So I recently started reading Fifty Shades of Grey, and by that I mean that I’ve only read the first chapter. So here are my thoughts thus far: I hate it, but I don’t. I kind of feel the same way about it as I do Inheritance Cycle. It’s bad, it makes no sense, and it’s boring, but I kind of like it so far. And I don’t know why. At least when I read Inheritance Cycle I could name things in the series that I like, and I’m also less embarrassed about being a Christopher Paolini fan. At this point in the story, I can’t be certain whether or not my like for Fifty Shades of Grey will remain. So far, for as much as I enjoy it, it has been far more grating than Inheritance Cycle ever got while being far less compelling.
Regardless of whether or not I’ll still want to continue on with the series by the first book’s end, I couldn’t help but spork chapter one. This will more than likely be the only sporking you will ever see me write, as I’m sure Lady Geek Girl will not appreciate it if I fill up the blog with sporks. That, and I’m not too sure I care to spork the other chapters.
But I’ve been having a bad few weeks, and poking fun at people who are far more successful in life than I will ever be makes me feel better, because I’m that shallow. And for any fans that come across this, I’m going to tell you right now that, yes, I’m jealous of E. L. James. I told Lady Geek Girl a few weeks ago that if I could write the next Fifty Shades of Grey, or even if I could write the next Twilight, I would do it. Because, hey, maybe my story would be a piece of crap, but I’d be rich.
All that said, let’s get right to it.
I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair—it just won’t behave, and damn Katherine Kavanagh for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal. I should be studying for my final exams, which are next week, yet here I am trying to brush my hair into submission. I must not sleep with it wet. I must not sleep with it wet. Reciting this mantra several times, I attempt, once more, to bring it under control with the brush. I roll my eyes in exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up. My only option is to restrain my wayward hair in a ponytail and hope that I look semi-presentable. Page 3
Well, being a grammar-nazi, there are some things in the first paragraph that make my skin crawl, particularly the use of commas, but I digress. Overall this is actually not too bad of an opening. The conflict has already been alluded to, even though we don’t know what it is. And this conflict has come about by another character getting sick, which inconveniences our main character when she has other important things to do, like studying for finals. Naturally, she’s acting inconvenienced, which is a good, relatable quality, and we even see that in her word choice. She’s subjected to this ordeal.
Okay, now that I’m done praising the first paragraph, let me tear it apart. First of all, describing what a main character looks like through use of a mirror is lazy writing. It gets done so often, and it gets old so quickly. Many people constantly think about what they look like, and they don’t need a mirror to do so. This is a bit of a shit introduction. Also, did she sleep with her hair wet? Because if so, I feel the need to tell her that brushing her hair won’t make it dry. She should probably invest in a hairdryer. I am also so sick and tired of female protagonists describing themselves in entirely negative ways. I can do that to myself too, but for as many flaws I can find on my face, being my own worst critic, there are also some things that I like about my face. Not only that, but being pale and having big blue eyes are not bad traits. They don’t make you ugly; they just make you more likely to get skin cancer, which I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that that’s not going to make an appearance in this story.
I also love the reoccurring flaw of bad hair; it just sets this character so far apart from all the other female protagonists with bad hair. *cough* Bella Swan *cough*
Kate is my roommate, and she has chosen today of all days to succumb to the flu. Kate, my roommate,
who hates unnecessary passive voice, has chosen today of all days to succumb to the flu. Therefore, she cannot attend the interview she’d arranged to do, with some mega-industrialist tycoon I’ve never heard of, for the student newspaper. Page 3
I feel the need to interject that that last sentence doesn’t need any commas other than the first one.
