iamtheinvisiblehand

Archive for April 2012

Browsing for a new book to download on my Kindle, I came across Fifty Shades of Grey, a trilogy that has been on the best-seller list for some time now.

Naturally, I was curious, so I read most of the reviews to try and get a true picture and decide whether I should buy it or not.

The story revolves around wide-eyed virgin Anastasia, who falls for Christian Grey, a rich hottie who’s into BDSM. Hmmm. Eyebrows arching, but still visible. 

Now, even though I haven’t read the book and therefore cannot give an informed opinion on it, I have read almost all the reviews and I was able to infer one thing: it appears that the guy is the possessive type and a control freak and the submissive girl can’t do anything without his permission. You know, the “you’re mine” type. He’s absolutely charming and Anastasia just can’t let go. Brows keep rising, forming deep creases on my forehead, but still there.

After reading the reviews I couldn’t help but wonder why on earth people would feel compelled to read a story about a girl that appears to be in a borderline abusive relationship? I mean, all the symptoms are there: the naive girl asking permission to do the most mundane stuff, unable or unwilling to shake the guy off for one reason or another, and a guy that is completely irresistible, thus making it easier to dominate the girl. Yikes! I guess it may be part of the whole BDSM thing but still, sounds insane.

Again, I haven’t read the book and I may be wrong, but the reviews (even the good ones) state these exact same things.

Now, what I’ve asked myself since then is not only why people would enjoy reading about an abusive relationship (other than for the kinky sex that apparently abounds throughout the book, and at that, eyebrows have completely disappeared and merged with hairline), but mainly, why would an author, and a female author at that, create such a weak, submissive heroine.

Take, for instance, Bella Swan from Twilight. I’m an avid reader, and I’m pretty sure she is the most pathetic female character I have ever encountered in the 30+ years of my entire existence. She is sour, has no self esteem whatsoever and just seems to go through the motions instead of trying to live, turning her into an almost robot-like character. In all 4 books of the saga (yes, I read all 4 of them because I bought them at the same time, stupid me. They do make for super-light reading, the type you can do while on the phone and cooking at the same time. In my defense, I haven’t, and probably will not, see the movies), she never ceases to wonder why this perfect guy – who, thank God, is a vampire because imagine trying to convince your daughter that real, human guys are nothing like him!!!!! – chose her and can’t explain why he loves her despite being clumsy and just, well, ordinary. Imagine that: loving another person despite their flaws and in short, because of who they are!!!!  And still, her romance with vampire Edward Cullen broke all book and box office records.

Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of The Hunger Games is fierce, strong, talented and driven, and yet she remains reluctant to show any emotion or feeling throughout the entire trilogy, and when she does, she does so grudgingly. Why take away the part of her that makes her all the more human?

And let’s not forget most of the rest of the female characters of the YA genre. Instead of creating characters that are worth imitating, all these authors come up with are the stupidest, most nondescript people ever invented.  You’d think that having the power to influence, or at least make a difference, in people’s lives by reaching them with your craft, would make them come up with something better…. 

On the other side of the heroine spectrum is Isabel Allende. Most of her leads are women and they are the most wonderful characters imaginable, full of contradictions and ups-and-downs, like a real woman. Her novel La Casa de los Espiritus es about 4 generations of women, and each one is as fascinating as her mother before her.

All of the characters in Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help” are admirable and are so easy to picture you’d think you knew them all. And they are proof that you don’t even have to like some of them in order to appreciate how real they are. Of course, I’m referring to Hilly Holbrook, a major b****,  but absolutely credible nonetheless.

There is also Steig Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander (Millenium trilogy), who is a truly remarkable character. I’m sure anyone that’s read any of the 3 books will agree with me. She is a little awkward, but she remains sensitive and driven at the same time, making it impossible not to like her.

And there’s Hermione Granger, who, IMHO, can never be excluded from a true heroine list.

But of all the heroines I’ve come across, neither Elinor Dashwood, Dolores Claiborne nor Jane Eyre have anything on Bridget Jones. Yes….I’ve read Helen Fielding’s books and even though there are things about Bridget that are exaggerated to exploit the comedic side, she still rings true to me: she’s got self-esteem issues due to a variety of reasons,  and yet she is able to just enjoy it when good things happen to her without wondering why or whether she deserves them, which in my opinion, is the only way to make the most out of any situation. 

Image

From blogdecine.com

So, anyway, I won’t be buying Fifty Shades of Grey, even if the price drops to 0.99.  I like my heroines to be as real as possible, if it’s not much to ask, so I’ll keep looking….



  • None
  • Carrie Rubin: I don't always remember names well, but I remember circumstances. I especially remembered yours because it's such a rare cancer, and you were the firs
  • iamtheinvisiblehand: Thank you for your kind words, but also thank you for remembering it was me....it's amazing that you'd remember this considering the endless stream of
  • Carrie Rubin: I am so sorry to hear about your mother. After you commented on my blog yesterday, I remembered that your mother was the one who had cholangiocarcinom

Categories