LAST GREAT READS FOR NOVEMBER
50 Shades Freed, by E. L. James.
At the start of the last book in this indescribable trilogy, Beyond Handsome but Seriously Disturbed Captain of Industry Christian Grey and his blushing, accident-prone lover Anastasia are on their honeymoon in the South of France, bonking like a pair of rabbits up and down the Cote d’Azur: this IS to be expected of newlyweds, but one wishes that every bout of love-making, (ah, yes – they love each other so nothing is off limits) each more innovative – not to say weird but they LOVE each other! – than the last, didn’t have to be related in tedious, mind-numbing detail. Say what one will about the missionary position, at least when a gel has to go about her business she doesn’t whistle when she walks.
Oh, they are both insatiable! It’s all jolly unseemly and I kept waiting for them to get a grip on themselves instead of each other, but it was a long time coming.
Eventually, Ms James settles down to follow a very insubstantial plot line: Ana is engaged in a battle of wills with her control-freak (but Beyond Beautiful) hubby – he wants her to give up her job and she refuses, thereby earning his ire, and a denial of sexual congress unless it is on his terms. Well, the hapless reader can imagine what that means: more tedium in the Playroom (formerly the Red Room of Pain), but Ana is made of stern stuff: she can play those games too – but I so wish she wouldn’t! Many pages are devoted to who is going to win the battle to be a Dominant or a Dominatrix. It’s all SO exhausting that I had to skip a lot of the ‘action’ until I came across the next part of the story, which is that Ana – oh, she’s so BUSY being an editor in the job Christian doesn’t want her to have – messes up her contraception injections, and to Christian’s horror, she is now IN THE CLUB.
He cannot share her! She must terminate the pregnancy! Mr. Kinky Freaky’s beautiful gray eyes are harrowed and his brow is furrowed! (I am quoting here.) Needless to say, Ana takes the opposite tack and a state of war exists in the Grey household, made worse by the return like a bad smell of the dreadful Jack Hyde, Ana’s ex-boss and sexual harasser. This time he wants $4,000,000 because he has kidnapped Christian’s sister – ‘Bring me the money and don’t tell your S.O.B husband, or I’ll hurt her before I kill her.’ Well, what’s a gel to do? Christian’s sister is such a twerp that I would have said ‘Give me a few months to think about it’ but Ana charges to the rescue with an enormous bag of money: she has to endure a cruel assault from the evil Mr. Hyde, but she doesn’t bother to kick him in the sex organs this time – she shoots him in the knee! She had a gun hidden down the back of her designer jeans all the time – I mean to say, did we REALLY think that she would go to such a rendezvous without a plan? Silly sister is saved, Christian gallops onto the scene like a Parfit Knight, carts Ana off to hospital, swears undying love for her and the baby, puts the loot back in the numbered account and the ghastly Mr. Hyde is incarcerated once again, this time permanently.
Oh, there’s nothing like a happy ending, is there, but I have to admit to some dreadful unease when I reached the last page: Ms James thanks the reader prettily for reading her deathless prose, then says ‘That’s all ……. For now’. Is that a threat? My toes are curling up like Aladdin’s slippers: Mein Gott, WHAT NEXT???