Yes. I. Am. I'm swan diving right into the 50 Shades discussion. This book is selling like hotcakes, and after my fast and furious relationship with the trilogy, I feel compelled to weigh in on why...
I had heard of the book this spring, but hadn't read any reviews or paid much attention to the hype.
I have been primarily a non-fiction reader over the past two decades, but for some reason with summer at hand, felt a strong desire to let loose on a juicy novel when my sister, with a big smile on her face, left a copy with me two weeks ago.
After overcoming an initial smugness based on my own projections about what books I "should" be reading, boy, did I enjoy the ride!
Being the AND/BOTH gal that I am with my absolute love of paradox and contradiction, I must first say that I agree with all sides of the 50 Shades discussion.
The writing is not great by any stretch of the imagination AND my imagination didn't need literary prowess to become hooked into the book.
It's completely unrealistic AND much can be applied to illuminate and enhance aspects of my own life.
The book is not worthy of our money AND reading something just for the pure enjoyment of it is priceless.
The different ends of the spectrum available to us while reading this book are actually quite fascinating.
So, why has 50 Shades of Grey taken the publishing world by storm? I offer my perspective via a few major themes below:
1) Light and Dark: We live in the realm of duality while in human form. On a mental level, we desire to determine that life is black and white, but deep down, we know that life is, indeed, 50 Shades of Grey. We have both light and dark inside of us in varying degrees, but many of us desire to deny, suppress and demonize our darker aspects rather than bring them into the light of our understanding and self-acceptance. It is therefore intriguing to see more dark exposed in a character than we are typically willing to acknowledge in ourselves and in those we love. Furthermore, we judge and label dark as bad when dark is simply a shade on a whole spectrum that always has a light counterpart when viewed closely.
2) Wholeness: On a soul level, if not consciously, we desire wholeness within ourselves, and this often occurs through the mirroring available in emotional intimacy with others. To see a character begin to crack open the vaulted heart and follow the trails of psychic debris to greater self-knowing and freedom is both scary and deeply exciting at the same time. Intimate relationships, if allowed to develop and grow, offer an unprecedented opportunity to explore our own interior. The uncovering process is simultaneously painful and exhilarating, and most importantly, deeply desired by the soul. This book opens the door to connecting emotional dots of root cause that lead to healing—a greater capacity to give and receive love.
3) Physical Intimacy: The physical intimacy between the main couple in the book may be too much for some, but also appealing to many in that the characters are willing to open completely to one another in an often vulnerable way. Western culture, in particular, does not typically embrace a healthy, sensual love of sexuality and/or the human body as a vehicle for pleasure. This book, while not necessarily exemplifying the above due to certain aspects that promote dominance and submission, seems to be blossoming a flower within readers that is simply ready to bloom. Sexual pleasure, and any kind of pleasure for that matter, need not be a guilt-ridden, shameful pursuit. Counter-intuitive to what many expected from the book, 50 Shades of Grey is awakening in many the self-permission to explore the multitude of pleasures that being in a human body allows. To be more clear, the previous boundaries of pleasure that many lived by have widened, deepened and expanded in a surprising way after reading this book.
Good/Bad, Pleasure/Pain, Light/Dark, Fat/Thin, Hot/Cold, Strong/Weak, Joy/Sadness have many, many degrees and shades. Life is a beautiful spectrum of ultimate Oneness, and peace can be found by resting within the paradoxes rather than resisting them.
Fifty Shades of Grey has offered this truth in a way that millions of people are better able to hear, and for that, I am thrilled!
And because I simply must, OH MY!