I’m not sure if any of you were aware, but I have been living under a rock for the past three years. Said rock’s name is Motherhood. The last time I paid close attention to world events was sitting in my office with a co-worker in Spokane, eyes glued to my computer monitor as our new president was sworn into office. Yeah, it has been that long.
So imagine that I have missed this world event until now. Fifty Shades of Grey. And world event it is. Turns out this so-called “erotic romance” written by E.L. James has outsold both Harry Potter and The DaVinci Code in the UK. Boy wizards aint got nuthin’ on BDSM romance novels, apparently. My literary tastes are pretty varied, but I am a total sucker for the amazingly awful Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer, and I heard the Fifty Shades Trilogy was received well by my, uh, contemporaries (read: housewives who abandon their children’s needs for a few days to plow through passages of steamy sexual beatings). What the hell? I had to give it a try. I allow myself to be a lemming once in a while.
By the time I had gotten through the first chapter, I was seriously ready to put it down. I was awful. Like, not even written at a third grade level, awful. By chapter three, I was ready to get on the horn with Stephenie Meyer and ask why she hadn’t sued this woman for copyright infringement. Quite frankly, Fifty Shades is Twilight, plus sex, minus the supernatural entities and a plot. And Twilight calling “weak plot” on any novel is really saying something.
The whole novel (in case you too have been living under a rock) is about a virginal Ana Steele, a young woman who has never been interested in men, throws herself into classic English literature and works at a hardware store. Oh, a real catch, huh? She crosses paths with the billionaire Christian Grey, whom she soon finds out has a soft spot for beating the ever-loving crap out of women’s behinds. Instead of telling him to fuck off, they fall in love. And have sex a bajillion times. And she has an orgasm at least three times every time they do the nasty, and it only takes her twelve seconds to achieve her first Blue Ribbon. Every time.
Rii-ight. Sorry, but teenage wizardry seems more likely than that shit.
Here’s the thing. I’m no “holier than thou” women’s lib activist, but all the male domination in this book makes me wanna puke. Coupled with the fact that women are touting this as the greatest thing since the vibrator makes me want to curl up in a hole and die. I was sad when I was reading the Twilight series; knowing that millions of pre-teen girls were thinking that wealthy, beautiful knights in shining armor were going to come to their rescue. The male protagonist in Twilight was hyper overprotective of his woman, too – in a majorly unhealthy way. Now all those little teeny boppers are a little older and have moved on from Edward Cullen to Christian Grey; sporting t-shirts with his signature line from the book splashed all over their chests.
Oh, please! Lame!
I feel like I am a little older and wiser than them, and I hope that they know all this is bullshit.
Young women of today; gather round! Here, here! Lemme impart this piece of advice. If a man ever tells you that he would like to flog you, and maybe use clamps on your genitals, don’t introduce him to your parents. Just walk away. No matter how cute he is.
I have certainly read books whose subject matter makes me uncomfortable. Really, really good books, ones that I actually like. Fifty Shades is really all bark and no bite, though. Here I am, gritting my teeth and bracing myself for some seriously uncomfortable scenes where they get into major bondage, the type that makes me squirm in my seat, and not in a good way. Guess what? It never really happens. Because they fall in love… Oh, isn’t that sweet? Not to say Ana changes Christian, saving him from his life as a sadist. Not in the least. But they are willing to compromise. She agrees to getting beat, but only a little, and he agrees that she can sleep in his bed when the beatings are over.
Because that is what love is, isn’t it?
There is so much unoriginal sex in this book. Just regular old bumping uglies, if slightly rough bumping. I was dying for a little conversation between these two. There have been a few times where I have read a regular ‘ole bodice ripper and I am a little bored with the storyline, so I skip ahead to the sexy bits. There is no skipping ahead in this one. They just hump again, and again, and again. Yawn.
I was all ready to chart out the similarities between Twilight and Fifty Shades because it is LAUGHABLE how identical the characters are. Then I found out that Fifty Shades started out as fan fiction. E.L. James wrote a whole novel about Edward and Bella’s sex life called Master of the Universe (which makes me think of He-Man calling out “By the Power of Greyskull!” every time he had a Big O). A big publishing house got ahold of it, urged her to change enough details that it wasn’t copyright infringement and viola! Fifty Shades of Grey was born. It has been rumored that she literally did a ‘find and replace’ with the names in huge chunks of the story. Oh, eye roll.
The book ends exactly as it should. I was like, oh, yes! Thank god! Good ending! And then these four words appear just a few lines after the end of the book:
End of Part One.
Fu-uck. There is more to this story? Oh, please, oh please fellow housewives, can’t you just have sex with your husbands and be happy?
Better yet, read Twilight again. Then go see Magic Mike. Top it all off by watching The Notebook. While eating chocolate covered strawberries, and don’t worry about getting chocolate smears on your Snuggie. Any of those things are better than this load of crap. But, I’m guessing most of those who haven’t already read it will read it anyway. Just like I did. Because of curiosity.
You know what they say about curiosity, right? It made the cat sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement about tying it up with zip ties, smacking its victory garden with a riding crop and flogging the poor little kitty.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.