Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Fifty shades...

Today let's do something different on here. Let's review the latest phenomenon...

Unless you have been on the moon; in a coma or just oblivious to everything in the world, it has been near impossible to miss the latest big hit in the literacy world. They hit the shelves, the e- books and everything in between in a flurry of dark covers, embraced with grey/silver images.  I am of course, talking about E.L.James’ Fifty shades trilogy.  The reaction was overwhelming; women everywhere seemed to love the “clit lit”, the erotica that involved a little added extra from your typical Mills & Boons. Honestly, I had no desire to read them. When it comes to hype, I go the opposite way. Can you keep a secret? I avoided Titanic for a decade. I don’t like mass hype over something, as more often than not it won’t live up to it. There are exceptions to the rules mind, but I knew deep down, these books wouldn’t be an exception. The whole inspiration for these books is the Twilight saga. This instantly made me groan inwardly. I’ll admit I’ve read 3 ½ (yes a half, my book fell apart) of the twilight saga, and for what it was I didn’t mind it. But, it should have been left there. See, when you write fan fiction, the likes of fifty shades is born. 

Fifty shades came crashing in as a top seller the day they were released. Housewives and frustrated women everywhere were clamouring over one another to read these books. I really had no interest in them whatsoever. As I said, I’m not a fan of hype.  Yet, the more great reviews it got, made me wonder why. Then likeminded friends started reading it, and in my eyes, the real reviews came around. I still was unsure; the mixed reviews were making me uncertain as to whether I wanted to taint my mind with this trilogy. So, why did I? For a few reasons; One, I was asked by various friends and such, to read it and give my honest opinion, which is what this here review is all about. Two, I had to know, are they that empowering? Did they really open the eyes to Kink? And three, I’m a glutton for punishment, I really am. So, a friend gives them to me, all ready for my kindle.  I tell myself they can’t be that bad, surely..

Fifty shades of Grey, is the story in which soon to be college graduate, Anastasia Steele, has a chance meeting with the all rich, powerful and much desired after bachelor, Christian Grey, when she has to step in for a friend to do an interview for a college paper.  Her first impression is set as she falls into his office. Little does she know, the moment she stumbled on to his floor, he wanted her in his world. The story progresses through their relationship from her losing her virginity to him, Christian wanting to dominate her and as time goes on, so much more. Not too bad, right? Wrong! Why? Not because of the basic idea, to me that has potential. My issues run a lot deeper.
Let’s start with Ana;
  • ·         No one that self-loathing and simpering could get a super-hot boyfriend, let alone a rich and handsome Dom.
  • ·         The constant crying, I mean, really?! Is there anything she doesn;t suddenly start sobbing over. His beauty, his pain. His palm..
  • ·         The way she is portrayed as a whole. To me, that is not a heroine, it is a guide to how NOT to be.

Do I have faults with Christian? Hmm..
  • ·         For a Dom he is very paranoid.  I agree with caring for your sub, but not hacking into her personal details and accounts.
  • ·         Care for your sub, lavish her with gifts, but even a sub needs privacy and personal space.
  • ·         The whole being damaged thing, leading to being a Dom felt so clich├ęd. Most Dom’s I know aren’t damaged. It put me off a touch. Try and be original…
Then we touch on the dialogue. I say dialogue in the loosest term possible. “Stop biting your lip” was often followed with “you know what it does to me”. I used to be an innocent lip biter when deep in thought, now I find myself doing it and grumble. Along with the constant input from her “inner goddess” and her highly opinionated “subconscious” I found it easy to loathe Ana, which I’m sure many others love. She lacks so much, including any personality, and it has made me consider how I like to find women in such writings. Women, as sexual beings, are beautiful strong creatures; this just robbed her of all dignity and left us with little more than a constantly crying, petulant brat.  Not the feisty kind of woman, you would willingly spank as she has a tendency to purposefully disobey. Ana had one. It was just buried in snot and tears. The way Christian often seemed to speak down to her annoyed me too. Yes, she was a young woman, but not a simpleton. A man talks to me like I’m slightly special, and I walk away. 

I have to confess the choice of words used in the trilogy made me groan. Women have a clit. This word was used. Women have a vagina. This often referred to by many handles; a cunt, fanny, pussy, yes even a vagina. But constantly calling it “my sex”. Seriously?! I laughed the first time. This isn’t a term I would ever expect in such writing.  It’s as if mentioning the word “vagina” would cause Ms James to blush! Call it what it is dear, you have mentioned “kinky fuckery” calling a cunt a cunt, isn’t really going to cause any added blushing. In general I found much of the language lazy, so much was constantly repeated and at times I was wondering if I had gone backwards, not forwards in the books. Overall the whole trilogy felt clumsy. There was no smooth flow between scenes, one minute Ana would be about to fuck Christian, then literally the next line would be about her drinking coffee in a meeting. Total mind fuckery, I tell ya! Finish the scene, make it flow then start the next scene  with another chapter!  

My overall opinion is that this was a story with potential that was so poorly executed. Obviously, I’m in the minority with this thought, as E.L.James is worth about £4mill, which for stories based on her love of the relationship of Edward and Bella in Twilight, is good going. Good luck to her, and her varied success but my final word of advice. If you want to read REAL erotica, go for something like “women on top” by Nancy Friday. Try the wonderful words from “Girl with a one track mind”, but please don’t come and tell me that the fifty shades books are amazing, modern day erotica, when to me they are little more than a tittering girl wishing to play with a tie and some whips..

Now please excuse me whilst I fill my mind with real erotica. And maybe some delicious, deep, dirty smut..