Ana had no self-respect. That was the worst thing about it. I’m so sick of girls dissing themselves and their looks, digging for affirmation, and thinking it’s humble and likeable to always be down on yourself. It isn’t. It’s still self-absorbed/prideful. It’s just pathetic as well. That goes out to nearly everyone on Tumblr. I loved Kate. I wish the book had been about her. Plot: Kate’s roommate, Ana, is getting into an unhealthy relationship. Kate can’t talk sense into her, so she concocts an elaborate, evil plan to take the billionaire down and sabotage his relationship. Hilarity ensues. Now THAT I would read. In real life, Kate would lose Ana. People almost always pick their lovers over well-meaning friends and family who don’t approve of them. It’s best to just keep your mouth shut until people wake up and smell the coffee.
The descriptions are the worst thing about the book. I’ve never seen more laughable descriptions in my life. The BDSM was tame. There was nothing shocking about the sex in the book. Sorry. Your average episode of Sex and the City brought up more about sex and power in relationships. I have no problem, personally, with that kind of sex at all. I have a problem with Ana having no self respect, Christian being controlling and protective, Christian dictating every facet of Ana’s life, and Christian demanding an overall attitude of submission even when they aren’t in the bedroom. The book could leave you feeling depressed, hating women, hating men, hating society, and hating reading in general.
I was looking up what real BDSM enjoyers say about the book. The consensus is that it’s not representative of the relationships they have. They deem this relationship abusive. In this awesome article, Sophie Morgan says, “For me, the book is as much a fetishisation of capitalism as it is a discourse on BDSM. Christian Grey may be a stalkerish sort with epic amounts of emotional baggage, but the accoutrements of wealth he offers – designer labels, helicopters and expensive gifts – are deemed enough that our virginal heroine should stick with him, endure his peccadilloes and keep trying to change him. It's very much focused on ending up married and settled and financially secure – Mills & Boon with butt plugs.” It’s true. Ana didn’t want this kind of sex. She just wanted him. Sure, some of it turned her on. But a lot of it was pushed on her when she wasn’t comfortable with it yet.
It kind of bored me too. It was REALLY repetitive, and it was hard to get through and easy to put down. I’d read a scene then put it down. I’d read another scene. Then a week would go by before I’d read another scene. Fans call it an “easy read.” Well, maybe the prose was easy to understand, but that doesn’t make something easy to read. The idea that freedom and choice is a burden too heavy and onerous for women to bear was offensive. Defenders of the book say, “But without all the smut, it’s a great story. It’s a love story!” They say this with a straight face. The story is stupider than the smut! We are so messed up and secretive about sex in this society that we can’t distinguish what’s the abusive part of this story. It’s not the type of sex that’s abusive - that was consensual and honest. It was the relationship that was twisted and unhealthy.
I wonder…and would like to discuss with anyone who thinks they know…what it is that women these days see in this sort of relationship. Twilight was a hit for a lot of the same reasons. Take out the kink and it’s the same relationship: control, protectiveness, loss of free will, no self-respect, irrational “humility,” and leaving your life for a beautiful guy who has everything. Why is regressing back to inequality such a fantasy that it’s taking literature by storm? What is it about society and women today? Is it that men are such metros and we want someone strong? A protector? Security? I think a lot of it is the desire to feel wanted and lovely. Christian Grey and Edward Cullen both gush to their women about how perfect they are and desire them fiercely. They lavish them with gifts. That’s probably a lot of it and that’s sad. Call me crazy, but when you look to men alone to provide you with a feeling of being beautiful and worthwhile, as well as security, that’s a scary place to be. I hope we get out of it.
Maybe it’s sheltered women fascinated with the idea of something besides “vanilla” sex. For the “mommies” who love this “mommy porn,” maybe this is their first introduction to BDSM and that thrills them. I read my first book with BDSM scenes at 13. And yeah, I was fascinated. I agree that this is too young to be reading stuff like this though, and in all fairness at least my teen book choices had plot/action/good characters, unlike this. I’m not reading the next one. I don’t know why I read this one in the first place. I deserve to suffer for even buying it. Sadly, I bought it on Kindle so I can’t even recycle it for toilet paper. I feel like I know what happens: Ana wallows in near-suicidal grief over her breakup until they get back together. Then she teaches him how to really love and treat her. She gives him a real heart. Yep. Because this is all fantasy, no reality, no truth.
Book grade: F-