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The Female Perspective: What I’m Reading, the “American Gods” Edition

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


“All your questions can be answered, if that is what you want. But once you learn your answers, you can never unlearn them.”
~Neil GaimanAmerican Gods

By Neil Gaiman
By Neil Gaiman

I am just about finished with my 2nd read of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, his take on the old Gods, the new Gods and what a man caught in the middle does when he learns their secrets. I read this book a couple years ago and I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan. I had heard so many good things about it, but I wasn’t ravenously inspired by the story nor did I quite understand why it was such a popular novel. I decided to give it a 2nd read because I am excited about the upcoming show and I thought, “Let me give this bad boy another chance to impress me.”

The 2nd read has done it folks. I am loving this book now. I totally get it. This book is fantastic. Maybe not in my top 5 favorite books, but definitely in my top 10 without question.

I admit also that I’m not a huge Neil Gaiman fan. I thought the Stardust movie was better than the book and while I enjoyed what I’ve read of the Sandman series, I’m not so overcome with love for Gaiman that I have to devour every book he puts out. I think I’ll be giving his catalog of books a 2nd chance though because I like how he writes. He’s like Stephen King, but with a strange, twisted in a non-horrific way that I totally dig.

**SPOILERS AHEAD!**

If you have not read the book, stop here if you don’t want to know anything about it.

Take the main character in American Gods, Shadow, first off, great name. Secondly, you kind of fall in love with him immediately. He’s down on his luck, in prison for a crime and sure, he’s a criminal, but you immediately sense that there is more to this guy than just doing something wrong and going to jail for it. Besides, he just got out of prison early because his wife is dead. He seems lost, out of sorts, unsure of what to do in the free world.

Then he meets a mysterious man and things get seriously weird.

“People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration. People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.”  ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods

We start to suss out the story, there are Gods on Earth. Old Gods and the New, more annoying, Gods. We have Gods of the media, of electronics, of our pop culture that reflect back at us our own failings, our own systemic-self indulgence. We (as the reader) look at the new Gods and we scoff at them, thinking, I don’t believe in a God of TV. But the fact is, we do– In our own way– worship the boob tube and we will continue to do so until our dying day. We think, the old Gods are so much cooler than the new Gods. But then the story is over and we realize that the old Gods are just as messed up and flawed as the new ones and they are lead by liars and cheats.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiV6ra6ro_PAhVB6iYKHUhzB1AQjhwIBQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chrisbuzelli.com%2Famerican-gods%2F&psig=AFQjCNHMyJz4N9N0NYezfMXRRmICHMCEsA&ust=1473959816157065
“American Gods”, art by Chris Buzelli

American Gods is a story about worship, about the culture we live in, about lies and truth. Belief and disbelief. Shadow is trying to make sense of this world he’s stumbled into and it continually zigs and zags away from him, become more confused and convoluted with each God we meet. And we meet some good ones, Odin, Loki, Horus, Gods from Hindu mythology and Gods I have no idea where they came from. In the midst of it all, a storm is coming, a war is imminent and we think we know which side is the “right” side, but by the end that’s all flipped and maybe we realize there is no right or wrong side. There’s just the side that wants blood and the side that doesn’t.

“There’s never been a true war that wasn’t fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do. And that is what makes them dangerous.”
~Neil Gaiman, American Gods

American Gods is a great tale to read today, with our insane politics and just in general in the midst of a world obsessed with selfies and Instagram and Snapchat. We’ve created new Gods even in the time since Gaiman wrote this. Gods of Facebook, Gods of Twitter. It’s amazing how the tides of worship flit from one to another, creating a God and then abandoning it to flounder and starve when it is ignored, unloved. It’s a fascinating idea, to think that belief in a thing can make it into something “real”, something with ideas and feelings, and it’s even more fascinating to think that once the tide of belief has turned to something else, that God that’s been created is left in a world that no longer cares as it desperately attempts to become relevant again.

American Gods is a mix of fantasy and mythology. It’s also a love story, a story about a man trying to find his way in a world that’s forgotten him and a story about belief. It’s so much more than I thought it was when I first read it and if you’ve read it and didn’t love it, I suggest you give it a 2nd read because you might just see more than you thought was there. You might begin to believe.

“Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”  ~Neil Gaiman, American Gods

Super excited for the upcoming STARZ TV version of "American Gods'!
Super excited for the upcoming STARZ TV version of “American Gods’!