So I have been volunteered. I have final exams to cram for and one essay to finish, and I’m supposed to be working this afternoon, but no—today I have to drive 165 miles to downtown Seattle in order to meet the enigmatic CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc. As an exceptional entrepreneur and major benefactor of our university, his time is extraordinary precious—much more precious than mine—but he has granted Kate and interview. A real coup, she tells me. Damn her extracurricular activities. Page 3
I really like that last sentence. I think it gives the main character some personality, as it shows she’s both bitter about what’s happening while also calling attention to the fact that she’s aware Kate has no control over the situation. Well, no control over being sick. I don’t know why she asked the main character to do the interview. I also don’t know why the main character doesn’t just say no. It would solve her problem. Is there no one else willing to interview this guy? He seems like a big deal.
Also, this sentence here:
I have final exams to cram for and one essay to finish, and I’m supposed to be working this afternoon, but no—today I have to drive 165 miles to downtown Seattle in order to meet the enigmatic CEO of Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.
Should read more like:
I have final exams to cram for, one essay to finish, and I’m supposed to be working this afternoon, but no, today I have to drive one hundred and sixty-five miles to downtown Seattle in order to meet the CEO of Grey Enterprises.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I never thought that enterprises took an Inc. At least it sounds weird to me, but I’m not an expert. We know nothing about the CEO other than that she’s never heard of him. Considering that he’s a big name, she probably just doesn’t pay attention to these kinds of things, but if that’s the case, he wouldn’t be enigmatic. Furthermore, numbers should be spelled out.
Anyway, what’s Kate’s reason to get our unnamed protagonist to do the interview for her?
“As the editor, I can’t blow this off.” Page 4
Apparently, our protagonist is called Ana, and if Kate has to reschedule the interview, she won’t get it done until after graduation. But as the editor, unless Ana also works on the paper, Kate probably has more than a few people who would be more capable of doing this interview, and she should probably ask them.
How does she do it? Even ill she looks gamine and gorgeous, strawberry blond hair in place and green eyes bright, although now red rimmed and runny. I ignore my pang of unwanted sympathy. Pages 3-4
- an often homeless girl who roams about the streets; an urchin
- a girl or woman of impish appeal
- a slim and boyish girl or young woman; an elfish tomboy
While I like the description of unwanted sympathy, no, Ana’s not ignoring it, because she’s still doing this interview when she shouldn’t be. Also, let’s all appreciate the fact that every girl we meet will probably be prettier than Ana, because she’s just so plain and ordinary.
The two of them then proceed to start a conversation that they should have had earlier, when Kate says this:
“Here are the questions and my digital recorder. Just press record here. Make notes, I’ll transcribe it all.” Page 4
Because that’s all the more effort and preparation that should go into this kind of thing. I’m sure it’s this easy.
“I know nothing about him,” I murmur, trying and failing to suppress my rising panic. Page 4
Then why is she going on this trip? Someone else more qualified should be doing this. I know nothing about Ana other than that she’s bitter and should have said no. What the hell is she majoring in? Is she even a part of the newspaper?
Although, I love this next part.
“Okay, I’m going. Get back to bed. I made you some soup to heat up later.” I stare at her fondly. Only for you, Kate, would I do this. Page 4
This sounds more like love than close friendship. But if there’s actually sweet lesbian sex in this book, it just got a hell of a lot more interesting. I approve, but of course, if that happens, I’d probably be better off finding erotic fanfiction between Bella Swan and Rosalie, which I’m not going to do. This would actually be a neat plot point, if Ana had feelings of Kate while also dealing with her feelings for the CEO guy, especially if Kate didn’t return those feelings. And then when Ana realized she liked Kate in that way and that she couldn’t have her, she may have guilt for being in the other relationship because she might think she’s using the guy as someone to fall back on to make her feel better about Kate.
I’m going to stop this theory there.
Anyway, following that, we get a paragraph with the unnecessary adverb “wryly” and a classic example of telling and not showing.
She’s articulate, strong, persuasive, argumentative, beautiful—and she’s my dearest, dearest friend. Page 4
Yeah, Ana’s in love with Kate.
