The story got everyone talking and the sex scenes got everyone tingling, and then, to the horror of English lit majors and book publishers everywhere, E.L. James lusty novel, 50 Shades of Grey, spread across the nation like a literary strain of herpes.
I read the whole book. I sat through the whole movie. I survived the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon and lived to tell about it... So that's what I'm doing.
I don't even want to talk about how truly, exceptionally, remarkably bad the writing is, so I'll only say this; The writing is the worst! At this point, it's pretty much universally accepted that 50 Shades of Grey does not owe its popularity to prose. If you need an example of why, google it. Or you can just trust me when I say that, as far as books go, this is a really shitty one.
For those who are completely unfamiliar with 50 Shades of Grey, perhaps because you're lucky enough to have been in a coma or lost in the woods for the past year or so, the story goes like this:
Anastasia Steele is a socially awkward, clumsy, nerd-virgin who has no idea how super-duper hot she is under her frumpy cardigan sweater and messy ponytail. But when Christian Grey (the youngest, hottest billionaire in all the land) meets her, he instantly sees her naughty sex-kitten potential, and then she bites her lip and it's all over - he's smitten. He must have her! And by “have” I mean “own”. So he buys her. Sort of.
Anastasia is smart and educated, and she isn't really sure she wants to be bought, so whenever he spends tons of money on her she tells herself that she will give his extravagant gifts back eventually. That way it's more like a loan, or a rental agreement, and she feels much better about receiving costly gifts of books and clothes and computers and cars. SHE'S NOT GOING TO KEEP THEM, YOU GUYS. Anastasia Steel is a strong, independent woman and she will not be bought! So there.
Then there's this boring part where Christian starts to feel bad because he knows what he wants to do to Ana (which is tie her up and flog her) and so he pushes Anna away because he doesn't want to hurt her. I mean, he does, but he's a gentleman. He wants to take care of her. So for a minute he just, y'know, watches her and looks after her and protects her and stuff. Like a big
Some more things happen, I don't remember what, until finally Christian Grey is so deeply attracted to this unusual girl, so utterly enthralled by her natural beauty, so taken by her charm, SO TOTALLY TURNED ON BY THIS LIP BITING MINX HE CANNOT WAIT ANOTHER MINUTE TO BE WITH HER...so he has his lawyer draw up a non-disclosure for her to sign and return. Which she does.
But wait! Christian has more paperwork for her to sign before he can “date” her, because romance. And also because it turns out this gorgeous, wealthy, hunk of man-candy comes with a liiiiiitle bit of baggage she needs to know about. He reveals his secret fetish to Anastasia by showing her his “play room” full of whips and chains and sex contraptions, and he explains that he likes women who like it rough. The rougher the better - but only as long as everyone is having a good time.
But wait! Anastasia has a little secret of her own. Because, even though they've known each other for like two whole weeks, she's failed to mention that she's still a virgin. So when Christian tries to talk to her about sex and stuff, she bites her lip and admits that she's never, y' know, done it before. *womp womp* But Christian really likes this girl, so he's not about to let the inconvenience of an intact hymen get in the way of the possibility of their future mutually agreed upon relationship terms. So, like a true gentleman, he takes care of business, and Ana's first time is a festival of orgasms.
In fact, her very first sexual experience is so awesome - and not at all awkward or fumbly or goopy – she is like, “WAIT. IS THAT WHAT SEX IS LIKE?!?! I WANT MORE!!! GIMME GIMME GIMME!!!”
And he's like “Whoa girl, there's more where that came from. All you have to do is sign on the dotted line.”
By this time, you've got the idea that Christian Gray has some kind of weird sexual preferences, but he is pleasantly surprised by how much he liked having non-weird sex with Anastasia, just this once. He thinks her potential for weird sex is so great, he practically gets down on one knee to ask her to be his submissive sex partner. He tells her how he wants to dominate her in his play room, and he gives Anastasia a big, fat contract and a brand new laptop and tells her to do some research into the whole dominant/submissive thing. Which she does, cause she's cool like that.
At this point Ana is starting to think she might be seeing some red flags, like, everywhere. But Christian is super hot. And super rich. So she decides to think about it. While she thinks about it, they are cute with each other via email and text.
He is just dying for her to say yes to his proposal, and when it's time for her to make the big decision, she's basically like, “Alright, fine, I'll be your submissive. But no fisting.” And Christian decides he can live without fisting, so it's all good. UGH, SO ROMANTIC! So she signs a contract agreeing that he can tell her what to eat, what to wear, how often to exercise, and when and where to sleep. Among other things, she also agrees not to touch him or look him in the eye during sex and not to disobey him in any way. Plus, she agrees to being spanked as a form of punishment if she breaks any of his rules. Oh! And she agrees to wait for him naked, on her knees, head down, with her hair in a braid whenever she is beckoned to the boom-boom play room.
At first, she's kinda freaked out. But then she gets spanked for rolling her eyes and afterward Christian rubs her butt with lotion, and he is so sweet and tender toward her sore, beaten ass, she can't help but swoon a little. In the playroom, some whipping and flogging happens, but he is mostly gentle and kind as he grooms her to be more to his liking. They take it slow and much to her surprise, Anastasia finds out she's kind of into it. Like, it actually feels kinda good.
Many more orgasms occur. So many that you start to think Christian Grey is just a show off.
Between orgasms we learn things about this mysterious, bondage loving, philanthropist. Dark things. Things that make us go, “OOoooOOhhh, that makes sense!”
We find out the smokin' hot, gazillionaire was a crack-baby, tortured and starved in early childhood, rescued by rich people after he is severely traumatized by his birth mother's gruesome death, then sexually abused as a teenager by his adoptive Mom's BFF, who he swears is not a child molester, just a “really good friend”.
Naturally, Anastasia is like, “Oh my!” And she needs a little space to process all that's happened, so she flies out to visit her Mom on the East Coast and take a little break. Like 5 minutes later, Christian shows up. Because he cares about her! NOT because he is obsessed, or controlling, or creepy. IT'S ROMANTIC, YOU GUYS! The whole time, Anastasia is confused by her feelings, because she doesn't really like being stalked and controlled, and she can plainly see that this guy is like super fucked up, but she loves him and she wants to help him get better and she thinks that maybe if she just hangs in there, eventually he might let her touch him during sex. Or make eye contact.
|Love is SO confusing! |
Am I hot, or am I a dork?!
I DON'T EVEN KNOW ANY MORE!!!
All these big feelings make her bite her lip. A lot.
When they get back to his rich people apartment, something I can't remember happens, and they get into a heated argument and Anastasia tells Christian to spank her as hard as he wants, so he does, and afterward he tries to rub some lotion on her butt to help her feel better, but she will not have it. Girl is PISSED. Then she's all, ''I don't think I can do this.” And she gives him all his expensive gifts back (thereby ending her unwritten rental agreement) and she leaves.
She never wants to see Christian Grey again! But, also, she wants to marry him. She wants to slap him! But she also wants to kiss him. She definitely doesn't want him to slap her with anything ever again! Except maybe a little. Mostly, she just wants to forget she ever met him... and slept with him... and let him strip her, tie her to a bed, and drool champagne into her mouth, baby-bird style. (Because that happened.)
You guys, love is so confusing! ANASTASIA STEELE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT SHE WANTS ANY MORE!
I have so many thoughts about 50 Shades of Grey, I don't even know where to begin...