When we last saw our douchebags, Elliot had just proposed to Kate at the end of an entire chapter that was only written to foreshadow that scene. An ENTIRE CHAPTER of the book was just devoted to the antics of two characters we barely know and could not give one ounce of fuck about. And because the author thinks that suspense always involves dropping some half-assed bombshell at the end of a chapter (rather than, you know, writing a compelling fucking scene people actually want to read), that same shit continues at the beginning of THIS chapter as well. Here is the overly dramatic first paragraph of Chapter 14:
The attention of the entire restaurant is trained on Kate and Elliot, waiting with bated breath as one. The anticipation is unbearable. Silence stretches like a taut rubber band. The atmosphere is oppressive, apprehensive, and yet hopeful. (emphasis mine)Jesus Christ where to even start? There is more stupid happening in this paragraph than there are actual words in it. Really, James? The ENTIRE restaurant has stopped breathing because it is of paramount importance to every single person in the room whether this one total stranger will agree to marry this other total stranger? I find that unlikely. And even if they are that fucking interested, it's not because they are all so "hopeful", it's because at any given public proposal, at least a quarter of the people watching are hoping she'll shoot the guy down in front of everyone, because that is a much, MUCH more entertaining story. Also, could you please explain to me in some logical fashion how this situation can be both oppressive and hopeful at the same time? Because those things don't go together.
Anyshit, Kate says yes obviously and then there's drinking of the finest champagne, and then they all go clubbing at the most exclusive club in all of Aspen. I fail to see why she continues to tell us these things, I think by now we can all just assume everything is the best, most exclusive, most expensive thing imaginable unless we are told otherwise. The coat check guy looks at Ana while taking her coat and Christian gets jealous and then the hostess looks at Christian while escorting them to a table and Ana gets jealous. It is obvious that everyone wants to fuck up their marriage. The fact that both these people are paid to specifically make you feel welcome and want to stay there and spend your money can't possibly explain this sinister welcoming behavior. Christian orders water and tells Ana to drink it, which she immediately argues about because DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO. Mind you, so far today Ana has had two glasses of wine and a margarita at lunch, three glasses of wine and two glasses of champagne at dinner, and she is about to have a third glass of champagne right now. Also keep in mind they are in Aspen which means they are at altitude, and one of the things that happens at altitude is you get dehydrated much faster. She should have been drinking water all day to counteract that anyway - the alcohol is not going to do her any favors in that department. Ana has an unbelievably reliable habit of mistaking concern for being controlling and being controlling for genuine concern.
So then Ana goes off to dance, and we get the only scene in this whole section that managed to incite any rage in me. Ana is dancing, with her eyes closed for some fucking reason, when she feels a pair of hands on her hips, which she assumes is Christian coming to dance with her. Except that it's not. It's some complete fucking stranger. I need to pause a second to tell you that this exact sort of thing is a huge pet peeve of mine. If some drunk jackoff comes up to talk to me in a bar, I will stand there and listen to him make a fool of himself all night long. But the second that guy tries to touch me uninvited he is going to push a button with me and I am going to lose control and make a scene until someone comes to remove him from the establishment. This is, in fact, just about the only way to get me to shout at a complete stranger in public. Touching someone who hasn't expressed an interest in being touched is NEVER ok. So when this happens in the book and Ana immediately turns around and slaps him across the face, I stupidly think to myself "Yeah! Finally something that makes sense. Go Ana!" Once again, I have failed to grasp who I'm dealing with, because James IMMEDIATELY ruins this by having Ana hold up her hand to show him her rings and shouting at him "I'm married, you asshole!" Because for some reason, the fact that she is married is the ONLY THING SHE SEES WRONG with this guy's behavior. I am not kidding you. Christian immediately comes to her rescue and punches the guy, which I am fine with, but Ana immediately starts to second guess both of them. Maybe a total stranger violating her personal space in a way that makes her uncomfortable isn't that big of a deal. Maybe she shouldn't have hit him. But she knows why she did it, and rest assured it's not because she has a right to dance in a club without getting groped by total strangers against her will. It's because she knew it would upset Christian, and the thought of someone being able to upset her husband made her really angry. It's not about her - her own safety and control over her body doesn't matter at all. It's only wrong because Christian might wind up wif a bad widdle feewing. FUCK YOU. FUCK. YOU. YOU ARE A DISGRACE TO ALL WOMEN EVERYWHERE. I AM ASHAMED TO SHARE THE SAME GENITALS AS YOU. FUCK YOU SO HARD YOUR VAGINA EXPLODES LIKE A GRENADE. YOU DON'T DESERVE TO HAVE ONE.
