Fifty Shades of Grey: If you haven’t already figured out that this book was a originally a Twilight fan fic, this chapter should convince you (My thoughts on Chapter 3)
Let me start off by saying that I’ve really been meaning to get back to doing blog posts on each chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey, but I’ve clearly been putting that off for quite a while since I posted my commentary on chapter two way back in March of 2015. This is due to several reasons. For starters, I don’t want to buy the audiobook version of the book, and it’s really become a challenge for me to discipline myself enough to sit down not just read this book, but any book for that matter. That’s pretty much the whole reason why I’ve really gotten into audiobooks these days. Listening to audiobooks allows me to “read” books while I do jobs around the house, run errands, which also involves me having to ride the city bus and walk a lot since I don’t drive, etc. Plus, I’ve never been a very fast reader to begin with, and listening to audiobooks enables me to “read” books relatively quickly. Anyway, I pretty much spontaneously decided to read chapter three of Fifty Shades of Grey and write a blog post on it since I had the day off from work this past Sunday, which hasn’t happened in quite a while; that being said, here are my thoughts on chapter three of Fifty Shades of Grey.
Right off the bat, I have to say that I was waiting until I read this chapter and was ready to comment on it to discuss the fact that Ana blushes at the drop of a hat. I always thought that it was a really ridiculous quirk for Ana to have. It doesn’t really add anything worthwhile to the story or anything interesting to Ana as a character and the book as a whole. It’s a very well known fact that Fifty Shades of Grey originally started out as a Twilight fan fic, but as I said in my review of Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer, I haven’t read the Twilight series in years; so I didn’t remember anything about it being established that Bella had a tendency to blush a lot. That originally led me to believe that E.L. James had added the whole thing with Ana having the tendency to blush at the drop of a hat in an attempt to “make the character her own” when she decided to take her Twilight fan fic (Master of the Universe) and retool it as the Fifty Shades trilogy. However, after reading Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, which is a gender swap of Twilight, it’s clear to me now that James didn’t add the whole thing about Ana having the tendency to blush a lot when she retooled “Master of the Universe” as Fifty Shades of Grey. I think it’s pretty safe to say that James got the whole idea for Ana’s tendency to constantly blush from Twilight, too. I say this because it turns out that I had forgotten that Bella blushes a lot in Twilight, and Beau, the male equivalent of Bella in Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, blushes quite a bit, too.
The difference between how James handles it in this book versus how Stephenie Meyer handled it in the Twilight books is that James takes it to the absolute extreme. Stephenie Meyer may be a rather mediocre writer, but at least she didn’t overdo it when it comes to how she portrayed Bella/Beau having that particular quirk. When it comes to how E.L. James handles Ana’s tendency to blush at the drop of a hat, it’s just beyond ridiculous and way too over the top. Kate reacts to seeing Ana blush in this chapter in a way that’s absolutely ridiculous, because her reaction makes it seem like Ana blushing is a rare occurrence, rather than being something that she does practically every five seconds.
Having read all of Jenny Trout’s chapter recaps for Fifty Shades of Grey, I know for a fact that Ana’s mom, Carla, also reacts in shock to Ana blushing later on in the book. That being said, I’ll give James credit for at least having Ana acknowledge in this chapter that she blushes all the time. Plus, Christian also mentions to Ana in this chapter that she’s constantly blushing. It’s nice to see that at least Ana and Christian have an accurate perception of Ana’s whole blushing quirk since they’re the two main characters in the series.
As I said in my review for Fifty Shades of Midnight Sun Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, I actually found myself liking Ana when I was reading the story from Christian’s point of view. The part of that book that depicts the events that take place in this chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey from Christian’s point of view, more specifically the part where they’re at the coffee shop together, is definitely one of the times that I actually found myself thinking that Ana seemed like pretty likable and levelheaded person in that book. However, when it comes to how Ana comes across in this chapter of this book, she really comes across as being very immature and annoying. Admittedly, having already read all of Jenny Trout’s chapter recaps for Fifty Shades of Grey, I don’t think Ana is as annoying in this chapter as she is in a lot of the other chapters of this book, though. Don’t get me wrong, Ana still comes across as a rather unhappy and unlikable person with no self-esteem in this chapter, but she’s definitely not as bad here, if you ask me. That being said, one thing about Ana and her actions in this chapter that just completely baffles me is the fact that she turns Paul (A coworker of hers at Clayton’s) down when he asks her out on a date, because he’s not a “literary hero”. Her subconscious followed that thought up by asking her if Christian is a “literary hero”.
I generally try to avoid swearing in my blog posts for the most part, but what the fuck does Ana even mean when she says that Paul is “no literary hero”? He’s supposed to be a real living person, (In this book anyway) not a character from one of the classic literature books that Ana’s so obsessed with. How can a guy actually be a “literary hero” in the real world? That makes absolutely no sense to me, and Ana turning guys down left and right simply because they aren’t a “literary hero” is one of the many things that makes her come across as a cartoonish whack job instead of being a character that feels like they’re a real person. The fact that they didn’t include any of the “literary hero” nonsense in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is one of the many, many, many reasons why I think that the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is a rare case where the movie is actually better than the book. Personally, I really do think that the people who worked on the movie did a fairly good job of fixing at least some of the book’s numerous problems. (Sighs heavily) Okay, rant over.
