Sorry for the delay in getting to the next review. I was in danger of walking out in front of a bus over this book, so I did some other things for a few days such as heavy drinking and my job. I thought I was ready and started reading again last night. Wrong. I will never be ready.
Chapter 9 begins with the typical bullshit: Ana wakes up in Christian's bed and describes his resplendent face which is all the more beautiful for him being asleep, then goes looking for the bathroom but wanders into a closet first which she describes in detail, the sole purpose of this being to once again remind us that he is rich. WE KNOW. WE FUCKING KNOW ALREADY. HE HAS MORE MONEY THAN GOD, I THINK WE CAN ASSUME HE HAS A GIANT CLOSET OR FIVE THAT ARE FULL OF EXPENSIVE CLOTHES. MOVE THE FUCK ON. She is also about to ramp up this thing she's been doing throughout the book where she personifies her subconscious and has conversations with it. I have notes about this from earlier in the book, but there are so many other things wrong with it, I've mostly glossed over this. But now I can't anymore because it's in every other sentence. This is exactly how she tries to process the night before while she is making breakfast, to wit:
- "My subconscious has woken. She's staring at me with pursed lips, tapping her foot. So you've just slept with him, given him your virginity, a man who doesn't love you."
- "My subconscious scowls at me...Fucking - not lovemaking, she screams at me like a harpy."
In the meantime, she has complained about her hair (she will now begin using the term "just fucked hair" over and over and over and over and I wonder if she misplaced her thesaurus or just shoved it up her ass for the time being) and decides to put it in pigtails thinking maybe Christian will find her less attractive that way, thus proving my theory that she has never seen any porn. Christian shows up during the breakfast making and they have an entire conversation using exceptionally ridiculous innuendos i.e. "How would you like your eggs?" "Thoroughly whisked and beaten." Right. I remember my first "whisking". This is asinine. He asks how sore she is, which she thinks is an extremely personal question for some reason. Later in this same conversation, she will ask him if his family knows about his "predilection" which I found at least equally personal and also stupid because who in the actual fuck tells their family the details of their sex life no matter what kind of sex they are having? There's more foreshadowing about wasted food because every time he's in the room she loses her appetite. I'm pretty sure she hasn't eaten in about three days.
After breakfast Christian decides they should take a bath together. She has several freak outs in her head during this scene over the fact that she is naked, and that he is naked and JESUS YOU JUST FUCKED HIM IT'S A BIT LATE TO BE WORRIED ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT HE CAN SEE YOUR TITS. He washes her and it's idiotic and makes me wonder if she's ever seen a washcloth before. Then he tells her it's her turn to wash him and I don't even want to describe this scene to you guys because it starts out fucking awful and progresses to preposterous. First of all, she turns around to face him and he has his dick in his hand. She gasps and her mouth drops open. That is her actual reaction to that. No idea that penis touching was a thing. None. I was about to roll my eyes until I read the next sentence, spoken by Christian: "I want you to become well acquainted, on first name terms if you will, with my favorite and most cherished part of my body. I'm very attached to this." Now I can't roll my eyes because they have just fallen out of my head onto the fucking floor. NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS. AND IF THEY DO YOU SHOULD LAUGH AT THEM BECAUSE THAT IS A JACKASS THING TO SAY. He starts showing her how to jerk him off, or trying to, but she's not watching because she can't stop gazing into his eyes (hand jobs: the most romantic of jobs!). She is so amazed by this entire process that "My lips are parted to accommodate my breathing." ACCOMMODATE. YOUR BREATHING. STOP WRITING LIKE THIS, I AM RUNNING OUT OF SWEAR WORDS TO SHOUT AT YOU. That was the awful part. The preposterous part is when she instinctively starts sucking him off, despite twelve seconds ago being completely paralysed by the very sight of a cock, AND guess what? No, seriously, guess what you guys? Just guess.
ANA DOESN'T HAVE A GAG REFLEX.
Yes. Anameoba (I just thought of that right now and I am super proud of myself), of Thefirsttimeieverthoughtaboutsexwasyesterdayland, is multi-orgasmic, has hypersensitive nipples, and NO gag reflex. I WILL CUT A BITCH. According to Wikipedia, about one third of healthy adults have no gag reflex. Ana is one of them because OF COURSE SHE IS, SHE WAS BUILT FOR SEX. The most annoying part of this is that it isn't at all hard to learn to suppress a gag reflex, and having Christian actually teach her that could have potentially been an extremely sexy scene (in the hands of another writer, anyway). But no, James doesn't have any interest in writing characters that are in any way believable, let alone relatable. They all have to be the most extreme example possible of whatever it is she wants them to be and she wants Ana to be a Realdoll with sound effects. The crowning jewel of this scene is this line right here: "He's my very own Christian Grey-flavored popsicle." OH FUCK PLEASE STOP THINKING THINGS BEFORE I LOSE THE WILL TO LIVE.
