I’ve restrained myself from reading 50 Shades Trilogy for so long, until the trailer for the first book’s movie adaptation came up on YouTube last year and I thought, while watching it, that the result will have to be great. And, seriously, I’ve restrained myself from writing anything about the books (no reviews, no articles, no nothing other than a little comments on Goodreads), until all people seemed to decide to make such a fuss about Fifty Shades of Grey and turn the Internet choke-full of their ramblings about it now that the feature film will soon hit the big screen in February.
Honestly, people. Why the fuss? Alright, I admit that I liked the books much (okay, lit snobs, now you can either smirk at me or get out of my way), but I just don’t think that we should talk and talk about it and overanalyze everything. Really, people are so making such overreacting comments that:
- the book poorly lacks literary merit (it’s a commercial romance novel, what do you expect?)
- it contains BDSM lifestyle and erotic, explicit sex scenes… and here I’m wondering why no one’s talking over and over about Tara Sue Me’s books? (yes, I sneaked into my sister’s ebook collection… yes, yes, I know.)
- it glorifies women’s secret, dark, sexual fantasies (does anyone read romances, at all?)
- it’s a shameful thing to read
- all those points above rolled into one.
So, why am I now talking about it here in my blog? You might be wondering what’s happening in my head. First, let me make myself clear: I don’t do romance. I mean, I don’t read romances… a lot. I do read them sometimes (aside from my romance-translating job), but it’s not the happily-ever-after ending that I seek for. In fact, I prefer a sad ending to conclude a story, a cliffhanger at the very least. When I read romances, I mostly seek for escapism. God, I need escapism. And if the story is so much to my liking, then it’ll be an added bonus.
So, when the first book, Fifty Shades of Grey, came out like three or four years ago, it was my sister who was so excited to read it, and became very much fond of it. Seeing her loving the book so much, I was like… “What is it actually about?” And then she told me… no, she talked and talked about it all the time that I got the point: just another fairy tale. So what? I’ve read several romance books at that time so I already understood that those mass market products actually contain a chunk of feminism, if you want to take women’s sexuality into account. But I seriously didn’t get what it was about the book that could drag so many people women into reading it, but I didn’t want to waste my time following the trend, either. The hype’s continued, and I kept avoiding the book. Until last year, when the trailer of the movie adaptation hit YouTube. Out of curiosity, I opened the video site and watched it. For a stunned minute, I thought, “Oh, okay. Looks great. The director must be a genius.” To be honest, the trailer looks so slick and shiny, in my opinion. And then and there, my curiosity got the better of me. I decided that it was time to read the book.
In a nutshell, I did read Fifty Shades of Grey, and its two sequels. And that’s it, I liked them all. I never thought I would. Well, if you just peel off the BDSM thing and the awkwardly written narrative, then you will get some nice, emotionally intense love story. I cannot say that I normally like Cinderella-fairy-tale kind of love story the way 50 Shades are, but there’s something more about the books that makes them so unbearably appealing to me. Perhaps it’s the witty email banter and dialogues, showing the reader that women can be as dangerously smart as they are plain. Or perhaps it’s the way the set of books boosts our morale. Well, I’m not sure about the statistics, but how many women out there who are constantly living in a shell of insecurity, hiding behind cosmetics, plastic surgeries, diets, and yoga just to get called beautiful? The mythically dashing, gorgeous, rich Christian Grey can make the ever-insecure Anastasia Steele feel beautiful and sexy without her having to do anything but staying plain (and smart). This is what 50 Shades do. In fact, generally speaking, this is what romances do: morale boosting. It’s important for us. It’s important for (most) women. If Catherine Anderson or Eloisa James or Sabrina Jeffries or any other romance writer does not get raved about the way E.L. James does, despite their best-selling authors status, then I’ll blame it on the lame promotion. Or the less than attractive title and/or cover. In short, I’d say that 50 Shades Trilogy has just the same quality/value as Jeffries’ A Dangerous Love or Anderson’s Blue Skies. And if people are still shocked or rambling about the erotic sex scenes 50 Shades have, then they should really try Stephanie Laurens (I had a very hard time translating her book, trust me). Or any other erotic romance, for that matter.
So, you see? There’s nothing to fuss about this Fifty thing. There’s no need to overanalyze it. I really think you should stop now, before the Internet explodes.
That’s all my own ramblings. I’m going to stop now, and get back reading Gone Girl.