I Read It So You Don’t Have To: 50 Shades of Grey

Book:

Drinking:

  • English Breakfast Tea

Eating:

  • Not enough for the control freak “anti-hero” of this “book”

Welcome to a very special Book Club of 1 meeting.  Today I have read a book in hopes that I can stop you from thinking you need to read it.  I am acting as a professional here people, don’t try this at home!

I read the entire Twilight series.  In the moment, I loved them.  I blame myself for my sister’s addiction to them.  They are like a drug.  Once I detoxed I regretted everything.  This was about the same time as others did the same.  I avoiding the 50 Shades series because it was really just Twilight with bondage.  I have better things I can re-read or read different versions of (Pride & Prejudice).  I only picked up Twilight when I saw that Robert Pattinson was cast as Edward in the movie (I adore Cedric Diggory).  I only thought twice about 50 Shades when Jamie Dornan was cast as Christian.  Someone has clearly found my weakness.

I decided to read 50 Shades only in the past few weeks though.  It wasn’t an immediate decision.  I did the audiobook and part of my annoyances were directly related to the way this audiobook worked.

Here is the thing, I am not angry or annoyed by the plot.  I love anti-heros who discover a desire to try to be a better man because they feel something new.  I can forgive Christian’s need to control even if I am uncomfortable because of his stalking Anastasia.  I can forgive Anastasia because she is 22 years old and doesn’t know the difference between desire and love.  I can remember 22 for me and I would have probably reacted the same way to Christian as she does.  Yes, he stalks and controls her.  His behavior is abusive.  His pattern of isolating her and never leaving her alone is disconcerting.

I keep in mind the actions of this book take place over the course of 3 weeks.  In three weeks a powerful man seduces a woman who has no idea what she is getting into.  James/Anastasia use the right words to describe Christian’s damage and issues.  That it takes Anastasia 3 weeks to “fall in love” and then realize this is wrong for her- that’s pretty impressive.  How many women like Anastasia could do that?  Many do and many don’t.  It is the last chapter that sets up the best part of the book.  This is the moment when she walks away having recognized what a life with Christian means.  If the series ended here, I would have given it more than 1 star.

Here is why I dislike this book:

  • Ana’s inner goddess and subconcious- they need to STFU!
  • OH My! – if she says that one more time I will reach into my iPhone and slap her.
  • Christian cocks his head often, but his penis is never called a cock.  WTF?  It’s the best word.
  • The grey and steel imagery is abundant and I have a lump on my head from being hit over the head with said imagery.
  • Email exchanges are annoying in audiobooks
  • Also, email in 2011?
  • THERE ARE NO VALEDICTORIANS IN COLLEGE!  Where the fuck was her college educated publisher on this?  Cum Laude would have been so much fun!  COME ON! Suma Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude- this writes itself people!  (NaNoWriMo Idea: BDSM graduation ceremony)
  • Christian uses his professional email address for such personal conversations.  When they get hacked and everyone finds out his secret… I would love a whole novel about the hacker who discovers his BDSM past and Christian having to be like: “yeah, I like this.”
  • ANOTHER ENGLISH MAJOR?  Do we ever get tired of our heroine being an english major?  I know plenty of them and I love them and I almost was one.  Still, it’s an annoying trope.  At least they didn’t focus on Pride and Prejudice AGAIN.

The reality is that this book isn’t as bad as I expected.  I see it more as a model of how to recognize you are in an abusive relationship.  At the end of this she walks away.  She says no and he listens.  I am, for now, going to pretend this was all that was written.  Maybe I will move on to the next book.  Part of me wants to know why she would go back to him.

Should you read this book?  No, please don’t if you haven’t yet.

If you like BDSM and erotica, I can get you some better titles.  I like the Sleeping Beauty trilogy, but I know librarians with a better grasp on the genre.  There is, in my limited experience with the genre, often a undertone of aggressive persuasion and often, with our modern understanding, rape.  In fact, the Sleeping Beauty trilogy starts with a rape.  I feel anyone jumping into erotica needs to consider this trigger warning.

As for the movie… I had to stop the audiobook reading 1/2 through to watch the movie.  I needed a Jamie Dornan fix.  Here is the thing, I didn’t like the movie.  Considering what I appreciated of the book, all of that is gone from the movie.  Movie Anastasia seems to enjoy what Book Anastasia didn’t enjoy.  The lack of her inner monologue, while refreshing, does not translate into the movie script in any way.  Also, it’s weird seeing a Melanie Griffith look at you when it’s not really her.  Jamie Dornan is not the right person for Christian.  I am glad my perfect-man Matt Bomer was not cast.  I am glad Emily’s perfect-man Charlie Hunnam walked away.  Who would I cast?  I have no idea.  I can’t see beyond the current cast because I used them to be basic filler in my mind.

In conclusion- don’t read the book, maybe watch the movie, and… just don’t.  I already did for you.

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