Sunday, 16 September 2012

Fifty Shades of ... (fill in the gap)

WARNING:  SPOILER ALERT!  If you haven't read these books yet and don't want to ruin the experience then please do not read any further.  I will not be offended, I'd much rather you enjoy the them properly.
If you have read them, then do read on ...

I really don't know where to begin with this review of the Fifty Shades Trilogy. I'm not even sure what possessed me to read it in the first place. I guess there was so much hype about it that I was curious to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately I was to be deeply disappointed.

I've read lots of stories about how these books have transformed the lives of so many women, making them more adventurous in the bedroom, and that they've found the lead character, Mr Christian Grey, to be their ideal man.
From the very first chapter I found that he was more of a creepy old man than the picture of my ideal. His character in the book was supposed to be about 27, but he seemed to be portrayed as someone much older than this.
His main focus in the books was young Anastasia Steele, who seemed to be much younger than the 22 that she was supposed to be. With this age difference in mind, however unintentional, it made for some quite uncomfortable reading.

The main draw to these novels for many people is undoubtedly the sheer amount of descriptive sexual encounters that is prevalent throughout all three books. Take all of this away though and there isn't really much of a plot. In fact, remove all of the sex completely and what remains would probably fit into a single book.
Now, I don't want to come across here as any kind of prude. I have no issues with the level of detail, other than the fact that it leaves nothing to the imagination. There is something to be said for giving away the simplest of details and letting the readers fill in the rest. I would rather not have it shoved in my face at every opportunity, a little credit would be nice for being able to fill in the gaps.

It seemed somewhat absurd to me that Anastasia Steele is first introduced as a fairly shy and studious girl, with little experience with men, and within weeks she is transformed into some kind of voracious sex goddess by an overbearing, dominant man with supposed childhood issues. The issues being the root cause of his behaviour.
The way the story is written you'd be forgiven for thinking that a man had thought of it, especially how the two characters interact with one another. The woman is at fault most of the time and has to conform to his preferences, but whenever she has any real issues and tries to talk about them he just distracts her with sex every time. The most frustrating part being that she lets him succeed.

I found the believability of the whole thing took a complete nose-dive when it came to his seemingly endless wealth, although it's not ever clear quite how he amassed such a status. Buying the company that she'd just started to work for, and having numerous jets, helicopters, houses, cars. A lot of the time it seemed to be a massive advert for Audi, BlackBerry and Apple. (Hmmm, I wonder if they got any royalties for that …)

I just couldn't get my head around these characters, both having a complete change around and getting married and pregnant all in the space of less than a year.

You're probably wondering why I continued reading these books if I found them so annoying in so many ways, and this is a question I have been asking myself. At times the whole experience put me off reading completely, making it seem more of an effort than a pleasure.
I suppose I was curious to know if it would ever get any better, and to see exactly where she was going to go with the whole thing.
As it turns out, the ending was pretty naff. The resolution of it all being him spilling his early life story to her and filling in the gaps. Well, it wasn't very interesting as we kind of knew most of it anyway, and it left no resolution for me as a reader. It was more of a 'was that it?' kind of feeling.
And just when I thought the pain was all over, there was more. The final pages were a complete rehash of the very first pages, only from his point of view rather than hers. What a waste of time that was, they seemed more like page fillers for the sake of it rather than interesting content.

It was a huge sense of relief when I finally finished it, knowing now that I can go on to read something far more enjoyable, with more substance to it.
The only good thing to really come out of reading these novels was to pick up tips on how not to write my own stories. But you know, if that's a standard that's getting published, then there's hope for the rest of us … I hope …

Rating: 1/5

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read them but not planning to either. Good review!

    "if that's a standard that's getting published, then there's hope for the rest of us"- definitely, yes!