Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Book Review - Grey

I wanted to start my book reivews on a positive note, I really want to use this space to share the love for some of my favourite books and authors, but it just so happens I finished this book last night so it's at the front of my mind!

I do usually pick up books with the expectation that I would enjoy reading them, I'd hope to care about the characters and feel involved with the story. Grey is an exception in that I had no such expectations. I bought the book fully expecting it to be nonsense, expecting that any pleasure I got from it would be through satisfying the weird curiosity I had about it. 
 

Having finished, I'm not any closer to *getting it*. I'd actually forgotten a lot of the original trilogy (to be fair, apart from a few bits and pieces, they're quite forgettable!) so things like Christian tracking Ana on her phone via GPS, and buying out the company she wants to work for shocked me anew. In fact I'd say they were even more horrifying once you take Grey's lame justifications for such into consideration... 'Oh no, a grown adult of legal age is drinking with her friends - she must be in terrible danger and need rescuing!'. It's patronising and, well, stupid. 

The idea that so many women think they want a Christian Grey of their very own is a pretty chilling one. Putting aside ideas of 'sexy punishment' and belt-beatings for a moment, the stalking and controlling behaviours alone add up to a pretty clear case for abuse. I'm not quite sure why some people think that that's sexy as long as the perpetraitor is rich and good looking but each to their own?

Interestingly, there is a discussion within the book about what is/isn't abuse. Ana is insistant that Christian's introduction to the world of BDSM by an older person in a postion of relative power could only ever be considered abuse. Christian on the other hand tries to assure her that their consensual (though sketchy) relationship was not only non-abusive, but good for him. If I had more faith in the author, I'd imagine she was trying to make a point here - something about the victims of abuse not always recognising their own situation, perhaps (explaining why Ana is so quick to spot the problems in Christian and Elena's relationship while remaining seemingly oblivious to the larger problems in her own). However, this would suggest a level of awareness that I don't think E L James possesses (there's certainly no other evidence for it that I can see) so can only assume it's a bit of a weird fluke?

Problems of moral dubiousness and general ickiness nonewithstanding,.... it's just not a very good book. In terms of plot there's really not a lot going on here (it's pretty much boy meets girl, boy stalks girl, bit of sex, gratuitous displays of wealth, slightly kinkier sex, more flashing the cash, more sex, break up, bit more stalking). The writing doesn't really do much for me either. For a book that is so much about sex, it's remarkable unsexy. If I had had a pound for everytime the word 'cock' is used I'd be well on my way to buying my own helicoptor (which I would of couse use to woo unsuspecting innocents). 

Grey sold 1.1 million copies in the first few days of sale though, and not all of those people bought it for the same reasons I did so it's clearly working for some people. What am I missing? Am I just bitter because I've never had a screaming orgasm through some guy playing with my boobs for a couple of minutes? 

What do you think on the 50 shades franchise - fun titillation, dangerous propaganda, or just a bit naff?

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