Saturday, January 9, 2016

Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian

I finally finished listening to the audio book version of Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian by E.L. James. I must say, I genuinely enjoyed it, in no small part to the voice acting talent of Zachary Webber.

Many of my thoughts about this audio book are captured in my status updates over the two months it took me to "read" this book on my commute. (Click on the image or zoom to make it more readable.)

I enjoyed this as a lengthy and complicated piece of Twilight fan fiction, and I find that I genuinely care about these fictional characters. I want Ana and Christian to succeed as a couple. Of course we know they do - they finish as a nice married couple with two children - but they're actually broken up at the end of the first novel of the trilogy. It's a downer ending, made somewhat more hopeful in this version.

I really do get a kick out of the way Kate irks Christian.

But I still don't want to see the movie. Jamie Dornan is quite attractive, and being a person of Northern Irish descent myself I quite like him, but I like my imaginary Christian Grey better. He doesn't resemble any living person that I know of, although from here on out he may sound like Zachary Webber in my imagination.

I do think Kristen Stewart would have made an amazing Ana, though. That's not a slight against Dakota Johnson. I find her beautiful and charming.

Dakota Johnson. Creative Commons image by GabboT
I feel especially compelled to protect and defend the young Ms. Johnson, and I suppose it's because I've long felt compelled to protect her mother, Melanie Griffith. Do you all remember The Bust Guide to the New Girl Order?

It was first published in 1999, and it's very, very '90s. It represents some of the early work featured in the women's magazine, which started out as a small feminist/girl culture zine, itself a very 1990s concept. I mention the anthology because it contains an essay called "Bring Me the Head of Melanie Banderas" by Sarah Feldman writing as Dixie LaRue. It's much meaner and snarkier than what Bust publishes today, and it's all about what a terrible actress and human being Melanie Griffith (married to Antonio Banderas at the time) is.

Like a Judge-y Judy, Dixie LaRue recounts Griffith's crimes against womankind, including getting multiple tattoos (!) and having breast implants. Body shaming much? She takes Griffith to task for starring in sexist movies but doesn't question why the movie-going public lets filmmakers get away with pernicious gender stereotyping and sexist slander. It's very old school, and it makes me want to wrap Griffith in a nice warm blanket, hand her a latte, and assure her she's worthy of love and respect.

So, with absolutely no offense meant to Jamie Dornan or Dakota Johnson, I'll just watch the "movie" inside my head and fan-cast it with the Twilight cast members.

"Lelliot" hates jellyfish.
If I were summing up this book in one sentence, it would be, "A brave woman explores the limits of her sexuality; a recovering abuse victim explores the limits of his emotional vulnerability." And I liked it.

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