I can’t help myself…I’m in post 50 Shades stupor….and this seems so fitting for an obsessive post 50 evening with no 50 to 50….ARGH!
I have literally just finished reading the final book of the 50 Shades Trilogy.
I must say first before I continue: It was absolutely amazing. All of it was. I am just in awe with the series, for many reasons. Firstly, I don’t read fiction, (unless its a vampire story) because I never liked fiction. The books I read, and have read are usually research based, foreign policy, international relations, true crime, etc. I never really knew how amazing reading fiction could be, and I thank the creative minds of the people who write these stories and their unbridled strength and courage in letting us read their stories; materialised in books and in our memories.
In my first post about 50 Shades, I had just started reading and was about halfway through the book. I can guarantee if I had nothing else on that the entire trilogy would’ve been finished in three days, but unfortunately real life got in the way!
Book 1 introduces us to Christian and Anastasia, and really sets the pace well in establishing who they are and what the stand for. Even without knowing what the book or story was about, I think that readers would naturally move toward the focal story point anyway, because James uses amazing descriptive scenes, and although the story moves quickly, the reader is always kept on their toes; it (the story) doesn’t stray and we soon establish exactly what’s going on. I loved that the first book was so sexual and sensual and open and blunt and forthcoming and honest. The thing is, and I’ve discussed this with colleagues at work, most movies or novels (unless they’re pornographic) tend to hint in the general direction of where they want you, the reader, to go. What shocked me upon my first encounter with ‘a scene’ was the brutal honesty. It allows the reader to visualise and by doing this, the reader connects to the story in ways unimaginable. To me, Christian Grey was more than the entire perfect package of a man and then some. He was everything and anything a girl needs – someone confident, protective, posessive (in the right amounts), intelligent, handsome, secure, wealthy and knew how to do so much (this is not just sexually!), but he was also vulnerable, and scared, and lost and unsure. And just when you thought you couldn’t take it anymore and you wanted to dislike Christian for what he was, you just fell in love with him again. There were times in certain ‘scenes’ that I didn’t like Christian, and I didn’t like what he was doing, or who he stood for. But I quickly came to see that as much as that appeared to bathe Christian in a negative light, Anastasia in her own way, fought similar demons to his. And she provoked him, in good ways and bad.
There were so many moments I gasped; in shock, embarrassment and humility. But I also smiled, and giggled, and laughed. Anastasia’s innocence and clumsiness and smart mouth was something I could relate to, and as such I could see some elements, the caring and protective part of Christian in my man. I was so swept up in their love affair that I would have easily forgotten to eat or sleep.
But what I loved about the first book was it’s pure unadulterated honesty, in so many ways. The emotions they felt were raw, and as a reader you could feel it and it transcended the pages it was printed on. They longed for each other in more ways than one, and secretly I think that myself, and any other woman who has drowned herself in this book feels the same. Christian starts to feel, and starts to experience emotions he has never had. His vulnerability starts to show about 2/3 of the way through, when things start getting a little too much for Anastasia. You can’t blame her though, and although you sympathise with her entirely throughout the book, when Christian starts to move forward with some of what he is feeling, you feel that there is hope. That maybe he won’t stay like that forever, maybe he loves her enough to change (because we all know that women’s attempts to change men are often not fruitful, yet here we have Anastasia and Christian’s love for her doing that exact same thing!).
Christian is willing though, to change, and this becomes difficult for Anastasia to understand. He wants her entirely, in every and any way possible, just as long as she is his, and she undoubtedly feels the same. The epicness of their passion for each other is not only infectious, but so high up there in what can be considered the most perfect relationship a woman could ever have that you cannot put the book down.
Book 2 is where I had to continue. Because the story did not stop. When Book 1 finished, you couldn’t just leave it to rest. This book was what changed the scenery, and I’m glad it did so quickly. Because it was done with such proficiency and ease, you almost forget that in Book 1 they’d merely been together a few short months. Book 2 establishes a change in the game, and the only way I can describe it is that Anastasia and Christian are on opposing sides of a see-saw, moving slowly together. That’s it. It was a little slow to kick off after Chapter 3, but I was still utterly enthralled in the story and James continued her fast pace. Before I knew it, midnight rolled around and I was up to Chapter 17, eyes wide open as I wished and preyed some freak of nature would occur so I could miss work and finish the book. The amount of ‘scenes’ were probably cut to half, but I didn’t think that was a bad idea. In Book 1, you literally rode a wave of your own sub orgasmic pleasure by simply reading the book. The ‘scenes’ were explosive, raw, hot, flustering and utterly amazing. What makes it so special is that every woman has imagined her own Christian Grey in her mind, and yeh ok, seeing suggestive language in a book and then the reader knowing where it leads to is one thing, but being able to vividly picture it in your mind, and translate it into pure fantasy is another thing. The reviewers were right, this is ‘mummy porn’. But not in a dirty way. It’s written the way women want love and sex to be; passionate and beautiful and sensuous one time, and rough and dirty and hot the next time. Everyone has a little bit of Christian Grey hiding in them, and this book/series has done nothing but awaken the spirits of women around the world, me included.
