Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fifty on Fifty

So as to keep me reading books, I decided to devote Thursday here on the blog to talk about books - what I've read, currently reading, etcetera...etcetera. Since last week, I have been talking snippets about the Fifty Shades books, but I still haven't really talked fully about it, so allow me to share my personal views about the books, so I can finally move on with the rest of my reading list.

I am not a critic... and I admit I am not a widely read of a person. In my lifetime, I think I have read less than 100 books (apart from the school books), so this is not a review. Also, this contains some spoilers and somewhat inappropriate words, please read at your own discretion.

Image taken from
By the time the movie "Magic Mike" came out  last year, I've started hearing and seeing about "Fifty Shades of Grey" all over the social networking sites (maybe because of Matt Bomer). One friend on Facebook even posted this movie trailer, which I think was for real (I even went "wow" because I love Alexis Bledel), only to find out it was just a fan trailer, following the news that Universal Pictures secured the rights for the movie adaptation. That same movie trailer piqued my interest, and pretty soon, I had the eBook versions of it, but wasn't able to read it right away because not only am I not really a bookworm, but I also don't like reading books as if I am reading a document.

When I successfully installed Aldiko in my phablet about two weeks ago, I quickly imported the Fifty Shades books, which led me to read it. I finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey within one week, Fifty Shades Darker in two days, and Fifty Shades Free in twelve hours (straight). Among the three books, it is Fifty Shades Darker I liked the most, Fifty Shades of Grey I found the least appealing.

Like I said, I am not a critic, so I don't know how to present this, but here are my fifty views on Fifty Shades.

From the get go:
1) It reminded me of the book "I Heard That Song Before" by Mary Higgins Clark - a middle-class woman marrying a very rich man with a very dark past.... and it also started with the lady meeting the rich man for an interview.

2) It reminded me a Japanese Hentai with the young master molesting the maids because he found out his mother was a maid.

3) In some ways it reminded me of "Boys Over Flowers."

4) Seattle? Grey? Wonder if Christian is related to Meredith in some ways. Haha.

5) Ana doesn't really like to eat. I hope that doesn't imply what I have in mind.

What I liked:
6) Anastasia stayed true to what she is - not being blinded by Christian Grey's fortune.

7) Their e-mails. I found myself giggling about how they change the titles and their signatures to suit their messages for each other. I actually look forward to them exchanging e-mails because I found it such a fun thing to read.

8) It gave me a better understanding of what BDSM is like. I have seen images, even videos about BDSM (I am not that innocent), but before I read the book, all I knew about BDSM was plain torture. This book allowed me to understand that it is not all about pain and torture, it can also be about pleasure. Adding to that, I never knew there has to be a contract between the dom and the sub. :)

9) Even if Christian Grey has a very dark past, he is monogamous in his relationships.

10) The story is set in the US, but the author is British, and I liked that she puts on the British touch into her work. 

11) Despite the negative things I am about to say about these books, I found it really, really, sweet and romantic... and some gestures even made me cry.

12) The sense of mystery. I truly didn't visualize who Jack Hyde's accomplice was. I thought all along it was Elena.

13) The sex scenes are quite elaborate. :)

14) Them using condoms. That was quite a responsible thing to do.

15) Annoying or not, the characters and the story do linger in the mind; that every time I see Twinning's English Breakfast Tea and any Vanilla Ice Cream, I can't help but smile.

16) The reference to classical music - it really made me search YouTube for these tunes so I can listen to it, too.

17) Unmasking Christian Grey. The book talking about his scars... I felt his pain.

What I didn't like:
18) The overuse of some words and phrases - crap (crap, oh crap, double crap, even a triple crap), flush / flush crimson, smirk, murmur/s.

19) Her subconscious and Inner Goddess.

20) Ana ran because she was overwhelmed... yet just after a week, she went back with Christian. Sigh.

21) By the time I read Fifty Shades Freed, I suddenly became a little tired reading the same pattern - Ana defying Christian... which leads to sex afterwards. Makes me think that Ana is annoying the shit out of Christian just to have hot sex.

22) Christian Grey's age. I just think 27 is way too young, but then again, if he's older than that it would be quite inappropriate for Ana's age.

23) There were instances that I questioned where is the story leading to.

24) The very short time frame. I just find it a little difficult to grasp that people can change in that short span of time.

25) Can't Christian do anything but smirk?

26) Just when I got tired reading "Don't bite your lip, you know the effect it has on me," it changes to "Open your eyes, I want to see you" and went back to "Don't bite your lip."

27) Christian buying SIP. I found it a little too immature and way too over the top to keep eyes on Ana.

28) More about Christian buying SIP - I think this wasn't used to its full potential. Had Jack Hyde known from the start that Christian Grey bought the company, Jack might have used this to plot his revenge and bitterness against  Christian.