Maybe this will seem like a stupid thing to comment on to some people, but having read all of Jenny Trout’s chapter recaps for Fifty Shades of Grey, I feel like it’s worth keeping in mind, especially for when I eventually get to commenting on chapter ten of the book. Something that I think is worth noting about this chapter is the fact that when Ana leaves to go have coffee with Christian, she says in the narration that she hates coffee. I know that Ana saying that she hates coffee might seem like a pointless detail to people who’ve never read the book before, but I assure you it’s something that’s worth keeping in mind.
Something that I found myself noticing a lot as I was reading this chapter is the fact that Ana was frequently referring to Christian as “Grey” in the narration, but then every once and a while she would refer to him as “Christian”. It really bugged me when Ana would flip back and forth between calling him “Grey” and calling him “Christian” throughout the chapter. E.L. James really should have just made up her mind and been consistent about how Ana referred to Christian in the narration of the book. Personally, I think James should have just stuck with having Ana refer to him as Christian. Ana calling Christian, “Grey”, is just weird, in my opinion.
While I do think E.L. James is a terrible writer, I actually don’t think that all of the blame for the Fifty Shades trilogy being so horribly written can be placed solely on her. If you ask me, at least some of the blame for the terrible quality of the writing should be placed on the editors, especially when it comes to this book. For starters, I really think that the people who edited this book should have made sure that the dialogue and other issues related to word choice in this book had been changed so the writing would at least reflect the fact that this story takes place in America. A lot of the dialogue and other matters related to word choice feel very…British at times, and it’s one of the things that makes this book seem so ridiculous to me. I understand that E.L. James is British, but she should have recognized that the characters in this book aren’t, so both James and the people who edited this book should have worked to change the writing accordingly. That being said, some of the problems with the wording in this book don’t have anything to do with the fact that James is British, but the characters aren’t. Some of the problems with word choice in the book is that there are occasionally parts where Ana is describing a location where events in the story are taking place, and she’ll use words to describe it that contradict each other. For example, this is the description she gives of the Heathman hotel. “The rooms are elegant, understated, and opulently furnished.” (James pg. 36)
The problem with that description is that describing the hotel as looking “understated” suggests that the design for the hotel is subtle, while describing the hotel as being “opulently furnished” makes it seem like the hotel’s design and appearance is excessive and over-the-top. Given the fact that it’s Ana who’s describing the hotel in the narration with words that contradict each other, it honestly ends up being one of the many things that makes Ana come across as being an idiot, especially when you consider the fact that she’s an English major who’s about to graduate from college. From the standpoint of the writing for the book itself, that logical disconnect in the prose really is something that I think an editor should have caught and made sure that it was corrected.
Another problem that I think this book has is a serious lack of proper transitions and omitting unimportant details in the book. For example, there’s a completely unnecessary exchange between Christian and his bodyguard, Taylor, where Christian arranges for everybody at the photo shoot that they had for Kate’s article on Christian to get a ride home, so Ana won’t have a good reason to turn down his offer for coffee, which is actually kind of creepy if you think about it. There’s also a rather long and drawn out description of Ana and Christian’s walk to the coffee shop and of Christian ordering coffee for himself and tea for Ana once they get to the coffee shop. That whole sequence of events just seems like a lousy attempt at drawing out the tension between Ana and Christian. Nothing noteworthy happens during that whole sequence of events. The only thing that could possibly be considered noteworthy is the fact that it was established that Ana had never held hands with anybody before.
I get that James is trying to portray Ana as being naïve and innocent, but she just takes it to the extreme by saying that Ana had never held hands with anybody, and it’s just ridiculous. The fact that it’s established at the end of this chapter that she had apparently never wanted to be kissed by a guy until now almost comes across as if it was James’ intent to portray Ana as being asexual in a way that’s really messed up since it’s only after she meets Christian that she seems to finally truly be sexually attracted to a man. I honestly wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if people who identify as being asexual were offended by the way Ana’s lack of interest in José and Paul and her attraction to Christian are portrayed in this book.
All in all, I actually enjoyed finally revisiting Fifty Shades of Grey for the first time in months. I’m going to try and do a better job of not taking such long breaks between reading and commenting on each chapter of Fifty Shades of Grey moving forward. As for my final thoughts on chapter three, I’ll admit that Ana thankfully doesn’t come across as being nearly annoying as she usually does. This is definitely a chapter where I think the fact that the Fifty Shades books started out as a Twilight fan fic is fairly obvious if you’re someone like me who has read the Twilight series, or possibly if you’ve only seen the movies, particularly the first one. The way this chapter ends with Christian preventing Ana from almost getting run down by somebody on a bicycle is very reminiscent of how Edward stops Bella from getting hit by a car in the parking lot of the high school that they go to, which prompts Bella to start figuring out that Edward and the other Cullens are all vampires in Twilight. While the writing for this book, along with Fifty Shades Darker, Fifty Shades Freed and Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian all have a lot of problems and is pretty bad, I still think that E.L. James does have a talent for writing books that are more addictive than cigarettes for some inexplicable reason.
Posted on January 4, 2016, in Book Reviews, Uncategorized and tagged book review, E.L. James, Fifty Shades, Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Trilogy, Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian, Jenny Trout, Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, Twilight saga. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.