My curiosity piqued by the hype (I am the marketing man's dream after all and equally unashamed to admit enjoying erotica), I downloaded the `Fifty Shades' trilogy to my Kindle. I suppose I could have just downloaded the first book as a taster, but I'm an all or nothing kind of girl. Anyway, the task is done and I've managed to read all three books. I say read .... I anxiously skipped whole pages and chunks of passage in a bid to make it to the finish line it was so eye bleedingly dreary. Yes, I know, no one was holding a gun to my head (though how I wish they had) and I could have just given it all up as a lost cause at any stage, but once I start something I have to see it through to the bitter end, be it a dodgy relationship, lousy film or a doorstop masquerading as literature. So it was with Fifty Shades of Grey (plus Darker and Freed). I'm going to start with the title, simply because it is stupid. Why fifty shades, why not four or seven or thirty three? The rather monotonous and monochromatic Mr Grey (our main character) displayed only a few `shades' throughout my purgatory - dull, duller and dullest. Oh, there you go, just the three shades then. I question too, the need for a `trilogy'. The whole mind numbing `tale' could have been sold to us in the one block buster surely, but I'm told it is loosely based on the Twilight series, ergo the need for more than one book (thankfully EL James stopped at three).
I'm so wracked by the mental pain and anguish of having trawled through vast pages of such repetitive drivel I've forgotten to mention that the main `thrust' of the story is BDSM! So, lots of gloriously forbidden, fantastical sexual stuff that will have all us middle aged mums reaching under the duvet with the other hand? No? No! Never in my reading history have I ever scanned over, ignored or furiously by-passed a description of sexual activity, however depraved.... until now. Lordy, Ms James must have an even more pedestrian sex life than me if she's writing from experience! She has single handed (absolutely no double entendre intended) managed to make sex as boring as washing up. The impossibly, stunningly gorgeous and perfect specimen that is Anastasia Steele and the equally impossibly, stunningly gorgeous and perfect (and rich) specimen that is our Mr Grey have AMAZINGLY PERFECT sex EVERY TIME (I'm using shouty text, I know, I'm following another theme in the book) and ALWAYS ORGASM even though she's a virgin and he's allegedly the very screwed up off spring of a `Crack Whore'. The not particularly extraordinary or thrilling sex scenes are SO repetitive I wanted to lie on my back crying `Take me (AWAY AND KILL ME NOW)' and so frequent that I got the impression it was they that were miserably and needlessly bulking out the subtext, which was a thrilling yarn about ... oh, who the hell cares?
Fifty Shades is described as modern popular erotica. It is not! Yes, there are whole countries (well, Florida) that are determined to ban the books and puritanical lobbyists here who don't want it sold in Tesco because of its disgraceful content and I agree, it should be banned - on the grounds of intellectual sodomy!
If you really want a shocking, `one handed' yet cerebral read forget `Mummy' porn, seek out The Story of O by Pauline Réage (aka Anne Desclos) which was published in 1954 - quelle horreur - or try Gael Greene's Blue Skies, No Candy (1976) which I read aged 13 and found was much more informative than sex ed.
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