What are YOU reading? Have you read American Gods yet? Are you planning on watching the TV show? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: How “Harry Potter” Changed My Life

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


I was reading about the upcoming illustrated edition of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone and it made me think about how much Harry Potter has changed my life.

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”
~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Let me start at the beginning, I wasn’t always a Harry Potter fan. In fact, I rallied against it for many years before a good friend (yes, Celeste, it’s you) and my dying Grandmother made me see that this might be a series worth checking out. Boy were they right. I admit to being 100% wrong on this one.

The world is a better place because of Harry Potter and his gang.
The world is a better place because of Harry Potter and his gang.

By the time I read the Harry Potter books JK Rowling was well into the series and in fact, I was able to read the first 6 without having to wait. Then I, like the rest of the world, had to wait for the final book, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows. I remember that day vividly. I was in CVS on my way to work and I happened to see copies behind the register. I eagerly bought one (even though my mom had pre-ordered a copy for me, I couldn’t wait to pick it up from her house, I had a total moment of the right nows for that book. As in, it had to be in my life right now). I remember getting to work and having about 15-minutes to spare before I had to go in so I looked at the book. I almost didn’t want to open it because I knew once I did I would never have that first moment again. I actually sat for a moment, my hand on the cover and took a couple deep breath’s, preparing myself for the awesome that was sure to be inside.

I then suffered through 6-hours of work!

Once I got home all I did was read, for hours. I read the entire book in that one day. I was done with it by midnight of that sunny Sunday and I was a crying mess. Never before (or really, since) had I read something that touched me so deeply. That made me feel all the feels. That made me so achingly sad and happy at the same time.

An image of Hogwarts by artist Jim Kay who did the new illustrated edition of "Harry Potter & The Sorcerers Stone"
An image of Hogwarts by artist Jim Kay who did the new illustrated edition of “Harry Potter & The Sorcerers Stone”

I love books. I LOVE them. I will never ever replace my library of beautiful pages and paper with electronics. Never. I will always carry a book with me when I go places. I will always enjoy looking at my books, touching them, reading them under a dim light. For me, reading the Harry Potter books was proof of how magical books can really be. I had forgotten that magic in the hustle and bustle of grown-up life. Now, it seems quite silly that I could ever forget how books can transport you to a new (and sometime, better) world.

What struck me about Deathly Hallows was how final it was. I know that Rowling has said since that she would never say never to revisiting the Hogwarts crew but for so many, that was the end game. The final tale to be told about our beloved Harry, Hermoine and Ron. So many of my favorite characters died in those thousand or so pages, so many friends I wished I could meet and so many creatures and adventures I wished I could have … and I did, thanks to Rowling and her ability to craft a story of beautiful words, wonderful people and even more amazing tales.

I’m going to keep going until I succeed — or die. Don’t think I don’t know how this might end. I’ve known it for years.”

~J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I think my favorite part of the final book is when Harry finally goes to confront Voldemort in the woods. He uses the Deathly Hallows to resurrect the people he loved who had passed on. They urged him on, they kept him stumbling down that hill to an impossible fate. To a choice that no child should ever have to make.

Harry Potter: Why are you here, all of you?

Lily Potter: We never left.

Harry Potter: Does it hurt, dying?

Sirius Black: Quicker than falling asleep.

James Potter: You’re nearly there, son.

Harry Potter: I’m sorry. I never wanted any of you to die for me. And Remus, your son…

Remus Lupin: Others will tell him what his mother and father died for. One day, he’ll understand.

Harry Potter: You’ll stay with me?

James Potter: Until the end.

Harry Potter: And he won’t be able to see you?

Sirius Black: No. We’re here, you see.

Harry Potter: Stay close to me.

Lily Potter: Always.

~JK Rowling, Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows

To this day, I cannot read that passage in the woods (or even see the movie) without crying. It’s so powerful. For all Harry’s bravery and smarts, with all the love that surrounds him, he is still afraid and he wants his family around him. It’s a comfort to imagine that all those that we have lost in this life are still here with us, maybe not in ghostly form, but at least nearby, urging us on, keeping us going, keeping us brave because we are loved and they are always close.

