I don’t know exactly how long it’s been since my last entry concerning this work of fiction, but it feels like a couple of months. I’ve read about fifteen books since picking up Fifty Shades, and all were preferable reading material but I hate leaving a book half-read, so I’m pressing on and determined to finish. Forgive the pun.
Chapter nineteen begins with Grey waking Ana up and reminding her that they’re going to his parents’ house for dinner. This is encouraging; new characters are going to be introduced and something, other than “mind-blowing” sex, might occur. Is the author finally moving this story forward? I do hope so…
Ana is sleepy but Grey is wide awake and clearly more of a morning person than she is. He attempts to rouse her a few times, to no avail, and eventually says he’s going downstairs and that if she goes back to sleep, she’ll be “in trouble”.
Now…a small part of me expects Ana to react the way anyone should when being spoken to like this. I expect her to roll over and go into the deepest, dreamiest and most spiteful sleep of her life. However, she doesn’t. She meekly gets up, stretches and goes into the bathroom. Grey is playing Frank Sinatra through his speakers. Ana keeps referring to him as “Frank”, which makes me sizzle with anger. So far, neither of these characters have earned the right to speak of Frank Sinatra in a familiar way. “Frank” would wipe the floor with Christian Grey. “Frank” would be bored stiff with Ana Steele, having been a part of the golden age which was packed with incredible women whose strength and feistiness puts this dreary heroine to shame. “Frank” is the bomb-diggety, and too worthy to be featured in this story.
They get into the car and are driven by Taylor to the home of Mr and Mrs Grey Senior, who live in some palatial, suburban manor. They pull up and we meet Grace, his mother, for the second time. Her double-barrelled surname is, I think, the closest thing we’re going to get to an act of feminism in this novel but there you have it. His father is introduced as Carrick, if that’s a real name, and is sufficiently dull. Suddenly, a screech (her word, not mine) is heard and his little sister comes running into the story, clearly desperate to meet Ana. Her name is Mia and she is not anywhere near as sorely disappointed as she should be, claiming that she’s heard so much about Ana.
How? Have she and Christian been What’sApping each other and comparing notes? What would he even say? “I’ve met this somewhat dull and impressionable woman and given her my sex contract, shown her my dungeon and my penis and she’s still here!!”
“You go, bro!”
High five, smiley face.
Kate and Elliott are also present, as lovey-dovey as ever, causing Ana to suddenly feel insecure about the entire thing. Did Christian only invite her because Elliott invited Kate? She blethers on about this for a couple of paragraphs, which is a couple more than necessary.
Over lunch/dinner, Kate mentions both that Ana is thinking of going to Georgia to visit her mother and that she went out with Jose to a bar. Both pieces of information drop Ana in the shit with Christian, and he gets silently but steadily mad. A good shrink could probably explain why this is, but I think we as readers are just meant to assume that unreasonable jealously and possessiveness are romantic traits in a potential partner.
Throughout the smalltalk, Christian keeps running his hand up and down Ana’s leg beneath the table. This, as with everything else, is probably meant to be sexy but the reality of gestures like this is that, at a dinner table, it’s extremely rude and uncomfortable for everyone else.
Bad manners aren’t sexy, Mr Grey. Feeling up a girl when your mum’s in the room is too much and, if you were my son, I’d make you do all the dishes.
Grey excuses himself and Ana and then drags her off to the boathouse. When she asked why he’s dragging her away from their hosts to ravish her, he replies with, “you know why”.
Thus the chapter ends.
I was somewhat hoping that chapter twenty might begin with a change in narrator or perspective, but it doesn’t. It begins with Christian shutting them in the boathouse and dumping Ana on a couch. He looks mad and Ana actually whispers, “Please don’t hit me.”
This really pisses me off. The whole turn-on in sub/dom relationships is that the power is equal and both parties have consented fully. This is not a story about that, though that’s how it’s been painted. Little bits of writing like this make me deadly uncomfortable. I don’t want to read a story about a girl experiencing her first relationship and having to beg the guy not to hit her because she doesn’t truly know how to ask for what she wants.
He’s confused by her unwillingness and so she kisses him to try and compromise. No, Ana. You tell him not to touch you, because you’re not feeling it, and you don’t need to pacify him by giving him any physical contact. Period.
Sadly, Grey gets what he wants, as ever. Ana completely gives in and forgets what she wants and the sex is entirely to his liking. When it’s over, they return inside and the dinner part wraps up. They drive home and the same, overused dialogue is hauled out once again. Grey tells her to go to Georgia, see her mum and then come back with a decision to sign the contract. I keep forgetting about the stupid contract but apparently it’s a major plot point and the stakes as to whether or not Ana signs it are high.
Ana stays over at his and they share a toothbrush and this is meant to endear the reader to the relationship. As ever, it does not.
There is, at the end of this chapter, a little foray into sex toys. Grey somehow produces two little silver balls and apparently knows exactly where to put them. I’ve never done this myself. It feels like an accident waiting to happen. What if you cough and they roll out? Ana seems to quite enjoy them, though, which is the main thing. They fall asleep and she gets him to talk a little about his birth mother, who was apparently a “crack-whore”.
I didn’t know people actually said “crack-whore” outside “Sons of Anarchy” but never mind.
The chapter ends with Ana feeling very sorry for a young Christian.
I don’t. Sorry, Christian. You’re still not real for me.
For anyone interested, the link below is the trailer for the film being made about this masterpiece, which will be released next year on Valentine’s Day. Perfect for all you lads with girlfriends; you can take her out and then, when it’s over, go “you see! you see how lucky you are I’m not a sociopath!”