Welcome to the First Edition of The Redhots!
Two Redheads. Two Different Opinions.
It’s Marcia Richards and I serving up spice with our opinion on all things HOT and buzzworthy in the world. We’re kicking off our monthly series with the book that’s been flying off the shelves, sneakily read on airplanes and during office lunch hours, the book you won’t tell your mom you’re reading (unless you’re Marcia), the S & M sensation:
Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy by E.L. James
I started reading this series back in May. I was in the middle of the second one while flying home from the DFW Writers Conference, and I kid you not, the woman sitting next to me on the plane ride over was reading the first book. And on the flight back, the woman sitting next to me was reading the third one. Go figure!
I noticed, that both these women were very discreet trying to read the book on the plane. They had folded the cover over, and leaned into the window. When the flight attendant came around, the woman reading the third book asked for a glass of water, which she proceeded to down! She immediately asked for a second glass.
Now, I’m normally the quintessential poster girl for “Wisconsin Nice,” but I couldn’t help myself. The following is a paraphrase of the conversation we had. J is for me obviously, and P is for Passenger.
J: Are you getting steamy over there?
P: *busted laughing* I know, I tried to be so secret about it, but you caught me!
J: Well, you can have as much water as you want, but if I see that chair of yours tip back, I’m asking the flight attendant for a new seat!
P: *further laughing*
Now, let me give you some background on the very opposing forces in which I was raised. A part of me, will always be shocked that people actually talk about such things out loud. Nine years in Catholic school will do that to a person. Our religious books had titles like Heavy Petting is a No No. Once, after an honest conversation with my father wherein he admitted to having tried cigarettes, I tried the approach with my mother, asking her if she’d had sex before marriage. We were in the car, and I’ve never seen such a horrified look cross anyone’s face, “Jessica! How dare you ask me that question!” She didn’t need to answer for me to know the truth there.
Around mid high school, I became introduced to the French-Cuban writer, Anais Nin. Nin was known for her collection of diaries that spanned 60 some years over the course of the French Bohemian movement. She also penned erotica; started writing it for a dollar a page. Not bad! At the height of her literary career, posters announcing Nin’s readings had to use symbols rather than her name as code so the police wouldn’t turn up. I now have one of these symbols as a tattoo.
If someone would’ve told me that in 2012 the book of the year would be an S & M, sexy pain/toy book, I probably would’ve said Awesome!
Having now read the whole series, I’d rather spend my money in the following two ways: A donation to the local women’s shelter and a new vibrator for me.
Let’s get this over with shall we!
I was fully aware that the series began as a form of Twilight fan-fiction. As you read along, you can practically cut and paste the characters from one to the other. Edward/Christian is a domineering man who is apparently so hot women cannot function through their days without staring at him. Bella/Ana is a naive, socially-awkward girl whose only true talents are falling down and twirling her hair. Jacob/Jose is the only ethnic character and in true form, vanishes from the story all together towards the end.
Let’s see then we have Alice/Mia, the quirky sister who tries to run everyone’s lives. Emmett/Elliot, oooh no subtlety there. The bossy, valedictorian friend Jessica/Kate who will, just like in the movies, be your friend, not be your friend, be your friend – but only after she starts dating your boyfriend’s brother.
Ok, we’re on to the male lead’s parents: financially well off, intrinsically good at everything, and yet still kind Carlisle and Esme/Carrick and Grace. And yes, the female lead’s parents are divorced, with mom remarried and Bella/Ana lives with dear old dad Renee and Charlie/Carla and Ray. What’d the author do, just flip-flop those around? Ruh-nay…Ray!
What is supposed to keep us readers entertained is the eminent danger that Christian and Ana find themselves in when they are haunted by both Christian’s psycho Mrs. Robinson-like ex and Ana’s sleezy boss. However, if I were to choose the real danger in the book, I’d say Christian Grey.
Here’s my rant, readers. I get that is a work of fiction, fan-fiction! By its very definition it is taking elements, or complete storylines, and having fun with them because you enjoyed those characters so much you don’t want them to leave your side! Except that in this case, Christian Grey isn’t a slightly overbearing vampire who only ever shows caring towards his girlfriend in a puppy love-albeit blood-drinking way. In this case, Christian Grey is an abusive man.
At the end of the first book, if Ana was my friend, I would be telling her to RUN and RUN like hell from this guy! And my biggest fear is that women are reading this book and thinking, yah, this is ok, this is sexy! Are they fooling themselves into thinking they can change a guy who is QUOTE: “fifty shades of f*cked up”?
But Jess girl, give the readers some credit! They know it’s just a story!
Are the sex scenes steamy? Yes. Did the book turn me on? At times. But mostly, I wanted to pack a bag for Ana and stay up late watching Girl, Interrupted. I wanted to lend her my copy of The Vagina Monologues. No, what I really wanted to do was to help Ana grow a freaking spine! The subplot of “Ana wants to be an editor” is weak at best. And nothing she accomplishes at work (the only other world we see her in besides the one with Christian) is in merit with what she’s practiced and proved. She’s given everything because her boyfriend owns the company.
And why does he love her? Mr. Fifty Pages of the same adjectives grey eyes with the hot body and million dollar company? Yah, who wouldn’t be obsessed with a mousy-haired, anxious mess that falls through your office door and asks if you’re gay? I know I’m aroused just thinking about it…
And let’s talk plausibility for a moment. If my previous arguments didn’t pull you to my dark side, maybe this plot fail point out will. Several scenes of conflict include multiple break-ins of Christian’s apartment by both a psychologically disturbed ex and Ana’s creepster boss. AND YET, it’s mentioned throughout the WHOLE series that Christian is paying extensive money for one on one security of his whole family! What, did you hire a whole slew of Elmer Fudd’s to protect you? “You wascally-wabbit! You ewuded me again!” Why not invest in ADT? It’s probably more money efficient and they have proven results!
The entire time I was reading this book, I kept wondering when Christian Grey was going to turn into a vampire! At least then I could better separate reality from fiction! But no, he’s just a blood-sucking ass of a guy metaphorically.
Can we please talk about the ending for just a minute? It’s cool, I’ll follow suit with the author and wrap it up in three paragraphs or less because I’m
bored a great writer!
If you’re worried about spoilers, don’t! Once again, if you’ve seen Twilight, you already know where this is going. Only, it’s like the author didn’t have the decency to really show us how the characters changed, so she just stuffed it all in a diaper bag/epilogue.
I’m so happy to be done reading this series, and I couldn’t wait to tell you not to! You may not believe me after the reaping I just put E.L. through, but I am proud of her for finding a market that made her more popular than Harry Potter! I say kudos for getting the erotic genre more fame in mass media. I hope she keeps writing. But I also hope she doesn’t expect me to read it.
Don’t take my word for it! Read between the lines with Marcia Richards! The woman who told me that Christian Grey was “following her around the house for days!”
I told you he was a stalker!
Catch more of the Redhots next month when we review the film Hope Springs.