Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

One afternoon, on a sweaty commuter train hurtling towards Waterloo station, I collapsed into a vacant seat (which itself is a rarity) hauled The Naughty Book Of Tat from my handbag and settled into a momentary world of guilty pleasure. Whilst being thrown from side to side across the carriage my eye was caught by a young woman whose nose was pressed into the identical book. Glancing around at my fellow commuters I counted a total of SIX women, of all ages, their eyes twinkling at the pages of one or other of the ‘Grey’ Trilogy. This, of course, did not account for those techno-savvy girls who were eyeing up the same novel on their kindling-thingummy-bobby-whatsit. Truly, we are a nation obsessed.

Once again, Volume II delivers us inside the idealistic world of our two sordid love-birds. Thumbing past the inevitable swoon-worthy storyline of private jets, skyscrapers, gadgets, gizmo’s and bodyguards we are transported straight back into their filthy shenanigans which take place in a variety of settings and with an assortment of eye-watering implements.

In short, Ana lasted approximately 34 minutes without Christian Grey in her life (after stomping off into the distance in the last chapter) before she returns to his over-protective clutches and is once again lost in his extraordinary world.  In bad news we are still being subjected to panting pirouettes from Ana’s ‘inner goddess’ whilst her subconcious peers haughtily over half-moon specs.  In good news however, this volume delivers psychotic ex-girlfriends, gun wrestling, helicopter crashes, a frighteningly clingy ‘Mrs Robinson’ and a gritty insight into Christians somewhat chilling past.

Realistically of course (and I do so hate to bring us all back down to earth, but stay with me) should Christian Grey exist, we would no doubt be thoroughly appalled and outraged at the prospect of being controlled so intensely; being told what to wear, what to eat, having our calls and emails continually monitored and our every movement noted by a burly security team. That and the fact that our dear protagonist manages to reach an earth-shattering, universe-exploding orgasm at the drop of a whip. (Hmph.) But, of course, what did we expect? These naughty tales have never claimed to be realistic, accessible or even the pinnacle of English Literature. They do, however, seem to unsettle a lot of chaps.

The usual reaction from a gentlemen peer at the sight of the now infamous cover peeking from my handbag is a ‘tut’ followed by a ‘scoff’ and therafter a ‘oh, not you as well, that stuff is utter rubbish.’ Now, correct me if I’m wrong here, I don’t recall the climatic event which follows a gentleman’s perusal of the t’interweb for ‘educational videos’  is a review of the storyline; or is it?! I rest my case, yer Honour. Women often require the setting of a scene, to be lost within a story in order to reach the same, um, conclusion. It appears, however, that the main bone of contention is the fact that here we are sitting on public transport openly skimming this marvellous ‘final taboo’ filth without batting an eyelid. Perhaps, if the metro handed out free copies of ‘Nudey-Boobs Weekly,’ our gentlemen friends wouldn’t feel so left out? 

Regardless, if you wish to disappear into a lip-smacking, skin-tingling sensation without the requirement of any form of brain power, this is the perfect escape. Not only that, its an excellent conversation starter;  catch the eye of a fellow fan, smile knowingly and youre already friends! 

We are fully aware it’s not going to make it into the ‘Classics’ section of Waterstones, nor do we care. In the meantime we shall continue our depraved adventures with Mr Grey, flushing happily behind the pages, our inner minx performing a sexy bellydance with floaty scarves, our subconcious gagged and bound in a cupboard whilst wistfully conjouring an excuse to fall head first into the office of a handsome billionare.

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‘War & Peace’

….and I’ll get back to you in about 15 years when I’ve finished.

Fifty Shades of Grey; E L James

I first witnessed the effect of this novel when riding the stuffy London tube towards Waterloo Station after a long and arduous day. Sitting opposite me, her nose virtually pressed into the binding, sat a very attractive and immaculate middle aged woman. Her face had turned an exquisate shade of pink and her eyes burnt with enough fire to set the pages alight. Intrigued, I gazed at the unassuming steel-blue/grey front (dont deny it, we ALL judge a book by its cover) and wondered what all the fuss was about. Several billboards, newspaper articles and flustered female commuters later I succumbed and bought this intriguing paperback…..and oh my!

EL James has somehow managed to bring the last taboo (S&M/bondage) to the mainstream. Not only is it exquisitely naughty and frighteningly passionate but it is wrapped delicately in romance and tied with a heart-wrenching bow.

Part of its attraction is that the author has taken an everyday character, uncomfortable in her looks, riddled with insecurities and thrust her into the arms of an all-powerful, all-consuming adonis. Their lusty and often bizarre encounters transport normal women into a world that is both fantastical and possible. It has been compared to the equally addictive Twilight Saga which whipped us all into a magical and sensual frenzy; one we can only imagine (provided of course we dont believe in beautiful, muscle-clad young men who suddenly transform into mystical beings.) Mr Grey however, is a real possibility, albeit a slim one!

Wealthy, attractive, intelligent, totally consumed by his love for our protagonist Ana and with a penchant for playing classical music in the nude, he is every womans fantasy! Yet he has a dark side, something which every female, despite her best efforts, is drawn to. Being forced to sign a contract relinquishing total control of her life to Mr. Grey not only frightens Ana but stimulates her every sense. It appears to have had a similar effect on the readers with the internet suddenly bursting with women of all ages searching for their very own ‘Mr Grey.’

In an age when women are still striving for independence, equal rights and in some cases to overtake men in the power stakes, E L James has managed to return us to an era when man was King. Powerful, domineering and often frightening, Mr. Grey and his extra-curricular activities drag us by the hair back to the cave man period and the modern woman is lapping it up.

This novel is an exhilarating journey into the unknown (for some) and through our deepest, darkest desires (whether we realise them or not.) I beg any woman to read it and not feel even the slightest twinge of excitement! A note of warning; reading this delicious tale on public transport will expose fellow commuters to your crimson cheeks and involuntary gasps of shock/delight.

A new age of naughty novel has begun….are you sitting uncomfortably?