Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Perhaps I've spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high.

As I was perusing Pinterest, as I seem to do every twenty minutes of every day, I kept coming across these pictures of hot actors. Good day on Pinterest, right? I thought so, too. Even though I could already see the hotties perfectly well, I clicked on them anyway...just to see them a little bit bigger. Who wouldn't? Well, as I was clicking around, mentally adding names to my "elevator list," I began to notice something. Most of these pictures had the following caption: "Christian Grey?" Interested, especially since everyone that was commenting seemed to be really invested in this question, I googled Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.

I read a couple of articles which detailed how James' book knocked The Hunger Games out of the top spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. As any bibliophile would be, I was intrigued. I also noted that there seemed to be a lot of conversation about the BDSM aspects of the novel, and almost decided against reading it because honestly, that stuff freaks me out. To counterbalance that though, Fifty Shades of Grey started out as Twilight fan fiction, and I am a huge Twilight fan. The Twilight-loving, bibliophile side of me won out, and I downloaded the book from Amazon to my eReader.

So I curled up in bed, which is my favorite place to read, and began what would end up being a shocking journey on many levels. The story is simple, and if you deleted all of the freaky sex scenes, it would be a typical boy meets girl, boy sweeps girl off of her feet, boy has issues, romance. Keep in mind though, that James springs the BDSM on her audience pretty quickly. My first shock was that (sorry Ms. James) this book is terribly written. James uses a first-person narrative, which is fine, but although most of the novel is written in present-tense, there are quite a few moments where she switches to past-tense and back to present. Plus, it almost seems like she put every third word through a thesaurus, using words like "beguiling" and "paradigm" in what should have been normal conversation. Yes, those are words, and when used properly, I'm sure they could work, but PEOPLE DON'T SAY THEM IN NORMAL CONVERSATION. Not even stuffy, billionaire Christian Grey-types. I am completely cognizant of the fact that E.L. James is British, but if you are going to write about people who live in America, you need to be aware of the language difference. Things like that really irk me, and normally I don't make it past the first chapter of a book that is so poorly written, but to my dismay, I couldn't put it down.

Before I go any further, I want you to know that I would have kicked Christian Grey to the curb so fast he would have gotten whiplash. He's bossy and controlling with some worrying, stalker-like tendencies. We wouldn't have even made it past the coffee date no matter how disarmingly gorgeous he was. Regardless, it was interesting to see the unrealistically innocent Ana fall for him.

This book is what I would imagine cocaine is like: horrible and addictive. It has been almost a full twenty four hours of reflection since I finished it, and I still can't quite put my finger on what made me like it (against my will). Okay, so it might be that I imagined Ian Somerhalder as Christian Grey through the whole thing (thanks Pinterest). Or it could be that I have always fallen for the bad boy with hidden scars. You know, the one that needs some work, but ends up being the prince in the end? Okay, so even beyond the bad writing and all of the shameful BDSM stuff, which I'm still freaked out about by the way, by the end of the book I did actually start to like the characters. I actually like Ana much more than Stephanie Meyer's Bella because she actually has some guts. She stands up for herself even in the face of Grey's overly controlling personality.

I have been recommending this book to my friends, but I'm pretty sure it's only so we can be shocked by/make fun of it together. That being said, I will probably read the second installment, Fifty Shades Darker. Just out of morbid curiosity, of course.

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