Linotte Reads “Fifty Shades Darker”: Chapter Sixteen

Happy Thursday, Persephoneers! Let’s beat the midweek blues with highlights from Chapter Sixteen of Fifty Shades Darker.

This conversation is not going as I expected, but I don’t trust him in the slightest. Some subliminal pheromone that Jack is exuding has me on high alert. This man is angry, volatile, and totally unpredictable. I try to reason with him.

Um, you just said he’s angry, volatile, and totally unpredictable. There is no reasoning with this fucker.

“I gave you this job, and I expect you to show me some gratitude. In fact, I’m entitled to it. I had to fight to get you. Elizabeth wanted someone better qualified, but I–I saw something in you. So, we need to work out a deal. A deal where you keep me happy. D’you understand what I’m saying, Ana?”

Good, old-fashioned sexual harassment! Let’s remember that in earlier chapters, Jack was getting a little too close for comfort, which was sexual harassment in and of itself. In other words, James gives us such great examples of men, doesn’t she?

“Arrgh!” he cries out in pain and surprise, and as he leans off balance, I bring my knee, swift and hard, up into his groin, and make perfect contact with my goal. I dodge deftly to my left as his knees buckle, and he collapses with a groan onto the kitchen floor, grasping himself between his legs.
“Don’t you ever touch me again,” I snarl at him. “Your itinerary and the brochures are packaged on my desk. I am going home now. Have a nice trip. And in the future, get your own damn coffee.”

Kermit the Frog flailing his arms in the air
Kermit flail! Ana is finally standing up for herself! You go!

“Please don’t be mad at me.” I blink up at him.
“I am so mad at you right now,” he snarls and once more sweeps his hand through his hair. “Get in the car.”
“Christian, please–”
“Get in the fucking car, Anastasia, or so help me I’ll put you in there myself,” he threatens, his eyes blazing with fury.
Oh shit. “Don’t do anything stupid, please,” I beg.
“STUPID!” he explodes. “I told you to use your fucking Blackberry. Don’t talk to me about stupid. Get in the motherfucking car, Anastasia–NOW!” he snarls and a frisson of fear runs through me. This is Very Angry Christian. I’ve not seen him this mad before. He’s barely holding on to his self-control.

Wait. Some asshole just tried to attack Ana, and Christian is somehow blaming her for it? Whether or not she used her Blackberry has nothing to do with the fact that Jack had been trying to attack her and had clearly had the idea in his head for some time. Deal breaker, right there.

“Christian, why are you so mad at me?” I whisper as we wait.
“You know why,” he mutters as we step into the elevator, and he punches in the code to his floor. “God, if something had happened to you, he’d be dead by now.” Christian’s tone chills me to the bone. The doors close.
“As it is, I’m going to ruin his career so he can’t take advantage of young women anymore, miserable excuse for a man that he is.” He shakes his head. “Jesus, Ana!” He grabs me suddenly, imprisoning me in the corner of the elevator.

Again, why is he angry at Ana about the situation? Ana really didn’t do anything wrong, and she certainly didn’t make Jack try to attack her. Moreover, Ana has proven that she can fight her own battles, but that she just needs to get away from creepy men. But of course, that’s not going to happen now, is it?

I perch on one of the bar stools, and she hands me a glass of chilled wine. I don’t know what it is, but it’s delicious and slides down easily, soothing my shattered nerves. What was I thinking about earlier today? How alive I have felt since I met Christian. How exciting my life has become. Jeez, could I just have a few boring days?

Really?! You think your life has become exciting? Your personal safety was threatened twice in a week! How is that exciting? Those are downright scary situations!

An array of instruments and bizarre implements – I don’t have a clue what they are, or what they’re for – are carefully laid out in the display drawer. I pick one up. It’s bullet-shaped with a sort of handle. Hmm . . . what the hell do you do with that?

Kermit with an "Are you kidding me?" frown
Really? You have no idea of what those are for? Why not just Google it?

Slowly, he enters the room and closes the door quietly behind him, his eyes liquid gray fire. Oh my. He leans casually over the chest of drawers, but I think his stance is deceptive. My inner goddess doesn’t know whether it’s fight or flight time.

I think it’s flight time, don’t you?

And that’s a wrap for this week!

6 replies on “Linotte Reads “Fifty Shades Darker”: Chapter Sixteen”

You are absolutely right. I…am seriously frightened by the way some people talk about these books, like how it “revitalized” their relationship, how Christian Grey is what women really want, so on and so forth. They do not seem to realize at ALL that this man is a toxic, abusive piece of shit. I think there’s a lot of truth in the idea that James has unintentionally written a perfect picture of an abusive relationship. But we’re being sold this shit like it’s ROMANCE, like we’re supposed to get off on it.

Fuck. No.

I just wish people weren’t buying into it.

Also, a big thing I have an issue with is the huge difference in which the characters act toward situations., particularly Ana. She stands up to all of the other people around her, but she’s putty in Christian’s hands because apparently he is a good fuck. The characterizations aren’t concrete; at best, the writing is juvenile and on a high-school level. I’ve read a lot of pastiches/parallel novels/fanfictions (Lyndsay Faye’s Dust and Shadow, which is Sherlock Holmes; Wide Sargasso Sea; Carole Nelson Douglas’s Irene Adler series; Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell series; Melanie Clegg’s Before the Storm which is a reimagining of The Buccaneers during the French Revolution) and all of these authors have kept characterizations consistent with what has been established. The thing about fanfiction is that it can be a good exercise in writing: the setting, characters, and situations are already established, and you’re trying to expand on something that has already been written. Or it can be complete schlock, which is what this is.

So maybe if I want to be published, I should abandon all projects I’m working on and focus on some slapdash Twilight reimagining, shouldn’t I? The question is: Would I be able to look at myself in the mirror every morning knowing that I have sold out? I’ll get back to you on that one.

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