Well now! I just finished the controversial Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, and I have to say, I can definitely understand what all the fuss is about. Spoiler alert: I may reveal more than you’d like to know, so now’s the time to skip over to another article if you plan to read it. And if you have a predetermined aversion to erotic literature and/or already think I’m going to hell in a Prada handbag, you should also turn the page.
On to the good stuff! Okay, first let me say that Fifty Shades is not going to win any major literary awards. The writing is subpar, almost immature, with too many repeated catch phrases and words for my liking. Ms. James is not even on the same planet as my beloved Nora Roberts.
I also didn’t like the main characters. Anastasia never did or said anything worthy of strong protagonist, and was too insecure to make me care about her. And the only redeeming quality in Christian was his Calvin-Klein-underwear-model body. He was simply a selfish dillhole most of the time. That being said, I do think Ms. James came up with an intriguing story of two people so different they couldn’t possibly NOT fall in love.
But let’s be honest, I didn’t buy the book for its purported literary prowess. When I finally got to the first sex scene (a too-long one hundred pages in), I was very thankful I hadn’t followed my instincts and chucked it out the window. Oh. My. Lord. Is it hot in here? This ain’t for the faint of heart, and it certainly doesn’t contain your typical, flowery romance-novel scenarios. James holds no detail back and offers what I can only assume is a very accurate depiction of the S&M world of Dominants and Submissives, “chips, dips, chains and whips.” (Sorry, but Weird Science is the only exposure I’d had to this lifestyle prior to Fifty Shades!)
Sure, I felt wrong reading it in the company of my kids, but surprisingly empowered too: “Mommy’s reading her porn; make your own mac-n-cheese!” When I wasn’t suffering a hot flash or yearning for Doo, I wondered if I could ever be brave enough to try some of it myself. I don’t have an answer yet, but I’m happy to know that there are more flavors than vanilla (wink, wink.)
In retrospect, I’m glad I read the book, as it seems most of you are who have emailed. Fifty Shades may not change your life, but it should provide some fascinating ideas to help jumpstart your libido. If nothing else, it’s a harmless, easy read with an endless amount of hilarious conversation fodder. Peace out.