One of Those “Dark” Chapters Sylvia Day Can’t Write: Bared to You Chapter Nineteen

So as you know, we took off updating Monday through Wednesday because of a senior thesis draft deadline. Well, due to a computer crash deleting my senior thesis, I’ve spent the past five days doing nothing but writing my thesis. It’s okay, it all turned out really well. But, and I don’t really want to sound whiny but feel I do have to stress this point, I have spent the past five days doing nothing but writing my senior thesis.

Let’s read some fucking erotica.

Chapter Nineteen

The chapter opens with a happy scene of a happy Eva, Gideon, and Cary happily eating Chinese food on a happy Monday night and Eva keeps commenting on how happy everything is and how happy she is about her happy life. So I guess everything’s going to hell by the end of the chapter.

we flipped channels and laughed over the hilarious names of some reality television shows

Ariel won't shut up about this goddamn show.
Ariel won’t shut up about this goddamn show.

Eva’s happy that the two most important men in her life are getting along, “ribbing and playfully insulting each other in that way men had”, because Sylvia Day sure loves her stereotypes. Even if they don’t make any sense.

He cracked his fortune with a flourish, and then scowled. “What the fuck?” […] “Confucius say,” Gideon ad-libbed, “man with hand in pocket feel cocky all day.” […] Gideon smiled. “Pwned by a fortune.”

Yayyy we get racism and we get… uh, okay, I’m not actually sure what’s going on with the word “pwned” here. Apparently the characters in this novel are fourteen. That’s uncomfortable. They’re having way too much sex for fourteen year olds. Hell, Cary’s having way too much sex for anyone.

The intercom buzzed and Cary leaped to his feet to answer it. He glanced at me with a smile. “Maybe it’s Trey.” […] But when Cary answered the door a few minutes later, it was the leggy blonde from the other night who came in. […]
[She] gave a little wave and preceded Cary out. I mouthed behind her back to Cary, What are you doing?
He winked

Dude, Cary sucks.

Eva starts thinking about how Gideon has a hotel room as a “fuck pad”, and wonders if he had a fuck pad in college. I don’t know what Sylvia Day thinks college students are like, but I personally know people who have had sex in cars, communal showers, academic buildings, and with other people present in the goddamn room (ew). If a college student’s answer to “do you have a fuck pad?” and the answer isn’t “my bed”, then they are the figment of Sylvia Day’s imagination she’s clearly writing about.

I don't even want to get started on what I've seen happening in these places.
I don’t even want to get started on what I’ve seen happening in these places.

They make love and go to bed. Then Eva has a nightmare about her past about her step-brother raping her, wakes up, and realizes Gideon is trying to rape her in his sleep. Yeah, this is gonna be difficult to talk about on a literary review/entertainment blog.

Rolling to my side, I sobbed, my eyes streaming tears that blurred my view of Cary shoving Gideon across the room and into the wall, denting the drywall. […]
Swallowing past my burning throat, I pushed up to a seated position. My gaze locked with Gideon’s and I watched the haze of sleep leave his eyes, replaced by a dawning horror.
“Dream,” I choked out, catching Cary’s arm as he reached for the phone. “He’s d-dreaming.”

Okay. So the scene is really disturbing and the quality of the writing isn’t so bad. But here’s the problem. Sylvia Day has demonstrated on many previous occasions that she has no clue whatsoever how to accurately depict a victim of sexual abuse. Whatever Gideon has going on, it’s done much more significant damage to his mental state than we see in Eva, but Sylvia Day has already compromised her credibility to depict such matters with any sense of realism. The severity of his condition is a little hard to believe – certainly conceivable in the way that any mental abuse theoretically could be – but we really need to trust our narrator to make this make sense to us, and we already know Sylvia Day is incapable of doing this job she needs to do.

For example, I’m taking an intro creative writing class right now, and we read a section of Jerome Stern’s Making Shapely Fiction where he talks about the trouble with writing about things you don’t know very well, because it will “make readers instantly suspicious”, and gives us this example:

“Mush, mush,” Nooknook shouted, as he threw bits of meat to make his dogs bound across the ice floe.

