The 50 Shades of Grey trilogy has accounted for one in every five hard-copy fiction books sold this spring, not including children's literature, according to Nielsen BookScan. Holy crap one might say. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Grey books are poised to cross the 20 million mark any day now, with a pretty even split between physical and digital copies. Sales are slowing down a little, though, so get in those spankings and exhaustingly outdated gender roles while the getting's good.
I am a firm believer in "Know what you mock!". So I fought my way through all 3 of the Fifty Shades books (which I obtained illegally, of course. No money was spent on this!). I actually also read the Twilight AU that started the whole thing (Master of the Universe). I know. CALL IT RESEARCH.
I have NOT THE SLIGHTEST CLUE how this is being sold as BDSM. None.
[Summary for books 1-3]
In book 1 poor student Anastasia Steele meets gazillionaire Christian Grey. He asks her to be his submissive and hands her a looong contract that lists the do's and don't's of their dom/sub relationship. But because she is soooo appealing to him, he can't wait and takes her virginity before she signs the contract. She is very to and thro about the whole thing but continues sleeping with him. Then she tries being his sub for about 23 minutes but when he spanks her and it hurts, she and runs off. End book 1.
In book 2 she is sad and he is devastated and so they try to have a "real" relationship but it so hard because he is so hot but also a control freak and what if vanilla isn't enough for him and he wants more and she can't give it to him and that would break her heart. IF ONLY SHE COULD FIX HIM!
In book 3 they are married and he is still a total control-freak but he is her control-freak and she is trying so hard to fix him and make him see what a beautiful, beautiful soul he has and then she gets pregnant and also his sister gets kidnapped and when she risks her life for his family he finally sees how much she loves him and they lived happily ever after.
This is like the usual romance novel thing, only with sex. Not very well written sex. And not very kinky sex. Out of the 10,000 times they have sex, maybe 5-7 are actually kinky? And just barely. I mean, sex on a pool table. OBVS SHOCKINGLY KINKY. Blindfolded sex. UNBELIEVABLY UNUSUAL. There is some spanking and some flogging. Maybe twice. So, uhm, the OMG TOTAL BDSM HOTNESS thing? Non-existent.
Then again, I am obviously used to different things, what with all the fanfiction and slash and stuff. So I am probably not the target audience...
THE CHARACTERS. [rant]
To everyone who read the Twilight books it is crystal clear that Anastasia is the unbearably stupid wanna-be feminist but always ruled by her hormones Bella and Christian Grey is the unbearably overbearingly stalkery Edward Cullen.
I hate Bella. Really. Hate her. But I hate Anastasia more. I didn't think that was even possible.
For example. She wants to go out with her BFF. Christian doesn't want her to go. She mopes but then agrees to stay in with her BFF. He flies on a business trip two cities over. Her BFF comes and convinces her to go out and have a drink. His security detail tell him she is out and he immediately flies home to make her see reason. Despite her constant need to touch him or run her tongue along his whatever or her hands through his soft coppery hair, she stands up to him and says she changed her mind about going out. "It's what women do, change their minds!" (URGH) and walks out on him, off to work. There she spends her WHOLE day fretting over just how mad he might be and what she might have to face once she gets home.
WHICH IS TOTALLY HEALTHY AND ALSO ROMANTIC. And even more so when he punishes her with sex later. Not DURING. WITH. Because she never does as she is told. Isn't that like totally hot??
Or as she would say: "You can't tell me what to do! You are not my father or my husband!"
I can't even tell you how much I loathe that she gets angry at him, for the right reasons, because he is overbearing and controlling and treats her like a child, but how he ALWAYS manages to distract her with sex and then that was that. URGH. I can't eat as much as I want to puke.
And I won't even start with what I obviously don't like about him.
THE WRITING. [more ranting]
I have read my fair share of badly written fanfic. But I didn't have to pay for that. Many of the fics were written by people who are no native speakers of english (like me, which is why my grammar is awkward at times.). And most of it had never seen a beta or an editor of any sort. I am assuming that 50 Shades did. Which makes me very sad.
Every time Anastasia says JEEZ, I cringed. And believe me, it was often. She also uses a whole lot of HOLY CROW. Or HOLY CRAP. Oh man. That is so UNSEXY. I mean: "HOLY CRAP, HE IS TOUCHING ME, THERE!?" Is not a very sexy sentence. Neither is "JEEZ, THAT FEELS GOOD!" Nooooooo.
Please also see: How E L James abuses her Thesaurus. Poor Thesaurus. :(
HER INNER ... [rant. again]
Every time her INNER GODDESS or her (INNER) SUBCONSCIOUS (does that even make sense) appear I have to roll my eyes. The books contains sentences like "My subconscious has found her Nikes and she's on the starting blocks." "My subconscious has her snarky face on." Isn't a subconscious, well subconscious? And her inner goddess is often lounging on a chaise longue reading. The complete works of Charles Dickens. Other times she purrs or "she squints from her sun lounger where she's trying to catch rays with a silver reflector fanned out at her neck." Or she "has her sequins on and is warming up to dance the rumba." or she "flexes and stretches her arms outward, her fingers interlocked, palms out, limbering up." Or the inner goddes "is wearing her gladiatrix outfit and is taking no prisoners." I COULD GO ON BUT IT ONLY GETS WORSE. Oh, wait. ONE MORE: "MY INNER GODDESS IS CELEBRATING HER INNER BITCH!" while my inner brain is getting her inner puke on.
One of my favourite sentences is: "Your lips are always so soft when you've been crying!" (aka "When I did something to hurt you enough to make you cry. Again.")
But well, I am done now. And if you take away the hype, 50 Shades is nothing but one of those books where an innocent and naive woman tries and ultimately succeds at taming and fixing the handsome bad boy billionaire. Only more explicit. If this is the kind of sex you want to read about, suit yourself. I will stick to dirty, well-written kinky fanfic! But just like with Twilight, I will seriously doubt your common sense when you gush about what kind of wonderful broken man Christian Grey is and what a hot relationship he and Ana have. Because I ike my men less supressive/oppressive, thank you very much. And may his smell be ever so intoxicating and his grey eyes ever so glowing and his coppery hair ever so soft and mussed up, his controlling ways are my ultimate turn off.
For the brains:
The thinking women's guide to 50 Shades
For the LULZ:
50 Shades of Suck. Marvellous Quotes from 3 badly written books. And other things.
The cast of Snow White and the Huntsman read 50 Shades
Ellen Degeneres reading 50 Shades ♥
Watch Supernatural Duo Act out Fifty Shades of Grey Richard Speight Jr. reads aloud, while Matt Cohen grinds his hips and air humps. UHM. Amusing and Awkward.
Selena Gomez in 50 Shades of Blue
All 87 Times Someone Says ‘Christian Grey’ in Fifty Shades of Grey, which kind of works as a summary for the first book, too.
Behind the scenes.
And I want to thank and apologize to elli & legoline because I was fighting my way through book 3 during our time in Amsterdam and whenever my inner feminist was ready to disembowel herself I had to share my pain with them and they kept me sane. They were my rock! Thank you, ladies! ♥ ;)