Dec 262012
 

I think EL James ran out of good ideas a while back, and now she’s just throwing random plot developments at us. To wit: Ray, Ana’s step-father, is now in hospital. What follows is boiler-plate medical drama.

I also think that someone should have told EL James it is okay to use scene breaks more than she does, because after the call about Ray, we get a couple of pages on the logistics of Ana informing her work superiors and leaving her office. At least Christian is understanding and supportive when he finds out about this.

This chapter would have been interesting if these were characters we were invested in. I think this is an artifact of two features of how FSOG was produced.

First, the assumption was that the reader would already been invested in the characters from having read the Twilight books or watched the movies. The work of establishing a character and getting the audience to care about them is already done. The reader sees Ray as a version of Bela Swan’s father.

Second, FSOG was written in an open-ended, serial form more akin to a soap opera than a format that requires storytelling economy like a novel, a feature film or even a prime-time TV series. EL James wrote this as a fan work with no editorial or commercial constraints, purely on her own whim, or perhaps with some concessions to fan feedback. If EL James wanted to shift the story to medical drama, or take a sojourn to Aspen, there was nobody to stop her, not even an internalized sense of “This is what you can and can’t do in a novel/feature film/TV drama episode”. In part, fan fiction exists to do what conventional media can’t, to fill in the gaps or go beyond the boundaries.

However, sometimes those gaps are there for a reason. EL James writes with a strange attention to trivial details, as when Ana thinks about the brand of tea at the hospital while waiting to see if her step-father was going to live or die.

Even on-duty nurses in intensive care wards are distracted by the sight of Christian Grey. Does this guy cause traffic accidents from women drivers rubbernecking when he walks down the street?

For the purposes of this blog, only a few relevant items come up in this chapter. Christian has  financially supported another submissive through medical school, and is now a doctor, with another dominant. (Just how much money has Christian sunk into all these women over the years?)

“Sleep,” he murmurs, and it’s a command. I close my eyes and drift.

Family emergencies happen in both vanilla and kink relationships, and I would say they always override whatever rules the participants have in place.

This chapter does show that Christian can be pleasant and supportive with Ana, but the story is alternating between externally-induced crises (Ray’s accident, the return of Leila) and repeated honeymoons (the Aspen trip). The Christian-Ana relationship, on its own, could still be fatally flawed.

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