So Ana leaves and goes to Seattle, where she overuses the words “glass” and “steel” in describing Mr. Grey’s office building, which has “Grey House” written across it, instead of, oh, I don’t know, “Grey Enterprises Holdings, Inc.”
Behind the solid sandstone desk, a young, very attractive, groomed, blonde,
young woman smiles pleasantly at me. She’s wearing the sharpest charcoal suit jacket and white shirt I have ever seen. She looks immaculate. Page 5
First of all, remember this part earlier describing our Rosalie knockoff:
strawberry blond hair
Now, suddenly, blond is being spelled with an E in describing the secretary lady. There is a difference between blond and blonde. No one uses it anymore because very few people know the difference. But because Kate and this lady are both girls, they should both have Es. It wasn’t a problem for Kate’s hair to be blond and not blonde until this paragraph, even though she’s a girl. The difference between blond and blonde has such little bearing on the English language anymore that authors need either to pick one and stick with it or use them properly.
Also yes, the woman’s immaculate appearance is only there to further Ana’s average looks. Her and her too-big blue eyes!
She arches her eyebrow as I stand self-consciously before her. Page 5
We get it! She’s plain and normal, so everyone else is obviously going to act superior!
“Miss Kavanagh is expected. Please sign in here, Miss Steele. You’ll want the last elevator on the right, press for the twentieth floor.” She smiles kindly at me, amused no doubt, as I sign in. Page 5
Instead of bitching about the overabundance of comma splices that have made their way into this story, particularly in dialogue, let me just say that Ana is making a judgment without proof. She doesn’t know that the woman’s amused, when all she’s doing is smiling kindly. It might be sincere for all we know. This kind of self-consciousness that Ana’s displaying isn’t normal. There’s a condition that makes people paranoid in public because they feel as though everyone’s staring at and judging them when they’re not. Ana is modeled after Bella Swan, and I swear that they both have it.
She hands me a security pass that has “visitor” very firmly stamped on the front. I can’t help my smirk. Surely it’s obvious that I’m just visiting. Page 5
Yes, protocols are stupid. That’s why we have them.
Thanking her, I walk over to the bank of elevators and past the two security guards who are both far more smartly dressed than I am in their well-cut black suits. Page 5
Blah, Blah, Blah, I whine as much as Bella.
So she gets to the twentieth floor, where there’s more glass and steel, and we can now add sandstone to the repeated descriptions. Not to mention, more impeccably dressed blonde women.
It’s at about this point that all the redundant words James has jammed into this book start to feel really, well, redundant. There are over one million, thirteen thousand words in the English language. I believe that, on average, we use anywhere between two or three thousand a day. I don’t support purple prose or thesaurus rape, but there’s still no excuse for redundancy. By the way, I just found out on my thesaurus raping binge that redundancy also means joblessness. Just thought I’d share.
It’s also at about this point a reader might realize just how many times Ana does something “inwardly”.
I’ve never been comfortable with one-on-one interviews, preferring the anonymity of a group discussion where I can sit inconspicuously at the back of the room. Page 6
It’s like this girl has no defining traits other than introverted. But even as an introvert I have trouble relating to her. Yeah, I would hide in the back of an open-group class in college, but I’d be uncomfortable in that setting and entirely unable to participate. I would’ve much rather preferred the one-on-one interview, because there were less people. The only reason interviews freaked me out in college was because they were entirely in Japanese and twenty percent of my grade.
Anyway, while Ana is sitting uncomfortably thinking about reading a classic British novel that will probably not be mentioned as a hobby again, she simultaneously thinks that Grey is going to be in his forties, be fit and tanned, and fair-haired, because he only hires blonde people and his building is “too clinical and modern.” Clinical? Really? It’s not a hospital; it’s an office building. If Ana wants to see clinical, she should go spend some time in the ER.
And, wow, I wonder if she’s going to be completely wrong about what Grey looks like. I guess I’ll have to read to find out.
