PLEASE NOTE: I’m writing this blog post under the influence of irritation and not enough Dr. Pepper. I suspect that I will offend absolutely every single person I know in some way. You have been warned. (Insert cheesy smile)
Fifty Shades of Grey is a super controversial book. For many reasons.
Some people object to this book on the grounds of morality. Some object because they think the writing is shit. I finally decided to read it so I could weigh in on the conversation.
My first comment. if you haven’t read it, I don’t really think you should comment. This next statement is gonna make people mad, but I seem to be doing a lot of that lately. I’m gonna just run with it. Here’s the thing. There are a lot of opinions about a lot of books. When someone comments on a book they have never read, they end up sounding like idiots.
Full disclosure: I’m nearly half way through with the third book in the series. So I can’t comment on the way the book series ends. I don’t know how it ends. (You see the thread there? I haven’t read it and so therefore I can’t comment on it with any authority. If I railed about the ending *when I haven’t yet read it* I would be (yep, you guessed it) an idiot.
It amuses me that there are people who object to this story because they think it promotes sexual abuse. If you read it, you would know that the main character Anastasia spends the entire series working with her love interest,Christian the billionaire, to find better ways to deal with the abuse he endured as a child.
When people object to the existence of this book, I think they are actually objecting to the fact that there are broken people in the world who sometimes deal with their problems in dysfunctional ways. Some people don’t want to be reminded that terrible things happen to children and when those same children grow up, sometimes they are fifty shades of screwed up.
In my opinion, this is a story of two adults finding a way to make their relationship work despite his baggage and her insecurities.
I’m neither a proponent of opponent of BDSM. I could *not* care any less what two consenting adults do or do not do in their bedroom or in the pages of a novel. It is so far beyond any of my business. So, you know, I care like *not at all*.
That being said, while I think that the super hot billionaire in the series is creeptastic in his controlling tendencies, by dismissing the entire series, we dismiss the actions of the woman who stands up to him. Who tells him no, repeatedly, when he suggests something she is uncomfortable with. And then *gasp* he responds to her objection by considering that perhaps he needs to rethink his methods. The way he shows love.
The hard truth is this. There are people in the world who are controlling assholes. And sometimes people stand up to them. And sometimes (although probably not as often as we’d like) people rethink their actions when they are called on them.
And when that happens, there is a little victory.
In this book, Anastasia experiments with her sexuality and says no when she is uncomfortable. That’s not the worst message a girl who reads this book could take home post-read.
As far as the writing goes, meh. People LOVE to criticize other people’s writing.
As a writer and a reader, I know that so much about this is subjective. One person’s favorite book is another person’s least fave. That’s what is cool about an opinion – every one gets to have one. And each one is valuable. (More so if those opinions are grounded in any way in first hand knowledge.)
*See my above comments about actually reading the book before offering up commentary*
I know…beating a dead horse. It’s my way.
The truth is that these books resonated with millions of people. EL James did something right. Or her editors did. Or maybe her marketing people.
I wonder sometimes if we (as a society) are criticizing the author, her words, or her topic, or if instead what we object to is the taste of a whole lot of humans who dare to have an opinion that differs from our own very pious positions.
Oh, whoops. Did I say that out loud. Damn it. Me and my big freaking mouth.
But about that writing-I am not a fan of first person, present tense. That’s the thing that stood out to me the most and that I had to force myself to look past in order to continue reading. And yeah, there was more sex than I prefer in my books. I skimmed through quite a few of those scenes.
People criticize the character development in the novel. That makes me seriously laugh out loud. It’s like readers forget that there are *actual* people who are flawed, selfish, controlling, naive, jealous. One-dimensional. Dysfunctional. Well, you get the idea.
It seems some readers only like fiction if characters are straight out of a fairytale.
Happily ever afters. Also known as denial that real problems exist for real people.
Love it or hate it, Fifty Shades of Grey has done something very effectively. It has started a conversation about abuse, dysfunction, domestic violence, sex, bad writing (wink), etc.
The way I see it, we have a couple choices. We can take this opportunity to bury our head in the sand and refuse to discuss any of these topics on the grounds of “the writing sucks” or “Gasp. This is entirely too immoral to talk about”.
We can welcome a discussion about abuse, healthy behaviors, what is acceptable in our relationships.
I just hope I don’t have to endure many more “I didn’t read it, but….” posts. Oi.
*In my most polite voice*
Read it or shut it.
Okay, I’m off to search for another way to offend people while simultaneously filling my need to rally for social justice. Or maybe I’m just rallying for rebellion. Either way.