I don’t write a post for months, and now I review a pornographic Mills & Boons. I promise I have read some fantastic, beautifully written books in the interim, but I’ve just finished Fifty Shades of Grey and feel compelled to write about the book that has had women reading furtively behind the book covers or their Kindles. This novel stayed the top of the New York Times’ bestseller list for a long time, it has been talked about, titillated about and left many of us wondering what it’s all about.
Let me tell you – not much. It’s badly written, cliched, full of ellipses, stereotyped and irritating. And yet I read it to the end, skipping the sex scenes after a while because I got so bored of them. I read the first of the Twilight novels a while back and this book reminds me of that a bit – girl meets boy, there is unbearable attraction, lots of sexual heat, boy warns girl off, girl can’t stay away, boy cannot resist, blah, blah, and then there’s a sad ending. Except this book is full of sex – a little bit of ‘vanilla sex’ (which is supposed to mean ordinary – ha ha) and then BDSM sex (bondage, dominance, submission, masochism). Weird, kinky sex.
Anastasia is a literature student who helps her sick friend out by interviewing a successful entrepreneur for the college newspaper, Christian Grey, the billionaire. She’s dressed dorkily, he is ‘so young – and attractive, very attractive’. There is an immediate spark between them; she stammers and drops papers and acts like a pathetic stereotype while he stares at her, aloof and amused. I can’t tell you how awfully irritating the writing is. Yet I kept going, because I wanted to see what all the fuss what about – ie, where was the sex?
Oh it comes along later, don’t worry. He tries to warn her away from him, she can’t resist, nor can he, and eventually they consummate their passion. She is a virgin, yet he fucks her hard and she manages to have endless orgasms in a row. Tell me a woman who experienced that the first time. She’s not allowed to touch him….it all bodes badly, doesn’t it?
It turns out that Christian, because of his secret, shady background (with hints of abuse and torture) is unable to have ‘normal’ sex. He is into BDSM, in which he is the Dominant and his partner is the Submissive. He has a ‘playroom’, full of whips, chains and sorts of things that weirdos like. Ana is freaked out by it, but cannot stop her attraction to him and finds herself partaking in it. Truly, I found these scenes incredibly boring – after you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. Same pain, same gain.