Mad Love Game

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Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

Fifty Shades of Grey was the surprise phenomenon of 2012. The Social Network producers have secured the movie rights, American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis wants to adapt the screenplay and actor Ian Somerhalden has been campaigning for the role of Mr Grey. Speculation is rife among fans as to which actors will and should secure the leading roles. Of course, Mad Love Game had to see what all the fuss was about. 

Many opinions have been voiced and most have eagerly discredited Fifty Shades of Grey, either based on its literary shortcomings or its ‘misogynistic’ portrayal of women. Then why is this novel the fastest selling paperback of all time?

With its meagre plot, simplistic style, clunky dialogue, flawed characterisation and clichéd characters, there is nothing about this novel that should spell success. Most people seem to think they could have written it better themselves. So why does it enthrall millions of readers?

Could the answer be that this is a journey of self-discovery that tugs at familiar emotions? Here you will find relationship power struggles, sexual awakening, insecurity when dating out of one’s league, difficulty in separating sex and love, and the desire to rescue someone from their self destructive behaviour. For any reader stuck in a romance rut, the passion and drama of this book provides much needed escapism. Most readers (though, perhaps not Mad Love Game readers…) are probably as inexperienced in the practice of BDSM as the naïve protagonist Anastasia, and herein lies the appeal. The introduction to this subculture is thrilling, romantic, sexy and passionate, stirring those female fantasies. Nevermind the fact that most genuine BDSM practitioners would never allow Mr Grey anywhere near them...

The author has openly drawn inspiration from the Twilight Saga. However, fans of Adrian Lyne’s 9 ½ weeks, will recognize the similarities to that film as both liaisons drag love, sex, pain, confusion and suffering into a dark and destructive maelstrom, pushing the characters to the emotional brink. No doubt, many of you Mad Love Game readers have found yourselves caught up in all-consuming love affairs with emotionally unavailable or damaged people, hoping you could be the one that changes them. Christian’s magnetic charm and mercurial nature is what intrigues and ensnares Anastasia and, in turn, the reader. We are trying to analyse him along with her, hoping her love can give him redemption.

So, does Fifty Shades of Grey send out a dangerous, anti-feminist message? Anastasia Steele starts off as a timid virgin whose sexuality has been roused by the enigmatic Christian Grey. Unable to enjoy ‘vanilla’ sex, Mr Grey requests a contractual BDSM relationship. Anastasia’s exploration of the dark side could easily victimise her in the hands of the wrong person; however, instead of exacerbating Anastasia’s low self-esteem, Christian encourages her to fulfil her potential as a strong-willed, smart and beautiful woman. Realising that she is not naturally submissive and that lust makes her weak, whereas love makes her stronger, Anastasia sets clear boundaries and negotiates the premise of their relationship. This is a consensual and trusting relationship between two intelligent adults, not a feeble woman being maliciously abused by a perverse woman-hater.

Still, EL James does not hold this twisted relationship as an ideal that women should aspire to; on the contrary, she reveals the psychological torment that follows in its wake. What captivates readers is not only how far Anastasia will cross her own limits to win Christian’s trust and love, but whether his damaged soul can heal enough to meet her in the middle?

Fifty Shades of Grey is a guilty pleasure love story that has brought erotic literature into the mainstream, and provided a framework for women to unabashedly explore their sexuality. Now get your hands on a book and unleash your ‘inner goddess’, too!

alt Book review by Cindy

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Love quote

To me fair friend, you never can be old.

For as you were, when first your eye I eyed; 

Such seems your beauty still.