Afterwards, he takes her back in his room, and we get the first bit of bondage in the book. He has her put her hands together and then ties them WITH A NECKTIE FROM HIS CLOSET. EVERYBODY GET INSIDE QUICK BEFORE YOU GET HIT WITH THE CLICHES THAT ARE RAINING DOWN FROM THE SKY. So he ties her hands together and tells her to leave them over her head, which she sucks at, and he tells her to hold still, which she sucks at, and right before he goes down on her she says "My heated blood pools low in my belly, between my legs, right down there." I don't even know where to start. 1. Your blood is the same temperature it's always been. 2. If blood is pooling in your belly, then you are hemorrhaging internally and you require medical attention. 3. STOP SAYING THERE. IT'S A VAGINA. IF YOU CAN'T SAY THE WORDS THEN YOU ARE NOT READY TO DO THIS. VAGINA. She comes from the oral and she comes again approximately 30 seconds later from the sex.
As they are laying there recovering, they hear voices in the hallway. It's Christian's assistant telling his mother she can't go in his room because he's with someone. For some reason, Christian is super excited to introduce Ana to his mother. He gets dressed in a hurry, much to Ana's shock: "...pulls on his jeans - no underwear!" OH MY GOD I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW YOU COULD DO THAT. Ana has a self obsessive freak out because she has no clean clothes and her hair is a mess and her subconscious has just called her a ho (seriously). She finally gets her shit together and goes out to meet the mother.
Christian's mother is Dr. Grace Travelyan-Grey. Ana's first thought at this introduction is that Christian's middle initial is T, which must be for Travelyan because what else could T possibly stand for? Not an assessment of this woman's demeanor, not more than a perfunctory description of what she looks like - just "I bet his middle name is Travelyan! Wow!" AS IF IT THAT'S WHAT WOULD FUCKING MATTER TO YOU WHEN BEING INTRODUCED TO YOUR BRAND NEW LOVER'S MOTHER. While they are chatting, Ana's phone rings. She excuses herself and answers it without bothering to look at the phone, which absolutely no one ever does in this day and age, but it has to be that way because if she'd SEEN it was Jose calling and not Kate she wouldn't have answered it and that doesn't fit the story E. L. James is trying to kill me with. She quickly ends the call, but not fast enough. Dr. Travelyan goes to leave (how long has she been there, five minutes? Who does that?), offering her cheek for Christian to kiss, but not touching him (so I guess we'll be finding out at some point that part of why he's "fucked up" is that his mother is not affectionate). As soon as she's gone, Christian's whole demeanor changes. It is glaringly obvious that this is due to Jose's phone call to Ana, which lasted less than one minute and during which she was very short with him and eventually hangs up on him, but it is still all her fault that he called somehow, and Christian is INFURIATED. Ana, clueless as usual, can't put her finger on why he's being such a dick all of a sudden. HEY FUCKWAD, YOUR NEW NOT BOYFRIEND IS A VIOLENTLY JEALOUS AND POSSESSIVE STALKER WHO WILL SOON START INSISTING THAT YOU HAVE NO MALE FRIENDS BECAUSE IF YOU DO HE WILL KILL YOU. THIS IS EXTREMELY CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR, NOT IN A BDSM WAY, BUT IN AN UNHEALTHY ABUSIVE WAY. IT IS FUCKING INSANE THAT YOU DON'T SEE THIS COMING. WHERE THE FUCK IS YOUR PERSONIFIED SUBCONSCIOUS NOW? I cannot, CANNOT believe at this point that there are thousands of women out there reading this book and thinking this is somehow romantic. This is making me hate my entire gender.
As they get ready for him to take her back home, he hands her an envelope with the contract in it and tells her to read it and to do some research. And then has to specify "on the internet" because she is confused, after four years of college, about what research means. Even armed with this instruction she's stymied - she doesn't have access to a computer. Apparently on the WHOLE CAMPUS, there is not ONE public computer. Not in the library, not in the student center...no computers available for students who don't have or can't afford one of their own to use. Or, in fact, at any off campus location in the entire city of Portland. No public libraries. No internet cafes. Nothing. This book is set in 2011 in a city. I started college in 1996 in a very small, very rural town in southeast Ohio and let me tell you something: there were computers everywhere. There is zero chance that this girl went through four years of college without access to any computers. This plot point is entirely contrived so that Christian Grey can buy her an awesome new computer. I can never go to West London again, because if I accidentally run into this author on the street I am going to lose my shit and it's going to start an international incident that could lead to a third world war.
They begin heading back to Portland in one of his cars, I can't be arsed to go back and look up exactly which one. On the way they stop at a restaurant, for three reasons. The first is so she can foreshadow more crap about Christian's issues with eating everything on one's plate for about the sixth time. The second is to give her a chance to reminisce about the way his pants hang from his hips (5). The third is to give them a chance to have another ridiculous conversation touching on the following points:
- Ana is the first girl he has ever introduced to his mother.
- It is the first time EVER IN HIS LIFE he has had vanilla sex.
