Caitlin Liveblogs Fifty Shades Freed: Chapter 17

[disclaimer: I don’t own any of the gifs used in this post. If you see a gif that you created and would either like credit for it or would like it taken down, please let me know.]

Here I am! Sorry (again…) for the MASSIVE delay, all of my other responsibilities have been taking priority, and it’s just been hard to find the time/energy for this blog. BUT I’M HERE. And I’m usually a wee bit more productive in the fall (what with the back-to-school vibe), so maybe these blogs will be a little more consistent. No promises though. You know I’m a nightmare about posting things on-time here. But I will do my best! And thank you SO SO SO much for your patience. As always, you guys are the absolute best.

RECAP: Ana returns back to work after their Aspen trip, and is immediately confronted by two of Christian’s ex-subs, Leila (the one who tried to shoot Ana) and Susi. Ana talks a lot about how beautiful the two women are (I ship it), and they talk to her about how they wanted to meet her because she “caught” Christian. Unsurprisingly, Christian calls and interrupts the whole meeting to literally scream at his wife for “disobeying instructions,” even though he never even GAVE her these instructions to not talk to his ex-subs. Ana, to her credit, hangs up, but knows that she’s got a storm coming (because her husband is an abusive nightmare but WHAT ELSE IS NEW). Leila and Ana talk about how they both love(d) Christian and how great he is, but then the object of their affection shows up and is a raging sack of shit, like he always is, to immediately fire Ana’s bodyguard (Prescott) for no real reason. He then yells at Ana about defying him, although Ana calmly explains that he’s full of shit. He also says he doesn’t want her “tainted” by his “old life.” Christian wants Ana to leave work early (probably so he can abuse her more), but Ana calls him on his bullshit. BUT THEN he completely derails the conversation and starts talking about sex. And then they do decide to go home, and of course have mind-blowing sex. BUT THEN a few days (and some obnoxious emails) later Ana gets a call from José’s father who says that her step-dad Ray has been in an accident.

Chapter Seventeen

“Mr. Rodriguez, what’s happened?” My voice is hoarse and thick with unshed tears. Ray. Sweet Ray. My dad.

Yeah, ok, we get it, he’s your father-figure. You keep beating that point home like we’re suddenly going to care about it, buuuuut we don’t. Saying “he’s basically my father!” doesn’t make Ray suddenly matter as a character.

So apparently Ray has been in a car accident, and he’s been airlifted to Portland. It appears that Mr. Rodriguez may have had something to do with the accident? Maybe he was driving the car? He says “Oh, Ana, I didn’t see the car. I just didn’t see it…” and his voice cracks. But if he was in the accident, why is he fine?

Ana leaves work in a hurry, cancelling all of her appointments for the day (I still don’t get how she magically became the senior editor at this publishing house but okay…). Ana tries to call Christian from the car, but he left his phone with his secretary, so Ana leaves a message with her. When the secretary asks if Ana is ok, she says “no” and just says to have Christian call her.

I bet Mr. Over-reaction totally won’t freak out about that one.

Ana’s phone rings a short time later.

“Christian,” I gasp.
“Christ, Ana. What’s wrong?”

Wow…surprisingly level-headed! Apparently Christian only gets upset when Ana violates one of his bullshit “rules,” but when she frantically calls and leaves a message that she’s not okay, all she gets is a “Christ, Ana.” Ugh.

“It’s Ray–he’s been in an accident.”
“Shit!”
“Yes. I am on my way to Portland.”

Has E.L. James EVER HEARD TWO HUMAN BEINGS HAVE A CONVERSATION.

“My dad’s hurt.”
“SHIT.”
“Yes.”

black widow really

Christian apparently will meet Ana there in 3 hours, because he has a very important, non-specific business meeting with some guys from Taiwan about a “deal” they’ve been “hammering out for months.”

Why do I know nothing about this?

BECAUSE CHRISTIAN DOESN’T SHARE THINGS WITH YOU. BECAUSE HE LIKES TO CONTROL YOU, AND DOESN’T OPEN UP TO YOU, AND YOU’RE INVOLVED IN A VERY UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP, CONGRATU-FUCKING-LATIONS.

“omgggg why doesn’t my extremely emotionally (and sometimes physically) abusive husband share things with meee???”

Because he’s a piece of shit, Ana.

ALSO. WHAT THE FUCK BUSINESS DOES CHRISTIAN EVEN FUCKING DO.

FUN FACT, KIDS: TO MAKE YOUR CHARACTERS BELIEVABLE, DO SOME FUCKING RESEARCH.

If they’re in “business,” maybe spend 2 seconds of time and FIGURE OUT WHAT FUCKING KIND OF BUSINESS THEY DO, AND THEN TALK TO SOMEONE IN THAT BUSINESS SO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW IT WORKS AND CAN MAKE THAT CHARACTER’S LIFE AND EXPERIENCES MORE BELIEVABLE.

You cannot (or should not be able to…) get away with half-assing character development like this. It’s lazy, and it’s bullshit, and it’s boring. If we knew what kind of “business” Christian did, we would understand more about him and his day-to-day experiences. But, of course, if we knew what kind of business he did, his unrealistically high paycheck wouldn’t make sense, because you’re placing him in a world that is too real, as opposed to placing him in this fantasy world where people can just make billions of dollars per second doing “business” and people with a degree in English (and without an email address) can just waltz in and get a major publishing job in a matter of days.

Basically this whole book is bullshit fantasy escapism and it’s terrible. I more easily believe in Tolkien’s always-saves-the-day Eagle bullshit than I believe in any of this.

Oh, and of course Christian is going to FLY to Portland, even though the last time he flew he almost died (except not really, because his helicopter crashed and he LITERALLY didn’t get a scratch on him). So now Ana is freaking out about that too.

Ana arrives at the hospital and sees Mr. Rodriguez and José. Mr. Rodriguez is in a cast, but seems otherwise fine. Ana starts crying and José puts his arms around her and strokes her hair. I’m sure THAT will go over well with Christian.

Apparently Mr. Rodriguez, José and Ray were on a fishing trip, when they were hit by a drunk driver, who hit the passenger side of the car, where Ray was sitting. They have no idea how he’s doing, apparently.

Now Ana’s cold, so José puts his jacket on her shoulders.

I’m so glad E.L. James used a severe car accident as a plot device to set up a jealous meeting between José and Christian. Like…are you kidding me? If that’s honestly what this is leading up to I’m going to lose my mind. And I’m sure Christian will get mad at Ana for no reason and use sex to punish her for having a male friend.

WOOPS and now Ana and José are holding hands. Mr. Rodriguez is holding her other hand, BUT STILL. The potential drama is PALPABLE.

Oh but they stopped, because Sawyer (another bodyguard) brought Ana tea. But then they end up holding hands again.

BUT THEN…

Christian strides in. His face darkens momentarily when he notices my hand in José’s.

awwww shiiit

Ana runs into his arms and is all comforted and whatever. Christian asks what the deal is, and they fill him in. He then sits down with Ana.

“Have you eaten?” he asks.
I shake my head.
“Are you hungry?”
I shake my head.
“But you’re cold?” he asks, eyeing José’s jacket.
He shifts in his chair, but wisely says nothing.

Oh wow, Christian is full of surprises this chapter! That’s twice now that I expected him to lose his shit, and he appears to be just mildly uncomfortable! I’m literally in shock right now.

But more importantly, what the fuck is that line of questioning? It sounds like he’s confused that she’s both not hungry AND cold. Like those two things rarely occur together or something. “You’re not hungry…but you’re cold???” *BRAIN EXPLODES*

A doctor comes in and asks Ana if she’s Ray’s next of kin.

“I’m his daughter, Ana.”
“Miss Steele–”
“Mrs. Grey,” Christian interrupts him.

WHY ARE YOU INTERRUPTING THE FUCKING DOCTOR, CHRISTIAN??? I KNOW YOU WANT EVERYONE TO KNOW THAT YOU’VE PEED IN A CIRCLE AROUND ANA AND SHE’S THEREFORE YOUR PROPERTY, BUT I THINK THERE ARE *SLIGHTLY* MORE IMPORTANT THINGS TO TALK ABOUT RIGHT NOW.

Apparently Ray is stable, but in critical condition. He’s suffered several severe internal injuries, and had severe contusions to the head, and had to be put in a coma while they monitor the brain swelling. Christian asks what the prognosis is, and the doctor says it’s possible Ray could make a complete recovery (which I’m sure he will, because this is Magic Christmas Land of Miracles), but it’s “in God’s hands now.”

The doctor leaves, and then so do Mr. Rodriguez and José. Ana gives José his jacket back, and Christian has Sawyer drive the two home, leaving Ana and Christian alone in the waiting room.

Ana asks how the helicopter was, and Christian says “she was yar,” which is apparently a reference to a movie, The Philadelphia Story.

“I don’t know it.”
“I think I have it on Blu-Ray at home. We can watch it and make out.” He kisses my hair and I smile once more.

DUDE, HER DAD MIGHT HAVE FUCKING BRAIN DAMAGE. HOLD OFF WITH YOUR “Netflix and Chill” BULLSHIT.

