Culture

The Story Of This Story: Fifty Shades of Grey

fifty shades

Fifty Shades of Grey, where do I even begin? What can I say that hasn’t already been said? I guess I’ll start simply: No, I did not like it, and if you’re someone who knows me, this is not news. After people I know found out I was reading it, I was bombarded with texts, phone calls, tweets and the like saying “OMG, how is it?” And as they quickly discovered, this was the wrong thing to ask, as my response started with “FIRST of all…” Now, why is this a book you should not waste your time on?

First of all, the writing is atrocious. And when I say atrocious, I mean E.L. James makes Stephanie Meyer read like Shakespeare. I wish I were joking. The woman has clearly never heard of antonyms in her life. Every time our alleged “hero” Christian Grey speaks, it is growled, commanded or murmured. Also, every time our narrator, Anastasia Steele (I wish I were making that up), is in any sort of contact with Christian Grey, her “breath hitches.” I could go on, but this column has a word limit.

Not only is the writing awful, but making these characters definable is a problem for James as well. Christian Grey is a commanding, private man who just wants to make Ana submit to him. That’s all this billionaire Adonis wants, you guys, to make this virgin submit to him. He has no interest in love or anything resembling it; he just wants her physically. Our narrator, Ana, on the other hand, is a klutzy College Grad who’s just trying to live her life and be successful, you know? She has no real hobbies outside of reading Brit Lit. That’s it. I couldn’t tell you too much about her life pre-Grey.

She also has this bizarre thing where she says “Holy Crap!” to everything, and yet also tends to curse like a sailor and turns out to be a mild nymphomaniac. A bit contradictory, no? She also has her subconscious and her “inner goddess,” who I envision as cartoons akin to Lizzie Maguire’s subconscious. It works, believe me.  Especially when her Inner Goddess does cartwheels when Grey makes her breath hitch. Oy.

A lot of the “hype” surrounding this series (I only read the first book) is the “eroticism” and “softcore” nature of the sex scenes. Ha. Hahaha. Hahahahaha. Let me tell you something, it is not “softcore” if you are reading about a girl finding it “erotic” when, after her virginity is taken, her male companion puts his thumb in her “sex” (as she likes to call her vagina) AND THEN MAKES HER SUCK IT SO SHE CAN TASTE THE BLOOD. If it is, then you clearly have some issues you need sorted as soon as humanly possible. Yes reader, that happens. And yes, it scarred me.

The thing about the sex scenes in Fifty Shades is that it’s like watching a porn film. You just want to fast forward to the good stuff. The problem with the good stuff, though, is that you’re all about it until a takes a turn. When their relationship begins to enter BDSM territory, Ana is a little weary of how much it turns her on, and then afterwards she’s left in tears. She is not a sexual person, and Grey is the first man she’s been with. I’m all for trying new things, but since it’s all she knows it makes me, as a reader, feel off about it.

I should clarify, I am all for peoples’ kinks in the bedroom. If BDSM gets you and your partner off, by all means, go for it. I know a lot of women who are completely into being dominated in the bedroom, but they usually aren’t so submissive outside of it, unlike Ana. She stands up for herself on occasion, but she is so determined to please Grey that it makes their arrangement turn her into prey. Which, as a woman, I am not okay with.

I don’t understand the women that find the character of Christian Grey to be this “ideal man.” Why? The only redeeming factors I find in him as a human being relate to his attempt to give Ana the “more” she is looking for out of their “relationship.” But anytime James tries to make him seem redeemable, she just talks about how attractive and wealthy he is. I’m sorry, but I need more out of a partner than that. I also require a partner that will respect my boundaries, be open and make me laugh by being silly. You’re not going to get that from a Christian Grey, ladies.

And to tout this as Twilight fanfic (in origin) raises concerns for me as well. The girls that read those books are going to hear about Fifty Shades and the forbidden fruit that it presents (because let’s face it, controversy sells) and are going to snag their mothers’ copies. This concerns me, because I don’t want the girls that read it to think that if they are just submissive, they too will find a rich, handsome dude. That’s not okay, because it makes the relationship between Bella and Edward look healthy by comparison.

Grey doesn’t do what he does for Ana out of love. He does it because he has a desire to make her submit and come into his sexual world. Sure, Ana (somewhat) stands up for herself at the end, but then is devastated by the idea of Grey no longer being in her world. It’s hard to argue that this is the kind of tale that becomes a legendary one of love. It is purely based on lust. Ana goes to him because she finds him attractive and mysterious. She still sticks with him after seeing his “Red Room of Pain.” I mean, honestly, is this the kind of thing any woman should be desiring?