Book 3 was easier to get into. The story had been established. We now know how much they love each other, we know their level of compromise toward each other. The balance has shifted and now we’re seeing a more confident Anastasia and a sometimes more demure Christian. We don’t, well I didn’t, have that feeling within me that I didn’t like Christian. Initially I perceived him as a stuck up brat with too much money and too much ego. Too much control, he was a megolomaniac who was far too possessive. But gradually as Christian has softened, you see that his possessiveness is to protect Anastasia and that it’s not in the way you first perceive when you read Book 1. In Book 1, he was clearly and specifically in it for sexual gratification, to control her. But that hardline control is gone by the end, and we see a Christian who can be the ultimate lover – sensuous and sweet and loving, or rough and dirty and aggressive. But it’s not just about sex, even though they do a fair amount of it. It’s in the way he is with her entirely; he gives himself entirely to her, yet he shies away from her at the same time. He is so vulnerable and self loathing in one moment, and in the next goes to being confident, brazen, and knowing what he wants. Christian is the ultimate fixer – he needs to fix other people’s problems and looks after them, but he needs that too. And that’s where Anastasia wants to nurture him and be there to support him. Book 3 brings about another surprise, and ties up all the loose ends in the trilogy. There is nothing that James has missed, and I like that because often times writers can stray away from their main topic or focus. And I know that from experience, although being that I only write research papers I can’t really relate to creative writing, but I really appreciate the way James holds the story together.
As per Book 2, there is another surprise in Book 3 and we once again fall more and more in love with Christian as he continues to move away from what he labels as his ‘sadistic self’ and towards the most ultimate man any woman could want. He is the modern day fairytale prince, the guy you daydream about as a teenager, the person you envisage will be your partner one day. He is amazing, and damnit he’s only a fictional character!
I LOVED the trilogy. I cannot wait to read it again, even knowing what happens, I just want to indulge myself once more, or many times more if I can. The only other story I had this feeling with was, and don’t laugh at me, the Twilight Series. Edward and Christian have some similarities, the copper hair, the incredibly good looks, the wealth, the intelligence, and the deep dark secret that makes them so different to other men. Edward, a vampire, Christian, a BDSM indulger. They both have someone who is utterly enthralled in them, in their presence and who they are that they are willing to forego so much of themselves just to be with them. It is true love in its purest and most innocent form.
Oh! It’s such a sucky thing to get this mushy over a book, but I am utterly hooked. I couldn’t shake Twilight for months and months; I read the books, then watched the movies. I did this for months and months – I loved the story between Edward and Bella, and I love the story between Christian and Anastasia.
Honestly, I can’t believe I got this hooked. I don’t like fiction (unless it’s vampires!), and I particularly don’t like romance fiction nor do I enjoy rom-com movies or anything similar. I’m the penultimate tomboy, and always have been. My favorite movies are action and psychological thriller, the books I read are factual and real, no mumbo jumbo. I don’t do girly, I never have, but this book has made the girly inside me erupt on levels I only saw when I read Twilight. I will officially be in my 50 Shades stupor for months to come, because it is not often that something this amazing can shake me up.
So when people starting talking about 50 Shades (by E.L James), I initially didn’t pay much attention. A cousin of mine who has an odd knack for picking up a random book and it being amazing didn’t know that much about it either, so initially I was hesitant.
However, back at work the ladies started talking, and talking, and whispering in the hallways about this book. One of my colleagues who is a cheeky somewhat conservative has only recently shown interest in World Movies, a topic I absolutely love, because I love foreign movies. Not because of the sex, because everyone knows World Movies films have a lot of that unashamed, hungry sexuality in them, but because I prefer the stories and the film making style. I can watch foreign movies every night and not be sick of them, but I digress…
So lately her and I have been on some cheeky and comical banter over some of the movies we’ve watched and naturally, when she came to me about this book my interest piqued. She had seen another colleague gloating about it on her fb wall and came to ask me if I’d heard of it. She had already ordered the books and I’d mentioned how I was considering it. It didn’t take much encouragement after reading the reviews for me to take the plunge and buy them. Thankfully, booktopia had them in stock and I ordered them online on Friday. The books arrived here yesterday but I wanted to wait until tonight to start reading them.
So the story starts with Anastasia Steele. The first few chapters are setting the pace, describing the character and her environment (like college, exams, work, friends etc) but you quickly pickup on some interesting descriptive language being used. Often, terms like ‘domineering’, ‘bossy’, ‘control freak’ come up, but they come up in such a way that even if you didn’t have an inkling on what the book was about, you’d start to wander over to that direction naturally. The writer writes in a very easy manner, and I found quite a lot of moments funny, but whether or not she’s intending to be funny, or just excellent as describing the nuances of a womans mind I am yet to determine. I often found myself thinking, “Oh, my god, so true!” or having that general feeling that I could relate to the way Anastasia was analysing events around her. I find the written style and the way it reads as if you’re sitting with your girlfriends over some wine and cheese and telling stories, it really has that kind of feel to it. There are even some moments when she does something clumsy that you generally feel that pang of embarassment, like you do when you see someone in a funny predicament, or telling an embarrassing story.
I am now up to Chapter 8 – and whilst I won’t disclose anything further, if you’ve been thinking of picking up this book – do it. I have been enthralled from the first page, and I am thoroughly enjoying it so far. I actually bought the trilogy because I couldn’t fathom that so many women world wide were flocking to this book and that I would possibly absolutely love it to death and not have more to read after Book 1.
I look forward to a further review when I finish the book, but remember, don’t think, just get it! You won’t be sorry!