Ana asks about the Taiwan thing, and apparently Christian bought a shipyard over there, because it’s cheaper to do whatever businessy things he needs to do over there. I’m glad that even in Magic Christmas Land of Miracles outsourcing and the exploitation of under-paid workers by rich white assholes is still a thing. We can’t suspend our belief TOO much, now can we.

They go check on Ray. This whole section is written as several short paragraphs describing the scene, separated by Ana thinking “Daddy” in italics every few lines.

I say again: calling him “daddy” doesn’t make us give a singular shit about him.

Better idea: Why not take this time to give us some flashbacks of Ana’s time growing up with Ray? SHOW US their relationship, rather than just telling us that we’re supposed to care. MAKE US CARE. You don’t get to take shortcuts with this stuff.

Or apparently you DO get to take shortcuts, because this awful book has made TONS of money, despite it’s GLARING flaws in writing and story. So apparently there are no rules for writing! Who gives a shit! Write whatever you want, make it sexy, and you’ll make millions!

ass trophy

Christian leaves Ana alone with unconscious Ray, because he has to “make a phone call.” Probably to do more unexplained “business.” I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if his “business” was just selling sex slaves. To be honest, that makes 100% more sense than anything else.

Ana starts telling Ray all about her trip to Aspen, and plans an imaginary fishing trip for Ray and Christian to go on. Again, this interaction is basically meaningless, and it would be way more interesting to see Ana going “Hey, dad, remember that time…?” and telling a story about their relationship, because then at least we would see WHY she cares so much about this man who is not her biological father. But of course, this is E.L. James, not a writer who cares about telling a good story, so instead we get an empty interaction.

Christian persuades Ana to leave for the night, and they go to the suite at the hotel where Ana and Christian first got together. Ana wants to take a bath, and they head into the bedroom to get to the bathroom. Ana is, understandably, pretty numb and upset about the whole Ray-might-have-brain-damage-and-is-in-a-coma thing.

“Oh, Ana,” Christian murmurs. “I’ve not seen you like this. You’re normally so brave and strong.”

are you fucking kidding me

First of all, when has she been brave and strong? When she’s trying not to cry because you’re beating her and she feels like she can’t say no because she “loves” you? When she stands up to you for 2 seconds before ultimately backing down in the face of your threats of (often sexual) abuse?

Second, HER DAD IS IN A FUCKING COMA AND MIGHT HAVE BRAIN DAMAGE?! WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU EXPECT, CHRISTIAN?

I swear to fucking GOD, if they bone right now, while Ana is this emotionally wrecked, I am going to LOSE MY ENTIRE FUCKING MIND.

They’re taking a bath together…but surprisingly all they do is talk? They eventually get out, and find bags of clothes (recently purchased by Taylor, Christian’s other body guard) for them in the bedroom. And…they put them on! This chapter literally could not be more surprising!

Apparently tomorrow is Ana’s birthday. Ugh. I’m sure we’ll get some truly vomit-inducing birthday sex out of that one.

They go visit Ray again before visiting hours end. José is there again, and he and Christian eye each other warily, but do nothing. José says Ray is doing well, and promises to come back tomorrow, and wants to know if Ana will be there. She assures him that they will be.

José eyes Christian quickly then pulls me into a brief hug. “Mañana.”

I don’t think E.L. James has ever encountered an actual Mexican person in her entire fucking life. Why the FUCK would José, a bilingual citizen of the United States, randomly use the Spanish word for “tomorrow” when talking to his white, non-Spanish-speaking friend? OH RIGHT, IT’S ALMOST LIKE HE’S A RACIST CARICATURE OF A MEXICAN PERSON, BECAUSE E.L. JAMES CAN’T BE BOTHERED TO EVEN DO RUDIMENTARY RESEARCH ON HOW PEOPLE TALK TO EACH OTHER, SO INSTEAD SHE RELIES ON RACIST TROPES AND STEREOTYPES TO DRIVE HOME THE IDEA THAT HER CAST OF CHARACTERS IS SOoOoOoOoO DIVERSE BECAUSE IT INCLUDES A SINGULAR NON-WHITE PERSON.

These books are so awful about glorifying abuse that most people don’t see or tend to forget how blatantly racist things get.

[Fun fact: this is the place where WordPress pretended to delete this entire post without saving it. I somehow managed to get it back, and I’m not sure how, but you can thank the Technology Gods for giving you this post, because I was about to rage quit, I was so fucking mad. But now it’s ok! The post came back! If you hate-blog something hard enough, it will always come back to you. Remember that, kids.]

While José is walking away, Christian tells Ana that José is still “nuts” about her.

“No he’s not. And even if he is..” I shrug because right now I just don’t care.
Christian gives me a tight smile, and my heart melts.
“Well done,” I murmur.
He frowns.
“For not frothing at the mouth.”
He gapes at me, wounded, but amused, too. “I’ve never frothed.”

GOT judgement

Ah, yes, give Christian a “well done” sticker for not literally murdering your male friend who gave you a friendly hug in a time of stress/grief/need. Good job, Christian, what a nice guy.

They go see Ray, and SURPRISE, Christian’s mom, Grace, is there. Apparently she went to school with Ray’s doctor. But she’s not helping with Ray’s treatment, so I don’t really know why she’s there??? But talking to her and Ray’s doctor makes Ana feel better, so at least that’s good.

They head back to the hotel, with Ana seeming “brighter,” according to Christian. He tells her that she should get some sleep.

He’s right. I’m so tired. It’s been an emotional day. I crane my head around and gaze at him a beat. We’re not going to make love? And I’m relieved. In fact, he’s had a totally hands-off approach with me all day. I wonder if I should be alarmed by this turn of events, but since my inner goddess has left the building and taken my libido with her, I’ll think about it in the morning.

Good job, Christian! You managed to reign in your furious libido for a good several hours! What a good husband!

But Ana, why the fuck would you be alarmed? You realize you don’t have to have sex with Christian every day for him to love you, right? You can, you know, not have sex for a day or two and he won’t dump you…or at least he shouldn’t dump you, but who fucking knows.

“Promise me something,” he says softly.
“Hmm?” It’s a question that I’m too tired to articulate.
“Promise me you’ll eat something tomorrow. I can just about tolerate you wearing another man’s jacket without frothing at the mouth, but, Ana…you must eat. Please.”

Ughhhh, AGAIN with the treating Ana like a child thing. Like, she’s a grown woman, you can’t force her to eat? You can ask her to eat but like…she’s going through a lot, maybe try to be supportive instead of saying she HAS to eat to please you? Like, I get it, he’s being concerned, and he has a weird thing about food (which I guess is supposed to count as character development…), but the way he frames this is just weird. Why is he bringing up the Jacket thing? Is he going to get pissed off at Ana and force her to eat? Like…that’s fucked up?

Ana thanks Christian for being there with her.

“Where else would I be? I want to be wherever you are, Ana. Being here makes me think of how far we’ve come. And the night I first slept with you. What a night that was. I watched you for hours. You were just…yar,” he breathes.

First of all, no one cares about his bizarre movie reference. Referencing pop culture is 99% a bad idea, unless you can do it REALLY well and make it fit the story (see Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One for an excellent example of pop culture references done right). So this “yar” thing is useless, and no one really gets what it means, and honestly it cheapens what’s supposed to be a sweet moment.

Secondly…WHY DID YOU WATCH HER FOR HOURS. THAT’S FUCKING CREEPY. GTFO. If someone told me they watched me for hours I would CALL THE FUCKING POLICE AND/OR MACE THEIR FUCKING FACE. That’s creepy and stalkerish and is only ok if you’re watching the person in order to wake them up in the event of a Freddie Kruger attack. That is the ONLY ACCEPTABLE SITUATION FOR THAT BEHAVIOR.

But, we all knew Christian was a creepy fuck from the beginning, so none of this is shocking.

Christian tells Ana to go to sleep, and she does.

End of Chapter Seventeen

WHEW. We got there boys and girls. I can’t tell you how furious I was when I thought I had lost 2 hours worth of work. That setback almost cost another week of delays, because I honestly just didn’t have the mental stability to pull another 2 hours of rage-blogging out of my ass, and wouldn’t have been able to retype the post for several days, at best.

BUT, the gods of technology have smiled on us this day.

So, with chapter 17 done, we’ve got a total of 12 chapters left of this festival of nightmares (which includes 8 regular chapters, an epilogue, and 3 bonus chapters, which are relatively short mega-blasts of utter drivel, so those’ll be fun). We’re getting closer! With the end (almost) in sight, hopefully I’ll be getting these posts out more regularly, but again, no guarantees.

I can’t apologize enough for all the delays I’ve put you guys through. For those of you still here, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. You guys make this shitstorm worth braving.

Caitlin Liveblogs Fifty Shades Freed: Chapter 16

[disclaimer: I don’t own any of the gifs used in this post. If you see a gif that you created and would either like credit for it or would like it taken down, please let me know.]

This whole series is literally exhausting. I also just heard that E.L. James wants to publish a how-to guide for writing. Is this how the world ends? Because that’s sure what it feels like this all is leading to.

