When I first started reading 50 Shades of Grey, I did it with preconceived ideas. Ideas made up mostly by reviews I’ve read. So what were those ideas?
If you have not read the books yet, and plan to do so, please don’t read on. I will be giving away parts of the story line and I would not want you to be disappointed or put off from reading the books.
Now that we have that out the way, let’s get back to my review.
The books are full of kinky stuff, don’t kid yourself. It got to a stage where I would scan and skip sections, just to get to the story. The kinky stuff, however, is a territory I will not cover on my blog. It is very much a matter of “each to his own”. Exploring your sexuality is something which is supposed to be done in a respectful manner in a monogamous, consensual relationship. If you choose to express yourself sexually by beating the daylights out of someone or vice versa, you have some issues and I would suggest you speak to someone.
What it’s about
Looking past the kinky stuff, 50 Shades was one of the most beautiful love stories I have read in a long time. In short it is your typical boy meets girl, they fall in love, they have issues of denial, acceptance, disassociation, avoidance and intimacy, there are skeletons (mounts of them) in the closet, it almost destroys them, they sort it out and live happily ever after kind of tale. What makes 50 Shades different is the fact that E L James actually had the courage to say it as it is – no sugar coating.
The main characters
Christian Grey is a stubborn, proud, driven and seriously emotionally scarred man. How many of those are there on this planet? Too many! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying every stubborn, proud, driven and emotional scarred man is a Christian Grey, but it is thin line. Christian suffered severe emotional trauma as a child and as a result have dedicated his life to a) never returning to where he come from and b) never allow anyone past the ironclad walls built around his heart – to the point where he would not allow anyone to touch him. To him the female form is nothing other than an object to be used for your pleasure, regardless of the effect it might have on his partner or the fact that it might cause injury or trauma.
Anastasia Steele is a stubborn, proud, driven, somewhat insecure and seriously naïve girl. How many of those are there on this planet? Too many! She has very little worldly experience and falls head over heels with the enigmatic, rich and powerful CEO. She quickly gets drawn into his web and soon finds herself torn in two: her heart telling her that she loves him and her head telling her to get out while she is still able to. She (literally and figuratively) bends over backwards to try and accommodate his needs in an attempt to break through his walls and (almost) fails. Her stubbornness prevails and it is what saves them in the end.
How Christian Grey became to be 50 Shades of messed-up
Christian was the only child to a prostitute addicted to crack-cocaine whose pimp had the nasty habit of drinking, shouting and hitting them. When he was but a toddler, his mother died and he was left to deal with the hunger and fear on his own for days before her body was discovered. He then gets adopted by a very wealthy, stable, secure (emotionally and financially) family. Regardless of their best efforts however, he is unable to shake the trauma. He was thus a very hurt, damaged, emotionally charged teenager when he first met Mrs Robinson. She exploited his temper, intimacy issues and raging hormones to lure him into her dark world – a world where he could find acceptance; a world which showed him how to make the emotional pain tolerable through physical pain. This world became his foundation for love and acceptance and it is the only way he could find it. Ana was to be his 16th submissive after Mrs Robinson.
The story shows that loves prevails. It shows that love can heal and break down the walls, IF YOU ARE WILLING to let that happen.
Why am I on the fence?
Society is filled with men who were never taught to successfully deal with their emotions. Emotions and tear ducts were placed there by God – in men and women for Pete’s sake! If men were not supposed to have feelings or were not supposed to cry, they would have been born without tear ducts and would never have developed a frontal lobe capable of bringing about emotion.
The danger arises with the coping mechanisms we are taught. Yes, I do say we, as is evident from Mrs Robinson’s presence and actions in the books, women too suffer from issues with disassociation, denial, avoidance and the like.
If a young man goes to his father with a problem and his father tells him to have a drink and forget about it, he will learn that it is the correct way to deal with any form of emotion that you don’t understand. You have just created the breeding ground for alcoholism or drug abuse.
If someone is sexually abused as a child and they do not deal with the issue in the correct manner, chances are they will turn into abusers themselves. You have just created another rapist, abuser or porn addict.
If a boy or girl is shunned at home and can only find acceptance with their friends through drinking and sleeping around, that is what they will use as a coping mechanism in life. It all goes back to the foundation we give our children. You have just created a young man or woman who will jump at the idea of being accepted, regardless of what they have to do to get it. You have just created another dominant or submissive.
You might not agree with me, but I think society is the way it is, because too many of us don’t know how to deal with our emotions in a positive way.
Why the books could go either way – good or bad
If the books are read by an emotionally secure adult, you would be able to look past the kindly stuff and look at the lessons – lessons about love, forgiveness, acceptance, denial and self-preservation. The beautiful story of how a naïve girl broke through the walls by sheer stubbornness and with a huge amount of love.
You will see hope that, even for the worst case scenario’s, the worst of the SPCA cases*, there is hope if you choose to wallow in love instead of self-preservation.
The danger comes to the fore, when the books are read by someone in search of identity or acceptance. I can see how the idea of penthouse living with all the clothes you could think of, unlimited finances, all the latest toys and gadgets and an Audi R8 as a birthday present (amongst other things) could be alluring to girl who is looking for her rags-to-riches Prince Charming. It could be said that 50 Shades glorifies unhealthy sexual behaviour in exchange for having a life with all the other trimmings. I can see how that could be enticing.
In the end it’s all about choices and emotional maturity
As with any movie or book, I guess it is a matter of perception. Someone said to me that I’m over thinking it, but I doubt it.
I would love to hear from you…
Have you read the books? What did you make of it?
* My mom always refer to the “un-well puppies” in society as the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) cases. The ones who were broken and discarded somehow.