This novel, for some baffling reason, has been placed in the top three on a list depicting the greatest love stories ever written. I can’t say who wrote this list, or if it was based on a vote, but “Fifty Shades” is up there with “Pride and Prejudice” and “Twilight”.
Quite an achievement.
So, as I am nearing the end of this wretched book, each blog post is going to feature a “love story” which I deem to be superior to this one. Perhaps not even couples, but rather characters. After all, the making of a great love story is having two astonishingly good leads, or one outstanding character. This novel has two very two-dimensional and weak protagonists, thereby making the romance rather dull and contrived.
But back to the story.
Ana wakes up alone and feels rather stiff. She gets unto go searching for Grey and finds his housekeeper cleaning the kitchen instead. She tells her that Grey is in his study and so Ana goes scampering in there. He’s on the phone and, judging by the generic monologue featuring vague allusions to business, we’re to assume that it’s a work call. What Mr Grey does is still somewhat of a mystery but why bother thinking up a plausible backstory when there’s lots of kinky-fuckery to be had?
He tells whoever he’s speaking with to clear his schedule and then he and Ana “drink each other in”. He smirks and says that sleep “seems to agree with” her.
Well, yes. That’s why we’re all generally encouraged to partake in it. It’s rarely a choice.
They wordlessly decide they’re going to bang, and Ana wants to do it on the desk. When Grey draws out a condom she smiles and calls him “Mr. Boy Scout”.
I don’t know what boy scouts you met growing up, Ana, but a ready supply of contraception is not something I would naturally associate with young lads learning to start safe fires and tie sailor knots but whatever. Christian has his cubs badge that says he’s qualified to poke so that’s wonderful.
When it’s over, he says the usual drivel about how she’s a miracle to him and that he can’t understand her hold on him, and then dismisses her like she’s some sort of geisha. She goes, somewhat miffed, to the kitchen for breakfast and, after a shower, he joins her. He reminds us that she’s meant to be visiting her mother in the deep south at some point in the story, and assures her that she’s more than welcome to borrow his private jet.
Ana says that a chartered flight will do and Grey huffs. Ana doesn’t have time to pacify him, however, as she’s preparing for an interview with a publishing company. Grey wishes her luck and she heads off.
It’s revealed that the boss of this publishing company, who is waiting to interview her in the lobby of the building, is named Mr. J. Hyde…
Robert Louis Stevenson (you know, a real writer) is spinning in his grave like a hog on a spit. Are we to assume that because this character is named Hyde, that he is evil beyond all measure? Or does he have two personalities? I can’t wait to find out…
The interview is a somewhat dull affair and Ana takes slightly against Mr Hyde when it’s revealed that he prefers novels written after 1950 to the “classics”. Yes, Ana, some people can read beyond a high school grade level and have been known to pick up the occasional modern masterpiece.
Just clearly not fans of this book.
When he asks that old chestnut job interview question, “Where do you see yourself in five years time?”, Ana secretly answers “with Christian Grey”.
It should be noted that at this point I went to have a shower and calm down.
When the interview wraps up, Ana goes back to her place to pack for Georgia and then hops on a scheduled flight. Grey emails her relentlessly, checking to make sure she’s wearing her seatbelt. After all, if a plane is going to fall 30,000 ft to the earth below, you want to be wearing a seatbelt.
When she eventually desists encouraging this moron, a steward comes to tell her that she’s been upgraded to first class. When she acts completely stumped, wondering how ever this could have happened, a part of me wants to plane to come crashing down.
Chapter twenty-two begins with more emails and texts between the two of them as she arrives in Georgia. She’s moaning about him spending money on her, a poor attempt by the author to assure the weaker-willed reader that this book does not belong in the dark ages as far as morality goes.
Ana arrives at the airport to be greeted by her mother. They head straight to the beach whereupon they drink cocktails and talk “boy”, an experience I have never had. I grew up with my dad and a conversation about boys simply consisted of me “going for a walk” before jumping the garden wall and meeting said boy at a pre agreed meeting place.
At some point in this dreary scene, Ana’s mother comes up with this gem. “Men aren’t complicated, Ana, honey. They are very simply creatures.”
Well, fuck you, Mrs Ana. I sincerely doubt a woman on her fifth or sixth husband has any business giving relationship advice, but that’s exactly what she tries to do.
Ana tries to take her mother’s ridiculous advice about treating Grey like a gullible labrador and starts another battle of the emails with him. These really are the dullest things to read. They start sexting over emailing. I don’t know what the cyber term for that is. Semen-ailing? Sinboxing? You’ve got mail!….and a boner.
Ana and her mother then go out to dinner at a semi-fancy restaurant whereupon Ana continues to sinbox Grey. I thought the whole point of this trip was to get away from him? To give us, the reader, a chance to get to know Ana away from the overhanging cloud that is Christian Grey.
A Grey cloud. Ha!
Suddenly, via an email, Grey asks Ana how many cosmopolitans she’s going to drink. As she has not mentioned drinking any such thing, she realises, as do I with dread, that he is here. As in, he’s stalked her all the way to the deep south and is now somewhere in the bar.
That’s the end of that chapter and so it’s time for the first in the countdown. My boyfriend of five years was a composer, a very gifted one, and he introduced me to this storY. I’d already read the novel, which is a very confused piece of literature and not a love story at all. In fact, it’s a story of madness and obsession. However, Hart and Lloyd Webber used their creative genius to make something beautiful and thus created a tortured man who puts Christian Grey to shame. If you’re going to write a love story and attempt to make one of the leads damaged, you have to go balls to the wall.
This couple are just that. This score is love. Desperate, doomed and tragic. It’s melodramatic, obsessive and powerful; everything fifty shades strives and fails to be. After giving five years of my life to a tortured musician, this is bittersweet for me.
I miss him. So it’s story for two people who loved each other but the world just got in the way.