Fifty Shades of Really

Yes. I really just read these. All three. So here’s my 50 cents on Fifty Shades of Grey (et all). Sorry Mom.

fifty shades of grey fifty shades darker fifty shades freed e.l. james

 

Honestly, before I read these books, my experience was limited to Gilbert Gottfried’s reading *Link NSFW* which I urge you all to watch. Oh, and this, which I can believe… but also… really? Thankfully (?) I borrowed the Overdrive audiobook, as to avoid any and all possible contact with lingering ews. Now that I’ve finished them, I do have a bit of praise — shocking.

The books are marketed as “Mommy Porn” and I suppose to the bookish heterosexual female, this would satisfy some of those needs, but anyone calling themselves bookish may pause before considering reading these for any literary value. There’s little to these books that I find actually believable. The actions and reactions of characters are over exaggerated, yet predictable. If the narrator Ana says “Oh, Christian’s going to be angry,” you can be sure he throws a tantrum. Ana seems to notice every nuance, especially flashes of emotion over people’s faces. Really? She’s perceptive enough to see the someone’s past flash across their face, but she doesn’t know appropriate use of language she sends through corporate email accounts? Give Me A Break.

I won’t pluck out memorable quotes and pick them to pieces, and I’ll refrain from … wait… Didn’t I say I was going to dish out some positivity? Looking past the glaring flaws of these books, let’s consider what this story has to offer besides a possible trip to the free clinic.

We’re presented with a semi-sheltered college-aged girl who is forced into helping her over-zealous and over-booked roommate by interviewing an (unrealistically) successful young CEO. Their encounter develops into a relationship, which our doe-eyed protagonist should have no part of, but ultimately succumbs because she is showered with gifts (and sex). I’m inclined to think that if any other woman found herself in this situation, things would have turned out very differently; however, Ana’s naivety was grossly taken advantage of– and maybe that was the point. What’s interesting to me isn’t the sex (STG, if I hear “apex of my thighs” one more time….SMH. Snore!) it’s the childhood abuse that Christian experiences.

Highlighting the abuse he suffered as a child, and how it affected Christian in his adult life is something I never expected to develop though the narrative. The issues of dependency, dominance, ownership, and strong emotions are all directly related to his past, explaining (but not excusing) his behavior. The constant fights Ana and Christian had, though the reasons may have been weak, made sense… But really? Those outbursts were just too over the top. I’ve never rolled my eyes so many times at a book. And yes, I rolled them defiantly, with no fear of disciplinary action!

But wait… This is supposed to be a smutty explicit erotica book, right? Things are supposed to be unreal and fantastical! So… Why delve into character development? Because it’s trying to be something it’s not. Fifty Shades of Grey was originally a Twilight fan fiction (don’t get me started)… But it’s not Twilight. It’s trying to be, but it’s not. It’s an erotica, but it’s not traditional erotica. It’s trying to be, but it’s not. It’s trying to be a trilogy, and though it is physically… That was a clear marketing ploy.

What’s the point? Fans. That’s it. Fans are the money makers, and companies love fans. As long as the fans are happy, there is easy money to be made. Not to mention movies to be made — oh, and not just the rates R version, but an NC-17 version too… So all those fans can go see BOTH movies!

Sigh… Really?
Yeah. Really.

 

Every Fangirl’s Fantasy

As I begin to scale these towers of books, I can’t help but point out a recent trend that I have unknowingly subscribed to. This category I speak of is one that I feel I may have passed over or not even noticed in years past. Yet somehow, this particular microcosm of fiction has wriggled its way into popular young adult literature (not to mention my bookshelves) and is swiftly spreading… almost like weeds.

Thanks to the success of other fantasy series such as Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling and The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer, fangirls (and boys) are coming out of hiding by riding on the coattails of their predecessors. Pouring out of parents’ cars to swarm midnight releases nationwide, teens arrive decked out in what I can only call “Pedestrian Comic-Con Chic.” This seems to be happening more and more. Now book launch parties have become more commonplace for the everyday “flavor-of-the-week” tweener pop craze rather than a spectacular event reserved only for the crème de la crème of juvenile literature. But I digress…

Strong female characters in post-apocolyptic dystopian fantasy fiction trilogies.

Gosh, that sure is a mouthful. And I thought Barnes & Noble was crazy for naming a whole section “Paranormal Teen Romance.”

Now, before I go further, I should probably mention that this topic may very well be a springboard into several of my first book reviews. Honestly, it’s because I have read quite a few already, so please bear with me as I trudge through this mini-genre of books over the next few blog entries. (I’ll try to break things up here and there so I don’t scare away too many potential readers.)

1. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
2. The Matched Trilogy by Ally Condi
3. The Mortal Instruments Trilogy by Cassandra Clare
4. The Dustlands Trilogy by Moira Young
5. The Forest of Hands and Teeth Trilogy by Carrie Ryan
6. The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

The six trilogies mentioned above contain books that I have either already read or ones that I own. I will also mention…

7. The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano

and a special mention to…

8. The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner

The Chemical Garden Trilogy is a series that I can absolutely see myself buying that will fit right alongside the others in this little collection I already have going on. While The Maze Runner Trilogy on the other hand, offers the same general world setting as the others, but with a male as the central character — though, not exactly a departure from the traditions of what seems to be going on in this genre, a different perspective can shed light on many new things. These last two trilogies I mentioned are ones I do not own, and for the purpose of this blog, I will refrain from purchasing for the time being.

So far, three of the six trilogies are complete, while the remaining three are missing their second and/or third companions. With that in mind, I will start reviewing the completed series first, allowing more time for the remaining series to round themselves out.

~

Will Suzanne Collins will become the next J.K. Rowling?
Is a trilogy ever too long, or not long enough?
Team Peeta or Team Gale?

Tune in next time for my review and insight into The Hunger Games Trilogy.