I Thought Ariel’s Post Yesterday Was “Happy Birthday Anal” But Thankfully No: Fifty Shades Freed Chapter Eighteen

You know what’s funny? We’re reading about Ana’s birthday in Fifty Shades WHILE IT IS THIS BLOG’S BIRTHDAY. It’s like it KNOWS.

Chapter Eighteen

Anyway, if you didn’t know that it was Ana’s birthday, it’s okay. It was only mentioned once right before Leila showed up at Ana’s office and then again in the last chapter when Christian says “See you tomorrow, birthday girl”, which, yep, that sounds like sufficient preparation for this event to take place in this novel.

“Shit! Daddy!” I gasp out loud, recalling with a gut-wrenching surge of apprehension that twists my heart and starts it pounding why I’m in Portland.

Ariel started her post yesterday with this quote, but – holy shit, you guys – what is going on in this sentence? It’s like E L James wrote it for no other purpose than to spite her grade school grammar teachers. Like I actually had to reread this sentence to figure out that “with a gut-wrenching surge of apprehension that twists my heart and starts it pounding” is modifying “I gasp out loud, recalling why I’m in Portland”, and even then it’s barely any better. Why do we need two verbs (“twists” and “starts”) in one adjective clause inside of another dependent clause?

To put it succinctly, this sentence is objectively unreadable.

Sometimes my less-informed friends think I run a sex blog and then there's Schoolhouse Rock gifs and they get really confused.
Although Schoolhouse Rock doesn’t really help us address any of the other problems going on in Fifty Shades

The majority of the chapter is about Ana’s birthday celebrations, but the mood is soured by her father’s condition in the hospital, which could create a genuinely interesting emotional tension, except this is Fifty Shades and we know that no problem goes unsolved for more than 1-3 chapters. Except, of course, for whether Ana and Christian can truly be happy together, which ironically has already been answered to everyone who isn’t actually in this novel.

“Hi,” he replies, his eyes soft and warm. “I want to wish you happy birthday. Is that okay?”

Christian gives Ana a gift, and it’s a charm bracelet with things symbolizing what they’re done together, like an Eiffel Tower for when they went to Paris or a glider for the time they went gliding or an ice cream cone for those times they fucked.

I look up at him, bemused.“Vanilla?” He shrugs apologetically, and I can’t help but laugh.

Okay, if this wasn’t Fifty Shades and I wasn’t sick of these two characters and their abusive relationship, this would actually be pretty touching. It’s got happy memories and inside jokes; that’s actually pretty cute! Except we already know how fucked up these two are. As well as nauseating.

I used his toothbrush after I first spent the night with him. I smirk and grab his toothbrush in homage to that first time.

Christian also gets Ana an Audi R8. I’ve honestly lost track of how many times Christian’s bought a car for Ana over the course of this series. Which is extra baffling because he doesn’t let her drive because they have an abusive relationship and that is what Fifty Shades is about it is about an abusive relationship it is bad thank you

Anyway, Ana muses about how her father is in the hospital.

You can’t legislate for every drunk driver in this world. I must ask Christian what’s become of the asshole who hit Ray—I’m sure he knows.

See, this has sort of come up a couple times, and I honestly can’t tell if this is E L James trying to be deep or if this is really obvious foreshadowing that the drunk driver is actually one of their enemies. Except I’m pretty sure they’re out of enemies by this point. Jack Hyde’s arrested. Leila’s stable-ish and far away. Gia’s not interesting. Maybe the drunk driver was Helena. We haven’t seen her in a while, and all the other antagonists and their subplots have already been resolved halfway through the book because E L James blew her load too soon. See what I did there? It’s a sex joke. Because it’s Fifty Shades. Sex.

“How far above the limit? … I see … All charges, everything. Ana’s father is in the ICU—I want you to throw the fucking book at him, Dad … Good. Keep me informed.” He hangs up.
“The other driver?”
He nods. “Some drunken trailer trash from Southeast Portland.” He sneers, and I’m shocked by his terminology and his derisory tone.

Okay, maybe E L James is trying to be deep? WHAT KIND OF GAME ARE YOU PLAYING, JAMES???

Ana realizes her mom hasn’t called her for her birthday yet.

How can my own mother forget my birthday?

But it turns out her mother and all Ana’s friends are there for a surprise party! Yay! No, really, I’m actually excited about this. Ana’s mom says the stupidest things that are always filled with disjointed advice.

