Welcome to the Friday Goodreads! Each week(ish) I will post about a book I’ve read recently. Don’t worry, there wont be too much plot involved, mostly just my thoughts and reactions to the work.
Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker written by E. L. James
****WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS****
Since readers’ advisory is such an important part of my job and one I do on a daily basis, I always try to read the books that get a lot of hype. If a book gets tons of holds and lots of press and everyone is asking for it, I read it, at least so that I can give carry on conversation about it and recommend it to anyone I think might enjoy it. That being said, I added the ultra-controversial Fifty Shades books to my reading list. Here’s what I thought:
I’m not really sure even where to begin with these books. They were so utterly awful. Nothing quite prepared me for just how awful they were. I managed to push through the first two but by the time the third one came in, I could not have cared less about the characters or how it ends or anything.
The basic premise of the trilogy is this: young college girl Ana meets billionaire twenty-something Christian Grey. He’s intrigued with her, she’s smitten with him. Before they can begin a relationship, however, he explains to her “his world”: BDSM, humiliation for the enjoyment of it, pain infliction for the enjoyment of it, demoralizing the other individual to make yourself feel better, etc, etc. She agrees despite her better judgment and they begin a “relationship” full of erotic sex and situations that continually make Ana uncomfortable. By the end of the book she cannot handle another minute with Christian and leaves him. In book two Ana is enjoying her job as assistant to the publisher at a publishing house in the city. But she finds her life is otherwise empty without Christian. They fall back into each other’s beds and begin their relationship again, this time with much less of the objectionable BDSM and more of the vanilla which Ana finds more comfortable. By the end of the second book Christian and Ana are engaged to be married and house-shopping together. Things seem to be looking up for the young couple. At the beginning of the third book, Ana and Christian are married and on their honeymoon. They return to the city and…that’s as much as I read of the final book. Here’s why:
Let’s start with the characters. Anastasia “Ana” is a young college senior at the beginning of the first book. She hasn’t had a boyfriend, ever. She’s never really dated, never been kissed and certainly never enjoyed anything more than kissing. There are plenty of women like her in the world and many romance novels focus on the innocent woman as the protagonist. One thing that really bothered me about Ana was her lack of common sense. Many of the situations she found herself in could easily have been resolved with common sense yet she doesn’t and then cannot seem to figure out why her life is the way it is. She is also oblivious to the world around her. She doesn’t notice that her best friend seeks more than just a friend relationship with her. She pushes aside the warning bells in her head that tell her Christian may not be the right guy for her and instead believes she can change him. Wishful thinking on her part as she has absolutely NO experience with men. And the biggest thing that bothered me about Ana isn’t necessarily her fault. While in Christian’s presence, she seems to be able to think only two single words: Oh my. And of course every time she did, this is what I heard:
Then there’s Christian. Dear Lord help us if Christian is the model for attractive, successful men. I found nothing appealing about him. He’s a stalker for one thing, finding out where Ana lived and worked and showing up at her job while she’s working. He’s incredibly overbearing and strict. He requires that Ana do what he wants her to do and wear what he wants her to wear and style herself the way he wants her to be styled when he wants it done. He’s mean and vicious. I absolutely without a doubt despise him. At least Ana grows a backbone (sometimes but not always) and puts her foot down when things make her uncomfortable.
Overall I found the writing style boring and repetitive. Seriously, I thought I would lose my mind if Ana said “my inner goddess this” or “my inner goddess that” or “oh my”. And can we talk about the phrase “vanilla”? Ugh that bothered me so much. Seriously. There are other less demeaning ways to describe sex that isn’t kinky. The English language is a beautiful thing! Use it to your advantage!
I think I lost interest in the third book because I had to put it on hold and wait for it and by the time it came in I had moved on with my life. There were other books I wanted to read that were far more interesting to me. I can see why the book was controversial because she’s pretty graphic about the kind of kinky and bizarre behavior Christian enjoys but it was not as fantastic and sensational as people may believe. It’s just an extremely poorly written romance novel. Moms, if you want some “mommy porn”, pick up any book by Abbi Glines. Trust me, you’ll enjoy it so much more!