Monday, September 24, 2012

Fifty Shades of Oversharing

*Warning: This book review may contain a spoiler alert or two. Also, my opinion may differ from yours. And I ate beans AND cabbage for dinner. Proceed with caution.*

A few months ago, my book club selected Fifty Shades of Grey. I originally looked into the novel (i.e. I read The Cotton Floozy's review of it- please read her blog, she's hilarious) and decided against it. Unfortunately, I have spent so much time (that I can never get back) around emotionally challenged people in real life that I do not desire to spend my leisure time with them as well.

Then I read Gone Girl and was shamelessly enjoying the unhinged, schizo nature of the main characters. Let's be honest. Drama can be fun... but only from a voyeuristic standpoint.

That is when I loaned my copy of Gone Girl to a friend, and in turn, she loaned me the entire series of 50 Shades- which she delivered in an unmarked brown paper bag.*

*This may surprise you, but I rarely buy material that needs to be delivered in plain brown paper.

So I made the decision to read the books in the same fashion that I make the majority of my life decisions. I said "What the hell! Let's do this shiz!" Plus, I'm under stimulated and bored so I like to take part in controversial conversations, and what better way is there to do that than to actually read the books that are causing such a ruckus?

As a person who feverishly loved Kirk Cameron for at least four years of my life and once literally cooked my shin skin under a heat lamp in vain attempts to tan my adolescent mayonnaise white flesh, I long ago decided that I am in no position to judge anyone or anything. (But I will judge those fugly shoes.) So I picked up the first book and started reading. During the second book I had fully developed my love/hate relationship with the characters (Kate Kavanagh is my kind of gal). And by the third book, I was explaining to my child that there were handcuffs on the front because it was a story about policemen. And no, I am not ashamed of myself. I also un-ironically watch talent shows and pretty much anything produced by Aaron Spelling. And I dance un-apologetically at weddings (with video documentation). And I sing at the top of my lungs in my truck. And I scratch whatever itches. And I almost always speak without filtration. And I often drink lemonade right from the container. And I like cats and throw pillows. Deal with it.
What I found with the 50 Shades series was a mostly entertaining, typical romance novel read. While it is true that the main two characters of the book did often annoy me, that is a normal feeling for me, as most people in real life often irritate me. And while BDSM does not 'blow my skirt up', nor did I find the the main male character of Christian Grey appealing, I'll admit that I was curious to continue following the story. Much like a chocolate covered train wreck, I could not look away.


After finishing the series, I sat back and considered all of the opinions that I have heard and read from my peers regarding the content. What I decided is this: I think all the backlash towards the book is amusing, for it is a work of FICTION, people. IT'S A MADE UP SCENARIO for the sake of the author's own indulgent whims and clearly (New York Times Bestseller, anyone?) it is popular. As an aspiring writer, I would like to say congratulations to E.L. James. As a fellow mom, writer who belabors her readers (James' "mercurial" is my "creepy"), and hedonistic person that says and types whatever the hell I please (simply because it pleases me), Mrs. James' success gives me hope that, someday, maybe I too can pen a best seller.

Aside from being a guilty pleasure, an kick start to one's sex life or a subject of controversy, I think that the book inadvertently asks the question, what would you do in this situation? While admittedly there are many, many times when I wanted to shove Anastasia Steele's head into a toilet (seriously? she was concerned that he would burn himself when heating food in the microwave?) and dropkick the controlling Christian Grey from the balcony of his penthouse, I believe that my reaction to the book says more about me than anything. As a woman of questionable morals myself, I will admit I considered what I would say, if I were in Ms. Steele's position (specifically the one with her wrists bound to her ankles). For instance it may be, "Thanks for the orgasms, the money, the clothes and the car. You're fucked up. I'm Audi." or "Thanks for introducing me to the silver balls and the vibrator- you just showed me how I don't need a man for pleasure. You have WAY to many mommy issues. iPad outta here." or "If you want to control something, may I recommend getting a dog? But not a terrier, cuz those bastards do whatever they want. But seriously dude, you are beyond damaged goods. Thanks for the house in Aspen and the Loubitons. Laters, baby." You get the picture....

If you have not read this book, I will divulge this: Anastasia Steele was neither a women's studies nor a psychology major and all of my jokes in the prior paragraph will be lost on you.

Aside from the fact that I mostly enjoyed reading this series and the way the leading lady was naively pushing every boundary of the emotionally stunted Grey, I have four major issues with the content- none of which being the "kinky fuckery". Feel free to judge me on my personal "hard limits".

1. Any dude that controlling will eventually come between you and all of the people in your life that you love. Don't walk away from this book thinking that you can change that hot, messed up guy that you have been seeing on and off for five years. No matter how much you think you know him, he most likely won't ever become the guy that you have convinced yourself he is- or can be. He's a douche. Leave him immediately. Run.

2. Any dude who sits in a bar and orders himself a white wine is NOT a manly man. Sorry. No. Just NO. No. Hey Grey, ever heard of Scotch?

3. No one can possibly have that much sex without the follow up urinary tract infection that is issued with that much sex. COME ON. That is so not realistic.

4. I don't care HOW sexy you are, do not fucking blindfold me and feed me my food. I can cut my own motherfucking meat, thankyouverymuch. And if you take a drink of something and attempt to spit it into my mouth, prepare yourself for the feeling of my fist getting rammed into your throat. I don't want your backwashy wine or water, because I'm a grown-ass woman and I control my own food and drink intake. Don't. Just don't. Just... uh uh. That is all.

