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50 Shades Freed and So Am I

I am finally free of the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy with the completion (fine, skimming) of the end of 50 Shades Freed.  Finishing the third book was like graduation when you throw your cap towards the sky.  I wanted to toss the final book in the air and let it land, pages down in a fan on the floor.  I am freeeeeeeeeeeee.

***This post contains a lot of spoilers for the 50 Shades of Grey series including one for the Harry Potter series and others for the Twilight books.  And it contains discussion on abuse which may be a trigger for you, so please read with caution.  And if you really loved this series, you may want to skip this post because I’m not going to say the nicest things about the story.***

I simultaneously didn’t enjoy and did enjoy these books.  I skimmed the last 100 pages of the third book because I was itching to be done with these characters, but once I was done with them, a bit of Stockholm syndrome kicked in and I began feeling sympathy toward my literary detainers.  I had been so bitter feeling locked into reading these books (without the ability to explain to you why, know that this was a case of finishing the vegetables on my plate before I could get dessert; I sort of had to read these books — please don’t ask me to explain) and then it was done and while I hated them during the duration of our time together, I felt a fondness toward Christian and Ana now that I was free of them.

You know how you have that friend that calls you to tell you about her relationship, and she tells you worrisome things about their interactions?  And at first you’re concerned.  You talk about it with other people trying to get advice on how to give her advice.  And you stay up thinking about this situation she’s in.  When you talk with your friend, even she can admit that this relationship is bad for her mental health, yet she always has a reason for why she’s remaining with him.  After a while, you stop feeling sympathy for her and begin looking at her with incredulity because you honestly can’t believe that she is sticking around.  And after you pass that point, you stop being able to stomach listening to her go on and on about him because what you feel for her is no longer care or concern, but instead you feel disgust.

My friends all had that friend, and that person was me.

I have been in two abusive relationships, pretty much back-to-back.  I left one, found another, and entered it because it felt familiar.  I don’t talk about it often (Embarrassment?  A lack of desire to think about that time period?), though I did mention it years ago.  When I first started reading the 50 Shades of Grey books, I didn’t realize that by the second book, they would enter into what amounts to an abusive relationship.  I sort of thought all three books would focus on the dom-sub thing.

I find it disturbing that young women may be reading these books and thinking that Ana and Christian’s behaviour is admirable or desirable.  I say this even with the ending in place.  I don’t believe that Christian or Ana changed.  Abusive relationships go through peaks and valleys.  If the person was abusive 100% of the time, you wouldn’t stay.  But the hook with most abusive relationships (beyond the ones that people stay in because they fear their life or have limited options in terms of leaving) is that they aren’t bad 100% of the time.  He belittles you and then he apologizes.  You go through three bad days and then you have an amazing day together when you connect on this deep level and you believe all has changed.  You keep hanging on because when it’s good, it’s really good.  And when it’s bad, you can convince yourself that if you stick this out, things could change.

So I don’t believe in the end that Ana gets a happily ever after.  I think she gets more of the same, the emotional abuse and the sweetness, and she’s willing to put up with the emotional abuse for the sweetness.  And that’s fine for Ana; every adult gets to make their own decision.  But this isn’t a healthy relationship; healthy relationships do not include being fearful of your partner or infantilized by him, even if he makes up excuse after excuse later for his behaviour.  Just because there is an explanation for his behaviour does not make the behaviour okay.

The dom-sub stuff is really a very small portion of this series.  Really small.  I know I described 50 Shades of Grey as Twilight sans vampires avec a dom-sub relationship, but the dom stuff was pretty much over in the first book.  The other two books unfolds their relationship vs. pleasure arrangement.  Because yes, when it was a dom-sub arrangement with a contract, it was a pleasure arrangement and nothing more.  But once they stopped the formal dom-sub arrangement and went into dating each other, this became an abusive relationship.  What was acceptable when they were under a pleasure arrangement is not acceptable within a loving relationship.  It crosses the line from mutually beneficial partnership (“I take sexual pleasure over dominating someone” or “I take sexual pleasure over being dominated”) to using those same traits to control another person or their choices.  If they had kept to the contract and tried to add in a relationship, I could have accepted a lot more.  But they didn’t.  They got rid of the contract and tried to go the “vanilla” route, as they put it, adding in their own “kinky fuckary.”

