Monday, September 3, 2012

Yes, Sir!

OK, I admit I was somewhat hesitant to read Fifty Shades of Grey and I'll explain why. So, I am not a prude by any stretch of the imagination. I've read my share of naughty fiction, nothing over the top, but descriptions of sex in a book does not bother me by any means. However, I have my limits. I don't like to read about painful sex, abusive sex, etc etc...basically nothing I wouldn't do myself. When I first heard about Mr. Fifty Shades, the gist I got was that it was about a very intense, controlling man who likes it really rough and is into BDSM. Not my thing, personally. So, even though a lot of people I knew were reading the series, I couldn't get around the concept that this was about some jerk beating up women to get his rocks off. Finally, I was told that yes the writing was not wonderful, but the story was very hot and it was a great book purely from an entertainment standpoint and that it might be a good gift suggestion for Chase to get me. And one day he did. And it sat on my shelf while I read some top 100 rec's until one day I found my curiosity getting the better of me. One day and a little over 500 pages later, I had to admit the truth: I was consumed.
All three books are written from the point of view of Anastasia Steele, a 21 year-old WSU-Vancouver student majoring in English who is more comfortable with Austen, Bronte, and Hardy than men as she is somewhat awkward and shy, but she is also stubborn, courageous, and outspoken. Sound familiar? Honestly, she is one of the main reasons I was immediately drawn into reading the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey; I find her so relate able. Her best friend and roommate, Kate, is a journalist who is supposed to be traveling to Seattle to interview a multi-gagillion dollar mogul for the school paper, but she's unfortunately sick :( So, of course her beloved and oh-so-wonderful friend Ana will go for her and record the interview. And Kate will owe her big time.
So off Ana goes to interview this guy who she already doesn't think too highly of because he's supposed to be arrogant and he's crazy rich which does not impress her and she's nervous as hell she'll screw up the interview. She's not too worried that he's supposed to be amazingly handsome because honestly she hasn't met a guy yet that has turned her head. She's too busy reading to notice. Then she literally falls into his office and meets Christian Grey. Yes, it sounds cliche, but her life is never the same.
Christian Grey is used to getting his way, and he wants Anastastia Steele. Not as a girlfriend; as a submissive. Yes, Mr. Grey is a Dominant with a room full of whips, handcuffs, toys, and all manner of playthings sure to make sex memorable. For innocent virgin Ana, this is beyond complicated. Can she sign on to be a submissive when her personality is anything but?
Here's why the BDSM angle didn't really bother me: it was so technical. There's a contract and everything. With hard limits and rules and amendments. Maybe my scientific mind approved of the way everything was drawn up to protect both parties. And he was open to negotiations to discuss the terms of the contract if she agreed. Safety was the number one concern, and nothing was forced. This was an agreement between two consenting adults for the purpose of pleasure. No big deal folks.
As far as Mr Grey himself, yes he pissed me off. A lot. He's controlling and emotionally retarded because of a really awful past. But Ana doesn't put up with the BS like so many others. She challenges him and sees into his heart. She decides not to sign on until after a trial period. As they grow closer, Ana fears that she won't be enough to slake his appetite. She also asserts that she wants more: she wants a relationship. At the close of the first book, and after lots of naughty romping that leaves you panting and fanning yourself, she makes a daring decision to push herself to the limit of what a Dom/Sub relationship might entail. She tells Christian to show her the worst punishment she could receive to see if she could handle it. In that moment, she realizes she can't enter into this kind of arrangement; she can't give him what he wants. And she fears that he can't give her what she wants: love. So, she leaves.
End book one. And another two days, two books, and over 1000 pages later, I have finished the series. Yes, they read that fast, and no you can't put them down.

I could go on and on about plot lines for Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, but I'm hot and bothered enough as it is ;) What one really needs to understand is that this isn't just a series about two people having lots of hot sex. There is a deeper emotional undercurrent dealing with issues of trust, love, acceptance, and self-worth. Both characters evolve throughout the series and you just can't help but enjoy their story. Even control freak Christian. He actually can be rather adorable I admit. And oh so hot.
Seriously, don't even bother buying just the first book because you won't rest until you read the whole series. No, they aren't up for any awards in literature, but they are sure to entertain. None of the sex made me in the least squeamish personally. Well, maybe once or twice, but I got over it.
I am not ashamed to admit it: I am a Grey fan. Just thinking about him makes me giggle a little bit and bite my lip. Which he loves FYI.
And I will be reading these books again. *fans self*