29) Christian said he won't interfere with Ana's work. Okay, him buying the SIP can be understandable... but hindering Ana to go to New York was way too immature and contradicting.

30) Christian planting hickeys on Ana's chest during their honeymoon. Major eye-rolling scene for me.

31) It was an easy-breezy for Ana... Christian's family just accepted her without hesitations and doubts. I guess the author just wants to break the cliche about rich people being arrogant and all. Although, if the Grey family showed a little bit of doubt for Ana (aside from Carrick's suggestion for Christian to have a pre-nup), could make a good way of showing just how much Christian loves Ana.

32) For someone who has an empire to run, Christian sure does have a lot of time to spend with Ana... quite unbelievable, and it will go back to the short time frame. If only the time frame wasn't so short, I could've understand.

33) Correct me if I am wrong... but there was never a mention about Kate and Elliot after Kate told Ana about the planned May wedding. I felt there wasn't any closure about that - did Ana become the matron of honor even if she had a big baby bump? 

34) The very first "dream" scene worked... it felt it was happening for real, but inserting dream scenes after that was such a giveaway.

35) I feel as if Fifty Shades of Grey was incomplete. Yes, there were three parts... but then again, Harry Potter books were divided into different parts, yet each book had its own complete story. Fifty Shades of Grey had too much introductions, and was cut right at the peak of it.

36) Ana wouldn't let Christian watch her pee. Hmmm, really now? She let the man insert ben-wa balls into her, she let him shave her... and she wouldn't let him see her pee? Come on!!!! What's so demeaning about that? She can just sit and shut her legs and it would look like she's seating on a chair!

37) True, nothing is impossible... but what I don't like about romantic stories (in general) is that it is quite difficult to believe that it would actually happen in real life.

38) Encouraging Ana not to work. Quite surprising for a man who values work.

39) After the high speed car chase... they had sex. What the? Where did they find the energy and the thinking to do it? Tsk tsk tsk...

My favorite scenes:
40) Christian made a surprise visit to Ana simply because she sent a message saying, "Because you never stay with me."

41) Christian bending on his knees begging Ana not to leave him.

42) That scene when Ana let Christian sleep next to her at her hospital bed, and the next day, Christian mumbled "No, don't touch me, only Ana." 

43) Christian's formal message proposal at the boathouse - the whole "hearts and flowers" thing.

44) I loved that scene when Ana transferred the pictures from the camera she gave Christian and it showed different images of her.

45) Christian giving Ana the charmed bracelet as a birthday present. Awwww....

46) That scene when Ana used the safe word. It completes the circle of the whole BDSM thing in the book.

47) The phone call at the bank scene -  the whole "So all of this is about the money? Are you leaving me?" scene - it broke my heart, too.

48) Christian telling Ana about his childhood (towards the end of Fifty Shades Freed).

49) Christian playing with Ted.

50) That last sex scene. Whew! :)

Wrapping Up...
I am not a fan of how the books were written. It was like reading Sweet Dreams books back in the day and it felt as if I was watching a soap opera - way too stretched - that even if some scenes were omitted, the essence of the story will still be there. Major problem for me was the overuse of words, but still, I liked the story, maybe because I can relate to Ana and Christian so much. I can see myself in Ana - a big fan of the Brits (though I am more into the music - the Beatles, Queen, Robbie Williams, Adele, Mumford & Sons - as well as certain celebs - Chef Gordon Ramsay to name one), and I seem to have the same negative personality - being too insecure, someone who over thinks everything, someone who can't get past jealousy even if her boyfriend tells her over and over how much he cares for her... and like Anastasia, I also go for the kinky f____y minus the painful aspect of punishment. On the other hand, I also can see myself in Christian as someone who is fifty shades of f__ed up who doesn't deserve to love and be loved. It had a good mix of romance, erotica, mystery, and yes.. annoyance... that even if I wanna bang Ana's head on the wall quite a number of times, I was entertained. It had a lot of sex scenes (Ana and Christian sure is a rabbit of a couple), but it also had some touching moments, which made Ana and Christian quite lovable.

Some people say the movie version will come out in 2014. Fans are rooting for Alexis Bledel to be Anastasia Steele, but they are seem to be a little less united as to who should play Christian Grey. Personally, I love Matt Bomer to play the role as he is such a beautiful man that would fit the role, but there seemed to be a little problem with that (not his sexuality) - his height. Christian Grey is said to be really tall, but Matt Bomer is only about 5 feet 11 inches. There were reports Henry Cavill is to play Christian Grey, who is another handsome actor, but I still am rooting for Matt. I was watching TV the other day and the network aired a commercial about "White Collar" and I nearly jumped up seeing a glimpse of him.

Anyway, if you can stomach some kinky f_____y, and you can get past the writing technique, reading this won't be a problem.

Next week, will talk about James Patterson's "London Bridges" and some other bookish topics.

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