Emotional abuse isn’t as black-and-white as physical abuse, but there are key warning signs, most of which Ana deals with within the series.  According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the warning signs are (Cafemom also had a good list of 13 warning signs, though many of which overlap one another):

  • Name calling
  • Prevents you from going to work
  • Stops you from seeing family and friends
  • Controls what you wear or where you go
  • Acts jealous or possessive
  • Threatens you with violence
  • Blames you for their behaviour

And that is pretty much the last two books.  He calls her stupid, and she apologizes for her stupidity (p. 418).  He berates her for doing her job at her workplace, and ultimately buys the company so he can control it.  He continuously stops her or guilt her for seeing her friends whether it’s giving her grief for seeing Jose or punishing her for going out with her friend instead of staying in the apartment.  He comments on her clothing choices, telling her that he doesn’t want her wearing certain things in public (and reminding her each time that you. are. mine).  Jealousy and possession defines their relationship.  He tells her that he wants to hit her, that he thinks about causing her pain, that he wants to spank her — and once this leaves the dom-sub contract, it’s no longer really kinky fuckary, as she calls it.  It’s actually violence wrapped up with a pretty bow.  And, of course, he spends the whole book telling her that he’s only doing these things because either she won’t behave or due to his messed up toddlerhood.  And she spends the whole book defending him.

Please tell me how this is romantic (p. 235):

“This morning, I wanted to punish you, badly, and –” He stops, lost for words I think, or too afraid to say them.

“You were worried you’d hurt me?” I finish his sentence for him, not believing that he’d hurt for a minute, but relieved too.  A small vicious part of me feared it was because he didn’t want me anymore.

“I didn’t trust myself,” he says quietly.

“Christian, I know you’d never hurt me.  Not physically, anyway,” I clasp his head between my hands.

“Do you?” he asks, and there’s skepticism in his voice.

“Yes.  I knew what you said was an empty, idle threat.  I know you’re not going to beat the shit out of me.”

“I wanted to.”

“No, you didn’t.  You just thought you did.”

“I don’t know if that’s true,” he murmurs.

“Think about it,” I urge, wrapping my arms around him once more and nuzzling his chest through the black T-shirt…

Because that sort of scene replays over and over again.  Where she convinces him that he’s not abusive because that is the only way she can rationally stay in that situation; if she can convince him (and by default herself) that this is a healthy relationship.  And while people may say that I’m being unfair highlighting an unhealthy exchange without highlighting one of the times when he is quite sweet to her, the reality is that it goes back to those peaks and valleys.  Even the good times are part of that cycle of abuse.  The good times are what power the cycle so it can continue over and over and over again.

The abusive relationship wasn’t exactly a trigger for me.  If it had been written differently, it might have been, but as it was written, I read it with detachment.  Beyond that, the books were just so far-fetched and unlikely that I couldn’t suspend disbelief.  She just happens to start working for a publisher who just happens to have been Christian’s foster brother who just happens to still remember him and harbour a desire to kill him.  Oh, and the husband of the woman whom he had an affair with 10+ years earlier is still harbouring such hatred for him that he hasn’t done anything to affect him in the ensuing 10+ years UNTIL Jack is in jail (a person he doesn’t know) and then he posts bail.  Because people who want to ruin you usually wait 10 years and then go about it in the most ass-backwards, non-direct ways.  These are the types of far-fetched plot points that make you roll your eyes in disbelief as opposed to discovering the bartender of the Hog’s Head is Aberforth in the seventh Harry Potter book.  The former elicits an “oh please” and the latter brings out a “ooooooh… cool!” as you fan back through the six previous books and see all the tiny clues Rowling wove into the story.

