Monday, April 23, 2012

Fifty Shades... Of A Good Read.

Being that I'm mostly through book number two of the Fifty Shades trilogy, this review of sorts may be a bit preemptive but I find it necessary to write about and necessary to write about it now. 

By now I'm sure you've heard the buzz regarding Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and the final book of the trilogy installment, Fifty Shades Freed. Chances are, if you have indeed heard of this  book, you've most likely heard it in close proximity to the word "porn." 

In fact, that was my introduction to it. I heard it being referred to as "mom porn." Which, if you ask me, would be a delicious man wearing an apron, vacuuming my floors while cooking dinner and simultaneously teaching my Toddler one of the romance languages. Doing all of this, mind you, as he ushered me out the door for some Me-Time. 

That, I can promise you, is not what occurs in these books so I cannot quite understand the Mom Porn reference. Especially considering that I would be just as turned on, if you will, by the lascivious scenes depicted in these novels had I not been a Mom. So, why the Mom-reference?

Are the books sexually charged? Yes. Descriptive beyond indiscretion? Oh yes. Do they make you feel like a voyeur? Absolutely. That is all in truth. But, I have to say, they are good books. 

If you're looking for a pristinely-written piece of American literature, Fifty Shades is not for you. This book will never be in the running for a Pulitzer Prize, let alone a stake in Oprah's Book Club. I do not say this to discredit the quality of the books, I say this merely to address one of the recurring "complaints" that I've heard in regards to this book. That it is "so poorly written." 


British literature and Little Women it is not. 

Granted, this was my very first introduction to an "erotic" type novel and ultimately my desire to read books based on such heavily developed sexual relationships will likely wane once I have finished the trilogy. 

However, it must be said that these books are so well written that when read, James does an excellent job of eliciting strong bouts of  sympathy for her naive, love-struck protagonist. Many times I felt compelled to keep reading merely because I was lost in the story line, so concerned for the character's well-being that I felt pulled to turn page after page after page. 

You see, I am a sucker for character development. Write me a character with whom I can connect on some level and you have my undivided attention. I believe James did a stellar job articulating Ana and Christian, both as individuals as well as a couple. The naive girlfriend hoping against hope to be "that someone" for a man. The misunderstood, dark and brooding antagonist. 


And for those of you shouting from the rooftops, "but this was merely based on Twilight FanFic," so be it. I, personally, prefer my fiction without a side of vampire. It is what it is. 

I believe these characters to be so well-developed, so much so, in fact, that I was drawn to them, feeling most times like I knew them. Or at the very least, like I wanted to get to know them more. I wanted to be a part of their life. 

Were there parts of the books that I found annoying repetitive? Sure. Take the word "heady" for instance. If I have to read that word one more time, I may gauge my eyes out with a riding crop. 


For the love of all things synonymous, grab a Thesaurus. 

Ana's constant turmoil regarding her inner goddess and subconscious also made me gag on multiple occasions, but did serve to only elaborate on her character further, allowing you a glimpse into her thoughts. 

One should be prepared- there is sex and there is a lot of sex. Some scenes are clumsily played out and others? Well, let's just say they've made my husband a much happier man. Throughout the first book, I constantly found myself blushing although hungrily intrigued by the lifestyle in question. 

By the time I started the second book, although still feeling quite voyeur-ish, the sex was such an integral part of the character's relationship that it barely went noticed and hardly pinked my cheeks. I expected it.

What I'm trying to say is there is more to these books than sex. The kind of sex that has people clamoring about, censoring themselves and judging others. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I do believe Mr. Grey is calling my name... 


21 comments :

  1. I finished the first book last week and I haven't been able to bring myself to start the 2nd. I mean I am no prude but holy disturbing sex scenes batman. Should I read on?

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  2. Haha! I love these books. I just blogged about them today. Almost finished with the series:)

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  3. Thanks to a 3 hour nap, I just finished book 2. I find myself thinking about the books and the characters at the most inappropriate times - like during a 2 hour mass last Friday for a family member's confirmation! I was feeling odd right after finishing the 2nd book and I realized that it's because I was sort of jealous of Ana! Jesus Jessica! I had to remind myself as I was strolling through Trader Joe's that it's just a book and Christian isn't a real man. Good lord. But it's so good!

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  4. I'm halfway through book 2 and love it! I seriously felt like a social deviant reading book 1 on the commuter train, but I'm over it now. I cannot stand her "inner goddess" and "subconscious", nor the use of the same words over and over again (totally about heady!), but like you, am really enjoying the plot. At the heart of it, it's a love story and I'm just dying to know what ends up happening.

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  5. See, I WAS going to start Bloom after Hunger Games, but I'm thinking I have to start Fifty shades of Grey. Yep! IT's a must!

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  6. I have read the first... reading something a little more, ahem, wholesome (Bloom) now... but already bought the second and third book and can't stop thinking about how I just want to start them and "get it over with". I keep hearing that the series gets better as it goes on, and while I read the first book in 3 days... I couldn't handle one more sentence that had Ana referring to her "inner goddess". I also just kept imagining them making this into a movie (HELLO I heard rumors that Christian is going to be played by Ryan Gosling - sign me up!) and teenage girls idealizing the idea of a dominant/submissive relationship, but that could just be me being overly dramatic. HA. I will trust you - forge on in my Fifty Shades reading and hope that I start to fall in love with the characters like so many other readers have...

