Greene continues. Ana freaks the fuck out and can't figure out how this could possibly have happened. Keep in mind, the reason she is taking birth control shots is because she couldn't remember to take the pill with any kind of regularity. They switched her to this because she wouldn't have to remember anything - all she had to do was show up for her appointments when prompted to do so. But somehow, she can't even remember to do something she gets telephone reminders about. Immediately the first thing she does is cast around for someone else to blame for her ineptitude at life. "I thought this was a reliable form of birth control," she says to her doctor accusingly. Her doctor responds that, much like other forms of birth control, it is very effective IF YOU ACTUALLY FUCKING TAKE IT. This is definitely a person who is mature and responsible enough to be a parent. They have to do a transvaginal ultrasound in order to find the baby since it's so fresh and Ana sees a little blip on the screen which will lead her to call the baby through the ENTIRE CHAPTER "my little blip!" Jesus fuck, it's like if a 9 year old was pregnant. Ana is absolutely fucking panicking, mainly because she thinks Christian is going to completely lose his shit when he finds out. I wasn't so sure. I was picturing two possible scenarios for when she told him: either he would be absolutely fucking ecstatic about it because he's secretly always wanted to be a daddy, or he was going to be upset, but only because he thinks he is a worthless monster person who doesn't deserve happiness or a child.

Ana leaves the doctor's office and is driven to work. On the way she obsesses about all the reasons she doesn't want to have a baby right now. What about her job? What about Christian? And the part where I became enraged: "I should be happy. I know I should be happy. But I'm not." Why Ana? Why *should* you be happy? You're pregnant with a baby you don't want at 22 years old, you're looking at the end of your career because we all know there is no chance in hell that Christian is going to let you be anything but a stay at home mom, and speaking of Christian, you are totally convinced that he is going to hate you for this. Exactly why *should* you be happy? Is it because you your author believes that every woman ever wants a baby, that that is the destiny and should be the express goal of every single person born with a vagina, that you are not a "real" woman until you've squeezed a human being out of your twat? Here's a thought: fuck you. It is NOT a requirement for you to be happy about a child that neither you nor your husband want or are prepared for. As a matter of fact, and here is where I'm worried I'm going to get hate mail, I actually fail to see how there's any problem here at all. You don't want the baby, Christian doesn't want the baby, neither of you appear to have any religious affiliation or moral objection, why aren't you just having an abortion? Problem solved! In fact, you can just go have an abortion and never even tell Christian at all! Normally I don't advocate for dishonesty of that magnitude, but since the entirety of your relationship seems to be based on constantly lying to each other, why not just get it taken care of and move on with your life? And I get that for a lot of people it's not as easy of a decision as that, and maybe I'm a heartless monster, but you can have other children, down the road and when you ready, and if you stop this now and wait for that, maybe you'll fuck your kid up a lot less than you will if you have this one.

When Ana gets to work, her first order of business is to continue looking for someone else to blame for her irresponsibility. She calls her assistant into her office to ask if she's ever moved any of Ana's gynecology appointments. Indeed she has, due to Ana being in other meetings or running late, and generally at Ana's express request. "I don't always check my calendar," Ana explains, as if Hannah should fucking know that she can't handle even the most basic tasks of a person with a job (you don't always check your calendar? How many other meetings are you missing you colossal moron?) "You see that woman?" she asks her little blip as her assistant leaves the room. "She may be the reason why you're here." Yes, it's not because you can't ever be on time for anything, look at a calendar, answer your phone, or listen to your voicemail. Nothing is ever your fault, is it Ana? You're going to be a fucking amazing mother.

Unlike Ana, I'm a big enough person to admit when I'm wrong. And I was incredibly wrong about how I thought Christian was going to react to the big news. Ana was spot on. In fact short of immediately getting up from the table and kicking her in the stomach several times before pushing her down a flight of stairs, he really couldn't have reacted any worse. "How could you be so stupid?" he wants to know, and my favorite line, "We've known each other five fucking minutes!" Oh so NOW that's a problem for you? Because you didn't seem to think there was anything wrong with that when you fucking got married after three months. "Did you do this on purpose?" he asks, and when she starts crying over that remark, continues with "Don't start with the waterworks now." and "This is why I like control. So shit like this doesn't come along and fuck everything up." He screams a bunch more fuck yous at her and storms out of the house. Yep, great husband you have there, Ana. And already gunning for father of the year I see. What a fucking prick.

Christian is gone for hours, and when he comes back he is fall down drunk. Ana tries putting him to bed which he is a huge pain in the ass about and then he says easily the most immature thing to come out of these books yet, "You'll choose him over me." Jesus fuck, you kid isn't even born and you're already jealous of it and preparing yourself to competitively destroy it. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD YOU GUYS PLEASE DON'T HAVE THIS BABY. Christian finally passes out and Ana goes to clean up his clothes that are strewn all over the floor. In so doing, she knocks his phone out of his pocket and "accidentally" unlocks it, and it must be the end of a chapter now, because when she looks at it she sees a text message:

"It was good to see you. I understand now. Don't fret. You'll make a wonderful father."

You guys know who it's from? Who he's been with all night? The first person he ran to? Why, that would be Elena Fucking Robinson, his former domme and ruiner of his ability to have "normal" sex! FUCKIN' A Y'ALL, SHIT IS ABOUT TO GO DOWN.


ParkViewPrincess said...

Best. Blogpost. Ever.

Promise me that when you finish these reviews you will set these books on fire, but then refuse to piss on them when they are on fire because they are so utterly shit.

I'm 21. Not dumb. said...

You have no idea how happy I am that I found your blog. I am totally and utterly dying from your "50" reviews. I just finished the entire series because I make it a point to read a horrible book at least once a year. It's great comedic healing. Very cathartic. You wouldn't believe how many times I face-palmed while reading this series, I think I'll have a permanent handprint on my face for the next few days. I'm so mad that one of my friends "Omg Loooves" this book. *Le sigh* I need new friends. And can we please find this "inner goddess" and kill it, preferably with fire? And how does anyone hear anything in this magical land? Everyone is always muttering, murmuring, or whispering--which are all synonyms for each other which E.L. James doesn't think we're smart enough to know..and maybe we'll think she's smart for finding 3 words to interchangeably convey one thing. UGHHHH

Angela said...

I'm so glad you're writing these again, because my friends are sick of me telling them how fucking horrible these books are (and I ran out of examples because I couldn't even finish the first one, so you provide my cannon fodder).

Hannah said...

I don't think it's being a heartless monster to suggest that bringing an unwanted child, that you're bound to fuck up royally, into the world is not a good idea. Personally I think it's far more cruel to have a child due to some misguided sense of obligation than it is not to have it.

S said...

YESSSSSS! I had forgotten how brilliant your 50 Shades reviews are! I am going to read them again from the beginning now my brain has erased all memories of those godawful books. Thank you Amberance!

Tim said...

ohhhh... oh how i've missed this. I'm really sorry you have to suffer this trash for my entertainment but I really appreciate it.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

I sometimes wonder, did EL James go along with the publishing deal for a laugh, thinking it would all be a big joke, and now her books are ridiculously famous and successful, and she's there with a really tense, forced smile, thinking "Holy shit, they think this is seriously meant to be good. Just keep smiling... just keep smiling..."

Anonymous said...

Oh, reading that was cathartic. Thank you, amberance

Anonymous said...

Xenu is pleased with your return.

Throbbe said...

A charm bracelet eh? It doesn't seem to be working.

Anonymous said...

Did you ever finish this garbage? I'm dying to know how it ends. Not.