Lastly, 50 Shades of Grey was ultimately fan fiction for Twilight, and this didn’t reflect the unrealistic but ultimately sweet all-consuming love of Bella and Edward in Twilight, the model for Ana and Christian’s relationship.  When Bella tells Edward that she know he’ll never hurt her, the reader is fairly certain of that fact along with the character.  I can’t say the same for Christian who can and does hurt Ana — physically and mentally.  We have two characters who both are upset to learn their wife is pregnant, and Christian is upset for himself, angry that he is being thrust into fatherhood.  And Edward is scared for his wife’s well-being, that the monster inside her could kill her.  In one case, I believe in the true love of the character (Edward for Bella) and in the other, I only see the abusive selfishness (Christian places all the responsibility for birth control on Ana, berates her when it fails, and ultimately walks out for the evening because he’s too angry to stay and talk, leaving his wife to cry on her own and contemplate an abortion to keep her husband happy.)

But I meant what I said in the first paragraph or so when I said I enjoyed these books (or perhaps, if I dug deeper, I would see that it’s just Stockholm syndrome redux, justifying their badness in the same way one would justify an abusive relationship).  Maybe it’s more that I enjoyed being part of pop culture for the moment.  That there is a coziness in having read the same book as everyone else.  That I can get the in-jokes and make them about this series.  Is that worth the time it takes to read three books — perhaps not.  But it is what it is.  I don’t have regrets over reading these three books.

I think EL James missed a great teaching moment when she made an abusive relationship something to be celebrated and desired.  If Ana had turned to Christian after the outburst when she told him she was pregnant (p. 418 – 419) and coldly told him that she wouldn’t stand for this sort of treatment, I could have cheered her on.  Instead of making her a strong woman who comes to a realization that she can be straightforward and state her needs, she plays a game with him, trying to cajole him into being happy about the pregnancy by using her body, and I realized in that moment: what if this was my friend?  Screw that; what if this was my daughter?  What would I say to her?

I would sit her down and say: You deserve better.  Not because you are special but because you are a human being and all human beings who enter into relationships with other human beings deserve to be treated with respect.  Being treated with respect does not mean that you will never fight or say things in the moment that you regret later, but being treated with respect means that you are honest and upfront with each other.  You don’t belittle, play games, set up each other to fail.  Instead you hold each other up, help each other reach individual and mutual goals, and allow each person to grow individually as well as together.  You do not have this with Christian on any level.  You have someone willing to spend all the money in the world on you, but that’s not love.  And you have someone who wants to protect you not for your well-being but for his own, and that’s not love.  And you have someone who can’t tell the difference between stifling someone and allowing them to blossom, and that’s not love.  It may be scary to leave; scratch that: it is almost always scary to leave a relationship because you don’t know if you’ll find another one.  But you need to take that deep breath and leave because you cannot fix another person.  Individuals can only fix themselves; they can’t be changed due to someone else’s will.

Putting your foot down and saying what you deserve in a relationship is hard.  But it’s necessary: for every single person in this world.  That’s what I would tell any woman in an abusive relationship, what I would tell any woman who is jealous of Ana and Christian’s marriage, and what I am so fucking thankful someone told me a version of all those years ago.

I know that my opinion on these books are informed by my life experience (and I found waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many similarities between internalized conversations from my past and the ones Ana goes through in the book).  You may not agree with me at all that this is an abusive relationship.

So… yeah… that’s how I read the books.  I’m glad they’re done.  I don’t regret reading them, but I certainly wouldn’t pass them along to others with a you-must-read-this post-it note on the cover.  So off to other books, hopefully with fewer nipple clamps and floggers.

I am nervous to post this.  I don’t know why.  But for some reason, I feel the need to admit that I really wavered on whether or not to hit publish.


1 a { 08.21.12 at 8:50 am }

It’s always tough to go against the flow…

2 Mud Hut Mama { 08.21.12 at 8:54 am }

I’m glad you hit publish. I haven’t read this series and I’ve been wondering what all the fuss was about. I appreciate your honesty about your past relationships and how that relates to these books and I want to save your discussion in case I ever need to have that talk with one of my daughters.

