Fifty Shades of Grey: Chapter One
Synopsis: We meet Anastasia Steele, prick extraordinaire, as she carries out an interview with Christian Grey for her sick roommate. No, literally, that’s all that happens. It’s diabolically boring.
Christian Grey Describe-O-Meter: The scribbles on the copy of my book imply that Christian Grey being described as looking “above all, polite” was my favourite; however, after a brief re-read, I noticed that there were four references to his “long index finger” in the handful of pages he appeared in the book. This conjured up the image of a guy with normal hands hindered by one huge, flappy pointing finger that he struggled to control as it careered waywardly around the room. I preferred this.
Ana, A History: What struck me most about this chapter was that Ana Steele seems to have been written as a complete wanker deliberately. On page two, she “ignores a pang of unwelcome sympathy” for her bedridden best friend (Kate) who’s so ill she’s unable to conduct an interview we discover she’s spent months arranging. Then she proceeds to ask a series of ridiculously rude questions to a man who she’s apparently so in awe of she feels “strange muscles in [her] belly clench suddenly” when he looks at her (by the way, EL James, stomach =/= arousal).
First off, she suggests that his millions of dollars and twenty-thousand people strong company is down to luck alone, then tells him he’s a control freak. After that, she proceeds to ask if he’s gay when he says he doesn’t want a family. C’mon, Ana, I liked Kate! Even if you have a wierd desire to watch her suffer, try not to fuck up an amazing opportunity that she created for herself, okay? She also mentions that she’d prefer to be reading “a classic British novel”, which holds the double win of making me hate this book for being too vague to name a single classic British novel, yet specific enough to know I would eviscerate Ana with my words if I ever met her. That’s talent.
For the man who awoke dormant menopausal libidos across the planet, Christian Grey is outrageously shit. I get the notion of a standoffish sexual hero-treat ’em mean if you must-but his dialogue seems to consist of really inappropriate sexual hints (after all, Ana is a student at the university he benefits) and indecipherable statements. Viz;
“We can’t eat money, Ms Steele, and there are too many people on this planet who don’t have enough to eat.”
“That sounds very philanthropic. Is it something you feel passionate about? Feeding the world’s poor?”
He shrugs noncommittally.
“It’s good business sense.”
Aside from being atrociously written (can you shrug with certainty?), this is pretty much left as it is. He isn’t asked to explain that strange final comment, and the attempts to make him seem like a sensual villain with a heart of gold come off as a teenager wearing his fringe over his eyes to seem mysterious.
After a brief goodbye, during which Ana actually gasps when he touches her-
-Ana sneaks in one last reference to his long index fingers and is mercifully on her way, never to see this wretchedly boring creature again. Until Chapter two, that is. Tune in next Friday!