April 02, 2012

Fifty Shades of...Meh

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time. Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

When I first heard what Fifty Shades of Grey was about I told myself I would not read it. I really had no desire to read a "Twilight for soccer moms" book complete with the...um...intimacy that Twilight lacked. So of course I caved. There was so much discussion over this book I became intrigued. Is it 'Romance' or is it 'Porn?' Is it too graphic in nature or an impossible love story? In the end it was the controversial talk over this book by E.L. James that made me read it. I needed to know what all the fuss was over!

Curiosity kills the cat once again.

Okay, so I am not a huge romance novel follower. I have read a couple and it's really more than enough. I don't need all the seedy (yet swoon inspiring) details. That's why I read YA. *grin* Reading 50 Shades further solidified my love for YA. I am not a fan of 50 Shades. *GASP!* I know! A woman that is not in love with this book! Egads what is our species coming to? Perhaps my X chromosome is not X-y enough. Or perhaps I don't have enough estrogen pumping in my blood. Or perhaps I am just not soccer mom-y enough. Who knows? Maybe, it just comes down to the fact I would like more from my plot and characters than what 50 Shades had to offer.

First, let's talk story. This is where I can see the Twilight reference: ridiculously hot, impossibly wealthy and deliciously conflicted stud of a guy falls head over heels for generally likable, yet infuriatingly naive, mousy wall flower. Okay, check! Now I am not Twilight bashing (huge fan here...like HUGE), but I don't see the similarities other than this tid-bit. And despite this all-too-familiar plot line there really is no story, other than the sex. And that just doesn't do it for me. Granted the shmexy stuff was pretty freakin' hot and I often had to look over my shoulder to ensure nobody saw what I was reading while I fanned my face. Woooo nelly! But I need more than a nice flush to keep me interested in the story. Maybe this is just an erotica thing...

Characters: oh boy we could have done better here. Let's talk Anastasia (Ana). I don't like her. She is way too naive to be believable for me. She is sort of dull, has no life, no real interests (other than books = shocker), and is kind of --- flat. Ana is supposed to be a nearly 22 year old college grad, but is often written in a voice much more immature. This was not so good on my brain. I had to keep reminding myself that Ana was a grown woman and NOT a sixteen year old girl. Then she switches back to Literary guru co-ed with an extensive vocab only to fall back on the sixteen year old again. I found it to be quite irritating and I almost put the book down. One day I actually turned to the friend who had lent me the book and asked, "does Ana get any better?"

But then there is Christian Grey. He is really the reason I kept reading. This man, though the epitome of impossibilities, is a delish character. He is beautiful, closed off, broken, conflicted, powerful, but yet has a softer side that peeks out from behind the multitude of walls around him from time to time. Christian is hypnotic. I loved this guy. When he admitted to being "fifty shades of f----- up" I swear I fist pumped the air. This is what I want! Layered characters! YES! Sorry...let me collect myself again... *grin* This wonderfully broken man was the reason I flipped page after page. I needed to see if he would finally cave and admit to his feelings.

I did see one little flaw in Christian, however. I know.. GROOOAAANN! Despite my love of this character, I found that he often seemed to be written like a woman. I understand that E.L James is a woman, but Christian's voice didn't seem natural at times. It was like listening to what a woman 'thinks' a man 'should' sound like, if that makes sense. Granted, this is erotica so it's 'a woman's fantasy,' but dammit I want my men to be MEN.

I would also like to know why is it the mousy, understated girl is always surrounded by the beautiful people and stalked by the hot guys, but she remains clueless to life. Take Kate, Ana's roommate. She is hot, blond, perfect, and generally everything Ana thinks she, herself, is not. Then there is Jose, Ana's guy-friend who also has an insane crush on her. Jose is tall, dark and super hot too. He has the hots for Ana, but she is not interested. Then we meet Kate's brother who also is perfection on legs and happens to be very friendly with our lead gal. All this just bothers me. Can I get some variety? Please?

The pace was good, the dialogue seemed to flow overall, but the ending sucked. I know this is a trilogy and that as an author you need to leave something open for the next book, but there has to be closure of some kind. Maybe I missed it, but there didn't seem to be any closure in 50 Shades. It was all build-up to something important only to not get there at all. Truthfully, I was left sort of cheated. I am not sure I will pick up the next book. Maybe I will, if just to see if Christian comes around. Or I may just get the highlights from someone who has already read it.

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