Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

As I get older, no matter the subject matter, I can't STAND to know that some piece of pop culture is  passing me by.  Remember when I (embarassingly) read a Sookie Stackhouse novel thinking that she and Snooki were the same person?  If you need a refresher, click here.  Ever since that mishap, I am so determined to keep up with times that I even plan on suffering through a matinee showing of Magic Mike.  ;)   So when everyone was posting about Fifty Shades of Grey on Facebook, I immediately leapt into action.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I called Sarah and Carrie to make sure they were not planning on reading it for the blog (they assured me they were not) and THEN I leapt into action. (Here's hoping my mother and mother-in-law never read this review).

He ties her up with that,
you know.
I think everyone gets the gist of Fifty Shades by now but just in case, here is a quick synopsis.  Anastasia (Ana for short) is a 22-year-old girl that is weeks away from college graduation.  As a favor to her ill roommate, she agrees to interview Christian Grey for the school newspaper. Grey is an entrepreneur and huge benefactor to the school so his interview is key to the next edition.  At the interview Ana learns that everything she has heard about Christian Grey is true.  He's rich and he's beautiful.  (According to the author that is all there is to him, people.)  Thinking he is way out her league she finishes the interview and goes on her way.  Obviously Christian feels differently and a series of chance (?) encounters occur over the next week or so.  This is how their relationship begins and Ana begins to finds out about Christian's sordid past and unique sexual desires.  As you probably know by now, Christian presents Ana with a contract.  In order to be with him (sexually and likewise) she must agree to be his Sub.  As in Submissive.  She gets her own room at his mansion, all of the clothes money can buy, a personal trainer, spa appointments, and pretty much anything else she long as he okays it.  Christian, as the Dom or Dominant, gets complete access to every.single.inch of her from Friday evening until midday on Sunday.  Every week. No questions asked.  It seems that as a teenager and young adult Christian was a Sub and this type of relationship is his normal.  Ana struggles with her decision (the entire book) as to whether she wants to sign the agreement or not.  It is her deep desire that Christian will eventually come around and agree to live a more traditional sexual lifestyle.  I won't spoil it for you and I'll just let you read it for yourself to see if Ana gets her wish.

It should be known that Fifty Shades of Grey and the entire trilogy in fact, developed from a Twilight fan fiction originally titled Masters of the Universe.  It was written under the pen name Snowqueen Icedragon and was loosely based off of the characters Bella and Edward from Twilight.  It's a long story (feel free to Google it, it's really not THAT central to this review but I thought you needed to know a bit of background) but eventually all of that evolved into Fifty Shades of Grey.  This is just my nice way of saying that if you liked Twilight you'll most likely like, if not love, Fifty Shades.   I did not care for Twilight so you can probably guess how I felt about this book.

At the risk of sounding lame, old and like a big, fat prude...I didn't like it. First, it was not written well.  At all.  The character of Ana was so underdeveloped, the author actually wanted me to believe that she was a 22-year-old college virgin who had never been drunk before and didn't even own a computer.  Really?  I didn't buy it.  And then there was the sex.  Non-stop sex.  I'm pretty sure you could open the book to any page after the second chapter and it would be about sex.  And while I am at it, am I really supposed to believe that a virgin would be up for um, well, all of that?  And that each and every time would be complete and utter earth-shattering satisfaction?  Come on!   All of the sex aside and as was the case with Bella in Twilight, I wanted to shake Ana until the two brain cells in her head crashed into each other in the hopes that an actual intelligent thought might be produced.  Do you really have to think about staying in a relationship where your partner gets his kicks by whipping you until you bleed?  Must you really have to decide if it is okay to be chained to a bed in a "Red Room of Pain" in order for your mate to feel fulfilled sexually?  Ugh.  Could I please have a female lead character with just a little less lust on the brain and a little more of a backbone?

I do appreciate the fact that Fifty Shades of Grey and the two other books in the trilogy have set all sorts of  records.  Last week it became the number one best-selling book for the Kindle in the U.K.  The trilogy even topped The Hunger Games trilogy for June, according to the USA Today's Best-Selling Books list. Economics experts are even predicting a baby boom accredited to Fifty Shades in the next 9 months or so.  Oh lordy.  No matter the subject matter, I will admit that those are impressive numbers.  And I am all about people reading books.  (Reading is the hobby I always list first on job applications, you know).  I just wish that when a book tops a best-seller list it could be about something besides a young woman being emotionally and physically controlled by a man or men with commitment issues.

Ok, now it's your turn.  I know most of you have read it.  Don't be shy.  Let's hear it.  Except for you, Binnie and Lynn.  Remember, in my mind you've never had sex.  :)

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  1. Completely agree with your post! I made it to Chapter 11 and found it to be unrealistic and somewhat annoying. And I am not a prude either ;) I thought the author repeated words a lot also (especially the word "muttered") Not sure if I will finish it or not. It didn't live up to the hype for me. I am following your blog now! Feel free to stop by mine if you want.

  2. You should mention that with all the times Ana was biting her lip, it is probably gnawed off by the end of the first book.

    I did enjoy the premise of the book though. Two different people trying to find common ground to form a relationship.

    1. Her lip...holy crap...cocks his head to the he looked in the gray sweatpants. UGH.

  3. I tried to read the novel with an open mind. I'm not a prude, and I like a good non-gratuitous sex scene in a book or movie.

    I wanted to understand what all of the noise/praise was about but in FSofG, unfortunately for me, the story fell short. The heroine was way under developed, and as a female reader I always want to connect with the heroine's journey. There really was not much story at all, and after the first or second sexual romp I gave up.

    Will I ever go back and finish the book? Probably not, because for me there was too much sex and after a while that becomes squicky.

  4. Just finished this trilogy over the last couple days, and I completely agree. I also second the comment that the same words were used over and over and over and over... ("My darling Fifty") I didn't hate either one of the characters. Maybe because I didn't actually know who they were. And I'm sorry, but there's no way I could relate to a woman who accepted how controlling he was. Ridiculous.

    The only reason I finished the trilogy was because I couldn't put it down without knowing what happened in the secondary/subplot (not a writer, so I'm not sure how to refer to the Ana's boss situation).

  5. Thank you, Amy. Now I know I never have to read this series...