Warning a few cursory spoiler alerts for Kaffir Boy, Fifty Shades of Grey, and To Kill a Mockingbird
No one is perfect
No man or woman is perfect. Anastasia Steele didn't set out to fix Christian Grey. She didn't even know all of his demons when she met him. Do you know all of your demons? How long did it take you to get to know your mate? In this article, I would like to once again discuss the impractical views that are being expressed on the internet, including my own. We've discussed the extremists who want to riot and burn books, the women who just think nothing is wrong with Fifty Shades of Grey, the women who think *Shut the H%$# up it's just a book* and then there is me. I'm somewhere in between the religious types and the Shut #$^*#$^(#! up group. Why? I liked the book, it's a book and while I see how our experiences influence our thoughts and actions (which is why some women think we may all start going out and... ??) - I think that Fifty Shades, like any book or movie is a learning experience. I spend a lot of my time reading or listening to books, all kinds of books (mostly fantasy and educational books), and like to think all books have value. My primary pet peeve is in zealot acts of naive unwavering opinions. No, this is not my first time on the internet. Yes, I've heard of trolling.
not to Write a Book Review
Thing is, I'm in a camp somewhere in between because I liked the book (didn't want to live it out), but liked the book. I'm also excited to see the movie Old Fashioned AND Fifty Shades of Grey. Interesting, they are both opening Valentines Day. Old Fashioned has literally thrown down the gauntlet, like many mommy bloggers and religious sites, against Fifty Shades. Other than advertising themselves as the anti-fifty, I love the concept of creating something instead of just book bashing. Bravo. Take a lemon and make a movie, or something like that. The trailers look pretty good too and promised to show an interesting ideal of Christian courtship.
Once again, I'm not saying Fifty Shades of Grey (The Fifty Shades Trilogy) is the best written book on the planet (or by any means the worst), it's not an inspirational novel, it's not perfect. I just don't think it deserves the amount of unwarranted book bashing that it's receiving from the masses of women unwilling to even peak past the cover. If you have, great, feel free to add a link to your review of the books in the comments.
PasséChristian is not the perfect man. I love Jane Austen, but Darcy (in Pride and Prejudice) wasn't perfect either. Comparing any man or woman to a religious ideal of righteousness is ludicrous. I understand hating a book because it is graphic, that is different. I've read on at least 2 blogs that women need to get back to traditional ideals, like Jane Austen's perfect archetype. Thing is, Jane Austen never tells us how kinky her characters get behind closed doors, but Darcy had a temper and a hard nature at times. Mr. Darcy is an aloof archetype or considered the traditional literary model of the perfect romantic hero. What does he have in common with Christian, well they are both control freaks, aloof, rich, and admit to being wrong. Otherwise not much. Georgian culture is far removed from main stream twenty-first century western society. In Georgian culture Jane and Elizabeth (the female lead in Pride and Prejudice) would have been considered outrageously forward and pressing her luck with Christian-conservative-polite society. Before the women's rights movement, it was
"A haughty landowner, Darcy doesn't see why he should bother with people who aren't as rich, educated, or sophisticated as he is." -- Character Analysis, Schmoop
What many of the reviews are not telling you is that Christian Grey had his own demons, a rough past, but a loving family. Bloggers who are say that they are raising their sons better, think again. He had a loving family, Anastasia did love him, and maybe the way they fell in love isn't your ideal or mine but they did fall in love (or maybe he is your ideal?). Yes, they worked out their differences together and with counseling. Yes the sex was consensual.
Ok, yes obviously the book has a lot of sex in it and some low points, but it also highlights the protagonist's struggle with abuse as a child and being raped as a teen. I understand that many people will have opinions about anything from the length of nose hair to what other people do with their private lives. So 1800s views towards books, their readers, or even judging reviews and their authors based on religious beliefs is nothing new. I respect the right to have an opinion and understand that some people may have morally righteous high ground (think they are better moms or above this book or that). I get it, I wouldn't want a child to read this book, but I can think of a lot of books a five year old probably should wait to read. Heck it's not for teens either, they should grow up with a strong male figure to show them what's right and wrong. I don't think Christian is the ideal man, but I haven't met anyone who is perfect. I love my dad and my brother. I believe they are wonderful examples of strong, loving, giving gentlemen, but (don't tell them) they're not perfect either. That is all besides the point, as a lover of all books, even the ones I personally wouldn't want to live out, I find it extremely objectionable to write a review with specific presumptions and opinions after reading none of a book or less than a few chapters.
Puritans. Opinions. Book Burning.I have no desire to live in a Puritan culture where books are burned on principal. Great Pulitzer Prize winning books like, To Kill a Mocking bird, with great moral lessons, are alread being removed from schools and others are unavailable via services like audible in the USA due to censorship.
If anyone wants to take a stand against abuse, rape, child abuse, or human trafficking - great, I support you/that person (heck tell me the cause and maybe we can write an article about it). However, if anyone wants to write a book review, please read that book first. Even if you do not like the tone, the characters, the story, or anything about a book, read it or don't generalize a story - especially based on internet cliff notes. In my humble opinion, for the total of five cents that is worth, I believe reviews and words have a bigger impact if they use the right platform. This may not stop reviews where the author has zero practical knowledge of the book, story, product, or service; but that is my five cents.
Then again, I doubt most who write such reviews will change their ways, but here's hoping.
Much like, The Kaffir Boy: An Autobiography--The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa, an international best seller, books get banned, burned, censored, or pre-judged because of naive content. The Kaffir Boy is an inspiring book that also has sex scenes regarding child abuse in Africa. The book has been scrutinized by reactional and parochial people who refused to read it because Mark Mathabane's true tale puts a spotlight on taboo issues that some find distasteful to read but happily discuss for a few extra clicks on their blogs or newspapers. Reading a book or discussing an issue doesn't mean you condone it but does give you an opportunity to see through another person's eyes and learn from their experiences.
Hating a Genre
I admit, I do not love EVERYTHING. Who does? Technically I hate a couple of genres.
Yes, hate is a strong word, but considering it means to have a passionate or intense dislike of something I would say I hate horror movies and books that end sadly. I've read a few books that are still scary, but have a hard time getting threw anything with gore. So, I understand disliking things on principal. You can dislike Fifty Shades because it takes about sex and therefor makes you think about sex. Which implies in your head maybe you're having adulterous thoughts. Some people may dislike the book because Christian is up front with Anastasia, and tells her all the things he wants to do to her or that he insists she think about/signs a contract prior to ever having sex with him to prove it's consensual. Some people may even hate that he rescues her repeatedly from other men, bad situations, and keeps tabs on her (because he's rich and lives a VERY different lifestyle then 99% of people who read/talk about the book). So some may hate talking about sex or thinking that anyone has premarital sex. Ok. Som
Want More Reviews on Fifty Shades of Grey?
- My original review of Fifty Shades of Grey. - 50 Shades of Grey or a Review of Opinionated Assholes with Fake Opinions
- Read the book or don't talk about it like you know the story. This goes for all books.
- Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy
- How Not to Write a Book Review & Puritans. Opinions. Book Burning.
- A Christian Podcast review of Fifty Shades of Grey where 1 woman read the book and 1 did not: Exposing the Lure of Romance and Erotica (I'm not affiliated with the podcast, do not know the women who produced it, however it gives you another view point from someone who read the book)
The Anti-Fifty Shades
I think I will see both.