Dec 5 2012
It’s time to weigh in on the Fifty Shades of Grey enthusiasm, particularly in light of author E. L. James’ appearance on the Katie Couric show. Watching her under the heavy spotlight of what appeared to be a mostly welcoming audience, we felt her discomfort at all of the attention her books have generated. It’s of little surprise that a trilogy marketed as erotic romance with BDSM undertones would produce both impassioned adoration and intense criticism.
Described as “mommy porn” by various notable outlets, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the story is much more than that. The whole BDSM realm, in fact, plays a back seat to what we found to be the central premise…a study in relationships. The constant struggle that the two main characters, Ana and Christian find themselves in throughout the book series is COMPROMISE. For whatever their reasons, they want to be together, despite the humungous disproportion in their backgrounds. Each of them makes concessions along the way, though if we were keeping score, we’d have to say it’s Ana who set the tone and led by example. In fact, her resolve to educate herself in the unfamiliar world of BDSM was our first glimpse of this.
As the two characters embarked on their journey together, we were pleased to see that at the outset, CONSENT was a key component of their relationship. As it should be in every relationship. Certainly, there were moments where it appeared Ana was in way over her head, though we’re not sure it can be argued that she didn’t give the green light. She does come to realize however, that the kind of relationship Christian wants is not something she can fully wrap her arms around. She walks away. It was the right thing for her to do. She said no.
In the beginning of the second book, Christian wants her back, but not before laying out the gound rules. He tells her she will have to ASK FIRST (well, all right, his exact words involved “begging”, but we’re summarizing here). We gleefully envisioned Christian Grey wearing one of our ASK FIRST tees as he stands by her side in the kitchen slicing red peppers. “You have got to ASK me FIRST, baby.”
And, though they were never short on struggles, they were able to maintain an open line of communication, which eventually allowed their relationship to evolve into something that satisfied them both.
We’re not going to dissect the entire book here. That could take hours. We really just wanted to share what we got out of the book. CONSENT and COMPROMISE. That was our take away.