So then, one of the blondes, now called Olivia, gets scolded by another blonde for not offering Ana a drink. And this is probably only an issue because it’s Ana and not some random other visitor.
“My apologies, Miss Steele, Olivia is our new intern.” Page 6
And we’re going to bitch at her for not catering to your Sueness!
Perhaps Mr. Grey insists on all his employees being blonde. I’m wondering idly if that’s legal. Page 7
I’m wondering idly who edited this, because blonde was just used in the same context as blond from earlier. Before, at least “blonde” referred to specific people and not entirely hair color (she calls all the employees Blonde One, Two, and Three), but now it’s back to describing hair specifically. This is a mistake that should have been caught, especially because I hear there are editors whose entire job is to find words that have different spellings and make sure they remain consistent throughout an entire piece.
Then another finely dressed man comes out of Grey’s office and Olivia jumps out of her chair to call the elevator, because, certainly the guy can’t press the button himself. It’d be one thing had she already been standing by the elevator, but is he really so high and mighty that he can’t raise his finger?
She seems to excel at jumping from here seat. She’s more nervous than me! Page 7
Exclamation marks should not be used outside dialogue whenever it’s avoidable. Using an exclamation mark like this is equivalent to laughing at your own joke.
It’s then Ana’s turn to go into the office.
“You don’t need to knock—just go in.” She smiles kindly. Page 7
The judgmental skank!
I push open the door and stumble through, tripping over my own feet and falling headfirst into the office. Page 7
In typical Bella fashion. I am so sick and tired of clumsy female protagonists. And the fact that just about all the main female characters in novels that I can name off the top of my head outside Katniss are all clumsy only furthers to piss me off. Being clumsy isn’t cute, it isn’t endearing, and it certainly isn’t a character flaw that needs to be overcome, though Stephenie Meyer tried really hard to make it one. It honestly cannot be that hard to write a character whose goal in life shouldn’t be focused on learning how to fucking walk.
Ana doesn’t just trip or stumble over her own feet here, which I would take as believable had it not been overdone. She legitimately falls over, and Grey has to help her up. And then we get something that truly proves this story started as a Twilight fanfiction.
I am so embarrassed, damn my clumsiness. I have to steel myself to glance up. Holy cow—he’s so young. Page 7
Holy cow? You know, that phrase Bella used no less than three times in the first book alone? Oh, and by the way, hello again, comma splice.
“Miss Kavanagh.” He extends a long-fingered hand to me once I’m upright. “I’m Christian Grey. Are you all right? Would you like to sit?” Page 7
Of course, she might accidentally break her face on the chair in the process. Also, this first thing out of his mouth to show his being concerned should have been his question into her wellbeing, not an introduction.
And then we get a terrible description of what Grey looks like.
So young—and attractive, very attractive. He’s tall, dressed in a fine gray suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly dark copper-colored hair and intense, bright eyes that regard me shrewdly. Page 7
His clothes don’t tell us what he looks like, and attractive doesn’t tell us anything. I have no idea what he’s supposed to look like, other than like Edward, which tells me nothing, because SMeyer does the same thing. Not only that, but he shouldn’t be modeled after Edward to begin with. When this fanfic became and an actual story, James should have made them her own characters.
If this guy is over thirty, then I’m a monkey’s uncle. Page 8
Ana needs to do that thing that Bella does. You know, that thing, where she doesn’t think. Or if Ana truly has to think, it needs to be not clichés. And though I didn’t put it in, this isn’t the first time she’s monologued something like this. It would make the story a lot less painful.
I feel an odd exhilarating shiver run through me. Page 8
We call that lust. Being in college and quite possibly homosexual, you’re probably old enough to have experienced it a few times.
“Miss Kavanagh is indisposed, so she sent me. I hope you don’t mind, Mr. Grey.”
