Earlier reviews linked HERE
When I first started doing these reviews, it was just something to make my daughter and a few friends laugh. I never dreamed I’d get up to a part 8 (and probably beyond), and I never thought it would bring so many people to my blog. So thank you to my regular blog visitors who I know have retweeted and Facebooked this. And a big hello to new visitors. I hope I haven’t bored you yet. I’m getting so bored with the story now I fear that I might just do that.
I read through two chapters tonight, just to try and get these reviews condensed a bit. In Chapter 9, Ana is waking up after her night of rampant sex with Christian. Apparently she has bathroom needs, which is far too much information, and accidentally walks into his walk in wardrobe, just so she can tell us that he has lots of clothes (no word on how many gimp masks and rubber catsuits he owns). Fancy that though. A rich man who can buy whatever he wants having lots to wear. Then we see the bathroom, just so she can tell us it’s white and has two sinks. It’s the same boring attention to detail we’ve come to know and despair of from Ana.
She goes to make breakfast, wearing Christian’s shirt. Most of the next bit is her finding stuff in the kitchen (she rightly deduces that the bacon and the pancake mix will be in the fridge). She’s wearing her iPod and dancing, but turns around and Christian is watching her. She’s mortified. I mean, it’s one thing that he gives her orgasms by tweaking one nipple, but quite another that he should catch her dancing.
He’s supposed to seem amused, but as he spends the rest of their breakfast time calling her Miss Steele and ordering her to eat, he’s clearly still the same anally retentive gazillionaire he’s always been. She’s biting her lip, and saying something to make his lip press in a hard line. It’s a wonder either of them can get the pancakes into their mouths, they’re both gurning so much.
Then Kate rings and is angry that Ana hasn’t phoned her. Again, why? I understand the safety call thing, but this goes beyond that. Ana wants to tell Kate stuff, but she’s bound by the NDA that she signed, and knows that she can’t mention the Red Room of Pain. That’ll be because Kate will have her in counselling before she can say ‘considerable length’, and quite rightly so.
Things turn sexy again and they go off to have a bath, because Ana is sore and Christian (ever the caring soul) wants to teach her how to give him a blow job.
We then get an insight into Christian’s entire sexual repertoire, which is exactly what it was in the previous chapter. Rub thumb against her lip. Check. Play with nipples. Check. Touch her ‘down there’. Check.
He tells her to get into the bath, whilst she’s wearing his shirt, and then tells her off because the iPod is in the pocket and ‘iPods and water don’t mix’. Well, don’t tell her to get into the bath with your shirt on then, you moron!
But then Ana is embarrassed again, because now she’s naked. Sorry, someone tell me if I’ve got this wrong, but didn’t she have sex and a squillion orgasms with him the night before? Yet she’s still acting like a Jane Austen heroine who’s accidentally walked into a porn film.
There’s another one of James’s inconsistencies, because the previous night Christian had not wanted to take his shirt off (I presumed because he was scarred). But now he strips off and gets into the bath. There’s touchy stuff. Her inner goddess is doing something or other. I forget, because her inner goddess does so much. In fact I wonder that she doesn’t have her own book and talk show. I’d even be willing to write the book. I’d call it ‘Fifty Shades of Shagging Christian’s More Interesting Brother, Elliot’.
Then she turns around and she’s going on about Christian’s big one again. I’m not sure but it seems to have grown since the night before, but I’m irritated now that a woman who can describe a walk to a coffee shop, including a stop at a pedestrian crossing, and the tedious detail of how she likes her tea, can’t be more specific when talking about his ‘considerable length’. Give us a ballpark figure, Ana. How considerable is it exactly? Could he hang his jacket on it? Would it hold a pair of curtains up against the glass wall? Could the police use it to break down the door of a crack den?
Anyway, it then turns out that Ana, who was a virgin till the night before, and swooned when she saw people kissing, can out-Deep Throat Linda Lovelace. And I’m not sure but I’ve got a feeling she did it all underwater, without drawing a breath. It’s hard to tell with James’s writing. But as with all James’s sex scenes, what should be sexy becomes laughable in a few moments. Because then Ana’s telling us that he tastes like a ‘Christian Grey flavoured popsicle’. Maybe this is left over from the Twilight fanfic, because I imagine Edward is a bit cold ‘down there’. Well, I don’t imagine that, because Edward Cullen is technically 17 and that would make me a child molester. I mean because he’s a vampire and dead and all that. Phew, I think I dodged that one okay.
Anyway, back to James’s mood breakers. When he ejaculates, she thinks ‘ugh’ (rather than the ‘Arrgh’ when she orgasms). But she swallows like the pro she’s very suddenly become, so that’s alright. And then to top it all, he shows his appreciation of her skills by asking her if she even has a gag reflex. Wow, E.L. James, you certainly know how to turn the heat … down.
Then they go back to bed where he goes through his entire repertoire, although this time he’s tied her hands up. That must be his way of adding variety to the sex. Thumb on lip. Check. Tweak nipple. Check. Down there. Check. He makes love with the same dull attention he gives to getting his helicopter in the air. Oh no, he’s going to kiss her ‘down there’, and she’s embarrassed despite the fact that she’s just deep throated him. I’m beginning to think that Ana could shag an entire football team and still blush if she saw people kissing in a lift. Christian also keeps telling her to stay still, in quite irritated terms, which really makes me wonder why he hasn’t tried necrophilia because it sounds as if it would be right up his street. And as usual he keeps up his running commentary. If I were in bed with a man who talked that much during sex, I’d be the one going out to buy duct tape.
