Fifty Shades of Grey... Why None of My Friends Are Picking Up The Phone Part 2

Let's talk Fifty Shades of Grey, part two. Or Fifty shades of Gray. However you spell it. This is the second part of the Fifty post. Read Fifty Shades of Grey... Why None of My Friends Are Picking Up The Phone Part 1 here.

To recap:

Oh yes, the new big thing. Fifty Shades of Fucking Grey. I'm just worried women think this is the best thing ever written. It's not. And it's going to mess with people's real sex lives when their significant others don't act like this fictional billionaire...I tried to read it from Chapter 1 to the end. I did not succeed. What I did was stand in a Target in the electronics department and flip through the 20+ chapters scanning for the sex bits. At best, they made me blush, shuffle my feet and get creepy stares from the guardian of the camera display. (I don't need your help if I'm reading a book.)

Now, as of July 3, 2012, I have finished reading the second book, Fifty Shades Darker. That makes two books with mostly the same sex but a little more emotional development. Let's deconstruct this trilogy of "Lady Porn."
I Get Why You Like the Dialogue: Christian and Anastasia are so happy to be back in each other's company (especially during sexytime). They are back in the saddle again after, what, like five days spent separated? Now, Anastasia has a new job at a publishing company with a creepy boss. And she's been invited to (and is she focus of) her friend Jose's photography show, which Christian insists on accompanying her. And one of his tossed-aside submissives is stalking them. And ::gasp:: there's drama! (And an ascension in the story arc of the novel.)
Ontop of all the above drama, Anastasia Steele is in love with her broken, handsome billionaire and is unsure if he's capable of loving her back... which, if you remember, was what ended their romance in Fifty Shades of Grey. Now, since he's grown so much in the five days they spent separated, he's decided he can't live without her.
So, after seeing her friend Jose and his All-Anastasia artwork, Christian purchases all the pictures AND tells Anastasia he loves her. Yes, he dropped the L-word. (not Lesbian, but good show.) Sounds promising, eh?
Here's Why The Dialogue is Bullshit: It's the same crap from the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, repackaged. First off, think about your own significant other, best friend, or person who you spend a lot of time with. Then, think about the last time you spent more than six hours with that person; now, think of how many times you said their name out loud. Or even in your head.
I ask you this because it's completely unrealistic to expect two people who are spending time together to continually say/call each other by name during speech. It's unnatural. It feels forced. Especially so in Anastasia's dialogue when she keeps calling him Christian, or "Fifty" or "Fifty Shades." We just don't do it as people and when you write it in a novel it looks like bad writing and people don't relate to the characters as well.
Also, some tidbits that I thought were cloying... everytime Christian is ontop of Ana about to, shall we say, get busy, he utters some version of "You are going to unman me, Ana."

  • Meriam Webster defines the verb "unman" as: Deprive of qualities traditionally associated with men, such as self-control or courage.

I don't know about you ladies, but this isn't really something I want to hear from a man hovering over me pre-coitus. And he continually says it. Get your shit together. Or get off of me.
Also... the bitching about Ana being so thin? It's very nice that Christian likes her ten pounds heavier, but in five days, the thought that she's lost that much weight and his constant reminding her to eat makes her look like a petulant child.  Eat a sandwich.

Get the man an audition!

