Wednesday, July 30, 2014

50 Shades of Why

I already confessed this on facebook, but I have done a horrible thing. I read the first 150 pages of 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James.

*long, drawn out sigh*

I've been curious about these books for a while and as a library employee have had much more exposure to what was in them than I would have liked. There's nothing like listening to a woman old enough to be your mom gush about how amazing this trilogy is. I resisted reading them for two years for the following reasons:

1. It's Twilight fanfiction.
2. Twilight is already bad and fanfiction generally only makes things worse.
3. I hate fanfiction on principal.
4. I did not want to support bad fanfiction by spending money on the book.
5. I did not want to borrow the library book because of all the gross and sweaty hands that have already handled the book. In addition to the fact that certain library copies have tested positive for trace amounts of herpes.

But then the trailer for the movie came out and for some reason flipped a switch. Maybe I did want to give this book a try. Maybe it wasn't as bad as other people tried to tell me. Maybe they were just prudes about all the kinky sex and couldn't tell the difference between a book that was bad and a book that they didn't like. I mean, how could so many people who like the books be wrong? I had thought Harry Potter had to be terrible because so many people liked it, but Harry Potter is awesome! Maybe by not reading 50 Shades, I was missing out on something really important. Plus, the hot sheriff from Once Upon a Time was cast as Christian Grey. I liked that hot sheriff.

Not all of the decisions I make as an adult are well thought out, especially if they are based on the hot sheriff from Once Upon a Time. So, while my husband was busy getting the ultra hard achievements on BioShock Infinite, I went into the other room and read 50 Shades. This is a compilation of thoughts I had while reading:

1. This opening situation seems highly implausible for a lot of reasons. A reporter with the flu? Giving the Grey interview to her roommate as opposed to someone else who worked for the paper? Someone who has no reporting experience? This is supposed to be the biggest interview of the sick reporter's college career. Whatever. Just give it a few more pages.
2. Anastasia Steele is a name that obviously means Something Important.
3. There's a lot of blushing and lip biting.
4. AS trips through the door to CG's office. The first time he sees her, she is on her knees. Foreshadowing.
5. More lip biting.

6. CG has grey eyes. They flash a lot and turn different shades, like Christmas lights. Except grey.
7. CG also has copper colored hair. He runs his hands through it a lot. Does he have OCD or some kind of weird tick that makes him do that? He's going to go bald.
8. AS is going to bite a hole through her lip.
9. At 21, AS thinks all boys are gross except for CG. He might be stalking her, but he's not gross, so he's okay. It's okay to be creeped on by not gross boys.
10. And... CG is creeping. He goes to the hardware store where AS works and buys stuff that could be used for bondage play. Or murder. FORESHADOWING.
11. When is there going to be a sexy time? 100 pages in and there's been nothing but blushing, lip biting, eye flashing, and hair handling.
12. AS still refers to her vagina as "down there." Is she 5? That's so gross.

13. Oh wait, CG now wants to do the lip biting for AS. Maybe we're making sexy times progress.
14. Hold on. How did we get to this point where CG wants to bite AS's lip? I'm not sure I remember... There were expensive books. And drunken vomiting. And stalking. And AS used CG's toothbrush. That shit is nasty.
15. Okay, the sexy times are starting. But first, AS has to sign an NDA and some other paperwork agreeing for CG not to pee, poo, vomit on, or cut her. But she already puked on him once. How is this fair?
16. I think E.L. James got all of her BDSM information from early 2000s Livejournal and Yahoo! chat.
17. The sexy times happened. AS was a virgin. I hope CG flies the bloodied sheets from the ramparts of Grey Enterprises and Holdings because that would be funny.
18. Post sexy times, CG plays the piano naked in the middle of the night. Sex makes him sad. I bet pooping also makes him sad.
19. This book is really bad. Terribad.
20. Time for some cereal.

And then I sat on the couch in a daze and watched my husband play BioShock. Because what else can you do at that point? I damaged my own brain with toxic reading material. It was like I had gotten a clothes hanger, stuck it up my nose, and poked around in my frontal lobe for a couple of hours.

In my defense though, I think the experience made me a better reader. I tried something in an effort to connect with a certain demographic - I wanted to see what they were seeing. It was a failed experiment. But now I can at least say that I tried, which I can't claim for oh, crazy ass Pentecostal snake handling, or eating a turd out of the toilet. In other words, I have built character.

And as an aside, I'm not trying to book shame anyone except E.L. James for being such a terrible writer. You like what you like. If 50 Shades is your favorite book, I would say that you need to broaden your horizons. But at least you're reading. Kind of.

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