Sunday, July 15, 2012

Fifty Shades of Cliche

Succumbed to the hype and lost a few IQ points reading Book One of Fifty Shades.

Awful writing + glorification of an abusive relationship = trash. Fifty Shades is a spicier version of a good old Harlequin Romance, with all the tropes of the genre: sweet young woman falls for gorgeous, super-rich, arrogant man with a tragic past, boo hoo. She tames him and turns him into a better person. When Fifty Shades got to the backstory that explained why Christian was so messed up - his birth mother was a crack whore - I laughed out loud. Of course she was a crack whore!

I loved the Amazon reviewer who hypothesized that the book had been dreamt up by a couple of teenage girls. But what disturbs me about this book is that such a piece of garbage is being read and analyzed by some pretty smart women as if Christian Grey were a literary construct worthy of discussion. I CAN'T STAND IT. How can they not see that he - and this book - have less depth than a comic book? (Jughead's character flaws would be more interesting.)

Most disturbing - the abuse factor. Who cares what people do in the bedroom - it's no one's business. But his controlling her life, limiting her contact with friends and family, are the hallmarks of batterers. And her acquiescence in that kind of relationship - which is meant to be "hot" - is typical of abused women. I wonder how real women who have suffered mistreatment at the hands of a partner find this book. Not so sexy, I'm guessing.

And here's my least favorite passage: "It's (the domination and hitting) right for Christian. It's what he wants, and ...after all he's done (bought her a car and first class airfare) I have to man up and take whatever he decides he wants, whatever he thinks he needs."

Whoa! We should put up with men controlling and hitting us as long as they buy us expensive gifts??? What the hell year is this? Gloria Steinem, speak up about this piece of crap book. Please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

On every dimension - artistic, political, psychological - this book is offensive, misogynistic junk, and I wish people would recognize that and shut up about it already!


  1. Hi Andi - found my way to your blog from Twitter (thanks for the follow, btw). I haven't read this book because I've heard such awful things about it. I feel like I shouldn't complain about it being such a hit when I haven't even read it, but thank you for reminding me why I don't want to make myself crazy(crazier?) and lose brain cells reading this. :)

  2. Well, at least I feel re-justified in missing that book... There's so much better stuff out there to read!

  3. I have not read this book...and so I probably have no authority to comment, however, I agree with everything you have said based on what I've researched. Initially, my sister was caught up in the hype and because I didn't know exactly what it was about- only that is was constantly being talked about- I decided to find out. When I read the synopsis I was appalled. I told my sister, and even a few friends that were currently reading the novel, that I absolutely would not be reading it. To me, it seemed like nothing than an abusive relationship based on control, and I for one, could not support that. I wish more people would read this post before deciding to read that book. Maybe, just maybe, it might change some minds.

  4. I seriously couldn't agree more!!! I wrote a review on Amazon about how horrible it was, too. I found that it was Twilight + crazy sex - decent writing. She was SO redundant with her character descriptions and expressions. "My inner goddess jumped for joy!" Really? I hate to use this word, but it was extremely CHEESEY and totally predictable. Unfortunately, I suffered through all 3 books because I had to finish the story... but it took all summer. I can read an Emily Giffin book in a couple days.

  5. Well I read first book of the series, and while I agree with everything you've written, I have to admit that I enjoyed it. It's so shit-tastic that it's irresistible. Had it been even a little bit better written I would not have enjoyed it as much.

    I say more about the book here:

    Happy Days,

  6. Oh good. Because I was having second thoughts about skipping the entire series. Was on a plan last week with about 25 women reading the books. Felt like I was missing out on some huge culturual phenom. Not any more. Thank you!

  7. I read the first one and gave it away. I couldn't stand it. It was a fast read but like another tweeter said " it was cheesy". My friends love it.

  8. Thank you for stating the obvious about these books. I have read two of them, the abuse, dysfunction and humiliation was too much. Not sexy or romantic, plus not my version of kinky.