Saturday, August 2, 2014

Judging a Book By the Contents of Its Characters

I have read 50 Shades of Grey.

Oh, stop laughing.  A lot of my co-workers, back during my temping days, had read it and sung its praises, so I borrowed a copy and went at it with my literary razors.  No sense letting all my expensive training go to waste, you know.

In my defense, at the time, I hadn't heard about the really "spicy" parts; all I knew was that every woman with functional ovaries listed it as her favorite book.  Imagine my shock, horror, and irritation to discover that it was porn.

Mainstream porn.  And now there's a movie.  *shudder*

Anyway, it's not even written well.  No, what would I have known back then about how sex actually works?  (Though in retrospect, now that I have experience, it still is ridiculous.)  I'm talking about the parts in between.  It was touted as a love story, but it's anything but.

It's a story about a child-abuse victim perpetuating the cycle, and how you the reader should be okay with that.

I'll bet you didn't notice that.  You were too busy watching the empty-shell bodies do weird and painful things to notice that Christian Grey has serious issues.  I wasn't too busy.  I've read Rikki Ducornet and watched Quest for Fire for college credit; violent rapey porn does nothing for me.

Well, except for the occasional PTSD flashback, but that's beside the point.

As I was saying, Grey is very obviously not any kind of "alpha" by anyone's definition.  What he really is (and this is canon!) is a former victim of child abuse by his crack-ho mother's pimp.  After her death, he was adopted by a super-wealthy-omg family--among whose friends was an unrepentant child molester who liked to torture her victims and convince them it's love.  And guess whom she targeted?  And guess what that victim decided to do to others?  (Hint:  What do you think is the main "attraction" of the book?)

And guess what this book does on a large scale?

It's probably not what E.L. James had in mind, but she's furthering the acceptance of child molestation and serial abuse* in the same way that The Vagina Monologues tried to legitimize it and how NAMBLA operates:  portraying it as "good rape".

Yes, granted, she makes gestures in the direction of calling it bad.  Ana, the "heroine", has a hate crusade against Grey's molester--but, unfortunately, it comes off entirely as jealousy over a past fling; not wrong in itself, but that's hardly the denunciation one wants here.  And considering that it's implied that all the things he does to Ana (that are supposed to be sexy) were things previously done to him by Elena...

This is evil stuff.  This book is evil.  The movie will be evil.  And it's time we stopped snickering at the women who fell into it and start praying for them and enlightening them instead.

* No, it's not because it's against a woman here.  I'm against anyone brainwashing anyone into calling abuse "love".


  1. Prior to your review, my impression was that the book was just goofy S&M, but now it sounds positively gross. I think you're right that prayers are in order.

  2. When I first heard of it, I knew it had to be bad.

    When I first heard that it was based off Twilight fanfic, I knew it had to be really bad.

    But now I know that it is really, really, reallyevil bad, not awful bad.

    I'm sure the prophet Isaiah would have something to say about al of this.

  3. Oh, I forgot the extra dose of disturbing:

    It's revealed, during the course of the story, that he deliberately chooses women who resemble his dead crack ho mother to inflict pain on. In other words, he's using this to get revenge on her memory.

    And we're supposed to see him as both desirable and as relationship material.


  4. How on earth did you manage to get through it without losing your cookies (so to speak)?

    1. I took the opportunity to go on a crash diet.

      But seriously, I took it bit at a time, avoided the "spicy" sections, and pretended it was just another pretentious novel from my undergrad classes that nobody (thankfully) had ever heard of.

    2. There's very little I shy away from in my reading material (in fact, I'm re-reading a very interesting book, The Bees, which is quite blood-thirsty actually); and I don't care about the spicy stuff either (works in some place, not so much in others), but glamorizing perversion (and let's face it, child molestation is perversion) revolts me.