After the previous post, which I found horribly difficult, this one is easy. I mean, why would you expend all the energy required to hate a book? Surely if you react to one that strongly, you’d just stop reading and move on. Wouldn’t you? There are so many fabulous books out there, why would you waste time on one you’re hating?
And my choice is terribly terribly obvious.
I have no idea why Fifty Shades of Grey is popular. I mean, I’m not judgmental and there is a place for romance, erotica and, yes pornography – even the patronisingly dubbed “mommy porn”. It’s fine. Read away. Enjoy.
There is a place for fan-fiction and this is notoriously fan-fiction of Twilight, itself a book I did not hate but was so bored by I did find myself looking it up on Wikipedia to see when something would actually happen. And, oh dear, to have the narrator fall unconscious just as the climactic battle takes place? Puuuuhlease! But anyway, knowing many writers who write fan-fiction, I doff my hat to E. L. James for monetising it so successfully – probably on the back of a range of negative reviews!
But this book. This! It is appallingly written! There are entire blogs dedicated to how awful the writing is which I’ll not reiterate. It was utterly tedious to read but fortunately was so trite that it took so little time to read that I didn’t feel I’d wasted too much! Dull. Juvenile. Bland. Even the sex scenes. The narrative voice, Ana’s trite inner monologue, is so weird and strange and vacillates between a nineteenth century predilection for swooning and a petulance. Does she really reference her inner goddess as much as I remember? And I’ve tried to remember as little as possible. Clunky and unconvincing dialogue.
I am also acquainted with some members of the BDSM community and there is nothing more likely to get a community enraged than inaccurate representation – especially when that representation presents them as abusers. And from what I read, it is a representation of abuse: Grey stalks Ana repeatedly, isolates her from friends and family, buys her company to control her further, demeans, belittles and humiliates her. And the biggest – one of the biggest – issues is her innocence, her virginity, her lack of experience which would negate any consent she purportedly gave. No BDSM practitioner, according to what I understand, would have proceeded on that basis. They would secure trust and consent and communication, none of which are apparent in the novel. And there was no sense of irony or criticism of abuse – it did read as a celebration of abuse.
Now, I’m not criticising anyone’s reading choices.
I never would.
I’m not suggesting for a moment that the novel – which has sold staggeringly – is being read uncritically by its many many readers on either the literary or content level. I know some who enjoyed the badness of the whole thing! “So bad it’s irresistible” and various versions of that phrase.
So why did I read it? For the same reason so many others did, I imagine: to see what the fuss was about, to make an informed judgement myself rather than repeating others’ rants. Because it was no more than an afternoon’s work. Because the writing was just so jaw-droppingly bad!
But, yes, I hate this book. Vehemently.