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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Twilight rip off with unsavoury edge, 19 May 2012
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This review is from: Fifty Shades of Grey (Kindle Edition)
I guess as a 46 year old mum I'm right in the target market for this book but I'm afraid it didn't do it for me on a number of levels. In fact I nearly gave up on it at 23% (after the virginal heroine who has never even held hands with a boy before totally implausibly launches straight into full blown and of course mind glowingly orgasmic sex) but because of all the hype I persisted with it, hoping it might get better. It didn't.

First the Twilight factor. I guess if you haven't read the Twilight books you maybe don't see the problem here, but having read all four and watched the films I can't understand how the author can get away with such a blatant rip off. There are too many examples to bore you with, from the striking parallels between the characters (innocent but beautiful and clumsy young woman falls in love with beautiful, extraordinarily wealthy, piano playing but damaged and dangerous older man) to some of the set piece scenes in the story - the stalkerish rescue scene from the night club, the visit to Mom in a sunshine state, the perfect adoptive family, the unwanted affections of a competitor male etc etc. Even some of the words are identical - I couldn't believe the bit where Christian says early on he's finding it impossible to stay away so Ana whispers "Then don't". I mean come on! That's almost word for word from Twilight. It would be absolutely fine as a piece of fan fiction (as it started out) but as a published commercial piece of work? I hope Stephanie Meyer is getting a cut of the royalties, not that she needs it.

Second, the repetitive and overblown description of the sex. Obviously a lot of people have found it exciting but I guess the branding of this as mommy porn and the widespread marketing has made it accessible to people who would have been embarrassed to be seen reading more original erotic fiction. I agree more with the reviewers who commented there was too much rehashing of the same stuff over and over and over again. If you're going to have lots of explicit sex in a book, fine, but vary it about a bit. Also, it's a bit like the sexual equivalent of perfect body image - are we really all supposed to aspire to this level of impossibly astonishing sexual enjoyment and feel we're missing out if we don't measure up? It's aimed at adults but there's nothing to stop teenage girls getting hold of this book and developing thoroughly unrealistic expectations of sex.

Third, and most problematic for me, were the "punishment" sequences. I don't know anything at all about BDSM but thought it was supposed to be consensual. Ana makes it clear she's not into being dominated physically or mentally but agrees to give it a try because it's the only way she can keep Christian. He dangles the carrot that she means more to him than his previous subs, feeding her hope of changing him ("I want more too") and thereby inducing her to compromise against her better judgement. She also makes allowances for him because he had a damaged early childhood and was abused (in her view not his) by a Mrs Robinson character in his adolescence. And of course she is in such sexual thrall to him she is incapable of refusing him anything. He knows all this, knows she is young/totally inexperienced but gives her a good old thrashing anyway. Then leaves. As you do. (Or, actually you don't. Unless you're a total weirdo.) Afterwards she collapses in floods of tears. Is that REALLY consent (note the shouty capitals)? Mmmm ... don't think so. The ending of the book was particularly unsavoury, made worse by the fact that although he has pushed her too far this time it's obvious she's going to take him back because there are another two books in the series. Duh!

So what are the messages here? Women are turned on by being beaten so if a girl says she doesn't want you to hit her but you're both in the heat of the moment you should go ahead and do it anyway, she'll probably enjoy it? If you've been abused as a child that makes it OK to abuse others as an adult? There is so much high profile stuff in the news about exploitative internet pornography and kids being able to access it, I'd be more worried about a 15 year old boy reading this book, which he would be able to do perfectly legally, than looking at a few dirty pictures online. Ok, maybe not many 15 year old boys will bother to read this but that's not the point.

I know this is a long rant but I really can't understand why this book is being pushed so hard in the media. If you haven't read Twilight, haven't read any erotic fiction before and are excited by the idea of a young girl being physically and emotionally bullied by a man just because he's rich, handsome and sexy, you may well join the list of fans. Otherwise, if you're looking for a steamy romance, there are plenty more honest (and more titillating) alternatives out there.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 May 2012 20:33:27 BDT
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In reply to an earlier post on 27 May 2012 00:56:36 BDT
Last edited by the author on 27 May 2012 01:39:09 BDT
Charlotte its interesting you feel the need to reply to me in such an defensive tone. Everyone has a right to an opinion, my opinion is that sexualised domestic violence isn't just a little bit of fun. And since these books are by the author's own admission just sexed up Twilight fan fiction then I'm afraid I disagree, they are all about the sex. That's exactly what sent them viral in the USA and eventually landed them in the bestseller lists! But if you enjoyed it, hey it takes all sorts.
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