“Honey, darling. Don’t cry. Ray will be okay. He’s such a strong man. Don’t cry. Not on your birthday.”

Similarly, this page is like a Who’s Who of Fifty Shades, because everybody gets to wish Ana a happy birthday with their own stupid-ass characterizations, and they’re all trying to wish Ana a happy birthday and reassure her that her father will be okay. The results are hilariously disastrous:

“He’s doing well, Ana. Dr. Sluder is the one of the best in the country. Happy birthday, Angel.” Grace hugs me.
“You cry all you want to, Ana—it’s your party.” José embraces me.

The one from Christian’s brother is my favorite.

“S’up babe? Your old man will be fine.” Elliot enfolds me in his arms.“Happy birthday.”

What the eff? Since when is there an apostrophe in “sup”?

Wait wait wait, AND there’s an awkward moment where Jose’s dad laments to Ana that she and Jose (this book’s Jacob that this book’s Bella was never interested in ever) didn’t get together? Is this Ana’s birthday or mine?!

“You know Ana, there was a time . . . well, I thought you and José . . .” His voice fades, and he gazes at me, his dark gaze intense but loving.
Oh no.
“I’m very fond of your son, Mr. Rodriguez, but he’s like a brother to me.”
“You would have made one fine daughter-in-law. And you do. To the Greys.” He smiles wistfully and I blush.
“I hope you’ll settle for friend.”

And then the chapter ends with Ana’s dad coming out of his coma! Yay! What on earth are the last six chapters of this book going to be about?



  1. Bellomy Reply

    For the record, I have absolutely no idea who Grace is. Seriously. I didn’t even know a character named Grace was ever in this series. What’s with James introducing completely pointless one-shot characters?

    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      Grace is Christian’s adoptive mom. Generally I just call her “Christian’s adoptive mom” for simplicity’s sake for you guys, and also because I don’t care.

  2. Kristin Reply

    There are 6 more chapters left??? And sadly, since I have already read this mess, I know EXACTLY what is coming (HINT: 6 more half assed storylines that will be resolved in a page or two).

    And while we are on the subject of who’s who… who the heck is Helena???

    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      Ah, my bad, I should have explained in the post. Helena was the woman who introduced Christian to BDSM and was his dominant when he was a teenager and she was a married woman. Ana often refers to her as “Mrs. Robinson”, which really undercuts just how fucked up this story is.

      • Kristin Reply

        That’s right. I forgot that Mrs Robinson had a real name. I thought maybe Helena was the maid that Ana decided wanted to fuck her boyfriend (since in her world, everyone wants to).

  3. E.H.Taylor Post authorReply

    I’m loving seeing all these character names I’m not familiar with. You could combine them into one and not only would the personality be the same, it might actually make things a hell of a lot less confusing. I’m also loving the happy birthday wishes and the comforting words over her dad’s condition being in the same sentence. It makes both sentiments seem less sincere for some reason.

    I cannot express how happy I am that I read Ariel’s post title wrong as well.

    • matthewjulius Post authorReply

      I actually hadn’t read the chapter yet when I misread “Happy Birthday Ana!” as “Happy Birthday Anal” and I was so frightened.

  4. scummy48 Reply

    once my boyfriend was staying over and we had to share a toothbrush. I washed it for like an hour and told him that in 50 shades, that was considered sexy. It was not sexy.

    I love Jose’s dads random appearance. I feel like the only reason he was here was so that EL James can convince us some more that Ana really is a likable character.

  5. Ali Reply

    I don’t share a toothbrush with the Husband, and we have sex on a fairly regular basis. Sharing a toothbrush is icky.

  6. Irish Skye Reply

    Of the 10 most popular luxury cars in the USA, Toyota Motor Corp.’s Lexus division was the top-selling luxury car brand between 2000 and 2010 here in the good ol’ U.S. of A., and only fell off in 2010 due to vehicle shortages stemming from the March earthquake in Japan. In 2011, it was BMW, very closely edging out Mercedes. When I looked up THIS year’s top sellers, in the top 10 were 2 models each of Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, and Cadillac, and one model of the Lincoln and ONE model of…oh, look, finally! An Audi!

    Seriously, when we read in magazines about what super-rich people here in this country drive, how many celebrities have pointed to an Audi and said, “That’s my ride!” I get it that Audi is a popular across the pond (thought recently, ironically, Ford is the 2nd most popular manufacturer over there), but when Americans think luxury car, we just aren’t thinking Audi. Are we?


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