“And you are?” His voice is warm, possibly amused, but it’s difficult to tell from his impassive expression. He looks mildly interested, but above all, polite. Page 8
So when a girl’s polite, she’s judging Ana for her inferior clothes and whatnot? But when a hot guy’s polite, he’s being genuine? Got it.
So he offers her a seat again and we get the obligatory description of his office. There are thirty-six “exquisite” paintings—because Ana must have counted—that invoke a conversation but have little to no detail. The room is said to be clinical, again, and then Edward Grey is called Adonis.
I shake my head, disturbed at the direction of my thoughts, and retrieve Kate’s questions from my backpack. Next, I set up the digital recorder and am all fingers and thumbs, dropping it twice on the coffee table in front of me. Mr. Grey says nothing, waiting patiently—I hope—as I become increasingly embarrassed and flustered. When I pluck up the courage to look at him, he’s watching me, one hand relaxed in his lap and the other cupping his chin and trailing his long index finger across his lips. I think he’s trying to suppress a smile. Pages 8-9
Because she is a female protagonist, and therefore, she cannot do anything right. In fact, this trait will be played out so much, it’ll probably become just plain sexist the way Grey is capable and she isn’t. Let’s read on to find out. Oh, and, uh, by the way, his fingers have already been described as long earlier in the chapter, so we don’t need that reiterated.
“Take all the time you need, Miss Steele,” he says. Page 9
It’s not as though he runs a business and is on a very tight schedule after all.
The interview that follows is really boring and tries to shove character traits upon us that we should be shown and not told. It actually reminds me a lot of the dialogue in Twilight, that is questions and answers over and over again and little to no actual conversation. Except that at least here it has a reason, albeit a forced one, as I still don’t know why Ana’s doing this interview.
So Ana finally manages to get everything set up and asks if Grey knows what the interview’s for. He responds:
“Yes. To appear in the graduation issue of the student newspaper as I shall be conferring the degrees at this year’s graduation ceremony.” Page 9
Well, isn’t this going to be a lovely way to throw them together after the interview? However, Ana’s reaction to this completely pisses me off.
Oh! This is news to me, and I’m temporarily preoccupied by the thought that someone not much older than me—okay, maybe six years or so, and okay, mega-successful, but still—is going to present me with my degree. Page 9
I understand that this interview was a last-minute thing for Ana for… some reason, and that she didn’t have a lot of time to look anything up. I would, however, expect Kate to have informed her of the basics for this interview, and I would also expect Ana to at least do a quick Google search on Grey. It is beyond rude to conduct an interview and not know anything at all about whom you’re interviewing or the topic at hand. So clearly, once again, we can see that Ana is the best person Kate could have picked.
So they start the interview. Ana asks him how he got so successful, and he answers by saying that he’s good at reading people, and he only needs an eleven-lined paragraph to do so. We also learn that he has a gray stare. Get it? Grey has gray eyes. Oh, the wit. Of course, this does completely contradict his having “bright eyes”. But I cannot go on without bringing this sentence up:
“My belief is to achieve success in any scheme one has to make oneself master of that scheme, know it inside and out, know every detail.” Page 10
Maybe it’s just my internal grammar-nazi, but I originally had to read this line three times before I figured out what he is saying. You see, the part to achieve success in any scheme is additional information and should be set aside with commas. And commas thus far have proven to be James’s weakness in writing, among other things. And if they’re not hers, they’re most certainly her editor’s.
So after his explanation—which is simply stating facts about his own abilities, which we also know cannot be exaggerated, because he runs his own business—Ana insults him by saying he might just be lucky and thinking he’s arrogant, because he works hard and makes decisions on logic and facts, as he puts it. And because he likes to hire good people. After she calls him lucky, he responds again that he works hard and likes to hire people who work hard.
