Fifty Shades of Failure, Part 2

Fifty Shades of Failure: Part 21206572119215038269johnny automatic NPS map pictographs part 68 svg med

I tried and failed to read Fifty Shades of Grey in 50-page chunks and report on it faithfully – dragging Lady Chatterley's Lover and a lesbian biker novel called Satan's Best along for the ride. Here's the wreckage.

Fifty Shades of Grey, pages 50-100

Story: Ana finishes her exams and goes to a bar, where she drinks a lot of tequila and drunk-dials Grey. He holds his love's hair while she throws up and takes her to his hotel. They spend the night chastely. The next morning he makes enigmatic comments, presses his mouth into a hard line, arches an eyebrow. Grey flies Ana to Seattle in a helicopter and then presents her with a stack of documents – if she signs, she will agree to become his submissive.

The writing...well, you decide.

" subconscious is metaphorically screaming at me."

"I know it will take an eternity to expunge the feel of his arms around me and his wonderful fragrance from my brain."

"article-0-16985C52000005DC-400 634x675Wow. I am in awe and slightly daunted by this underwear."

"I want to brush my teeth. I eye Christian's toothbrush. It would be like having him in my mouth."

"He's only touching a very small area of my body, and the hormones are flying."

" 'Like Eve, you're so quick to eat from the tree of knowledge.' He smirks."

"Vomiting profusely is exhasting."

Sex: There's a kiss, their first, on page 78. Like to experience it? I aim to please:

"His other hand grabs my hair and yanks down, bringing my face up, and his lips are on mine....his tongue expertly exploring my mouth. I have never been kissed like this. My tongue tentatively strokes his and joins his in a slow, erotic dance that's all about touch and sensation, all bump and grind. I'm helpless..."

Dancing tongues! This bit's begging for an animated sequence, maybe claymation. I can't wait for the movie. And that kiss is all you get in the way of action in this instalment. 32067

Lady Chatterley's Lover, pages 50-100

Story: Chatterley's literary friends swan about the estate having conversations about writing and sex in front of a mostly silent Connie. Later she meets the new game keeper, Mellors, and finds him intriguing and off-putting in equal measures.

Sex: Michaelis shows up for a brief reunion and has a bit of a sulk when Connie takes longer than he does to have an orgasm.  And that's all the action we get in this episode, except Connie catching sight of Mellors washing himself with no shirt on.

"She saw the clumsy breeches slipping down over the pure, delicate, white loins, the bones showing a little, and the sense of aloneness, of a creature purely alone, overwhelmed her....the warm, white flame of a single life, revealing itself in contours that one might touch: a body!"

Yes, bodies sure are neat.  I know these two won't let us down.

And on to the next act...

res-Satans BestSatan's Best – pages 50-100

Story: Roughly half of this instalment is given over to raunchy and brutal sex acts, in the biker club bathroom and on the stage. When the dust has cleared, the bikers talk about their lives and loves, oppression and prejudice, and the rise of a rival gang. I usually get restless with scenes that involve people sitting around talking, especially characters I don't know well. However, arriving after the rather terrifying live sex show, this felt earned, a sort of calm after a storm. So writers, if you're ever tempted to include this kind of 'setting out philosophy and exposition' chatting scene, you could do worse than to place it immediately following an extended and gory S&M sex show at a lesbian biker bar.

Sex: Whoa. There's blood foaming and flying and whips cracking and chains rattling and people calling each other 'master' and fists shoved into intimate areas and lots more. I'd assume that if you're into lesbian biker S&M, this is the real deal, but then my forays into said genre have so far been limited to this volume.

In a nutshell:

"Bikers live.  They ride. They live in the moment & walk on the wild side.  Do what they like when they like.  Take what they need.  Save little, including the skin on their backs. – They don't save."

"The sight of George working out her kinks, whipping fast, hard, made Angel horny."

Here's where I gave up on the bikers, because reading three books was taking up too much time, and because I am easily frightened.

I didn't give up on Chatterley, but it quickly became clear to me that the exercise wasn't working – comparing the two books, or even reading them side by side, was unfair to both. If you're curious about Lady Chatterley's Lover, then please read it. The novel is beautiful, ambitious, funny and frequently mad. It's not a perfect book, but it's one I plan on reading again, in fact I could see myself reading it yearly. Fifty Shades? Um...not so much. But more on that later.

So, next time: All Fifty Shades, all the time. To the finish! See you back here in two weeks or so.

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