Archive | May, 2012

Fifty shades of red

16 May

If you haven’t heard of the best-selling fiction novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James, you might be living under a rock.

Not because it has been on the New York Time’s bestselling list for weeks or because of the film rights bidding war it has caused – but for it’s explicit content.

Bookstores have been unable to keep it, or the two other books in the trilogy, on the shelves. Kindle eBooks has ranked the books No. 1, 2, 3, respectively, for almost 60 days.

What’s it about, you ask? Well, uh, a recent college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a very successful young businessman named Christian Grey embark on a very, er, romantic relationship.

That is really all you need to know.

Have I read it? Um, yes?

Here’s the story: I had a lot of free time this weekend, I was stuck at a Barnes & Noble, it just happened to be the first thing I saw in the store and there was barely anything else on the shelves (not true.)

Actually, curiosity killed this cat and I just had to check it out. Not only that, but when there is a popular book out (even if I know it’s just not my thing), I feel compelled to see what all the hype is about.

Was it worth it? Let’s see, how should I put this delicately let’s start with the positives. Like “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer, it has its “endearing” qualities. A certain pull that draws the reader in and makes them want more. Such as the emotional connection between the two main characters and um, yeah, that’s all I’ll really say.

That is my positive reaction to the books. In complete honesty, the novels are absolutely horrendous. The prose is atrocious, the plot line is questionable and most of the time, it felt as if I was reading an 11th grade writing assignment gone wrong.

The protagonist, Anastasia, is this mixture of everything I hate in a female lead character. She’s really stupid (an understatement), weak and a complete mess of a person. I’m not saying that those people don’t exist, but this blows Twilight’s Bella out of the water. At first it was cute – when you got to the second and third novels, I was rooting for something bad to happen to the girl. And Grey – don’t get me started. I was so angry at the creep – he is into some really weird, kinky stuff and although I’m not going to go too much into it, I felt his character advocated misogynistic ideas and violence against women. (Yes, she consented to the situations I’m referring to and I could care less. It angers me to no end.)

Yet, people have the right to read such novels and fantasize what they wish about their lives.

“You’re reading too much into it!” fans will say. “It’s just fun.” I call foul, but whatever. So many college women are reading this in their free time, and I know what I was like at that stage. Vulnerable.

And, not that this rant is in any great, polished form, but the grammar, oh, the grammar – it is so bad! The words are repetitive, stereotypes run rampant, phrases that never existed are right in front of you and some of the words that seem smart, feel as if they were pulled right from a thesaurus. Intelligent verbiage just to fill space – completely and utterly pointless.

Okay, okay, I know – people are not reading these books for its witty content. Yes, I get that; I will also commend the author on getting so many women to read, just like Stephenie Meyer – but seriously. Seriously? I’m at a loss for words on this series.

My opinion probably means nothing to most, but I shook my head and smacked my forehead with the palm of my hand so many times during my reading of the first novel. I just – I – no words – uh. I is dumber for reading it. Yes, I know I wrote that wrong. The book is that bad.

If you want to read it, you’ll read it. If you don’t, you won’t. It’s just a bit unnerving that this is the trilogy that gets everyone reading.

Perhaps New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said it best, “Even though James writes like a Bronte devoid of talent, her saga is the first smash hit in the era of “Mommy’s naughty reader.”

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