ANYWAY. Let’s do a recap, because I seem to have willfully forgotten everything that happened in the last chapter.

RECAP: So Ana and Christian are still in Aspen with their friends. The last chapter opened with them discussing the whole “some guy danced with/was very creepy towards Ana and she slapped him and then Christian punched him” thing. And then they discuss the spanking and rough sex stuff they like. And then Christian says that he’d like to “subdue” Ana in bed while she “resists” him. So they have gross rape-play sex and it made me really uncomfortable. They go back home, and Ana goes back to work. But she doesn’t REALLY go back to work because she spends all her time emailing Christian. E.L. James uses these emails as a really stupid, boring way to show that time is passing. Cut to a few days in the future, when suddenly Leila (the crazy girl with a gun who showed up in Ana’s apartment and was really weird but at no point actually posed an actual threat) shows up at Ana’s office. THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME.

(No it isn’t)

Chapter Sixteen

So apparently Leila brought a friend with her. But we don’t get to find out who it is or why they’re here yet, because first Ana’s bodyguard, a woman named Prescott, needs to talk to Ana. We find out that Ana has a “proscribed list of visitors,” basically a watch-list of people who shouldn’t be allowed to “come into contact with” Ana. Even though Leila is just mentally ill and doesn’t actually pose a threat to Ana and has been receiving treatment for her mental breakdown. The girl is literally like 100lbs when soaking wet, I doubt she’s a threat to much of anyone, especially when she doesn’t have a gun.

Prescott didn’t even want to let Leila in the building, but she was in the bathroom at the time, and Leila got past her and to the reception. This is all very riveting and I’m so thrilled to be reading this right now. Much excitement. Very wow.

statler and waldorf sleeping

Prescott advises Ana against seeing Leila, but Ana says she wants to know why they came to see her, so finally they agree that Ana will see them, but first Prescott will search them.

My brain is literally liquefying, this is the most boring thing I’ve ever read in my whole life.

Of course Ana emails Christian to tell him about all this, and says not to worry and that she’ll call when the meeting is over. Lol. Christian is going to show up and fucking murder Leila. He is the literal king of overreaction. I have no idea why Ana thinks this email will appease him, but okay.

I stand, smoothing my gray pencil skirt over my hips, pinch my cheeks to give them some color, and undo the next button on my gray silk blouse. Okay, I’m ready.

Uh…are you going to…seduce them? “My husband’s ex-submissive who once pointed a gun at me is here to see me. Better look as sexy as possible to protect myself!” What the fuck.

I know, I know, she’s trying to intimidate Leila by showing her how sexy and cool Ana is, but like…come on, man. It’s not a contest. It couldn’t be LESS of a contest. You married the guy. I do not understand anything about this.

Leila looks much better. More than better–she’s very attractive. There’s a rosy bloom to her cheeks, and her brown eyes are bright, her hair clean and shiny.

lesbian

LITERALLY ANA COULD NOT BE MORE OF A LESBIAN. She’s VIOLENTLY IN LOVE with Kate, and now she appears to have fallen head-over-heels for Leila. No wonder Ana wanted to flash a little cleavage. Someone write some Ana/Leila fics ASAP.

So apparently the other girl (who also has dark hair) is named Susi, and she was also a former submissive of Christian’s. While Ana invites them to sit, her secretary says that Christian is on the phone and was “very insistent.” Cool, Christian. Let your wife handle something on her own for once in her life. Although idk why Ana even told him anything, she had to know that he’d freak out.

So Susi says that she wanted to meet “the woman who captured Christian.” Because apparently he’s a mythical creature that requires capturing. We also learn that they call themselves the “sub club.” Which is…a weird phrase. Subway needs to copyright that phrase as soon as possible.

But then Susi leaves? Because this whole meeting is Leila’s show? But before Leila can say anything…Christian calls Prescott. Who gives the phone to Ana.

“What the fuck are you playing at?” he shouts. He’s seething.

Oh yes, good, scream at your wife for meeting with someone before getting your permission. It must be really hard for her to get through her work day, since she’s not allowed to talk to anyone without you giving the OK first.

Seriously, this controlling, manipulative bullshit is so out of control. How do people read this and go “ah, yes, perfect, this is the man for me!”

“I gave specific instructions which you have completely disregarded–again. Hell, Ana, I am fucking furious.”

YOU DIDN’T EVEN GIVE ANA THOSE INSTRUCTIONS. YOU GAVE THOSE INSTRUCTIONS TO HER BODY GUARD, AND ONCE AGAIN KEPT ANA OUT OF THE LOOP, BECAUSE YOU EXPECT HER TO JUST FOLLOW YOUR ORDERS. WHY DON’T YOU TRY GIVING ANA ALL THE INFORMATION YOU HAVE AND THEN ALLOWING HER TO MAKE HER OWN GODDAMNED DECISIONS BASED ON THAT INFORMATION?? SHE IS A GROWN-ASS ADULT WHO CAN MAKE HER OWN GODDAMNED DECISIONS.

“When you’re calmer, we will talk about this.”
“Don’t you hang up on me,” he hisses.
“Goodbye, Christian.” I hang up and switch off Prescott’s phone.

clapping joel mchale

I…I can’t believe it! Ana was being reasonable and openly defied Christian’s wishes! THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE.

Holy Shit. I don’t have long with Leila.

you just know he's gonna kill you

Like she LITERALLY KNOWS THIS. She knows Christian is going to come to her office and flip the fuck out all because she’s talking to someone he decided she shouldn’t be allowed to talk to. What is Christian afraid of? That Ana will get hurt? Ana took down Jack Hyde, a guy who was bigger and (probably) stronger than her. I think she can handle little waif-like Leila. But it won’t even come to that, because Christian’s already given Ana a body guard. Who’s already made sure Leila has no weapons. So…calm the fuck down, Christian.

So Leila says she wants to apologize and to thank Ana for not pressing charges for the whole breaking-into-Ana’s-apartment thing. She’s not supposed to be here, but she had to get some things, and she wanted to see Susi, and she also wanted to see Ana and Mr. Grey. She wants to ask Ana if that’s okay.

I gape at her, and I want to tell her that it’s not okay. I don’t want her anywhere near my husband. Why is she here? To assess the opposition? To unsettle me? Or perhaps she needs this as some sort of closure?

“A girl is here to see my husband! SHE’S TRYING TO STEAL HIM AWAY!!! Or maybe she’s just being very reasonable and wants to see him to get some closure and move on…BUT SHE’S PROBABLY TRYING TO STEAL HIM AWAY!”

Come on, Ana.

“Leila.” I flounder, exasperated. “It’s not up to me, it’s up to Christian. You’ll need to ask him. He doesn’t need my permission. He’s a grown man…most of the time.”

If only Christian could give Ana this kind of respect. Also Christian is FOR SURE not a grown man. He is a giant baby.

Apparently Christian has refused all of Leila’s attempts to see him, and all Leila wants is to thank Christian for getting her the proper treatment after her “psychotic episode.”

To my surprise, I feel no ill will toward her. It’s a revelation, and I’m glad she’s better.

“Society has told me I should hate all other women, especially my husband’s exes, but weirdly I don’t! THAT’S SO STRANGE, IT’S ALMOST LIKE HATING OTHER WOMEN JUST BECAUSE THEY’VE TOUCHED YOUR HUSBAND’S PENIS IS A RIDICULOUS WAY TO LIVE YOUR LIFE.”

Seriously. Stop the girl hate. It’s very silly and not worth it.

Ana finds out that Leila was just in town to pick up her belongings that Susi had, and then she plans to return to the East coast and continue painting. Apparently Christian already owns several of Leila’s paintings, and just never told Ana about it, because keeping secrets from his wife is literally his favorite thing to do.

Leila then starts talking about how she loved her boyfriend, the one who died earlier this year, which was the event that caused her breakdown. She also had a husband, who she loved…but I thought she left her husband for her boyfriend? I have no idea what the fuck is happening.

“I loved my husband…and one other,” she murmurs.

“MY DOG. I LOVED MY DOG SO MUCH. CAN YOU GET ME A NEW DOG, PLEASE? GOD, WHY EVEN HAVE HUSBANDS WHEN YOU CAN HAVE DOGS. LIKE SERIOUSLY.”

^The dialogue that should have happened.

“My husband.” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them.

How the fuck does Christian con so many women into falling in love with them when he CLEARLY doesn’t care about any of them as actual people? He only sees women as property? And all of these women are like “OMG SO ROMANTIC I AM SO IN LOVE WOW”. I do not get it.

“I know. He’s very easy to love,” I whisper.

what the fuck jay z beyonce

I don’t…

I…

No. Just…no.

So Leila’s whole plan, it turns out, was to basically see Ana and thus lure Christian there to see her, because she knew he would freak out and rush over once he knew Ana was disobeying him. And this is the man they’re both violently in love with. Please, someone explain this to me.

WHOOOPS Christian just showed up.