But then horror of horrors. His mother arrives just when they’ve finished having sex. At least, Ana thinks as she hastily dresses, she might find out a bit more about Christian’s life. But Ana is worried, because if there’s one thing she hates it’s not wearing clean underwear. Luckily his mother doesn’t insist on Ana stripping down to her underwear. Mind you, she is a doctor (called Trevaryan-Grey or something) so there was always that chance. Then mum is gone, in a flash, which makes her appearance a bit contrived and only put in there to add Bridget Jones style embarrassment to the proceedings. Christian reveals that his mother thought he was gay, Ana remembers asking him that question and suddenly she’s mortified and in need of counselling again. And I know just what the counsellor will say. “ I’ve had to cancel a 9/11 survivor to fit you in because you said on the phone that you suffered the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone. Now piss off and get over it.”
Whilst Mrs Doctor TG is there, Jose rings Ana. Then Christian is in psycho mode again, and tells Ana he doesn’t share, etc etc. Neither will he let her use her phone to call Kate. Ana doesn’t like this, but she goes along with it because …. Well I suppose it’s because he’s rich and handsome, he can play the piano and bring a woman to an orgasm just by tweaking her nipple (maybe his piano playing skills gave him that dexterity, who knows?)
Anyway, they go out to lunch and we have to take the ride with them in his car just so we can get another inkling of how rich Christian is. Yeah, we get it. He’s got squillions, now shut up E.L. James and get back to the hilarious sex scenes. Oops, sorry, got a bit carried away there.
Whilst they’re at lunch, with Christian still ordering Ana to eat, he reveals that he was a sub to his mother’s dominatrix friend for six years from the age of fifteen. He says they’re still friends, but Ana (surprisingly) understands that he was abused by this woman. I think this is where we’re supposed to understand what makes him tick, but as he’s still calling Ana ‘Miss Steele’, sulking over Jose and ordering her to eat, I still hate him (sorry Christian fans).
He tells her he’s never had vanilla sex before, and she has to ask what vanilla sex is. Where has this girl been? It’s almost as if she only started to exist the day the story started. Does she not have the Internet? Read books? Magazines? How can she not have heard her friends talk about such things? Anyway, Ana doesn’t think it was vanilla sex, but I’m not sure her ‘chocolate fudge brownie’ analogy works for me, because it conjures up taboos from the ‘Hard Limits’ list. I know, I really do have a filthy mind, don’t I?
Anyway, soon lunch is over and Christian drives her back home to her flat. She’s spent one night with him yet when they say goodbye you’d think he was going off to war for five years. She’s bereft. As a last romantic gesture, he gives her all the contract stuff to read.
Then she’s back with Kate, trying to dodge questions about her night of sex, but admitting it was brilliant. Then, unfortunately, we get an insight into Kate’s first time and the (too much) information that she didn’t have an orgasm through penetrative sex for over a year. She should have gone to Christian. One tweak of her nipple and she’d have been sorted. Ana knows none of this about the friend she’s lived with for four years which once again mystifies me. Girls talk about these things! Well normal girls do, and as we’re supposed to think Kate is normal (whereas Ana most certainly isn’t) it doesn’t make sense that she’s never mentioned it.
Then Jose rings and Ana tells him she loves him like a brother. This is what every bloke loves to hear. Why doesn’t she just stab him in the heart and have done with? Jose then upsets her by asking if it’s Grey’s money that attracts her.
Now we’re supposed to be as annoyed as Ana here, I think. But I’m not because I know exactly where Jose is coming from. Sorry to be serious for a moment, but Christian Grey is the least appealing hero I’ve ever read about. He is a sociopath, a sexual deviant, a control freak, and the most selfish man ever. His red room is for his pleasure. He even admits that taking Ana’s virginity – sorry ‘rectifying the situation’ – is a means to get what he wants. Everything he does for Ana is also a means to that end – which is having her as his submissive. He’s going to get her a laptop, but only so she can look up BDSM practices with a view to being his sub. If she signs the contract, he’s going to buy her new clothes, but only so she doesn’t let him down when she’s in his company. He’s going to pay for a personal trainer, but only so she’s fit enough for him to beat fifty shades of shit out of her without killing her. It’s all about him and what he wants, even when he does something for Ana. And she treats him as if he’s God almighty, and as if she’s not quite good enough for him.
I get that he’s supposed to be the flawed hero. But to me he’s all flaws with no redeeming qualities. I’m afraid having money and pretty hair, and being able to play the piano and fly a helicopter does not make for a hero. At least not in my book.
Anyway, Ana ends her conversation with Jose and then tells Kate about Jose making a pass at her. Kate is disgusted. Why? Jose might have overstepped the bounds of friendship, but he didn’t try to force Ana to become his sex slave in the Red Room of Pain. Whether James meant this irony, I don’t know. I somehow doubt it. Besides, haven’t the girls had men make passes at them before? You might think the guy is a loser, but as long as he knows that no means no, there’s no reason to be disgusted with him. This all goes back to my belief that this book was written by someone with a very immature outlook on men and relationships.
The chapter ends with Ana recalling Christian’s banter that morning. S’funny, I recall that he insisted on calling her ‘Miss Steele’, even during sex, he ordered her to eat as if she were a child, and then he sulked like a five year old when Jose phoned.
I turned the page to the next chapter and found I was looking at another contract which I couldn’t be bothered to read tonight. I didn’t think James could make the BDSM lifestyle seem more boring, but it seems that she’s really going to go for it in the next chapter.