Gynaecology in Narnia: Chapter 14 of EL James’s “Grey”

runryb

New chapter, new day — no transitions.

It’s Sunday. Christian is jogging because EL James quickly ran out of things to have Christian do in the moments where he doesn’t interact with the original text. So he either does vague BIZNES, works out with Rene Sebastian von Tour Eiffle de Louvre, or goes for a jog. But mostly he jogs.

Except today he’s not just jogging — he’s stalking:

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Fried Chicken and Demon Snow Globes: Chapter 13 of EL James’s “Grey”

french

Our next chapter opens — with no real transition or attempt at scene-setting — with Christian picking up his sister from the airport. His sister Mia has just returned from PARIS, FRANCE — IN EUROPE — which is apparently filled with French people, who are the WORST — honk honk honk.

“So how was Paris? You appear to have brought most of it home with you.”

“C’est incroyable!” she exclaims. “Floubert, on the other hand, was a bastard. Jesus. He was a horrible man. A crap teacher but a good chef.”

I really didn’t think this dialog could get worse. Not only has EL James refused to explain what Mia was doing in Paris, or who the fuck Floubert is, but we’re also treated to further proof of James’s inability to write any form of American dialect — or indeed any words that could conceivably come out of the mouth of a human being.

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All Hail the Moneydick of Pain: Chapter 12 of EL James’s “Grey”

terror

The last chapter ended with Christian going home and then getting an e-mail from Ana that implied she was upset. This chapter opens minutes later with Christian still staring at his computer screen because their e-mail back-and-forth took place around midnight. So we’re in the middle of the exact same scene, which was cut in half for no reason other than time. It’s almost like EL James didn’t really think this chapter organization through.

Anyway, Christian sends Ana an e-mail asking her why she doesn’t like him anymore because he’s a child, and then gets up to open a bottle of SPARKLING WATER because only Dickensian orphans drink still.

Minutes later — that I’m sure feel like an eternity to this entitled baby — she replies that she doesn’t like that he never stays with her. Which shocks him, even though — as you’ll remember from the last chapter — she very blatantly asked him to stay, and he refused to do so to “manage her expectations.”

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Please Don’t Have Sex on a Car: Chapter 11 of EL James’s “Grey” (Part 2)

car

We pick up from yesterday’s thrilling cliffhanger in which Christian, lord of darkness and anal fisting, has realized that he might just want to go bowling and drink milkshakes with Ana instead of shoving ball gags into her mouth 24/7.

So despite what you might think, he didn’t actually manipulate the women that he’s had relationships with in the past — ALL of whom, according to him, wanted to have a more traditional relationship with him, even though he claims that they were all established submissives who understood “the lifestyle.” But forget that, because Christian is just so emotionally stunted that he’s not even AWARE that he’s deliberately engaging in relationships with the same kind of women with the same kind of expectations over and over again. Poor Christian, you guys! Remember when he was a kid? Remember the moldy cheese?

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Furry Cheese and Sexy Graduation: Chapter 11 of EL James’s “Grey”

graduation

So I’m back after a bit of a hiatus. I won’t spend too long explaining myself except to say that — though it sounds inherently silly — reading and analyzing this book genuinely takes a toll that I needed a bit of a break from. Maybe it’s because having to first go through EL James’s turgid writing, then think about her problematic themes, and then organize those thoughts into a coherent recap narrative all makes me want to tear my hair out with frustration.

Or maybe I’m just lazy.

But I’m back and I hope to return to regular daily recaps (apart from the weekends). I hope some of you are still with me:

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Please Don’t Have Sex in a Restaurant: Chapter 10 of EL James’s “Grey”

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At this point I feel like I should tell you that I’ve been doing a Harry Potter re-read as a palate cleanser whenever I get slightly overwhelmed with rage at this book. Which works for the most part, except that now and then I get confused when Harry and Ron don’t stop about once a chapter to have creepy sex (please don’t send me fanfiction). In short: EL James is ruining Harry Potter for me now as well.

Back to this horror show, Christian Grey is waiting at the bar of the restaurant where he’s going to meet Ana to discuss the contract — because, once again, alcohol is the perfect way to enter into a sexual relationship that requires serious consideration and level-headed thinking. But if you’re thinking that Christian is, once again, flush with free time because he doesn’t have a real job, think again. He did so much work today:

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Sexy Contracts and Demon Spawn: Chapter 9 of EL James’s “Grey”

business

We pick up the next day with Christian Grey whining about Detroit. I can’t remember whether or not the book has bothered to explain the Detroit issue to the reader, but it probably hasn’t. So what you need to know is that Christian was born in Detroit (because of course he was), and he doesn’t want anything to do with that horrible shit hole ever again. You know, unless it offers some great tax incentives. He’s a man of his word… as long as that word is “money.”

