So we broke 150,000 hits yesterday, and this blog still isn’t even a year old. We’re a literary review blog, you guys, that’s madness.
Our hero Ana has returned from going out for drinks with her friend Kate even though her husband explicitly told her not to! The plot thickens when it turns out that had Ana stayed home, she would have been assaulted by her homicidal sexual predator ex-boss, Jack Hyde! That’s like dramatic irony shit right there!
Bodyguard and minor character Ryan explains the situation.
“He put up one hell of a fight, but I’m okay, Mrs. Grey.” He smiles reassuringly. If I knew him better, I’d say he looked a little smug.
It’s interesting how E L James takes the time to give every single character a flat, uninteresting personality.
“I caught him on the security monitor. He was wearing gloves . . . kinda strange in August. I recognized him and decided to give him access. That way I knew we’d have him. You weren’t here and Gail was safe, so I figured it was now or never.” Ryan looks very pleased with himself once more, and Sawyer scowls at him in disapproval.
I bet everyone in this novel has a massive penis.
They need something to restrain Jack Hyde for when he comes to, and Ana suggests cable ties. She subsequently worries “Now everybody’s going to think I’m a sexual deviant” but everybody’s actually “Wow, that’s super convenient”. Then they start tampering with evidence and Ana’s all “Uh, let’s call the police?” and the security team is baffled by this idea.
Sawyer bends and gingerly picks up the Glock.
“Should you be doing that?” I ask.
“Mr. Grey would expect it ma’am.” Sawyer slides the gun into a zip-lockbag then squats to pat down Jack. […]
“Should we call the police?” I mutter, trying to hide my fear. I want Hyde out of my home, sooner rather than later.
Ryan and Sawyer glance at each other.
“I think we should call the police”
Like… really baffled.
“Were you calling Taylor for instructions?”
Sawyer looks momentarily embarrassed. “Yes, ma’am.”
[…] looking at the four of them, into their anxious eyes, I decide I must be missing something so I decide to call Christian.
Man, these guys suck.
Ana decides to bite the bullet and call Christian, because even though he’s mad that she didn’t do as she was told and had the nerve to leave the house, she did also avoid being murdered, which he should probably know about. It goes to voicemail, and she leaves maybe the least useful voicemail conceivable in the present situation.
“Hi. It’s me. Please don’t be mad. We’ve had an incident at the apartment. But it’s under control, so don’t worry. No one is hurt. Call me.”
Okay, here’s what this voicemail does not say:
- A man whom we know has been actively trying to kill us broke into our apartment
- He had a gun
- Your security team doesn’t want to call the police, what’s up with that?
- Furthermore, you’re being a real dick about this “my wife left the apartment when I told her not to” thing
- Speaking of security, why didn’t you tell me you increased the security on the rest of your family? Are you not telling me something? Am I in more danger than you’re letting on?
- Actually thinking about it, why wasn’t security increased on my own family, and why has this somewhat disturbing fact not occurred to me, Ana, yet?
Here’s what this voicemail does say:
- No one is hurt.
- I’m Ana.
The vast majority of Ana and Christian’s problems come from them not communicating with each other and not realizing it. I don’t think that’s even necessarily framed as a problem that the characters are supposed to overcome either, because E L James’s own narration is really bad at communicating information when we need it too.
[Mrs. Jones’s] probably just come out of the panic room built adjoining Taylor’s office. Who knew we’d need it so soon? Christian had insisted on its installation shortly after our engagement—and I had rolled my eyes. Now, seeing Gail standing in the doorway, I’m grateful for his foresight.
See, that would actually have had some impact if we were told this, you know, before the irony is supposed to take effect. Good thing E L James is releasing a journal with tips for helping aspiring authors!
The police come and question Ana. Ana has her priorities straight.
“We’re safe now,” [Mrs. Jones] murmurs. “This will all look better in the morning once you’ve had some sleep. And Mr. Grey will be back tomorrow evening.”
I glance nervously up at her, keeping my tears at bay. Christian is going to be so mad.
Ana wakes up with Christian fully dressed sitting in the chair next to her, watching her sleep.
Christian largely gives her the silent treatment, like a seventeen year old trying to convey seriousness but just sounding bratty.
“Ryan caught Jack.” I try a different tack, and I place my glass beside his on the bedside table.
“I know,” he says icily. […]“Are you going to be monosyllabic for long?” […]
“Yes,” he says finally.
I don’t even know what Ana’s approach is supposed to be.
Oh . . . okay. What to do? Defense—the best form of attack. “I’m sorry I stayed out.”
“No,” I mutter after a pause, because it’s true.
“Why say it then?”
“Because I don’t want you to be mad at me.”
The fight continues and Christian sort of talks out his irrational anger. I think it’s supposed to reflect Christian’s vulnerability and increasing honesty about his mental health in response to his relationship with Ana. But it’s actually just hilarious.
“Don’t be so cold.”
His eyebrows rise in surprise once more. “Anastasia, cold is not what I’m feeling at the moment. I’m burning. Burning with rage. I don’t know how to deal with these”—he waves his hand searching for the word—“feelings.”
They talk about how Christian’s still really mad at Ana and Ana’s still really mad at Christian. Christian talks about how he wants to “really beat the shit out of [Ana]”, and they laugh about it, because I guess domestic abuse is funny now. Ana takes note of how Christian didn’t want to have sex with her to deal with his feelings, so she follows him into the shower to try to initiate sex herself and this is actually what’s happening. Christian tells her no. Ana makes an unintentionally humorous observation.
My mind goes into free fall—has this ever happened before?
Christian keeps being distant all morning. Ana has to fight with him again about going to work, and keeps having internal monologues about how sorry she is for disobeying Christian for pages and pages and Jesus this book is painful to read. One of her colleagues comes in to ask if she’s alright, since the news of her almost being murdered or kidnapped is public knowledge. Ana accidentally says the most insightful thing about this story that she will ever say, albeit at the wrong time entirely, which is actually perfect.
“Good,” Elizabeth answers, and her smile actually touches her eyes for a change. “If there’s anything I can do—anything you need—let me know. […] I know how busy you are, Ana. I’ll let you get back to it.”
“Um . . . thanks.”
That has to have been the briefest most pointless meeting in the Western Hemisphere today.
Well, that just says it all, doesn’t it?