By JK Rowling
By JK Rowling

So how did Harry Potter change my life? Easy. Those books made me see that magic can exist wherever you expect it least (look at Harry, he was in a hopeless situation when that dang owl showed up and everything changed).  I learned that the true measure of a man/woman/etc is how they treat others; that true friendship means sometimes standing up against them when they are wrong.

More than anything, it taught me that the power of love is always, ALWAYS greater than hate (take that Donald Trump) and that no matter what happens, those you love will be with you forever.

JK Rowling also made me a better reader and a better writer. The lessons I learned reading her words and how she crafted them together influenced my own writing and every time I read, every time I re-read Harry Potter I become better at my own craft. If I ever got the chance to meet her I hope I would be able to say that. More likely than note I will go deaf and mute at the sight of her and others will have to speak for me!

What about you? Did you have a mind-blowing Harry Potter experience? Do you love the books? Hate them? Are you like me and going to snatch up the new illustrated edition as soon as you can? Sound off in the comments! Tell me YOUR Harry Potter story.

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The Female Perspective: “The Darkangel Trilogy” – A Review

Welcome! This is a twice-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


If you read this blog that you have some idea that I am a huge book nerd along with being an all-around other stuff kind of nerd. I feel then, as a blogger, to make special note of books that I particularly enjoyed. Recently I’ve read two such books (and a review on the other will be forthcoming), one is The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce. I stumbled upon this trio of books while perusing the internet and someone had done an extremely extensive review of the story. It had vampires, a girl on a quest and gargoyles. I was sold.

dtomn

Now, to me, I love a good opening line. It doesn’t have to be particularly poetic or inspiring, it doesn’t even have to be a cliff-hanger or dramatic. It simply has to set the tone of the book.

Aeriel rested the broad basket against her hip and adjusted her kirtle. – The Darkangel

See what I mean? I’m instantly curious. Why does Aeriel have a basket? What is a kirtle? What a great name for a character. Is she the main character or is she secondary? All of these questions just from a few simple words.

Book One in "The Darkangel Trilogy"
Book One in “The Darkangel Trilogy”

The plot of the three books is simple. Aeriel (a slave) and her mistress (and sort-of friend) Eoduin are on a mission to collect a certain kind of flower for her sister’s wedding. They are climbing high up on the mountain and Aeriel, we find out, is a clutz and a nervous-nelly. She worries they are going to high for she had heard tales of the Darkangels that swooped from the skies and kidnapped pretty ladies.

It is quickly made apparent that Aeriel is a plain-Jane, she is nowhere near as beautiful and graceful as her dear Eoduin and everyone tells her this. Even the Darkangel (because, yeah, he shows up).

“I am to be your bride,” she said, not questioning. The certainty of it overwhelmed her.

The dark angel looked at her then and laughed, a long, mocking laugh that sent the gargoyles into a screaming, chattering frenzy. “You?” he cried, and Aeriel’s heart shrank, tightened like a knot beneath the bone of her breast. “You be my bride? By the Fair Witch, no. You’re much too ugly.” – The Darkangel

Yeah, Aeriel does not get much love at first.

Book Two in "The Darkangel Trilogy"
Book Two in “The Darkangel Trilogy”

I don’t want to spoil the series for you so I’ll try to sum up without spoilers for you. Basically, Aeriel gets taken by the dark angel to be his servant girl to his twelve wraiths, women he has taken as his bride and stolen their souls, they are thin creatures, barely sane and horrid to look upon. Aeriel also finds herself in the precense of gargoyles, ferocious beasts that really only suffer from a lack of love and attention.

Some stuff happens and we start to see that Aeriel is more than just a slave, she is more than just an “ugly” girl. She is a smart, resourceful woman who manages to make the best out of a really REALLY bad situation. In the darkangels house she lives under the constant threat of death and yet, she manages to find some good in her life.

Sufficed to say, in all three books of The Darkangel Trilogy we get to see Aeriel grow up and become a woman, a force, to be reckoned with. She is tasked with many things throughout the three novels and each task is arduous and damn difficult for her but she does it all.

My biggest complaint about the books is that a few times things are happening and the reader (aka, me) knows exactly what is about to happen and yet our heroine seems clueless and in the dark, that frustrates me because it makes Aeriel seem stupid or slow and she is neither. What I loved about these books is that she isn’t weak, she is extremely resourceful and she is amazingly kind. Even as she grows into a beauty, she never relies on her looks to get her way. She never expects a man to save her. She is her own hero and that, I simply adore.

