When the books got popular I had no choice but to get them, I wanted to know what all the fuss was about. The content was supposed to be steamy, leaning to the BDSM route, how can I resist?
I read all three books back to back in the space of 3 days. I was impressed with the thought that a book with this type of content would really be taking America by storm, you know the America I speak of; the one where they want to ban abortion, birth control and seemingly any kind of sexual enjoyment a woman can achieve.
I was impressed with the cohesiveness of the story but I thought the writing lacked fluidity in some cases. The difference in writing of the every day dialogue of the characters versus the in bedroom dialogue seemed to be from two different books. How can you go from articulate acting editor to repeating the same oohs and ahhs and being a slobbering mess? Not bloody likely! (Get, it? The author’s British)
Now let me really get into the issues I had with the book and then I’ll tell you what I liked.
1. The final idea about the book was the a BDSM lifestyle relationship was only brought about by Christian’s (the male character) rather difficult childhood of watching his crack whore mother in an abusive relationship, being adopted and having a deviant sexual relationship with an older woman who introduced him to this ‘sick’ lifestyle. This is echoed when the villan of the third book turns out to be someone who spent time in a foster home with Christian. He too has weird proclivities.
2. Most of the book was about Christian getting over why he wanted to live that life style. I’m not going to argue that the issues presented in the book were valid but they seemed to be making a bigger statement. He abandons years of BDSM after a few weeks of meeting this girl, Anastasia. She is so different and ethereal that he is willing to change everything for her to the point of guilt for having lived this way in the first place. He attempt to give everything up. Anastasia is unbending and is constantly throwing tantrums for what she wants, she knew the situation but she changes little to nothing about herself in the book. Her liking the ‘kinky fuckery’ and being submissive later on in the books only shows that Christian was a good judge of character when he picked her to sign the original contract. I feel like she just didn’t want to feel submissive in every day life, only in the bedroom which is fine. TPEs aren’t the only way to have BDSM relationships.
3. It was very clear that the writer was not from the US. The verbiage, the way the characters talked were out of the norm for Seattle and for the US in general. I feel like she could have tried harder to make it “American” or she should have based it in the UK where she is based. Maybe she thought that the American Market would like it better if it was based here but I feel like it did the book a disservice.
4. It makes BDSM seem very extreme. Everyone’s level of kink is different and in terms of kink I do not find this book shocking or over the top. People comparing it the Story Of O was hurtful for me. Not all BDSM stories are created equal.
5. I won’t get into the annoying repetition or words and short phrases. It was really ridiculous.
6. Anastasia Steele as a character lacked substance, I feel like she existed in the book only so that we can learn about depth Christian, which of course I wanted but she didn’t bring much to the table. I won’t elaborate too much on that only because of how long it would take.
What I did like:
1. It brought BDSM and sort of spoon fed it to the masses. It was seen as such a taboo thing and now, because of the books and people doing independent research of it, it has helped raise awareness on the community as a whole whether or not the community wanted it.
2. It provided spice to an other wise boring selection of erotica.
3. The story came together nicely, at some point I just felt like all the shit in the world happened to them but it was used very nicely as a tool to teach you more about the characters and the intensity of the situations they were put in.
Now, would I recommend the book. Sure. I feel like if you’re interested in it, you should read it and hey, it might encourage you to be bold enough to try something new sexually but I don’t consider it to be a manual on BDSM relationships because they’re just like every relationship, the two people involved have to decide the limitations and boundaries therein.
Should you want to read more realistic BDSM themed books you can look for titles by Annabel Joseph, Sylvia Day (Bared to you), Sierra Cartwright etc.