25 June 2012

Fifty Shades of Black and White?

I have been hearing about E.L. James novel Fifty Shades of Grey since it was first released. Some of my female friends have loved it. Some are disgusted by it. There seems to be no middle ground in this debate. It is either the stuff of romantic daydreams or it is creepy misogyny and a lack of feminine common sense.

Me, I like a good erotic read now and again. My idea of incredible sexual tension is primarily as a complimentary addition to good writing--writing with more than just the sex to carry the story. Take, for instance, the scene between Connie and Mellors in Lady Chatterley's Lover, when he watches her watching the newly-hatched chicks and the consequent descriptive action with which Lawrence stokes that fire. (No, I am not going to tell you what happens. If you have read it you know, if you haven't you should!) Some of  Anaïs Nin's work has that elegance of detail as well; read Delta of Venus sometime.

There is a fine line (which is perhaps the difference between erotica and pornography) between that slow build of sexual tension through elegant sensual description and the hard (no pun intended) blunt details of a sexual act. Granted, the description of the sex act in all it's gloriousness/perversity (depending on your perspective) is not easy to portray in words. In literature it has to be developed with the character--we have to like the characters, want them to feel pleasure.

The review that follows (originally posted on Goodreads) was the most compelling review I found. I am still going to (try to) read the book, but I will take it out from a library now instead of buying it.

(BTW, I don't know where she found it, but I love Anzu's first image here of "wanted/expecting/got"! Reminds me of some Online Dating experiences.)

Anzu's Goodread's review of Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James  1 of 5 stars false

I didn’t want to start this book. Many people are praising it, but I’m simply not into erotica, it’s too cheap for me. But here I am in the mind of the innocent waiting to be devoured by the big bad wolf. Sounds pornographic, doesn’t it? That’s because it is…

Christian Grey. A hot dude that melts a woman’s panties off with just one look. The perfect sex toy set out to conquer an innocent girl. Grey (the sick f*ck) is considered one of the hottest characters out there but he doesn’t get to me. His dominance is too much for me to handle and his attitude tends to be annoying and slimy. Plus he’s just wrong in the head so there’s no need to add more about this creep.

Anastasia is an immature insecure desperate idiot who wants to become the whore of Babylon. She just wants to listen to her inner goddess (wtf?!) and have creepy monkey sex with Grey. She has no personality nor will whatsoever, she gets excited over the smallest and most idiotic things you can imagine and even though she sees how wrong Grey (the sick f*ck) is, she still goes for it. She’s always mooning over Grey like he’s some kind of god that she’s supposed to worship. He tells her that he doesn’t want a serious relationship just sex and she’s still ok with it. Why? Just because he’s hot? He’s a damn disgusting pervert. He hurt her the first time they made love, she was a virgin for Christ’s sake (and I don’t buy the crap with it being perfect, surely she had vaginal cracks after that), and is treating her like a slave. Even though he’s a successful businessman and he’s rich and famous he still can be a psychopath. Just watch American Psycho and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Now to pick on one of my biggest problems regarding this book: THE CONTRACT. WTF may I ask? Signing paperwork in order to have sex with him? Is he a natural hazard or what? I get the whole Hey look at me I’m badass, I have my own company and helicopter gig ‘cause the guy is stinking rich but the contract??? Isn’t anyone getting angry with this?

I guess not...
“Why would I do that?”
“To please me”
Wtf?? All women want to please him? Why? ‘Cause he’s hot? He’s a perverted assh*le that’s what he is. He’s acting like he owns everyone! Aren’t you guys angry?

“I have rules, and I want you to comply with them. They are for your benefit and for my pleasure. If you follow these rules to my satisfaction, I shall reward you. If you don’t, I shall punish you, and you will learn,” 
Learn this! *kicks him in the groin* Creep!
“It’s about gaining your trust and your respect, so you’ll let me exert my will over you.” 
Heh *right eye twitches* exert my will *eye twitches again*
Aren’t you guys angry with this yet??

Question for all the people who gave this book great scores. If Grey wasn’t so hot would you still have given it such great ratings? I doubt you would. So this means that the reason why you love the book is mainly Christian Grey being hot and an uber alpha? Shallow much? Or maybe you’re into all the monkey sex and torture. Psycho much?

But who am I to judge.

This book is just a desperate woman’s sick fantasy to be treated like a sex slave. I’m sorry but it doesn’t work for me. I DNF’d this because I find it disgusting and degrading.

[Thanks, Anzu for allowing me to cross-post this here. ]