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50 Shades of Oh yes, it kept me interested
By Gloria Diaz
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Fort Wayne Reader
I’m usually way behind or out of the loop when it comes to pop culture. I wasn’t into Harry Potter or Twilight. But I was all over The Hunger Games. The movie, that is. Back in 2008, my concerns were surviving, not buying young adult fiction. But when I found out about the books, I bought them.
And now, I’m into publishing’s latest phenomenon, 50 Shades of Grey. I have a selfish motivation for this book doing so well. I’m hoping that my own version of erotic fiction will ride the coattails of this book’s success and that I can have a say in who plays my characters when I sell the movie rights. Yeah, right. Anyway, I can dream.
I broke down and bought the book. A friend sent me a link to a blog which trashed the book left, right, and center; however, I can see the appeal. The young female protagonist is about to graduate with an English degree and meets Christian Grey while interviewing him for the school’s paper. She wouldn’t normally be doing this, but her roommate, who is the paper’s editor, is sick and begs Anastasia to fill in for her. Ana, a virgin and seemingly not interested in men, is entranced by Christian Grey, who is courtly and cool at the same time. He’s extremely handsome, extremely wealthy, and Ana feels intimidated by him, even though she must be fairly good looking herself. There are lots of details about how Grey looks, but not how Ana looks. Perhaps it’s her innocence that attracts him, but once he sets eyes on her, Christian Grey plans on getting her. On his terms.
And those terms are the very thing that has made the book a best seller. Grey is one twisted dude. The Red Room is full of interesting restraints. Grey wants the fun and games to remain just that. However, Ana wants more. She wants to be in love and be loved by Christian. He’s not into that. The bulk of the book is about their sexual encounters, but looming in the background is the written agreement Christian wants her to sign. To say he’s the dominant in this relationship is an understatement; he wants to control what she eats and wants her to work out with a personal trainer. Even getting gifts from him like first editions and an Audi hatchback and how he seemingly knows her every mood and coming to her rescue aren’t enough for Ana to sign the agreement. While she’s flattered by the stuff, Christian Grey fascinates her, but also creeps her out. She’s also powerfully attracted to him.
The book isn’t great literature. It suffers from repetition (in chapter three, she blushes or flushes eight times) and her exclamations (“holy crap!”) or (“shit”) seem to be the only things she can say in moments of stress.
But one thing the book gets right is how Ana feels whenever she’s around Christian. As someone who has met a few men in her life that really got her juices flowing, the book does a good job in describing how that feels. There have been rare men that have had a major effect on me, but I haven’t forgotten any of them. Their confidence is a bit, worrying; their presence almost frightening. But like a car crash, you don’t want to stop looking at them. Unlike Ana, the men who’ve had that effect on were unattainable in some way. Either married, or not interested.
But Ana is lucky. She is desired by a man who can offer her anything and everything, except perhaps (in the first book, that is) a true first love. There are a couple more books to go, and I have to say, I’m interested enough to see where the rest of the story goes. Despite all the flushing (she needs to get a backbone; if I had a hot rich guy interested in me, you couldn’t wipe the smile off my face) and exclamations of “holy crap,” I’m hoping for a happy ending.
And I’m also hoping for a trend of “mommy porn” fiction to flood the market, especially if I can cash in on it.