50 Shades of Repetition
Well, we suspected it was coming, right? EL James has announced a new book, titled Grey, that will cover the same ground as 50 Shades of Grey, but from Christian’s perspective.
Hasn’t it all been from Christian’s perspective? It’s not like Ana had a strong POV or was a fully formed character. I haven’t seen the movie (I just can’t do it, even though most people say that Sam Taylor-Johnson and Dakota Johnson breathed a lot of life into Anastasia, much like Kristen Stewart did with Bella in Twilight), but let’s just go by the books. You know what drove me insane about those damn books (besides the repetitive language and awful dialogue)? Ana’s complete lack of identity. Yes she was a virgin, fine. She had only kissed 1 or 2 guys in her life. Sure, I guess. But she didn’t have email.
WHAT COLLEGE STUDENT DOESN’T HAVE EMAIL? She also had no computer (she borrowed her roommate’s), no smart phone, no social media, and not many friends. That is what I found the most disturbing about this young character. She is so completely isolated from society, and that isolation is encouraged and exacerbated by her relationship with him. Sure she gets a cell phone, but only so she could be in contact with him. For me, that was way more disturbing than whatever was in the red room.
As for the sexual relationship, I can take Sam Taylor-Johnson’s idea that this is a dark fairytale at face value. But what is sexist – to both men and women – is the relationships Ana has with men. Men in her life are either gruff (her step-dad), mysterious (Christian) or predatory (basically every man other man she comes in contact with).
So how will revealing Christian’s inner workings illuminate the Fifty Shades universe? I’m betting he won’t have anything like that ludicrous and embarrassing “inner goddess” storyline because he’s a man, so he won’t need a separate entity to explain that he likes sex. They’ll be a lot of angst and hand wringing, but it will be hard to have any investment in it since we all know how the story ends. What James will need to deliver on is the sex, which I’m guessing she will. Because he’s a dude, so he can be as unapologetically horned up as he wants, it’s actually part of his charm.
As Lainey told me, writing a romance novel from the man’s POV is a popular trend. (Lainey: Some of my favourite new adult dirty books are in the “other” voice. It’s because I like raunchy talk.) Even so, why would James bother with this when she is in the middle of overseeing a 3-picture deal (which she has a heavy hand in)? Money, yes, although by all accounts she’s not into extravagant living. Maybe she genuinely wants to please the fans, to give them what they want. She is the fast food/ reality TV equivalent of literature, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
But the timing for this is fast, even by her writing standards. The book comes out June 18. That’s some “30 minutes or less” book writing.