A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, bought me Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James, for my birthday. Luckily I could read it on my lovely new iPad, so my daughter didn't see me reading it. This is not one I would ever recommend to a young woman- or any woman, for that matter.
Let's take the writing first. I know this was first written as fan fiction and then published by a small press. Did an editor ever see these pages. Ever? Or even a critique group? Was everyone so distracted by the sex scenes that they didn't notice the constant lip-biting, how "Oh My" became Possibly the Most Annoying Signal for Female Arousal Ever, and the dear Lord if I hear about this one more time I'm gonna throttle the beyotch "Inner Goddess" who alternated between gymnastics and dance moves whenever it looked like sex was a possibility. And this is was often, let me tell you. They don't call this book "Mommy P*rn" for nothing. My "Inner Goddess" is bordering on Traumatic Brain Injury from banging my head against the wall in frustration from the overuse of banal words and phrases. Has this woman never heard of a thesaurus?
Do I sound like I'm ranting? Well, hold on to your hats, people, because Auntie Sarah has only just got started. Now I'm getting to what I really HATE about this book.
It doesn't surprise me at all that this started as Twilight fan fiction. I was always happy that my daughter was bored with Twilight after reading the first chapter and never read any of the other books, because I forced myself to read the whole series and the fourth book had me absolutely enraged. The whole series bothered me because Bella was such a weak and undeveloped character who was defined by the boys and how young girls were falling in love with the idea of this "love" between her and Edward, which had all the characteristics of an abusive relationship. Like hello young teens - when a guy breaks into your bedroom to watch you sleep? THAT IS NOT ROMANTIC!!! That is EFFING CREEPY! CALL THE POLICE AND GET A RESTRAINING ORDER!!! And book 4 - where she ends up bruised and brutalized after sex but it's okay because they waited and did it in the sanctity of marriage...OMFG. That is SO NOT a healthy message for teenage girls to be reading and idealizing as a love relationship.
So along comes this Fifty Shades of Grey (oh, yeah, she actually calls him "Fifty Shades" as a nick name) which takes Edward and puts him on steroids. He's handsomer ('cause he's not so pale). He's younger by at least a century. He's richer and self-made to boot. He's even more tortured and broody with a dark sekrit past. And boy, is he even more effed up and creepier. He REALLY DOES STALK Ana. Right after they meet he has a PI investigate her so he can just show up at her place of work. He buys the company she gets a job at because she won't work for him. When she flies across the country to visit her mother because she needs some time and space to think, guess what? He just happens to show up in the bar where she's having drinks with Mom - and he's got a hotel room in that hotel. Does Ana think this weird? Well, a little but...it means he LOVES HER SO MUCH.
NO! NO! NO! IT DOESN'T!!!!!
This is what I hate about the whole Twilight phenomenon and now this Mommy S & M crap that it has spawned. Right now, women's rights are under attack from all sides and we have a generation of teen girls who are reading this stuff and thinking that a man being abusively controlling is ROMANTIC. That it's a sign of the ULTIMATE LOVE.
Maybe it's because I've been in enough dysfunctional relationships that I know both the compelling seductiveness and the dark, dehumanizing destructiveness that comes when the initial glow has worn off. I know how hard it is to rebuild your sense of self when you've had it destroyed and I hate that any woman or any girl should think that this is romance. That cutting you off from your friends is romance. That the guy having female friends but that not allowing the woman to have male friends because he's jealous is a sign of love. It's not. It's a sign of being controlling and abusive.
Well, that's my rant over for now. I'm off to write some more empowering books books for teens.