I Get Why You Think Christian Is Developing Romantically: Ana has a creepy, slut-slut boss Jack. He hits on Ana, tries to get her to come for a drink with him and is rather rude to Christian when he meets him in person. Yes, this man is an antagonist and one dimensional. Turns out he tries to lure Ana on a "business trip" to New York City that Christian says she absolutely cannot go on regardless of how much Ana protests and says that she has no interest in Jack. Christian doesn't deem it safe and says he's not worried about Ana's intentions, but in slut-slut's.
(Author's Note: This was one of those times I actually felt a little stupid as I could see how clearly going on the business trip with Jack was a rouse for sex and how Ana was going to be put in a compromising situation. Uncharacteristically, I rolled my eyes at Ana's lame attempts to assert her independence and understood Christian's firm "Hell no" stance.
Early in our dating career, Capricorn and I had similar conversations about me going to visit male friends away at college who I knew I had no interest in screwing, but he vehemently argued that there's no way a guy in a frat wants a friend that is a girl to come visit for the weekend for friendship. Thus, arguments ensued and I never did visit my male friends. On this singular instance you may have been right.)
Here's How Christian's Stalking Has Reached New Heights: Christian acquires the company Ana works for over the nonsense of her slut-slut boss and pending business trip. If this isn't a blatant display of throwing one's money around I don't know what is. That is overstepping one's bounds as as boyfriend, even if he had good intentions.
If Christian was serious about wanting to protect Ana from slut-slut boss Jack, he should have promptly fired him. I understand this a device for plot climax, but it was done so poorly and anti-climatic with a little scuffle in the breakroom, he should have just fired the guy and had Jack come back to the office with a half-drunk 40 and a handgun for more effect. Blah.
Second point, the tossed-aside submissive. Christian basically takes over Ana's life (driving to work, being watched while at work, moving into his condo,etc.) because of the threat of this unhinged lunatic. Hey buddy, sometimes people just want Jimmy John's for lunch--Ana might leave the building and you shouldn't go ape shit about it. Buy her a taser.
I wanted to see the submissive do more damage! She just seemed like a hollow woman lacking the serial-killer gusto we all hoped for. Spill some rabbit's blood around Ana's apartment or do more than stare at Ana briefly as she slept. Drum up the psychological fear and make it seem like this one is an actual threat rather than a sad, unemployed submissive.
I think this is E L James' biggest writing flaw: she's too concerned with the sex to take her time and create true tension, whether it be sexual, psychological or foreshadowing coming full circle. She needs to breathe and enjoy the rise in tension more, let it build and come full circle.
She rushes time and circumstances to get to her "main event" which is the physical contact of Ana and Christian. It's like porn's attempt at a storyline when they add a pizza delivery guy who shows up at the home of two beautiful women who just so happen to want to have sex with him. It's cheesy and unbelievable.

What I Did Enjoy:
  • The emails were fun, genuine and playful as usual. Still my favorite part of the books. I love the change in subject lines, signature lives and "shouty caps." Very fun.
  • The charity event. E L James described the cast of characters and surroundings quite well. It was also a nice introduction into Christian's world and gave his character more depth as he was seem mingling with people who aren't on his payroll. Good job. Should have done this more.
  • Christian's reaction and love for macaroni and cheese. Ok, that was cute. Even this sarcastic writer smiled at the thought of him grinning and reheating leftover mac and cheese.
  • The slow inclusion of Mrs. Robinson (Elena). Even though this basically lead nowhere since Mrs. Robinson had a small "shouty caps" match with Ana once she finds out her and Christian are engaged, the small inclusion of meeting the beautiful Elena at the spa, the email conversation, annoying phone calls to Christian and the appearance at the party was done well. That slow, constant burn is what keep's readers interested and awaiting a showdown. But, she should showed Ana and Elena at a lunch together rather than let the idea get dismissed. Their conversation at the party--including Christian's mom finding out about the S&M-- was good, but I would have liked Ana and Elena to have had a lunch together where Elena could have divulged her view of Christian and tried to place nice with Ana, even if her intentions were sinister.
It was a better than the first. I think I feel this way because of Christian's character development. There were definite plot points in the novel that felt dumb ( the hoopla over the helicopter crash, Jack's brand new role as a well-developed villain), so I don't see a Pulitzer in James' future. As for a feature film, I think we're all going to have an exciting Thanksgiving 2013 Blockbuster to watch.
 
Tell me what you thought, what you loved and what you hated. I can take it. Fifty Shades of Grey is our generation's lady porn, so I know opinions are running high.
 
Laters baby,
 
Lady J
 
LadyJ is a writer and avid Chicago Cubs' fan whom can be found at: http://ladyjwanderlust.blogspot.com or on Twitter at @LadyJWanderlust
 
Copyright © 2012 Lady J
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