So, I finished reading the “50 Shades of Grey” trilogy on my Kindle . . . more to come

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This is the sexy (and sometimes very kinky) fantasy set in Seattle that started out as Twilight fan fiction before morphing into a self-published ebook,  and now Vintage (with whom the author inked a seven-figure deal) has published the paperbacks, which are currently topping the  NYT‘s bestsellers list  EL James’s erotic novels are earning comments by readers who consider the books everything from execrable to engrossing.  Yep, the movie rights have already been sold for a cool $5 million with speculation on who will play the lead characters (I confess, I CANNOT envision Robert Pattinson in this role. Grey is described as beautiful and sex on legs . . .)

If I were EL James, I would be smiling, too--all the way to the bank.

I have lots of thoughts swirling in my head. If Christian Grey was any more complicated a character, I think my poor head would explode.  Take about mercurial!  And sometimes, downright scary.

I have to think about Grey and the complex dynamics of his relationship with Anastasia Steele. About domination and submission and control issues in relationships and how childhood abuse/depravation can damage a person. And other stuff, such as–is this well-written writing? Or does all the “kinky f***ery” as Ana dubs it get in the way?   Since I do write erotic romance,  I consider it possible for sexy and well-written to peacefully co-exist 😉

Plus there is the whole issue of what this means  in terms of fan fiction, its increasingly higher profile and the mainstream (which I touched upon with my F3 post, Fanstravaganza3 Fanfiction: Goin’ Mainstream).

So– there will be another blogpost to come on this trilogy.  I will be interested to hear from any of you who have read the Fifty Shades concerning your own impressions of the books.

About fedoralady

I'm an LA native--Lower Alabama, that is. My husband of more than 30 years and I live here on a portion of my family's former farm with two gorgeous calicos and a handsome GSD mix. My background is art education, and over the years I've been a teacher, department store photographer, sales associate and a journalist. My husband, his business partner and I have Pecan Ridge Productions, a video production company, for which I shoot & edit video and stills and manage marketing. I also still write part-time for the local paper. I love movies, music, art, photography and books, and my tastes in all of them are eclectic.

35 responses »

  1. I’m looking forward to your opinion of the books, since I still haven’t made up my mind whether or not to buy it for my kindle.
    I hope you have an enjoyable, relaxing Easter break, Angie. 🙂

    • Thank you, Mezz and the same to you! We got a darling little Easter card made by my great-niece in the mail yesterday. One of those “awwww” moments (same child in those photos with Benny from an early post).

  2. I must live a very sheltered life as I haven’t even heard of this trilogy!! I will await your review with baited breath.

    Happy Easter, everyone.

  3. Happy Easter everyone!! I’ll be away until Saturday evening but will be looking forward to catching up with you all when I get back!! Be good y’all!! 😀

  4. I can’t wait to read about the trilogy, it’s lined up on my Kindle, but seeing I have around 1000 books waiting, not including books I need to read for college and my thesis paper, not sure when I’ll get around to them. Having said that, the term “erotic romance” bumps it up a bit. “Twilight” bumps it up a little too, so maybe it won’t be that long 😉
    Happy Easter or Happy Chocolate Egg (depending on your beliefs) to everyone!!!

    • I have a lot of other books I haven’t read on my Kindle as well, but I decided to give these three priority because they did start out as fan fiction and I was in the mood for something hot and sexy. The trilogy definitely delivers on that count. 😉

      Still CANNOT envision RPatz as Grey. No how, no way. Anyway, the author has casting approval and she wants “beautiful unknowns” cast–and they would be cheaper to hire, too.

      Happy Easter to you, too! 😀

  5. Does the third book explain his whole history? I still haven’t bought it — but I’m afraid of buying it and then not getting the explanations I want. The first two books already seem to indicate that the author doesn’t really understand why her characters behave the way they do.

    • There is a lot more revealed about his childhood and youth and why he likes/needs to do certain things . . . more of Dr. Flynn and more about Elena. I am not entirely sure I buy what she’s (the author) selling. You also get a plot twist to throw some suspense into the mix, although I pretty much knew what was coming. Some of Grey’s past comes back to haunt him a bit.

      BTW I was ready to kill a certain “inner goddess” after the umpteenth reference to IG’s response to sexy time. I truly hope the whole thing has been tightened up for the Vintage paperbacks. And that she is no longer “collected” at work or eats “yoghurt.” (I think she should have found an American beta).

      • Still undecided about buying it … the whole thing with Dr. Flynn is totally sketchy. I can’t believe a therapist would have a separate session with a patient’s girlfriend to tell her about him — a real therapist would encourage / help the patient find ways to be able to answer the girlfriend’s questions …

        maybe I should buy it. Reading a book like that on Good Friday would certainly flout every rule established for the proper observation of the day in my childhood 🙂

        • LOL! I think you are probably right about that. 😉 Parts of it certainly boldly go where I frankly have never been before . . . Re Dr. Flynn, it sort of seemed like a violation of doctor/patient confidentiality for him to talk to Ana about Christian, even though Christian OKed it.

          I found myself wondering if some type of regression therapy might have helped Christian, who indeed was major league “f**ked up.”