Christian’s burning gray gaze pins first me then Leila to our chairs. His demeanor is quietly determined, but I know better, and I suspect Leila does, too. The menacing cool glint in his eyes reveals the truth–he’s emanating rage, though he hides it well. In his gray suit, with his dark tie loosened and the top button of his white shirt undone, he looks at once businesslike and casual…and hot.

judging nicolas cage

…excuse me? The man who just DISRUPTED HIS ENTIRE WORK DAY, WITH THE SOLE PURPOSE OF DISCIPLINING YOU FOR BREAKING A RULE YOU NEVER KNEW EXISTED, is…hot? His frothing rage is attractive?

WHAT

THE

FUCK

IS

WRONG

WITH

YOU.

Oh, and Christian immediately fires Prescott. What a nice guy. He then threatens to take away all of the things he’s given Leila (doctors, art school, medical insurance…) if she comes near Ana again. Such a generous guy! So nice!

“Christian–” I try again. But he silences me with a chilling look. Why is he being so unreasonable?

Because he IS unreasonable. He’s an asshole. I don’t know why it’s been 2.5 books and you still haven’t figured this out.

He then says he’ll have someone take Leila to the airport, and she’s not allowed to take one step “west of the Mississippi.” Lol okay, that’s reasonable. Leila, however, is loving this, because apparently when you’re a submissive you just love it when people are assholes to you and control every aspect of your life even when you’re no longer in a dom/sub relationship with them. Because that’s how BDSM works! You give someone total control over your entire life forever, and you can never take it back! FUN!

So then Leila leaves. And Christian turns on Ana, and is super pissed off, as always.

“You promised you wouldn’t do this.” Now his tone is accusatory.
“Do what?”
“Defy me.”
“No I didn’t. I said I’d be more considerate. I told you she was here. I had Prescott search her, and your other little friend, too. Prescott was with me the entire time. Now you’ve fired the poor woman, when she was only doing what I asked. I told you not to worry, yet here you are. I don’t remember receiving your papal bull decreeing that I couldn’t see Leila. I didn’t know that my visitors were subject to a proscribed list.”

FUCK YEAH. GO OFF, ANA.

…Except Christian just hears that and suddenly is fine. Another of his scary, constant mood swings. Seriously, she never knows when he’s going to switch from mad to sad to happy, and that’s not good. He is an active nightmare.

Ana calls him out on being a jerk to Leila, and she asks him why he was so callous towards her.

“Anastasia,” he says, as if to a child. “You don’t understand. Leila, Susannah–all of them–they were a pleasant, diverting pastime. But that’s all. You are the center of my universe. And the last time you two were in a room together, she had you at gunpoint. I don’t want her anywhere near you.”

“Listen, little baby wifey poo, you just don’t understand! These women were basically objects to me, toys to play with and throw away, and therefore I can’t be callous towards them because they’re not people! Silly Ana, thinking that women are people again.”

Like, how the fuck does that even answer the question, Christian? And why are you being so fucking patronizing???

Ana brings up the fact that Leila was ill, and now she’s better, so it’s fine, but to Christian it still isn’t fine.

“I don’t want you tainted with my old life.”

Stop talking about your past BDSM relationships as if they were some dirty, terrible thing? I mean, the way YOU did them, they WERE terrible, but that’s because you’re a terrible person. Christian acts like his relationships with his subs were these sinful things, and then he meets Ana and it’s all pure and good, even though he still does all the BDSM stuff with Ana? I just don’t understand his character development (or lack thereof) at all.

“Christian…you are who you are because of your old life, your new life, whatever. What touches you, touches me. I accepted that when I agreed to marry you, because I love you.”

YOU SHOULD HAVE HAD THIS CONVERSATION BEFORE YOU GOT MARRIED BUT OKAY.

“She didn’t hurt me. She loves you, too.”
“I don’t give a fuck.”

What a nice guy!

“Look, Christian, I don’t think Leila and I will be swapping recipes and knitting patterns any time soon.”

The gender roles are strong with this one.

“But I didn’t think you’d be so heartless to her.”
His eyes frost. “I told you once, I don’t have a heart,” he mutters.

UUUUGGGHHH THIS IS GETTING SO OLD.

WE KNOW YOU HATE YOURSELF, CHRISTIAN. I HATE YOU TOO. CONGRATULATIONS. GET OVER IT.

Also you clearly do have a heart because you’re in love with Ana? None of what you’re saying makes any sense. I get it, you hate yourself, and your low self-esteem is very tragic and understandable, but that doesn’t excuse your fucking actions. You’re still a terrible person, regardless of what happened to you in the past.

uuuuuuggggggggghhhhhhhh and now Ana is trying to convince Christian that he does have a heart and is worth loving.

star wars look at all the fucks I don't give

star wars look at them anakin

I could not give less fucks right now.

[also May the Fourth be with you.]

“This discussion is over. Let’s go home.”
I glance at my watch. It’s four twenty-three. I have work to do. “It’s too early,” I mutter.
“Home,” he insists.

CHRISTIAN YOU DON’T GET TO FUCKING DICTATE WHEN ANA LEAVES WORK. YOU’RE NOT HER FUCKING BOSS (technically…even though you own the company…) YOU’RE NOT FUCKING ALLOWED TO JUST ORDER HER TO GO HOME.

“I’m tired of having the same argument with you.”
He frowns, as if he doesn’t understand.
“You know,” I elucidate, “I do something you don’t like, and you think of some way to get back at me. Usually involving some of your kinky fuckery, which is either mind-blowing or cruel.” I shrug, resigned. This is exhausting and confusing.

THIS IS TEXTBOOK SIGNS OF AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.

CHRISTIAN BLAMES ANA FOR HIS OWN ABUSIVE BEHAVIOR. HE ACTS LIKE HE HAS TO PUNISH HER FOR DISOBEYING HIM, EVEN THOUGH HE NEVER TOLD HER WHAT THE RULES WERE SO HOW CAN SHE KNOW WHEN SHE’S DISOBEYING HIM?

THIS BOOK ROMANTICIZES AN ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP.

I DON’T KNOW HOW MANY MORE TIMES I CAN SAY THIS.

“Mind-blowing?” he asks.
What?
“Usually, yes.”
“What was mind-blowing?” he asks, his eyes now shimmering with amused sensual curiosity.

FUCK YOU CHRISTIAN. YOU ARE COMPLETELY DERAILING THIS ENTIRE CONVERSATION BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO OWN UP TO THE FACT THAT YOU’RE AN ABUSIVE PIECE OF SHIT.

AND THEN THEY JUST START TALKING ABOUT ALL THE “KINKY FUCKERY” THAT ANA LIKED. AND THEY COMPLETELY IGNORE THE VERY IMPORTANT DISCUSSION THEY WERE JUST HAVING.

FUCK.

Oh for the love of god, now Christian is suggesting that they have kinky sex IN ANA’S OFFICE. WHILE HER STAFF IS STILL VERY MUCH IN THE BUILDING, IN FACT THEY ARE RIGHT OUTSIDE HER OFFICE DOOR.

Then Ana has a weird daydream about Christian leaving her behind just the way he left Leila behind.

“No…” The words are out of my mouth in whispered horror before I can stop them.
“Yes,” he says, and grasping my chin, he leans down and plants a tender kiss on my lips.

HAS E.L. JAMES NEVER FUCKING HEARD OF CONSENT BEFORE IN HER ENTIRE LIFE? ANA CLEARLY SAID NO, AND THEN CHRISTIAN SAYS YES AND KISSES HER, AND THAT’S SO GROSS AND CREEPY AND I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY ANYMORE.

“Oh, Christian, you scare me sometimes.”

YEAH BECAUSE HE’S A SCARY PIECE OF SHIT WHO DOESN’T CARE ABOUT CONSENT OR ANY OF THE RULES OF BDSM RELATIONSHIPS.

OH, BUT SHE’S NOT SCARED BECAUSE OF HIS MOOD SWINGS, OR ANY OF HIS OTHER TERRIFYING PERSONALITY TRAITS.

“You could turn away from her so easily…”
He frowns. “And you think I might turn away from you, Ana? Why the hell would you think that?”

ANA HE IS A PSYCHOPATH WHO TREATS WOMEN LIKE OBJECTS AND WANTS TO CONTROL YOUR ENTIRE LIFE AND WANTS TO PUNISH YOU WHENEVER YOU DISOBEY ONE OF HIS ARBITRARY RULES. HE IS AN ABUSIVE FUCKHEAD AND YOU SHOULD BE AFRAID OF HIM HURTING YOU. YOU SHOULD NOT BE AFRAID OF HIM LEAVING YOU. THAT SHOULD BE THE LAST THING YOU’RE WORRIED ABOUT. THAT WOULD ACTUALLY BE A BLESSING.

Oh, but now she wants him to kiss her and take her home. Because she can’t actually stand up to him for 2 fucking seconds without backing down. Fuck.

uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuUUUGGGHHHH AND THEN IT CUTS RIGHT TO A SEX SCENE.

WHY.

WHY AM I TORTURING MYSELF LIKE THIS.

Ugh he has her tied up and is teasing her and then eating her out. Cool. But she’s not allowed to orgasm? I literally don’t care. I think I’m one of the few people reading these books for the awful, awful plot, and all these sex scenes are just gross and boring, and they’re all basically the same.

