Fifty Shades of not quite what I expected

I know it has been sometime since I posted here, but unfortunately work has been excruciatingly hectic and I just wasn’t in the head space required to write. I don’t know why the companies in this country remember in the last quarter of the financial year that they have to show some investment and hand out contracts at unreal deadlines. But anyways enough cribbing about work problems. I have a post on Nepal version 2, my visit to the International Delhi Book Fair and the photos my dear friend wanted to see; still remaining, but this post is something that is still fresh in my head, and I think its obvious what it is about.

Yes, I read the Fifty Shades Trilogy. Just to clear something up, I did not read them because a movie was made on them, I had planned to read these for some time now, and only now managed to get copies of these books dirt cheap. Unfortunately, these were not books I was willing to buy at full price.

As the title of the post suggests, the books were not what I expected, and that is the sad part. I had sadly been optimistic that books this popular would be well written with a plot over and above the BDSM scene. However, While not exactly badly written, they definitely failed to impress. I am not a literary person, I am not someone who can quote authors and books at the blink of an eye or anything, but I am avid book reader. I like books that have a good plot, ‘a what happens next’ feel to them, I like books that have a story to them; a plot and a concrete end point, I like books with a good character development, which make you associate with the characters. It is in these aspects that I think E. L. James fails to deliver.

Don’t get me wrong, there were things about the books I really appreciated, especially that the books were not only about the BDSM scene. For that I am thankful because if I wanted to read only a BDSM story I would have picked up an erotica. Also, the books were well written in terms of their language. The best part however was the email banter between Anastasia and Christian, which made me smile, it was cute I gotta say.

However, that’s where the goods ended sadly. The books lacked a concrete pace and on many occasions the story line seemed to be drifting without a clear purpose. Furthermore, while the stories weren’t only about the BDSM scene, the rest of the narrative did not seem to have the same authority in story telling. Without any disrespect to the author, it almost felt like I was reading fan fiction instead of a published book, a well written fan fiction no doubt, but still not in the league of the big boys. The biggest problem I had with the story arc was that it did not surprise me at any point. The hints of where the story was going were obvious and started appearing well in advance to the effect that I was predicting what would happen next.

Another issue I had with the books were the manner in which they treated the concept of BDSM. Don’t get me wrong, I know its something that is not approved of by society. But from what little I understand of it, it is also about implicit trust in your partner, in rendering control to someone else and being assured that they would not abuse it. However, sadly the books painted it in a very negative light, with the character’s preference coming from the abuse and hardship he suffered as a child. While yes, everything I spoke of was there, and also towards the end, both Christian and Ana indulge in it for pleasure, I am afraid these aspects may have gotten lost in the narration for many.

So overall, while the Fifty Shades trilogy wasn’t bad, it wasn’t mind-blowing either. Not that it matters, but I would give it 2 points out of five. Having said that, I think these books will definitely remain in the memory of book readers for some time, only because it discussed in mainstream literature; a lifestyle and practices that were only mentioned in hushed murmurs before. Kudos to the author for taking that leap of faith and I hope the next books by her (if any) are better written in terms of story arcs.



2 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of not quite what I expected

  1. I think one of the problems is that E.L James’s books are so empty, that it didn’t give the director much to work with in the first place.
    The film wasn’t bad, but I also think it’s incredibly overrated and I certainly wouldn’t have cast Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey!


    1. Thanks for the comment and I will keep that in mind if I do get around to watching the movie… Which as of now I have no intention of doing. But yes I agree that if it has to be successful it would need a stronger screenplay than what the books provided

      Liked by 1 person

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