(just a wee warning: there are a few naughty words ahead)
If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that most things in life are not black and white. What we think is absolute most often bleeds into shades of gray.
As many of you are aware, the above titled book is taking the world by storm. I’ve never been one to chase a fad or a craze but in this case I made an exception. One, because I write erotic romance and two, the real reason I chose to plunk down ten bucks for an ebook was because I had heard so many people saying how terribly written this ‘mommy porn’ was. I had no choice but to poke my head out of my cave because the hue and cry against this book and what it represented was rupturing my eardrums.
So I dug out the dusty Nook and downloaded it. Confession time: Since the one thing everyone seemed to agree on regarding this book was how over the top the sex scenes were, I um, skimmed through all of the pages leading up to the scene where Ana gets yanno… I know, I know shallow me. Here’s another confession: I did that because I believed the dreck I was hearing, and frankly didn’t want to waste my time reading crap. Hey! Don’t shake your head at me like that. Anyway, I soon discovered, I had sold the author and myself very short by not reading from the beginning. I have since read those pages and could kick myself for not doing so the first time.
So, my verdict after reading the entire book?
This book personifies every shade of gray imaginable. It’s so much more than what everyone is saying about it. It’s about human suffering, human joy, coming of age but mostly it’s about overcoming terrible wrongs done to us when the people who should have protected us, didn’t.
In its purest form, it’s a love story.
It proves to me that nothing is black and white. Though I did enjoy the story, the characters, and the writing, which was not perfect, (which is precisely why I enjoyed it. perfect = boring. yawn). There were a few things I would have done differently, but hey? If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. And while this story is being touted as <whispers behind her hand> BDSM erotica, I protest that label. It’s a complicated love story with some ‘kinky fuckery’. Don’t get me wrong, the sex is smokin’ hot but the love story is so much better.
The hero is monumentally flawed. Or is he really? What exactly is a character flaw? Think about that for a minute. That aside, this guy, Christian Grey, is simply a damaged soul with a bleeding heart who is not only terrified to love but feels unlovable. And not for contrived reasons but for very real reasons. He’s not a bad guy because of his sexual preferences. Be still my heart, the guy has serious game in that department! But for me that isn’t what this story was about. It was about facing demons when you find someone who will face them with you even if they don’t know what the hell they’re in for. I’d take a man like Christian Grey over an average Joe any day. Not because he’s hot, powerful, hot, sexy, hot and a gazillionaire (did I mention hot?), nope I’d take him because he’s intelligent, complex, difficult, compassionate, ok hot! and if he loved me with the honesty and depth that he comes to love Anastasia, the rest of the stuff is superfluous.
Love can conqueror a hell of a lot of crap if you’re willing to put the work in. Most couples with baggage aren’t willing to do the work, it’s why so many relationships fail.
Frankly, I thought and think the hero in this book is a hero to himself because he saves himself. With some help. Yes, his methods of self-preservation were unique, but again, if all parties are consenting adults, where is the harm? I don’t see any. Is it black and white? Nope, many shades of gray.
Enter our bright-eyed and bushy-tailed heroine. She’s twenty-two, with her own issues (not nearly as fractured as Christian) but eclipsing them is this delightful, intelligent, sassy, curious, brave young woman. Oh, so very brave. Before she realizes just how deep the sh*t she’s in is, she’s fallen and fallen hard for the hero. In my opinion she was very brave to take the bull by the ‘er uh horns and commit to this man who loved her just as fiercely.
How many of us out there have been attracted to the bad boy or naughty girl, the one we knew damn well we should not have hopped into the backseat of their car with but did it anyway? Is that too stupid to live? Nah, it’s human lust induced crazy. And once you experience it, even though you know it’s bad for you, you go back. Like an addiction. We’ve all been there, in that we have done something with eyes wide open knowing full well we shouldn’t but it felt too good not to. Why is reading about a heroine who does it make her stupid and silly? Who’s being stupid and silly to think that? It happens every day and if we’re honest with ourselves, we can admit, if only to ourselves, that we’ve done it. Humans are emotional beings, people. Emos rule!
What I found so compelling about this book was that it’s real life stuff. Don’t kid yourself that it isn’t. People are effed up out there. Just look around. People do some crazy ass sh*t because they are in pain and/or afraid of being hurt. For some it’s ‘kinky fuckery’ for others it’s self-medicating with drugs and or alcohol, and yet others go so far as to self-mutilate. Are they crazy? Maybe some of them, but that’s subjective. It’s not black and white. It’s many shades of gray.
We see people in pain every day. Until we have walked a mile or two in their shoes, we can’t see or understand the gray areas. Even then, we still might not, but it’s no longer black and white. We all have our crosses to bear. Our own demons to battle. Fear prevents many of us from healing. And for some, it’s just easier to do nothing except hide away in that little cocoon of darkness. This story shows the light at the end of the darkness.
As far as the ‘mommy porn’ label that has been attached to this book and books like it, get over it. Sure women and men read these books for titillation. So what? Is it really anyone’s business why I read a book? No, it isn’t. So don’t try and make it your business. And while the critics may not be in touch with their own sensuality, don’t even try to make me feel bad because I happen to be in touch with mine.
Books are a private thing between an author and a reader. For the duration of the read, we’re a couple. We have this thing. I don’t need anyone interjecting their opinion about it. None of their business. I really detest labels. Hate. Them. Don’t label my books ‘mommy porn’ just because I rip the bedroom door off by the hinges. Go mind your own damn business and leave me alone.
The critics need to stop taking themselves so seriously and leave readers and writers alone.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Comment, say anything. Agree, disagree, talk about your dog, I don’t care (just be polite) and I’ll pick a random commenter to win a digital copy of 50 Shades of Grey.
Oh, PS, I have a book coming out next Tuesday, BLOODRIGHT, book two in my Blood Moon Rising trilogy. I’d really appreciate it if you went out and bought it. I have a family to feed. Thank you.