The sex is mind-blowing, as per usual. Good for them.

But afterwards, Ana demands that Christian admit that he still cares about Leila’s well-being. Because apparently she needs to know this because if he DOESN’T care then he’s just a heartless bastard. I mean, even I know he’s not a heartless bastard, he’s just a regular bastard. He very much has a heart, he’s just a nightmare.

And now we get another set of flirty emails while they’re at work, talking about how great their sex is. Cool. I literally could not care less.

While at work, Ana gets a call from José’s dad, Mr. Rodriguez.

“Honey, I’m sorry to call you at work. It’s Ray.” His voice falters.
“What is it? What’s happened?” My heart leaps into my throat.
“Ray’s been in an accident.”
Oh, no. Daddy. I stop breathing.
“He’s in the hospital. You’d better get here quick.”

End of Chapter Sixteen

Ugh, can we please stop doing this? Stop injuring/killing people just to manufacture drama in your boring, plot-driven story? I mean, if a character gets injured or killed fine, it’s whatever, but this feels SUPER FORCED, and it feels like E.L. James knew her story was getting boring and had to spice it up a little bit, and instead of making it interesting by developing her characters better, she decides to throw in a big plot event to try and cling to what little interest her readers have left.

We haven’t heard anything about Ray in MANY chapters. If this accident is supposed to be an important plot point that WASN’T just invented to manufacture fake drama, we should have heard about Ray far more recently. Even if Ana just mentioned something about him, like she thought about him in this chapter, or she thought about how she is meaning to call him, that would make this plot twist better, because this accident wouldn’t just come out of left field and blind-side the reader.

Basically, this accident with Ray is a cheap trick that James is using to try and sustain the reader’s interest because she knows that her characters are boring and under-developed and her plot in this book is bland and all over the place. This is a very fanfiction-y problem to have.

But I guess we’ll have to wait until the next chapter to see how truly awful this plot is going to end up being.

Thank you guys SO MUCH for all your patience, as always! No guarantees on when the next chapter will be out…hopefully before the end of the month, but lord knows I’m terrible at updating this. But I must charge forward! For you readers! And for the good of the realm!

Thanks for reading! Up next…chapter 17…out of 25 total chapters (plus an epilogue…plus 3 bonus chapters…ugh).

Caitlin Liveblogs Fifty Shades Freed: Chapter 15

[disclaimer: I don’t own any of the gifs used in this post. If you see a gif that you created and would either like credit for it or would like it taken down, please let me know.]

God I hate these books. But, the show must go on! So here’s another chapter.

RECAP: Elliot proposes to Kate, and she says yes (what a shocker). They go to a club and the girls sexy-dance while the boys stay sitting. While Ana is dancing, she feels someone come up and start dancing behind her, and she thinks it’s Christian, but it’s NOT CHRISTIAN, it’s some blonde douchebag. Ana gets really mad and demands that he stop touching her, to which the douchebag replies: “Come on, Sugar, it’s just some fun.” Ana slaps him (thank GOD), and then immediately Christian is there and punches the guy. Ana then starts feeling bad for asserting her right to personal space and insists that the REAL reason she slapped the guy was because she knew that Christian would be mad that someone touched his property. Because “wife” means “property of man” apparently. The group leaves the club, and apparently Ana is trashed. Christian puts her to bed and then goes to make some phone calls. Ana thinks about how they’ve made “progress,” although clearly no progress has been made and honestly I think that’s just drunk-brain talking.

It’s only 2 in the afternoon but I honestly might go open a beer to get through this chapter…

Chapter Fifteen

Ana wakes up and is magically not hungover from the night before. Are you kidding me? She was too drunk to take off her goddamned shoes, and she wakes up feeling fine?

I drank too much–boy did I drink too much. I’m amazed Christian let me.

Oh right, your husband also controls what you eat and drink! What a healthy, non-manipulative relationship! Hah hah hah! #whatthefuck

I smile as I remember him putting me to bed. That was sweet, real sweet, and unexpected.

What the fuck did you expect him to do, leave you on the floor somewhere? How the fuck are you surprised that he put you to bed when you were wasted. On what planet is that “unexpected” from your goddamned husband. Let’s all give Christian a sticker to congratulate him for being a DECENT FUCKING HUMAN BEING. WOW, SO IMPRESSIVE.

They start discussing what happened last night, and Christian is still mad that some guy touched Ana, which is how anyone should react to a situation like that, but since I know that he’s mad because some guy touched his property and isn’t mad because someone invaded his wife’s personal space and touched her without her permission, he’s still a fucking asshole. Right emotion, wrong motive.

Ana of course downplays the whole event, probably because she’s scared of what he’ll do to her if he remains angry. They talk about how her palm is still red and sore because of her slapping that guy, and this leads into a conversation about Christian spanking Ana, which I really hope doesn’t happen because I honestly can’t stomach any gross, manipulative sex right now.

“That’s quite a right arm you have there, Mrs. Grey.”
“You’d do well to remember that, Mr. Grey.”
“Oh really?” He rolls suddenly so that he’s fully on top of me, pressing me into the mattress, holding my wrists above my head. He gazes down at me.
“I’d fight you any day, Mrs. Grey. In fact, subduing you in bed is a fantasy of mine.”

let me stop you right there

Ughhhhhhhh this whole relationship is a goddamned mess. Of course you fantasize about subduing your wife in bed, because you get off on CONTROLLING AND HARMING WOMEN.

“I thought you subdued me all the time.” I gasp as he nibbles my earlobe.
“Hmm…but I’d like some resistance,” he murmurs, his nose skirting my jaw.

You only want “resistance” so you can feel more in-control, Christian. I get that this is a pretty popular fantasy for a lot of people, but given your past history of abuse, manipulation and dangerous fantasies/tendencies, something tells me that this “fantasy” goes a lot further than just play. In fact, wanting “resistance” makes this seem an awful lot like a rape fantasy, which, coming from Christian, is REALLY FUCKING SCARY.

What’s this about? Brawling? Fantasy? Will he hurt me? My inner goddess shakes her head–Never.

HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ABOUT ALL THE TIMES HE HAS ACTUALLY HURT YOU? LIKE THE BELT? HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN THE TIME WHEN HE BEAT YOU WITH A BELT SO HARD IT MADE YOU BREAK UP WITH HIM?

If you’re married to someone and you constantly wonder “will they hurt me?” YOU NEED TO LEAVE THAT PERSON. THAT IS A DANGEROUS PERSON. THIS IS NOT ROMANTIC, GOD DAMMIT.

Ugh, now they’re going to “play” and Ana is going to resist him. Ughhhhhhhh.

[I’m going to put a trigger warning here for rape, because this next part might be hard for some people to read. Lord knows I’m having enough trouble typing it.]

Christian makes a low, sexy sound in his throat and moves, tossing me onto the bed beside him. I cry out in surprise, then he’s on top of me, and I start to struggle as he makes a grab for my hands. Roughly, I place my hands on his chest, pushing with all my might, trying to move him, while he endeavors to pry my legs apart with his knee.
I continue pushing at his chest–jeez he’s heavy– but he doesn’t flinch, doesn’t freeze as he once might have. He’s enjoying this! He attempts to grab my wrists, and finally captures one, despite my valiant attempt to twist it free. It’s my sore hand, so I surrender it to him, but grab his hair with my other hand and pull hard.
“Ah!” He yanks his head free and gazes down at me, his eyes wild and carnal.

Now, again, I know rape-play can be something that occurs in safe, consensual BDSM relationships, and is even a fantasy for some people, but given Christian’s history and temperament, this part of the book is EXTREMELY SCARY. They didn’t discuss any safe-words here, and if she says stop, I have ZERO faith that he’ll actually stop. Ana does seem to be enjoying this playing, and she gave the whole thing the go-ahead from the beginning, so at least this part is consensual, but I’m still very nervous. This whole scene sounds like a vivid description of rape, and that’s alarming.

So after all this, Christian suddenly switches to being tender and gentle, which is very confusing for Ana. She wants some rough sex, and he isn’t giving it to her, so she fights him off and basically demands sex, and Christian complies. This whole interaction is so strange.

Afterwards they talk a little bit about it, and it’s revealed that this particular fantasy never took place with any of Christian’s other submissives, because they weren’t allowed to touch him, while Ana is. Ana brings up the fact that Mrs. Robinson could touch him, and Christian says yes but that was different, specifically “bad different,” and he finally seems to understand that his relationship with Mrs. Robinson was wrong and fucked up, so that’s nice. And then they have sex again, but we don’t have to read about it.

They finally head downstairs, where everyone is having breakfast. Christian is outside talking to one of the housekeepers, and is swinging a cane around for some reason? Mia seems mad at Ethan (Kate’s brother). Kate and Ana gush about how they’re going to be sisters. Yawn. Then they all fly back home.

Lots of uninteresting Ana-Narration happening now. We’re reminded that they have a meeting with Gia, the architect who’s designing their house and who tried to seduce Christian. We’re also reminded that Jack Hyde is still in jail, but may have an accomplice on the loose. Gia tells Ana that it was a coincidence that she was in Aspen at the same time as them, so I guess nothing sneaky was going on with her and Elliot, which is good.

