I finished the book…and the series! God, I thought it would never end. After the official conclusion, there is, of course, an epilogue in which Ana and Christian gambol about with their son [because the Penis of Doom always generates a first-born son] and coo about their upcoming daughter. The epilogue contains awkwardly inserted flashbacks and serves no purpose whatsoever except to hammer home that Ana and Christian live happily ever after in true love, perfect bliss and harmonious, nurturing parenthood. Yeah, I'm not going to believe that until I read transcripts of their kids' therapy sessions.
And then, after the epilogue, we get a 50 Shades of Christian section, which, I assume, is bonus material supplied for the Vintage republishing. James gives us a first-person report of Christian's first Christmas with his adoptive family, the Greys, which adds nothing to the story because we've already been inside young Christian's head in the prologue when he was telling us about his nightmares. If anything, this section tickles my gag reflex, as James writes the 5-year-old Christian without nuance, realism or complexity. It's just…baby talk for pages and pages.
Just in case you haven't had your fill of redundancy, 50 Shades Freed finally, finally, finally closes out with Meet 50 Shades, an exhaustive recap of Ana and Christian's first two meetings from Christian's point of view.
Insights I gained from Meet 50 Shades:
1. Christian is an asshole.
2. He has the hots for Ana.
3. Even though he has no "subconscious" or "inner goddess," Christian's interior monologue sounds exactly the same as Ana's: repetitive, shallow and unindividualized.
4. Wow, that was a pointless section.
On second thought, scratch that victory lap. Now that I'm done with the 50 Shades trilogy, I'm too exhausted to put forth more effort. I just read 514 [book 1] + 532 [book 2] + 579 [book 3] = 1625 pages of erotic romance over 9 days. It was clearly a feat of endurance for which I should get a prize [preferably in the form of well-written erotic romance]. I understand the commercial impulse behind stringing the story out over 3 books and thereby making $$$ [or, for E.L. James, £££], but oh my God…the trilogy could have been easily cut down to 400 pages by a ruthless and judicious editor without losing any of the traits that make it such a gloriously bad read.
It's victory nap time instead.