Monday, 16 July 2012

Oh Fifty, Fifty, Fifty

Well, my husband is very pleased to know that I've finished the Fifty Shades Trilogy by EL James.  And yknow what?  So am I.  At first I was intrigued - "What's all this about Mummy Porn?!" I wondered.  I'm a mummy...  I'm not going to mention the porn part....  But I thought, okay, so this must be for me.  Right?

Erm, well kinda.  Firstly I didn't like the age of the first character - if she was aiming it at 'mummies' then making the narrator/heroine 22 years old was a bit of a crap move.  I suppose it gave her more of an ability to play on the whole innocence lost theme.  And trust me, that was a big theme, for both Miss. Steele and Mr. Grey.  And that got boring.  Quickly. As did the supposed heroines dumb-ass subconscious and the way she over-thought everything!  Her over-thinking, takes up at least 1/2 the Trilogy.  You've met a rich man who likes a bit of domination - stop whining about it and enjoy it for FFS.  I bloody would!

But that wasn't the bit that bored me the most about the book.  Quite frankly, the sex in this book was a let down.  Kinky fuckery my foot!  It was more vanilla than a tub of soft serve!  And the language the writer used repeatedly was quite frankly childish.  Has this woman had an orgasm?!  It was repetitive and dull.  I don't think any of it particularly turned me on.  Perhaps it was too obvious, too in your face.  I'm sure it has worked wonders for some couple's sex lives - but not mine.  Mainly because my face was buried in it, gripped by the 'other' side of the book.

Because, supposed kinky fuckery aside, I will just say that parts of the Trilogy were pretty gripping.  In a predictable way most of the time, but still, it had me hooked for a week!  I think someone on Twitter hit the nail on the head last week when they advised, "It's not high art, but that's not what everyone wants. It's like a soap, but mucky."  And of course she was totally right.  It hadn't occurred to me until then.  I had been spending a lot of time reading the books and getting somehow offended when people said they thought the books were crap and badly written.  I guess because I felt it was an affront on my own intelligence - that I was thick for enjoying the escapism that the books were offering.

I feel a bit like, you need to read a soap opera of a book sometimes for your brain to recover from the more important stuff that you want to read and absorb.  I'm not going to compare the books directly with Marian Keyes, Lisa Jewell, Sophie Kinsella et al. as the characters and storylines in their books are much richer, if not deeper, but it's the same sort of easy reading escapism offered by the general chick lit genre.

Lets face it, these books aren't exactly ground breaking - erotica and romance fiction has been around for some time now.  Is it the level of kinky fuckery (or perceived level thereof) that has made these books such a hit?  Housewives, used to the most vanillarest of vanilla are suddenly struck by the heady combination of pain for pleasure?  Maybe.  I wonder if Ann Summers light bondage range is seeing a boost in sales.  And M&S silver grey ties for that matter...!

So yes, I think Mucky Soap Opera is probably a good summation of these books.  By the end of the third book, I was totally ready for it to finish.  The third book did have some good gripping stuff in it, but the rest of it was just a bit too predictable for my liking, I think the whole series was, and I think that's one of its biggest failings.  Let's not forget, it all started as a bit of Twilight Fan Fiction, and the author even signs off the Prologue of Fifty Shades Freed in the style of something she's just posted on a forum thread.  And this is where it comes back to the accusations of it being written by a teenager.  

I'm going to let you in on a secret, when I was 15 maybe, a friend and I used to co-write a story.  It was based around us, and two boys that we fancied at the time, it had moderate sex (a subject we knew utterly fuck all about, and looking back, I laugh wholeheartedly at the way we've written about it!!), marriage, houses, babies, holidays, nice cars.  It was total, self-indulgent, fantasy fiction.  And that's pretty much was Fifty Shades is - a story of a boy and a girl, who fall in love, own mad cars, plush houses, yachts, helicopters, have staff, security, shoppers and stalkers and who ultimately, have babies and live happily ever after!  And you have to hand it to the woman - she's sold fucking millions of books, which are basically self-indulgent, mild sexual fantasy that started for her own gratification.  If my friend and I had thought longer and harder about it, maybe we'd be the ones raking it in!

Oh, and as an aside, I have suggested Andy read them.  He's declined, saying he will wait for the film.  If they cast anyone other than Ryan Gosling in it, I may cry!


  1. I thought it was shocking! And by that I mean how rubbish the writing was. The protagonist is an idiot, it's not believable, and you're right, the sex is vanilla! As an English teacher, I'm all for people reading more... But seriously? This fan fiction should have stayed in EL James' laptop...

    Can I suggest 'The story of O' for proper filth? ;-)

    Laura x (BridestockBride)

    1. Oooh, thanks for the suggestion love!!


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