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.
It’s been happening for awhile. Trilogies are sweeping the nation. Whether it started with The Lord of the Rings or condensed comic book heroes made into movies: i.e. Batman, Spiderman, trilogies are taking over. Many of you have blogged about the summer hit film, The Avengers, and you know what I heard, they’re planning on making another one! Which is great, except that before they do, they have to make the third Iron Man, the second Captain America and the second Thor. Really? That’s a lot of action heroes! And yet, I know I’ll go to see them!
What is it about trilogies? Why are they so addicting? Sure there’s the need to know how the story ends, but that can’t be the only reason, can it?! Whatever the must see/must read component is, here are a few of my favorites.
Top 10 Guilty Pleasure Trilogies of All Time:
1. Indiana Jones
Let’s face it, the man has one of the coolest theme songs out there! I wish my life was cool enough to warrant its use. I also wish I got to travel as much, save so many lives, and use a whip to swing from crumbly decaying buildings once in awhile, but that point is moot. Indiana Jones is the smart woman’s action hero. He’s intelligent, physically pleasing with his strong muscly arms and crooked smile, and I bet he even smells good. What made his trilogy so successful? I think it’s the legends: We’ve got lost arks, jungles and temples of doom, and the search for the holy grail. Indiana’s quests are the quests of everyman: knowledge, adventure, and in most cases, women.
Even though they’ve created more Star Wars films, they’re still marketing them as a trilogy. But the best will always remain the original. It was cutting edge technology of its time and contained all the necessary components of a guilty pleasure film: coming of age tale, evil daddy issues, romantic interludes, wise mentor, space wars, light sabers, and wookies.
The Lord of the Rings
When this book series became a film trilogy, this story launched for the first time in awhile crowds of people waiting to get into the theater again. The films were so successful they released box set collections of extended cut films and people in my high school started wearing one rings around their necks! That’s a hard core trilogy.
The Twilight Series
Say what you will about the Twilight Series, you can’t deny it’s successful storm sweep of book sales and movie sales. To my knowledge this is where the “Team So and So” became part of pop culture. Girls and guys were wearing t-shirts with Team Edward or Team Jacob, but you never see t-shirts saying Team Han Solo or Team Luke Skywalker, and why is that?! On a purely unrelated note, my favorite t-shirt of all time might be the college TV show Felicity tee that simply says “I choose Noel.” Which, some could argue was the starting point of all this “Team _____” business. Just sayin’.
The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy
If we’re recognizing Twilight, then you need it’s equally successful fan fiction spin off turned bestselling BDSM love story! Now that’s am impressive feat! Moms around the world, (including Marcia Richards’ mom – can you believe that?) are picking up Fifty Shades and falling in love with control freak Christian Grey and naïve little Ana Steele. Have you checked out this new risque series? Stay tuned for a co-review on the whole she-bang (pun intended) by Marcia Richards and I later this month.
Anne of Green Gables
Ok, things were getting steamy in here, and some of you I already know left me to go read Fifty Shades again, but we’re cooling things down a notch with the Anne of Green Gables trilogy, film versions consisting of Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. If you’re going to make the third movie years after the other two, then this is how you do it, with the same actors, same character antics, and a happily ever after. Jonathan Crombie, I will always love you! And Anne, don’t ever stop writing!
The Hunger Games
Expect greatness from the newly released first movie, but the books are certainly taking over. Heck, they’ve become required reading in some schools! Can you believe that? Move over Lord of the Flies and Animal Farm, Teacher’s got a new toy! What’s your prediction on the number of Katniss Everdeen’s who trick or treat at your house this year?
While the X-Men films aren’t particularly my favorite, I was a routine watcher of the cartoon after school and therefore had to partake. Whatever lacked in the second film, was made up in the third, X-Men: Last Stand. And the special effects did let us get to glimpse all our favorite mutants! Except one, where was Gambit? Was I alone in missing my mischievous french/cajun with the gambling problem?
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Trilogy
I haven’t gotten to this trilogy yet myself, but it’s one more of the recent releases to have been adapted into film, and even Oscar nominated. It’s a regular title appearing on mens and women’s bookshelves and if you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your opinion!
Saving the best for last, a total guilty pleasure favorite of mine, I wholeheartedly and unabashedly LOVE the entire Jurassic Park trilogy! Something about dinosaurs makes me feel like a kid again, even when I’m watching them chase down and devour other people. *insert childlike chuckle* This trilogy was amazing for its special effects, bringing dinosaurs to life again and if Spielberg ever does make the fabled fourth film, I’m totally going to see it. P.S. My useless knowledge for Jurassic Park trilogy information won me a free shot at a game of trivia in South Korea! How random, you say? More like, how awesome!
Those are my top 10 guilty pleasure trilogies of all time. What’s on your list? Did I miss any crucial 3 parters? What’s your favorite one? And of that trilogy, do you have a favorite film/book in the series? AND, what trilogy character would you dress up as for Halloween if you weren’t responsible for making the costume yourself?