An all nighter.

I pulled my first reading all nighter in years. And what was I reading, 50 Shades of Grey !. Well lets face it, it isn’t anything that requires close analysis ?.
What can I say that hasn’t been said many times before. Yes, its vicious, demeaning to both men and women. Yes, it places both sexes in the most ugly position possible. And yes, it sits very incongruously beside Flavius Josephus, Sophocles and Friedrich Engels on the drive on my new tablet computer.
The thing is when you’ve studied the Greek classics you learn to never take things at face. You also realise that the first judgement is invariably the wrong one.
That 100 million copies sold worldwide is of little import. Sometimes people like to read rubbish. But what intrigued me about this book was the spread of those who came out against it, for if something is doing that amount of rattling it may well have something.
Very very very few things stand near the plays written by the Greek playwrights, they have everything. And with Oedipus Rex, some people believe they should have stopped then for nothing has bettered it.
What is it about the plays. What is it about killing a father, siring four kids on his mother, putting out ones eyes with a needle. On a simple reading, nothing. They should have vanished 2400 years ago. But they are at the core of out democratic society. They form it.
So the question is, did I pollute my new tablet and brain with an ugly useless waste of space. Or has it a measure of merit in that absolute unremitting ugliness.
I believe, as distinct from think, that this is an idea that didn’t quite hit the sweet note. While there is a thread of hope running through the weave, it doesn’t rescue it, for that hope isn’t anything higher than a switching of one version of distorted control to another.
Am I disappointed I read it, no. It didn’t even approach my irritation with Dan Browne.
Was it fun, no.
Would I recommend it, no, but not because of the subject matter.
That the world of BDSM forms the core for this book shouldn’t shock any literate person. Where does one travel today to find a Transylvania. We simply fly over the forest, always in the light (or Google map it). There is nothing lurking behind trees. No shadowy yellow eyed forms outside ourselves, no others. We know the world too too well, and thank God for that. I think my generation was the last needing imagination to close geographical distance.

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9 Responses to An all nighter.

  1. Kimberly says:

    Ha ha ha! THAT wasn’t what I was expecting the all-nighter to be about. Oh, 50 Shades… I don’t think your first impression is necessarily wrong with this one though. 🙂 Without even judging the “story” the writing of it was terrible almost childish, and I wondered if anyone bothered to proofread the thing at all before publishing. Then the story itself had such little depth – I felt like I was reading some teenager’s fantasy in her diary. I’d say I’m fairly easily entertained or at least not terribly critical about books/movies that I read for entertainment. This one though, I found very little that redeemed it. The discussions that followed the reading of it were far more fun than the book itself.

    Interesting, your last point. The poor grammar in a published book was more shocking than the sex.

    • V.H says:

      I wouldn’t have bought it, I got it on a site for free.
      My understanding was it was self-published and it wasn’t until it sold big very big did the publishing house take it on. So the proofreading comment is very valid.
      Discussion ?, in your reading group ?. Men in this group ?. I don’t know how I’d broach the subject of bedroom fantasy. Mind you, Dracula for a different generation was the fantasy sex read. The Counts teeth reaching for the cream column of her neck, my eye. You just turn the dial a few clicks and that book becomes something very very different.
      I think it could have been a good book IF that base subject matter had beneath it a higher understanding. But it doesn’t. And I know most books are edited to become a film, or at the very least not to close out that possibility, and so have this happy ending up tick.
      On the subject matter. Well I find any of the tragic plays of Shakespeare with madness slaughter and death far more distressing than some chick getting her bottom tanned. In fact had the darkness of Greys childhood been explored the feeling of a porn film storyboard could really become a tragedy in the real meaning of the word.

      • V.H says:

        You do know there are a lot of people here in Ireland that would be far more shocked that I’ve read Engels and have in on my drive than this book. Far far more.

      • Kimberly says:

        Yes, the book club discussions were heterogenous, but I just mean in general the discussions about this book (like this one with your post) are much more interesting than the book was. I do agree that had the author (or a better author) explored the characters more than just the superficial content we were given it would have made for a better developed story. They do say it has lit a fire under many a married bed…meh whatever floats the boat I guess.
        It’ll be interesting to see how the writers of the screenplay will adapt it to film. They can’t write it as a teen movie and keep the content, but if they don’t make it smart they’ll be stuck with an NC-17 and it won’t reach a wider audience. I’ve heard there’s a possibility of two versions.

        If you’re interested, there are still two more in the series left to read! 🙂

        • V.H says:

          Yes, I can see where a bit of fantasy roll play could jump a needle out of its grove. But I could easily see it utterly destroying something too.
          And I can guarantee you that anyone who’s hit themselves by accident with a riding crop sure as hell isn’t going to be into any of that shit. I was messing one day and the crop crossed the table top onto my leg. I had a welt lift off my thigh fully a quarter inch high.
          I sure a shootin would never would never accept or deliver it.

          I suppose, in the weirdest way it could build a trust, or rebuild it. But I’m really reaching.

  2. Kelly says:

    Ha! I’ve not read it and really don’t care to (and not because of the subject matter, either). Just too much other stuff I’d rather read (and not enough time in my life to get to it all, even pulling all-nighters).

    My younger daughter read it long ago when it was first on a “fan fiction” sight, before it became famous(?). She was deep into psychology at the time and had taken a course on sexual psychology so, of course, she analyzed it to death.

    • V.H says:

      I can certainly see how someone could see it a a case study right enough. And in a way if that was how it was represented might have some value. But what might be more amusing to unpick would be the thoughts of the readers, split by gender and subdivided by age and class.

  3. Sage says:

    Yep, not the all nighter I was thinking about when I started reading it. I haven’t read it and have heard so many bad reviews I don’t think I’ll waste the time. I have, btw, read some Engels (along with Marx, Stalin, Lenin, Mao, Ho).

    • V.H says:

      (chuckle) Yes it’s something that could really do with a good editor.
      The odd thing about it, you know what the agents and publishers readers thought when they were sent it. You can see Yale/Oxford noses rising as if they’d caught a whiff of something rancid. You can see it didn’t play into either that which they believe is a ‘good’ book OR that which is for the plebs.

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