Friday, August 31, 2012

? "50 shades of fucked up" ?

They say never judge a book by its cover. I personally hold the additional opinion that you should never judge a book by its reviews. Especially when the reviews are creating such crazed emotions in all directions.

I am not usually swayed to read books based on the hype surrounding them. In fact that puts me off them, sometimes for good, often until the hype dies down and I can read it without the static in my periphery. Now that all the excitement over the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy has pretty much abated, I decided to go ahead and read the series, mostly because my daughter bought them and left them for me when she finished. Otherwise I would have put it off until I had a justification for spending $30. I have reached the end of book 1 and have come to some conclusions about all the crazed opinions - regardless of whether pro or con. My biggest observation being that I don't think a lot of the detractors even read the flippin' books! That is shameful! It is as maddening as when churches decry books and movies based on minimal information without ever having read or watched the entire thing and ensuring they know what the fuck they are condemning so vehemently... I really hate that!

For the sake of clarity, I went into this book with nothing more than curiosity to paint (taint? ;-) my imagination. I intentionally cleared my mind to be able to form reasonable thoughts of my own because the opinions out there were so varying and sometimes over the top outrageous.

I know little to nothing about BDSM. It is not something I personally want to become intimately knowledgeable about. Based on what I have read, I can see where folks might have a very strong love or hate for it. I can even see where some could see it as demeaning to either sex. I've come to realize that, unless you know what it is all about, having an opinion like that could well be considered ill-informed. I was actually somewhat disappointed that there was so little of it, simply because so much focus was placed on it in the media and on too many blogs to count. Granted that there is no shortage of sex, but who doesn't have sex a lot in a new relationship? I suppose on some level I wanted to satisfy some (morbid?) curiosity about it as well.

I am befuddled about the hatred of the Christian Grey character by so many people. To me he reads like someone who is injured in his heart and soul and is looking for a way -- any way -- to heal. That the BDSM he wishes to perform on/with Anatasia Steele is an outlet for him is not in question, but he makes it very clear that she can CHOOSE to or not to do ANYTHING in his bag of tricks. That shows more respect for her than many men show in relationships around the world. The effect of A.S. on C.G. is intriguing as well. It is very telling that he wants to learn to be what she needs in order to have her in his life. That appears to be a HUGE concession for a man who must maintain control in every aspect of his life. C.G. was HONEST about his nature and oddities. He flat out told her to stay away from him because he was "50 shades of fucked up" and therefore no good for her.

A.S. is an extremely unique individual in that she was a virgin when she met C.G. To make it all the way through college without having relationships of any depth and without sex to boot is an accomplishment to some and a failure to others. [Looking back, I myself sometimes wish I had waited longer for the sake of maturity and understanding about sex and what it means to me, but the children I have because I didn't are too valuable to be traded for a regret.] In just a short period of time, A.S. learns what she likes and does not like, forms deep emotional attachment to the one she lost her virginity to and she struggles to believe that she does have value to C.G. She chose to pursue this unusual relationship with C.G. fully aware of his "predilection" as she so aptly called it.

As picky as I am about what I read and how well written it is or isn't I was pleasantly surprised. This story has not been written as poorly as some reviews would have you believe. In spite of the fact that the various forms of the word clamber are quite over-used, the author did develop the characters well. Is it a literary masterpiece? Not by a long shot. Is it any better or worse than some of the Harlequin romances so many of us grew up reading (and that some still read...)? I would say it is better written and has better depth of character than many of those. That said, it definitely has bigger, dirtier, racier and hotter sex scenes than a lot of those and that could be over-whelming to some readers.

I have to question whether those who say this book is demeaning to women have actually read it AND if they have whether they even really understood what they were reading. From the get-go these characters had to learn how to make concessions and negotiate the choppy waters of new and unfamiliar emotions. In any relationship, talking things through is of utmost importance. Hubster and I still struggle with that sometimes even after 19+ years, as do most of the couples we know. It is normal and more difficult for some than others. C.G. and A.S. began to learn to communicate with each other. That it all fell apart at the end of book 1 is no surprise, as they hadn't figured out the dance yet.

50 Shades of Grey made me laugh, cry and hold my breath throughout. That is a wide range of emotion to capture and because of that I was very pleased. I would say that if you have chosen not to read it, maybe you should rethink that. Judge the story for yourself rather than based on what others have had to say. You might be pleasantly surprised like I was. I plan to ask Hubster to read it, because I really want to know what he thinks of it. Maybe I will even nag him into writing a review here from the male perspective.

