I cannot tell you how happy I am to be done with this stupid fucking book.
As we enter into the final chapter of Bared to You, Eva just had huge fights with Gideon and Cary. Gideon lied to her about previously being engaged to another woman, Corinne, when he said that Eva was the only person he was ever in love with. Cary threw an orgy in their apartment.
Gideon explained that he wasn’t in love with the other woman because he could never open up about his mental issues with her, which Eva seemed to accept. Cary just kinda got kicked out the apartment. So what’s going to happen in this last chapter to set up the sequel? Some other kind of fight between Eva and Gideon? Maybe Gideon is really still in love with Corinne? Maybe Cary causes a rift between Eva and Gideon? Maybe Eva and Gideon disagree on which Pixar movie is best? Maybe something happens? Maybe anything happens?
Literally nothing happens in this last chapter.
As in literally nothing.
Before I thoroughly bash this ending, I of course have to actually explain the ending to you. (That’s a real writing tip! Take note!) The entire chapter is just Gideon and Eva talking about their feelings. If you’ve been following along so far, you know that this is not something the novel is short on.
“You feel guilty because [Corinne] still loves you.”
Gideon continues to explain this whole “I lied about never being seriously involved with any other woman ever in the history of history and women and ever” thing that Eva’s surprisingly cool about.
“I couldn’t figure out why he let it get to him. He was married to the girl he wanted, they lived in a different country away from me, so what was his problem? Now, I understand. If you loved someone else, Eva, it’d shred me to pieces, every single day. It’d kill me even if you were with me and not him.”
Which is actually a pretty good shift of perspective for Gideon! Maybe this novel won’t end on such a bad- oh, wait, I just read the next sentence. Gideon learned nothing.
“But unlike Giroux, I wouldn’t let you go. Maybe I wouldn’t have all of you, but you’d still be mine and I’d take what I could get.”
They talk about how other women keep falling in love with him and Eva feels pretty bad for these women.
“Don’t you get it? You drive women off the deep end because you’re the ultimate. You’re the grand prize. If a woman can’t have you, they know they’re settling for less than the best. So they can’t think about not having you. They just think of crazy ways to try to get you.”
Except the only aspect of Eva’s relationship with Gideon that she hasn’t spent half the book complaining about is their sex life, so maybe Gideon’s penis is more so the grand prize/what makes women go crazy. Maybe his penis transfers crazy? Sucks to suck, man.
Eva continues to make things super awkward.
“Answer one question for me, Gideon. Why do you want me, when you can have your pick of perfection instead? And I’m not fishing for compliments or reassurances. I’m asking an honest question.”
Dear all women, men, dogs, cryptozoological creatures, ice cubes, and basically every single person or thing anywhere: this is an uncomfortable question to have to answer! If you’re insecure enough to have to ask this question, you’re not going to get the answer from your partner, but you have to find it in yourself. Holy shit, I totally went into that thinking I was writing a joke and then that was like actual advice! I’m like Dan Savage! Or that one Dinosaur Comic!
Anyway, time to figure out Cary’s shit! Give us some resolution! Set us up for the sequel by suggesting where Cary’s downward spiral is going to go!
“I’ve been down this road with Cary before, Gideon. I can’t just hole up at your place and hope he comes out of it on his own. He needs me to be around more than I have been.”
“Eva.” Gideon brought me my clothes and crouched in front of me. “I know you need to support Cary. We’ll figure out how tomorrow.”
…and that’s it about Cary? Apparently “tomorrow” is the next book, so, uh, fuck you if you cared about Cary? I mean, I don’t care about Cary, but that’s not really the point.
Actually, the episode of Sherlock in that gif is a good counter-example for the point I’m making about the ending of Bared to You. See, while that episode of Sherlock (the second season finale) had an ending that largely set up a sequel, it still offered a resolution to the episode as a self-contained narrative. Whereas Bared To You ends with Eva and Gideon talking about how they’re going to try to help Cary (or “smack some sense into” him), leave for Gideon’s apartment, and then the novel concludes with:
Cupping his nape, I ran my fingers through his silky hair. “I can’t wait to get you back in bed.”
He gave a sexy little growl and attacked my neck with tickling nips and kisses, banishing our ghosts and their shadows.
At least for a little while …
Which would seem to actually end the whole Eva-Gideon thing, yeah? They’re a happy couple now? Except now their biggest problem is Cary (somehow), which feels like a tacked on way to force a sequel into existence.
But back to my Sherlock point. Throughout the aforementioned episode, Sherlock’s reputation is being sabotaged, and it ends in failure. While this sets us up for a sequel in which the story must continue (he has to redeem himself), the impact of his failure offers a resolution to the rising action within the narrative of that particular installment. Cary’s failure in Bared To You, however, lacks this emotional resolution because Cary’s failure has no weight to it, but feels like more of the same. Similarly, Eva and Gideon ending the novel happy with their relationship feels like more of the same too. Neither of these plots had any sense of rising action, but just kept going back and forth between “things are good!” and “things are bad!”, and so there’s no climax and no satisfying resolution.
Even ignoring that, the resolution of both plots instead becomes about Eva’s need to help Cary, ultimately offering no relevant resolution to either character’s story. It’s an awkward shift away from the main plot (can Eva and Gideon be happy together?) which ends on a high note that is suggested won’t last, and an awkward shift towards the subplot (will Cary’s self-destructive tendencies lead to his downfall?) which ends on an ambiguous note and is now somehow supposed to carry the weight of the entire narrative. No pun intended.
In other words, the novel ends with nothing happening. Although we do get this gem when we find out that Gideon had actually given Eva a key to his apartment when he apparently returned her keys to him:
I’d had the key to being with him all along.
It’s deep because “key” has two meanings.
So, for the final time, we must ask ourselves…
But Is It Better Than Fifty Shades of Grey?
It’s tricky. The prose is better written, but the content itself frequently misses the mark so much that it’s much more offensive. So you have much more painful shit to get through to get to them, but you do get better sex scenes, which is the only reason why a person would actually read either of these books – we tend to forget about that here. So you either have Fifty Shades of Grey‘s barely-even-sex-it’s-so-bad sex scenes and banal story, or Bared to You‘s sometimes disturbing sex scenes and always disturbing story. And what wins out when you have a choice like that?
The Winner This Round: Porn