iamtheinvisiblehand

Archive for the ‘books’ Category

I wrote a few months ago that I wouldn’t be reading Fifty Shades of Grey because of the bad reviews and the weak heroine. It turns out I caved and read it, although no money was spent – thank God. I found this book in a suitcase my mother had filled up with books she wanted to donate, so I figured, WTH, let’s see what the hype is all about.

Let me just start by saying that although I didn’t spend any money on it, the hours I wasted reading it are gone forever and should’ve been spent doing something else. ANYTHING else. THAT, I regret deeply.

I had no idea that this piece of c#$% was Twilight fan fiction, but then it makes sense because the whole thing, the characters, the plot, even the location, are all Twilight-based: Anastasia is basically Bella, only this time around she gets laid every 20 pages or so. Christian has Edward’s copper tousled hair. They all live in Washington state.

I don’t even know where to start so I guess I’ll just make a bullet list:

-The bad writing. I mean , the worst writing I’ve ever had to endure. I keep wondering how Ms. James managed to pull this off. Are there no editors at her publishing house? Holy c$%&. holy s*¨#$, holy f$%&, later’s babe and all sorts of similar expressions are on every single page. “Later’s, babe”?. Who talks like that?

-I never thought I’d say this, but Anastasia is worse than Bella. She keeps asking herself why this guy wants her when she is nothing. Well, if you have to ask yourself that, then you probably aren’t worth it. Did I mention she’s a 21-year old virgin who has never masturbated, calls her vagina “down there”, has an annoying “inner goddess” and although Christian has told her that he’s into inflicting pain, she manages to act surprised at the end because she felt pain. Ugh. Oh, and she supposedly never owned an email account or a computer before Christian came around. In what century has this girl been living? AND, she is willing to put up with anything this psycho does because he is just so gorgeous, something that is said over and over ad nauseam.

-Christian has a little more depth, although psychologically he makes no sense. He’s supposed to be a 27-year old billionaire, which means that he is probably a tough guy, and yet he is whiny, insecure, jealous and a stalker. Someone that insecure could never make it big in business. I mean, the whole buying out the plane seat next to her, following her to Georgia, giving her a Blackberry and a computer so he can monitor her every move, that’s just sick and I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with him being a dom and her a sub.  

-The constant and ridiculous emails they sent to each other. Anastasia’s writing and speaking skills range from Snooki to Elizabeth Bennet in the same sentence. Who uses “avuncular” in the middle of a conversation?

-The BDSM. I’m not that knowledgeable on this subject but I’ve been told (more than once, actually) that this is a sexual preference and as such rarely reflects on people’s real lives, meaning that a sub in the bedroom is rarely a doormat in real life, and a dom is not necessarily a control freak either. So there goes the author’s research.

-These people have sex all around the place and every few pages. THIS is supposed to be the good part of the book and what has been turning women on all around the world. Let me just say that by the middle of the book I’d had enough already it was so repetitive and monotonous that I started skipping to the “substance” to see if the plot got any better. It didn’t. I can’t believe Kathy Lee and whatshername and the anchors of the Today Show actually raved about this book, saying it was a great Mother’s day gift.  Heck, even Dr. Oz had a show about how this book improved couples’ sex lives. Puh-leez.

-This stupid girl tries throughout the entire book to get to the core of his issues so she can fix him. In the process, we learn that he was abused into BDSM by an older woman when he was 15. And somehow, you never read or hear anyone criticizing this way-too-casual reference to pedophilia. Disgusting.

-Anastasia and Cristian are in an extremely abusive relationship. Stalking and wanting full control over someone is not love. Just because people prefer calling it something else or fool themselves into thinking it’s romantic doesn’t mean it isn’t abuse.

The fact that such rubbish made it to the NYT top 10 says a lot about us as a society. I mean, people can write whatever they want and hope it’ll go viral. The problem is, there must be way too many lonely, hopelessly romantic women out there to let this disaster become some sort of reading reference. Every single woman I know has read this book and loved it, and every time I’ve had something to say against it they consistently refute it, as if I hadn’t understood the darn thing, when I think I got it a lot better than all of them did. For someone who reads as much as I do, I’m pretty certain my reading comprehension level exceeds that of all of them, who have probably only read this one book this year because this sorry excuse for writing was published. 

It’s a sad day when you realize that issues such as abuse and pedophilia are being ignored for the sake of romance. I truly never thought that one stupid book could do such damage. And I don’t think I’m being dramatic here. When people start ignoring important things because they’d rather look the other way, they are accepting them by default. And shame on Ms. James. Instead of writing about a strong, independent heroine other women could look up to, she’s debased us all by serving up a spineless, immature weakling that can’t stand up for herself and puts up with unimaginable situations for the sake of a guy, who in turn, doesn’t even love her.

Writers who get lucky enough to be published have the incredible power of reaching other people’s minds and speaking to them through their characters. I believe they should take that responsibility and privilege more seriously and try to contribute instead of punching us in the face with their own sexual fantasies.

I wonder if Ms. James has daughters, and if she does, I seriously hope they are as disgusted with her as I am.

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. 

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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….



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  • 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

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