Once more into the breach, dear friends, and no, I’m not talking about Ana’s vagina. Firstly, I thought I’d bring new reader’s attention to my Fifty Shades movie review, in all it’s exasperated glory, and this more in-depth piece I did about Fifty Shades as a love story. After another week of being told I “just want my own Christian Grey” (haha KILL ME) it’s time to throw myself back into the seemingly endless cavalcade of terrible writing and dull sex that is my life. Wait, no, Fifty Shades of Grey. Yeah, the second one. Definitely the second one.
After Ana weeps herself into a coma (a girl can dream), we open the chapter on a bit of a naughty sleep fantasy that Ana is having about Christian where he hits her clitoris with a riding crop (well done, EL, you’ve once again correctly named the female anatomy!) and the author uses the word leather three times in one paragraph because WRITING. Ana heads through to the kitchen where Kate asks her how her dinner went, and Ana punches her to the ground for being a dirty whoreslut who doesn’t understand that Ana DOESN’T WANT TO BE ASKED ANYTHING EVER DAMMIT. Nah, Ana sidetracks her by asking if she wants to show Ana her speech for today, because Ana and Kate are graduating. Ana takes the time to think about herself some more;
“Deep down, I’m not sure I have the stomach to be his submissive- it’s the canes and whips that put me off. I’m a physical coward, and I will go a long way to avoid pain.”
Ana, ANA, for the last buggering time, if you don’t want to do this, YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO THIS. Run! Leave forever! If your needs and his needs are so different, somebody is going to have to make some serious compromises to make this work, and it’s not going to end well. Ana’s stepdad turns up, and she mentions that she’s wearing Kate’s dress, probably because that Hidenberg replica is too fat to fit into it from all the sperm she’s eating. I’m a little taken aback by how badly this section is written because, wow, occasionally I forget that EL James understands the difference between compelling plot and shameless page-fillers as well as she understands the difference between romance and abuse. Blah blah blah, Ana goes to her graduation, Christian is there (because he’s a benefactor for the college), the girls in the audience next to Ana comment on how panty-dissolvingly hot he is, blah blah blah. Ana tells them that he’s gay, and then catches his eye.
“Unbidden, I recall my dream for this morning.”
That’s weird, because here I was picturing Christian demanding that you remember that dream you haven’t told anyone about, so it’s good to know that it just popped into your head like that. Vital use of words there, EL. Ana listens to Kate give her speech, and is surprisingly kind about it, and for some reason every time Ana compliments Kate now I can’t read it as anything but a little sapphic. Damn me and my giant lesbian-tinted glasses. Christian comes on and does his great big speech about saving the world and feeding the hungry (by ordering an entire menu’s worth of food because he couldn’t be bothered sticking his head into the shower, but whatever) because he himself has known what it is like to feel hungry. Look, I know this line has to do with his abusive childhood, but when this happens:
“My jaw falls to the floor. What? Christian was hungry once. Holy crap.”
– I can’t help but snigger because now I’m picturing the entire rest of the book being made up of Ana being bowled over by the revelation that Christian has felt things like other humans sometimes. “Christian was sleepy? Christian was a bit thirsty? Christian really fancied a can of fruity Fanta?” (look, my period cravings are my period cravings, shut up). I guess, like me, Ana had assumed he rumbled round like a remote control car on a battery of horniness, occasionally parking to crack one out so he didn’t get overheated. He finishes the speech, and they begin the “tedious process” of collecting their degrees. I can tell you this for free: when I pick up my honours next year, I will be sprinting towards that stand like Barry fucking Allen and vaulting my way into a flat in Spain with my boyfriend and my cat. There will be nothing tedious about it. Christian quizzes her on why she hasn’t returned his emails when she collects her degree, because he can’t bear the thought of anyone knowing about their relationship except the potential hundreds of faculty, students, and family who are at this event. Kate comes to get Ana after the ceremony because Christian wants to see her. He takes her to the men’s locker room, and locks the door. Yeah, that’s right- he takes her away from her friends and family, then locks them in a room together.
Christian demands to know why he hasn’t returned her calls, snaps at Ana when she reveals that Jose services her car (I accidentally wrote that as cat, and just as I did so-)
then demands to meet her stepfather. Ray (her stepdad) agrees to grab a drink with Christian and Ana, and Ana internally freaks out when she realizes that the wine at the party is cheap. HEAVEN FUCKING FORFEND THAT ANYTHING LESS THAN LIQUID GOLD SHOULD CARESS THE PILLOWY LIPS OF CHRISTIAN MOTHERFUCKING GREY. Kate’s brother turns up and hugs Ana, and Ana comments that the family resemblance is striking even though she’s met him a few times before. Yeah, every time I see my mother, I think “Wow, don’t we look alike?”. Christian is not happy that Kate’s brother Ethan has his arm around Ana, and holds out his hand to her and calls her “baby”. She swoons internally, because she obviously hasn’t noticed that this certainly isn’t an act performed for the rival rutting male in the group since he hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with the endearments of late.
According to the text, Christian begins outright flirting with Ray while Ana loses her ever-loving shit at Kate for referring to Christian as her boyfriend. Once all the unbearable friends and family have drifted off, Ana and Christian discuss the contract more. Christian tells Ana that she “knows it’s going to be good, don’t you, baby?”, which, without the term of endearment, is more or less how my parents tried to convince me to get braces as a child so my teeth would less fucked up (I never did; my mouth is clinically too small and I’ve had to have a number of teeth removed so they don’t start exploding out of the front of my face or something. I was usually too scared at the dentist to actually pay attention to anything that was being said). This chapter just doesn’t end, does it?
Ray announces that he likes Christian because “anyone who knows and likes fly-fishing” is fine by him. Ignore the fact that your daughter is clearly nervous around him , why don’t you? Ray leaves, Ana cries, Christian makes more comments about how shitty Ana’s car is, and they exchange some more emails wherein Christian announces his coming over (her tits. Kidding, nothing that hardcore happens in this trilogy!). The chapter ends with EL James clicking on that SparkNotes bookmark once again, and quoting directly from Tess of the D’urbevilles.