          • OK, I bought it. She should give you 50 cents. However, I am only at Loc 368 and I already see a plot implausibility — she’s never been out of the U.S. before and now she’s going to Ireland and points beyond? HOW did she get a passport? Oh, no doubt the redoubtable Christian bribed someone in the U.S. government…

              • 😀 Although this particular beautiful, sexy, filthy rich businessman and philanthropist who can fly a helicopter, play the piano and sail boats also comes with a lot of baggage and I am not talking about his Louis Vuittons. 😉

              • OK, I’m at Loc 4697 and I’d have fired him as a husband at this point at the very latest. Wow, do I have a lot of thoughts about this, but they are less pleasant as I read further and further …

              • When I first glanced at this, I thought you wrote “hired” instead of “fired” and I was beginning to worry about you. My husband is such an absolute polar opposite to this character–well, first of all, he is not Jekyll and Hyde or a control freak. It definitely is a thought-provoking read and not always pleasant to think about.

              • OK, I’m done. This was an interesting exercise.

                One thing that it did was clarify a line between fanfic and actual fiction for me — this is still, IMO, fanfic. One issue is that in fanfic, anything can happen because the narrative has no meaning in the sense that the only meaning the narrative has is the one you want it to have. So flying toasters invade Nottingham Castle and Guy of Gisborne has a moral conversion in response and decides to become a monk, fine. The universe doesn’t have to have rules and we all expect that in fanfic. I have a slightly higher standard for “real” fiction, and i don’t mean in the sense that I expected this would be some great literary work. The story lacks credibility on both the emotional and the practical level — even the basic credibility that you find in any bodice-ripper.

                There’s the emotional level of the narrative, in which you have a male protagonist whose behavior doesn’t make any sense — the only way you could explain that kind of mood swing is with severe mental illness, which is inconsistent with the “captain of industry” personality feature. Successful businessmen are just not that erratic. Calling Christian Grey “mercurial” is supposed to mask the flaw in characterization that he’s essentially just a straw man who does whatever the plot requires at the moment to provoke some kind of shock from us. Then you have a heroine who is supposed to lack self-assurance, who vacillates wildly between assertiveness, random behavior, self-doubt, etc., but has the guts to take down both a would-be rapist and a kidnapper? It’s like Ana is severely premenstrual *all the time*. I would never put a gun in the hands of a woman like that.

                Then there’s the plot. For dramatic tension the author substitutes the absolute failure of the two main characters either to understand basic things about each other’s emotional makeup or communicate with each other effectively. These two never ask a question when they can instead make the choice to become unreasonably angry over nothing. In particular I resented the waste of pages and pages of narrative over the fight over her taking his last name. All that emotional drama and for what? The device of email to actually allow them to understand each other well enough to make it credible to the reader that they could marry was totally unconvincing to me, as email usually makes communication problems worse rather than better. When we get to the plot development that moves the last third of the book, all of these tendencies are combined together in a soup that makes the stomach roil. The plot throws us into a totally unexpected deus ex machina situation with the heroine’s pregnancy, throwing the protagonist out of commission, the villain shows up inexplicably, the heroine decides to act precipitously (she calls the police earlier when her apartment is invaded by the villain, but she doesn’t when her sister in law is kidnapped?), she is somehow able to withdraw $5 million from a joint bank account at a moment’s notice and the protagonist believes that she’s leaving him? The only reason that a reader has to believe any of that plot is by relying on the extreme inconsistency of characterization that the author has set up on the emotional level. We believe that piece of the plot only because they’ve never successfully communicated anywhere earlier in the book. The papering over of it all at the end with a scene from their idyllic later life was in that sense offensive. NOW they’ve learned to communicate? AFTER having children and adding significant stress to their lives?

                And that’s the just my reaction as a reader of novels. What I’ve have to say about this novel in terms of social criticism is even more frightening. There’s no way I could write something like this myself. My nerves couldn’t hack it.

              • Servetus,

                Great observations (not that I would expect anything less from you). 😉 I kept thinking the same thing re the writing–that it still felt a lot like fanfiction, especially as the story progressed and got more outlandish with Hyde coming across like Snidely Whiplash and Elena veering back and forth between trusted good friend and cold-hearted manipulative bitch. James describes the story as a fantasy and that’s pretty much what it is–yet it is also purporting to paint a portrait of a man who is driven to dark and twisted “kinky f***ery” with 5o shades of grey to his personality . . . and explaining why he is so. Only it doesn’t all hang together.

                I kept thinking back to Lucas North/John Bateman and how implausible and soap-opera-ish I had found much of that storyline–well, it was a masterpiece of logic and subtle writing compared to this.

                I couldn’t see this successful and highly respected captain of industry and philanthropy co-existing in a person with such an impulsive and volatile personality. Sometimes he’s seething with rage, sometimes over ridiculous matters such as the name change and wanting to “beat the living s**t” out of this person he supposedly loves. Other times he’s sweet and tender and thoughtful. Not exactly ideal husband material . . . I felt like it was two adolescents with raging hormones on an emotional see-saw. And would a family draw these two people closer together and open the lines of communication, or have the opposite effect?

                Interestingly enough, i have felt a surge in my desire to write after completing this.

              • Okay, decision made! I won’t be buying 50SoG, I’ll save my money for a better read! Thanks angie and servetus for your critique. 🙂

  6. Pingback: My two cents on 50 Shades of Grey *Please note mature content in post* « the armitage effect

  7. Pingback: 50 Shades of Grey *SPOILERS* Why I can’t recommend it. « the armitage effect

    • I read it all to see if it improved and how she carried out the story–trying to give a fellow writer the benefit of the doubt–but in the end I could not recommend it and wrote an entry explaining why. I don’t think promoting an emotionally abusive relationship as a great romance ending with a baby and marriage a fitting thing.

  8. Oh my.. I am sorry I wasted my money and time on the first 2 books as I knew the rest without reading it. Way too predictible. Promotes abusive relationships and that you should stick it out. Seriously? Taking a virgin and abusing her is not something I want young girls reading and thinking is normal.

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