Fifty Shades of Grey the Book

Since I spent Valentine's Day this year in transit during my vacation, I will not be seeing the much talked about Fifty Shades of Grey movie. Don't worry, I'm not losing sleep over it. While I actually really like the actors they chose (I used to watch the sitcom Dakota Johnson starred on, "Ben and Kate," and I was very confused when Jamie Dornan was actually dead dead on "Once Upon a Time." Of course, Jennifer Ehle and Marcia Gay Harden are the bomb), and I'm holding out hope that this is a case where the movie far exceeds Fifty Shades of Grey the book, I still have ridiculous issue with the story. 

Frankly, I don't care about the BDSM talk, the erotic nature, or the controversy over whether its an abusive relationship or not. If you ask me, just because Ana starts out as a virgin in the first book, doesn't make her a totally innocent, totally naive young thing who gets taken advantage of by the good looking, domineering rich boy. In fact, one of the things I actually liked about the book was that the author took stalkerish things and called them out (lookin' at you Peeping Tom, Edward Cullen). No, no my main issue with the book is how poorly written it is, and how of all the erotica out there in the world both new and old, modern and historical, something so poorly written, so dependent of overly done stereotypes gets to be the center of controversy. Let's be honest, any flaws you might find in how the relationship is portrayed isn't on purpose, it's just bad writing. 

Listen, BDSM is an interesting subject, one not really meant for this blog, but, hey, if you ever wanna chat over tea about how it's becoming mainstream and whatnot, feel free to fly on over to Korea for coffee and let me know. Sex in general is a topic that's talked about quite frequently, and thought of more than people let on for a long time. You know you and your friends have discussed it to some varying degrees! However using that (and I guess Twilight, since this started out as fan fic) as your launching point is no excuse to produce such obvious plot arcs, trite characters, and terrible dialogue. 

Let's take our leads for example. Christian Grey is super rich and super powerful, enough that he can, you know, fly his own helicopter. He's older, but young enough that you're still into it. I'll buy the super rich thing because it's fiction, and part of the romance fantasy. What's trite to me is his back story. Abuse from a druggie mother and her pimp as a child has led him to the figure he is today, needing to control and dominate. REALLY? Because we haven't seen that character arc a thousand times before. Plus, if this book is attempting to bring about dialogue about how BDSM is a natural, normal practice, making your dom a dom because of his screwed up childhood is kind of feeding into the stereotypes surrounding BDSM. Shouldn't her editor have pointed this out? Also, I swear if a man I'm seeing ever says to me, "Laters, baby," I will puke on his shoes. There. is. nothing. sexy. about. that. phrase.

Ana Steele is probably even more of a walking stereotype that made me want to throw my Kindle across the room (except I was house sitting, and that'd just be rude). Ana lives in classic novels because she's an English Literature major. She doesn't own a laptop or a computer even though she's graduating in 2011 (which is the most anachronistic thing I've ever read); she's a virgin because guys in real life have never lived up to the Rochesters and Mr. Darcys of her coursework (but all of a sudden these guys spring up out of the woodwork...), and because of the above she has the docile, bookworm appearance of someone submissive. Wow, okay. This is the walking definition of a cliche. She's different from normal because she likes classic novels and made it through college with her standards high and virginity intact... Let me slam my head into my desk now. Not to mention, she's a pretty terrible English major if she's looking at Alex D'Urberville as anything more than a total rapist. Way to take one of my favorite books and drag into this mess. Pretty sure Thomas Hardy is banging is head against his coffin.

Ah, and one last note. The pacing of this series is terrible and makes the lead couple seem like a bunch of horny adolescents who think 24 hours is like 24 years. They fight, and he can't even make it a week without chasing her down? (Not to mention that sex scene that will thankfully not be in the movie, gross) Furthermore, the time lapse between the first and second book is three days, but by the dramatic descriptions used, you'd think it was three years. Let's get real here.

All in all, I'm a total hater of this book because it hides horrible writing and plot behind a controversial topic that deserves to be discussed more. If you want your kicks so be it. I will credit James that she can write some hot sex scenes that make running on the treadmill go by a little faster, but its like she put all her ability in those few scenes and then forgot how to write for the rest of them. Kudos to her, though, for making it onto the NYT Bestseller list and getting her book made into a movie franchise with a soundtrack including Beyonce. I can hate on quality, but I can admire what she's achieved. If you want some erotica that's a bit better written and has significantly better plot lines and character development, may I point you towards Bertrice Small. Her book, Love Slave, sparked my interest in Arabic Spain.

What do you think? Am I being too harsh? Are you a fan of the books/franchise? 

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