I knew I was going to do it. I fought the impulse. I'm not particularly interested in SM, except, as most people I expect, from a titalating distance.
But, I did it. I read it. And, to figure out if I really enjoyed it the first time, I read it again. Why?
Okay, here goes. I continued to read it because of E.L.James' character development. I saw a the strongly misguided Christian Grey who has a penchant for hurting women, under the guise of taking care of his women and giving them "pleasure-pain." All in play. Nothing binding (no pun intended) The "submissives" don't have to stay. Can leave anytime. Safe words are included in his non-binding contract. And, he is rich, handsome and charming. How many control freaks do we know who aren't? The ones I've run into in my dating life are exactly that. Well, maybe not the rich part.
Then, here comes the heroine. Anastasia Steele looks the part of a possible submissive. She's shy and unsure of herself. Woops. Watch out Christian, the young man who "doesn't do romance." This young would-be submissive is anything but. What she does have is a razor sharp mind and heart that wants to heal, and although inexperienced, she's adventurous and is ready to enjoy life to its fullest.
What I see in this story is a romance. Christian Grey who has to confront his demons and Anastasia Steele who's determined to punch out their lights, ever-so-softly.
There were some things that bothered me. At first, writing in present tense disturbed my sense of normalcy in novels. Nobody writes in present tense. Within the first two pages that no longer bothered me. I no longer noticed. Was it a well-written book? Um--well, maybe not great. But, (and this is what holds me) I didn't notice the writing. So when anyone criticizes the author, I ask "Badly written? How?" No, I'm too busy living in Christian Grey's apartment, in Anastasia Steele's mind and wherever they take me.
Is it ALL ABOUT SEX? Actually, even though a fifth of the book has sex scenes, it's not all about the sex, except as a means for the two characters to bond, to discover their limits and fall in love. But, the sex isn't the only plot point that pushes that forward. It's Christian's basically good character even though he doesn't want to admit it and his capability to love and Anastasia's relentless characteristic to find the way through to Christian's lighter side. She's no sap. She does leave him at one point. A wake up call for Christian. Normally, with his women, he wouldn't mind. In my mind, I ask, "Duh, Christian. How many knocks on your head will it take for you to realize you're hook, line and sinker in love with her."
So, for whatever it's worth, I loved the book. I might go for a third go-round, to see if there's anything in there I hated. Well, yeah a few things. I would have probably have choked him with his own flogger. Still, AS kicks his proverbial . . . you know what in her own way. You go girl!
Have a great day. Happy writing and reading.