SO GOOD I READ THEM TWICE….
Oh yes I did!! And its not very often I have done that with a trilogy, apart from Tolkien and David Eddings (there were 5 in that series).
Personally, I love series of books – they really allow for development of character and plot that just can’t be found in a single book.
But I digress. I bought Fifty Shades of Grey after seeing all the fuss that was made over them, curiosity got the better of me, plus I didn’t want to be the only female left in the UK who hadn’t read them. At least if I have read them I can give an honest opinion. I didn’t buy them together – nope, I bought the first, so if I didn’t like it, no real harm done. But within 2 days of completing it, I had to go and find the second, and same with the third. Then once I had finished them all, I picked up No1 again and read them all through again.
I can hear some of my friends groaning, see them shaking their heads and muttering “Oh why, why did you do that ?” with disappointment emanating from every cell.
Well, you now know my reasons for picking the book up in the first place – plain old curiosity. As to the rest – well – let me be blunt here and let you into a seemingly well kept secret – there is more to them than just sex. Yes there is!!!
The main character could be anyone. She is young and likeable. She is in many ways the exact opposite of Christian Grey, the character who sweeps her off her feet. She isn’t swept readily tho – and herein lies the basis of many ‘romantic’ novels. It’s a classic tale. Its one we relate to, and see everywhere from Disney onwards as we grow up.
It is how she is written that really makes her, tho, in my opinion. There is humour all the way along, as she plays out her dilemmas in her head, between herself, her ‘inner goddess’ and her subconscious. Laugh out loud funny at times. And who of us hasn’t done that at times? Torn between our id, ego and super-ego. Again, it’s classic – but very well done. And done with no pretension, which it could so easily have been.
Christian Grey – well, he isn’t everyone’s cup of tea physically, I don’t think. No smouldering deep brown eyes here – which would be my own preference for a sex god. No, he has grey eyes. And no thick blonde locks, or cascading dark curls to match the brown eyes (again my personal preference) – this chap has copper hair. A ginga! As a sex god? Well, yes, it seems so.
And there is as much in the story about Mr Grey’s own personal emotional coming of age, as there is about Ana’s. He is also humorous – especially if you read the emails sent between the 2 of them carefully, as he adapts his signature line according to the topic and his moods.
And just as Ana could be anyone we know, Christian Grey could also be someone you know. Not the wealth or the BDSM, but his troubled past, his fears, his need to control. I know many women will be able to relate to at least some aspects of him via men they have known and loved. Or hated.
There is drama, sorrow – some of it we can all relate to – some of it would thankfully never happen to most mere mortals. But this is fiction, it is allowed to be dramatic – it’s actually kinda the whole point.
There is a good story there, well written and well structured.
And the sex? Ok if I must. Yes it’s steamy, yes it’s probably beyond many people’s personal experiences, and I did describe it as ‘filthy’ but it’s not THAT hardcore, although more hardcore stuff is implied it’s not actually written about.
Yes his reasons for his preferences are disturbing – but as I said, its drama. And the way he could have ended up is paralleled against another character with no redeeming features. But he doesn’t, and that is part of the ‘beauty’ of the character – he has redeeming features, and plenty of what everyone needs – a supportive framework of people who care.
And in that sense, it’s an illustration of an aspect of humanity. How it can go wrong and how it can be saved.
The other benefit for me of reading it twice was that the second time around, I knew the drill, and so was able to skim the last few lines of each time they had sex. There’s only so many ways you can describe simultaneous orgasm, and only so many times you actually want to read it.
BUT one thing I will say – is that I think the men should read it as well. No doubt they will enjoy the sex scenes, even if they aren’t visually represented, there isn’t much left to the imagination so it shouldn’t be that difficult. But mainly because I think it would give men an insight into women, and what makes many of us tick – in more ways than one. Coz not everyone wants to be spanked, that’s for sure. But we do want to feel wanted, and looked after without feeling smothered.
I did see one rather disgruntled chap complaining that despite his wife enjoyed the book she laughed at him when he suggested they try some BDSM. And it’s not hard to understand her reaction. You see it probably wasn’t the being tied up and teased that she was after – she most likely wanted the intensity – the desire – to feel she was the only woman in the world for him. And who knows – if she got that part, who’s to say he wouldn’t have got the other bits as well – as a result.
So – don’t dismiss these books as pornography, or erotic nonsense for bored housewives. Lets face it guys, if we wanted porn – soft or hardcore – the great god google could easily provide for us. No – for most women, I believe, it’s the ‘more’ that appeals. And you will only understand that fully, if you go and read the book.
The only thing that does trouble me about this book is that it is most definitely for adults – and yet there it is on the shelves of every bookshop and supermarket, for anyone to pick up and browse through. Not sure I would have wanted my daughters having access to it when they were younger. But how can it be ‘regulated’ and monitored? I have no idea.
Many books contain steamy sex scenes, and more contain violence we wouldn’t want our young teens to read. Books don’t seem to be like films tho – maybe they should tho, especially as a whole new genre seems to be springing up in the wake of Fifty Shades. Maybe they should have age restriction too?