Wednesday, March 4, 2015

50 Shades of Grey: A Female Fantasy?

I'm not into Erotica; so I wasn’t enamored with reading  Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James like everybody else.  To me it smacked too much of Marquis de Sade's Story of O which I absolutely detest. However, as the author of a somewhat racy book (Next Time Lucky: How to Find Your Mr. Right), I felt compeled to find out what the big hype was all about and why this book is selling better than mine. A slight understatement!
In fact, the trilogy now comes in a “Fifty Shades Trilogy" box set , has been translated in 52 languages worldwide and sold more than 90 million copies in e-book and print—making it one of the biggest and fastest-selling book series ever. It is called the phenomenon behind the film that just hit the movie theaters fittingly around Valentine’s Day. Needless to say it’s already the biggest movie of the season –which season? They can’t mean the Oscar Season.

To give you the anticipated result first: I did not find out. The hero or villain ─depending on your point of view─ is a self-made billionaire by the name of Christian Grey at age 27? Right. Just let that sink in for a moment. Anastasia Steele is a literary student first, then a college graduate,  and a virgin, who so far never even got drunk, had sex, or masturbated once in spite of some occasional hot thoughts...right!
But these two are attracted to each other to the extent that Ana, as he calls her, goes along with his S& M games willingly and…enjoys them from the get-go. Triple right!?
The book is eye-candy for voyeurs and, at least to me, unbelievable throughout, because guess what: This totally ordinary, stubborn and self-centered young girl is first shocked, intrigued, and, ultimately, repelled by Christian’s singular erotic tastes; then Ana demands a deeper commitment. You read that right.
Determined to keep her, Christian agrees. That easy! She changes  this Mr. S. &M. Incarnate into a loving husband and father. 
The writing style is bland and predictable, clichés abound. According to some  Kindle search function, characters roll their eyes 41 times, Ana bites her lip 35 times, Christian's lips "quirk up" 16 times, Christian "cocks his head to one side" 17 times, characters "purse" their lips 15 times, and characters raise their eyebrows a whopping 50 times. Banalities and profanities go on and on at this repetitious rate.
Call me an old fogey who begrudges female readers (and the majority of them are indeed women!) their sexual fantasies. The author, a mother of two, claims she wrote the book for female readers and their fantasies. Right. I admit there are millions of women who wish for a rich knight in shining armor  and apparently, in modern versions, they fly in on their own planes.  I fully realize that there is a huge readership of Erotica and S&M literature out there, judging from the amount of titles in that category popping up on Facebook writers groups alone. Some critics may be inclined to say “De gustibus…” and all that.
However, in a world increasingly full of female abuse and exploitation where even young girls are sold into sexual slavery, I find it dangerous to promote such fantasies. I find it irresponsible to pretend that somebody with extreme sexual behavior can be changed or dominated like in this book. Maybe I just missed out on a big exciting chapter in my life?

I admit to some jealousy being in play on my part when I wrote this review as I struggle to sell my book. Next Time Lucky in comparison has intelligent and witty passages, sprinkled with some sexy scenes, and is written out of a real life experience-- something that millions of divorced or single people can relate to.It's been labeled too raunchy for some.
But then again, I don't like paranormal, zombie or werewolf stories either, genres that people read to escape reality or for good old entertainment. Well, then... Suum cuique?
So, I will and cannot recommend 50 Shades. If you didn't like it either, contact me and I'll send you a FREE e-copy of my novel. Seriously.

Can’t wait to see how the movie is doing

Comments welcome!

1 comment:

  1. Received by private message from one of our oldest Pen Women. I didn't even know she was on email: "I can't stop laughing. Perfect! I really liked this!!!! D.B.