Ana starts thinking about how being with his family seems to relax Christian.

Holy crap! Maybe that’s the answer. Maybe he needs his own family.

“Hmm…my husband has scary, unpredictable mood swings, and I’m never sure if he’s going to hurt me or not…I know what will fix this! Let’s have babies!”

fuck that rpattz

Ana concludes, however, that they’re not ready for a family. Thank. Fucking. God.

Ana asks Christian if he “misses it” (referring to the dom/sub stuff, and the caning and whatnot). Christian says he doesn’t. Ana says she wouldn’t mind “playing” with like a flogger or a riding crop, and Christian says maybe, but “right now, I’d like some good old-fashioned vanilla.”

Ana goes back to work. And what do you know! They immediately start emailing each other. She is a terrible employee. DO YOUR FUCKING JOB, YOU DICK. STOP EMAILING YOUR GODDAMNED HUSBAND EVERY TWO SECONDS.

Apparently the two of them have some fancy dinner to go to at night, and Ana says that she’s sure that Christian will find a way to “spice up the dinner.” Ugh. I’m sure it’ll be gross.

And then we just…skip over the dinner? Apparently they did the silver-balls-trick again, where Ana has them in her hoo-hah all night and apparently it’s all very sexy. We get more emails the next day about how enjoyable it was.

More emails. Apparently Jack Hyde “has been refused bail and remanded in custody. He’s charged with attempted kidnap and arson.” Ana asks if security will be lightened up, but Christian refuses and says “no arguments.” Ana tells him to “stow his twitchy palm,” to which he replies that he might have to “do something” about his twitching palm tonight. Ughhhhhhh.

UGH OH MY GOD WE HAVE TO READ MORE FUCKING EMAILS.

I GET IT. TIME IS PASSING. JUST SKIP THESE DAYS. I DON’T CARE ABOUT THEIR WEIRD EMAIL-FLIRTING AT WORK TALKING ABOUT THEIR SEX LIVES. STOP IT.

Seriously, like 5 days have passed entirely in emails. Also apparently Ana’s birthday is coming up on September 10th, and it’s currently September 5th? Cool. Don’t care.

Hannah taps on my door.
“Come in.”
Prescott is hovering outside. Odd…
“Hi, Ana,” says Hannah. “There’s a Leila Williams here to see you? She says it’s personal.”
“Leila Williams? I don’t know a…” My mouth goes dry, and Hannah’s eyes widen at my expression.
Leila? Fuck. What does she want?

dun dun dun

End of Chapter Fifteen

So Leila is randomly here? That’s…sort of interesting? I guess? Maybe this is where Leila convinces Ana that Christian is a dangerous douche-bottle and Ana runs away with her to join a gang of women who beat up abusive shitbags.

Too bad it’s going to be something INFINITELY more boring.

Thanks for reading, y’all! You guys are all really great. No guarantees on when the next chapter will be up, but I’ll try to do at least two this month. We’ll see how that works out.

Caitlin Liveblogs the Fifty Shades trilogy: A Note on the Movie

So there’s a terrible movie that’s going to come out in 11 days, and I feel like I should say a little something about it before I get into blogging about Chapter 15.

50 Shades of Grey: The Movie is coming out on February 14th, and several people have asked me if I plan to see the movie. Initially, I thought I might see it, maybe wait until it comes to a cheap theater in a few weeks, see it with some friends, sneak in secret alcohol, laugh at the ludicrous nature of the whole thing.

But the more I think about it, the more this whole movie, this whole series, turns my stomach.

Because the bottom line is that these books and that movie do nothing but glorify a very abusive, manipulative, and downright dangerous relationship. And this is coming from someone who has read all 3 books (twice, now, since I read them once for my original tumblr posts and once for this blog), so you can’t tell me that I “don’t know what I’m talking about,” because I do.

Christian Grey is abusive. He stalks Ana, he punishes her for standing up to him, he controls basically every aspect of their sex life, and is an irresponsible and dangerous Dom. He puts Ana in situations where she feels she can’t say no (which means that most of their sexual acts are non-consensual), he controls where she can and can’t go, he consistently scares Ana with his unpredictable mood swings and behavior, he stalks her, he controls what information she has access to, he controls her job, he controls her friends and who she can and cannot see…I mean, god, he even controls what she’s allowed to wear half the time (she needs his permission to go out wearing a short skirt). He treats her as an object, and constantly refers to her as his property.

The worst part is that, since these books are written in Ana’s point of view, you have literally ZERO perspective on this abuse. She’s face-first in the water, talking about how cool and refreshing the water is, when the big-picture is that she’s drowning. Of course Christian is going to seem like the “ideal man” when you hear Ana talk about him, because she’s being manipulated into thinking that way (and she has literally no other experience with men to compare this to, aside from a few short relationships in her past as a teenager). As the reader, you’re forced to put yourself in Ana’s shoes, and thus you’re also being emotionally manipulated by Christian.

Christian constantly scares Ana and makes her too nervous to speak up or fight back, yet all the while Ana keeps saying how much she loves Christian, how beautiful he is, how broken he is, and god, it’s like Stockholm syndrome. At one point he’s being scary and wants to spank Ana (something she’s not very comfortable with), and she literally convinces herself it’s okay because she loves him and “this is for him“. The idea that you should just let someone do something to you because you love them and they “need it” is so fucking dangerous I can’t even begin to explain it. That’s literally textbook abuse.

I’m not going to get into more specific examples of how terrible this relationship is, because this entire blog is full of examples (literally pick a chapter out of a hat — you’ll find abuse there, I can almost guarantee it), and that would be a waste of time.

Suffice it to say that these books are nightmares, and this movie is an even bigger nightmare.

Do not go see this movie.

Do not give any more money to the people who are perpetuating this kind of horrifying abuse. Do not pay any money to these people, even if you’re only seeing the movie as a joke. If you want to watch it for a laugh, wait until it’s available online for free somewhere. But honestly, I doubt this movie is going to be funny. I think this movie is going to be horrifying. If you’re looking for a good laugh, don’t look here.

Domestic violence and abusive relationships are happening every day, all around us, to men and women alike. All these people are actually suffering, and stories like 50 Shades only encourage that.

Instead of seeing 50 Shades of Grey, donate the money you would have spent to an organization working to prevent domestic violence, or to a women’s shelter, or any kind of organization that is fighting to prevent the kind of behavior that is going to be on display in 50 Shades of Grey. If you have any suggestions for organizations that deserve donations, post a link in the comments and I will gladly add links to this post.

Abusive relationships are everywhere. Instead of romanticizing them, let’s put our money towards stopping them.

Caitlin Liveblogs Fifty Shades Freed: Chapter 14

[disclaimer: I don’t own any of the gifs used in this post. If you see a gif that you created and would either like credit for it or would like it taken down, please let me know.]

So, I’m going to try a new format, where each chapter is a single post. This means that each post is going to be longer, but it’ll be easier to find individual chapters, and since I’m posting on WordPress and not on Tumblr (as I did the first time I liveblogged) the length isn’t a problem anymore. I know I’ve done this for short chapters, but I’m going to do this for all chapters from here on out! If you’d like me to go back to my old format (with chapters being broken down into 2+ parts), let me know. Basically I just want to make my blog easier to read for everyone!

Now then, let’s do this.

RECAP: Christian, Ana, and all their friends (who are literally just made up of Christian’s family and the people they’re dating/interested in dating, because Ana isn’t allowed to have friends that aren’t pre-approved by Christian) spontaneously go to Aspen, because when you’re rich motherfuckers you can just take off on random vacations, and you don’t have to worry about how to pay for it either, you can just take a private jet there! God I hate them all. They go to Aspen, and Elliot is acting weird, and Kate’s mad because Elliot is weird (and had a fling with Gia in the past so naturally Elliot is still in love with her or something, idek). Oh, also Christian is a controlling cock-bottle and won’t let Ana do anything (including SKIING. HE WON’T LET HER SKI IN ASPEN) for no reason other than he’s a controlling cock-bottle. The group separates by gender, and the girls go shopping while the boys go fishing (holy gender roles, batman!), except Elliot makes up an excuse to not go fishing. In town, while shopping for HILARIOUSLY overpriced bullshit (like shoes that cost more than I make in a year), Ana sees Elliot meet up with Gia, and it’s weird, but later she tells Christian about it and apparently it’s fine, because Elliot has “fucked half of Seattle.” I don’t even know anymore. Ana puts on a really short dress to go out to the club that night, and surprisingly Christian is okay with it! But first he has to be all sexy and finger her while she’s wearing the dress, to remind her that she’s his property and no one else is allowed to see her vagina, which is a rule that he apparently thought she needed to be reminded of. They go out to dinner, and suddenly at the restaurant Elliot gets on one knee and proposes to Kate. SO SUSPENSEFUL WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN OH MY GOD

Chapter Fourteen

Silence stretches like a taut rubber band.