I haven't read book 2 but I intend to. I look forward to seeing whether the integrity of the writing holds up through it and book 3. Many series begin to fall apart and others completely derail. I will definitely revisit my opinions and expand them after. I just hope I can find the "perfect quote" from the book for my title as easily as I found this one. As soon as I read the words on the page I knew it was the title.

 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Engaged? Engaged to be Engaged?

KC has this way about her that makes me give her my opinion whether she wants to hear it or not. Given a choice, she would choose "not" every time. In fact, even when I say my piece she is choosing "not" by her facial expressions and body language.

The thing is that she is constantly bitching and moaning about the way others act or talk or treat her. So, the Mom in me knows that she must be in need of a reminder that she is full of shit, since she does all the same crap to everyone around her -- especially her parents and siblings.

Around her birthday she pulled her usual "I am entitled to the whole world because I have a birthday this week" attitude. The boyfriend/fiance was home on leave and had been staying here. We placed her in the uncomfortable position of having to make some adult decisions which she 100% failed at. She demands regularly that she be treated like an adult, but she regularly acts like a spoiled brat and treats her family so poorly that no one can find a way to treat her any different than the child she acts like. Could be worse, we could treat her as shitty as she treats us and life would be extra grand then.

The boyfriend/fiance was brought into a discussion intentionally so we could make clear where we stood on all the lies and deceptions and failures to keep the promises she made to us last summer when we allowed her back home after serious BS on her part. At the end of the conversation, she left and he stayed. He wanted to clarify the "Engagement" with us, because we were apparently mistaken to be under the impression that they were actually betrothed. He told us that they were promised to be engaged in the future, but NOT engaged now. He gave a whole speech about how he would have done all the right things by talking to us and such if they were really engaged. The kicker was that he claimed not to know how she could have misconstrued that in her mind. He went on to request that we not say anything to her.

What, you say? Don't tell her? Well at the time, we agreed but said he should fix it. Since then it has apparently not been addressed and KC talks and acts like an engaged girl and is planning and pinteresting away to decorate her future home and create her magical upcoming wedding, still quite unaware that she is only PRE-engaged.
 
Today she was doing that thing I mentioned up top - the holier than thou act. Once again, my "Mom is calling you out" instincts jumped onto my vocal chords and started strumming away. There came a point when I decided we were having it all out in the open. So now she has to wade through both her own and the boyfriend/pre-fiance's big pile of BS.

Kids never seem to get that the one place you ought to be kissing some serious ass is the one place they never do. What's worse is even parents have their limits and we can shut down anytime. KC found out we were and are serious that the "Bank of Mom and Dad" was closed indefinitely when she came home in May, and yet she still cannot see that the way to get to us is by kindness and decency. She said she doesn't tell me things because I don't seem interested... She's right. She's made the environment so hostile that I don't care about the minutiae of her life anymore. Only she can fix that and I don't really see that happening. She has made a career of hurting and alienating those who love her most, and it's one of the few things she hasn't quit...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Arrested Development

Sometimes, The Google is not your friend!

Today I accidentally learned that one of my brothers was arrested early this year, 2 days after his birthday. It doesn't appear that the charges were jail worthy as they appear to be traffic related, though it seems he had his/a child in the car and that made things worse -- possibly enough to cause the arrest instead of a ticket? Worse is that what I saw shows that some places that broadcast this information over the internet have labeled him a child abuser!

I am flabbergasted to say the least and worried for my brother and his family, as this is not something anyone ever wishes to have on their plate. I love him, wish that this had not happened to him/them and hope that he has found a resolution to whatever caused things to go this way in the first place.

The fact that no one felt the need to share this awful thing with me is no surprise in a family that is super-skilled at secret keeping and intentionally excluding me from important things/information simply because they are not happy with me. Funny thing though, if I act like that I am labeled unkindly...

Must be hereditary...
GRREEAATT!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Olympics... or PROlympics?

So the Olympics are on and for some reason, I just don't give a shit this year. My lack of interest has been building up the past few Olympics. There is no one specific reason that I can pin-point, but if I had to guess I would say it is no longer really meaningful.

Maybe I am the minority, but it has galled me since they began to allow the sponsorships to be so blatant. These people seem more professional than they ought to for the Olympics. I almost feel they should have an age cap or something. Obviously it would have to be based on each sport as some cannot be as young or old as others.

There are surely those who will say I am crazy or will disagree, and that's OK with me. I will read one of my many free Kindle books and be happy rather than annoyed with the sad state of affairs I believe the Olympics have become.