Fifty Shades of Normal

Saturday Night Live Fifty Shades of Grey spoof

Finished book #2 yesterday. And it amazes me how many thoughts I have – not about the erotica, which of course I’ve gotten used to. (It’s much hotter when it’s new and unexpected, but that’s another blog altogether.)

So here are the points I’d like to extrapolate from Fifty Shades Darker to real life:

1. As a writer, I am eager to understand how E.L. James writes so fluidly (not literarily, mind you) so that I can’t put the book down. It is not, I admit, high literature, and many of the twists and turns of the plot are expected and unrealistic. Still. I couldn’t put it down. So it is fascinating to me how the author gets her readers to suspend disbelief and buy into the unreality of the story. What is it about fantasy that has us lusting after more pages? (And by book 2, it’s not the sex scenes, I assure you, although they’re still pretty damn good.)

2. As a woman, I recognized the massive insecurities that so many of us have or had earlier in our lives in the main character, Anastasia Steele. It is so apparent, as a reader looking on from the outside, that Christian Grey is in love with her and the relationship is solid. Why, then, doesn’t she see it? Why does a beautiful young woman not believe that a powerful, sexy man could be truly in love with her, that the only explanation must be his broken-ness? It makes me at turns angry and sad that so many women – so many women I know! – have felt this way at some point. What is our society telling us, that we are unlovable?

3. As a writer, I must question the merit of using the word Woah 327 times (no, I didn’t count – I am guessing here and I’m probably pretty close). Or the word fuck in some form 562 times. You get the picture. Varying word choice does wonders for any relationship, even one of pen to paper.

4. As a reader, I see several messages here, the most powerful of which is that we clearly don’t see what is all around us – whether it is unconditional love or acceptance or desire or potential. So we must really open our eyes to the present, to what is staring us straight in the face.

Suffice it to say that the drive from Edwardsville to Detroit was made much easier by reading for four hours on the road. And I didn’t even get carsick.

I’m still fascinated by the rhetoric and rebuke around this trilogy of novels – the extreme despair and disgust of some, the quiet acceptance and hunger of others. It’s funny to me when someone twenty or thirty years older than I wants to read it and others express horror – egads, must women in their later years not be open to sexuality and love anymore?

Let’s start this short post-holiday week with the ability to laugh at ourselves. We are all taking things like this – life in general – way too seriously. It’s about the moments, my friends. And it’s all good.

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One Response to Fifty Shades of Normal

  1. Karin says:

    One of my pet peeves is when people take themselves way too seriously. I might read the books someday. I’m only slightly interested. Hope you had a great weekend!

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