Ugh. This simile is completely unnecessary. You literally couldn’t think of ANYTHING more interesting to compare the silence to? You picked a rubber band. Really. You’ve never heard of anything else that stretches. Like, okay, using similes and metaphors is great, it adds flavor to the scene, and it can give hints at the characters’ emotions and the atmosphere of the scene. Like, not to toot my own horn or anything, but one time I wrote a story about a young girl playing 7 Minutes in Heaven for the first time in a bedroom with a boy, and I said that the quilted, white bedspread had edges that looked like “alligator teeth.” My goal was to make the reader feel the characters’ anxiety and fear of the situation, to show that suddenly everything in the room was sinister and dangerous, because it’s REALLY SCARY to kiss someone for the first time. You can argue that this was a stupid idea, or that I didn’t execute this very well, but at least I didn’t say “the room felt scary,” or something equally mundane.

Here, E.L. James didn’t even try. What purpose does this simile serve? Does this even tell us ANYTHING about this scene, other than the silence felt long? Cool. The room was silent for awhile, or it felt like awhile. YOU COULDN’T COME UP WITH ANYTHING BETTER THAN A RUBBER BAND? I’d rather you didn’t even try to use a metaphor/simile here at all. You just wasted my time.

Holy crap, Kate! Put him out of his misery. Please.

Yup. Forget her feelings, she’s only MAKING ONE OF THE BIGGEST DECISIONS OF HER LIFE. “Oh, jeez, why are you taking so long to decide if you want to spend the rest of your life with this person? How dare you put him through this agony?”

Fuck that.

A single tear trickles down her cheek though she remains expressionless. Shit! Kate crying? Then she smiles, a slow disbelieving I’ve-found-Nirvana smile.

And then she pulls out a huge shotgun, pulls Ana to her feet, plants a huge kiss on Ana, and then shouts “HEY EVERYONE, THIS IS A STICK-UP! GIVE US ALL OF YOUR MONEY, NOW!” Ana and Kate collect all of the other customers’ valuables, Kate puts Elliot’s ring on Ana’s finger, and they snowmobile off into the sunset to go live on a tropical island that they buy with their new riches.

Ugh, if only it actually happened that way. Instead, we get:

“Yes,” she whispers, a breathy, sweet acceptance–not Kate-like at all.

Oh good. I’m glad the moral of this story is that Kate entirely changes who she is for a guy she wants to marry. That’s a lovely message to send. “When you find the man of your dreams, you should suddenly be demure and quiet! No more of that personality bullshit, it’s time to be the perfect, submissive wife that you’ve always been destined to become!”

Fuck that. Don’t tone yourself down for anyone, ESPECIALLY not someone you plan to marry. Kate’s whole character revolves around the fact that she takes no shit from anyone, she’s a hard-hitting journalist who gets what she wants, and suddenly she’s all quiet and sweet and crying?

nope train

The whole restaurant bursts into applause. We find out that the ring is what Elliot was getting from Gia, though idk why he had to get it from Gia? Whatever, I guess it’s not important. In fact, none of the rest of this scene is important, they all just drink champagne and congratulate each other and I could not give less of a shit.

But now we’ve decided to go clubbing! I’m sure nothing horrible will go wrong now.

They’re greeted at the door of the club by YET ANOTHER gorgeous blonde woman. The club is owned by Christian, which means that FUCKING EVERYONE IS GODDAMNED BLONDE. THERE PROBABLY AREN’T EVEN THAT MANY BLONDE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. CAN WE GET SOME PEOPLE OF COLOR AT LEAST? SOMEONE WITH BLACK HAIR? SOMEONE WITH DREADLOCKS? ANYTHING BUT BLONDE?! This is literally insane. How did no one call James out on this when this series was being edited. I know this whole series is “wish fulfillment,” but that doesn’t excuse the lazy bullshit writing where literally every woman is blonde except for Ana, Kate, and a few other exceptions. The men are all diverse! Why can’t the women be? Why are there only 2 ways to be beautiful in this book? Either you’re a blonde bombshell or you’re the brunette “quirky girl” like Ana who reads books and drinks tea and is SoOoOo original. Ugh.

Oh and of course this blonde flirts with Christian too. Because every blonde in this book is evil. Did some blonde girl shit in E.L. James’ cereal when she was a kid? I don’t understand all this animosity towards a specific hair color.

I ALSO don’t understand the constant “women flirting with Christian” thing. Yes, he’s attractive and rich. But he’s also STANDING RIGHT NEXT TO HIS WIFE, WHO IS HOLDING ONTO HIS ARM. HE IS CLEARLY TAKEN. I’d argue that the majority of women would see that and go “oh, okay, he’s not available, I will not flirt with him and will instead treat him like a human being because WHY THE FUCK WOULD I TRY TO SEDUCE SOMEONE IN FRONT OF THEIR SIGNIFICANT OTHER.” People don’t do that! Or if they do, they’re pretty rare creatures who are obviously bad at social cues.

The people in this book are ridiculous and I hate E.L. James for writing them. They just uphold all these bullshit stereotypes about women, about how women are “homewreckers” and all that bullshit. Ugh. So done.

Ana and the girls go dance on the dance floor, and we get a bunch of paragraphs about how happy Ana is and how being with Christian gives her the confidence to dance at all. Blehhh I don’t care.

Christian comes up behind Ana and starts dancing with her, and she wiggles her butt on him, and then OH GOD IT’S NOT CHRISTIAN. OH GOD.

Mia is gaping at me in horror. Shit…Am I that bad? I reach down to hold Christian’s hands. They’re hairy. Fuck! They’re not his. I whirl around, and towering over me is a blond giant with more teeth than is natural and a leering smile to showcase them.

 spit take ellen

OH SHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT!

“Get your hands off me!” I scream over the pounding music, apoplectic with rage.
“Come on, sugar, it’s just some fun.” He smiles, holding his apelike hands up, his blue eyes gleaming under the pulsing ultraviolet lights.

disgusted

Oh ew. That’s so gross. I don’t think anyone ever actually talks like that, but maybe they do, and either way this is gross as hell.

If there’s one thing that E.L. James can do almost sort of well, it’s write a really disgusting male antagonist. Ugh.

Before I know what I’m doing, I slap him hard across the face.

YEAH, ANA! DON’T TAKE NO SHIT!

Except it sounds like she might have injured her hand…oh well. She then tells the guy she’s married, and he kind of shrugs it off? What a pile of trash.

WOOPS AND NOW CHRISTIAN’S HERE.

“Keep your fucking hands off my wife,” he says. He’s not shouting, but somehow he can be heard over the music.
Holy shit!
“She can take care of herself,” Blond Giant shouts. His hand moves from his cheek where I’ve slapped him, and Christian hits him. It’s like I’m watching it in slow motion. A perfectly timed punch to the chin that moves at such speed, but with so little wasted energy, Blond Giant doesn’t see it coming. He crumples to the floor like the scumbag he is.

FUCK YEAH. This is another of those rare times where I actually sort of like Christian. Except he’s still an abusive nightmare of a husband who deserves to be punched himself… It’s just fun to see any douchebag get punished in this book, even if it’s not the douchebag I want to see get punched.

The blond guy retreats and tries to say he didn’t mean any harm. Christian asks if Ana is okay, and she says she is, but her hand hurts.

My hand is throbbing. I have never slapped anyone before. What possessed me? Touching me wasn’t the worst crime against humanity. Was it?

HE TOUCHED YOU WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT, AND THEN REFUSED TO LEAVE WHEN YOU TOLD HIM TO STOP. HE INSTEAD CALLED YOU SUGAR AND TRIED TO BELITTLE AND IGNORE YOUR FEELINGS.

THAT IS NOT OKAY.

WHY THE FUCK IS E.L. JAMES SPENDING ANY AMOUNT OF TIME TRYING TO DOWNPLAY ANA’S VERY REASONABLE REACTION.

Oh god. It gets worse.

Yet deep down I know why I hit him. It’s because I instinctively knew how Christian would react seeing some stranger pawing me. I knew he’d lose his precious self-control. And the thought that some stupid nobody could derail my husband, my love, well, it makes me mad. Really mad.

god fucking dammit

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU, E.L. JAMES?! YOU ACTUALLY FUCKING WROTE THAT PARAGRAPH? AND NO ONE FUCKING TOLD YOU HOW FUCKING HORRIBLE THAT PARAGRAPH IS?

HEY LADIES, IF SOME GUY TOUCHES YOU INAPPROPRIATELY OR DISRESPECTS YOUR BOUNDARIES IN ANY WAY, YOU SHOULD DEFINITELY GET MAD AT HIM! BUT DON’T GET MAD AT HIM BECAUSE HE DISRESPECTED YOU, YOU SHOULD GET MAD AT HIM BECAUSE HE DISRESPECTED ANOTHER MAN’S PROPERTY, AND THAT MIGHT MAKE YOUR BOYFRIEND/HUSBAND MAD! HOW DARE HE TOUCH YOU WITHOUT YOUR OWNER’S PERMISSION!