3 geochick { 08.21.12 at 9:19 am }

I felt the same way about Twilight as you feel about this series. I couldn’t stop reading it even though I hated it, hated her style, and admittedly am totally jealous that she’s making money hand over fist. When I finished the last book, I slammed it shut and felt sweet relief that it was over. I only read 50 Shades of Grey because it was assigned for our book club. I didn’t get into it at all, skimmed the whole thing and then felt condemned by others in my club because I thought it was a shitty book with a shitty story. Personally, I don’t understand people who think that it’s a great story, because it’s not.

4 geochick { 08.21.12 at 9:21 am }

I forgot to add that I’m glad you wrote this post. Someone has to bring an intelligent discussion to this book, and do it beautifully.

5 Tiara { 08.21.12 at 9:33 am }

Good for you for posting because what you wrote about abusive relationships is so important & needs to be out there.

6 sky girl { 08.21.12 at 9:37 am }

Thank you Mel! This series drove me nuts. The repetitive phrases and dialogues made me crazy. His treatment of her and her acceptance of his treatment made me want to slap her myself.

But, like you, I had to read it. And I didn’t hate it. Kinda weird eh?

7 Amanda { 08.21.12 at 9:40 am }

So glad you posted this. I forced my way through the first two books and stopped at the 3rd because I couldn’t take anymore Christian. I couldn’t put into words exactly why I disliked the character of Christian (and thus, Ana) so much, and this post does a lot of clarifying for me. Bravo.

8 JustHeather { 08.21.12 at 9:43 am }

I enjoyed the books for what they were: fiction (which can be found in day to day life for many) that was a fun read, but I most likely won’t be reading them again. (Ok, maybe some of the sex scenes will be pulled up again. heheh)

Having been in what I consider to be one emotional abusive relationship years ago, I did a lot of eye rolling and WTF’ing while reading these books. Sure they were fun, but abuse is abuse, no matter how it is put. It isn’t ok!

I don’t think I had as bad a reaction to it as you did, but I do see the negative in the books. So long as people realize these are fiction and shouldn’t be taken as fact of life, let them go on reading them. There’s a lot of screwed up books out there (fiction and non-fiction), this one definitely isn’t the worst!

9 KeAnne { 08.21.12 at 9:56 am }

I’m so glad you published this post and while I may finish the first book, I can happily avoid the other two. I would love to have seen a strong female character stand up to Christian’s BS instead of weak Ana.

10 Arwen { 08.21.12 at 10:14 am }

I am so glad you have posted this. I read the books and felt a very similar desire to read but also I was infuriated by the crap writing and crap characters and crap relationship! I am so annoyed that they have been so popular and actually find that really quite scary. As a child of an emotionally and physically abusive relationship, with a sister who walked right into an identical marriage this is an incredibly dangerous message to women, that this shitty relationship is ok, it is so, so NOT ok.

11 nonsequiturchica { 08.21.12 at 10:14 am }

I’m sorry that you felt like you had to finish the second and third books after reading the first. I only made it through the first one and will thankfully not be reading anymore. I think that your review is spot-on.

Have you seen the Goodreads review circulating around with the GIFs? It is hilarious: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/340987215?auto_login_attempted=true&auto_login_attempted=true.

12 Io { 08.21.12 at 10:47 am }

Oh, I totally feel you on the finishing books even though I hate them thing. I haven’t read the 50 Shades, mostly because Twilight was about the edge of my ability to handle poor writing and relationships that make me head palm. From excerpts I have seen, 50 Shades is terrible. And you have solidified for me that I made a good decision.

13 Brookes4boys { 08.21.12 at 11:28 am }

Thank you! Thank you! This post stated all of my feelings about the book exactly! I saw a post on Facebook from a friend a few months ago that said “Men complain that there is not an instruction book on how a woman wants to be treated, but now there is.. 50 shades” or something of the sort. I was appalled! I absolutely have NO DESIRE to be treated the way Christian treats Ana. I, too, read the books because I felt, almost, as though I had to. Had to join the “club” as it were. But after reading them, I did not promote them to anyone, and actually deterred some friends from reading them.

