Book(s) review: The 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy!!!
So I got in that bike accident a couple of weeks ago, and found myself medicated, in an arm sling, and unable to do much at all! Thank goodness for library e-books, an open mind, and morbid curiosity! Well, we don’t have TV, so it was something to do… As a librarian, I also have the excuse that it’s important for me to know what the public is reading (or what they were reading months ago when it was still popular). As a further justification, Library Journal somewhat recently thinks it’s really important, so there’s a strong chance that public libraries will catch up one day– and I’ve gotta be ready for that day!
The e-book platform that I use doesn’t keep the original page numbers, so I have only just learned that these three volumes together add up to a whopping one thousand, six hundred and seventy pages. It took about a week to read them. Sheesh.
So here’s the thing. I was laughing as I downloaded the first one. I was giggling between sentences as I read the first couple of pages aloud. There was no way that I was going to read more than a chapter or two– I just wanted to see for myself how bad it was! A couple of chapters later, I wasn’t laughing any more (the writing got better and the story developed). Nor was I reading aloud. Because the thing is, 50 Shades of Grey is not a bad book. The writing is fine, the pacing is decent, and the storyline isn’t too predictable. So I finished the first one. And then downloaded and finished the second one. And then I (put on hold and then) downloaded and finished the third one.
If you’ve somehow never heard of this series, take a second and give it a google (probably not at your job, ok?). So the books have heaps and heaps of erotica in them (and it’s not poorly written), nestled amongst a rather fantastical storyline about a sweet young thing whose world gets really big really fast. There’s sex and car chases and money and tons of firsts and relationship dynamics and more…
But before you let yourself think that I had a serious unconditional love affair with this series, know that I’ve got some issues with it. Lots of them are with the logic/realistic-ness of certain elements:
1. Ana, our heroine, begins the book as an attractive 21 year-old (non-religious) virgin who has never been drunk. for reals.
2. Christian Grey is a sadistic dom because his childhood was monumentally fucked up
3. Grey’s many talents and achievements by the supposed age of 27
4. Ana’s ability to somehow get a (decent and academically relevant) job (in Seattle) straight out of college
5. All the “inner goddess” business (though this would translate nicely into a tv series– like in the same way that Lizzie McGuire often had those little cartoon asides to show how Lizzie was feeling)
6. I don’t know a ton about BDSM, but I have a feeling that some people who are into it are gonna take issue with certain scenes
There are some more, but I’ve momentarily forgotten them. The books get my major props for their straight-talk about sex:
1. This might be the first time that “butt plug” has found its way into a bestseller. I bet they’re selling better than ever before in the sex toy stores.
2. Though their relationship is kind of fucked up, there are some good examples of sexual limit-setting, communication, and negotiation that I’d never previously seen in mainstream media. Maybe it will influence more people (women, specifically) to speak up for themselves in bed.
So there we go. My semi-review, in a somewhat anonymous setting. By the way, I found myself thankful for having access to the e-book versions of these. Sharing a paper version just seems, well, kind of icky (unless you’re into that).