Sunday, 5 May 2013

50 Shades of Underwhelmed Indifference

May 5, 2013

My friends often get frustrated with me for ragging on their favorite books and movies. As much as I love to torment their tastes, I've always been a big supporter of "whatever floats your boat" and "to each their own". No matter how much I despise chick flicks and Harlequin romance novels, there's a reason they're still being created - so be it.

Recently, trilogies of books have been popping up, completely disparaging the term "literature". You know which ones they are. These necrophiliac themed tragedies have captured the hearts and imaginations of tweens and teens the world over (and a few select groups of sad adults). As un-enthralled as I was with the concept of bestiality and 107 year old virgins, I had to read the books before being able to make any valid argument against this series. And rest assured, I've now made my views very well known to my circle of friends (don't even get me started on the grammar error on page 619 in Eclipse). So when I found myself teasing my friends for reading 50 Shades of Grey, I had to stop myself and read the book before continuing my facetiousness. Here we go.

I have to start by saying I applaud E L James' efforts to write a new-age romance novel. It certainly has shocked the masses, which is a great feat nowadays. As innovative as 50 Shades' subject matter may be, James does choose some good 'ol standbys that drive me MENTAL. 
  • Anastasia Steele. *Sigh*. I can not express to you how tired I am of female leads that are supposedly mousy  innocent little flowers just ripe for the picking. I realize that these characters are most identifiable for the majority of the audience, but let's be serious. To land a guy as attractive, wealthy, emotional, well endowed, blah, blah, blah, as Mr. Grey, you'd need to be a 5'7 blonde smoke show with an affinity for Cirque Du Soleil style exercise. 
  • Mr. Grey seems to be the most attractive male on the face of the earth. Every women who crosses his path is speechless at his dashing good looks, and all men are charmed by his witty fishing repartee. I don't doubt that he's a stud muffin, but how can he possibly appeal to every woman's taste? 90% of my friends are big fans of the illustrious Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling, but I could take or leave them both. Neither are my style. Sure they're attractive, but my panties won't hit the ground with the velocity of a military jet at the sight of them. It all comes back to the "to each their own theory".
  • Because of Christian's whole package (no pun intended), poor chaste Anastasia agrees, despite the disconcerting legal requirements, to become his sub. The dominant and submissive culture is actually very fascinating, but from what I can tell with my light Google research, 50 Shades of Grey represents the true culture of BDSM about as much as Ducktales represents the lifestyle of a Mallard. While Christian is opening Anastasia up to new experiences, it seems as though Anastasia is closing Christian off from his preferences. Who exactly is the dom here?
  • After the first time Christian and Anastasia have sex, she acts like she's just been violated against her will. Sure, I get it that the first time can be a shock to the system, but if it was that traumatizing, why on earth would you continue with that man? When her bff, Kate, sees how upset Anastasia is, she's understandably concerned and infuriated. She plays the perfect role of the bff and immediately gets a hate on for Christian. Anastasia is inexplicably exasperated by her friend's loyalty (not to mention ragingly jealous of her looks). Grow up. 
  • This inner goddess nonsense. Hey James - want to take a paragraph or two to explain to us why Anastasia is schizophrenic?
  • Anastasia climaxes within moments. Every. Single. Time. I call bullshit.
  • Is Anastasia anorexic?  Why does she hardly ever eat unless there's a man there to force it down her pretty little throat? Maybe Christian should pull an Alicia Silverstone and start pre-chewing Anastasia food for her.

The good stuff:
The sex scenes. Not bad. James certainly does have a knack for enthralling the reader and making their pulse race! Kudos.
Much to my dismay, there were a few gory details that absolutely demolished my raising heart rate. For one, the invariably mentioned condom process. We get it, they're having safe sex. The process ruins the fluidity and eroticism of the real act, and even more so of the written act. I could have over looked this lackluster verbiage if not for one particularly disturbing scene. Stay with me on this one. 

Grey: "When did you start your period Anastasia"
KBK: "UHHHHH...That's kinda, scratch that, VERY personal"
Anastasia: "Err...yesterday" I mumble in my highly aroused state
KBK: "How is this broad still aroused. This has gone from panty soup to panty desert in 6 words"
Grey: "Good." He releases me and turns me around. "Hold on to the sink," he orders and pulls my hips back again, like he did in the playroom, so I'm bending down. He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string...what?! and...gently takes my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet.
KBK: "AHHHHHHHGHGHGHHHHHH that was SO unnecessary and SO gross. JESUS EFFING CHRIST. Mental image...I'll never sleep again"

Honestly James? Honestly? WHY. Why did you think it was sexy or necessary to invade the worst part of every woman's month and drag some poor unsuspecting guy in to it? If any guy ever wants to do THAT, it should be a big, flashing neon danger sign. Ugh. 

The vanilla sex James describes is just that. Vanilla. Her one and only BJ in the book is given an "A", but is chronicled as the most basic of BJs (common Ana - no ball play?). I refuse to believe that Mr. Grey is actually blown away (pun completely intended) by this 64 second oral display.

All in all, much to my dismay, I didn't hate 50 Shades of Grey. On a scale of Twilight to Alice in Wonderland, this lands just below a Sweet Valley High book and just above a Nicholas Sparks novel. This is not to say I would ever re-read the book, suggest it to my friends, or consider it literature, but for a mindless 2 hours, it'll do.

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