Honest and lively YA book reviews
Want to know what I hated the most about this book? Not the controlling, sexist, disturbed, stalker of a character that is Christian Grey, not the empty headed, misguided, just plain stupid character that is Ana, not the irritating over use of ridiculous unnecessary adjectives, not the total lack of plot which is in fact just porn strung together by a few lists of things that I really couldn't give less of a damn about if I tried, not the appalling theme of dom/sub and the just constant will she/won't she which had me losing the will to live half way through .... No, the thing I hated most about this shocking waste of trees ( you may discount that point if you bought this as an ebook, you environmentally aware readers .... Thumbs up to you!) was the way Ana constantly, and I mean constantly uses the phrase "Oh my" .... Yes, that is what eventually tipped me over the edge and caused me to hurl this piece of trash at the wall. That bloody little two word phrase! I'll be hearing it in my goddam nightmares! Aside from the fact that it is just a fucking irritating thing to say, nobody talks like that! I guess that's one of the pitfalls of being a British woman trying to write (yes, I say trying to write ....) a novel (and I use that term loosely) set in America (why did she decide to do that exactly) ....
I use the term novel loosely as what this book really reminded me of was a set of magazine articles, you know the ones I mean ... The ones at the very back of Cosmo that are basically just some sexy excerpt from a soft porn book. There was no plot line to tie the thing together and make in an actually credible novel. Okay, so Ana just finished uni and for some reason is obsessed with British Classics, then she has to go interview Mr Grey for her friend for some highly contrived reason. He becomes her stalker and then it's all downhill from there really. His requests, no sorry demands get kinkier and kinkier, there's page after page of dom/sub sex scenes (which despite it's billing, actually ain't that sexy or explicit) and also page after page of will she/won't she agree to sign herself (literally) over to him. There's a few friends and family members thrown in there to pad it out a bit, but they're so flimsy that I can barely bring myself to call them characters. Really, in actual fact what is this book about? What's the story. It's fine if it's supposed to read like a series of (poor quality) magazine articles but the fact that this is being flogged as an actual book (and there's three of them .... Three!) is just laughable! For shame, EL James, for shame.
Okay so maybe I'm getting up on my high horse about the plot (or lack thereof) .... But maybe what I should really be getting up on my high horse about is the themes explored in this, ahem, novel. Why is it suddenly okay in literature to spew out endless crap about how it's okay to treat women like shit? I understand that some people get a kick out of being dominated. Fine ... when it's with consent! But Ana does not consent, she's uncomfortable, she's afraid! So back the fuck off Mr Grey! Why continue to stalk her? Unfortunately this seems to be the norm now: our book store shelves are literally lined with books written about this exact same theme by other authors all jumping on the bandwagon .... control freak guys endlessly pursuing immature, empty headed women, with a sole aim of playing out their own fantasies and satisfying their own desires. This, I believe has nothing to do with BDSM, this is just bad behaviour ..... Christian is hellbent on controlling every aspect of Ana's life, not only between the sheets, but on the streets too. What she eats, what she wears, who she speaks to ... He even wants to control her eye movements for Christ's sake! What self respecting woman would put up with this kind of treatment? But wait ... Not only does Ana put up with it, she likes it! She's actually willing to give up her right to freedom in order to sleep with this supposedly smoking hot dude ... really? C'mon Ana, grow a backbone and while you're at it, how about growing a brain? What books like this are condoning is unhealthy relationships by portraying them as exciting and sexy. Abuse is not sexy and Ana seems unable to tell the difference between abuse and love, which is sad. This kind of anti feminist writing is such a backward step, women continue to earn less than men doing the same job, continue to be harassed in the streets, continue to be labelled as sluts for dressing how they damn well please and this kind of trash from EL James is not helping the situation, but instead confirming that it is perfectly alright to use a woman as a plaything.
At the end of the day we should feel sorry for Christian, not attracted to him. As a result of his own abuse as 15 year old kid he is obviously a deeply troubled and damaged individual who should not even be thinking about entering into what he considers a relationship until he has gotten himself some intensive, professional help. That he would even think about dragging someone else into his sad situation and subject them to his bullying, all the while tricking them into thinking they have a choice in the matter is very depressing and wrong ... Again, for shame EL James for creating this dreadful, ridiculous character, for shame.
I haven't ripped this book apart half as much as I would have liked to but I really don't want to waste anymore time on this crap, so over and out!