It’s been five years since the book was released and almost two years since the film adaptation was broadcast in the cinemas. When I was working as a ticket collector in Cinema City my fears proved to be relevant. Watching that awful amount of people flooding the rooms gave me the feeling that this fifty shades thing managed to have a huge impact on millions of people. The question is why? Why did this have to happen?
Let’s focus on the book, the source of this whole phenomenon, and try to define what Fifty Shades of Grey is. According to my mental dictionary, it is a book which spread rapidly as wildfire all over the world; which settled down in the life of many women; which forced several talented writers into the background; which inspired other hundreds of authors to write pornographic novels.
The Internet is contaminated by the influence of this creation (cannot be called a book, to be honest) and crowds of fans line up to celebrate and defend the trilogy. Yeah, you heard it. Fifty Shades of Grey is just the start.
I admit that at the very beginning I became curious about the book, too. I was attracted by the poster advertising something exciting and unique which never ever occurred before. I read a few pages then I put it back to the shelf and left the bookstore with a terrified look in my eyes. This world is ripe to perish if such books become published and, what’s more, are called best-sellers.
I swear I tried to go on reading. But I failed. I couldn’t exclude the hatred I felt during reading it. Besides, it honestly let me down. Harmful object! Put it down!
Everything in this book is unpretentious both in terms of writing skills, structural construction, word choice and – last but not least – characterization. What might you, E.L. James have felt when writing this book? Did you have problems in your relationship and through writing this you tried to refresh it? Have you ever read literature or held a book in your hands at all? I wish I could ask her these questions. The single possible answer is that she might have fallen into the ecstasy of her own insanity while writing sex scenes that she forgot about how to compose normal and well-constructed sentences. Repeating the same nerve-wrecking phrases and swear words over and over does not really prove the writer’s creativity. This brings us to the characteristics of the female protagonist, Anastasia Steele, since the book is written from her point of view. She is said to be a shy but educated and romantic literature-lover university student. In contrast, the reader gets a miserably immature and reckless little girl who is keen on getting laid by the love of her life (who is a sadist, by the way). Her internal monologues and the wide range of variations of holy cow make her extremely boring after the first seventy pages (the book is 400-page long, just saying). OK, maybe it’s just me, but I would have expected a bit more from a university student who reads Austen, Brönte, and Hardy and who is into the masterpieces of the English and American literature. E. L. James didn’t consider that her word use highly influences the impression on a character, especially when the point of view is first person singular.
But what about the male protagonist, the notorious, Christian Grey? He is described as an Adonis with the perfect body that is the dream of every woman. He is a millionaire earning a fortune and having a garage full of the latest car models plus he has his own helicopter. He is the man wearing expensive suits and having expensive gadgets. Oh, and have I mentioned that he is a control freak sadist with abnormal sexual taste which involves beating the woman who signed the contract to be his submissive sex partner? Who wouldn’t want that?!
This is the ideal male type, according to the book. But, is it a good representation of a relationship in the eye of the young female generation? Does this book serve as a realistic example of the sexuality of women? And here I would like to emphasize that the problem with this story is not that it has sex in it, but the way it is written and represented. It breaks my heart to think about the possibility that 13-year-old teenage girls might socialise on this book and might want to follow the same pattern. I saw in the cinema that every age-group was attracted, from the teenager to the pensioner. They were all eager to see the movie which makes me assume that the majority has read the book as well. It makes me sad. Very sad.
All in all, we have terrible characters without any traceable character development (since Anastasia desires Christian for the rest of the book without considering his abnormality, and Christian can’t come up with any other explanation than “Because it’s the way I am; Don’t try to change me), zero logic and writing skills, not to mention that the whole story started out as a Twilight fan-fiction… How can this book be taken seriously? I can only hope that those readers who liked the Twilight books haven’t touched this one.
And in case you don’t have enough from the disgusting shades, now you will get Fifty Shades Darker on next year’s Valentine’s Day…