Fifty Shades of Grey is the first book of what I to my horror discovered is a trilogy, the horror ceasing only when I, in disaccord with the book slapped myself, reminding me that no one can force me into reading the next two.
The story of the unnerving relationship between the too-good-looking-for-his-own-and-everybody-else’s good industry magnate Christian Grey and the hopelessly Grey-struck literature graduate Anastasia Steele, is so far sold in 40 mill copies worldwide, allegedly being on the love longing lips of an incredible amount of desperate housewives.
What all the fuss is about beats me, although not like the main character beats his girlfriend in the BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism) part of their relationship. Actually, and sexually, the book is so totally off beat as to wean me off rather than turn me on… That love hurts is sometimes true, but in this book it smarts in more than one sense; One of the book’s critics describes it as a real pageturner, and I couldn’t agree more; It made me turn the pages as fast as I possibly could in order to escape the agony. Not the agony of the bewildered Ms. Steele or the haunted Mr. Grey, but my own.
Being subjected to the perpetual inner dialogue of our anti-heroine is as pleasant as the sound of nails scratching on an old fashioned blackboard. Her vocabulary is impressively limited, mainly comprising of “I’m in way over my head”, “Me, with the Christian Grey”, “He’s soo sexy” , “This is soo erotic” (who in their right mind would use the word “erotic” during sex?!) and “Holy Cow”, “Holy crap” and “Holy shit” when the going gets really rough. Taking into consideration that she just graduated with a degree in English literature, she should seriously ask for her school money back.
She should also take better care of her lips which she is constantly biting, her hair, which she is invariably throwing about, and her eyelashes which she risks stepping on any minute, as they must be grazing the floor considering the fact that most everything she sees, she sees through them.
Christian who probably has a degree in business administration or the likes, might, with a generous dose of good will, be excused for his uninventive language which has as much scope as that of a love sick orangutan suffering from a serious case of aphasia.
Variation is also lacking in the description of the different scenes the author is venturing to conjure up. Each and every office, corridor and bedroom is “sparsely furnished, sterile, constructed and decorated with concrete, glass and Steel(e)”… All dresses, shirts and jackets are without exception “thrown over a chair” (man!, they go wild in all other respects, why this compulsive tidying disorder?), and immaculate grey suits, white shirts and blond hair abound to the point of absurdity among Christian Grey’s android staff.
The book is on the whole littered with clichés, banal and asinine expressions. The prose in general installs in me a desperate urge to crawl down into a little hole, taking the author with me. Leaving her and her work there once I regain my will to live and strength to climb back up.
There are indications that the principle female character is intended to be an independent, no-nonsense young woman, with the ability and willingness to stand up for herself. She comes across, though, as a person lacking in self-respect, dazzled by money, position and finery of all kinds. The ease with which she accepts a Blackberry, a computer, expensive clothing and a brand new top of the line Audi is actually quite impressive. “Refusing him” she explains to her more levelheaded friend Kate, “is not worth the effort”.
In fact, she does not seem to be able to deny him anything. Firstly because she has the hots for him, and secondly because she discovers a tormented, vulnerable boy behind Mr. Cool guy’s arrogant, whiplashing façade. With a twisted what-comes-around-goes-around reasoning she obviously thinks she can redeem the wrongs he’s experienced by indulging him in letting him abuse her.
It’s amazing that two intelligent people (well, at least educated) can’t get a grip of the situation (and their budding love) without using handcuffs, cables and the likes. Here they are, smack in the middle of a country with more therapists per capita than any other! There are so many of them, that sometimes the TCS (Therapist Control Squad) has to clear the streets so people can cry or laugh unrestrained without getting a diagnose.
So why go on tormenting themselves, and each other, when Mr. Hotshot has money enough to buy a clinique full of shrinks or, even better, to revive bloody Freud!
The book actually touches upon some very interesting themes, among others regarding relationships, gender, the definition of love and its liberating and healing abilities. It is however on the whole lustkillingly poorly written, calling it literature is in my opinion stretching the term. Both content and language should have lovers of good writing and women with a shred of self-respect running, kicking and screaming in the other direction. To all my fellow frustrated females my suggestion is to aim for the nearest video-, bookstore, library or computer, maybe even alone or together making up our own stories. I am pretty confident that unearthing something just a tad more stimulating than 50 Shades of Grey should be easy going, and coming…