Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Man of a Million Dreams? A Book Review of Sorts

Alright, I know I haven't finished my road trip blog. What can I say? Vacations are just a hot button for me right now, writing about it didn't make me feel better, so now I'm moving on...I've decided to do some book reviews. Why not? And, if I am going to do a book review why not review last months book club book - "50 Shades of Grey"? I can't review this months book, "The History of Love" because I haven't quite finished it yet. By Friday!

On to the craze that is 50 Shades of Grey, and more confusing, the obsession over the make-believe man, Christian Grey. When Sinnamon (not her real name, but I love using it for her!) picked 50 Shades as her book choice I was intrigued. For weeks the book and it's subject matter were everywhere. They were talking about it on TV, online; Barnes & Noble was sending me emails letting me know when it was back in stock even though I had never asked. We needed to read it, right? I downloaded all three because it was a bargain and started reading...

Within the first few pages I knew it was not going to be the fantastic read I was expecting. The characters were awkward and somewhat annoying so I didn't feel connected to them, which is never a good sign. Even more on my nerves was the writing style of the author. I knew from all of the hub-bub about the book that it was her first book, but; after getting started her repetitive style and over use of the thesaurus was as annoying as her characters started to be. I can barely get myself to type the word but honestly, if I never read the word "beguile" again it will be too soon. It's hard when you're writing to always find a creative way to express the feelings of your characters but picking words so far out of "real use" English only makes the words stand out to your readers. And Anastasia and Christian were both "beguiled" and "flushed" so often I kind of was concerned. This bit actually made me do a run through of my own writing to make sure I hadn't over-used anything as annoying as "beguile".

Like everyone else, I read through the first million pages waiting to get to what everyone had been talking about. No one can deny it - we all read it because someone said naughty sex. I read through the painful conversations, the awkward moments at the hardware store, the silly scene at the bar with the girl who supposedly couldn't hold her liquor but then drank throughout the rest of the book without incident. When I finally got to "it", "it" was not what I expected. Besides being a tad technical, I was so disappointed! I have no idea what it says about me but I can tell you when I got through the first "scene" my first thought was that I have read better. I wanted more heat, I guess? More passion? More something! Maybe I'll just blame it all on J.R. Ward for giving me the Black Dagger Brotherhood. There are scenes in those books much steamer and much less deja vu feeling than anything I got from Shades! AND! There are TEN Brotherhood books. :) There are sensual lovers and if you want the naughty bits there is V - another guy who likes to tie people up.

My biggest question at the end of the trilogy was why has a character like Christian Grey become the dream man for so many women? Yes, he's apparently rich as hell, and sexy as hell, and there is that bad boy/dangerous element but what is it that makes him so dreamy? If we took away the money and the driver - who, by the way, seemed to be there a lot more for Anastasia when it mattered than Christian was and was better at the little things like picking out clothes for her - would we still think he was that spectacular? Even if he was good looking but not the richest man in the world and he was dating your best friend, would you be okay sitting around with them while he told her how much she needed to eat, whether or not she could twist her fingers(really, is that sexy?), and interfered ridiculously with her career?

Do we not all think we would softly encourage our best friend to ditch the bossy douche bag? Between disastrous high school relationships to what some get themselves into in their twenties, we've all either experienced it or watched it. We've been out with a girlfriend who needed to check in. A lot. We've been out with the girl friend and the new guy who watched too closely what she was eating, concerned himself too much with what she had on, who she talked to when he wasn't around. Not many of us have found that endearing for very long in real life and just about as many of us were willing to say to that best friend, in one way or another, you deserve better than this. And we meant it. Would we really have looked the other way if his bank account had more O's than a bowl of Cheerios?

When we started the book we thought our discussion would focus on all of the talk about the sex. The outrage and concern over women reading the naughty stuff. One review Sinnamon pointed out even went so far as to accuse the book of "promoting rape culture" and after reading all three I can say I didn't see that at all. There is nothing of the naughty stuff that happens without the consent of both adults involved. The naughty stuff in this book might be more than some people are comfortable with but I don't see a little bit of bondage as the bad guy in this story, nor is it any hotter than a million other reads out there. I am much more alarmed by the number of women who apparently want to give up all say-so in their lives and give control over to the hot guy who is just so good at telling them what they should do in bare feet and grungy jeans left over from 1994. Or is it the resemblance to a different wealthy, brooding, bossy pants, just a little more sparkly, that makes these women swoon? I really want to know.


  1. I think the book was a MONEY shot. Literally. The money eases the reality that the ginger is a douche bag! You're right, we do call bullshit on our friends in real life. (such as boycotting a wedding in 1995 ;)) (YOU WERE RIGHT by the way!) I am so sad I missed this particular meeting, at SINnamon's house. I would've loved to hear everyone's point of view.
    It's very interesting to me too, I'm sure the "naughty parts" blew some people's minds, but it left me feeling, "meh." Maybe I'm old, maybe I'm jaded. Maybe I'm just at the point in my life where someone ORDERING me to actually sleep for 8 hours sounds like the ultimate sin! Bring THAT on for sure!

  2. LOL! I forgot we made that confession about boycotting the wedding! We were 19, what else were we going to do? In thinking about it we should have gone and waited for the "If anyone has any reason..." part of the vows. Then Pingon and I could have stood up and yelled "Don't do it!"

    I refuse to say we're old - I'm going with we are just too well read to have been that hot and bothered by what happened in the book. As for the controlling asshole being the dream guy; sure it would be nice to have someone say "Go take a nap, I'll clean the house.", I wouldn't even care if he said it in sexy jeans or not! I think most of us would tire of the being told what to do and when to do it. Especially those of us over 22.