(Directory of recap links)

As promised, I will be recapping this tripe.  But first, I want to comment on the name.  When searching online, there’s nothing at all to set it apart the other books.  Nothing.  No subtitle.  Nothing at all that isn’t in the first book’s title.  The official title is just Grey.  The “Retold by Christian Grey” isn’t an official part of the title.  This is a titling fail.

Also, for supposedly having grey eyes, the eye on the cover is awfully blue-green.

Now I shall dive in.

We start with some rather bland acknowledgements, which would usually go in the back.  A few stand out.

The FP ladies for help with my Americanisms.

Numerous counts number her Britishisms in the first books in the hundreds.  She’s banned people on Twitter for pointing them out.

Professor Dawn Carusi for help in navigating the U.S. higher education system.

I speculate this is due to how panned she was for how badly she misrepresented colleges in the US.  Something tells me Dawn Carusi is a fan of these books.  Let’s see if there’s any improvement in the book.

Dr. Raina Sluder for her insights into behavioral health.

This one is alarming.  Dr. Sluder has assisted before.  She also specializes in family medicine, which is nothing like mental health.  While all doctors have the most basic overview on all aspects of the human body, you don’t go to a family doctor for your deep mental health needs any more than you’d go to a cardiologist or your gastrointestinal needs.  Family medicine is the most basic of medical degrees.  All else builds on that with additional years of schooling.  Dr. Sluder is credited as a source for information on Christian’s mental health needs, though in reality, she isn’t qualified as a therapist, and so could not act as one.

In other words, Dr. Sluder is reaching outside of her area of expertise, and listing her in this way is irresponsible, and she should know that, and have veto’d it.  I wouldn’t trust her to be my doctor if she won’t acknowledge the limits to her practice.  This is a doctor I would worry would refuse to send me to a specialist when I need one because she thinks she can handle it.

This book’s chapter titles are dates.  It starts on May 9th, 2011, and ends on June 9th, 2011.  This means this book covers the first book, and will end on the day that Christian decided he wasn’t going to respect the break-up.

In the first trilogy, Christian tells Ana he has no memories of his mother, though he recalls two stories about her.  One is when she made him a birthday cake, and the other is after she was dead.  This book opens with the memory of playing with a few toy cars.

The date is Monday, May 9th, 2011.

So.  Right away we have confirmation that the man Ana trusts is a liar.  This doesn’t set a favorable tone for the rest of the book.

He gets out of bed, determined to have a bad day, and to spend time with his personal trainer.  Grey’s pissed his personal trainer kicked his butt.  So in other words, how dare the trainer do his job instead of stroking Grey’s ego.

He’s bored.  Bored, bored, bored.  All the money in the world, and he’s bored.

The sobering truth is that the only thing to capture my interest recently has been my decision to send two freighters of cargo to Sudan.

This is not altruism.  As we learned in the first book, he enjoys knowing he can take everything away from people.  It was with glee that he told Ana that he can make half his workers miss their housing payments by withholding their paychecks.  Let’s see if he tells her that again in this book.

While waiting for Ana’s roommate, Kate, to arrive to interview him, he internally whines about how interviewer are nothing but ill-informed people who are outright envious of him.  Anyone with two braincells to rub together knows that this is wrong, and is nothing more than Grey thinking too highly of himself.  He think is this interview is such a massive favor that he plans to make Kate’s father pay dearly later on.

How long to you think it will be between first seeing Ana, and wanting to hit her?  This long:

A commotion at the door brings me to my feet as a whirl of long chestnut hair, pale limbs, and brown boots dives headfirst into my office. Repressing my natural annoyance at such clumsiness, I hurry over to the girl who has landed on her hands and knees on the floor. Clasping slim shoulders, I help her to her feet.
Clear, embarrassed eyes meet mine and halt me in my tracks. They are the most extraordinary color, powder blue, and guileless, and for one awful moment, I think she can see right through me and I’m left…exposed. The thought is unnerving, so I dismiss it immediately.
She has a small, sweet face that is blushing now, an innocent pale rose. I wonder briefly if all her skin is like that—flawless—and what it would look like pink and warmed from the bite of a cane.

First, he’s annoyed.

Then he seems to think that an embarrassed young woman can see all his inner secrets.  He likes to boast that he can read people, yet he misreads Ana.  She is indeed guileless in all manners of sex.  The first book reveals she has never masturbated, didn’t know what an orgasm was, and was shocked–SHOCKED–that a penis can go into a vagina.  So no, he’s not exposed.  She doesn’t know what sex even is, and so she can’t see into him the way he things.

Third…oh good lord.  That’s how fast, that right there.  That’s how fast he goes from seeing her to wanting to beat her.  Anyone who is so quick to have hitting thoughts should be avoided at all costs.

I need to dispel that admiring look from those eyes but let’s have some fun in the process!

