Fifty Shades Darker

Chapters Ten and Eleven: Pool sounds much smoother than Snooker

Sorry I’m so late!! This last week consisted of London Fashion Week, an award show, Ryan Adams dropping his 1989 cover (which left me crying on the bathroom floor while “This Love” played over and over again) and an opening night. I’ve quite literally spent the last few days in bed recovering and letting my poor feet heal.

The first few pages of chapter ten consist of Ana and Christian doing their usual, repetitive back and forth post-coitus “banter”. They sail the boat back to land, unbothered by pirates or other such obstacles that might create some kind of plot for this story. It can’t be called character-driven, as the characters are morons who aren’t learning a goddamn thing. But at the moment, it can’t be called plot-driven either.

It’s driven by bad sex and shitty dialogue.

Over dinner, Ana asks Christian why he doesn’t have any male friends. Or any friends for that matter, but particularly male friends.

Because he’s a dangerous sociopath? Now, I’m not hugely attracted to lad culture, but there is something a little off about a guy if he doesn’t have any friends of the same gender.

As they head up to the apartment, Taylor the manservant following behind, Ana makes smalltalk with him. Empty, insipid smalltalk. When Taylor is out of earshot, Grey admonishes her.

“Don’t flirt with the staff, Anastasia. I don’t like it. You know how jealous I am.”

Run. No, seriously run. This isn’t sexy or protective or endearing, it’s the sort of thing I listen to when I man the phones at the domestic violence charity I volunteer for. It’s the kind of thing the boyfriend I want to forget about used to say. It’s not healthy or romantic.

They talk a little about Christian’s ex, Leila, who is allegedly out to kill Ana.

“I don’t want you to go to work.”

Great idea, Christian. Use the unstable ex as an excuse to turn her into a house pet.

He assures Ana that she doesn’t need to work for a living because he’ll support her. That’s the dream, right, ladies? Careers are just a distraction and a facade for finding husbands. Why on earth would we find any reward or feeling of purpose in our work?

Ana rushes to compromise so her insane boyfriend doesn’t have an aneurism. She agrees to have one of his security bodyguards follow her to and from work. They drop the subject and go for a tour of the house. They come across a billiard table and Ana challenges him to a game, teasing him about the fact that she might win.

“Frightened of a little girl like you?” jeers Grey.

Oh, fuck you. If I were there, I’d ram the cue down your gullet.

Now I won’t lie to you, I was young once and did the whole flirtatious, fooling around on the snooker table thing. Haven’t we all? We’ve all done that thing where he’s behind you showing you how to size up your shot. It’s a rite of passage. But, as usual with these two moronic twits, any sexiness that could be created in the scene evaporates and it reads like the two most basic white people you could ever imagine trying to stay relevant in a world that has grown bored and tired of their repetitive, unoriginal and frankly boring “love story”.

But surprise surprise, they bang on the table anyway.

The next morning comes and they’re eating breakfast before both going to work. The housekeeper bustles around them, probably wishing they’d both choke on their oatmeal. I know I would if I were the help.

“I have to go, baby. Taylor will come back and drop you off at work with Sawyer.”

All right, Dad.

While at work, Grey emails her and basically tells her that she’s moving into his apartment with him. Before she can challenge him on this decision, Jack (her creepy boss) tells her that she’ll be coming with him to New York for a business trip. She instantly tells Christian who puts his foot down.

“The answer is no.”

He really is insufferable. A decent boyfriend would say something like, “Oh, yikes, I don’t know if you’d be completely safe with that guy; what can I do?” Or something like that. In a dream world. Where women aren’t property to be fought over.

Within moments, Christian (who you may remember bought the whole company) finds a way of grounding Jack Hyde and not allowing him to book a flight for Ana. Jack is puzzled and Ana takes a stupidly long amount of time to work out who could possibly have interfered.

Really, queen?

Jack says that since she isn’t going to New York, she has to stay late at the office to work on briefs for him.

Uh oh. RUN!!

Luckily he just asks her a bunch of questions about Grey and she escapes untouched to find her nutty boyfriend waiting in a limo outside. They have sex a few times and then, once they’re back in the flat, Taylor calls to say his ex (Mrs Robinson, not the crazy one) is on her way up.

And the chapter ends. SO LITERALLY NOTHING HAS HAPPENED.Two whole fucking chapters and nothing has changed.

I could kill E.L James.

Until next time, shaders. Though it is my 23rd a week tomorrow so I might be out of action again for a bit. A hostess’ job is never done!

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