Book Three of "The Darkangel Trilogy" also known as, "The Pearl At The Soul Of The World" - ack! Doesn't that make you want to read it?
Book Three of “The Darkangel Trilogy” also known as, “The Pearl At The Soul Of The World” – ack! Doesn’t that make you want to read it?

In a world where vampire novels are a dime a dozen The Darkangel Trilogy deserves your time. It is a new take on a classic villain and besides that, it’s not even really about vampires! It’s about an entire WORLD that Pierce creates that rivals some of the stuff that Tolkien or Martin have created (granted, it is not nearly as in-depth as their works). It’s a series written by a woman about  a woman who is able to be the best parts about feminism and humanity.

I can say with 100% certainty that if you are into fantasy literature, then this series is for you.

To purchase, click here!

Have YOU read The Darkangel Trilogy? If so, did you love it? Hate it? Feel indifferent about? Want to make tiny babies with Talb? Tell me about it in the comments section!

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The Female Perspective: Banning Books and Why It’s Dumb

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc.


A Look At Banned Books By Printerinks

Banning books (or trying to) is nothing new in America. Parents become outraged and want books of “questionable” material removed from libraries and, so they think, the hands of their innocent children. First, allow me a moment to snicker at the idea of children these days being innocent over the age of 10 (and I’m being generous with that). Okay, I’ve gotten my snicker out of the way and now it’s on to more serious business.

There are a few terms that might confuse someone if they aren’t familiar with them, because I love books, ALL books, even the bad ones (I’m looking at you Fifty Shades of Grey) and I detest the idea of one person trying to choose what another person reads or is able to read. Reading is a privilege, a right and a joy! I would not be the writer/person/weirdo I am today if I hadn’t been able to read whatever I wanted to read when I was a kid. My parents never restricted my reading and I can remember reading Stephen King at 11 or 12, Jackie Collins around 13 and tons of stuff that the folks who want to ban books would be horrified about.  Gosh, I read Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying when I was 14 I think and I remember be scandalized at some of her ideas…but also inspired.

What Does It Mean To Ban or Challenge A Book?

bannedbooks

There are two things that a person intent on interfering with the right to free speech can do. They can challenge a book or ask for a book to be banned. What’s the difference? Is a challenge where the person against the book and the book itself face off in a duel of wits? If so, my money’s on the book honestly.

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.  A banning is the removal of those materials.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.  Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

American Library Association

This is heartening to read for a book lover/nerd/geek like me because librarians are the stewards of a lot of our school libraries and other collections. They supposedly became a librarian because they had a love of book that made them want to be around them all the time. I have mad respect for librarians and I enjoy libraries, they’re such peaceful, beautiful places that simply smell…well, if you go to the library, you know the smell of delicious old books!

Banning Books and Concerned Parents/Parental Groups

Every year there is a celebration of all banned books, September 2015 is your chance to take part!
Every year there is a celebration of all banned books, September 2015 is your chance to take part!

The fact is, parents and other “concerned” groups challenge books pretty much all the time. I came across a story about a group of concerned parents who wanted to ban Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye because it contained material unsuitable for children under the age of 18. By whose standards exactly? As I said above, I was reading stuff that according to these parents, would have been unsuitable for my delicate eyes.

One of the books being questioned is called ‘The Bluest Eye’ by award-winning author Toni Morrison – about a young African-American girl after the Great Depression – and deals with issues including racism, incest and child molestation. – NBC-2.com

The fact is, The Bluest Eye does contain explicit and potentially upsetting material. That’s kind of the point of the book. It’s also meant to portray a life that many will (luckily) never know but that’s the thing about books, they transport you, for good or bad, into the shoes of another person. They teach you stuff. Sometimes the stuff is really great (like in books like The Wizard of Oz or The Hobbit) and you are transported to a wonderful place that you wish with all your heart was real. Sometimes the books take you to a horrible place you never want to visit (like The Stand or Fifty Shades of Grey or The Road by Cormac McCarthy). Even the books that horrify you are teaching you something. They’re teaching you about your own likes and dislikes, they’re teaching you about who you are.

