child of God, wife, mother, recovering anorexic who longs to see the beauty in herself that she sees in the world around her

Friday, June 29, 2012

Fifty Shades of Heartbreak

It's the hottest book series on the market right now, Fifty Shades of Grey.  I heard it was like the adult version of Twilight, with lots of racy adult scenes.  I read the back cover and didn't seem too intrigued.  The intrigue came when a firestorm of a debate came on Facebook.

My friend was heavily attacked because she had read the book and enjoyed it.  Someone "unfriended" her sending an email criticizing this friends Christianity, her marriage, and her desire to read such wonton hussy books.  That did it.  My friend is one of the sweetest people on the planet.  She is kind and doesn't judge others.  She is an amazing woman, a wonderful wife to her military man and a fabulous mother to her girls.

I was pissed that she was judged so harshly (by someone who had not read the books, no less) and suddenly I wanted to read them.  I wanted to know what the big deal was.  The last things that sparked huge controversy in the Christian community ended up being series that I now love, Harry Potter and Twilight.  This, I expected, would be the same as those.

So here is my thoughts on the book, there is a bit of a spoiler alert but not much more than the review on ABC news and for some, this spoiler alert is needed.  I could have used it. 

The book is racy.  The part where they first have sex made me ravenous for my husband.  It created a physical response in me so unbelievably strong that I wished Hubby wasn't already asleep.  I'm not opposed to racy in a book.  I am opposed to this book though.

Christan Grey asked Ana to sign a contract allowing him to be her dominate and her to be his submissive.  The contract states that if she is not submissive to his every whim that he has authority to "discipline" her.  He has any number of ways that is accomplished, through a belt, a whip, a cat of nine tails, a cane etc.  He was made to be a submissive through his teenage years and that is where his dominating sexual appetite comes from. 

I had to close the book.  My heart was racing and not with desire.  My heart was racing with fear.  Now I have a wild side.  But this was just too much for me.  Memories flooded my mind.  I couldn't sleep and when I did it was not well.

This morning I picked the book up again.  I thought that possibly I had over-reacted.  Maybe I was just tired and that is what sparked those feelings.  Maybe Ana doesn't actually sign the contract.  Maybe it really is a love story like everyone said.  I started reading and felt that same sick pit in my stomach again.

I flipped later in the book.  He was beating her with a belt.  She was in her mind crying and begging him to stop but never saying a word.  (I also read the last few pages but I won't spoil that part for those of you who don't want to hear the end.) I can't do this book.  I pushed it away from me while the tears sprung up.  I understand the sexual appeal of some of the things in the book.  I cannot handle though, the physical aspect of how those sexual moments come to be.

I've been held down, unable to move while someone forces his hands on my body.  It wasn't love, that is for sure.  I've been hurt for not doing as I was told.  It isn't as glamorous as this book portrays.  I guess my thought is this, sometimes I do enjoy doing exactly as my husband says.  It can really be a turn on.  But he would never beat me if I didn't.  That is my issue.

How does loving someone ever mean wanting to beat them?  How does loving someone ever mean wanting them to hurt?  Submitting and hurting are different things.  I personally feel like it crossed the line into abuse.  I'm just not ok with it.  I'm not ok with telling other women that it is ok, good even,  to be beaten for sexual pleasure.

I'm sure that someone out there is going to bring up that Ana willingly signed the contract, that she desired to be hurt and that makes is why it is different from abuse.  I've heard that argument but I still can't go with it.  For me, in my life, coming from my past, this book is too close to the abuse that I suffered and I cannot bring myself to relive it from the perspective of someone who willingly subjects herself to it.  Your opinion may be different, and that is ok.  We can agree to disagree.

Right now I am nursing my fifty shades of broken heart.  Though I am not a spoiler alert kind of gal, I really wish someone has given me a spoiler alert.  I would have never read this book.  It was just too triggering for me.  I'll be ok, but I'm not right this moment.  I'm hurt.


  1. I'm so torn by these books. On the one hand, I hated them (I thought they were poorly written and I was about as far from smitten with Mr Grey as it's possible to be). On the other hand, I'm usually all for books that get everyone talking, get people interested in reading, especially when they're not normally interested in books at all.

    Of course, my dislike was just a personal preference (and as a woman, I thought it was undermining and derogatory). I'm so sorry that you were personally affected in a very negative way by these books.


    1. I agree that it is no literary work of art. She is redundant in her speech and is not particularly original in her characters. I also agree that they are undermining and derogatory. And Christian Grey annoyed the snot out of me. I told my husband early in the book that the sex scenes better be amazing to make up for Grey's exceedingly frustrating personality.

      I too love a book that gets people reading instead of sitting, but this just was not the series for me.

  2. I'm just not ok with it. I'm not ok with telling other women that it is ok, good even, to be beaten for sexual pleasure.

    Yeah... I'm not okay with that either. I particularly loathe that it's being pushed as edgy (unconventional, liberatory even...?!) The abuse of women is as old as time.

    1. Holly, I agree. There is enough abuse in the world that I really don't understand why women fantasize about abuse and why it is considered liberating. I know we are in the minority of women by not thinking it's sexy but I don't mind being in the minority if it means honoring my own emotions.