Monday, 21 May 2012

The 50 Shades of Grey Review

Raven started singing the praises of Fifty Shades of Grey almost two years ago before its phenomenal sales  hit the stratosphere. She said that the first book was amazing, but that books two and three were a disappointment. I have just managed to get through Fifty Shades of Grey and have no intention of even opening the next two volumes of the trilogy.

Don't get me wrong, I am glad that these books have been written as their success should have a knock on effect for the rest of us who write BDSM/CP works. Given the amazing success that C.L. James has had with her books compared to my fairly humble sales up to now, this review could come over as sour grapes, but that is not its aim. Anything that increases our profile is good for all of us, but I just wish that James had written something that was less like a Mills and Boon novel with some spanking thrown in.

That Fifty Shades of Grey owes more to romantic fiction than it ever will to la cosa nostra will be obvious to even the casual reader. Anastasia is our heroine, a 21 year old virgin who meets Christian, the 28 year old mega rich owner of a company based in Seattle. This is where the first doubt kicks in because the hero is just too young to play the role of a dominant, controlling man. He should have been made at least a decade older to be credible, but as a hero in romantic fiction where the age gap between the two main characters is usually about five years then he is perfect. 

This creates the second problem with Fifty Shades of Grey in that this reader was unclear if the book is primarily a BDSM work with the romantic stuff tossed in to appeal to a wider readership, or if it was intended as romantic fiction all along? It looks as if the latter is the case, and if that is so then it opens up a whole new window on Fifty Shades which emerges as little more than a book for the Mills and Boon ladies. Before anybody criticises that approach then it should be remembered that many a Mills and Boon novel contains a spanking scene where the wilful heroine is put over the hero's knee, so why not look at Fifty Shades in the same light?

Thirdly, Christian is obviously damaged goods who needs the love of a good woman to restore him to an emotional even keel. It is obvious that parts two and three of this trilogy will go into vanilla waters as the girl rescues her man, and that is not something that sends out a good image about either us or the world that we live in. The fact that men like me enjoy taking a naughty girl in hand does not mean that the girls we meet do not want to be so taken. We are people who seek each other out and do not seek to become sad vanilla losers. That is why we call them vanillas, because they are bland and boring to anyone who prefers the spicier flavours.

Finally, the prose drags on and on with seemingly no end in site as the girl spends long periods of time anguishing over whether he loves her or not. Please, the reader just wants to reach out and grab her by the neck. The guy is spending time and money on her, what more proof does the silly bitch want?

This is where Fifty Shades loses all touch with the BDSM world. The aim with out works is to create a volume where each chapter flows into the next, so that there is a complete wholeness to the book, but where each chapter can be read individually as a complete unit in itself. The rule is that providing the punter has read the introduction, then he can slip into any chapter and will know immediately what is going on. He can read the chapter, stroke one off, and get on with doing something more important with his life. That is not the case with Fifty Shades where we have to dig through acres of prose to get to the interesting bits. I must be honest and say that I began to skim read after a while and I suspect that I am not the only one.

So, Fifty Shades is a good conversation opener about our world, but it is not a good reflection of it. The prose is turgid in parts and mounds of it have to be covered to find the odd BDSM nugget. That said, you should buy it to have on your bookshelf as it will get the conversation going, especially if you have A Spanking Good Life on the shelf as well!

4 comments:

AFlowerWithoutAName said...

Loved your review...... I rather like your stories better.

Uncle Nick said...

Not stories, exactly, as they really happened. I am posting chapters of my new book as they are written. Return tomorrow for the next one which is a nine parter!

AFlowerWithoutAName said...

Well, that is true Sir. I love your writing then.. It keeps me in suspense.. And i have to tell you even though i am a submissive and probably a switch as well.. I love to spank those girls at times.

But I look for your WRITINGS everyday in my reader.. I just wish you had it to where if you responded, it would come to my email.....

So cool if it would.. Something to think about.. hehe

Uncle Nick said...

I wouldn't know how to organise something like that, even if it were technically possible. Of course, you can always drop me a line at strictuncle@gmail.com if you want...

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