Warning: Not only am I discussing a real nonenity of a book there’s also some bits about my libido in there.
All right, so I read it. I pretty much giggled my way through it in the bath last night. Which, in my opinion, makes E.L. James a better author than Stephanie Meyer. I really have to say that the comparison stops there, I couldn’t get through Twilight because it was whiny teen fic, 50 Shades of Grey (yeah, I read it) is erotica.
It’s not that bad. Jilly Cooper writes better sex scenes and if I was looking for some brainless fuzzy romance n sex I’d pick up one of hers.
I went through a phase in my late adolescence of secretly buying Black Lace titles. The BDSM was a lot more extreme in most of the ones I picked up but then I kind of blame that on being a snobby reader in someways; obviously the first book I read with sex taking the centre was the Decameron of Boccaccio and on the cover of that was a review of the Marquis de Sade… I pretty much went from there.
So, 50 Shades, mostly it’s like a modern Mills and Boon. A girl falls in love for the first time and has to work out what her feelings are for this totally gorgeous man. It’s mindless fuzzy stuff, fun to read though and when I’m in that sort of mood the last thing I can be bothered with is grammar and language repetition, though I’ve been assured it’s appalling. Now I’m a modern day feminist, but I used to read romances to my Grandma, I’m not going to be that bothered by a girl who’s virginal and not comfortable with the word VAGINA! I’m not looking for the political in a fuzzy, erotic read.
I did find Christian Grey creepy though. To be honest, I thought that the book had a happy ending, almost feminist really. Girl tries out kinky sex (…well…sort of…I have to admit I was expecting more bondage and such but it was mostly vanilla sex with a couple of bits of spanking towards the end), girl decides that she quite likes spanking but isn’t really sure about this (albeit gorgeous and insanely rich) stalker she seems to have acquired whilst gaining this knowledge, stalker-creep shows what he really wants (in a more forceful beating, which by the way she seemed to be enjoying) and she decides she’s not up for that and leaves him. Nice, empowered woman, who by the way has a great job to start next Monday at the book’s close. Yes I’m ignoring the rest of the trilogy, I see no need to pay any money towards this bizarrely popular piece of erotica.
One thing that did count in James’ favour was that mostly BDSM Black Lace books did tend to concentrate on the physical side of well BDSM and I’m the sort of girl who can orgasm over being made to kneel and call someone ‘Sir’. (Admittedly if it had been to Rupert Campbell-Black I’d have been a lot more ‘there’, but hey, you can’t have everything.) There was a lot of DS play throughout, it was mild, it was light but it was play. It was two people flirting and it was brainless fun. The emails between the two of them made me laugh so loud that Weasel came running.
I don’t especially get off on the idea of slave contracts, but I know some people who get their D/s jollies by imagining footnotes and I suspect some of them really enjoyed the contract bit of the book.
I also can’t help but speculate on the naming of the main character Ana. She doesn’t eat, the slightest thing sets her off on a not eating binge. One of the few reasons I felt the creep had her best interests at heart was his insistence on her eating something. Actually the book gets a whole lot more interesting if you read it as being about Ana, who is all about the control and her learning to give it up – if it were me this would mean she’d gradually get happier about the eating as the trilogy continued. Or maybe a friend called Mia would show up…
I do miss the Marquis de Sade for including philosophy in with his porn.
I am beginning to think that the people who are worried about this book messing with gender equality and the desire for it need to get a life. Women have always enjoyed erotica, this, weirdly enough is the series that is starting people being open about it. Just like porn it’s a separate fantasy away from everyday life. It’s nothing special, but it’s not that bad (especially considering it started it’s life as pretty bad fanfic.
Oh yeah, in case you’re wondering the reason I read this? The Jellicle Cat bought a copy so she can go through it with a red pen. Her goat is gotten by the unsafe BDSM practices in it.
If you really fancy some erotica – go get some Black Lace, much better and with a wide selection to suit your particular desires.