Following is the second part of my ranting review of the book “Fifty Shades of Grey”. The first part – aka the short introduction – can be found here, or, you know, in the post below this one. I know I initially said I would split the review in two halves, but my polishing on the second part made it nearly twice as long as it originally was. Apparently, I have a lot to get off my chest. So, for your convenience, I split the text yet again. The third (and final, I swear!) part of the review will be posted over the weekend.
I found Ana’s personality a little on the dull side. I mean, as much as a girl can be dull while still having painful sex with a Dominant every other night. She didn’t really seem to have any particular interests besides Christian, although she seemed mildly interested in publishing. Her inner monologues were repetitive, and her constant references to her “inner goddess” were grating on my last nerve by the time I finished the book. Basically, I found Ana’s voice bland and her personality underdeveloped, a lot like many other heroines in romance novels these days. Her character seemed at times to be nothing more than a surveillance camera lens; just there to show us what’s going on without colouring the perspective.
The most interesting part about Ana was her name. Anastasia Steele. With a name like that I suppose her parents really must not have had high hopes for her. I figure she was doomed to either end up like she did; a submissive sex slave, or alternatively, in a promising career doing clown porn. Personally, I think she made the wrong choice.
I think what I disliked most about her, though, was that she stayed with Christian. Every time she considered leaving him, I screamed at her to go. And every time she stayed, I was more disappointed than the last. I really did feel for her – boring people are human too – and I guess that’s what made it so hard not to be upset with her. It’s hard to care for a person who refuses to take care of herself.
Now, this guy was anything but boring. He was an asshole, sure, but he was not a boring asshole. At first, from a distance, he seemed like the perfect man. He was attractive, smart, accomplished and very, very confident. And any girl can tell you; confidence is hot. He initially seemed oddly protective of Ana, and my vicarious butterflies liked that a lot. It didn’t take him long to kill them all, though.
Soon enough, he revealed his true self. Unfortunately, it wasn’t before Ana had developed a big-time crush. He turned out not to be protective at all, even though he claimed to be. Instead he was genuinely controlling, wanting to possess Ana like an object. An object he enjoyed hurting. Her self-esteem plummeted after she hooked up with him, and he had the nerve to act clueless as to why. What’s worse is, so did she! He was jealous, not in a good way, but in a dangerous way. He threatened her, demeaned her (even outside of the RRoP) and repeatedly caused her both physical and emotional pain. Maybe it’s just me, but I find these traits in a man a huge turn off. It seemed to me like Ana mostly liked him for his good looks, and maybe his wealth and power. I don’t know. She can’t possibly have truly believed there were no other fish in the sea. Better, respectful and loving fish, even.
It’s obvious that Christian is also a victim here, or that he once was, as a child. Mostly it’s obvious because we were told, but also because nobody gets this screwed up all on their own. We know he was molested as a teenager, and neglected, starved and otherwise physically and emotionally abused as a toddler. As a result, he seems to have developed a seriously ambivalent attachment pattern, and maybe a personality disorder or two. We know that children who are abused runs a higher risk than others to turn into abusive adults themselves. So I suppose it could be worse, and I’m assuming that’s what Christian was referring to when he said that he wasn’t molested by Mrs R. at all, in fact, he was saved. He could easily have become a raving psychopath, but instead he found catharsis for his aggressive impulses through S&M. And, you know, that would be fine if his “Sub” was actually into it as well, but Ana’s obviously not. She seems more like she’s trapped. Even though I can understand Christian, I can’t find it in myself to forgive him. I can only imagine how exhausted poor Dr. Flynn must be.
Christian did have his good moments, though. He could be charming and funny, and every once in a while I hoped along with Ana that there might be hope for him yet. Sadly, his good qualities weren’t nearly enough to redeem his unforgivable ones, although Ana and I seem to disagree on this point. However, towards the end of the book it seemed like maybe he might be able to love after all. I guess the next book will tell (yeah, I went ahead and bought the whole damn trilogy at once).
The rest of them.
In order not to kill you with the very length of this review, I won’t say too much about the other characters – even though some of them were my favourite ones. I liked Ana’s best friend Kate a lot. Mostly because she seemed to agree with me, and also because she had a personality. She seemed feisty and fun, she didn’t put up with anyone’s crap, and she had an actual working intuition. She could tell from the very start that Christian was creepy, even before the rest of us were clued in. Every time she yelled at him, or made a snide comment to tick him off, she had me giggling with glee. I was hoping she’d find Ana’s contract or walk in on one of Christian’s bedroom beatings, or something. I expect she will, though. You don’t put a character like her – a journalist like her – in a book like this and NOT write a plot twist where she threatens to expose the bastard to the world. I can’t wait for that part!
I also liked Kate’s boyfriend, Elliot. He seemed like such a sweet guy, making Kate so happy! Too bad he and Kate weren’t more central to the story. Most of the time I wished the book was about them instead. Sigh.
The other men in Ana’s life, like José and that guy from the hardware store, seemed to be made up by the author only to make sure we knew how desirable Ana was, and how very cool she was to blow them all off. I do however see a love triangle in the making, involving Kate’s brother, Ethan. He and Ana didn’t interact a whole lot in this book, but there were hugs and stuff, and something about them moving in together? Oh well. Probably wishful thinking on my part. Besides, the books aren’t called Fifty Shades of Normal Dude.
Ana’s mother was quite the character. Well not really. She was pretty much like Bella’s mother: ditzy, yet oddly perceptive about her daughter’s rather unconventional relationship. Although, I do suspect that Mrs. Adams bears a quite a few secrets of her own, and I’m intrigued to find out whether I’m right about her. I expect I will. Tsk, tsk.
To be continued. Again.