50 Shades of Ben Burns [Chapter 16]

It’s about that time of the month again when I end up reading another chapter of ‘50 Shades of Grey.’ It’s a bit like McDonalds in as much as I occasionally forget how shit it is and think it might be fun to try it again. Then I spend the next 48 hours hating myself for being stupid enough to give it a sixteenth chance. I think this chapter was my favourite so far because there were no bits about the contract and there was only a little bit about e-mails. I’m afraid this is the standard I’m working with here.

Chapter 16 begins with Christian getting angry because Ana wants to touch him on the tummy. He barks at her that he’s “50 shades of fucked up.” Ha……ha…….ha. I see what you did there E. L. James. Everybody knows you aren’t a proper writer until you clumsily cram the title of your novel into one of the middle chapters, in this case with about as much grace and subtlety as attempting to shove an angry Alsatian into a toilet bowl.

Next Christian begins telling Ana how many orgasms she’s had. Why does he keep counting things all of the time? Is he fucking autistic or something? He continues this quest for knowledge by asking Ana a series of ridiculous questions such as “when is your next period?” and “do you have a doctor?” Apparently Christian hates wearing a condom and wants her to get some contraception. Since he’s basically stealthing around her house, work-place and social life, appearing at will and raping her regularly, you’d think he’d have the decency to at least take care of the jonnies himself. But apparently that’s Ana’s problem as well. I find myself hoping she’ll storm his giant mansion waving a femidom sellotaped to a stick and screaming “freedom!” Maybe with Jo Brand in full battle armour behind her. Unfortunately, I seriously doubt it will happen because it wasn’t in the contract anywhere.

This next bit is brilliant! It’s probably my favourite bit so far. Christian starts beating the shit out of Ana and insisting that she count how many times he bitch-slaps her. In my head I’m imagining a violent, alcoholic version of the count from ‘Sesame Street’ slapping an unwilling slave-girl as his puppet mouth salivates like a rabid dog. “One slap! Two slap! Ah, ah, ah.” After noting it down in his ‘things I counted today for no reason’ journal he rams his cock up her arse, jizzes everywhere and then jumps in his car and pisses off home. I can see why she likes him so much.

Next Ana phones up her Mum, as I’m sure all girls do after having the shit kicked out of them whilst fanny-squirting all over the bedroom. For the first time in the novel we get a time-scale for the events. Apparently three weeks have passed. So just to recap, three weeks ago Ana was a shy virgin who had never been kissed, drunk or used the internet. Three weeks later she is the BDSM slave of a billionaire rapist vampire with alien fingers. Bull…fucking…shit. If there were any scraps of plausibility left in this novel, they just fucked off along with the five quid I wasted on it at WHSmith.

Next, Kate the shit journalist comes in and Ana immediately attempts to explain her bruises by claiming that she fell over and landed on her arse. It appears that we can add ‘learned to keep her mouth shut when her bloke knocks her about’ to the list of things that have changed about Ana in the last three weeks. Kate doesn’t suspect a thing, nor does she ask why there is a brand new car in the drive, nor does she ask about Ana’s brand new laptop or why there is champagne everywhere. Given that Ana is crying her eyes out by this point, you’d think she’d start joining the dots. I mean, you don’t have to be fucking Columbo to put this mystery to bed. SHE’S SUPPOSED TO BE A FUCKING JOURNALIST! AAAAARRRGGHHH! HOW DID THIS FUCKING BOOK GET PUBLISHED?!?!?!?!?

Next Ana checks her e-mails and finds that, surprise surprise, Christian has e-mailed her. I suppose he sent it while he was flying his helicopter because his fingers are certainly long and nimble enough to handle the strain. In the e-mail there is one particular line that jumped out at me. Now I swear I am not making this up, he actually says “you won’t like me when I’m angry.” Just take a moment to let the fact that the author stole a line from ‘The Incredible Hulk’ sink into your mind. Did your face go like this (-_-) ? Mine did.

Ana replies to his e-mail with the witty line “I’m not sure I like you anyway.” There are no points for guessing what happens next. As usual he immediately appears outside her door. Was he hiding in the bushes on the front lawn all that time? Does he have some sort of Doctor Who style travelling tardis? Nope, this book was just written by a simpleton. Bursting into her room, he explains to the crying Ana that he only hits her because it turns him on.

Oh, it’s okay guys. Don’t worry; He’s not really a morally-bankrupt mentalist. He’s only doing it because he finds it sexually arousing. Somebody call the cops and tell them it was all just a big misunderstanding.

But wait, there’s more. He explains to Ana that she must have enjoyed it too because she was aroused. What sound logic there from Count Fuckula. Seriously, this book really is a fucking disgrace. How can anyone advocate this kind of shit? Let me put this into perspective for you. In this scene, we have a crying young woman, sat in front of the bloke who beat her up as he tells her that it turned him on and demands that she admit that she enjoyed it too. It’s like something from a fucking Tarantino film. HOW IS THIS AROUSING TO ANY WOMAN? Why did the suffragettes even bother if this is what we’re left with in 2012?

The chapter ends with Christian agreeing to sleep in the bed with Ana as a compromise……as long as she doesn’t touch him, look at him or go anywhere near him. Erm…does Christian have any basic understanding of three-dimensional space? In fact, scratch that, does he know what the word ‘compromise’ means? He might as well have said, “I’ll sleep in the bed as a special treat and you can sleep on the floor and face the wall.” What a charmer, I can see why Ana enjoys taking his cock/punches in her arse/face.

B. Burns

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