A couple of weeks ago, I said I would write a review for the Fifty Shades Trilogy. I read it because I got curious with all the hype. No matter that reviews abound from both ends – very far ends – of the spectrum, I was determined to read through the whole thing and form my own opinion.
Let’s not mince words here.
We have Anastasia Steele, an insecure, low self-esteemed, weak, irrationally emotional, and basically useless character the author tried very hard to turn into a hero, despite the fact that she did nothing but take unnecessary risks when she’s not clinging to the guy.
Then we have Christian Grey, the physically perfect (at least as described), rich, mysterious, and “troubled” character who fell in love with Anastasia, which caused him to do a hundred-eighty and in a matter of months turn away from a lifestyle he’s had for years.
Sounds familiar? Change Anastasia to Bella and Christian to Edward and I’ve just described the Twilight characters.
Okay, it’s not all bad. The first book of the trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey, is actually quite okay. I just wished it stopped there.
If it did, then Anastasia’s character would’ve been redeemed. She might have come across as an initially shy, sheltered, sexually inexperienced girl who grew up (and grew a spine) after her time spent with Christian Grey. If it stopped at the first book, then Christian, or rather, what happened to him after Anastasia, can still remain a mystery, which would’ve left a stronger and, yes, sexier impression.
Unfortunately, it didn’t and Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed only cemented the downward spiral of what could’ve been two interesting characters.
Anastasia became dependent on Christian. She went from being a promising independent young woman ready to take on the world into being a shackled (pun intended) mouse of a woman who couldn’t even go out with a friend, or buy new clothes, or visit her mom without worrying about Christian’s approval.
Christian became obsessed with Anastasia, in a bad way. He went from being a celebrated and mysterious business wunderkind with unconventional sexual habits into being a clingy, controlling, hot mess of man who became less sexy and more pitiful.
The characters are the heart of a story and you’re supposed to get more and more interested in them as the story goes on. You don’t have to like them more, you just have to be interested. But the character development (regression) of Anastasia and Christian became the story’s “undoing” for me.
Enough about the characters, though they’re my biggest disappointment. Let me ask, how many times can you use the phrase “became my/his undoing” in a book without it getting old or boring? Twice? Thrice? Ten times? I’m not sure about anyone else but by the second usage in one chapter, the phrase lost its impact on me.
I think the book tried to be a hotter, modern version of Anais Nin. But Anais Nin is the wordsmith that E.L. James is not. Nin’s work, while explicit and a lot more depraved than Fifty Shades especially considering that her career started in the 1930’s, were masterful. She didn’t repeat phrases over and over again; she can write a whole damn book about foreplay and never run out of unique phrases to describe it and keep the reader interested.
That’s my disappointment, really. The last two books failed to keep my interest. At least I finished it. I know five people who never even finished half of the second book.
So, if you want erotica, read Anais Nin. If you want newer and modern erotica, read Megan Hart. I suggest you start with Hart’s The Space Between Us, Tempted, Dirty, or Naked. There, that’s four books I suggest you read instead of Fifty Shades.
And to think Fifty Shades outsold Harry Potter or even Dan Brown books. What the hell’s wrong with the world?
Ladies, if a guy started going Christian on you (you know, following you, not allowing you to go out with friends, finding little ways to punish you if you don’t do as you’re told, emotionally manipulating you to get what he wants, making you think that you have fault in everything that went wrong, etc.), then LEAVE. It is not sweet, it is not romantic, and if you keep at it, you’ll probably end up being the battered half of a domestic violence case. If not, it’s still called psychological abuse and is punishable under Violence Against Women and Children Act. Go ahead, click it and find out what’s covered.
Gentlemen, a reasonable take charge attitude is okay and sometimes even greatly appreciated. The operative word here is REASONABLE. Dictating and controlling your girl’s clothes, schedule, actions, activities, and friends is not reasonable, even under the guise that you want her safe. She is an adult (I am, of course, assuming that she is) and therefore should be treated as such. So choke down those controlling tendencies.
Ladies (again), grow a spine. Use your God-given brain to make your own decisions. I’m sure (I hope I’m right) that most men want partners who can think and act on their own and not dead weight they have to carry all the time.
Boys and girls: extreme clinginess is NOT cute. It is NOT productive and it definitely does NOT help you grow as a person and as a couple. Stop it.