I have recently indulged in some masochism. ‘What?!’ I hear you cry. Yes, it’s true; I’ve just finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
Aside from awful character names, which I admit were so dreadful that they were fabulous (Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey), the writing was ungainly to say the least. Not as teeth-grindingly unbearable as I feared but there were still many, many moments of fingernails down the blackboard of literary style. When the heroine loses her virginity, I would have shouted out my safe word had I not been laughing so hard. However, as is the way with torture, it is not the occasional acute burst of pain but the constant drip-dripping that breaks a spirit. The far too often cries of ‘Oh my’ nearly did me in before I could reach the end. In fact, once was enough.
Aside from the adolescent writing style, my concern is that Fifty Shades of Grey may be giving out the wrong message to young women when what they really need to be told is: don’t go into a relationship thinking you can change him and maybe his ‘need for control’ and stalker-esque qualities aren’t cute and super-attentive, they’re actually borderline psychopathy.
Although Anastasia refers to Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles, a better Hardy novel for the young heroine would have been Far From the Madding Crowd, which essentially breaks men down into three types: the Oaks (strong, dependable but will bend for you); the Boldwoods (safe, financially stable but dull) and the Troys (the ones who will dazzle you, break your heart and bugger off). Of course, a gross over-simplification but a useful heuristic when dating. At least, if he’s not already an Oak, go let him work out his problems and let him return to you as an Oak. Don’t try and be the one to ‘fix’ him.
So, after rainy day spent indoors reading, I finally reached the end. Only it isn’t the end- there are another two books in the trilogy with talk of a possible five in total. Will I buy the next two? Only if the Deep Heat on my nipples wears off or the pins from under my nails drop out first.
I’m sure some people read Fifty Shades and felt like they needed a cold shower afterwards. Personally, I feel the need to scrub myself with lots of soap and hot water, metaphorically at least. So here’s the ablutionary line up:
I’m off to say 20 Our Fathers and 10 Hail Atwoods.