The Cutprice Guignol

The Ninth Year: The Haunting of Swill House

Tag: is there abuse in fifty shades of grey

Fifty Shades of Grey Recaps: Chapter 15

Yesterday was a wonderful day, because I finally found myself a comfortable, form-fitting leather jacket in a charity shop after literally four years of searching. I will wear that thing with pride all through the summer, even if it did mean I was sweltering all through this slightly warmish March afternoon whenever I nipped out for a smoke. So, it’s plenty time to ruin my week before it really gets a chance to get going with another chapter of Fifty Shades. If you missed it, Dakota Johnson declared those calling Ana and Christian’s relationship an abusive one were “uneducated”, a term that Fifty Shades apologists have been swarming over like a gleeful pack of wasps, and you can read my response to it here. Revel for a minute in the fact that I’m over halfway through this book, and let’s plough on with Chapter Fifteen. Oh, and as ever, read the rest of my Fifty Shades recraps (heh)  at the blog directory.

We left off with Christian declaring that he was coming round to Ana’s house, and he arrives with a bottle of champers as Ana inwardly thinks of him as a “mountain lion” stalking around her property-

Impossible to resist this, really.

This agonising conversation happens after Ana tries to return the very expensive books that Christian gave her (by the way, I only realize now that he had no way to know her address when he sent these to her, and the thought of the high-level stalkathon he probably went on to find it has just made my soul crawl back up inside itself and refuse to come out).

“I bought these for you,” he says quietly, his gaze impassive. “I’ll go easier on you if you accept them.”

I swallow convulsively.

“Christian, I can’t accept them, they’re just too much.”

“You see, this is what I was talking about, you defying me. I want you to have them, that’s the end of the discussion. It’s very simple. You don’t have to think about this. As a submissive you would be grateful for them. You just accept what I buy you because it pleases me for you to do so.”

“I wasn’t a submissive when you bought them for me,” I whisper.

“No…but you’ve agreed, Anastasia.”

Praise be, for the glorious Chris Colfer is now free from Glee! Also, rhyming.

Woah, woah, woah, where to start with this passage. Firstly and probably foremostly, when the buggering fuckery did Ana agree to be a submissive? I’ll admit that a lot goes on in between these recaps and occasionally I forget certain details of the chapter I read last, but I flicked back over the last few pages and nowhere did Ana agree to be his submissive. The contract hasn’t been signed, and in fact Christian said he was specifically coming over to discuss it further. Also, for once in her painful little life, Ana is right about something: she wasn’t his submissive when he got these extortiantely expensive presents for her. And since they make her uncomfortable, she has every right to not want them around because the submissive contract doesn’t pull any Back to the Future shit that retroacticely makes Ana Christian’s sub since the beginning of time, to the best of my knowledge. We’re not even one full page in and I’m already exhausted. It’s only afternoon where I am, and I’m already trying to tie a fiver round my cat’s neck and send her to the corner shop for some wine.

The next post may be entirely Bernard Black gifs because YES.

Ana tells Christian she wants to auction the books for charity, which is actually a pretty nice idea, but backs down once Christian starts pouting like the little git he is. He explains that it’s normal for her to have some reservations about their situation because “you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into”. Which is funny because A) I thought Ana already was his submissive and B) Man, I wouldn’t really want to be with someone who didn’t fully understand the extent of the possibly damaging sexual situation I was pressuring them to get into. The first is just bad writing (I feel like this book was editing and chopped and changed and chapters were shifted around, because there are wierd leaps in logic and such which flag that sort of thing up), the second is bad person-ing. One day, EL James is going to come out and announce that she deliberately wrote this book as a social experiment and denounces the abuse in it and we all have a great laugh and get smashed together and the fans of this series sit sadly masturbating in a corner over this abusive manchild and fruitlessly calling Jamie Dornan’s agent to see if he’s doing the next movie (mark my words, he’s not). Ah, back from the world of dreams.


