Chapter 4: So suddenly after spending all this time seducing Ana, Christian suddenly gets all noble about warning her off. WTF? What’s more, Ana is so attached to this guy she met not even a week ago that she’s “bereft” without his touch. I thought she was electrocuted by his touch. Silly me. At least she acknowledges the fact that her emotional pain is nonsensical.
Also, how many times is it necessary to say that Ana doesn’t like coffee. I’ve counted 3 times so far. And I haven’t been counting the number of times it’s mentioned that Christian’s eyes are gray, but it’s been covered. I think I got it. He has gray eyes.
Christian stays away from Ana for a while– which is probably something that he should have been doing in the first place if his intentions were really all that noble. Then on the day she takes her last final exam, she comes home to find a package containing 3 first editions of Tess of the D’Urbevilles with card bearing a cryptic quotation from said book—seemingly a warning. Ana and Kate both conclude that the first edition of this particular book is so expensive that they could only come from one person—Christian Grey. But why did he send them to her? Instead of waiting until the sober light of day to call, write or smoke signal Christian to ask this very question, our wise-beyond-her-years Ana drunk dials him from a bar in Portland. Our corporate executive, upon receiving an unexpected phone call from a drunk college chick he met last week, rashly decides that he must power his five-star ass from wherever he happens to be all the way to an unknown bar in Portland to go get her. Despite the fact that Ana didn’t tell him where she was, it seems only 5 or 10 minutes before Christian magically shows up to rescue Ana from a potential sexual assault by her friend José.
Moments after her rescue, the alcohol finally catches up with Ana and she tosses her cookies on the ground outside. She wonders whether this is the worst moment of her life, but grudgingly concludes that it’s not. Apparently the worst moment of her life wasn’t throwing up half her body weight after getting smashed for the first time, oh no, it was the brief moment when Christian Grey gently rejected her at the beginning of this chapter. Someone’s led a sheltered existence.
How did he find her so quickly, you ask? Well, he’s still in town at the hotel and-oh yes- he tracked her cell phone to find her. TRACKED HER PHONE.
José is wary of Christian, as was Ana’s hardware store buddy Paul. Why does every other man in this story look upon Christian with suspicion? That’s suspicious.
Back inside the bar, Ana’s subconscious mind is chiding her for her reckless behavior as Christian orders her to drink a glass of ice water. Now Ana’s subconscious is wearing half-moon specs? I’m wondering if this isn’t more of an inner persona than a subconscious mind.
Not 5 minutes after she’s turned herself wrong-side out in the bushes outside, she’s back inside the club gyrating with our multi-billionaire friend who, I must add, is a terrific dancer. More foreshadowing: Ana remembers that her mother has told her to never trust a man who can dance, but then again, her mother may not be Ana’s source for shining, reliable relationship advice, since she’s on her third marriage.
Christian had the sense to bring a wingman this time; his brother Elliot is with him and is more than willing to romance Kate while Christian takes care of business with Ana. You’ll be shocked to find that the chapter ends with Ana passing out in the club.
(Little Black Book of Cocktails, of course)
1-1/2 oz. light rum
1 tsp. simple syrup
Juice of 1 fresh lime
Muddle mint leaves with simple syrup in a chilled old fashioned glass. Add cracked ice, lime juice, and rum. Fill with soda water and garnish with more fresh mint leaves.
(adapted from the recipe above)
1-1/2 oz. light rum
1 tsp. simple syrup
Juice of 1/2 fresh lime
Same recipe as above, only add equal measures soda water and mango nectar.
I don’t know if I’ll make it through this book. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just not very good.
3 thoughts on “Fifty Ways to Get Smashed at a Club”
I found your blog after reading your comment (and adding my own) on the NPR article about 50 Shades leading to increased listening of classical music. I am enjoying your mild bashing of this book, chapter by chapter. I went into the book knowingly as a kind of “research project”, an attempt to understand better why so many women were reading this, and by extension (I hoped) better understand women. A bit of folly, yes. And in the end, I have stalled before the book even gets naughty with the S&M and such – the writing is god-awful, unimaginative and repetitive. I swear to the gods, somebody “mutters” on every single page of this book – it is driving me crazy, especially when it is Christian is doing the muttering. What kind of billionaire mutters? And I aree with you (and it is nice to hear a woman say it) that Ana’s extreme innocence is overplayed and not believable for a graduating college student.
