*let's play spot the typo - I'm leaving it in, it's too funny to mess with*
I read Fifty Shades of Grey. A friend was so insistent I read it that she went out and bought it for me (no, seriously).
I have to admit, I was happy to receive it because I was curious to find out if it really was as bad as I’d heard it was without having to wait forever on the library loan list, because sure as shit I wasn't spending any money on it. I had my fingers crossed that it was going to be one of the "so bad it's good" books... I was wrong. It’s pretty shit. Actually it’s quite painful to read. BUT… I’m going to defend it... well a bit.
A lot of people have written how the book encourages abusive relationships because Christian admits he likes to control everything Ana does and even says he likes to hurt her. Well, I have to admit, barely a few pages in and I wanted to seriously hurt her and her bloody inner goddess too.
But calling it the end of feminism is going a bit far. Hello, it's a Dominant Submissive relationship… control and pain is what BDSM is all about. Consenting adults are allowed to have sex however they want and yes, some have fantasies involving inflicting pain and others receiving pain. A huge chunk of Feminism is about women having the right to sexual freedom and if a woman chooses to enter in to a relationship with full knowledge that it’s gonna be full of kinky shit then power to her.
As far as full knowledge goes, a contract with negotiable limits clearly defined certainly checks that box. If she doesn't want to leave that relationship (as she is encouraged to do), despite not liking part of it because "she'll miss him" and believes she can change him, that's not proof it's anti-feminist, it's proof the female protagonist is a horny dickhead.
BDSM is nothing new and has graced (or disgraced, depending on how you feel about it) the pages of thousands of erotic novels and novellas, I don’t understand why all the fuss is being made now and never before, particularly when this one pales in comparison to some I've read. Perhaps because this one claims to have more of a storyline and is not just sex, sex, sex? From the reviews out there all I can guess is that a lot of people are having trouble differentiating between a Dominant and a misogynist prick. Christian happens to be both but they’re not necessarily mutually exclusive.
Swathes of reviews mention that it's entirely unbelievable. Ummm, yeah, it started as Twilight fan fiction. You know, VAMPIRES. What did you expect? I don't see anyone banging on about that shit being unbelievable and yet the main characters are mythical creatures. That aside, this is no less believable than any of the shite “romance” novels out there. Girl falls for boy, he wants sex, she wants love, tries to change him, yaddah yaddah yaddah. The only difference is that there happens to be a couple of whips and chains thrown in.
If your problem is that the characters are insanely attractive then how about you show me a movie or TV show where they aren’t? No, really, show me. Don’t point out Shallow Hal because that movie used skinny, beautiful Gwyneth Paltrow in an attempt to make the point that skinny and beautiful aren’t important.
If your issue is that Ana goes from inexperienced virgin to insatiable, multiple orgasming, sex machine in a matter of pages you won't be alone. But show me a Hollywood sex scene that portrays sex, particularly fist time sex, realistically and you may have a point.
So, should you read it? If you like good books with proper storylines and character development I’d steer clear. But if you can handle reading the thoughts of a chick who quite obviously needs to see a doctor about her serious vascular condition and has a penchant for rolling her eyes, biting her lip and "hitching" her breath on every. single. fucking. page, then go for it.
It might perk up your sex life, it might give you a laugh, or it might make you want to poke your eyes out with a swizzle stick. Or, like me, a bizarre combination of all three. It’s free from the library and only $10 from the shops. With the amount that have sold worldwide, maybe the author can pay for some writing lessons and a much needed fucking thesaurus.
As I said, it’s incredibly painful to read… but since it’s about BDSM maybe that’s the point?
Have you read it? What did you think?