Does this mean that I want a 5-year-old reading about sex and violence? No. Would I ban the book to keep them away from it? No. I would be a concerned and involved parent and I would KNOW what my 5-year old was reading (wait, do 5-year olds read?)…same goes for an 8-year-old or older. I think banning books is toeing the line to burning them and we cannot allow that happen. I mean heck, I don’t ever throw books away, they are always donated or sold if I no longer want them- which is not really something that happens. My books are my friends and I treasure them, they comfort me and sometimes they overwhelm me, especially when my “To Be Read” pile is a huge stack taller than I am!

FYI, The Bible was banned in the USSR from 1926 – 1956. The BIBLE for pete’s sake! Add to that the fact that Dr. Seuss’ beloved classic (yes, I said DR. SEUSS), Green Eggs and Ham was banned in China from 1965 – 1991 for its portrayal of Marxism (click here for more crazy book banning facts). You can tell that anything can get banned for a period of time if it is deemed “offensive” by parties in power. That’s what makes it so scary, I mean, there are kids in China who didn’t get to learn about green eggs and ham!  Seriously though, it seems arbitrary what books get banned and it’s offensive to me in a lot of ways. Not to mention, it is all about perceived opinions, not fact.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees our right to free speech, which includes the right to read and write books that might be considered by some to be too violent, hateful, or offensive. Because this freedom is one of our fundamental rights as Americans, some people feel that any form of censorship is wrong. Most people fall somewhere in the middle, believing that people should be free to read whatever they choose, but that in some rare instances censorship is acceptable.

According to the ALA President Carol Brey-Casiano, “Not every book is right for every person, but providing a wide range of reading choices is vital for learning, exploration, and imagination. The abilities to read, speak, think, and express ourselves freely are core American values.”

Some people feel that schools, libraries, and governments should be the judge of what books are good for kids. Others believe that kids or their parents should have the freedom to decide for themselves, and shouldn’t have others’ viewpoints imposed on them. –Infoplease.com

That last point is what really speaks to me, it shouldn’t be up to the government, the library or even schools to decide what is right or wrong for someone to read. It should be up to the kids parents, plain and simple. A parent’s job is to look out for the welfare of their children, this means keeping an eye on their internet usage, their Smartphone usage and what they read. It’s about being involved in their life.

That being said, just because a parent doesn’t like a book for their kid, does not mean it should be banned from a library. What one kid shouldn’t read, another probably should. Book banning is a symptom of a much larger disease, a much larger sickness in the culture, where a few try to decide the rights of everyone and that, dear readers, is not okay.

I-Read-Banned-Books-624x624

Fight For Your Books!

Book banning has been with the world for as long as any other oppressive force. It doesn’t appear to be going away but what stops it from becoming truly insidious is that people stand up for the books, they stand up for free speech and that even if a book gets banned, it still finds a way to get to the people who need it most and that’s what really matters.

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What do YOU think? Is book banning done with good intentions? Are the parents crazy to even bother? Should they simply become more involved? Tell me what you think in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: “Fifty Shades of Grey” aka “Fifty Shades of Blah” (Safe For Work)

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 


DISCLAIMER: I want to start by saying that this post is mostly family friendly, there are no bad words but there are references to orgasms and sex, but nothing vulgar, I promise!

Fifty Shades of Grey aka Fifty Shades of Blah
Fifty Shades of Grey aka Fifty Shades of Blah

A few things you should know about me, I don’t mind reading erotica, I enjoy some of it and find a lot of it silly and amusing. But I have nothing against it. I do, however, have LOTS against crappy writing.

I kept hearing about this mysterious “Fifty Shades of Grey” and it’s author, E.L. James, who started out by self publishing her book before it became a worldwide sensation. Honestly, it sounded kind of silly and in the spirit of full disclosure,  I wanted to mock it because, from what people told me, it had the potential to be hilariously awful. I realized to truly mock it properly I needed to actually read it. So I found it for $8 on Amazon and read away I did.

I read the book in about two days, so I’ll give it that, it is a very quick read. Was it entertaining? I’m not sure, I only kept reading it to get through it and to be honest, I did not read the other two books because this one was MORE than enough.