They drink champagne, and Ana wonders if Christian’s deliberately trying to get her tipsy, the answer to which is yes, yes he almost certainly is. They discuss what publishing house Ana hopes to work at after her move, and Ana rolls her eyes at Christian, whereupon he threatens to take her across his knee if she does that again. Again, no agreement has been made, no real discussion of hard boundaries has been established; this is just a dude, threatening to spank his not-quite-girlfriend for doing something he doesn’t approve of. There’s no hint that he’d be doing it for his or her pleasure, or with her consent; just that he’s going to do it if she displeases him. Hand on heart, I glanced round the room to see if there was anything I could make a noose out of close to hand (there wasn’t) when I realized once again that this is considered a romance book. “Romantic” is the first word on the blurb on the back cover, for fuck’s sake. To the publishers of this novel, and particualrly whoever greenlighted the back-cover blurb:

You know, I used to really dislike Keira Knightley, but she’s probably the person with the most interesting career who starred in Pirates of the Caribbean, so there’s that.

They go over some more limits while Ana moves on to what, by my count, is her third glass of champagne. Obviously Ana has a fucking sterling constitution (except when the plot requires her to be drunk so Grey can save her), but three champagnes in doesn’t seem like the best state of mind to be in when discussing the hard and soft limits of your first-ever BDSM relationship with a man who “hopes you never have to use” safewords. Yup, we deal with that doozy later in the chapter, because safewords certainly aren’t there to protect participants from potentially pushing their boundaries in a dangerous or uncomfortable way, or even just to avoid basic physical injury, but for pish-posh people who aren’t IN LOVE when they begin their BDSM fucking. Considering that Christian admitted he hurt someone while they were suspended, I would very much fucking want a safeword thanks very much. The thought of my shoulder popping out halfway through sex because my sexy billionaire fuckbuddy ignores my “red” doesn’t make me all squirty in the nether regions.

Pictured: the opposite of my nether regions. PS never google search “squirt gif”.

Christian demands sex from Ana, on the basis that she accept his graduation present to her. And I want you all to take a big deep breath and all hold hands in a circle, because what Christian Grey has done is sold Ana’s car and bought her a new one without checking if any of that was alright. Yup, he didn’t like her old Beetle, and decided to scrap it for a red hatchback. Ana is rightly furious, but somehow she ends up apologising to him and he drags her back inside the house to fuck her. As she follows him up the hall, she begs him not to be angry with her, and tells him that he scares her when he’s angry. That line genuinely makes my heart ache, because I’ve been near (thankfully finished) relationships were one partner was scared of the other’s anger, and it’s an awful thing to go through and it makes me physically fucking sick to think that a woman being frightened of her partner’s temper- especially when that temper is bought on by his ignoring her boundaries and wishes- is now a hashtag relationship goal.

They get dirty (well, barely dirty, and we take a step back from the glorious use of the word “clitoris” that only took two hundred pages to turn up and back into the infinitely less sexy “groin”. Anyone else think of Hans Moleman’s movie from The Simpsons whenever they hear the word “groin”?), Ana undresses him, Christian lets her touch him with clothes on, She goes on top, she comes “shouting incoherently”,

And the chapter’s over. This chapter has genuinely been a depressing trial, one where the leading man has ignored his partner’s boundaries, pushed her to get drunk while they discuss vitally important matters of consent, made her uncomfortable with his displays of material affection, and then become so angry he frightened her.  BUT IT’S OKAY BECAUSE SEXY ORGASM TIMES. Urgh, see you all next week, I’m going to put my new leather jacket on and never leave the house again.

Fifty Shades of Grey Recaps: Chapter 14

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.”

I would tattoo this face on my face.

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.”

Look, I don’t know if I should be telling you this, but when the first Harry Potter films came out when I was but a bairne, I had a big crush on Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid. There was never anything sexual about it, but I just want him to cuddle me. That Christmas, the only thing I wanted was the Hagrid’ house Lego Set that came with a special Hagrid figure that was slightly bigger than normal Lego figures. I still have Lego Hagrid. This caption kind of got away from me. Why are you still reading this? Go back to the recap.

– 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-)

Kitten will not be having this ignoring her to get work done pish. IT WILL NOT STAND.

Kitten will not be having this ignoring her to get work done pish. IT WILL NOT STAND.

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.