Saturday, March 29, 2014

50 Shades of Smartass: Chapter 21

This is another chapter that feels like it could have mostly been omitted. Chapters like this are the worst, because they just illustrate the depths of EL James' terrible writing. Part of me really just wants to rewrite and edit this whole thing down into a better novel with an undoubtedly better ending. We don't need to spend every moment of Ana's life watching Ana do stuff, and especially not in such incredible detail.

It boils down to this: blah blah blah, fumfuh fumfuh fumfuh, shuck and jive, shuck and jive, shuck and jive, boring scene of fucking, controlling weirdness, self-doubt blah blah blah, job interview scene that doesn't need to be dramatized at all, blah blah blah, cry cry cry, boring email exchange that goes on and on, buh guh ho-hum, the end.

Some things that caught my notice:

:: I get that Ana hasn't made up her mind. That's all she thinks about every second she's away from Christian. It's gone from central theme to space-filling whininess. She needs to make a decision yesterday, because it is fucking boring to read.

:: Ana's morning sex romp with Christian, conversely, is boring fucking to read.

:: Christian has a blond housekeeper named Ms. Jones, and Ana wonders if they have a thang goin' on, but Christian later says he would never employ an ex-sub, except for Ana of course, because she's so spwecial.

:: Boy, Ana and Christian sure sleep together a lot for a guy who doesn't do that.

:: "A slow, sexy smile spreads across his beautiful face, and I’m rendered speechless as my insides melt. He is without a doubt the most beautiful man on the planet, too beautiful for the little people below, too beautiful for me." I am so fucking sick of this shit. There's self-doubt, and then there's an operational emotional disorder. It's gotten old. Blah blah this abusive asshole is the hottest thing on Edward Cullen's Earth.

:: Yep, sometimes the paper this is printed on is better used to scribble meaningful Phil Collins lyrics on.

One day when I'm famous maybe I'll sell this as Aaron R. Davis' annotated copy of 50 Shades of Grey.

:: Christian being possessive. He's possessive now in ways that don't even make sense anymore. Ana frets about it, but it almost feels like even EL James doesn't know what the fuck is going on and has given up trying to understand. Every chapter feels like it's half warm-up, you know? Like the first half has nothing to do with anything and is just James getting into a sort of groove, and then it's only in the last half where the story advances the tiny bit that it does. It's like someone published daily writer's exercises. Trying to Find Your Plot: The Book.

:: Also, Christian is talking about Darfur again on the phone. Please don't co-opt a real tragedy to make this pile of human garbage look like he has hidden depths.

:: "He smells so good; clean and freshly laundered, so Christian." Christian's been freshly laundered? That's some machine. Maybe he just rolls around in fabric softener to mask the scent of douchebag. (Can I say "scent of douchebag"? I just assume Axe Body Spray must have that trademarked.)

:: Ana, via narration: "I cry out a wordless, passionate plea as I touch the sun and burn, falling around him, falling down, back to a breathless, bright summit on Earth." Christian, via dialogue: "Come on, baby, give it up for me." Truly transformative.

:: "No, I don't get it. I look to my subconscious. She's whistling with her hands behind her back and looking anywhere but at me. She hasn't got a clue, and my inner goddess is basking in a remnant of postcoital [sic] glow. No--we're all clueless." Somewhere there's a version of this book that is just Anastasia Steele having a delusional psychotic break.

:: Christian is controlling about her breakfast and tries to bully her into taking his private jet to Georgia. He also jokes/threatens about tracking her phone to figure out where she's interviewing today, since she won't tell him where. God forbid she does anything for herself or in her own way, asshole.

"Oh, boys and their toys," Ana thinks. You're one of his toys, dumbass!

:: Ana interviews for an internship with Seattle Independent Publishing. The guy she interviews with is a Mr. J. Hyde, which is hilarious. I kind of feel right now like the only books EL James has ever read were Tess of the d'Urbervilles, probably Pride and Prejudice, and every Twilight book. Ana wants to work there because it's "quirky." The receptionist is African-American. She is literally the third person of color so far in the book, and she has zero lines or even a name.

The woman who is also interviewing Ana has "long, black, pre-Raphaelite hair" and "the same bohemian, floaty look as the receptionist. She could be in her late thirties, maybe in her forties. It’s so difficult to tell with older women." What the fuck does any of that even mean? This is one of those passages where it sounds like fifty-year-old James is trying desperately to not sound like a fifty-year-old writing about someone much younger. I mean, it's not as obvious as when she improbably told us that Ana had never used email before, but it's pretty silly. "Pre-Raphaelite hair?" "Bohemian?" I can't remember the last time I heard anyone under 35 use the word "bohemian" to describe a hipster.

Also, Ana thinks it's weird when Mr. Hyde asks her "What extracurricular activities did you indulge in at WSU" because she thinks "indulge" is an odd word choice. I have no idea why. But she makes a big deal out of it.

By the way, this entire interview scene could be completely cut out. Unless it's setting something up for the last 140 pages (fuck me...), there's no reason to go into this much detail. I really hope it's not.

Seriously, "Jack Hyde"? You really do think you're writing psychological romance fiction, don't you? This is like a bondage book written at the 5th grade level.

:: Kate continues to be a bitch. I really can't stand her. Wah, I was just trying to help you! Wah, Christian's a control freak! Wah, I was trying to make him jealous so he'd deal with his commitment issues! Wah, I refer to sex as "sexing" like a gross little internet troll and truly believe that if sex is good that's, like, half of your relationship solved! Wah, I give the worst advice ever! You are a fucking fool if you're taking relationship advice from me, but since I'm obviously trying to derail your relationship for my own personal satisfaction, keep buying it! Glorp! Tell me all of your problems, there's no possible way I'd use that information against you in the future! I mean, again! Probably! Glorp glorp! Readers can't tell if I'm just a shitty, inept friend or if I'm actively trying to push you into an abusive, one-sided relationship because I'm jealous! Bad writing or meticulous plotting? Who can even tell! This novel is best skimmed! Glorp ga-lorp a-zorp! Well, here's some Chinese food, I'm off to Barbados to be more well-adjusted than you! GLOOOOOOOOOOORP!!!

I'm not saying that I want Kate's plane to crash on the way to Barbados, I'm just saying I wouldn't feel bad if it happened.

For her part, Ana's wising up to it. She already feels like she shouldn't tell Kate too much because who knows at what inappropriate time Kate will regurgitate that information. Way to isolate her even further, Kate, you fucking monster.

:: Boring email exchange that is always supposed to seem like flirting but is just dull. They argue over language and whether "weirding" is a legitimate word.

:: When Ana gets to the airport, she's been upgraded to first class by Christian, because he's not going to let her do jack for herself, of course. There's always that part of me that just thinks "Oh, wah, your rich boyfriend upgraded your flight, cry me a river." But that's an oversimplification. Really, she just wants to do something for herself that he's not involved in, and there he is. It's like he doesn't have faith in her to take care of herself. She's not an infant, so stop treating her like one and let her do things for herself.

Except, of course, if she discovers she can, she might make unreasonable demands, like being treated as though her feelings matter, and we're back to the terrified abuser...

Meh, meh, the meh of it all, a thousand times, meh!


Autumn said...

We need to find you a much better bad book to summarize, this is just exhausting and sad! But I think you might be getting close to where the plot stuff actually starts. Because, as an author, James does know that you don't just want to spend the whole book hearing about their relationship, right?

SamuraiFrog said...



*goes back under the covers*