If you haven’t heard anything about “Fifty Shades of Grey”, I suggest you Google it before reading this. If you have heard of this book and you’re a regular reader here or know me on Twitter, you might be sitting at your computer or holding your phone/tablet open mouthed in shock that I read it. Most people who have found out I’ve read it were dumbfounded. Most instantly began asking questions.
When I first heard about this book I asked on Twitter what all the fuss was about and was given a general synopsis. Basically everyone told me it was a book about rough sex. Ok. Not interested. Have fun, those of you who are.
I followed a parody Twitter account and joined the masses making fun of this book. One day out of boredom I looked it up on Audible , listened to a preview and read the reviews and chuckled some more. The narrator sounded like a young girl and there was not a single good review to be had. The book was poorly written, the narrator’s voice got annoying, the sex scenes got old, the book paled in comparison to other erotica, the repetition of the words “oh my” and “hot” grated on the nerves and on and on and on. I probably read about fifteen reviews or so and gave up trying to find anything positive. Why did I care? I didn’t want to read the stupid book anyway.
Really? There’s not even one little piece of you that’s curious? No! I’ve never read anything even remotely like what this book is described to be. I’m not curious.
If I were to write this post like E. L. James, that would be my subconscious calling me a liar. Yes, Ana, the female character, often refers to her subconscious and her “inner Goddess”. Yes, sometimes that gets old but you come to expect it.
I’ve gotten ahead of myself. What made me bite the bullet and start to read? A friend of mine took the plunge and I rolled my eyes at her. However she started telling me how invested she was getting in the characters and their story. My ears perked up at this. I love characters and stories. The part of me that had always been curious (inner Goddess?) started looking longingly at the part of me that still said no (subconscious?), and when another friend said he was going to give it a try, I cracked.
Yes, the narrator sounded like a little girl. Yes, the book was poorly written. So many times I wanted to edit the heck out of it. Yes, the silly “inner Goddess” and subconscious tidbits made me practice my eye rolling.
Quite soon though, I started relating to Ana. I remember what my life was like when I was her age. We were the same age when we started to really experience “things”. My younger self related to the low self esteem she possessed. The narrator sounded like a child because in most ways, Ana still was very child like,immature, difficult, challenging.
And Christian. I’m sorry, I can’t go into detail about him and keep this blog as PG rated as it is. All I’ll say about him is that he’s seriously effed up and he’s the first to admit it.
What follows is the beginning of a romance. But this is NOT a story book romance. At first I thought it was pretty typical of a novel, two characters falling in love, the man being a man who would never exist and the girl being the girl we all are, the story making us swoon and dream of something we can never have.
The truth is, Christian is not a man you’d find out there in the world unless there are a ton of late twenty something men who are insanely rich, insanely beautiful and insanely messed up. However, take away the insanely rich part and you’re a lot closer.
I’m not saying I have experience with insanely messed up men like Christian. I don’t, not to that extreme. But don’t we all have baggage that we bring into relationships as we get older? Don’t we all have insecurities and fears that follow us into the bedroom? You’re shaking your head no? Ok, then this book is not for you.
Honestly the sex scenes are secondary. This is my opinion of course, but the true allure of the book is Christian and Ana and what they begin to teach one another about life with another human being. Their story is far more relatable to me than any romantic comedy and I was pretty instantly hooked and addicted.
I don’t normally read books during the day but it was a perfect storm of needing a rest week to stave off a fatigue and the desire to check out this book that has been ripped apart by the Audible reviewers. Yes, it is poorly written. I found out later that James self published it as an eBook. I wish she had had an editor. You know, I didn’t even read the full Wiki entry, just the Google search results when I wanted to check the spelling of the name. I’m only assuming the author is female. Perhaps I am wrong.
I am already about halfway through the second book. The second book? Why yes, it is a trilogy. I had no idea either.
I’ve had crushes on characters in books before but I’ve never fallen in love with one. And it’s not the dominant sex part of Christian I fell in love with, it’s the man behind the “mask” so to speak. I had most definitely judged this book by the cover even though I couldn’t see it and I’m grateful my friends liberated me from my stubborn determination not to buy into the hype.
I debated whether I would include the “Fifty Shades” book in this book list. At first I was ashamed and embarrassed to admit I liked it. That’s the low self esteem voice that still speaks up sometimes however, and I’m not afraid to admit how much I liked this book.
2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):
1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12
2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12
3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12
4. “The Black Echo” (Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12
5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12
6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12
7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12
8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12
9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12
10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12
11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12
12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12
13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12
14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12
15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12
16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12
17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12
18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12
19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12
20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12
21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12
22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12
23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12
24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12
25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12
26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12
27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12
28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12
29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12
30. “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12
*Audio book previously listened to.
** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.