April 9, 2012

Literally Literary:
Fifty Shades of "Meh"

"Literally Literary" is a feature in which I write about books, reading and more books. My hope is the post title will provide a subtle hint that I am posting about BOOKS. For those of you where the topic of books results in narcoleptic fits thereby causing you to faceplant onto your keyboard, this will allow you to just click away from the horror that is the written word. Also, I simply adore the word "literally", it is literally my favorite adverb. Bonus points if pronounced with a Rob Lowe/Parks n' Recreation affectation.

Special Note: All posts contain non-affiliate links - I do not have an Amazonian Fancy Pants Affiliate Thingie.

Not-So-Special Note: My Reading Resolutions for 2012 can be found in this post.

Note: This review contains NO spoilers. If you would like to discuss specific plot points, we can limit those to the comments - here or on Facebook.

If you troll through my Goodreads list, you might notice there is not much in the way of Romance there since I generally do not enjoy reading Romances. I wish I could claim a higher literary ground whilst I loftily sniff my nose at the Romance genre, but I simply cannot. I enjoy easy reads and freely admit to my US Magazine subscription (in addition to my Grandma passing along her People magazines to me -- I come by my gossip rag addiction honestly!)  And! I am even considering re-upping my Mad Magazine subscription under the thin guise of It's For the Children.

What I generally do not enjoy is reading romances.  However, every so often, I will find myself in the mood for one.  My book club recently chose E.L. James' "Fifty Shades of Grey" as this month's selection.  To be fair, I voted for this selection - it sounded interesting and I thought it would be fun to read a selection which was receiving so much buzz.

So!  I read "Fifty Shades of Grey" and rolled my eyes during the entire thing.  Puerile writing! Infantile dialogue! Such an obvious rip-off of the Bella and Edward relationship from Twilight!  Repeated use of the same phrases over and over (He's so freaking hot! Oh, Fify!)   Too much ridiculous sex! I hated the ending and thought "What a load of crap!"

The next day, I downloaded the 2nd book "Fifty Shades Darker".

And finished it promptly.

Then, I downloaded the 3rd book "Fifty Shades Freed".

And finished it promptly.

I wish I could explain what it was about this book that made it such a delicious, silly romp because in the 3rd book I was still rolling my eyes while losing hope for some sort of plot to Happen Already, Dammit.

The much awaited Plot never unfolded, but no matter -- I still had fun reading this ridiculous trilogy.

I would like to discuss a few key topics that come up whenever this book is discussed:

1. The term "mommy porn"
I quickly grew tired of the ridiculous, over-the-top sex scenes and by Book Two, was skimming them.  What rankles me about the term "mommy porn" is the tired use of the word "mommy" or "mom" to express a sneering derision toward something.  Google the terms "mommy blogger", "soccer mom" or "mom jean" if you don't know what I am talking about.  Overall, the Shades of Grey trilogy was just another romance series and I am calling bullshit on referring to it as "mommy porn".

Which leads me to.......

I recently Tweeted "When I publish my hot memoir of married life w/Manoj, I'm going to title it "50 Shades of Brown". No whips, but loads of curry. Spicy!" and later "Where BDSM means "Brown Desi Sexy Men ". Of course."  Frankly,  I thought the whole brouhaha about the BDSM aspects of this book were extremely over-stated and I suspect the hype was on purpose to draw attention to the book. Yes, there was a little bit of Bondage and a lot of Domination, but I did not see anything much Sadist or Masochist. I also found the sex scenes to be so boring that by the 2nd book, I was skimming them.  The darkest parts of these books had to do with the control issues of Christian Grey and his childhood story.  But honestly?  Most of the Romance novels I have read had controlling men attracted to devilish minxes who resisted that control.  Seriously, sound familiar?  It should, if you are regular reader of romances.

3. Fan Fiction
This part I don't understand -- I did a bit of research and never found the answer to my question "What are the morals, ethics and legalities behind fan fiction?"  I find it difficult to believe that Stephanie Meyer is not trying to sue the ass off of E.L. James and her publisher.  When I began the Shades of Grey trilogy I began taking notes of the similarities to the Twilight series (Pacific Northwest location, Christian's mother is a doctor, Christian has a whimsical younger sister, Ana's relationship with her mother and father, the story of Jose, some minor plot points) . After awhile, I gave up taking notes because it was ENDLESS.

Overall?  I enjoyed this series and I still cannot explain WHY.

Have you read any of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy?  If not, are you planning to? 


Average Jane said...

Oh yeah, I guess I'd better get that read sometime this week. I presume it goes quickly.

Unknown said...

I haven't read it, but I had planned on doing so, although maybe now I will skip it! I didn't realize it was just like Twilight. I will probably give in and read it at some point, but at least I won't be disappointed now!

Alimomof3 said...

Once again, I'm in agreeemnt of your assessment! Some spoilers below (basically my Goodreads review) (Yes, I put it on Goodreads.):

Throughout the first book I was interested to see how Ana and Christian's relationship would turn out. I was very nervous after the contract was introduced and didn't think I was going to enjoy where it was headed. I was hoping for them a more traditional love story and really liked the parts where Ana asserted herself and Christian showed his vulnerability. I continued reading because the characters did evolve a bit, but as you know, this is not literature. *****SPOILER Although the first book ended up with a heartbreaking breakup, I was not at all surprised that they were going at it (literally, of course) by page 18 of this book. Again, I was interested to see how the relationship and characters would evolve. The sex really got in the way of development. While I was happy to see them work toward a more traditional relationship, and saw personal growth, it was very predictable how EVERY situation would end. Happy, sad, mad, jealous? It all ended the same. (Okay, lots of different positions and scenarios, but you get it.) There was absolutely no anticipation. While I'm very happy for these two, I don't think I can take another book. I skimmed the beginning and end of the last book, and feel I got enough to know how their story ends.

Could James possibly vary her verbiage? How many times did I have to read about them "fisting" each other's hair? Or him commanding her to "come" (and no, not in the sexual sense)? Or their voices hitching? And her inner goddess while initially cute and fun, got to be annoying by the end of the second book.

But, overall, a fun, light (with some dark) series.

Laura said...

Love your blog, very cute! I initially started reading because my boyfriend is of Indian decent(oddly enough his last name is George too) but I kept reading because I love your writing style and you make me laugh!

I recently read the first book in the trilogy and I felt exactly the same way, I was rolling my eyes and speeding through the sex scenes trying to find a plot, but when I finished it I still wanted to read the next one.

I was a little concerned at the similarities of their relationship to an abusive relationship... I know it has to do with the sub/dom culture but it just came off as a bit creepy. Nothing like trying to take a nice vacation to reevaluate life and having the person you are trying to get away from show up... stalking is soooo romantical!!
Oh well, maybe that's just my inner feminist speaking up (note my "inner goddess" remains silent on the matter- she's probably off eating chocolate again)

Keep up the awesome blogging and hilarious outlook on life! :)

Cagey (Kelli Oliver George) said...

Hunter's Prize,
I have mixed feelings on whether to tell you to read it....or not to read it... ;-)

YES. Your review is spot on!! I agree on all points.

I am in FB group for us gori girls, if you are interested. Email me at cagey333ATgmailDOTcom and I can give you the details.

Also, I absolutely agree about the stalker/abusive tones. Unfortunately, I think those tones are in a lot of romance novels (at least the ones I have read!)

Anonymous said...

I came very close to buying the audiobook of this last night. I had two audible credit about to expire as I have been listening to an insanely long audio book. I did at it to my wish list though, so I am sure I will get to it at some point.