Ah, well, it is pure fantasy – Ana is designed as a jacket that many women can slip easily into, and Christian is an absurdist embodiment of some archetypal female fantasy of a man: beautiful, composed, stupendously successful, controlling, and (really?) well-endowed. And madly in love with a non-descript, bumbling girl. For a male reader, of course, it comes off a bit infuriating. But it is educational to confront the reality that women have triggers just as men do, things that cause a kind of irrational attraction. For men, it seems to be largely based in physical appearance and behaviors that indicate a certain helplessness and a need to be rescued. For women, it is power that attracts – and if combined with being uncontrollably desired by this powerful man, this makes a heady mixture. Maybe that is the primary lesson of Twilight and 50 Shades: women want to be desired, and the more powerful the man doing the desiring, the more intoxicating it is.
But then, some women see the absurdity in these stories, and this restores my hope in humanity, that we can be better than our hindbrain instincts wired into us through millennia of evolution.
Ah, well, all in good fun. Thanks again for these reviews, and for keeping it fun.
Thanks for reading! I’ve stalled out on chapter 10, but I’m still trying to keep going. The biggest problem with trying to give this book a nice, snarky bash is that it’s not bad enough to offer a variety of fodder and I find that the things that irritated me about chapter 5 are still irritating me several chapters later. I remain hopeful that the later chapters might have something new, but I’m not holding my breath.
You’re right, of course, it is pure, shameless fantasy of the most absurd kind. It doesn’t happen to be my fantasy, but for many women–so I’ve heard– it’s appealing to be dominated, particularly in a feminist or post-feminist age. Plus, we must consider the almost cocaine-like high offered by the idea that a woman who considers herself plain can suddenly become the object of a powerful, attractive man’s affection.
Yes, I see your problem. The very repetitiveness that makes this book difficult to read also makes it difficult to write original reviews for each chapter…
Regarding the appeal of this fantasy… I have heard it expressed, too, that this giving over of control to a powerful man is especially appealing to women who have been in control of too much for too long. In particular: this book is being read by many mothers in their forties, women who have been largely or wholly responsible for the raising of their children for 5-15 years, and who are ready for a break, dammit. Let someone else do the thinking and make the decisions for a while…
It is interesting the discussions of feminism that are sparked by this really quite unassuming book, and by Twilight before it. I did not read the Twilight books, and expected to hate the movies, but surprisingly found myself very moved by the unadulterated romanticism of those stories. There is a purity of some kind in it. Right alongside the obvious silliness of so much of it. Poor Bella becomes a lightning rod for all of our society’s unresolved conflicts about what is ok, and what is not ok, for a woman to do or be. I understand the negative reaction that so many people have to Bella, who sacrifices everything for her man. But what surprised me is how I admired her courage in not holding back anything, in giving absolutely everything for love. Romantic. Perhaps that is my fantasy, explained away by my gender. But I think it is more than that – I thnk these stories highlight an inherent conflict that is not resolved, between two poles that both speak to all of us, but especially to women right now: strength (or independence) and sacrifice. But are honorable. But history has expected so much sacrifice from women that the pendulum has swung the other way. And now I think women are feeling a bit the loss of the beauty of sacrifice.
I like strong women, so I am not making an argument in favor of going back to the good old days when the ladies listened to their men. I am just saying: true, pure romanticism is not about independence, it is about giving over, about being willing to give up everything for another person. And that story is no less beautiful now, it just has to fight a little harder to be heard against our current cultural biases.
I respect these novels for the discussions they cause, for the way they have waded right into the middle of a cultural battle. In other words, as an epiphenomenon, they are awesome, while as works of literature, they are wanting. I know this is snobby (snobbery is another great layer of discussion raised by these books), but I can live with that 😉