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Book review: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ more like 50 shades of garbage

I would like to preface this review by saying that if you aren’t old enough to attend Ohio State, you shouldn’t read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Period.

I fell victim to the hype of popular culture, and I should have known better. It was the start of the summer, and I wanted a book to read. All the buzz surrounding “Fifty Shades of Grey” had me interested, so I decided to give it a try.

I went into it with an open mind, but this book was over the top. I wasn’t 10 percent through it before I regretted ever picking it up.

To catch up anyone who hasn’t read this book, or has been living under a rock the past month, it’s all about sex. It’s the same story we’ve heard a hundred times about a dopey young girl swept off her feet by a handsome billionaire who owns a helicopter and woos her with glorious gifts.

It reminded me of “Twilight” the entire time (not to bring up a controversial subject). Subtract the vampires, multiply the sexual activity by however many pages there are in “Fifty Shades of Grey,” maintain the male stalker persona and top it off with overall poor writing.

Obviously this erotic novel isn’t supposed to be a literary masterpiece. It’s aimed to shock and awe, but honestly, it was disturbing.

Christian Grey, the billionaire, is described as a sexy, overpowering man who wants to dominate Anastasia Steele, the clumsy graduate. He wants to make her his “submissive” and encourages her to sign a contract, giving him the final say on her eating, drinking and exercising habits.

He buys her a laptop and a Blackberry so he can contact her at all times, buys her a car because he thinks it’s safer than the old Beetle she was driving and buys her a new wardrobe. The contract he urges her to sign also details the cans and can’ts of their sex life, including but not limited to bondage, spanking, whipping, punishment techniques, fisting, gagging and more. That’s a pretty vanilla list too.

Under the terms of his contract, she would come to his apartment in Seattle, Wash., for a weekend every three months to be with him. They would meet in what Anastasia calls his “red room of pain” which is full of different sex toys and apparatuses. She must do everything he tells her to, without complaint but with joy, and be completely submissive to him.

I understand the concept of the book, and if this is the kind of stuff people like to fantasize about, that’s fine. That being said, I really don’t like where this is going if it’s leaking into popular culture.

The BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) is something that I imagine most women have too much self-esteem to partake in. It encourages the acceptance of brutal sexual punishment and discourages saying “no” when a women feels uncomfortable during sex. That is at least how it’s interpreted in this book.

In “Fifty Shades of Grey,” Christian always asks Anastasia if she trusts him before they do anything that she hasn’t done before and she always says “yes” under the influence of his supposed overwhelming demeanor. However, hours later she will be embarrassed or ashamed about what happened and confused about their relationship. It’s not healthy, and no one should feel like that in real life.

Obviously this book isn’t real and shouldn’t be taken entirely seriously, as it is meant for entertainment. That being said, the idea that it is mainstream for women to be submissive and constantly answer to a man’s sexual demands is the opposite of progressive. That’s a dangerous idea that women have been fighting against for decades.

A lot of people love this book, and I can see why. It’s exciting, suspenseful and it’s the first time in my living memory that an erotic novel has made it into popular culture and soccer mom book clubs nationwide. I’m not saying people shouldn’t like it, just that maybe women should dream a little bigger than being swept off their feet and tied up with a patterned silver necktie by strange, vaguely threatening men.

Grade: C

 

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