Christian Gray is super hot and they wish they were in Anastasia’s shoes, I’m sure. It’s more than just “mommy porn.” It’s quite sexy even though BDSM isn’t their thing. Et cetera. Usually, these are people who inform me that they don’t “really read all that much, but I just couldn’t put this down.” For a book snob like me, this usually sends up a red flag, mainly because I’ve been burned before. I used to give the benefit of the doubt, for I was trained as an English teacher, and whatever gets the kids (or adults) reading can’t possibly be all bad, right? See Twilight, again. And now, this, and certainly, its successors, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed!
I promised to read it, (mainly because these women are damned tenacious badgers) but what they don’t know is that I do so only to mock, for that’s what I do best, after all! I’ve seen some reviews (all bad) and the comparisons to the original fanfiction (87% similarity, according to one source), but the only way to know for sure is to find out for oneself, right?
Join me, won’t you?
We open with a girl scowling at herself in the mirror. Always a promising beginning – a character who is blatantly disappointed with her self-image! Her name is Ana, and apparently, she is going to drive out to interview some CEO of a company as a favor to her friend, who is suddenly stricken ill with flu. Despite being ill, her roommate, Kate, still manages to look good, so Ana “ignore[s] [her] pang of unwelcome sympathy”. Okay, so far we have established Ana is dissatisfied with her self-image, and is also a jealous asshole.
But, this is her dearest, dearest friend, so she heads off to Seattle, home of Grey House, an office building “all curved glass and steel.” What’s up, penis metaphor?
She walks in, is intimidated, doesn’t fit in, blah blah blah. Everyone is dressed better than she. Why didn’t you borrow a suit, dumbass? Sandstone, a bunch of look-alike blondes, “terminal velocity” elevators, impressive view of the skyline. By the way, her full name is Anastasia Steele, which, if that doesn’t sound like an adult film star name, I don’t know what does, besides something like Busty McGee, but I guess it depends if it’s the type of film that tries to be artsy, versus just grunting and sweating. Anyway.
We discover that Anna knows nothing about Mr. Grey. “He could be 90 or he could be 30.” If it were the former, this would be a completely different book. And she drops the fact that she prefers to be curled up with a classic British novel, and this is one of those nitpicky things that people would always carp about in creative writing classes. They would always want specifics, as they would suggest it gives more insight into a character. So, Northanger Abbey classic, or Bleak House classic? God, this book annoys me so fucking much.
When she finally gets into Grey’s office, of course, she trips and falls. Sounds a lot like another “spunky” female lead . . .
Christian Grey helps her to stand. Of course, he’s “very attractive” with his “dark copper hair” and “gray eyes”. Hmm. And he’s impeccably dressed. Well, he has money, I would hope he wouldn’t dress like a slob. But, that’s it? She does not get out much.
When they shake hands, she gets all tingly. She really should just be wearing a placard that says “Virgin” in hot pink letters.
More fumbles – she drops the tape recorder. She stutters. She asks if he minds her recording, and he teases her – she thinks. Rote interview question. His answer about “rewards” and “master” can probably be read two ways. He’s arrogant, and she calls him a “control freak.” That’s exceedingly professional. He keeps staring at her, which causes her to flush. Well, no wonder, with your blundering ways and lack of filter on your mouth!
He talks of power. He unnerves her. He has varied interests, he informs her, some of which are “expensive and absorbing.” All this bitch does is stutter and blush at everything, like a doll with a pull-string. More interviewing. He likes to possess things. He makes her squirm. Okay, we get it, move on! He says her name – she begins doodling “Mrs. Anastasia Grey” on her iCarly notebook. And then he discovers she’s been drafted for this interview, which intrigues him for some unknown reason, enough that he cancels his next meeting. Ana conjures up images of wedding gowns.
Okay, the only thoughts this bubblehead has are “double crap,” “holy cow,” and other things a fifth-grader might say.
He asks about her future, tells her about the internship program he runs (for one-on-one service, certainly) and she admits she doesn’t fit in, and that that should be obvious. He doesn’t believe this, as he scrutinizes her for his collection. “Strange muscles deep in my belly clench” – I believe that’s your vadge, dearie. She goes to leave; he alludes to her earlier pratfall, which annoys her. Well, be more careful then, ho! He helps her with her coat, caressing her shoulders, then waits with her for the elevator. When the doors close, she muses about never washing this jacket ever again.