REVIEW: Fifty Shades of No Thanks

Fifty Shades of Grey – E L James

I am aware that I am years late on the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon train but this month my dissertation and my flatmates’ cinematic plans for our Valentine’s Day prompted me to finally give the first book of the franchise a go.

I had heard that it was something of a Twilight fan fiction yet I was still surprised to find just how many flagrant parallels there were between the two franchises. From Christian Grey’s Edward Cullenesque piano playing to Anastasia’s parents, it was cringingly similar. Just as much though, Christian’s stalking, possessiveness and jealousy make Edward Cullen look like a laid back, easy-going boyfriend, no mean feat.

Frustration, not arousal, it what I felt while reading the book cover to cover, mostly because of Anastasia’s ignorance but also with the irritating repetition of ‘Ah,’ ‘Mmm,’ and dozens of other things. Please may Anastasia’s experiences remind the world that we have a serious sex education problem!

I’m thrilled that discourse around female sexuality is finally becoming mainstream but did it have to happen like this? As I’m currently writing my dissertation on female sexuality I’m starting to become very well acquainted with critically acclaimed erotic fiction which I suspect has only worsened my frustration with the actual sex in the book. E L James seems just as obsessed with the (insatiable) mutual orgasm as D. H. Lawrence, and Anastasia’s naivety about peeing after sex and going on the pill DRIVES ME MAD. Does it get better in the rest of the books? Someone tell me, I daren’t find out for myself…

Fair play to E L James, credit where credit is due: I can’t stop thinking about the bloody book, but perhaps not in the way she intended. I’m sure most of my rants about Fifty Shades of Grey have already been heavily discussed in the five years I managed to go without succumbing to the (over) hype, so I’ll spare you. Instead I’m going to move onto my next read: a collection of essays I got for christmas: Fifty Shades of Feminism. Ah, mmm, back to reality; lovely, lovely reality.

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