Saturday, June 9, 2012

50 Shades of...

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy
or 50 Shades of You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me?!
By: E.L. James

Let me start my saying that this review wasn't supposed to happen - ever.  Why?   Well, because I swore I'd never read this book, yet here I am, ready to share my thoughts. (I also would love to be able to wash my eyes out with soap.) 

"Have you read 50 Shades of Grey?" If I had a $1 for every time someone asked me that question in the past couple of months, both of my kids' college educations would be fully paid for by now.

What made me change my mind? Last week I noticed a lengthy discussion taking place on the FB profile of a friend of mine and I was going to add my .02 until I saw how many people had something to say but most hadn't read it yet. Just like me. Someone argued that the Song of Solomon in the Bible is just as sexually explicit. That person obviously hasn't read their Bible in awhile.  Yes, it IS explicit compared to other parts of the Bible but it's referring to a loving marital relationship and I'm pretty sure Solomon wasn't whipping, caning, flogging or clamping his wife. I decided that if I was going to have an opinion, I should at least know what I was talking about.  

So, here goes... *contains spoilers*

First of all, the writing is crap. Yeah, I know that sounds harsh but "Jeez", how many times can you, "gape, gasp, smirk, or look "impassively" at someone?  *rolls eyes*  Oh wait, I probably shouldn't do that...  We have thesaurus' for a reason.  Second, it's Twilight fan fiction and it's so over the top (as is the sex) I wanted to gag.  "Inner goddess" Really?! *snorts*  then *gags*  

I've heard all of the arguments about this trilogy; how it puts the spice back into one's marriage or how you get attached to the characters, etc. but the reoccurring one is how "romantic" it is. I want to scream, "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" This is not romance.  This is not love.  Christian Grey is an abusive, controlling man with some serious issues.  There is nothing sexy about that. Period. People who love each other aren't supposed to "want" to hurt each other whether with it's their words, bodies or foreign objects. And I don't care how "hot" someone is, if they want to "beat the s*it out of you" for ANY reason, RUN, do not walk to the nearest police station.  

A very small (minuscule) part of me can see how readers are caught up in Ana's "positive" affect on Christian by the end of the third book, but if you take a step back from the story and view them as light and darkness, she is ultimately swallowed up by his darkness.  He may be nicer, less self-loathing, maybe even able to accept the love of his family but is she really better off?  I don't think so.  She just has more money, better clothes and more "self-awareness" than before. 

I equate Ana and Christian's relationship to walking into a completely dark room with a flash light. If you stand there long enough eventually the light will begin to burn out and, one of two things will happen, either you'll decide the darkness isn't so great and you'll leave or you'll continue to stand there as the light fades. Your eyes will eventually adjust to the darkness and you'll feel more comfortable but it won't change the fact that you're still standing in the dark. 
The thing that REALLY scares me is that young girls are reading this crap (It's not just "Mommy Porn" anymore) and will think it's OK for a guy to treat them like this. It's not!  (Even Ana realizes this in the last book but does she leave? Nope.) To control or want to control everything another person does, making them the center of your universe is not healthy. Then there's Mrs. Robinson...

I wonder how many women who enjoyed these books and who have sons (like I do) were disgusted with Mrs. Robinson?  We can joke all we want about "Cougars" but she is a pedophile plain and simple. It doesn't matter if she relents or finally acknowledges what she did was wrong, the fact that she did it in the first place and it is viewed as being, "helpful" is abhorrent. (Fancy word usage = I'm really upset.)  For the men with daughters who read 50 Shades, imagine Ana is your daughter.  Let that sink in for a minute...would you want her involved with a man like Christian Grey?  I would think she'd be better off with a vampire or a werewolf. 

By far, the most disturbing thing I've seen concerning this book happened in a Barnes & Noble a few weeks ago.  Not only were the books categorized as "YA" but I stood dumbstruck as a teen handed them to her father and said he should read them.  He eagerly agreed and bought all three books.  A TEENAGER suggesting these books to HER FATHER.  Um, WHAT?!  That is all kinds of wrong, ALL.KINDS.

I'm not a prude but this is porn in a book. You can make light of porn, whether it be on a screen or in page form like this, but it damages people's lives.  I speak from personal experience when I say this because our family suffered greatly and in a very public and humiliating way a few years ago.  My husband and I still struggle to explain to our boys why certain people are in old photos but are no longer part of our lives. The damage porn does has a ripple effect and can last a lifetime.  

I'm usually "pushing" books and I don't know that I've ever said to anyone, "Don't read this book." but I am now. This book isn't worth your time.  Listen, if you're an adult and want to read erotica, or role play behind closed doors, that's your business but please keep this crap out of the hands of younger readers.

"Laters, baby."  *GAGS*


  1. As a mom of a 13-year-old boy, the "Mrs. Robinson" bit was SO disgusting, when I read it as a very much drop-everything-read-this-now story, that I stopped reading it. Jen, you said everything that I would say about it. Bravo!

  2. I actually read this as the fanfiction. I didn't love it then, though I though parts were entertaining enough. I have to say, it boggles my mind it has gotten this big. Not sure I understand it.
    I am disgusted any bookstore would misplace this book in YA.

    Thank you for your honest review. :)