Nepeta, 'Dropmore Blue'
I wanted to pick up a copy of 50 Shades of Grey.
I had heard a lot of buzz about the series of books and all the hype had succeeded in leaving me feeling frankly curious! It is not everyday that a series of romance novels take the 1, 2, and 3 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list.
What started out as an E-book had grown, through simple word of mouth, into a publishing phenomenon. In the U.S. alone, the three-book series, had over 20 million dollars in sales.
I had heard the book variously described and dismissed as "mommy-porn" and "poorly written", but man, who can argue with those sales figures. Someone was reading those books and liking them...alot!
So what was so special about this particular series of romance novels?
I was curious to know!
I am also a pragmatist I guess. I like my heros and heroines to be a bit more original and authentic. I tend to prefer a more traditional Jane Austin or Jane Eyre sort-of-love-story, where the central character is a bit more plain and homespun (I can identify better), and the man of her dreams may be darkly handsome and mysterious, but also real and even flawed...
Annual Licorice and Dusty Miller at Edwards Gardens
The central character has the romantic sounding name: Anastasia. The author probably got tired of typing out "A n a s t a s i a" again and again, because she most often goes by the name Ana. To counter the fluffy first name, author E. L. James has given her heroine a James-Bond-sounding last name.
It goes without saying that she is stunningly beautiful.
Ana meets Christian Grey when she stumbles (literally) into his office to interview the highly successful, fabulously rich, business tycoon for her college newspaper. Though she is supposedly smart, she bumbles through the interview and even makes the mistake of asking Christian if he was gay. (I was mortified on her behalf. I can't seriously imagine, in a business situation, asking a man I just met, about his sexual preferences.) Far from being put-off by Ana's clumsiness, Christian is enthralled.
By page 115 their already in bed together.
Lamb's Ears at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, ON
Just a quick word about Christian. Not surprisingly, he is devastatingly handsome. Christian is also big... and I am not talking about his hands or his feet here ladies!
The man also has some serious skills.
Sweet little Anastasia goes from a innocent in chapter seven to experiencing multiple O...oh dear, can you use that word in a gardening blog post?...hmm, maybe not...suffice it to say, she discovers in her first experience of lovemaking an insatiable appetite for more...
And it here that the novel takes a turn for the unexpected.
It seems Christian has unorthodox tastes when it comes to sex...the man has a fully equipped playroom for one thing. These preferences might have made Christain seem weird to a good portion of the reading audience, so the author has wisely given Christian a darkly mysterious and troubled childhood by way of explanation for his unorthodox predilections.
Private Garden, Rosedale, ON
It is honestly unlike anything I have ever read before. The question, "Where is the heck is this book going?" kept me turning the pages.
The writing is not brilliant and often repetitive. Ana is forever using explicatives like Oh my! and Holy shit!. Half way through the novel I swore that would throw the book across the room if she blinked or bit her lip one more time!
The author does understand pacing though. Just when things were getting a tad dull, there would be a curve ball introduced that propelled me forward.
Now there is a movie is in the works and I predict there will also be many copycat books in the same way that Bridget Jone's Diary spawned a whole new generation of "chick lit".
Do I admire the character Anastasia Steele?
How can I really! She is the kind of fantasy character who graduates with an English major and does not regret for a second the somewhat impractical nature of her degree. You want to bet that she does not get stuck serving french fries at the local McDonald's restaurant!
No, even in these recessionary times, our plucky little Anastasia leaves school and one week later as a job as an assistant in a prestigious publishing house.
I think I prefer my fictional heroines to be a bit more real.
P.S. There is a new post under the Page header Cooking. Check out Brenda's Green Bean Noodles here. Up next, I am going to continue to run with a grey theme, but I'll put the color grey back into a garden setting.