This is no Barbara Cartland romantic novel
I don’t normally write about books without having read them myself first, but all the hype about 50 Shades of Grey has made me strangely reluctant to succumb and jump on the “everybody’s reading it” bandwagon.
First of all, friends who are readers told me that the book is just plain awful (in the sense that it is badly written). But it was not just that. When I read the blurb about the plot line it immediately made me wonder why so many women were falling over themselves to read it …”the corruption of a virginal student by her successful, helicopter-flying, sadomasochistic boyfriend.”
It sounded too much like a cliche of “Desperate Housewives” who were yearning for a bit of action. So far, so escapism, I suppose. Whatever turns you on.
But when I started seeing certain comments on Facebook I began to get the feeling that there was something rather disturbing about why women “loved” this book so much. Someone even said that “this is how real men should treat women”. Seriously?
And now, having read this wickedly brilliant review complete with hilarious animations, I’ve confirmed my gut feeling.
With 50 Shades, it seems that there are women who are once again buying into the age-old myth of the handsome, domineering hero who sweeps them off their feet and carries them away from their humdrum life. But this is not just a Barbara Cartland romantic novel spiced up with a bit of porn thrown in. From the review it is clear that the so-called relationship between Ana and Christian Grey is an abusive one.
What is worrying, as the reviewer Katrina Lumsden rightly points out, is that some women are not merely reading it to have a laugh and some titillation, but that they are seriously interpreting this as romance. Rather than swooning over the fantasy of meeting a man like Grey, this is the type of controlling, verging-on-abuse behaviour which should make women run a mile. It doesn’t help that the heroine is portrayed as a wimp with no self-esteem who needs to be given a good shake. This book simply reinforces the adage that if you treat a woman badly she will want you even more.
No wonder so many men assume that deep down all women want to be dominated and controlled, if a cruel, sadistic “hero” like Grey has become everyone’s idea of a dreamboat.
Most of all, however, it is the abysmal prose and the abuse of the English language which is the worst aspect of this bestseller. Let me leave you with Lumsden’s tally of the repetitive words and phrases:
“Oh My” – 79
“Crap” – 101
“Jeez” – 82
“Holy (shit/f**k/crap/hell/cow/moses)” – 172
“Whoa” – 13
“Gasp” – 34
“Gasps” – 11
“Sharp Intake of Breath” – 4
“Murmur” – 68
“Murmurs” – 139
“Whisper” – 96
“Whispers” – 103
“Mutter” – 28
“Mutters” – 23
“Fifty” – 16
“Lip” – 71
“Inner goddess” – 58
“Subconscious” – 82