Reflections of a Literary Introvert

Anyone who knows anything about me, has learned to accept my shameless love affair with the fictional characters birthed throughout the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy written by E.L. James.  From the moment my co-worker whispered in my ear that she was reading the taboo “sex book” that was all the rage, I was intrigued.  After a brief hesitation, I accepted my co-workers offer to loan me the book.  My initial assumption being that it was really just hype.  Oh boy, was I wrong.  Once I cracked open the glossy black and grey paperback cover and read the words printed on the stark white page, there was no going back. I was in love with the subtle nuances of lust, erotic obsession, and dominant control as Christian and Anastasia found triumph over their battle of wills each learning how to strip their souls bare.  Patience.  Acceptance.  Vulnerability.  Trust.  That’s love in all of its glorious  imperfection.  At its core love is a kaleidoscope of grey.  It’s hidden within the shadows masked by black and white.  

Throughout these three novels, I learned an important message.  Love cannot be found in the black and white ideal of a Tiffany diamond sparkling from a small square box.  Don’t think for a minute I don’t dream of the flowing white gown and the handsome man on his knees (oh…so loaded a statement – pardon the pun).  Love is so much more than hearts and flowers.  They’re nice too, I’m a girl at heart, after all.  

I’ve read and re-read my  hard cover editions (no more loans for this introvert).  I’ve eagerly anticipated the movie releases of Fifty Shades of Grey and Fifty Shades Darker.  I’ve even used the novel as the basis for my final research paper while in college.  A paper in which I highlighted the significance of this controversal erotic story in the literary world along with its effect on women’s liberation and sexual abuse. 

Please humor me when I make my greatest claim of all.  None of the Fifty Shades of Grey novels exploit women or their importance among society.  Case in point, the naming of these characters.  In my opinion, E.L. James was simply genius when she selected them.  What a brilliant play on words they are.  Let’s begin with Christian Grey.  We know he’s fifty shades of f**ked up.  But arent’ we all in one way or another?  As our understanding of Christian deepens his shades dwindle in darkness  And..the name, Christian.  Well, he’s anything but angelic.  This brings me to Anastasia Steel.  Perhaps, I simply have too much time on my hands but steel is a metal in the hue of silver/grey.  It’s also hard as a rock.  Over the course of the trilogy, Anastasia transforms from an innocent student to a highly successful businesswoman.  She maintained a balance of delicate femininity laced with intelligence into a powerfully kind woman.  Anastasia was Christian’s savior.  She saved him from himself.  

Now, this blog post is not meant to be an essay course but a simple literary pondering. In fact, I’m inclined to agree with  J.W. Eagan’s quote,”never judge a book by its movie,” as nine times out of ten, I believe this is the case.  Thank God, my recent two hours spent engrossed with Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as they portrayed my favorite fictional characters on the silver screen (again, pardon the pun) did not disappoint.  Do yourself a favor and take yourself on a date to the movies.  Let yourself spiral into the hues of grey that surround Fifty Shades Darker.  By the way…it’s my personal favorite of the three novels.