I, also, did not like certain aspects of Twilight. Yes, I believe that Edward, and Jacob, act out of love for Bella, but I still don’t like the way they go about it. I don’t like that Edward creeps in her room and watches as she sleeps and that they both try to manipulate her into cutting the other one out of her life. It bothers me, especially, that Twilight is a young adult novel and that young girls are reading this thinking that this is the way a man who loves her should treat her 🙁

That said, for the ladies who liked the erotic aspect of the Shades books, I just finished a series by Shaina Richmond called Safe with me. It has a lot of the same erotic writing, without the overbearing abuse elements (though there is some sexual abuse mentioned so beware if that is a trigger for you).

The cult like following of Twilight and Fifty Shades has flabbergasted me. I just don’t understand it.

14 Emma { 08.21.12 at 11:38 am }

I’m so glad you hit publish too!

I’ve been on the fence about reading the 50 Shades trilogy. I’m leaning more towards “no” because it’d just be to see what the fuss is about. But almost everyone I know who had read them got sucked in yet hated the characters. I’d rather spend my money on books that have at least once character I can cheer on 🙂

15 Lori Lavender Luz { 08.21.12 at 11:52 am }

“Putting your foot down and saying what you deserve in a relationship is hard. But it’s necessary: for every single person in this world.”


I’m glad you published.

16 Michele { 08.21.12 at 12:05 pm }

Thanks for writing this post. It so needs to be said. These books are a romantic journey through a D/s relationship; they are, as you put it, romanticizing abuse. It’s awful.

17 It Is What It Is { 08.21.12 at 1:45 pm }

I see nothing contentious about this post, so, while I enjoyed your perspective and enjoyed reading the books myself (as a fictional tale of a relationship between two people), what I found MOST interesting was your hesitation in publishing it. Perhaps it was in the vulnerability of sharing your own experiences, I’m not sure, but I am intrigued, as a long time reader, that this post gave you misgivings in publishing it.

18 Another Dreamer { 08.21.12 at 2:54 pm }

I’m glad you posted this, and it reaffirms to me why I refuse to read these books. I grew up in an abusive household, furthermore I worked in a domestic violence shelter for several years… I’ve seen enough of the abusive relationships to last a lifetime. While this could be taken as realism, since many women in abusive relationships never break free and rather go through cycles as you mentioned, it also makes it appealing in a twisted way- and that, I simply can’t approve of. People are impressionable, and the fact that so many people praise these books and don’t use it as a springboard to announce abuse for what it is, they instead glorify it; that frightens me. Truly.

19 sushigirl { 08.21.12 at 5:39 pm }

I’m sorry it brought back bad memories for you.

It’s a really, really, godawful book though. I fought the urge to throw my Kindle against the wall whenever Ana bit her lip or talked about her inner goddess. Honestly, I’ve read cereal packets that had better characters and plot.

Twilight was a bit creepy with the whole control and stalking thing, but 50 Shades was far worse. It was one of the main reasons (along with the horrendous writing, thin plot and two dimensional characters) that I hated it. A horrible book about a horrible man.

I’d be inclined to forget it, and I’m sure it will soon be one of those terrible fashions everyone takes the piss out of, like shell suits and legwarmers. After all, the more is written about it, the more people might be tempted to pick one up to see what the fuss was about. That’s what I did, and I actually bitterly regretted spending anything on it, as well as the time it took me to plough through it. And I only read the first one.

20 Cristy { 08.21.12 at 5:39 pm }

It’s funny to see this post: you’re reflecting on these books and analyzing an abusive relationship while I’m trying to process all the abuse I lived through as a child. The timing is a bit surreal.

