Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
I thought I’d start out with a controversial one (or three)… 50 Shades of Grey!
Now, no one will freely admit that they’ve read it — but we all have. I have heard about people using their kids’ book socks to cover the book so that no one knows they’re reading it on the train, for example. (Thank goodness for Kindles/Nooks, right?) Everyone that I’ve asked about it, however, will admit it with some coaxing, and then won’t stop talking about it!
What is it about this book that we all find so unusual? Is it the S & M stuff? Is it the “love story” as one of my friends insists? Is it the hero saving the damsel in distress, once again? A Cinderella story, rags-to-riches dream that we all secretly share? Or is it just that we’re all really horny and it’s too titillating to resist?
My guess is that it’s a combination of all of these. But most importantly, I think it’s just plain hype! With so much talk about the book, I figured I needed to read it just to be “in the know.” Isn’t that why you read it also?
So what is my opinion?
Well, I have mixed opinions. Yes, it’s a little fun to read. Yes, there’s some suspense and some psychological intrigue. Yes, it’s good that the female character actually has a libido too. But yes, it’s horribly written. Yes, the sex gets just a little repetitive (I get that they each smell good, ok?) And yes, it’s horribly unrealistic.
Mostly, though, I am sad that this may be another backslide for women. Christian definitely steps in and saves Ana way too frequently and his money and power are all-consuming. He is a controlling, conniving stalker and he manipulates any situation that he possibly can. Has your boyfriend or husband bought the company you work for just so he can keep an eye on you?? Seriously?? Do women secretly want that? Do we want someone to step in and grant us everything that we even casually wish for? Do we want someone to solve all our problems?
I hope not.
I hope that we all look at this and feel a little sorry for Ana, who may seem to stick up for herself a bit (the end of the first book) but she really caves way too often. I hope that we are stronger and have come further than that and appreciate when we take matters in our own hands and accomplish all on our own! I hope that we have come beyond the Cinderella wishes of the beautiful dress and the prince who will save us from our evil stepmothers (why are the female characters always evil?).
I am not a radical feminist, but this aspect of the book did get me thinking about the way women are treated here.
Basically, you will have to read this book if you want to be a part of almost every conversation that is happening among friends these days… so go for it! And have your book sock ready!