Thursday, 10 March 2016

GREAT READS FOR MARCH, 2016

Grey, by E. L. James

            Oh dear.  Not content with reaching the end of her ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trilogy, those torrid, florid and horrid tales of Hot Sex and True Lurv between  impossibly handsome control-freak megabillionaire Christian Grey and tongue-tied, accident-prone and furious blusher Anastasia Steele, E. L. James has apparently been coaxed by various adoring fans to tell the same story ALL OVER AGAIN!! - from Christian’s perspective.
            Was this really necessary?  And will Christian’s story and the tragic underlying reasons for his sadism be successful at continuing the adoring interest of millions of fans world-wide, ever ready to spend big bucks to continue the ‘Fifty Shades’ phenomenon started in 2012.  (See review below)
            I have to say that I am just as swept up in the furore as everyone else around the world – it’s that ‘What Happens Next?’ and ‘Whatever will She Come up With Now?’ curiosity that impels readers far and wide to explore Christian’s heart-rending origins – and to try to understand why he would find Wimpy Anastasia so very irresistible.  Right from the time of their first meeting when she fumbles and bumbles her way through an interview for her student magazine, he finds her naiveté and lack of experience (not to mention all that beetroot blushing) charming enough to think that she would make a very satisfactory Submissive – for Christian is an adept at Dominating and Subjugating.  All his women (and there are so many!) are required to be totally obedient, or they’ll get a Whuppin’,  and a whuppin’ from Beyond Handsome Christian is not a pleasant sexual encounter, unless one is a masochist.  He, though, has a great time.  Oh, that gorgeous captain of industry (‘it’s just a pretty face, baby’) has many issues, and let us not forget that he cannot stand to be touched!
            As his version of events unfolds, Christian shows many different sides to his character:  he airlifts at huge expense plane loads of food and supplies to starving Darfur;  he donates zillions of dollars to more worthy charities than one can shake a stick at (what does that mean?  My gran used to say that all the time), and donates just as much to universities.  He is a Prince among Men!  But his secrets are many:  only his adoptive family know some of the true story of his abusive childhood – and here, surprisingly, Ms James writes very movingly of Christian’s horrendous early memories;  in fact his nightmare-causing flashbacks, while extremely disturbing to read are evidence that Ms James can tell Christian’s story much better than dippy old Ana’s.
            BUT!!!  Christian finds that Ana has steel in her spine as well as her name when he displays his true needs and wants.  After leading virginal (!) Ana and the reader through some jolly and energetic Vanilla sex he decides it’s time to paddle her luscious bottom – oh, he has a glorious time but is staggered to hear that SHE didn’t!  And because she is no longer a virgin and has put away childish things, (including polite language) she tells him that he is ‘one f*cked-up son of a bitch’.  And leaves him to his nightmares.  What an exit!  Even Taylor, Christian’s general Factotum, is impressed as he reverently drives her to her humble home.
            Once again, we millions of seething fans await Book Two According to Christian:  we know that he and twerpy Ana will only be apart for five days, but how quickly can Ms James write the next episode? 
Flashy, trashy, and completely addictive:  for the first time, Christian’s in lurv.  Bring it on!      

50 Shades of Grey, by E. L. James

            Your library is ever mindful of the needs of its borrowers.  To that end it has faithfully supplied copies of E. L. James’s trilogy for those who wish to read it, and its popularity is such that some people could die on the waiting list.  Perish the thought, not those on the waiting-list, I say!
When this tale begins, Anastasia Steele is having a bad hair day and doesn’t have a suitable thing to wear for the interview she has been persuaded to do with MegaZillionaire Christian Grey for the student magazine.  Her room-mate, magazine editor Kate, the original interviewer, has the ‘flu.  As if that weren’t tarsome enough, the poor wee thing trips (because she’s accident prone) through the door to the Great Man’s MegaOffice.  As he rescues her from the floor and envelops her in his hot, gray gaze, all the usual things happen:  her heart falters;  she can’t meet his eyes (ah, those eyes, like a threatening sea on a windswept day!) she blushes furiously (she does this A LOT);  she asks her set questions in a monotone – ‘Are you Gay?’ – (all the while agog at his beauty, which frequently invokes bursts of great silent introspection: ‘ Holy Crap’, followed by ‘Holy Shit,’ then finally, ‘Holy F@@##!’).  Yep, she’s a deep thinker, alright.
For his part, MegaZillionaire Christian is undeniably impressed (why?  Anastasia is now redder than the sunset.  She blushes for Africa.) and attracted to the winsome, helpless, clueless interviewer and before one can say WATCH OUT ANA, PERVERT ALERT! he has her in his power.  And he doesn’t even have a moustache to twirl.  Yes, he’s a 21st century cad, a dastard, no doubt about it – BUT! – after their first tumultuous coupling, where he is horrified to find that naïve Ana is that worst kind of innocent, a VIRGIN, she finds him hours later semi-nekkid in his cavernous living room, playing a mournful Bach arrangement on his grand piano sadly but superbly, (of course he is a wonderful musician, because he is excellent in all things) - this proves to readers (and there are so many of us!) that the dastard has a tragic side, a mysterious past which he refuses to reveal, and an aversion to being touched.
Naturally this presents some problems for Ana, who has never had a relationship before (WHAAAAT?!!  In her twenties and never been kissed?  Who is she, Jane Austen?).  She longs to touch him, to trail her fingers through his gorgeous, tousled chest hair, but he refuses.  She is extremely worried that she is ‘falling for a man who’s beyond beautiful, richer than Croesus, and has a Red Room of Pain waiting for me.’  Yep,  I’d be worried, too, but Ana places great faith in two friends:  her subconscious, ever her reliable moral compass, and her Inner Goddess, which is just a euphemism for Ho:  her Inner Goddess wins every time.  That girl is doomed.
And so is the reader (and there are SO many of us!), doomed to absorb the riveting fact that Christian’s eyes blaze when he whups Ana’s ass;  they’re haunted when he plays Bach superbly semi-nekkid, and hooded when he wishes to disguise his true feelings.  He steeples his fingers a lot, too.
Oh, this is a corny, horny, porny story:  it’s so trashy that it should be in a plain brown wrapper – but what power there is in word-of-mouth advertising!  E.L. James will never have to write another rude word;  she can just sit on the millions made from this trilogy like a chook on her eggs, if she wants to.  In the meantime, fans of Anastasia and Christian (and there are so MANY of us!) will press on with books two and three, because despite all the huffing, puffing, painful sex, Ana’s perpetual blushes and Christian’s steely gaze or wicked grins, we all have to know WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. 
When all is said and done, I must confess that I would rather go to bed with a good book than a fruitloop in a suit, (no matter how handsome!) but there’s no accounting for taste.  And there’s nowt so queer as folk as we all succumb to the lure of a worldwide best-seller, purely because everyone is saying:  ‘Have you read it yet?’
Read this torrid, tortured tale (if you haven’t already).  I think this is a Gross Read for Great Readers, but you be the judge.

            

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