I understand that women are devouring these novels because it’s a fantasy and, essentially, porn. I just can’t bear the thought of women desiring a man like Christian Grey in real life, or desiring to be anything similar to Ana. It makes me nauseous to think that there are people out there wanting to be degraded like that in a real world context, regardless of whatever gets you off in the bedroom. Just save yourself the trouble and don’t do it. I’m glad Florida banned it. I know I wish I would have thought twice about going down this road. But I have. I survived. And now I’d like to save you.

  • kirby

    I agree with a lot of what you said, but I read the other two books so I saw the development of Ana and Grey and their relationship. The writing doesn’t get better, but the characters do. 

  • http://twitter.com/50Latersbaby Crissy and Mags

    I never took the scene where he had her suck his thumb after having sex as him wanting her to taste her blood, but of him wanting to taste her other fluids…  A pretty common theme in porn/eritica and something that some men and woman are into. 
     
    No one I have spoken to has had the same thought as you.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HEJ7Y2VR5QUFZGY42LACWDVBJI lisa

    Media hyped silly book.  I suppose this is getting women warmed up for the vaginal probing coming their way for having sex and an unplanned sex. Lay back ladies and pretend it is a riding crop. Oh, how lost we are.  

  • allison

    I for one, really enjoyed the book. Frankly, I couldn’t put “Grey” down, and now I am well into “Darker” I find both very easy to read and very satisfying. It is true that James is redundant throughout and her descriptive words too frequent, like almost wanting to shout, “I get it! I know how she’s breathing! Get on with it!” I think the appeal of Christian Grey is this, he loves it. All of it, every bit uvit and women, myself included, find that extremely attractive. A man who loves a woman’s body, every inch of it, knows what to do with it, is confident, sexy and wants to please…….well…….need I say more?

  • Pingback: Florida Bans 50 Shades And I’m Not Sad: Why This Book Is Atrocious « In Our Words()

  • saylor

    Omg I am in love with you! I envisioned the inner goddess thing as the Lizzie McGuire conscious too! Cracked me up a few times. I read all three books because I was massively bored and I borrowed them from a friend. I ended up skimming them, skipping all the sex scenes, just to see how these two end up and why the billionaire was so f***ed up. These books are utter crap and I just don’t get the appeal of either of these characters. Why do people like Ana? She’s an freaking d***a$$. You would figure a college educated British lit major would have a greater vocabulary than just holy crop, oh my, oh please…and all the other overused phrases to say. At least christen makes up for his shit character by being massively wealthy…that’s it. Otherwise there is nothing redeeming about this character at all. The other characters are just as freaking annoying. The family, her friends, that Jacob…sorry Jose fella. Just completely insufferable. I wanted to burn these books.

    • Ssaylor327

      Wanted to add that the only good that has come out of this book is the tumblr I found called fifty shades of suck. It’s hysterical! Funniest thing I read in a long time. The SNL skits and Ellen Degeneres reading the book were hilarious too.

  • Cynthia

    Wow, if you’re gonna do a critic on a trilogy, you should READ the trilogy before you bombard us with your 10-year-old reaction sex. If you found it disgusting, you’re just not as open-minded as the rest of the million women who read it. Don’t go trashing someone’s multimillion dollar creation when all you do is jealously blog about other people’s success. I’m very disappointed that someone takes the time to count how many times a character says an expression (holy crap), instead of just enjoying the storyline. What makes this book so appealing is the characters have REAL LIFE VOCABULARY. Who goes around saying savvy and witty remarks all the time anyway ?I’d like to see you say something different and smart every time something happends. People relate to it because it’s normal human reaction, not some stupid script that has every little phrase planned out to make it look so cool. It’s a fictional book. get it ? if you’re gonna drag the Twilight Saga and the effect on teenagers into this, god forbid the endless porn access on the internet. It’s written erotic novel at the bottom, it’s the parent’s fault if their children stumble upon this book and get to read it, Just because you can’t enjoy someone who writes with basic vocabulary, doesn’t mean you have to bash the author. She’s laughing all the way to the bank. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but don’t judge people who don’t have the same close-minded beliefs as you. No offense, but you sound like a little child who just stumbled on his parent’s porn collection. Until you’ve experienced the thin line between pain and pleasure, you can’t really understand what million of women fantasize about. The idea of having a man who desperately needs our help and love might sound stupid to you, but it’s a part of real life situations that a lot of people go through. Every girl’s selfish dream is to find a romantic millionaire, and what makes this book so appealing is that one girl’s dream came true, but she had to fight for the better of the person, not dwell on his problems. She wants to be his savior, just like we all secretly wish we could turn a bad boy goof. It’s a known fact women tend to go for the bad boys, have you not heard?

    If you can only see the sex-crazed side of this story, might I add that you’re either too young or too immature to understand the depth of this love story. Much more than just gags & flogs. I’ve never commented on any blog in my life, but this one just blew my mind away.