Darker Shades

2012-05-25 13:23

Influential novelist EL James’ trilogy is far too sexually obsessive and graphic to bethe heir apparent to Hollywood’s teen flick empire

Since the amazing success of the Harry Potter series and the Twilight Saga, and the success of The Hunger Games trilogy, readers have been searching the book shelves, looking for the next big thing.

The next series of books that will become wildly successful and spawn a series of equally successful films.

The Fifty Shades trilogy are not those books.

The series focuses on Anastasia Steele, a young and naïve English literature student at Washington State University.

When her best friend and roommate, Kate, getsa cold, Steele, against her better judgment, agrees to step in and do an interview for her.

The interview is with influential and deathly handsome – which is mentioned on every second page of the 400-plus page book – businessman Christian Grey.

Little does she know that this interview will change her life forever as she and Grey begin a torrid love affair, but that’s just the beginning.

The torrid part of the affair is that Grey is into a certain type of intimate encounters.

A type that includes bondage, domination and sadomasochism (the practice of tying up the one you love – and I use the term love very loosely – with anything from cable ties to ropes to handcuffs, and then you proceed to beat them with any manner of implement, from canes to whips to paddles to your own hand).

Some people find this sort of lifestyle appealing, especially Grey, but Steele does not. And though she tries to understand the man, and fit into his somewhat depraved life, soon she cannot deal with it any more and she leaves.

It’s at this point that things begin to change for Grey. He realises that he is in love with Steele, and that being with her is more important to him than beating her with an array of objects.

They try again, but the lifestyle he has lived for so long keeps rearing its ugly head and they need to deal with it.

As well as the fact that they are now tabloid fodder and his family knows nothing about his former life or the woman who’s old enough to be his mother that introduced him to that lifestyle.

Oh, and the fact that people are trying to kill them.

The fact that EL James is a great author helps. You really feel as if you are inside the story until she lets rip with her explicit sex. Of which there is a lot, and this is the crux of the problem with this trilogy.

Harry Potter, the Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games are aimed at a very specific market, a very young market.

James’ books aren’t. They are aimed at a much older market, the 30- to 40-year-old market that isn’t easily squeamish.

To think that they will appeal to the market that bought into the chaste of tiresomely lovesick Twilight is ridiculous, not to mention heart attack-inducing for their parents.

Parents might have found Bella’s obsession with Edward troubling – it pales into insignificance when compared with Grey’s predator-like obsession.

Not a situation any woman, let alone teenager, should have to cope with.

That being said, this is good story and if you aren’t offended by the sex, then read them.

Otherwise, steer clear and wait for the next (more market appropriate) craze to hit the bookshelves.

» The trilogy - Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed - by EL James is published by Random House and each costs R125. Combined they are 1296 pages

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