“You sound like a control freak.” Page 10
What the hell?! Ana is about to graduate college, and all I know is that despite her age, she lacks any kind of filter on her mouth. Like, I’m all for superficial judging, and I do it all the time, which is what Ana’s doing, but at least I know it’s superficial. I get the impression that we’re supposed to agree with Ana here, and I can’t. Of course he’s a control freak, as she so elegantly puts it; he runs a business. He wouldn’t have gotten to that point if he had no control. But Kate almost didn’t get this interview, and he has other things to do, so why the hell would she insult him like this?
Naturally, he answers without any sense of humor and stares at her.
Why does he have such an unnerving effect on me? His overwhelming good looks maybe? The way his eyes blaze at me? The way he strokes his index finger against his lower lip? I wish he’d stop doing that. Page 10
Well, maybe he wishes you’d stop wasting his time, but we can’t all get what we want, now can we? And good job at thinking about how hot he is after insulting him and then worrying about your own feelings.
“Do you feel that you have immense power?” Control freak.
“I employ over forty thousand people, Miss Steele. That gives me a certain sense of responsibility—power, if you will. If I were to decide I was no longer interested in the telecommunications business and sell, twenty thousand people would struggle to make their mortgage payments after a month or so.”
My mouth drops open.
I am staggered by his lack of humility.
“Don’t you have a board to answer to?” I ask, disgusted.
“I own my company. I don’t have to answer to a board.” He raises an eyebrow at me. Of course, I would know this had I done some research. But holy crap, he’s arrogant. Pages 10-11
I’m surprised she didn’t say “Holy cow” again. But yes, Ana would have known this had she done the research she should have done before coming, and no, his arrogance doesn’t excuse her behavior. She’s still conducting an interview, and she should act like it. Besides, it’s more a statement of fact than arrogance that people would suffer without his company and that he has a lot of responsibility. He’s making a point.
There is a difference between knowing your own strengths and being arrogant. Knowing your strengths and using them properly isn’t arrogance. For example, Lady Geek Girl is really knowledgeable in theology, so she started Oh, My Pop-Culture Jesus to share that knowledge. I daresay that even though both Lady Saika and Lady Bacula help out on the OMPCJs, our Sunday posts would be complete shit without Lady Geek Girl being the backbone behind it, and she probably knows that. It’s a statement of fact that she knows a lot of theology. Hell, this entire blog would suffer if she decided to leave, and she probably knows that too.
As another example, I’m good at drawing. You want proof? Well, how about this picture of Loki?
This is a picture I copied in likeness to a preexisting picture from Marvel comics. So let me make it clear that I don’t own this image, but even though I copied it, I’m pretty sure that this level of sketching makes me a fairly decent artist. I did this for practice, because I like the shading of the original, and I also did it sitting in a pew at church during a lecture about Moroni. Stating that I’m good at art doesn’t make me arrogant, nor does it change the fact that this is my drawing level.
No, what would be arrogant is my saying that I’m better than everyone else, and that no one can do what I just did when I copied this, or even thinking I can’t improve and that I don’t need practice.
The point I’m making is that Grey hasn’t said anything arrogant. At least, not yet. Right now, he’s just answering questions.
So Ana moves onto his hobbies and manufacturing, and actually manages a compliment. Asking him about his hobbies causes him to “shift in his chair.” This is either because it makes him uncomfortable, or because James wanted a random action breaking up the dialogue. I’m thinking it’s the latter. Then we get something that is both cliché, and unfortunately, the only thing that’s given him any kind of characterization thus far, outside of hot and controlling.
Ana says that he answered as though his heart’s talking. He responds that people say he doesn’t have one, and when she asks about that, he says:
“Because they know me well.” His lip curls in a wry smile. Page 11
Blah, blah, blah, the interview continues. He has no friends because he’s a private person. He’s also a benefactor of the university and only agreed to the interview because of Kate’s tenacity that we’ll probably never see. His gaze is penetrating—lol, there’s sex later in this book—and Ana should be studying for finals. It’s all very boring.
Oh, and he’s also into farming technologies. So Ana questions him about feeding the poor.
