*Disclaimer – All thoughts and comments made are PURELY MY opinion. I have no personal experience of E L James or her actual process when it comes to writing. I have no idea about her “real” life and all comments are based on my thoughts having read the book Fifty Shades Of Grey*
Fifty Shades Of Grey – the book that is now everywhere and being described as so erotic that libraries in certain states are feeling the need to pull it from the shelves (something I personally abhor … this is 2012 .. do we really need censorship?) The back of the book promises that is “Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever” ….. I think they gave me the wrong book!!
Luckily (or unluckily) for me, my library was not one of the ones that decided to pitch in with the whole censorship thing and I picked up my copy a couple of days ago and I will admit I was excited to see what all the hype was about. I love dark erotica so something that was so “shocking” that it was being removed from shelves really called out to my dark cravings. Of course the fact that when I got it I thought it was going to be about a vampire helped too … for the record it isn’t, but the book still could have been good.
Maybe my expectations were too high. I was expecting something more along the lines of “The Sleeping Beauty” trilogy by Anne Rice which is erotica at its finest and takes you there from a couple of pages in and doesn’t drop the ride through the whole 3 books. What I got instead was a very tame girl (Ana) who meets a high power, but young Christian Grey, and they become a little obsessed. Now to even get to that you have to plough through 70 pages where the most daring thing is a kiss with pinned hands and a little hair pulling in an elevator oh and Miss Ana feeling naughty because she uses his toothbrush without asking. No I am not exaggerating!!
Having heard so many good things I decide to stick with it assuming that the more erotic stuff is further into the book. But I won’t lie, it was not an easy read. The characters are flat for the most part unless they are emailing. The emails back and forth are cute, especially the subject headings, but cute was not really what I thought the book was going for …. maybe I was wrong.
Christian Grey is basically a total control freak and he openly admits he is a Dom. (Maybe that is shocking??) He wants to control his lover down to what she wears, eats, who she spends time with etc but honestly? anyone with the slightest knowledge of the BDSM scene would know that this is really not very unusual and it certainly isn’t shocking. What he wants is his own little submissive but then he doesn’t really because he loves every time little Miss Ana contradicts him. I think he is confused! Oh but then we have the contract that they keep going back to. Pages and pages of “Hard Rules” and “Soft Rules” and really I am starting to ask myself by now if perhaps Ms James picked up a copy of BDSM for dummies and is using that for her reference because there is NOTHING sexy or SHOCKING about the way that contract is done. It covers only the most basic of stuff that a lot of couples do without even thinking about it being part of that culture.
The sex is tame (even the stuff that is supposed to be filled with debauchery) and the story drags leaving me with no interest to find out what they do with their lives at all. Even worse is at the end of the book (Major Spoiler Alert) Ana asks Christian to spank her with the belt … then leaves him forever because he does!! RIDICULOUS! (OK so it probably isn’t forever as there are 2 more books in this trilogy, 2 more books that I will not be hunting out).
So my question is this. What is everyone finding so shocking and what am I missing? The only conclusion I can come to is that this is a book written by a bored middle american housewife who thinks she is pushing boundaries that she doesn’t understand (perhaps writing out her fantasies that she is never going to be able to fulfil?), writing for other bored middle american housewives who have never done anything remotely exciting in the bedroom and wouldn’t know where to begin. My advice to them … watch 9 1/2 weeks. That is a tale of obsession and it is far sexier that what is written here (and no paper trail lol). Or if you want to read some real dark erotica, try the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, on second thoughts if you really thought this was naughty you better not.
I hear they are making a movie. Perhaps that will be better, not because it will be any naughtier but because hopefully someone will bring the character of Christian Grey to life. He had potential, Mickey Rourke kind of potential, and maybe the right actor could make it an interesting watch (I am guessing it would get a PG 13 rating but maybe America will be daring and actually PUSH this to where is could have gone …. but I don’t hold out much hope).
My advice to my dark loving friends would be to give it a miss. Read at your own risk of boredom, or read and tell me I am wrong, tell me what I am missing. Perhaps I live so far into the darkness I just can no longer recognize what is risqué and what is not. Hmmmmmm interesting thoughts for a sunday morning ……