Let’s Talk About That Book Everyone’s Talking About

Are you reading Fifty Shades of Grey? Have you read Twilight? Are you seeing similarities?

In her review of Fifty Shades of GreySarah at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books writes:

I found it to be melancholy and meandering, and the heroine narrator is so maudlin and wimpy I grew more and more irritated with her and with the story and had to stop. It’s amazing how powerful a first-person narrator can be – and what a turn off it is when you don’t like her.

This has been precisely my experience with the novel. I’ve not yet reached the fifth chapter and I’ve been nothing but irritated by and embarrassed for Anastasia Steele.

Part of me thinks she might be written as a stumbling fumbling bumbling mess to titillate submissive readers with a proclivity for humiliation (this is, after all, a book about power play in the context of BDSM). Alas, most of me thinks she’s the product of clumbsy writing.

James’s trilogy was conceived as Twilight fanfic. I haven’t read Stephenie Meyer’s series, but I understand Bella is a klutz.Twilight readers: Was Bella “maudlin” or “wimpy”? Does she clash with Edward in any way, or merely submit to his sparkly vampire sex power?

5 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About That Book Everyone’s Talking About

  1. I’m not proud to admit I’ve read the twilight books. It was a momentary lapse of judgement. But what can you do? What’s the saying? ‘Never a failure, always a lesson’?… Blah, blah. So why on earth am I reading twilight 2.0 ‘the later years’?! I’m a sucker for punishment, I guess. *insert bad joke of Miss Steele being one too*

    *sigh* Bella swan and anastasia Steele definitely have similarities: they both trip when they breath too heavily. Bella works for about a minute at a sport chalet type place , miss Steele manages two whole minutes at a hardware store. Tomaytoe, tomahto. They both have extremely wealthy , unbelievably attractive boyfriend’s whom surprise, surprise have fallen for the poor, clumsy girls. They also happen to be extremely possessive of them. I guess people think that’s hot. Oh! And let’s not forget that the girl’s have other ‘suitors’ that are vying for their love. For Bella we had mainly Jake, but also… oooh, I can’t remember his name (I guess I should be proud of that). For miss Steele we have another tanned muscular minority, Jose (say whaaat?!), and briefly Paul who works at the hardware store. Also, both Bella’s and anastasia’s parents are divorced and grey and Edward are adopted. Albeit, Edward’s ‘adopted’ is different from grey’s. The girl’s also have issues with their boyfriend’s buying them expensive things, but then they smile… or sparkle at them and the argument ends.

    I’m currently on chapter 15 or 16 of fifty shades of grey. I feel bad for this anastasia Steele. I feel more bad for her than Bella willing to give up EVERYTHING to eat rabbits and deer and stare into Edward’s eyes all day. I just have to know how it ends. I just can’t possibly fathom how it can end well. Miss Steele hopes for things that happen in most relationships, but Mr. Grey won’t even let her touch him! Don’t see it ending well. Don’t see it ending well at allll. He’s lusting over her, she’s day dreaming over him, and I’m hoping werewolves come into the picture and kill them both while they’re in ‘the red room of pain.’ And I swear, if he tells her to eat one more time, I’m going to start writing the parody to fifty shades of grey… and it won’t be pretty.

    • Don’t berate yourself for reading Twilight, Crystal. I’m so glad you did, because it means I don’t have to :) I’m also glad you’re sticking it out through Fifty Shades, because I really don’t want to.

      I’m sorry it took me so long to reply to your awesometastic comment. I was trying to catch up with you, aiming at least get to Chapter 15 or 16, but I just could not take another Holy shit! I did a search for “shit” with my tablet and in the first seven chapters I discovered:

      Holy shit
      Holy shit
      Shit
      Holy shit
      Oh shit
      Shit
      Oh shit
      Holy shit
      Holy shit
      Holy shit
      Holy shit
      Holy shit
      Holy shit
      Holy shit
      Holy shit…

      Seven chapters. Eighty-eight eBook pages. Holy sh—

      When it comes to romantic pairings, I’m partial to the Leia/Han and Beatrice/Benedick model. You know the one: they meet, they bicker, they overcome obstacles together, they fall in love, they bicker some more. So Anastasia, with all her falling down and navel gazing just isn’t doin’ it for me.

      Re: “another tanned muscular minority”

      It hadn’t occurred to me to link Jacob and Jose, but I think you are totally spot on. (And of course, neither is the primary love interest.)

      Note to writers of lady characters: Writing a heroine as an employee of a hardware store doesn’t ipso facto make her a strong female character. Writing her as a klutz, also not so empowering.

      Note to Crystal: Write the parody! The story of Bellastasia…DO IT

  2. Just found your website, and loved reading through it! My feminist side is definitely on edge these days with women’s rights being slowly eroded all over the country….unfortunately I read the whole “Twilight” series – ALL of them – because I was waiting for Bella to do something redeeming. I mean, she’s the heroine of the story, she couldn’t really be completely spineless, could she? But no, she was weak and simpering throughout the entire series! Her boyfriend is completely controlling – he sneaks into her bedroom to stare at her while she sleeps….oh, but only because he loves her and wants to protect her. He breaks up with her, and she goes into months of depression, hurting herself repeatedly and more severely each time because it might make him come back to her……her newly-wed husband beats her up and breaks her bones on their wedding night, only for HER to comfort HIM in the morning light by insisting that he didn’t mean it, he couldn’t help himself because he loves her so much. This is romantic??? This is what my daughter has to look forward to as popular teen literature?? I think I’ll have her stick to Hobbits and Harry Potter as long as possible, thank you very much. I think I’ll do myself a favor and skip “50 Shades of Grey.” :) I really do wonder what is up with this backslide in strong female characters…..

    • Hi Tracy! Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

      DEFINITELY skip “50 Shades of Grey.” Not only is the woman a wimp, not only is the man a douche, not only is their relationship completely emotionally unhealthy — but even the author E. L. James admits her writing isn’t good:

      http://jezebel.com/5902631/fifty-shades-of-grey-not-that-great-admits-author-of-fifty-shades-of-grey

      In addition to Hobbits and Harry Potter, (if you haven’t already discovered it) I recommend checking out the Hunger Games trilogy. It’s action packed, thematically complex, and features an awesome, brave, strong, smart, loyal young woman as its protagonist.

      Katniss Everdeen is one of the few female protagonists in contemporary literature whose story boys and men are actually seeking out, reading, and enjoying. It’s depressing that this is such a rarity, but the series gives me hope!

      I hope you’ll continue to share your thoughts here :D

      • Hunger Games is next on my reading list – I’m a little behind on that craze, but better late than never – now I’m really excited to read it!

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