“It’s shrewd business,” he murmurs, though I think he’s being disingenuous. It doesn’t make sense—feeding the world’s poor? I can’t see the financial benefit of this, only the virtue of the ideal. I glance at the next question, confused by his attitude. Page 12
Maybe he just doesn’t like talking about his good deeds. Maybe he does a lot of bad things, so helping those less fortunate makes him feel better. After all, farming technologies are just completely unnecessary to the economy and a black hole for profit, and as a CEO, it’s not as though he can afford to be a little generous, right?
Also, is it just me, or does James really like using some variation of the word “shrewd”?
So she goes on about him being a control freak and that that clashes with wanting to feed the world. I’m not sure how these two things relate, because control freaks are apparently evil assholes and not just assholes anymore, but it’s probably James’s attempt to make him deep. And her way of telling us he’s deep and not showing us.
Oh, and he’s adopted. It’s kind of like that other character I know of. Who was he, again? Edward Cullen? Yeah, I think that’s right.
And he’s apparently sacrificed family for work, to which he says that he has all the family he needs in his siblings and parents. Then:
“Are you gay, Mr. Grey?” Page 13
To be fair, this is Kate’s question, not Ana’s. But she still reads it out loud. This is also when he realizes that the questions are not her questions, and that she doesn’t even work on the school newspaper. I can at least relate to him on the grounds of wondering why Kate sent her. It’s also one of the more intelligent things in the chapter.
So he asks if she volunteered to do the interview for Kate.
“I was drafted. She’s not well.” My voice is weak and apologetic.
“That explains a great deal.” Page 14
Okay, I admit, I like that response. It was funny. I even laughed when I first read it. Good job, James, I approve of something in this chapter.
It’s at this point one of the blondes comes in and tells him about his upcoming meeting, which he tells her to cancel, because a random college chick is more important. His mouth is distracting and for some unfathomable reason he offers her an internship. I guess because he really likes people who insult him with stupid questions, lack of research, unfounded inquires into his sexual orientation like it’s their business, and all together waste his time.
It’s at this point that I realized that I completely forgot Grey’s first name. Oh, well. What a shame. Oh, it’s Christian.
He offers to give her a tour. She turns him down and gets upset when he holds open the door for her and says:
“Just ensuring you make it through the door, Miss Steele.” Page 15
Following that, we get this:
Obviously, he’s referring to my earlier less-than-elegant entry into his office. Page 15
Yes, obviously, so why are we told this? We don’t need the author to tell us this, because we will all remember her falling on her face. There are so many times in this chapter, so many chances for good, subtle writing, and then the author does something like this that ruins it. He’s telling a joke, and we’re not morons, so we don’t need the author to state that he’s poking fun at her. James did the same thing with the interview, like when she tells us his hobbies clash with his personality. We can figure it out. We can figure that he’s not telling Ana everything, maybe because he doesn’t want to, due to being a private person. But Ana’s monologuing kills the subtlety.
And before I forget, the times when the prose is italicized to show her internal thoughts are not needed. This is told entirely from first person. Her thoughts are the whole damn story. It’s even more grating, because it’s easy to see which kinds of sentences James italicizes, but then she doesn’t do it all the time.
Now, I take this time to embarrass Tsunderin, but let’s keep in mind that I’m embarrassed right along with her. As Tsunderin admitted to me in a very small voice, as though she was shamed by her own words, this is a bit of a guilty pleasure. Or at least chapter one is. I don’t disagree with Tsunderin yet, and as much as I hate this chapter, I don’t hate it. Yeah, the setup’s stupid, the character traits are forced and unoriginal, the grammar is a sure sign that the editor didn’t pay any attention, and though it was boring—though not Twilight-level boring—I found there were some things I liked. It has some good, funny lines, Ana’s monologuing doesn’t make me want to murder kittens yet, and the uncomfortable tone during the interview is passable as a form of conflict. Overall, I like this.
PS: Happy 4th of July, everyone!