- An explanation of the term vanilla sex, leading Ana to think to herself "I thought it was chocolate fudge brownie sex that we had, with a cherry on top." You guys have no idea how much I wish I was making that sentence up just to amuse you.
- Christian was seduced by a friend of his mother when he was 15 years old.
- He went on to be her submissive for SIX YEARS.
When Ana gets home, she does her best to tell Kate about her night with Christian without really telling her much of anything, still under the impression that the NDA she signed is somehow legally enforceable. Kate has spent that whole time boning Elliot. From the conversation, she is clearly in love with him despite having known him for two days. Then Jose calls again. Ana immediately forgives him for being a piece of shit the other night because she doesn't have a lot of respect for herself and so James can set up a situation that will be a source of continued conflict between Ana and Christian for the entire rest the book. HE IS JEALOUS, THIS IS HOW YOU KNOW BOTH THAT HE IS A DOM AND THAT HE IS IN LOVE WITH HER.
Both girls are exhausted from their "carnal exertions". I am exhausted from dry heaving. Kate goes off to bed, and Ana goes to her room but stays up to read through the contract Christian gave her to look at.
The beginning of Chapter 11 is the contract. The first several pages of it, I have only written one note: "I AM BORED". It is written very much like a legal contract, despite the fact that it is in no way legally enforceable (BrownsFan says that this explains the language in the contract capitalizing submissive - Submissive referring specifically to Ana to differentiate her from other unnamed submissives that might be mentioned in part of the contract. Since it's not an actual legal document though, I still think this is pretty much bullshit). It's all pretty boiler plate stuff that I don't really feel like going over, so feel free to google it if you're interested in how a D/s contract is worded. I do want to point out one thing, however: a clause on page 169 that reads "The Dominant shall maintain his own good health and seek medical attention when necessary to maintain a risk-free environment." There is absolutely no such thing as a risk-free environment. I don't even know what this is supposed to mean. The appendix with the hard limits is repeated, followed by an appendix with a list of soft limits. There's a lot of them, but the one I make note of is anal fisting, because I can't imagine a person like Ana calmly reading something like that on the same day that she nearly passed out because Christian lightly touched his own penis in front of her. You'd think I'd be used to her reacting in ways that no reasonable person with her level of experience would react, but I'm not. No, she can handle reading about anal fisting - it's the food list she can't bring herself to consider.
She reads all this and she is outraged. This is the first thing she has done in this book that has made any sense. Anyone with no natural submissive tendencies and virtually no knowledge of sex of any kind ought to react that way. Her personified subconscious is now arguing with her "inner goddess" while I try to dig a hole through my leg with a letter opener. Subconscious says this entire idea is ludicrous. Inner goddess says "Please let's do this...otherwise we'll end up alone with lots of cats and your classic novels to keep you company." YES BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T BECOME A SUB ON YOUR FIRST TRY AT ANY KIND OF RELATIONSHIP, YOU WILL NEVER GET ANOTHER CHANCE AND YOU ARE DOOMED TO THE LIFE OF A SPINSTER. I hope inner goddess drowns in the fucking bathtub.
The next day, Kate wakes up Ana because there is someone at the door with a large package for her - Christian has bought her the "latest" MacBook Pro. The guy tells her these MacBooks aren't available in stores yet. He isn't kidding. Allegedly, Ana's new MacBook Pro has 32 gigs of RAM and a 1.5 terabyte hard drive. Aware of the author's tendency to exaggerate things in order to prove Christian's extraordinary wealth, I get on apple.com to check the specs of the current MacBook Pro and as I expected there is no such MacBook. CHRISTIAN GREY IS SO RICH HE JUST BOUGHT HER A MACBOOK PRO FROM THE FUTURE. Not only that, but all she's planning to do with this incredibly fast machine with practically limitless storage is google shit and check her e-mail. I'm no tech geek, but I do believe that's overkill. SPEAKING OF E-MAIL, as her door to door Apple Genius is setting up her Me account, he explains that it's her new e-mail address and she is totes startled because oh em gee, she has an e-mail address. Ana, we've been over this: It is 2011 and you are a college student. You HAVE an e-mail address, IT COMES AS A FREE GIFT WITH YOUR EDUCATION. It has been that way for AT LEAST 15 YEARS. Stop acting like it's still the late 80's, YOU WEREN'T EVEN FUCKING BORN THEN. The author of this book has never met anyone born in 1990. There is NO WAY this girl never had an e-mail address before.
What follows is a series of idiotic one line e-mails between Ana and Christian where they are replying to each other so quickly I write in my notes "WHY DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT INSTANT MESSENGER IS?" She gets some direction from him on what specifically she should google, but she phrases it as "What would you suggest I put into a search engine?" instead of "What should I google?" because E.L. James is worse at writing dialogue than George Lucas. And when she's done, she sighs happily because Christian Grey e-mailed her. HE IS SO FUCKING DREAMY, YOU GUYS. HOLY SHIT, WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE HOW AWESOME HE IS AT WEARING PANTS.
I need a handle of tequila. And an ice pick.