We open, as always, with Christian waking up. Every chapter opens with people waking up, every chapter closes with people going to bed. What a fantastic way to tell a story, EL James.
Back to Christian. Guess what? He’s tormented:
We pick up in swirling post-spanking aftermath, in which Ana realizes that she really, truly isn’t into BDSM — or at least isn’t into what Christian wants from her. Which isn’t BDSM so much as straight-forward abuse.
Ana begins crying and calls Grey a “fucked-up son of a bitch” who needs to “sort [his] shit out,” which… I mean, he does. But I feel like they both have to stop acting like it’s the BDSM that makes him awful. Spanking her with a belt when she clearly wasn’t ready, and clearly wasn’t enjoying it, was bad form on his part. Mostly, though, he’s just a really shitty, manipulative person and it’s that — rather than the sex — that should compel Ana to walk out the door and leave him.
Trigger Warning: Abuse, Domestic Violence
So instead of completing her “Twilight from Edward’s perspective” book, Stephanie Meyer just dropped a brand-new Twilight re-write on the world, and if you don’t think this is Meyer thumbing her nose at James, you’re… probably right, but let me dream:
Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined brings us the gender-swapped story of the human, Beaufort (yes, seriously) and the vampire Edythe (hahahahaha whatever) having to go to high school and making sad eyes at each other.
Will Beaufort get pregnant with Edythe’s vampire child? I mean… Meyer probably didn’t think this all the way through, but let’s all enjoy the increasing delicious silliness of this feud I just made up, and marvel at how much two female writers are absolutely showering in money in an industry that’s constantly on the verge of collapse.
Because seriously, you do have to love that the publishing industry is being almost entirely propped up by women, even if you don’t like the books that they’re using to prop it up.
Am I going to read Life and Death? Good God, no.
But please do follow Cleolinda Jones, the original Twilight recapper, who is livetweeting her read-through right now.
So Christian has just left for lunch because he needs to clear his head after a crazy morning of e-mailing Ana and doing fuck-all at his actual job. But he’s an important business doer — he can’t just take the whole day off, you guys. He works so much actually:
Perhaps I should take the rest of the day off? But I can’t. I have a meeting with the mayor this afternoon. It’s irritating–I’m seeing him tomorrow at the Chamber of Commerce gala.
Suddenly I have an idea, and with a renewed sense of purpose I head toward a small store I know.
I’ll go ahead and spoil it for you: he buys diamonds for Ana so he can take his scruffy little Eliza Doolittle to the gala. The gala he doesn’t want to go to. And diamonds, which are typically mined in unethical ways in the countries that Christian pretends to be so desperate about helping. And, you know, he just HATES all of the fancy shit he’s forced to contend with because his life is so fancy. Weep for him, for he must attend meetings with mayors and galas, and he must — must — buy diamonds for women whom he wants to coerce into sexual encounters that they’re not totally comfortable with. Tragedy.
You guys, Christian can’t sleep. He’s just so worried about Leila.
Sorry, sorry — let me clarify. He’s worried about whether or not Leila’s suicide attempt is about him. The suicide attempt that she made in his apartment — that’s the suicide attempt he’s not 100% sure involves him. But don’t worry, because even if it doesn’t, he’s going to make it all about him anyway. Because you know what? There was a time when Christian was sad, too:
Okay, folks. I can do this. I can make it to the end of Chapter 18.
We pick up with Christian back at his hotel room and it seems that Ana may have melted his icy robot exterior. Let’s all gather round to watch this heartwarming moment:
In my room, I call Taylor.
“Yeah…thanks for organizing this morning.”
“You’re most welcome, sir.” He sounds surprised.
Thanking his personal driver/bodyguard literally one time is what counts as “progress” and character development in EL James’s mind. Maybe Christian will even maintain the same coffee order for a whole week as a special treat for his assistant. I don’t want to hope for too much, but let’s see.
When we left off, Ana and Christian just finished flying in a glider plane which managed to talk up half of a very long chapter. Now we pick up as the exciting, vivacious couple goes for breakfast. Every moment is gripping and fast-paced: will Ana have waffles or pancakes? Will there be several flavors of syrup? Bacon or sausage? Coffee or tea?
At last, the wait is over!
Ana tells Christian that she likes that Christian introduced her to Vaguely British Benson as his “girlfriend.”
Take a long pull of scotch in your sky fortress and stare into the reticent night’s sky because it’s time for another recap.
I’m going to keep promising that these recaps will be more regular and I’ll probably keep failing to come through. But hey — they’re free and they’re slowly ebbing my capacity to love, so it’s roughly even.
We open with Ana whispering “Don’t leave me” in her sleep just as Christian wakes in his palatial Savannah hotel room overlooking the salty river of his soul. For those of you who’ve read the original series, you’ll know that Ana’s sleepy confession is information that Christian holds over Ana’s head for basically the rest of the book because he’s awful and because vague things people whisper in their sleep are essentially the same as iron-clad promises when it comes to relationships. I also like how often bad writers will have characters offer up nocturnal “confessions” because literally both times I’ve heard someone talk in their sleep it has made no sense and involves words that sound like something Lewis Carroll dreamed up on acid.
We pick up after another long hiatus (sorry, everyone — it’s been crazy. I have no walls or ceiling right now, etc.). As you may or may not recall, Christian Grey just happened to be staying at the exact hotel that Ana was drinking at, because of course he was, and he used his Alien Dick Magic to avoid having to talk about his poor behavior and control issues.
Now let’s rejoin the scene where Ana’s mom comes back to the table. Fingers crossed for ageism and casual misogyny!