Fifty Shades of Grey

I read most genres. I particularly enjoy mysteries and thrillers such as In the Woods or House at Riverton. I also tend to gravitate towards stories from the east. I greatly enjoyed Shantarum and Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. I love reading and learning about people and situations that are foreign to me such as in Moloka'i, The 19th Wife or Bastard Out of Carolina. I find David Sedaris hysterical. I think Jon Krakaue is brilliant. I will also read books that are popular. I like to see what has people buzzing.  Stieg Larsson and his trilogy captured me. After much convincing I finally picked up The Hunger Games. The first book was my favorite, but I enjoyed and recommend them all. The Twilight books were in my opinion horrendous although I can see the appeal for tweens. Fifty Shades of Grey torments me. Why are women enjoying this book? The protagonist Ana is taken advantage of by Christian. She has never been in love or had a sexual relationship. Her first love and sexual partner is abusive and manipulative, but she most likely will return to him in the second book because she is drawn to him sexually and believes like many women do that she can change him. (I have not finished the trilogy yet.) Christian is unable to have a healthy relationship due to the abuse he sustained as an adolescent. Additionally, although in therapy he cannot see that his violent nature is destructive and abusive.
The first book in the series perpetuates a problem I have seem many woman experience. Women adamantly believe they can change a man. If he loves me enough, he will change. If I show him the light, he will transform. I just have to train him. This does not work. People will change slightly, but not significantly. The author is enabling this destructive mindset. I mentioned greatly enjoying Stieg Larsson’s trilogy. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was incredibly violent. The book details a disturbingly, violent rape scene. Yet, Larsson’s books did not spark the type of reaction I experienced with Fifty Shades of Grey. The violence was necessary in Larsson’s first book. Eventually, Lisbeth’s situation is revealed and the perpetrators are punished. As I shared, I have not finished the E L James’ trilogy, however the first book ends with Ana leaving the relationship, yet the reader knows she will return to most likely accept more violent punishments.
This story reminds me of a friend who was raped during her first sexual experience. She reiterated the experience in tears. I told her I was there for her and that we needed to report this immediately. She would not allow me to report it. For this I carry immense guilt. She continued to see this person. She continued to be raped, although she described it to me as consensual and what the mainstream would describe as kinky and a bit too rough. What happened to my friend seems identical to what is occurring to this main character.
The description of sex is at times tantalizing, but for me also deeply disturbing. My partner and I watched The Hunger Games. He did not read the books. He was upset by the movie. He felt it was not a good message for children and teens. I too feel the subject matter is strange but feel the books are well written and am ultimately thrilled that children are reading. Fifty Shades of Grey alarms me. I am not a prude nor against alternative sexual appetites. As I stated before the accounts of the sex and the detailed pornographic nature were thrilling, but the violence in the form of abuse and this young woman’s wiliness to accept it is has me asking what is wrong with society that this book is flying off the shelves?

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