There are a few things that I go through to feel, or know, if a book is a good read or not. First, I read the synopsis. If I didn't find it any good but have this nagging "I'd-be-making-a-big-mistake-if-I-put-it-down" feeling, I read the first paragraph and see how this feeling is turning into. If I still find the first paragraph not enough, I flip on a random page and read the first exchange of dialogues I could see from there. And, fortunately, by that time, the feeling will be as clear as the sun and I am on my way to find a "nice place" to let the time pass by in the company of a good, lengthy read.
But, as always, there is an exception to the rule. And it comes with the title 50 Shades of Grey - an adult literary piece that talks about passion, eroticism, romance and conflicts, in the most easy-breezy way a novelist could ever have penned.
Alright, apart from the uncommon love story between a gawky, insecure, yet unknowingly feisty woman (Anastasia Steele) and a domineering, way-up handsome and established man (Christian Grey), the novel speaks about the "unspeakable" truth and existence of a kind of relationship called Dominant/Submissive, and how this intricacy provides (or prevents, depending on what perspective you take) the way of mending a broken past and develops a better future for the two.
The book, for me, is a combination of literary classics like Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibiliy (both by Jane Austen) or Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Brontë) and Anne Rice's erotic composition The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty.
One would enjoy the high-falluting words sporadically used, for one. The vivid and luscious description of "distasteful" sexual acts like bondage, spanking, blindfolding, gagging, hard and seething sex may be too incomprehensible and too much for one's palatte. I remembered uttering reaction such as "geesh!", "ouch!", "fuck off!" at times. But as I continue on, I found myself envisioning it with such pleasure and excitement. Needless to say that accepting that this is an integral part of the characterisation of the lead protagonist is very important. One has to see it on a bigger scale and not just take it as it is. Of course there are "hard limits" and "soft limits" to a Dom/Sub set-up, as the novel suggested, so both parties must be clear on this onset. Above all reason for doing anything is, "you aim to please". Do I sound like I am wanting it?
The emotions, sceneries, tension, and game plans were described in such a way that it would make you feel you were there, you were them. It helped that the novel is set in this generation - the characters, the technology, the surroundings. It is easy to understand, it is easy to be in the moment. The shifting of emotions were quick yet crisp. The characters were depicted with individualism, but with perfect coherence to the story.
I laughed, got teary-eyed, got frightened, hated, got confused, got excited, sympathised, cried, got worried and aroused while reading the novel. It was a roller coaster ride of emotions! I went to sleep and woke up after a few hours with the characters, especially Christian, in my mind. And if I try to deviate my attention, it his face (or how I imagine him to look like) that I still see. I feel for him more than I do Ana.
Is 50 Shades of Grey a good read then? Absolutely. It makes you want to reach the end and asking for more when you finally do. Good thing it is a trilogy.
If you asked me, who could be the perfect Christian Grey, I had a lots of faces in mind on the first few chapters. But midway, I am set on just one person - Matthew Bomer (hence the shower of pics here). It's not just the face. He's got the swag. He can let you see indifference even with the sweetest smile. He can be rough but with soft eyes. He can look determined, yet lost. Read the book, and look at these pictures of him everytime you come across the character's name or his dillema and agree with me.
*thanks for the owners of the pics, anyways.