If I ever dislike something, I have at least given it a try. I ate papaya once; it tastes like vomit pretending to be fruit. I endured 3 paragraphs of Twilight and the first movie. So obviously I went ahead and gave this media-frenzied book, Fifty Shades of Grey, an earnest read. The title presumably sounds like a literary classic. I think all these women that have raved about this book just really appreciate dominant and submissive sex, which is not the issue. The real issue is the lack of any coherent rhetoric in this novel. I am genuinely disheartened by how poorly written it is; the book is a complete farce. For this to become a best seller is a stab at any real author who is struggling to make a name.
The main character is Anastasia Steele (Ana), who is given the exact attributes of the Twilight chick. Ana is pale, doubts her beauty, and is clumsy. She’s about to graduate college but is aloof about the concept of sex and has never done more than kiss a guy. No comment on the likelihood of this scenario. She works at the hardware store, dresses in sultry t-shirts and jaw-dropping converse shoes, and gathers the attention of Ivy League guys. The fact that Ana is a shameless replica of Twilight chick explains the infectious notoriety of this romance novel.
Ana then has an encounter with a young, self-made, and entrepreneurial billionaire (not to be confused with an average millionaire). His name is Christian Grey (all the characters in this book are given medieval names). Homeboy is adopted and develops a multi-faceted persona. He’s viciously handsome, a philanthropist, has adventurous hobbies, and harbors the attention of every woman. His fingers produce Bach-like symphonies on a piano and in the bedroom. He reveals a unique vice that carries this book into the hands of every female: he likes sadomasochists. He is immediately drawn to Ana by her supposedly alluring demeanor and elusive mind.
Ana maintains the lexicon of a home-schooled teen that keeps a diary. The way the author portrays Ana’s subconscious is insulting to any woman in her twenties. Christian tends to her needs, is protective of her, and rescues her. Her reaction: He's so freaking...hot!!! Although Christian is considered to be supremely attractive, the only adjective the author can summon is hot.
Holy shit …he’s about to stand up. He’s actually talking to me...woah. I should cite that last sentence because it is probably a direct quote from the book, including the ellipses. If you took out all the parts about her blushing, saying jeez, biting her lips, and holy-crapping, the book is cut to 34 pages. A kindle search shows that “Crap” alone is used 93 times.
Ana is some sort of lit major in 2012 but doesn’t initially own a laptop? Crap. Each time Ana begins to use her Macbook, she addresses it as “firing up the mean machine” as if it runs on Windows 95. Double Crap. What? This author is on some potent crack. Triple Crap. And everyone in the book “murmurs” and either grins or frowns at every moment. Why can’t everyone just talk? Keep in mind this book has sold 10 million copies.
The first time Ana visits Christian’s home, he shows Ana his Red Dungeon of Pain and Sex and Horror and Play and Etc. The room is full of cuffs, chains and other BDSM equipment. But before she can exhibit any fear, she is oogling over his mere existence. He can simply touch her into an orgasm. It was tolerable to read the first time but after the third “body-shattering” experience, I am hysterical and irritated.
At times, Ana almost exhibits a real personality where she is afraid of his needs. She once utters an entire sentence with proper syntax in front of Christian. When she's not too busy lusting his luscious hair, she is swallowing the idea of signing a contract into submission. Christian is a control freak who fuels his sexual drive by commanding Ana to eat and dress in a certain manner. He punishes her for rolling her eyes at him by spanking her. Ana becomes emotionally conflicted by Christian’s fetish, unsure of whether she can ever accept this pain. For the author to romanticize physical and mental abuse is totally irresponsible.
Throughout my rant and dilemma, I had a choice: just stop reading. Unfortunately, the literary spin on this sexual expedition and wanting to know the end of this ridiculous premise has led me half way into this book. I don’t read romance novels but I’m sure I would still appreciate one with actual language and character development. I don’t care how sexy it may seem, why are intelligent people recommending this book? WHAT IS GOING ON?