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Fifty Shades: Unbearable

The Bookworm | 17 January 2013 | Novel Reviews, The Book Den | | 0 Comments   

Fifty Shades Trilogy by EL James
Reviewed by: Nicole Raines

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers taken from all three books: Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed .  It also contains the use of strong language.

First off, this isn’t a normal book review and I apologize in advance if it seems like I’m just rambling. This is me trying to understand the love for “50 Shades of Grey” and just not getting what everybody else is getting out of it. I seriously just don’t understand how people think the “50 Shades” trilogy is great. I know a lot of people who love it and everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I found myself so freaking infuriated with the storyline and failed to see anything erotic about it, much less how any girl would want to be in a relationship with anybody remotely like Christian Grey. Every time I come across a person praising the series, I want to claw my eyes out in frustration and scream “Are you fucking kidding me?!” And it’s not about the sex or the crappy writing…well, actually the crap writing has a lot to do with it, but it’s mostly about the unhealthy relationship between the two main characters.

I’ve been an avid reader since elementary school , so I have read a lot of books in my life time and never once have I ever felt the urge to criticize any author’s writing style before reading “50 Shades of Grey.” Lets face it, I’m not a great writer myself, so I don’t feel comfortable critiquing another person’s writing, but I was only a few pages into the book when I just looked up from my iPad and said, “This is terrible!” I quickly discovered the absolute worst thing about the series was the repetitiveness. EL James used the same phrases or variations of the same phrase repeatedly.

I think the word “Crap” was used a total of 93 times in the first book alone. It’s the only way Ana knew how to describe a situation: “Crap – oh crap -holy crap- double crap” and I think she even got a “triple crap” in there once. “50 Shades Darker” wasnt so bad: James managed to limit the word to twenty-nine times and then sixty-three times in “50 Shades Freed.” The most annoying phrase in the second and third novels were variations of “You are mine.” Christian felt the need to constantly remind Ana that she was his, like she belonged to him like a piece of merchandise. The use of the phrase “You are mine” is a major plot point in True Blood and the Sookie Stackhouse novels, but hasnt been uttered nearly as many times in both those mediums combined compared to the amount of times it was used in “50 Shades Freed.” It was ridiculous, not to mention it only made me dislike Christian even more every time he used those words.

The most irritating thing about reading from Ana’s point of view was also having to listen to her constantly describe her inner goddess and her subconscious. I think she had an inner bitch as well, but we didnt meet her nearly as many times as we should have. But seriously, she talked about her inner personalities like they were real people, and one was always wearing red lipstick and ready to fuck, while the other was always scowling over “The Complete Works of Charles Dickens.” I was treated to 117 appearances by this inner goddess and 176 appearances by her subconscious, as well as their various facial expressions, throughout the three books. There’s just no logical reason to use a plot device that many times, other than the author is just a terrible writer and couldnt think of anything else better to say, so she found multiple ways to say the exact same thing over again. Just ugh.

I could sit here and complain all day just on the writing alone, but lets move on to what REALLY infuriated me and that’s the relationship between Ana and Christian. I’ll be the first to admit that I found Christian rather mysterious the first few times Ana meets him. Ana really did make him sound totally hot, but then I got to know Christian and quickly realized that he’s a overbearing control freak. When he wasnt stalking Ana’s every move, he was constantly treating her like a child. It was always “Eat Ana. You need to eat. Eat something. Eat or I will beat the shit out of you right now.” First off, Ana didnt have any kind of eating disorder, Christian just had a hang up about food. These constant demands that she eat something just annoyed the hell out of me and to make matters worse, it got to the point where Ana was in fear of missing a meal because she was afraid that Christian would indeed beat her. It wasnt just her eating habits that would cause him to go into a foul mood…. her wearing certain clothing, the fact that she wanted to work, “disobeying him” by spending time with friends and not letting him know where she was every single hour of the day, etc … Ana spent the majority of each book constantly worrying that she would do something that would make Christian angry. She was literally afraid of him in the first two books. Nobody should be in a relationship with a person that scares them to the point where they are constantly walking on egg shells for fear of what the other person will do to them. Listening to her struggle with Christian’s mood swings go to the point where it was pathetic, especially when she would later rationalize his mood swings. No Anna, his terrible childhood doesnt give him the excuse to control your life.

The only time Christian wasnt treating Ana like a child is when he they were having sex. I started reading the series thinking it was going to involve an erotic BDSM relationship, but I just can’t see anything erotic about an emotionally abusive relationship. It was beyond disgusting in my opinion. The BDSM style sex wasnt what bothered me – it was all actually pretty basic and got to the point that it became boring –  it was how they both used sex as a weapon against each other. Especially in “50 Shades Freed.”  Almost every time an issue would arise (which was a lot), instead of actually discussing it, they would try to distract each other with sex or use sex as a weapon.

One chapter dealt with Ana removing her bikini top at a topless beach. Of course controlling Christian was furious and instead of acting like an adult about it, he decides to take out his anger on her through sex: He leaves huge hickeys all over her chest during a sexcapade. Ana goes to Christian, letting him know how upset she is about them and what does controlling Christian have to say about??? “Well, you won’t take your top off again.” Christian used sex as a weapon so she wouldnt take her top off again. At a topless beach. That he took her to in the first place. I wanted to cut his dick off right then and there. Of course he was emotionally damaged in his childhood, so this behavior is totally okay…  which is a main theme in the series: Christian acts like a lunatic, Ana gets mad but then remembers Christian had a rough childhood, forgives him and a few chapters later the same scene repeats itself. Let me repeat: Nothing that happened to him as a child can justify him treating you like a piece of property, Ana!

Then there’s him stalking her every single move. In the first book he “coincidentally” ends up at every place she goes to until he finally asks her out. I cant even remember all the stalking he did, but I know his stalking knows no bounds, because he ends up buying the company she works for just so he can keep an eye on her. Then for multiple reasons he puts security detail on her. They must drive her to and from work and every where else she needs to go. Ana doesnt like it, but she concedes to make Christian happy. Of course she now cant go get a bite to eat without the guards reporting back to Christian that she left work when she wasnt supposed to. Fuck that. She’s a grown ass woman and doesnt need permission to go get lunch on her lunch break!

I found it maddening that the author found  ways to try to justify Christian’s psycho behavior: Christian doesnt want Ana near guy, said guy ends up being a bigger psycho than Christian. ..This sort of thing happened a lot throughout the series, so instead of Christian looking like the possessive control freak that he really is, he end ups looking heroic. There’s just so many things wrong about their relationship, that I’ve lost count. I could go on for several more paragraphs about Christian’s fucked up behavior, but frankly I dont find any point to it. Girls will still read it and think Christian is the hottest guy on the planet, not caring that he stalks Ana’s every single move and treats her like an invalid, because all is forgiven when you’re a rich as hell sex god between the sheets.

I just find it scary as hell that a lot young girls and grown woman are reading this, longing for their own Christian Grey’s. They are basically asking for an abusive relationship, because once you strip away the money, sex, and his looks that’s all you’re left with. Yes, I know this is a fantasy story and every girl can dream, but there’s not enough money and great sex in the world that would make me willingly commit to a relationship where I have pretty much no freedom. If you read the series and got a deep and meaningful relationship out of this garbage then kudos to you, because I failed to see this as anything other than an emotionally abusive sex story – certainly not erotic.

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