The thought of siting the electronics plant in Detroit is depressing.

To add another layer of bullshit to this, I love that Christian — who’s passionate about helping the world’s poor — doesn’t want to locate his solar-powered Africa tablet factory in a job-starved city because of that one time he was hungry there. Brilliant.

I loathe Detroit; it holds nothing but bad memories for me. Memories I do my damnedest to forget.

Please try harder.

They surface, mainly at night, to remind me of what I am and where I came from.

It’s at this point that I do have to wonder, once again, about the amount of research that EL James put into these books. Because I can’t be the only person who’s uncomfortable with the fact that she centred Christian’s horrible, impoverished origin story in a predominantly black city. And then had the gall to make him a super attractive white man who “overcame” his early struggles — by being adopted and raised by rich white people from the Pacific North West.

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Sweaty Foot Sex and Gollum’s Revenge: Chapter 8 of EL James’s “Grey”

e-mails

So after a brief hiatus I’m back with more soul-crushing trash for you to feast on. If you recall from the last post, Christian is contemplative and thoughtful about Ana and poor people and Africa — but mostly Ana.

It’s after one in the morning when I go to bed. Staring at the ceiling, I’m tired, relaxed, but also excited, anticipating what the week will bring. I hope to have a new project: Miss Anastasia Steele.

Which is handy, because you seem to have a lot of free time in-between racist, condescending, and vague charitable work; and that company you own but never spend any time working at.

On that note, because he’s a billionaire CEO with so much free time, he goes for a morning run where the “sun’s rays are shimmering through the high-rise buildings” because Byron Grey is back to romance you with his poetical observations.

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What Would You Like to #AskELJames?

EL James

This is partly a quick notice to say that there won’t be a new Grey recap today. I’ve fallen a little behind on them, and yesterday’s was an absolute mess of typos and glitches (thanks, WordPress). So I do want a little more time to give you something polished and coherent. I know it’s not like anyone’s waiting breathlessly for these, but since I’d normally have one up today I just wanted to give a heads-up.

And, though I didn’t participate in yesterday’s skewering of EL on Twitter, I did come up with a list of 5 questions I’d love to ask her (some in more than 140 characters):

1) Why does it seem like Christian’s abuse as a child is more important than Ana’s abuse as an adult, and why does it excuse Christian’s adult behavior?

2) What do you think of the fact that alleged serial rapists like Jian Ghomeshi have proudly compared themselves to Christian Grey with no hint of irony?

3) Why are all women in the 50 Shades and Grey franchise — apart from Ana — portrayed as weak, mentally ill, conniving, interfering, scheming, slutty, or incompetent?

4) In a book that’s meant to be all about celebrating and enjoying BDSM, why is BDSM treated like an outlet for unresolved childhood trauma wherein the lead character will ideally be cured of his kink at the end?

And finally:

5) Had you ever met an American, a college student, a CEO, or even just two humans having a conversation before you wrote this book?

What would YOU ask EL, dear readers?

And in case you’ve fallen behind on my thrilling series, you can catch up here!

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6 (Part 1)

Chapter 6 (Part 2)

Chapter 7

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Solar-Powered Africa and Sexy Sex Baths: Chapter 7 of EL James’s “Grey”

breakfast

Because Fifty Shades of Grey operated as a romantic fantasy wherein a plain girl is swept off her feet by a rich, handsome man, EL James didn’t necessarily need to justify why a modelesque 27 year old billionaire would be interested in a mousey college student with no personality. We could just accept that it was intended as a particular female fantasy where the whole point is that an “average girl” gets to live the life of an American capitalist princess.

The trouble is that this explanation doesn’t fly when we’re telling the story from Christian’s perspective, especially because this book (Grey) tries to imply that this is also his fantasy — wherein he, a modelesque 27 year old billionaire, is swept off his feet by a largely unremarkable college student. Which is a problem because Christian is only too happy to let the reader know that he’s aware that he’s very handsome and very rich and very impressive, even if he’s a terrible scary dark monster who hates himself because of his darkness.

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