I had so much fun reading the reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Shelfari for ‘Fifty Shades’. There are some real jewels out there, and you guys cracked me up. I could agree with all the One/Two Star(s) reviews, I could… Most of what these readers say is true (and very funny, and well-written etc). I totally see where they are coming from, but… I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE ‘FIFTY SHADES’ TRILOGY
Before I share with you WHY I loved the novels, I thought I would start by listing all the reasons you might find ‘Fifty Shades’ a smelly pile of poo-poo meant for sexually-frustrated soccer moms. I hope it is fine for me to refer directly to some truly great reviews on Amazon.
1/ The Suspension of (Dis)Belief
So, yes Christian Grey is a BILLIONAIRE mogul at the tender age of 28… He has even made his money all by himself after dropping from Harvard when he was 20 (I think Bill Gates did it, so why the hell not?). But what’s really amazing is that the dude has a 9-to-5 job… I need the name of his headhunter-slash-career adviser pronto!
2/ The Repetitive Writing
What most reviewers seem to find annoying is E.L. James’ repetitive writing style.
I would tend to agree with all those points: the facial expressions, the lip biting, the 50 shades of everything, Ana’s Inner Goddess (although the Goddess references often made me laugh) and her subconscious… They kind of are on almost every page.
3/ The Non-PG-Rated Twilight Parody
Yes, sure, you can go on and on for that one: the location (Pacific NW), the hero and heroine sound-alike names (Edward Cullen/Christian Grey and Isabelle Swan/Anastasia Steele), the theme (falling in love with the evil), SPOILER the marrying and baby making, the characterization (the awkward, introvert, virginal girl being the most obvious), the mother of the heroine living in the South… Yes, yes, they are all there.
4/ The Explicit Sexual Content
Actually, I haven’t read reviewers objecting to that specifically. If you decide to read ‘50 Shades’, there are enough warning signs out there to dissuade you to do so if you normally like inspirational romance.
No, what is more relevant is how unrealistic the sexual content is. Check that review by a semi-retired gynecologist.
Seriously, I’d like to know what Anastasia Steele is made up of: How does she do it? Same question to Christian: Don’t you ever get tired of…. you know? Every five minutes? Really?
Okay, now I agree with everything you guys say… ‘50 Shades’ is a love story where the two characters fall blindly and obsessively in love at first sight. Duh? There are no real subplots or secondary characters of any consequence. You basically read the book for the two key protagonists—Christian and Ana—and what’s happening to them (they fight, they make up, they cry, they make up and so on). I can hear you in the background… Yes, you there, in the back row. Repeat what you just mumbled, yes, out loud this time: “Boooooooring”.
Well, my friend, I strongly disagree with you. I’d say that it’s GENIUS. Whether E.L. James is a genius or not, isn’t the point. What matters is that she had a stroke of genius when she created those two characters. She captured something very deep, a secret need, a shameful desire inside many women of today. Yes, I said women because ‘50 Shades’ is a well-orchestrated operation for us to fall in love with Christian Grey (and drop our panties doing so). They’re not loving this book because of all the kinky sex… or just for that. There’s more.
Who is Christian Grey? A totally sc***ed-up dominatrix seeking redemption through his love for a virgin. Ana needs his 24/7 protection, his exclusive and controlling ownership, his constant reassurance about her beauty and sex-appeal.
What does that say about me? Or any other of those female readers who dived into it and have become totally obsessed with the trilogy? Is that the end of feminism? Do we all dream of being taken care of, pampered, worshipped, controlled? Can’t we stand on our own two feet anymore and be independent and assertive?
Nooooooo… Harsh critiques of ‘50 Shades’ should give more credit to its readership. Do not underestimate us. We’re not lobotomized damsels-in-distress. We can fight, we can bite (well, euh, it’s BDSM after all), we can win and make our own money. And so we will.
I think the success of ‘50 Shades’ reveal more about how we, women, perceive men nowadays, especially in the context of a relationship. Should all men be control freaks like Christian Grey? Please, no, spare us that (and most of you guys aren’t a billionaire mogul anyway, dah!). But (maybe, maybe) some of our expectations (the biological ones) aren’t meant anymore. We need men to stand up more, to make us feel protected and safe, to make us feel… WOMEN…
We accept for men to have as many shades in them as they want, but can they not forget to be… MEN?
What do you think? Am I just talking a lot of cr**p here? I would love to know WHY you REALLY liked ‘50 Shades’, instead of just WHAT you liked in it.
One last thing, I’ve seen many dream-casting on the Web for the coming movie. I would just say two words: RYAN and GOSLING.