50 Shades of Grey – Review

Jackie 142857’s review of the book that seems to be on most everyone’s Kindle, 50 Shades of Grey. I agree with this review, regarding the handling of the BDSM aspect of this text.

“Just finished the trilogy. At the topmost level the books offer 1,000+ pages of sweetly lyrical descriptions, though more than somewhat repetitive descriptions, of hard and frequent sexing where nobody gets sore or soft or dry, nor needs to drink, scratch, or pee. I have women friends who find the books worth their price and reading time for that alone. For me, however, the repetitive sameness of “he hooks his thumbs into her panties and tugs downward,” “she plants soft kisses along his happy trail,” became more than somewhat numbing.

And after that I found it ridiculous nonsense on every level.

The love story itself: Christian Grey, the richest and most eligible bachelor in the Pacific Northwest, falls in love at first sight with 21-year-old Anastasia Steele, a dateless virgin who literally stumbles into his office. He woos her with lavish gifts, which she is delighted to accept, though only after tedious and ultimately empty demurrals. Pretty Woman all over again: attractive female sells herself to the highest handsome bidder. But Anastasia’s behavior must be genetically encoded, because she really has no relevant experience with men nor love nor sex – up to this point, she has neither masturbated nor dated. So where does her knowledge come from, the fall of Eve perhaps?

The BDSM aspect. Because of severely horrendous childhood abuse, Christian is unable to enjoy sexing without complete control and a heavy dollop of punishing kink. The 21-year-old virgin is repelled by her first strapping and runs away. But true love prevails and her sweetness breaks through his barriers and cures his kink, bringing him over to true, sweet and kink-free love. In effect, only damaged people have perverse kinky streaks, but true love can cure this perversion. As a lifelong kinkster who never was abused, and who also knows true sweet love alongside kink, I’m offended by this pigeon-holing. “All kinksters were abused children” is as meaningless as “all blacks got rhythm,” or “all gays are pedophiles.” Utter nonsense, utterly demeaning.

The BDSM contract. This baroque document and its ancillary schedules is the hook and the heart of the first book in the series, then it goes away without a trace. I know many people who have enjoyed devising elaborate control contracts for their partners to sign. But having been on both sides of it myself, I also know that the only meaningful contract goes roughly like this: “I will take complete control of you, and you will obey without arguing.” All the rest is window dressing.

The plot thickens. Entirely coincidentally, evil Jack Hyde holds the senior editorial position at the Seattle publishing company where Anastasia applies for her first post-college job. Now at this moment nobody knows he has a childhood connection to Christian, who has not yet bought the publishing company, and nobody knows Anastasia has any connection to Christian either. But Jack is lying in wait to damage Christian and anyone connected to him, whereupon Anastasia falls into his lap. In effect, bad Jack is a lifelong mole with a crystal ball who has invested many years to put himself in position to extract perverse revenge on people who don’t know he exists.

Anastasia ascends. After Christian buys the publishing company and cans bad Jack, Anastasia, the 21-year-old graduate, takes over as chief editor. Now this is where it gets personal to me: having worked more than 40 years on the editorial side of the publishing industry, and having hired and trained dozens of bright young graduates, I can tell you with certainty that experience and mentoring are essential for success.

Jack resurfaces with a vengeance. Oh, turns out there was another mole in place at the publishing company, a woman previously perverted by Jack but who somehow falls through Christian’s elaborate security screens. Meanwhile, Jack inexplicably gets out on bail even though the charge was attempted murder. But never mind, he suddenly reappears, kidnaps Christian’s sister, and puts the arm on Anastasia for a duffel bag of cash to be delivered in two hours. Anastasia, armed with nothing more than one of Christian’s blank checks and an Amex card that has her married name on it, persuades a bank manager to pony up and hand over the $5 million, and then he helps her lug the sack out through the back door of the bank. Try that on your own!

Well, enough. If you want a beach read with comfy sex spiced by light bondage and playful spankings, you certainly can drowse away a few hours with this trilogy. If you’re wanting something meaningful, there’s not much here.”

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