How…kind of him.  He’s excited to mess with her.  Despite a heads-up from his assistant that a Miss Ana Steele is coming in, he called her the wrong name, and mentally insults her clothes.  And once again his thoughts go to sex with her.  He barely hears her “They’re lovely. Raising the ordinary to extraordinary” commentary on some paintings.  That critique has been thoroughly panned in other reviews because both Ana and Grey think this is an insightful, professional review of artwork.

If you read the first books (I won’t blame you if you haven’t), you might remember Ana having trouble setting up a tape recorder out of the 80’s.  Grey’s thoughts?

As she fumbles and grows more and more flustered, it occurs to me that I could refine her motor skills with the aid of a riding crop. Adeptly used, it can bring even the most skittish to heel. The errant thought makes me shift in my chair. She peeks up at me and bites down on her full bottom lip.
Fuck! How did I not notice how inviting that mouth is?

I don’t understand how women are turned on my someone who wants to whip a stranger.

Despite having no bearing on the story, he tells us the reason he’s agreed to give the commencement address at Ana’s graduation.

Sam in PR tells me that WSU’s environmental sciences department needs the publicity in order to attract additional funding to match the grant I’ve given them, and Sam will go to any lengths for media exposure.

I feel really bad for WSU Vancouver’s environmental sciences department (in the first book, he was there for their farm sciences program, which doesn’t exist at that location), which is a graduate program.  I am a firm believer in not dragging real people and places through the mud unless you’re using their real actions.  In this book, he’s all but saying that the school’s chance of survival hinges on him handing out diplomas for some people getting their bachelor degrees.  Unless you’re a truly big name, like Steve Jobs, or a figure who attracts some major ire among the students, the general public won’t care, and there’s a good chance corporate America won’t pay any attention to whose speaking at which graduation.

In an unexpected twist, he tells us something I agree with wholeheartedly.  She had no idea he was giving the address at her own school.

Miss Steele blinks once more, as if this is news to her—and she looks disapproving. Hasn’t she done any background work for this interview? She should know this. The thought cools my blood. It’s…displeasing, not what I expect from someone who’s imposing on my time.

This is fair.  Even tough Ana was filling in for Kate, instead of sitting in the waiting room doing nothing (which we know from the first book), she could have read through the interview questions, or at least have been paying attention at school.  Students know ahead of time who will be speaking, but Ana didn’t pay one iota of attention.  Filling in or not, she owed it to the person she was interviewing to have done at least the most basic of research, instead of being as uninformed as possible.  It’s not cute.  It’s disrespectful.

Oh, FML.  A couple more chapters ahead, and Grey uses “not one iota,” though in reference to the most unoriginal interview question of “to what do you owe your success.”  I’ll be interviewing a well-known author soon, and you can bet I’m specifically aiming to avoid questions she’s asked a lot.

His internal answer is a lot of grandstanding and back-patting and tooting his own horn about how he’s just that good at what he does.  Also he’s amazing at reading people.  Except when he’s not and thinks the most virginal of life-virgins can see right through his secrets with one glance.  He gets unjustly pissed when Ana suggests he may have had some luck.

Luck!  He’s too awesome for luck!  It was all HIM!

Let’s take a moment here.  All of business requires some measure of luck.  Let’s take a look at Betamax and VHS.  Those are what we had before DVDs.  DVDs are what we had before BluRays.  Now you kids are caught up.  There was the Betamax/VHS war, not dissimilar to the HD-DVD/BluRay war.  Betamax had everything going for it.  Better quality images, better sound, more stable picture, sturdier construction.  By all reasoning, Betamax should have won.  But in a stroke of luck, a public that had once been more interested in things that would last decided that the lower cost of a VHS-player and the longer run time (longer run time further lowered the sound and picture quality) resulted in VHS winning, and Betamax went under.

So yes, Christian Grey had a lot of luck.  Not only luck there, but in having someone willing to take money from a spouse to give to him to start a business.  How many of us wouldn’t be thrilled to be handed six figures in seed money to start a business?  How many of us know anyone with that kind of cash at all?

Anyone?

Thought not.  That was also luck.

He went into telecommunications, an area for which there is no shortage of already-established companies.  AT&T, Verizon, TMobile, you name it.  Somehow he managed to become the single richest of all, and in a few short years.  That’s luck.

Now for a laugh.

Flaunting my erudition, I quote the words of Andrew Carnegie, my favorite industrialist. “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.

Do you know why this makes me laugh?  Erudition means to have great knowledge.  He follows this up with a quote by Harvey S. Firestone, not Andrew Carnegie.  Real erudite there.

And he’s turned on again and starts thinking about sexually controlling her.

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.”
Her mouth pops open at my response. That’s more like it. Suck it up, baby. I feel my equilibrium returning.

Yes.  He did.  He boasted about how he could screw people over, while making a mental demand for a blow job.

And E.L. James shows, again, how she knows nothing of American businesses.

“Don’t you have a board to answer to?”
“I own my company. I don’t have to answer to a board.” She should know this.”

