Okay... I have a confession to make. The reason that I've not written in my blog since Monday is that I've been COMPLETELY consumed by Mr. Gray and his fifty shades. Oh my!!
This is the review that I'd written for goodreads.com (there are no spoilers included):
Fifty Shades of Gray by E. L. James
Hmmm... Well, I will start by saying that 1) considering the content of this book, I'm seriously surprised that it's become such a mega hit; 2) I wonder what is taking place in our society that women are gravitating to this book like bees to honey; and 3) if you are even REMOTELY prude, this is NOT the book for you.
I had not heard of this book until a good friend asked whether I'd read it. She said, and I quote, "I can't decide whether this book is completely erotic or whether he's just an asshole." Hmmm... well, I was completely intrigued. Then, suddenly it was all over the news being called, "mom porn." I am a romance aficionado and have read my share of risque books (some I enjoyed and some, not so much.) I was prepared to hate this book. I wondered whether James would have the guts to go where she needed to go. I wondered whether she would be respectful to the BDSM community. I worried that she'd make it a parody or so distasteful that it would completely freak the vanilla world out.
I started this book and found the first 50 pages to be a bit slow. I didn't like that she was trying to make some of the language early twenty-ish. It felt awkward and false. That was the first night. The next day it picked up and I found myself completely unable to put it down. I simply HAD to know what was going to happen next. Needless to say, I got about 4 hours of sleep that night. The sex scenes... frickin' WOW, YES PLEASE!!! I think I have about 12 different bookmarks and am completely prepared to present them to my next lover. I mean, who wouldn't LOVE such a creative lover?!?! Yummy!! Before I'd even finished the first, I had purchased the next two. I couldn't imagine not finding out what happens... as immediately as possible... in the others. I thoroughly enjoyed their dynamic and the byplay between them (I love the email exchanges.) Who wouldn't be intrigued by a man that is so completely into them... duh!!
As for the BDSM aspects, yes... they are definitely, oh so deliciously there. And, James, does a decent job of giving a very high level overview of someone in the life style. She is respectful in indicating that it's about pleasure and pain and that it's ultimately about consent. Remember that... consent! I think that at times Ana WAY overreacts, just as Gray's possessiveness is a bit over the top. But, overall... way too much fun!
Now... that said, for the vanilla people out there who find this book completely erotic and want to try some of this stuff. Be careful!! Do your research!! It's too easy to unintentionally hurt each other physically and emotionally. Practice makes perfect... but not on each other! Remember that this is a ROMANCE NOVEL and NOT REAL LIFE! ALWAYS have a safe word and discuss limits. Go slowly. This book moves really quickly and it's not at all safe. Remember that if this were real life, Mr. Grey would not be sexy... he'd be a frickin' scary stalker!!
Whew... now that that's said... enjoy!!
But, this brings up a very interesting thing for me. What IS IT that's captivating women with this novel? I consider myself to be a hardcore feminist. I believe in equality for women and will support women in any way that I can. I am, absolutely and without a doubt, any man's equal. Perhaps not in all things but when it's balanced out... definitely. By the same token, I want to be the woman in the relationship. I want a man that is strong and capable. I don't want to subjugate myself in order to make "him" feel stronger... I want him to simply be stronger. I want a man that can take charge/control. I'm attracted to leadership. I'm attracted to a man that can make decisions. I find that a man that is able to do that, frees me. I don't have to be the strong one. I don't have to be in control. I can sit in the passenger seat and relax, for once. I can be young and playful and funny and all those other things that responsibility doesn't make me feel. That's not to say always... I believe in partnership and that there's a give and take. I believe that some times I have to be the strong one; which I'm more than capable of being. It's the give and take. I'm not asking for anything that I'm not prepared to give in return. But, most frequently, I find myself involved with men where I feel like I have to be in control because if I'm not, no one else will be. It's exhausting and those relationships never work for me.
I was talking to a woman about "bringing back the feminine." For me, that means having the door held for me, having my partner open the car door, having him place his hand on the small of my back when we enter a room. It's about feeling protected and desired. Not as though I'm the weaker sex... but, perhaps as someone to be cherished. It's about not feeling as though I have to be in control. That if I just... surrender... someone else is capable of stepping up to the plate. That's the romantic aspect.
I think this book also brings out (by it's huge popularity) that women also want to be "taken." That not being in control sexually is WAY TOO much fun! And, we women like sex and creativity and variety so much more than what we're given credit for!!