Ugh. So the rest of the chapter is, everyone goes home, and Ana is drunk, and Christian takes off her make up for her which for Ana is the most astonishing thing that has ever happened in the history of mankind, and then they go to bed without fucking because the Dead Kennedys. Ana wakes up in the morning at the start of Chapter 15 and the first thing she notices is that allegedly her palm is still red from when she slapped that guy exactly one time EIGHT FUCKING HOURS AGO. She is going to continue to complain about how much her palm hurts through the whole chapter. Unless she's made of glass this is complete and utter bullshit. After that there are seven pages of entirely forgettable sex. Literally. I have forgotten every detail about it and only remembered that it happened at all when I went back and skimmed the chapter to find out what my notes meant. Everyone gets ready to go home, which is boring, and then they do go home which is boring, and then there is a series of unbelievably pointless emails that are only there to show the passage of time and which I will read aloud to you in my next video because they are truly, bafflingly, without any sort of plot advancement or even context and are not interesting AT ALL and will somebody, PLEASE, take this woman's writing instruments away from her FOR THE LOVE OF GOD? Apart from another fake bombshell moment, that is seriously every single thing that happens in Chapter 15. The sheer number of trees that were felled in order to print this chapter as many times as it's been printed to date is a tragedy in and of itself. Let us all have a moment of silence for those poor trees.
Thank you. So at the end of the chapter we find out that Leila has appeared at Ana's office building asking to see her. I'm including that information with the stuff from Chapter 16 because that's where it fucking belongs - it is COMPLETELY unrelated to anything that happened in the rest of Chapter 15. Chapter 16 consists entirely of Ana's conversation with Leila, and then Ana's subsequent conversation with Christian. It is somehow miraculously EVEN MORE DULL than the series of "maybe we should have spaghetti for dinner" level emails that dominated the last chapter.
I have just paused in writing this for the last 20 minutes and alternated between rubbing my face in frustration and staring despondently at my notes because it's just so stupid I don't even want to think about it, let alone summarize it.
Ok so here's what happens. Leila shows up and she's got another ex-sub of Christian's with her called Susi, who had better fucking appear again later because so far she has been completely irrelevant, other than for Ana to point out that she and Susi look alike, which we already know from having established that ALL Christian's subs looked like her TWO AND A HALF FUCKING BOOKS AGO. Leila has come to her because she wants to see Christian, but he is ignoring all her attempts. She claims this is because she wants to thank him for helping her and paying for her art school. I have absolutely no idea why she couldn't just write that in a fucking letter. Leila also tells Ana that she was in love with Christian which we also already know because half of the last book was devoted to exactly that. Then Christian shows up, as we all knew he would, including Leila, which was her entire scheme to get to see him in the first place. Christian fires Ana's bodyguard, threatens to cut off all of Leila's school funding and lets her leave with Susi. During all of that Ana's internal monologue is entirely about how can Christian be so mean to this poor girl and oh he shouldn't have fired the bodyguard, that was so unfair! By the way, in the whole rest of the book she hates that particular bodyguard and she is always jealous of everyone who has ever slept with her husband, so none of that makes any sense, and the only note I write in that whole section is "I can't believe how insane this is." Then Ana and Christian argue about the whole thing and Ana wants him to admit that he cares about Leila and Christian claims that he doesn't have a heart and OH MY GOD EVERY SINGLE WORD OF THIS IS SHIT WE ALREADY READ ABOUT ENTIRE BOOKS AGO. In keeping with that theme, we also have some more demonizing of BDSM - the part about how all his subs look like his mother because kinky sex can't just be about kinky sex, it has to be a pathological sickness about wanting to punish his own mother, and the other part about how Elena was a monster and a pedophile who almost ruined his life and now that he thinks about it, maybe he didn't enjoy any of that kinky sex and it left him severely damaged - I can't even get angry about this anymore, this woman's understanding of that culture is as well developed as Wile E. Coyote's understanding of basic physics. Then they argue about going home. Then they do go home. Then they have sex. Then they send some more worthless emails. Then E.L. James does that thing that she has now done in seven out of the last sixteen chapters, which is to end the chapter on a bombshell that is entirely unrelated to the rest of the chapter in a futile attempt to add drama and intrigue to her thoroughly plotless story. Ana's dad has been in a car accident. DUN DUN DUN/DRAMATIC VIOLINS/COMMERCIAL BREAK FULL OF VIAGRA AND WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT ADS.
I am so bored right now. So bored.
UPDATE: I completely forgot to mention it before, but I am planning to live tweet my reading of a future chapter so you can see my reactions in real time. I'll let everyone know when I'll be doing it, so if you have the book you can follow along as I torture myself.