The name of his company is Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.  The Inc. means that the businesses is incorporated.  It’s a corporation.  Corporations are required by law to have a board of directors.  So either he’s lying, again, about having no board, or his company is illegally set up.  I’m going to go with his company being illegally named.  If the business really is a corporation, there’d be a board, and a board can vote to kick out the founder.  It happened to Steve Jobs.  Yes, he was fired form Apple!  He was brought back on board, but still.  He was fired.  Grey is such an incompetent person at the business that a real-life board would fire him in a heartbeat.

And…again.

I have varied interests, Miss Steele. Very varied.” Images of her in assorted positions in my playroom flash through my mind: shackled on the cross, spread-eagled on the four-poster, splayed over the whipping bench.

This is old already.  And it’s painfully clear that she is a sex toy to him, not a human being.

One one-sentence paragraph later, in a switch to his hobbies…

What do I do to chill out? Sailing, flying, fucking…testing the limits of attractive brunettes like her, and bringing them to heel…

What can I even say at this point?

The girl is a mass of contradictions: shy, awkward, obviously bright, and arousing as hell.

A couple paragraphs later, we get that.  On behalf of the shy, awkward, bright girls everywhere, I’d like to tell Christian Grey to go to hell for thinking it’s a contradiction for us to be arousing to anyone.  That may seem like I am making a contradiction or being hypocritical, but I’m not.  While shy girls can be arousing, he should be reining in his thoughts about wanting to beat the tar out of someone he’s just met for his sexual thrills.

He fakes being philanthropic for half a page, before returning to business talk.

“It’s shrewd business,” I mutter, feigning boredom, and I imagine fucking that mouth to distract myself from all thoughts of hunger. Yes, her mouth needs training, and I imagine her on her knees before me. Now, that thought is appealing.

I need some wine, and not that Fifty Shades-branded wine either.  I have more respect for wine than to lower myself to that stuff  Give me some boxed Zinia before that crap.

Ana asks him if he has a philosophy, and this time the attribute is correct.  Carnegie did indeed say, “A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.”

He decides she talks like a rich brat whose always had what she wanted, but dismisses the idea and determines she grew up poor because her clothes are from Old Navy and H&M.  Oh.  So Katie Holmes and Blake Lively aren’t rich then because they wear Old Navy.  And actresses ranging from Helen Hunt to Kristin Stewart to Nichole Richie are also not rich because they wore H&M to events such as the freakin’ Academy Awards!  I wonder how poor he’s thinking I am for wearing Gap jeans, a Capezio leotard, and a Disney Parks shirt.  I’d probably be too poor to be worthy of one of his food shipments.

That starts this thoughts that she should be his sex slave since it’s been two months since his last one.  Poor baby.  Two months since he’s had someone to hurt.  Apparently he did hurt that one pretty bad.  I’m sure he’ll tell us later, and so I’ll tell you then.

Ana’s questioning take a turn for the inappropriate, such as pushing for information about his adoption and family, even when he clearly states he doesn’t want to talk about it.  Then she asks if he’s gay, which is none of her business.  He…internally responds well…

I have a sudden urge to drag her out of her seat, bend her over my knee, spank her, and then fuck her over my desk with her hands tied behind her back.

And by well, I mean bad.

This assistant informs him his next appointment is about to start, and like the courteous businessman he isn’t, he tells her to cancel the next appointment.  I guess he thinks other people aren’t busy.  Then he turns the tables on her, and the interviewee becomes the interviewer.  This isn’t as interesting as it could be.  He asks basic questions, tells her the company has some intern spots, and gets turned on again.  No, not again.  He never turns off.  He just makes sure to tell us a few more times.

Ana calls an end to the meeting, and Grey realizes he made her too uncomfortable.  I’m surprised he’s aware enough to pick up on that.  I’m sure he was leering this entire time, like the creep that he is.  He does make a mild effort to get her to stay, though thankfully it’s just with words, and not physically.  That’ll come later, though we do get get another mention of how he wants her mouth at his beck and call.

They shake hands and…

Yes, I want to flog and fuck this girl in my playroom. Have her bound and wanting…needing me, trusting me. I swallow.

Ana later says, in the first books, that she trusts him, yet she’s constantly afraid, and all she can really trust us that hell get mad and hit her.  That’s not a healthy trust.

As she’s leaving, another assistant, Olivia, gets Ana’s coat, and this leads Grey to believe Olivia has a crush on him.  Your guess on how this makes sense is as good as mine.  He does take a moment to comment, silently, on how “cheap” Ana’s coat is.  Go to hell, Grey.

I hold it up for her, and as I pull it over her slim shoulders, I touch the skin at the base of her neck. She stills at the contact and pales.
Yes! She is affected by me. The knowledge is immensely pleasing. Strolling over to the elevator, I press the call button while she stands fidgeting beside me.
Oh, I could stop your fidgeting, baby.

She could be turned on by the contact, or, more likely, she’s highly uncomfortable with a stranger touching her in an intimate spot.  It’ll be the second, since she pales instead of flushes, though flushing could be embarrassment.  Paling isn’t a good thing.

As soon as she’s gone, he orders an assistant to get one of his bodyguard on the line so he can run an overly-comprehensive, and illegally-in-depth, background search on Ana….

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