In conclusion, it is true what you heard. The phrase 'butt plug' is scattered throughout the books like the sprinkles on your cupcake. And the leading lady makes some horrible decisions. And the leading man is in all ways fictional. And, against your better judgement- much like watching Honey Boo Boo- you just might find yourself enjoying the distraction from your own reality. Don't be too hard on yourself because, quite frankly, we can't all be intellectuals all of the time.*

* Good Lawd, how fucking boring would that be?

I don't want to hear another Saab story. I'm gonna Charlie Tango Audi here because somewhere there is a glass of wine, a private jet and a tattered copy of Tess of the D'ubervilles that beckon me.



Peace, Love and Butt Plugs <---such a sexy term... er... no,
Johi




21 comments:

  1. I just can't do it. As a writer, it offends me (that's right, I said it. Writer. What?). The writing is just deplorable. I've read some highly entertaining trash novels before....like you said, it can't all be highbrow....but this story just offends me for existing and being so popular. So if I take insanely popular characters, write fanfic about them and sprinkle the word butt plugs throughout, I will make millions? Ugh.

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    1. I think that might be magic, Misty. Try it. See what happens. I'll run behind you and flog you with a riding crop, just for effect.

      Delete
    2. I have to admit I'm reading it. Kiefer got me the first book as a present. And although I keep thinking, "comma splice," I keep reading it.

      Misty, you can borrow mine.

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  2. Yeah, I kind of got over that shit when I was 14 (what? I got on the internet early!) And I still made it through that Anne Rice series about Sleeping Beauty (and eventually got bored), AND the Anita Blake Vampire books (until she stopped with the ass kicking and started having sex with EVERY monster they encountered), so I am on no high horse.

    I will even admit I read the Twilights (which in my opinion were better written than that other uber popular book, the Davinci Code).

    All of those books were either amusing or distracting, so great. But there are about 50 really good books waiting to be read, so... I'll probably skip it.

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    1. And you will power on, with or without 50 Shades. It is merely a Harlequin Romance gone viral- which is why I find the intense reviews so amusing.

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  3. I read the book. And I can never get that time back. I'm sorry that you can't either. That's time I could have spent doing something fun... Like dressing up like a taco and fighting my husband dressed up as a grilled cheese. And it totally would have been more kinky than any of the scenes in that book.

    I'm writing a letter to the author.

    Hugs!

    Valerie

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    1. I think I love you, Valerie. Now I am singing the song, Valerie, to you in my mind.
      Now I am singing it outloud. I should apologize to my neighbors (again).

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  4. You are far kinder than I was. I did my own post in which I referred to the book as 50 shades of stupid. I know it's fiction, but it has to be a *little* believable, and sorry, I don't even think a honey 17 year old boy could get it up that many times in a day...and how does the CEO of a major company have time for all that screwing anyways? Yup. Hated it. ;)

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    1. I would like to learn some of those fictional time management skills- also, those fictional "I orgasm EVERY FREAKING TIME" skills.

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  5. I too, deigned to eviscerate her writing in a blog post, and I took the criticism well--that's what writers do-we choke down the bad with the good. And hopefully, grow from it.

    The subject matter was okay, and I agree with the concept that Grey is truly fiction, a man you can repair through the power of love, and getting implements jammed in your no-no hole.
    But the horrid repetition was what killed me. There are plenty more words for a throbbing schlong than "manhood". Find them, use them, embrace them.

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    1. What is this growth thing of which you speak?

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  6. okay....the writing wasn't great and the story line unbelievable but i read these on the treadmill and the gym and let me just say--if you put 50 shades on the gym reading list---well it does make the hour on the treadmill fly.

    ....while not into the same seen--I must say just reading spiced up the bedroom for a woman who's been with the same man for 19 years.....a little bit of fantasy material---goes a hell of a long way.......

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  7. My inner goddess loves this post.

    And I LOVED Gone Girl. Have you read her other books? Sharp Objects or Dark Places? Super fab. Sharp Objects was my fave.

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    1. I have not read those, as my mother warned me to stay away from sharp objects and didn't listen and once almost cut off my finger trying to make my Barbie a dress.

      My book club was divided on the book. Half loved, half just didn't give a rat's arse. This naturally made for a great discussion (or maybe it was the tequila). Either way, tomAto, tomAHto.

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  8. Well, maybe I shall read these now ... lmao!

    Linda

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    1. Let me be clear, I'm not recommending them, I just didn't feel firey hatred toward them.

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  9. Johi ... you are amazing. Seriously. I love how you live your life... this whole section,

    "And no, I am not ashamed of myself. I also un-ironically watch talent shows and pretty much anything produced by Aaron Spelling. And I dance un-apologetically at weddings (with video documentation). And I sing at the top of my lungs in my truck. And I scratch whatever itches. And I almost always speak without filtration. And I often drink lemonade right from the container. And I like cats and throw pillows. Deal with it."

    is just amazing. MORE women need to be like this. BE who you are... whoever that may be... just be it. BE HAPPY.. and don't apologize because you don't have to answer to anyone.

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    1. Thank you, ChemGirl, for this comment. I naturally prefer comments where people tell me that I am amazing. Seeing that no person that I share my home with even listens to the words that I speak, mush less think that I am something special; I really enjoyed your comment. I actually think that I may just be mentallyt lazy, but I will continue to embrace that part of myself. :)

      Delete
    2. I also cannot type tonight. Whoops. *much* and *mentally*.

      Delete
  10. What's all the fuss aboot?

    Sorry, I've got no opinion about these books, nor will I, but I may as well reinforce some Canadian stereotypes, eh?

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