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  7. I couldn't agree more with you! No, they aren't the best books ever written, but there IS something {other than the sex} that sort of makes you fall in love.
    What I AM baffled by, is how they would EVER be able to make this into a movie without it being NC-17 lol!
    I'm starting book three tomorrow... Mr. Grey has me hooked.

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  8. Just finished 3 today! I agree with everything you said 100%. I loved Ana & Christian!

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  9. i'm intrigued and looking for a new book. thanks for the tip.

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  10. I think I'm the only person who hasn't loved these books. I think what ruined me was that someone told me it was a fanfic based on Twilight and then all I could do was see Ana/Christian as Bella/Edward and it ruined the whole thing for me since I really can't stand them.

    As for the porn aspect, if you do ever want to venture into more erotic novels I'll happily send you some of my collection. I love some smut!

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  11. I may be the only person who didn't love this book. I think what ruined it for me was when someone told me it was originally a fan fiction based on Twilight. From that point on all I could do was picture Ana/Christian as Bella/Edward and I can't stand them so it made me blah about the books.

    If you do ever want to venture into more erotica let me know and I'll happily send you some of my collection. I do love me some naughty afternoon reading.

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  12. Here's to hoping they pick the right actors for the movie!!

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  13. Yeah I'm not a fan of the word mercurial anymore, but all the same I'll be in the theater when the movie comes out!

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  14. I'm sorry but this description of the characters:

    "I believe James did a stellar job articulating Ana and Christian, both as individuals as well as a couple. The naive girlfriend hoping against hope to be "that someone" for a man. The misunderstood, dark and brooding antagonist."

    ...made me LOL knowing that the entire series originated as Twilight Fanfic - think about it, you just described Bella and Edward.

    I too was curious about the series as everyone in Twitter/Blogland seems to be talking about them these days, however, mentioning it to hubby the other night he was like "oh yeah, there's a lot of talk on some of the author forums I'm on about how it was originally Twilight Fanfic with just the names and setting changed." I was like "Wha...??" That explains a lot as the majority of the ladies I know into this series are also huge Twilight fans too, lol... talk about the author cashing in on Meyer's adult fans, lol... but yeah, after doing some looking online just to confirm what he was saying, yep, it's true - 50 Shades was originally Twilight fanfiction she published on several fanfic sites under the title Master of the Universe, with the characters of Ana and Christian originally being Bella and Edward. There's some controversy as to why she pulled the original form of it down - there's the claim that it was "too racy" (which is kinda BS as you can find plenty of "racy" stuff online, much racier than this I'm sure) and then there's the speculation that the publisher group made her pull it so they could tweak it and put it out in it's current form.

    Knowing all that though, yeah, totally turned me off - I'd rather not read about Edward doing BDSM with Bella. Yuck!

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  15. I'm sorry but this description of the characters:

    "I believe James did a stellar job articulating Ana and Christian, both as individuals as well as a couple. The naive girlfriend hoping against hope to be "that someone" for a man. The misunderstood, dark and brooding antagonist."

    ...made me LOL knowing that the entire series originated as Twilight Fanfic - think about it, you just described Bella and Edward.

    I too was curious about the series as everyone in Twitter/Blogland seems to be talking about them these days, however, mentioning it to hubby the other night he was like "oh yeah, there's a lot of talk on some of the author forums I'm on about how it was originally Twilight Fanfic with just the names and setting changed." I was like "Wha...??" That explains a lot as the majority of the ladies I know into this series are also huge Twilight fans too, lol... talk about the author cashing in on Meyer's adult fans, lol... but yeah, after doing some looking online just to confirm what he was saying, yep, it's true - 50 Shades was originally Twilight fanfiction she published on several fanfic sites under the title Master of the Universe, with the characters of Ana and Christian originally being Bella and Edward. There's some controversy as to why she pulled the original form of it down - there's the claim that it was "too racy" (which is kinda BS as you can find plenty of "racy" stuff online, much racier than this I'm sure) and then there's the speculation that the publisher group made her pull it so they could tweak it and put it out in it's current form.

    Knowing all that though, yeah, totally turned me off - I'd rather not read about Edward doing BDSM with Bella. Yuck!

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  16. Now I wish I had picked up the first book in the airport last week. Oh well....next on my list.

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  17. i need to get my hands on these books asap!

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  18. Could not put them down! I stayed up until about 2am each night reading them and finished them all in one week, so good, love Christian and Ana.

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  19. I've been on the hunt for a good read lately. After reading your post about this, I finally downloaded it on my Kindle app on the iPad. I wish I hadn't waited so long - I'm loving it. Every other word makes me blush, but there is just SOMETHING about these characters...I'm so intrigued! Thanks for the recommendation - I'll definitely be finishing out the series!

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  20. Love this post! And I always appreciate your candidness!! I'm almost done with the second and 3 other girls in my office are all reading them as well. We have been known to send random emails of celebrity pics with who we feel would make a good C. Grey if it were made into a movie! Good story line, mystery, and hot sex... what more could you ask for?

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  21. Love this post! And I always appreciate your candidness!! I'm almost done with the second and 3 other girls in my office are all reading them as well. We have been known to send random emails of celebrity pics with who we feel would make a good C. Grey if it were made into a movie! Good story line, mystery, and hot sex... what more could you ask for?

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