Tuesday, 22 May 2012

88/111 - Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James


I bought this book very recently, and decided to take it on holiday with me as I knew it would be trash, and trash it is! This book has gotten a lot of attention recently, as it originally started off as a self-published work, and then has gained momentum from there, especially among  housewives, apparently. Lonely, sexually frustrated housewives.

The ‘story’ (if you can call it that) is told from the point of view of  clumsy but beautiful student Anastasia Steele who becomes bewitched with the billionaire tycoon Christian Grey. He tries to warn her away because he’s all like, dark and brooding, but she’s all like ‘nooo, I’m entranced by you’ and he’s all like ‘okay let’s fuck’. And the magical story unfolds from there.

Anastasia is a virgin, and Christian is into some pretty heavy bondage and pain in bed, and he gradually introduces her to it. There is a lot, a LOT of sex in this book. And it’s awful. Terrible writing, so so clich├ęd and the dialogue is also crap, if you can believe it. It was entertaining however, and I periodically read bits aloud for the enjoyment of those around me. Everything is so opulent and delicious, and perfect, and everyone murmurs everything and gives each other smouldering looks. It is also rife with cultural references, such as fine wines and classical music, which are obviously supposed to show us how refined Christian is, and yet how dark and interesting he is. Anastasia on the other hand, is like a blank sheet of paper. She has no real opinions, and is totally wide-eyed and innocent, to everything. One of those characters who is a total knockout, and yet has no idea that men find her attractive. Classic.

The series (it’s a trilogy) has had a lot of attention in part due to the fact that the sex scenes are not just graphic, but the relationship that starts to develop is a master and slave type thing, where Christian would like Anastasia to become his slave and obey him in every way while she is with him, and when she transgresses, he punishes her physically. It’s had a quite mixed reception because people are spending a lot of time arguing about whether it’s degrading, or whether it’s possible to enjoy the book, or enjoy that lifestyle, and still be a feminist etc. I think they’re probably looking too deeply into a crappy book. I don’t know much about the author, however it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if I found out it was either a lonely woman desperate to be in Anastasia’s place, or a lonely man desperate to exert his will over a sweet young thing.

In the end, I blasted through this in one day as I didn’t want to dedicate any more time than that to this monstrosity. However, I might end up reading the others at some point, perhaps when I go on holiday again next month as some lovely relaxing trash reading.

Next, something better: Generation A by Douglas Coupland.

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