My initial impressions as I read the book are as follows:

  1. I will never understand the general public and what they choose to obsess over (other examples include Honey Boo-Boo; Jersey Shore and anything Kardashian related), this is not to say that obsessing over pop culture is bad, I’ll simply never really understand what draws people in.
  2. This is possibly the worst book I’ve ever read up to this point in my life (I’m leaving room because we all know more craptastic stuff can and probably will come out). It is poorly written, even more poorly edited and down right dull.
  3. Writing about sex is difficult (I’ll admit that), but it is possible if you have a brain in your head, an imagination and a good thesaurus.
To each his/her own I suppose...
To each his/her own I suppose…

I’ll tell ya, I found myself re-writing passages of this book as I read because the sentence structure was so poorly formatted it was making me crazy. I found the author’s choice of words to be repetitive and often unintelligent. Some of the big stands out for me were as follows:

  1. For some inexplicable reason the author chose to refer to her laptop as “the mean machine” and then continued to do so on pretty much on every other page. Over and over and OVER again. It was lame the first time lady, STOP USING THIS PHRASING. I have never heard anyone refer to their computer as “the mean machine”.
  2. The author, E.L. James, chose to articulate what a woman sounds like when she is having an orgasm. OK, that makes some sense since this book is about erotic pleasures and sex features prominently in the story. My issue isn’t with articulating the sound of a woman climaxing, it’s the fact that the author chose to use the word sound of “Aaarrghh”. I don’t think she could have used a less sexy sound. Is she a pirate* having sex? Because, I gotta say, people make all sorts of noises during sex but “Argh” is not one of the ones I would choose to highlight.   *Hmmmm…pirates would have improved this book quite a bit.
  3. Whoever edited this book should be fired. They didn’t seem to make any kind of effort. I realize that at first it was a self published book, which explains some of it, but once an actual publisher picked it up, they should have done better. Perhaps they read it and though, “Damn, this is already a best seller, it doesn’t have to be well written or edited!”
  4. The author uses the same words, over and over again, sometimes on the SAME PAGE. What the hell? A good author will use different ways of saying the same thing, its kind of what writing is, or, at least, good writing.
  5. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Writing about sex is challenging – you feel kinda silly and goofy but there are ways to write a sex scene without it being dull and lame. This author did not accomplish that here one bit. Her sex scenes were contrived, silly little moments where the main character (a naive 20 something virgin until she meets Christian Grey) orgasms at the drop of a hat. I think a strong wind could have made her climax. The other thing is she kept saying “Whoa” about Christian’s body, the sex, etc. Either she is really 14 instead of 20 or else she was channeling the character “Joey” from “Blossom” (remember him?).
  6. Finally, I get that the main character is naive. But does she also have to be totally stupid? She is an insult to women. One of the dumbest lines (and there are many) comes when she is talking about Christian to her mother. Her mother gives her some advice and she goes (to herself) “Well Mom has been married 4 times, she must know something about men.” – I’m sorry, but WHAT???? I think all those marriages would be a bright red flag that says Mom clearly knows nothing about men.

50-shades-of-grey-ecard

Now, as I said before,I did not read the other two so in all honestly, I have no idea if perhaps the young lady smartens up or takes control but I have my doubts. Anastasia seems to never really have a handle on who she is or what she wants, which, to some degree, is understandable since she is young and a virgin. After awhile though, you want her to smarten up or else go with the flow. Christian is a clearly troubled man and the biggest cliche in this book full of them is that he is the “bad boy” the “mysterious, dark-haired stranger” and blah, blah blah. I am not offended by the BDSM or any of that, I am offended by the way the female characters are treated as dumb, slow-witted and yeah, stupid.

I know that a lot of people are offended by the fact that the female character allows herself to be “controlled” by the male character, feminists are horrified and I get that to a certain extent. The fact is, people engage in this kind of behavior and it doesn’t make it sexist or wrong if BOTH parties agree to it. I don’t have a feminist argument against the movie, I have an problem with Anastasia being an idiot. That offends me more than the sex scenes or Christian Grey’s behavior. I want my heroine’s to be smart, sexy and powerful.

All of that being said, I DO plan on seeing the movie in a couple of weeks because even as I read it I thought, this would make a good movie. So it does have that going for it. I can only hope that the movie is better than the book (which wouldn’t take much really). In the end, it’s your choice, read it, don’t read it…but seriously, don’t read it…nah, do what you want. Personally, the worst part of this book was the bad formatting and editing. Had the story been tightened up a bit, it might have been a decent read, not great, but decent.

What do you think? Have you read all 3 books? Can you enlighten me on how Anastasia does or doesn’t grow as a person? Are you seeing the movie? Sound off in the comments!