Posted by: Hannah | 05/14/2012

50 Shades of bloody awful – pt 2

The second book in EL James’ terrible trilogy, 50 Shades of Dark – well, I can’t remember much of it. You know when you’re on a blog, and someone leaves an incredibly long comment with hyperlinks and lots of emoticons? And then a bunch of people follow it with “tl;dr”?

That’s what this book is like.

I know I read it. I distinctly recall reading it. And yet, I can’t really remember anything about it.

It starts with Anastasia and Christian broken up. She leaves him at the end of book one because she doesn’t know if she can handle being a submissive, even though she loves him. Also, his revelation that all of his submissives look like his birth mother freaks her right out.

Oh yeah – because he’s adopted. And his birth mother was a ‘crack whore’ who died when he was four, and he was in the apartment with her lifeless body for several days before he was found by the authorities.

Are you turned on yet? Yeah, me too.

So anyway, book 2 starts with a one-page prologue written from the point of view of four-year-old Christian trying to wake up his dead mother. RAWR SEXY TIMES ALL AROUND.

By page 20 Christian is flying Anastasia to her friend’s art show in his private helicopter Charlie Tango and all the unpleasantness of the nasty break-up at the end of book 1 is forgotten. I think I’ll leave it to EL James to describe it because… well… because I could never write a sentence this stupid with a straight face in a million, billion years:

“Holy cow … this beautiful man wants me back, and deep down inside me sweet joy slowly unfurls like a morning glory in the early dawn.”

Yes. This beautiful creepy stalker who calls his drug-addicted and tragically dead birth mother a crack whore. Not just once, but every single time he refers to her. It’s precious.

I think it was in this book that we find out what “fifty shades” refers to. Christian explains to Ana that he’s “fifty shades of fucked up, babe”. So she starts calling him Fifty Shades. As a pet name. I… yeesh. The mind boggles.

So, they’re back together. He sends her inappropriate emails all day long. He yells at her to eat (because his mom died and he almost starved. OH I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE, EL JAMES). He agrees to be her boyfriend without all the “kinky fuckery” (seriously, who comes up with this dialogue?) He lavishes her with gifts and they have sex something like a half dozen times a day, it seems like, but it really does all blur together because every ‘scene’ is the same.

So – the inner goddess is still around. She encourages Ana to do bizarre things, like a half-page description of her eating asparagus dipped in hollandaise sauce, which is supposed to be sexy and drive Christian wild – but all I can think is “huh, asparagus makes your pee smell weird”. There is also an extended sequence where Ana finds his drawer of butt plugs in various sizes, and has some thoughts about that.

We meet his family, and they are all uber-rich and successful and nice, and we hear more about his tortured childhood. I guess all of this backstory is supposed to explain away the fact that he is a dangerous and violent stalker who doesn’t need to be loved – he needs a restraining order, stat. It doesn’t really work. I still find him creepy and unappealing.

Midway through the book they attend a charity benefit dinner hosted by his parents. Stealing a plot point directly from Gone With the Wind, only without the sense of irony, the single ladies are paraded in front of the guests, who bid for the privilege of dancing with them. Christian arranges to have his psychiatrist (WHAT?) bid against him for Anastasia just so he can throw outrageous amounts of money around in front of everyone.

Aside: I don’t know much about the actual practice and ethics of psychiatry, but I’m pretty sure that is a HUGE no-no.

Anyway, the psychiatrist ‘vouches’ for Christian as being a really nice guy underneath all the fucking nutso crazy-pants-ness, and says that Anastasia should totally go out with him forever because that will be the best thing for him.

Blah blah blah there is so much pointless blathering in this book it is unbelievable. EL James is really, really in love with her own inventiveness. And by inventiveness I mean overuse of adjectives that would make a lovesick emo teenager blush. Eventually Christian and Ana get engaged, and we get lots of interior monologue about how they’ve only known each other for a couple of months, and my head explodes because it feels like I’ve been dealing with these people for YEARS. Maybe time passes differently in a British version of Seattle?

Aside # 2:  I’ve never been to Seattle, but doesn’t it rain there a lot? Like, isn’t it basically a rainforest? So why is it never raining in these books???? And also, if the sex was actually interesting, I probably wouldn’t be obsessing about the weather.

There are a couple of subplots, too. We meet Leila, a drug addict former sub of Christian’s who briefly stalks Anastasia, muttering “what have you got that I haven’t got?” and breaking into apartments to watch her rival sleep. We also meet Elena – Mrs. Robinson – the older woman who initiated Christian to the BDSM world in the first place. It’s all Z-grade chick-lit anyway, but when you sprinkle in the badly-written ‘erotica’ it’s just painful.

Toward the end of the book, Christian is presumed dead when his helicopter disappears. And that dramatic tension lasts for all of ten minutes, when I swear to god he walks in the room, says he’s fine, and that’s it. Well, until we find out that the ‘copter was tampered with and someone tried to kill him.

The books end with a short chapter written from the ‘someone’s’ point of view, spying on Christian and Ana as they have some sex in his parents’ boathouse, chuckling to himself while he plots revenge. Who is the spook? Why, it’s none other than Ana’s old boss at the publishing house, and for some reason he wants Christian dead.


At this point I am only going on to read book 3, Fifty Shades Freed, because I’m so sure the next major plot conflict will be Ana accidentally getting pregnant right away. Why am I so sure? Oh, because of her inability to remember to take the birth control pills Christian buys for her, followed by him paying Seattle’s best OB-GYN to do a house call – on a Sunday – to give her a Depo-Provera shot without asking her permission first. He’s bound and determined that she not get pregnant because he’s too DAMAGED. So I’m pretty sure that will happen. Tune in for the exciting conclusion! And then let us never speak of this again.



  1. This has got to be my favourite ever book review in the history of book reviews. EL James certainly isn’t a genius, but I think you might be. Hilarious.

    • Thank you so much, what a nice compliment!

  2. OH GROSS. Fucking gross. His submissives all look like his birth mom…….ewwww.

    • I know, right? I think this is the Twilight fanfic thing rearing it’s ugly head again. Like, Christian can’t have that his Terrible Secret Past is that he’s a vampire, so instead RL James dreams up the creepiest goddamn thing she can think of. DOESN’T IT MAKE YOU HAWT?

  3. Yes, Seattle rains a lot. Although I’m so sick of Twilight’s “omg it never stops raining” that i actually find it refreshing that it doesn’t rain in 50 Shades of Dreary

  4. I’m laughing out loud reading this! You’ve pretty summed up everything I thought after reading it. I’ll never get that time back, but at least now I can fully appreciate your review.

  5. Dead on. These books suck. Read the first one for some sex tips and avoid the others. Pure garbage but great if you endorse pathetic, useless females. Just a harlequin romance with bad boy sex spades.

  6. The worst b
    ooks in history!!! I want my time back!!!

  7. […] his fan base is trying hard to get him cast as Christian Grey in the movie adaptations of the truly dreadful ”50 Shades of Grey” series. I am on board with this; he’s attractive enough I […]

  8. […] hesitation at all was the Fifty Shades trilogy. You can read more about how much I hated them here, here, and here. Those were three of my most popular posts in 2012, by the way. I don’t know much […]

  9. […] written before about my feelings regarding the inexplicably popular 50 Shades trilogy. Not only do I think […]

  10. […] 50 Shades Darker – hated it so much I got the title wrong in my original post. […]

  11. […] I love you. If you want to catch up on my reviews of the original trilogy, you can find them here, here, and […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: