So I am going to start this post with a confession. I haven’t actually finished reading Fifty shades of grey yet. No indeed, there is a small part of that particular experience still left for me to savour. I’ve probably read enough though, to be frank… And yet…
I mean please don’t get me wrong; it’s awful. As in properly awful. I always feel faintly embarrassed whenever I read it – not because I’m nuts deep, so to speak, in a ‘mucky boook’ as I like to imagine my Scouse mother in law (if I had one) might call it – but because the writing is so mortifyingly bad, so unimaginative and ridden with cliche, that I’m never quite sure whether to laugh or cry.
And yet… having said all that, I can’t put the buggering thing down.
The plot of course has been done to death: young, naive, mousy virgin falls for powerful, handsome, ‘brooding’ man, and a darkly flavoured relationship develops. It follows very much in the tradition of mainstream romantic fiction in that respect, and certainly the sado masochistic sexual power-play between the submissive ‘Ana’ and the dominant ‘Christian’ seems often in the book to play second fiddle to the examination of the relationship dynamics as a whole. In other words, for a novel deemed to be pornographic, there could have been far more fucking in my humble opinion.
The sex scenes that do exist however, are nothing short of hilarious. One wonders at times if the book can really have been written by a woman. We are, for example, expected to suspend our disbelief and just roll with the idea that a virgin who has never so much as masturbated herself to orgasm, achieves her first ever climax as a result of having her nipple sucked for all of three seconds. Also that whilst administering her first ever blow-job she discovers she is, conveniently, sans gag reflex and so can effectively deep throat with the best of ‘em.
Call me cynical if you like (shrugs), but it just seems unlikely to me.
Nevertheless, despite a main female character who habitually uses exclamations such as, “holy cow!” and, “Oh my” with a straight face, and insists on repeatedly channeling her “inner goddess” for fucks sake – plus a deeply unconvincing male dom who I personally find a bit wet – there is something about Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s a page turner, pure and simple. The Dan Brown of the romantic/erotic fiction world. A guilty pleasure like Chris de Burgh (um that was a joke.)
So would I ultimately recommend Fifty Shades of Grey? Yes, despite everything, I would. It’s very easy to read, pure escapist, often unintentionally funny, nonsense. And so far I’ve rather enjoyed it. So sue me.