I've started to write this post several times and every time I sit down to do so...I get tired. Just knowing the Judgey McJudgersons these books seem to attract - it exhausts me to think about dealing with any of that should I ever hit "publish" on my thoughts. After all, we aim to please. Not rock the boat.
But the movie comes out this weekend and I have happily pre-ordered my tickets. I will be in those seats tonight, with my girlfriends, eagerly awaiting the big screen adaption. I have my reservations of course, but none of them have to do with overarching themes or the sex I will or will not see. None of them have to do with setting feminism back or encouraging sexual violence. My reservations are more character driven...I'm not convinced Dornan is going to amount to more than a pretty face, and that has me verklempt!!
But I digress - today the movie premieres, so I figure, today is as good a day as any (if not better than most!) to "untie" if you will, my 50 Shades ramblings. So here we go...
I finally picked up this book after about 6 months of hearing the wild buzz that was going around. To be honest, what tipped the scales, was when I heard the story was first published online as Twilight Fan Fiction. Help me, Rhonda! A sexed up Edward and Bella? We all know I suffer from a severe predilection for vampires and
awkward, shy, clumsy females KRISTEN.
So I started reading.
And the writing was horrendous!!
The repetition alone almost did me in. If I read the phrase "mecurial" (he's unpredictable and hard to read, ok, I get it) or "foil packet" (props for practicing safe sex kids, but I don't need the play by play every. single. time.) or "stop biting your lip" (I can't bite my lip now without thinking of Ana, which was probably James' idea all along, but it makes me want to facepunch myself) one more time, my head would have exploded. But even as I found the writing cringe inducing - the Twilight Matchups were enough to keep me snickering and turning the pages.
So you can see why it was only a matter of time until I fell in love with these books. But it did take time. All the way until the middle of book two I would say. (The "Lipstick Body Map" was the scene in Fifty Shades Darker that did me in. I was like "Ok, I'm done. I love these two. 50 Shades obsessed. Get me a contract. I will sign!!") But in all honesty - I didn't like Fifty Shades of Grey. It was the series/story as a whole that I grew to love.
Fifty Shades of Grey is completely, and almost inarguably ridiculous. (And yes, I understand the same can be said of Twilight.) I feel like Dior Homme's recent cologne campaign sustained more depth and story arc in a 45 second clip than this book did in 380 pages.
The fact that Christian Grey is a perpetually single, wildly unattainable bachelor with a need for control and a predilection for pain is ridiculous enough. Now add in he also has his own penthouse, a garage full of expensive vehicles with a bodyguard/chauffeur to drive them, a helicopter AND private jet. Oh yes, and he's acquired all this wealth by the ripe old age 27.
Stop laughing. This is serious business. This is where the plot almost happens...
Ana is a 22 year old virgin. Who agrees to have sex on the first date with less than the bat of one eyelash. And orgasms three times on her first introduction to the sport.
Wait. There's more.
Christian is haunted and can't be tamed. Ana yearns to tame him and even though she knows he is dangerous, she can't stay away. They make out in elevators. Ana talks about her inner goddess. Christian's eyes widen in alarm every other page. There is talk of contracts, but none are ever signed. There is talk of ball gags and butt plugs (GASP!) but none are ever used. Christian claims he's not into "Hearts and Flowers" and doesn't do relationships. Ana claims she's not into being tied up or being told what to do and wants "More." Christian ends up being romantic. Ana ends up loving being tied up. Their pull towards one another is great. Ana runs. Christian follows. They have some laughs in a glider. A few sweet exchanges while dancing. One wild orgasm on top of a piano (yawn, Pretty Woman)...
For reals, people!!
Why did I read this novel, and go on to read two more, even though they have NO LITERARY VALUE whatsoever??!! Why will I be front and center tonight with my girlfriends as Ana and Christian get it on on the big screen even though I'm pretty sure it's going to be terrible??!! Why have I read the magazine articles and downloaded the soundtrack??!!
I really only have one answer for you.
It's similar to watching The Bachelor.
Or similar to writing this blog post.
You don't go into it thinking you'll come out the other side smarter, more enlightened, a deeper thinker. You don't expect to change anyone's mind or have your mind changed. You know it's rubbish and ridiculous!! And that's the point. It's something you can have fun with, make fun of, simultaneously trash and cherish, all while laughing at yourself and the pursuit of your own guilty pleasures.
While there is much I could say, I'm not even going to get into my thoughts on the sex. Or the traditional gender roles. Obviously neither shocked or bothered me too much if I read all three books and plan to watch it on screen. I wasn't taking any of it seriously enough to be shocked or bothered. I will say, however, I think you can find GOOD in everything and BAD in everything. It's just a matter of what you choose to focus on. I hope the movie will eliminate some of the bad parts (My subconscious crosses her eyes and sticks index finger down her throat at Ana's continuous inner monologue of her multiple personalities!) and maximize the good parts (My inner goddess sighs and swoons as both Ana and Christian struggle with changing, through their intimacy, to be more like the other.) And I hope the movie ends differently - or at least in a different place! - than the book.
THE BOOK ENDS ATROCIOUSLY!! So bad, I ran straight to the store to buy book two. Falling right into the trap EL James set for silly fools like me. But really, if the movie ends like the book, I can't see people (who haven't read the books) being eager to see the next installment.
But maybe they will be eager to go read the next installment - and that is the franchise's hope. Who knows?? All I can say, is that for those of you who read these books and didn't like them, I know why. And I agree with you. For those of you who read these books and enjoyed them, I know why. And I agree with you. And for those of you who didn't read these books but have much to say about them - no matter how much you want to punish me, I wont be listening. Or responding. Laters, Baby.