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VIRAL INNER GODESS IF YOU THINK YOU’VE SEEN THE WORST OF IT, THINK AGAIN. BRITISH AUTHOR E J JAMES REMINDS US ALL OVER AGAIN WHY WE HATE TWILIGHT AND WHY WE HAVE ALL THE RIGHT TO, WITH HER BOOK FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. BY ALVIN GREG MOLINA People are very much on the bandwagon about the love story of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele of 50 Shades of Grey, but not with unanimous reasons. It’s no doubt that the book has gone viral and won a lot of people’s attention in a very fast pace scale—most of them women, and most of them not at all what one considers “young.” Its rise to popularity is not unlike the path the Twilight books have taken, one which warrants every one’s genuine curiosity as to why almost everyone is talking about it. If it wasn’t because of my growing love for Stache and the ridiculous things I’ve heard about this book, I wouldn’t find myself perusing it with my time which could have been used more productively. Fifty Shades of Grey is not your ordinary boy meets girl story; it’s an erotic, BDSM novel written by the first time British author, E.L. James. As reported in Publisher’s Weekly, the book started as a Twilight fan fiction, then was made into a full-length novel with only the names changed from the original. That is the reason why the characters in her novel very much resemble those in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. In brief, James’ characters are ripped off. The story is written in the first person of Anastasia Steele, a doubtful literature student, who invents strange words and whose vocabulary seems to have run out in the book’s first few pages. She is drafted, as substitute of her sick roommate, Kate, to meet the rich, handsome, sexy, salacious, albeit not sparkling, young tycoon, Christian Grey, for their campus magazine. Anastasia is instantly smitten with Grey like most other girls in the book, but she finds him intimidating, arrogant, and referred him as control freak and leaves the interview believing it went badly. So she tries to put Christian out of her mind and thinks that that would be the last time they will ever see each other, until Christian Grey turns up at a hardware store where Anastasia works part-time. The innocent Anastasia Steele develops strong feelings towards Christian and he admits that he wants her as well, but on his own terms. They go through a passionate and daring affair—not to mention ridiculous, and unhealthy, and absurd, and unbelievable and funny for all the wrong reasons, among others. Having read books of different genres quite unlike 50 Shades of Grey, this is perhaps the first time I’ve read a book that blatantly depicts sexual intercourse, which are very much detailed 30 /August 2012 that instead of coming across as passionate or sensual or erotic, James has inexorably written a caricature of a novel. It failed as an erotica. It failed as a narrative. It failed as a literature. The author repeatedly uses curious descriptions and downright bad wordplay to paint us a picture. In terms of her protagonist, Anastasia Steele, she failed to create a strong female character with substance and depth. (In E J James’s defense, how can any one make a profound character that is patterned after Bella Swan?) Her narration is repetitive, tiresome, moronic, and Anastasia’s reiteration of her subconscious and inner goddess is downright foolish. It’s over the top and all over the place. Perhaps the only thing that I found unexpectedly amusing while reading the book was the exchange of emails between Christian and Anastasia: James, instead of showing us what her characters are like, she decides to tell us through their exchange. I may not be an expert when it comes to studying in-depth an author’s writing style, but comparing EL James’ books to Stephanie Mayer’s Twilight saga makes everything clear that there can be in this world novels that are far worse than stories about sparkling vampires. Stephanie Mayer is admittedly the superior writer—but not by much. E L James not only cannot write a good characters or good story, she simply cannot write. 5o Shades of Grey, for the people who has enjoyed it, is not unlike a guilty pleasure, which tells us a lot of things. And among these things are the question, “has our taste in literature has taken a turn for the worse?” As well as, “is our generation that moronic?” What is more peculiar about the craze of this book is that there are a lot of smart and educated women who enjoy similar books. For a novel which does not cultivate positive self-images about one’s self, one which promotes all the wrong virtues for women and men alike, it is easy to question why a legion of readers enjoy this kind of things. Relating the rapid viral spread the of inner goddess of this book to the world of health and science, most viral illnesses are self-limiting. That basically means that this book and the unhealthy phenomenon is has brought along, like any other poorly written books that has gained extremely fast attention and extremely huge following, will certainly run for only a definite limited course, and I cannot wait for that alleviation to come.

Stache August 2012 // Issue 11

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