50 Shades of “No Thank You….”


Okay, so I did it.

I was at Goodwill and so was it. And ‘it’ went home with me.

‘It’ being the muchly discussed, trashed, read (even replacing the Bible in some hotels) book by E. L. James, “50 Shades of Grey.”

And to start, it was a good read.

Now, let’s get a few things straight. I am not a namby-pamby over-reactive when it comes to reading material. Not at all.  My open admiration of a few other books have got me “Okay, so you’re weird looks” from more straight-laced women required to read them at college. That I chose to read such books, and then made them part of my personal library–well it was obvious I had a few screws loose.

And then there is ‘Grey.”

The writing was good, it got my attention, and I kept turning pages. I liked the heroine. In some ways, she reminded me of myself at that age. Due to personal values and some trust issues, I lack the amount of experience that some women my age have. The alleged fun  of excess  in some pleasures just doesn’t seem worth the price. Maybe, someday, some guy will appreciate my views, I guess you never know.

I stopped reading the Grey saga when he started talking about using a ‘flogger’ on the innocent “Anastasia.”

He’s already disrespected her by refusing to call her by the name she preferred, Ana. It’d be something quite different, if he’d experimented with her name, she loved it, and told him so. That would be something special between them, as it is when someone I care about uses both my first and middle names. But no, he hears her say “I prefer Ana,” and, in  the next breath, uses the nickname he insists on. This is a hint that he will disrespect other things.

Then,  there is the ordering her around, and saying “Good Girl” when she obeys his commands, as if she is a pet, and not a breathing human with a mind and will of her own.

Now I totally get giving advice, and being an only child, I tend to be super-guilty of being bossy. But there is bossy, and then, there is controlling. Ana senses Grey’s need to control her, and he admits to it multiple times in a proud fashion. And she doesn’t run away screaming. There is little that is sexy about behavior which forecasts probable domestic violence.

But then we get to the weapon he wants to use on her, for his and her ‘pleasure.’

That’s when I had to put the book down.

Now, maybe author James will find a way to justify a lover using physical force on his partner and make it seem romantic. Given the sales of this book, maybe this occurred. I will never know.  Curiosity may lead me to read the spoiler in Wiki–and I hope to see an ending about redemption, not corruption of an innocent soul, but I doubt that I will.

I am a huge fan of a well-told love story. Not the ‘bodice-ripper’ historical (hysterical?) romance that I read in high school, but a great story that talks about every side of the couple, the world they live in and what is important to them. The obstacles they encounter and how they overcome them. Or, if they don’t, what they learn from their relationship not working out.

I am also a big fan of depictions of healthy sex. When I read in a book, or see in a movie a couple expressing lovemaking in a way that doesn’t leave every body part or pore exposed, that’s awesome.

However,  you will never get me to believe that pain in sex is romantic. Nor is doing anything that humiliates or dishonors the other person. Or a person requiring a ‘non-disclosure contract’ which says he (Grey) knows his behavior is sick. That is just perversion and open expression of a person who seriously needs counseling–and soon.

I am glad that I started to read 50 Shades of Grey. Like any other free thinking person, I don’t want someone else to decide my morality or my reading choices for me. And I’m glad to read something, and be able to set it aside, not because someone else tells me it is good or bad, but because my conscience tells me the story is a warped way of looking at the world–and there is just no normalizing it.

I guess my 50 cent investment at a thrift store was a good one. It gave me a chance to honestly evaluate a book, and politely say ‘No thank you.”

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