Saturday, August 11, 2012

Different read

As of this writing, the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has been on the New York Times Best Sellers list for 23 weeks. Ellen Degeneres featured it in her talk show. But I wouldn't have known about this had not a colleague of mine drawn my attention to it. And when he mentioned sadomasochism, my interested was piqued. But I live in squeaky clean Singapore, so would such a book with this type of content be allowed on the island? It probably won't be in the bookstores here, at least not any time soon, so if I wanted to read it now, I'll have to buy it off or some similar online book retailer. But declaring it at customs may present a problem.

But hey, we live in the internet age. There are eBook versions available too, which you can buy off these same online retailers, or get the bootleg versions. So I got the eBook version - all three of them in a 'trilogy' package and spent the better part of the last 2 weeks reading it from cover to cover. Actually, I skimmed in books two and three. You just want to get to the juicy parts. ;-)

I agree with many that this is primarily a romantic fiction. I have never read Mills and Boon before, so this counts as the first real romantic fiction that I have ever read. Romeo and Juliet don't count. And what do I think about it? It is a well written story, although at times unconvincing and a tad tiring with the sexual trysts and generous number of sexual narratives. The two protagonists appear to be sex starved individuals. Every time they are together, they think only of, and eventually, have sex, whether of the vanilla or kinky flavour. But I suppose that's what readers would expect and why this book is hot. This is perhaps why it is still up there in the New York Times best seller list.

What is unrealistic? A super rich but emotionally disturbed guy who pilots a helicopter. The cause of his disturbances? It is sexual in nature, of course. It appears complicated and you'd need to read the book to begin to figure out what it is all about. I'd have second thoughts, though, about climbing into the cockpit with him, much less flying from Portland to Seattle in it. But that's what the male-adjusted and female romantic protagonists did, until the helicopter crashed and burned, sans our protagonists, i.e.

The progression of the story is interesting enough. It begins with an unplanned meeting and instant attraction. The man, Christian Grey looks for a female submissive relationship, which the female protagonist - Anastasia Steel, expressed misgivings and rejects, all through the first book - 50 Shades of Grey. However, as the story unfolds, Ms Steel eventually accepts, enthusiastically, may I say, a submissive mode. You get a hint of this through the book covers. Book one is that of a tie (in more sense than one) and ends with a handcuff on the cover of the third book.

The ending is somewhat surprising. It wasn't what I'd expect given the tension and doubts in the relationship between the two protagonists from the beginning. But I won't spoil it for you by writing about it here. Go read the book.