Wednesday, May 30, 2012

50 Shades; Yes, I read it. Yes, I'm reviewing it.

So, I'm not going to even mention the book details, publisher, author, yada yada because unless you've been under a rock lately, you should all know about Fifty Shades of Grey or as I call it "Just Fiddy". I hemmed and hawed about reading this. I knew it wasn't really my cup of tea but whenever a book hits this hard, I always find my way to it and givie it a shot.

Things I've heard about this book before reading it.
"It's smut!'
"It's Twilight fan-fiction"
"It's hot, right?"
"I'm so embarrassed but I love it!"
"It's a great read for the beach this summer!"
"I hide it beneath another book and read it on the bus"

How did I feel about it? Well, I'll get to that in a sec.

The craze for this book is creepy and amazing. I work at an independent bookstore in a pretty trendy neighborhood in Minneapolis. We sell more Murakami than Erotica. But this book we simply just threw up our hands and ordered in the masses because, like Hunger Games, it seemed every third customer was buying it. No one I work with will read this. Trust me. Of course, I had to. I'm a nosy nose and a curious cat. Also, I love to gossip with people about this kind of book phenomenon.

I am not a person who judges what others read. Never have been. Never will be. Sure, I think some literature is more high brow than others but I read Jackie Collins, so who the hell am I to judge. You read what you want for your own enjoyment. That's what reading is all about. If you read creepy S&M erotica, that's just fine. Just don't tie up your neighbor unwillingly, kay?

So with that said, you may think I'm all for this book and okay with so many people reading it.

On one hand (the whole non judging thing), yes, I'm cool with it. Read what you will.

BUT, I have a few little issues with it.

On simply the book itself, I feel this:
1. I am not a fan of the writing. The inner dialogue of Anastasia is like nails on a chalkboard.
2. Anastasia and Christian are highly dysfunctional and about as annoying as Bella and Edward. Co-dependent. Needy. Completely unable to communicate like adults.
3. The sex got old. Yep, I said it. 500 pages was too much.

On the topic of the book, I feel this:
I was reading along just fine through most of it, with quite a few eye rolls and skimming. Once I got towards the end, I was just done with them. I didn't like what they were doing to one another, emotionally, mostly and I didn't think it sent out a good message.
I know, I know. I'm not trying to say every book has to follow a high moral ground, it's not that.  There are plenty of romance novels where the man always rescues the woman and plenty of erotica that does even more crazy things.

But when you have a book like this, very graphic in nature, portraying a very specific intense lifestyle and it's being gobbled up by the millions, millions! I just hope that those reading it will take it maturely. The critics are saying women are loving this book because this day and age,  women are doing more than the men and they want their men to take more control. Okay, I hear that. I guess. From the massive sales of this book, are that many women unhappy? What do the men think?  I witness couples buying it up. I witness men say they are buying it for their wives, their girlfriends. 

Do they know it's wicked graphic? Intense? The women completely giving herself over to the man? Is that the appeal? Where did it get it's start? 

I don't know. I found myself shaking my head a lot and just getting annoyed. I know this book isn't really going to be responsible for crazy bedroom things for everyone who reads it but it will introduce the reader to a very intense world. I hope all readers are prepared for that and can handle it. 

I, for one, am just trying to forget it. That's just me. 

Recommend: Obviously not. 

Thoughts, dear readers. Am I being too harsh? Too literal? Thinking it has took much control over the book buying population right now? Or is our society just going to look at it as a fun read?

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Lori Johnston said...

Thanks for your honest review, Michelle.

I haven't read this one and have no plans to. It just doesn't appeal to me for whatever reason - - the subject material doesn't bother me but there is something that just doesn't gel for me.

It reminds me of that horrid The Rules book that was so popular years back - - women gobbling it up and using it like some sort of Bible, to the point of obsession.

No, thank you.

Anna said...

I've picked up the book, but haven't gotten to it yet. But I have been reading books with similar content for years, so I don't think it'll shock me too much. But like most everyone else, I'm interested in reading it.

StephTheBookworm said...

Haha, I love you and a lot of this review cracked me up, so thanks for the smile. But I also appreciate your thoughful and serious thoughts about the book as well, such as the intensity of the book, why people like it, etc. I'm going to be starting this book next, so probably this week at some point. I'll let you know what I think after... unless I love it, at which point, I will hide in shame (just kidding, maybe). Haha! :)

Kim said...

Thanks for the review. I am not interested in this at all and don't understand the fascination myself. I'm not really ultra conservative or prudy, but when I'm reading anything, I usually skip over the bedroom parts, just cuz I want to get to the story, so a whole book of bedroom crap does nothing for me. Glad you hated it.

Marce said...

Whoa, you read it, I am impressed dear. But that seals the deal for me, I totally think I can recommend any book to you with a 90% chance you will enjoy it.

I loved this even with the issues, the first was amazing to me and headed down hill from there. You did not enjoy it and probably will enjoy the rest especially the last but don't bother. Seriously I am glad I won this when no one had heard of it, not sure if I would have enjoyed with all the hype.