See how ridiculously that reads? Well that’s kind of what reading Bared to You is like, except instead of Eskimos, we have victims of sexual abuse. And it’s just as suspicious.

I slid my hand into his sweatpants. […] Fear lingered just beneath my arousal, but I was more afraid of losing him than of living with the demons inside him. […]
“Let’s forget,” I breathed into his mouth. “Make us forget.”

This is why I don’t trust you, Sylvia Day.

Sometimes you learn things on this blog! We certainly don't do so on purpose, however.
Sometimes you learn things on this blog! It’s an accident, we promise.

The chapter wraps up with a sex scene in which Gideon refuses to finish out of some weird sort of act of penance, and Eva literally jumps on his penis to suck him off, which in no way reads really problematically in a very bad sort of irony.

I dove for it with hands and mouth, ignoring his vicious curse. Pinning his torso with my forearm, I pumped him hard with my other fist and sucked voraciously on the sensitive crown.

Then later in the chapter Trey walks in on Cary cheating on him.

“Fuck you, Cary. We talked about this! You promised!”
“You’re blowing this out of proportion,” Cary barked. “It’s not what you think.”

But it goes okay because Trey is a dumbass.

I faced him with my arms crossed. “Screwing a heartbroken lover on the same sheets he’s just caught you cheating on isn’t going to make things better.” […]
Cary grabbed wineglasses out of the cupboard. “I can feel you judging me. Stop it. He wouldn’t be half as pissed if it’d been a man he caught me fucking.”

Dude, Cary sucks.

But Is It Better Than Fifty Shades of Grey?

Does this even matter anymore?

The Winner This Round: Me, because I have a forty page draft of my senior thesis and I wrote half of it in two days. So I get to win this one. Me. Uh, have a good weekend, everybody!

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0 comments

  1. Bellomy Reply

    Good job with the senior thesis.

    So far Eva, a rape victim, has been sexually assaulted by the man she’s going out with twice, and this same man just tried to rape her in his sleep. So naturally, like any sexual abuse victim, she vigorously reaffirms her love for her assailant.

    The problem isn’t that this is inherently unrealistic; Stockholm Syndrome is very real. The problem is that Sylvia Day sees *absolutely no problem with Eva’s reaction*. Eva, a rape victim’s, response to more sexual abuse by a different man has been nothing short of horrifying. That it’s being portrayed not only as healthy but as romantic is so incredibly insulting, so offensive…it’s unbelievable that anybody can even *think* Eva’s response is healthy. Her understanding of the psyche of rape victims is horrible and horrifying.

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      dude, it’s so much worse. she says “I love you” to him like ten times throughout the course of the chapter. I’m not sure why I didn’t cover how fucked up this is in my post. I was kind of sleepy when I wrote it.

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  2. Ali Reply

    why is the dog sled thing not believable? that’s what happens. Except Nooknook is a stupid name.

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    • Bellomy Reply

      Ever read an actual account of dog racing, though? I have (Gary Paulsen’s “Winterdance”, which is a great book). There is no way, NO WAY, in HELL, that a sentence that stupid sounding would have made it into that book.

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      There’s a couple things wrong with it, mainly that it tries to convince the reader that it’s an accurate account of the subject matter by cramming too much detail into too short an amount of text, which just makes it sound artificial and forced. While this could all be accurate information, the reader is already suspicious that the author doesn’t actually know anything about what they’re writing about.
      Also Nooknook is a stupid name.

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  3. Tâmara Reply

    Oh, that computer crashing thing has happened way too many times to me. That’s why I started using Google Drive.

    Anyways, how did this book got published? I’m pretty sure there’s a law about positive deciption of certain subjects, and I thought this kind of relationship were one of them. Not that the law would help, because things are sooo subjective. Don’t want to start a list of what’s wrong with the book publishing industry.

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    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      I have no idea if there are laws, but that sort of seems like a first amendment sort of thing to me. And I just started using Google Drive after this. I get way too much glee seeing it sync to the cloud every time I save the file.

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  4. Amy Reply

    “Let’s read some fucking erotica.”
    Is there any other kind?

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