OH, YOU’RE SINGLE, OR NOT IN A HETEROSEXUAL RELATIONSHIP? WELL THEN I GUESS YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO GET MAD, BECAUSE YOU’RE NO ONE’S PROPERTY, SO HE CAN TOUCH YOU OR DO WHATEVER HE WANTS! BECAUSE YOUR OPINIONS DON’T MATTER! BECAUSE THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS IS MEN’S WANTS, NEEDS, AND OPINIONS!

natalie portman chair

If someone touches you or does anything that you aren’t comfortable with you SHOULD IMMEDIATELY SAY NO. You don’t need to give them a reason, you don’t need any reason other than YOUR OWN COMFORT, SAFETY, AND FEELINGS. And if you feel the need to defend yourself in any situation that you deem threatening (such as a guy refusing to leave you alone at a club even after you clearly told him how you felt), YOU CAN DEFEND YOURSELF FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN YOUR OWN PERSONAL NEEDS.

If someone touches you and you’re not comfortable with it, IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU’RE SEEING SOMEONE. YOU SHOULD NOT FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE OR UPSET ON THEIR BEHALF. THEIR FEELINGS DON’T MATTER. WHAT MATTERS IS HOW YOU FEEL IN THE SITUATION.

GOD DAMMIT.

This makes me SO SO SO SAD, and ANGRY, and downright FURIOUS, because Ana so clearly doesn’t respect herself as a separate human being. Her opinions and feelings are almost never validated unless Christian agrees with her. She doesn’t even have enough self-respect to slap someone ON HER OWN BEHALF. No, she has to slap him because it’s what CHRISTIAN would want.

THIS IS SO FUCKED UP I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO HANDLE THIS.

I COULD RANT FOR ANOTHER 40 PAGES AND WRITE AN ENTIRE DISSERTATION ON THIS BUT I’M GOING TO STOP BECAUSE I’M LOSING MY MIND.

So. Back to the story.

…Oh good. Ana and Christian are going to solve their problems by sexy dancing with each other. Yup. This definitely solves all the problems. This solves Christian’s anger issues, this makes the potentially traumatizing experience that Ana just had go away. What the actual fuck.

He makes me sexy, because that’s what he is. He makes me feel loved, because in spite of his fifty shades, he has a wealth of love to give.

THIS ISN’T FUCKING ABOUT HIM. THIS IS ABOUT YOU.

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND SEXY IN YOUR OWN RIGHT, ANA. YOU DO NOT NEED CHRISTIAN TO “MAKE” YOU SEXY. YOU SHOULDN’T NEED CHRISTIAN TO MAKE YOU FEEL LOVED. YOU SHOULD LOVE YOURSELF. I KNOW IT’S HARD, BUT THAT SHOULD COME FIRST.

Ana is such a tragic character, particularly in this last book. She’s in all these situations where she acts kind of awesome, and stands up for herself, but she always does it FOR CHRISTIAN. Ana has never done anything for herself, she’s so goddamned concerned with what Christian will think, and what Christian will do. She went out for drinks with a friend, and when Christian got mad at her, SHE APOLOGIZED, AND SAID SHE WOULD ASK HIM BEFORE DOING ANYTHING.

YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER EVER BE WITH SOMEONE WHO FEELS THE NEED TO CONTROL YOUR LIFE THIS MUCH. YOU NEED TO BE YOUR OWN PERSON. YOU SHOULD RECOGNIZE YOUR OWN STRENGTHS AND LOVE THOSE PARTS OF YOURSELF.

YOU HAVE VALUE ON YOUR OWN. YOU DON’T NEED SOMEONE ELSE TO “MAKE” YOU VALUABLE.

Christian and Ana finish dancing and go sit down. Ana starts asking what would have happened if there had been press at the club to see Christian’s actions. Christian, in maybe the best example of white privilege I’ve ever seen, replies: “I have expensive lawyers.” You’re a rich white guy, Christian, you’d never go to jail. Ana tries to say that he’s not above the law (which is a lie in this country. Rich people don’t go to jail for very long, if they do at all.), and she says she had the situation under control.

His eyes frost. “No one touches what’s mine,” he says with chilling finality, as if I’m missing the obvious.

People are not property, Christian. This is not romantic. You are a controlling psychopath with a laundry list of misogynistic tendencies. You are a nightmare.

I think I should clarify something here. It is NOT sexist to try to defend a woman using bodily force. That reaction is perfectly fine if you recognize that a woman (or anyone, really) is in a threatening or uncomfortable situation that they are unable to get out of due to their size or other limitations. However. It is very sexist to defend a woman (or anyone) because you see her as your property. People are not property.

Ana is not an expensive, sexy vase that you keep in your house, Christian. She is a person, with feelings, and how DARE you suggest that she belongs to you. She’s your wife, not your fucking dog. If you defended her because she was CLEARLY in a threatening situation and was unable to effectively defend herself without breaking her other hand, FINE. It is NOT fine that you punch someone who was assaulting her FOR THE SOLE REASON THAT HE WAS TOUCHING SOMETHING THAT YOU VIEW AS YOUR PROPERTY.

THIS IS SO FUCKED UP. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT ELSE TO SAY.

Please, someone try and argue that this series isn’t horribly sexist. PLEASE. I’d love to hear it. I’d love to hear someone try to desperately grasp at straws while defending a man who LITERALLY REFERS TO HIS WIFE AS HIS PROPERTY.

“But it’s romantic to call someone ‘mine!'”

It can be romantic to feel that kind of security in a relationship. I’ve said that to my current boyfriends, and to past boyfriends. Saying “you’re mine” can be fun and playful and, yes even romantic, as long as it is clearly accompanied by the knowledge that your partner is a separate person with just as much autonomy as you. Saying “you’re mine!” and kissing someone is fine. Saying “you’re mine!” while ignoring a person’s wants, feelings, needs, or opinions, while directly contradicting their personal autonomy…that is fucked up.

You do not “own” your partner. Stop it. That is controlling, and scary, and NOT OKAY.

But Ana doesn’t say anything. She just thinks Oh… and sips her water. And Christian continues his campaign of controlling every aspect of Ana’s life, and Ana continues to have such low self-esteem that she believes this is love. And it’s all very, very sad.

The group decides to leave the club. Kate asks what happened with that guy, and Ana brushes it off. Kate makes a comment about Christian being “hot-headed,” but it’s said like it’s a personality quirk, rather than a really problematic personality trait.

Apparently Ana is “wrecked,” and needs Christian to take her shoes off for her (I don’t even know how she’s walking in them, if she’s that smashed), and Christian also removes her make-up for her, which I guess is kind of sweet, but I’m so disgusted by him that nothing he does will ever be sweet or nice or sexy ever again. Ugh.

Oh, wow! Christian doesn’t try to sleep with Ana tonight, because she’s drunk (although suddenly she only seems a little tipsy?), and tired! WHAT A NICE GUY.

Christian doesn’t go to bed, though, because he has some “Calls to make.” On a Saturday.

Before falling asleep, Ana runs through the events of the day, such as being on the plane, Christian worrying about her liking the house, having sex in the afternoon, taking a bath, his reaction to her dress, the whole incident at the club, and then finally him putting her to bed. And then the chapter ends with her saying:

Who would have thought? I grin widely, the word progress running around my brain as I drift.

I don’t…what? What progress? What happened today that makes you think you’re making progress?

More importantly,

WHY DID YOU MARRY SOMEONE WITH THE HOPE THAT THEY WOULD EVENTUALLY CHANGE FOR YOU.

Granted, Christian is slowly becoming slightly less of a shit-stain (although he will eternally be a shit-stain, so it doesn’t really matter) as this series goes on. He hasn’t hit Ana in several chapters, I think! PROGRESS! But none of this matters, because you should never be with someone in the hopes that they’ll change who they are. You should love someone exactly how they are, and you can get frustrated by some of the things they do, some parts of their personality may be annoying, but you should be with them in spite of (or even because of) these things, because that is WHO THEY ARE, and you can’t expect someone to change for you.

End of Chapter Fourteen

Ugh. I need to go make myself a good, stiff drink. This might be the most infuriating chapter to date. Well…that’s not true. But it’s up there.

The problem with this chapter is that the issues are relatively sneaky. The first time you read this shit, you might not catch how horrible and controlling Christian is. But then if you look closely, suddenly you see it EVERYWHERE.

It’s chapters like this that remind me why I’m doing these liveblogs. I just want to point out these super problematic elements sot hat people can see them and understand them. I’m so sick of hearing this book referred to as “romantic,” when it isn’t. It’s really, really scary. And Christian is abusive, and anyone who says otherwise needs to take a closer look.

It’s just so scary to me how many people think these books are romantic. If you can’t recognize the problematic, abusive elements in Ana and Christian’s relationship, how on earth are you going to recognize those same elements in your own real-life relationships? If this book makes you think those elements are what “love” is, how on EARTH are you ever going to realize how dangerous and negative this kind of relationship is?

I just want everyone to love themselves and respect themselves enough to know that they are not someone else’s property, and to know that their feelings and opinions matter just as much as someone else’s.

Anyway, thanks again for reading! Let me know what you think about the one-chapter-one-post format; if you want me to go back to the old format, just say so! Seriously, I love hearing from you guys who read this blog. You’re all wonderful :)