I have to say I don't get the hype especially when people will never be interested in the lifestyle or have an understanding of it.

I am seriously shocked, very fascinating. I have no interest in Twilight, glad I didn't realise it was Fanfict from inspiration.

Lisa said...

One of my dearest friends just confided to me that she's been reading this author's work for some time on a fan fiction site and has become great friends with her. She was raving about the book. Now I'm even more concerned about my friend's sanity!

Tales of Whimsy said...

I haven't read it.
I sampled it and wasn't feeling it.
I get and appreciate the "wanting a man to be strong and in control sexually" but from the reviews I've read, it sounds like it goes well past that.
Like she just gives up all control to a man she barely knows.
Honestly, it's like a book for nonreaders. 'Cause real fans of erotica will find better stuff.

Julie@My5monkeys said...

thanks for your honest review and I refuse to read it. I trust my blogger friends when they say its bad. You aren't the only one who has said this about this book.

I also don't like it being called mommy porn. rolls eyes

Ryan said...

I had a discussion with a friend of mine over this books and those like them. I have always found it interesting that women will decry men who watch porn, but will turn around and read something like this. In my mind, they are the same thing. I don't think it's bad, just the same.

I can honestly say I'm not even curious on this one so I think I will take your review to heart and not even pick it up to look at the cover, which I actually kinda like for the simplicity of it.

Mystica said...

Thanks for a brilliant review.

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

thank YOU! I have not read a single good review of this book from the blogs...all of us who know what writing should be ~ why in the heck is this book getting so much publicity and marketing??? that's what I want to know! i feel like it is being shoved down our throats. I'm glad you reviewed it and said what you did...i don't really have any plans to waste time reading it...there's too much other good stuff out there ~

Paula Calvanico said...

Have you read my recent rant on all 3? I liked this one but not for the reason all these ladies are going cukoo for. The dark subject matter and nature of Christian was facinating. I was agitated the whole read, finding that I couldn't deal with such a twisted being.

It goes down hill from there. I call the author the one book wonder. She really can't write with her repetitive verbage, my fifty, holy crap, he's so hot, blah, blah, blah. But she got her score $$$$ so kudos to her. Sure am glad I didn't buy a one : )

Tomes Devotee

Jenny said...

I'm glad to hear your thoughts about it because now I feel like I can not read it and still think what I think about it and not be wrong, LOL. I'll admit it... I do judge people who read this.. NOT you or other readers. But people I know who have never picked up a book but read this one. And then loved it? I'm totally judging. I hope people are mature about it too!

Gina said...

You're a brave soul my friend. ^_^ I hear you...definitely not my cup of tea but working in the industry we do (though my end of things is with a chain), we are almost obliged to at least read enough about it to intelligently discuss it with customers/potential readers. I didn't read it, but I have checked out some online reviews including one that's going over it chapter by chapter. Though still graphic to a degree (it's the content, you can't really TBS it down), it's not nearly as much as the book (presumedly). Like you, from teh excerpts I've seen the dialogue is a sticky point. Even in small bursts, rather is the constant calls/questions on whether or not we carry the book. (Yes for Pete's sake, we DO...)

I try not to judge others on their reading material either (including the coworker of mine that HAS read and thoroughly enjoyed all three), but I can't help but be perplexed by how mainstream it went in popularity, especially with the content. Is the world just that "open" nowadays that an erotica title being a bestseller (top ten no less!) shouldn't surprise us? Don't know...but something to think on. Thanks for the honest (and funny!) review. Happy reading!

Briana said...

Awesome review! I know half of the readers are saying it's a terrible book and the other half are saying it's an amazing book.

I will still read it because once a book becomes this popular and there's so many mixed reviews on it, I feel the need to judge it for myself :P

Also... I heard that if they make it into a movie, Ian Somerhalder would be playing Grey. I'm kind of in love with Ian Somerhalder.

Jackie said...

I did not like this book as well. I felt Christian was a lunatic and Anastasia was just dumb, to say the least.
I don't see how so many women are fans of this book. I felt the writing was like an 8th grade writing project, but for adults. The writing was horrible.

carol said...

I haven't been tempted to read this, which is a good thing, at least in view of most of the reviews I've read lately.

How Jess Reads said...

Yep, not gonna read it. :) I've read many different posts that similar things to what you've said. Sounds like a non-winner to me!

Deb said...

Hi, Michelle, My daughter read and guest posted a review for me on this one. It certainly has taken us all by storm this season! I loved the way you broke it down here. Great post and great blog!

samantha.1020 said...

It sure seems like EVERYONE is at least talking about this book. The amount of non-readers who ask me if I have read (and really expect me to) never fails to surprise me. They can't believe that I haven't read it yet and have no plans to. I love a good romance and have no issues with sex in books. That being said, this book just does NOT sound like my type of read. I'm not interested in it at all. But it sure has people talking! Thanks for sharing your honest opinion!!!!

christa @ mental foodie said...

I enjoyed your honest review. Still haven't read yet. I have to laugh at this review though!