Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Why I Stopped Reading 50 Shades of Grey
I almost bought 50 Shades of Grey - the book nine out of ten women sitting inside any given subway car are currently reading - five times before I actually bought it. Everyone was talking about it (still are). Everyone was reading it (still are), and I don't like to miss out on things everyone is doing (which is why I'm now rocking subtle ombre style highlights). Unfortunately I'd heard more bad things than good, so the decision to spend that $9.99 on the e-reader version was one I weighed heavily. Do I want to waste the cost of half a pedicure/one future dirty martini/a can of my favorite dry shampoo on some crappy book?
I bought it because I was headed to Puerto Rico with my college best friends the next day and thought the book would make for good girl-talk. As it turns out Katie was reading it too. That's only two out of the five of us, but my girlfriends have never followed the typical odds.
I didn't start reading the book until the plane ride home (turns out we girls had 4 full days worth of gossip to catch up on, plus I can pour over a magazine for hours). I got exactly 100 pages in, and then I put it down. My rationale in a word - meh. It didn't really suck me in, I wasn't really attracted to the guy, and I find the girl pretty annoying.
At first I thought - Jessie, just get over yourself and enjoy the sexy, mindlessness of this beach read. But then I thought - you know what, no. Why should I read something that I do not like because everyone else is eating it up?
So, not to give this issue FAR more time than it deserves, but here are my real reasons for not finishing 50 Shades of Grey - as of right now...
1. It's Really Poorly Written
There are too many fantastic books out there that I haven't yet read for me justify spending hours on end reading really poor writing. Far be it from me to criticize someone who has completed writing three books, but the fact is that they are not works of artful craftsmanship. The language is over-simplified, the story is nothing unique, and the main character talks to herself too much (and that's coming from me). I'm hesitant to say I'm boycotting this one in honor of all the people out there who've written far better books currently sitting in the "NO THANKS" box of publishers around the world, but that's pretty much what I'm doing.
2. I Don't Find It Sexy
SPOILER ALERT: The book is about a young, naive, impressionable girl who becomes the object of an older, dominant's affections. "Dominant" as in a man who seeks the dominant/submissive role play in sexual relationships. Bottom line: that whole situation just isn't sexy to me and never has been. It doesn't skeeve me out or make my uncomfortable, I just don't find it to be this titillating page turner like many other women. As such, when I read it I'm like, ugh, this crap again. I get that many, many women are into this book because of the sexual content. For me that's just not working. Maybe someday I'll savor every word of books like this one, but right now the whole relationship between the man and girl makes me roll my eyes.
3. I Don't Want To, and you can't make me.
When I used to tell people that I haven't read and don't intend to read the Twilight series they'd say, "WHAT?! That's nuts. It's soooo good." When I'd reply that, from what I've heard, I don't believe I'll find it "good," they'd say, "but you work in entertainment. How could you not be a part of this insane phenomenon." To which I would say, "I'm part of plenty of insane phenomenons." Same goes for this situation. My life will not change for the better if I read 50 Shades of Grey. In fact it will probably change for the worse because there are a lot of things I should be doing instead of reading a book - correction, that book. So I'm not going to read it. Just like I didn't read the Twilights OR...brace yourselves...The Hunger Games.
Now, the only question is, am I wrong? Is there some interesting dynamic that develops on page 200 and is worthy of exploring? Does it get sexy in a different way on page 150? Should I read it just to write a blog post about how I feel at the end? Make your case in comments, and I'll consider re-evaluating my stubborn stance.