Anyway, I think you bring up some great points on how these books are effectively glamorizing an abusive relationship. Then it got me thinking about why. Why is our society drawn toward ‘bad boys’ who threaten the beat the shit out of women? Maybe it’s because we’re naturally drawn to thrill-seeking. Or maybe it’s because of the power that comes with the mentality of ‘saving’ someone. The problem is, too often, people look for elements of this in partners. And, equally often, we end up having to have those conversations where we tell them ‘they deserve better.’

For me, I sought out partners that treated me poorly because I felt I didn’t deserve any better. That and there was something exciting about the ‘bad boy’ that made me want to change him. To this day, I still don’t know how I found Grey, but I’ve learned by being with him what a healthy relationship is.

At any rate, thank you for calling a spade a spade. The whole passage you posted made me want to scream, because I’ve seen first-hand how situations like that end. And usually they are in the emergency room.

21 Stupid Stork { 08.21.12 at 6:49 pm }

I can’t read these books – red flags instantly go up when someone is inspired to write by twilight (seriously!?) and I don’t understand what’s wrong with just renting a good ole fashion porn. But good on ya’ girl for getting through them.

I actually read the Twilight books and found that relationship horrible – a genuinely awful message for teenage girls. You know, here’s a guy who has little to no personality or boyfriend qualifications other than rich and handsome. People who are trying to actually be your friends are in fact just cute little distractions whilst you await your boyfriend. Should your boyfriend leave or break up with you, you should cease to function as a human being. You can’t do anything yourself – ask boyfriend. You should give up your family, friends, life for him if he asks – oh and get married when you’re a teenager. Yick yick yick. I could go on and on.

22 Kyla { 08.21.12 at 10:43 pm }

I haven’t picked up 50 Shades or even twilight for that matter, purely because I’m so slow to catch up with popular literature that by the time I get around to it I have the chance to read opinions of people who have more than just a hard-on for the next big thing.
So glad you hit publish, glorifying these sorts of relationships has never sat well with me – love isn’t control or domination, love can’t be bought or coerced and it worries me that in glorifying these relationships in popular culture we’re sending a massively wrong message. Love what you would say to your daughter, that’s the kind of message popular books should contain.

23 Mrs Thompson { 08.21.12 at 11:19 pm }

Bravo! I’ve been wondering what the fuss was about. No matter how you package it, crap is still….crap!

Glad you hit publish. Somebody needs to talk to the NY Times…

24 Mali { 08.21.12 at 11:58 pm }

I think this was a fantastic post. And I wish more people would read reviews like yours before they rush off and enrich EL James. I read your original post about it, then some other reviews, and have staunchly decided never to read this, and certainly never to purchase it. Because everything you’ve said about the relationship at the heart of the books puts me off. It makes me wonder about EL James too. What baggage does she bring with her to want to present a relationship this way?

Like some of the others, I was appalled enough at Twilight and what it taught young girls (although I will admit reading all the books). This just sounds ghastly.

Thanks too for your list of features of an abusive relationship. I think I’ll send that list to my nieces who are all reading 50 shades.

25 Jamie { 08.22.12 at 12:49 am }

I’ve been cautiously debating if I will read the 50 Shades series. Thank you for publishing this post about the books. I think you are brave and my gut tells me that your hesitation on deciding to publish seems reflective in how the content of the books relates to difficulties of your past. I hope that in some ways the books have served as a vehicle for you to revisit the issues of your past with some distance that allows you to safely reflect on the emotional abuse that you experienced. It sounds like an opportunity for you to build strength in yourself in being able to recognize the unhealthy relationship in the books and to validate your bottom line in how you want to be treated–lovingly and respectfully.

26 Glitter&Rainbows { 08.22.12 at 2:04 am }

Good post. I haven’t read any of the 50 Shades or Twilight books, and the more I read/hear the better I feel about skipping them.

27 Heather { 08.22.12 at 3:52 am }

I only bought the first book just out of curiosity, and I just could not finish it. I’m glad you’ve given an overview of the series, but I wasn’t going to bother with the rest anyway. It reminded me of mills and boon (that kind of writing), although I hadn’t got to the real kinky bits yet. I’m sad that the books continued in the abusive direction when they had the potential for a lot more, and it does say a lot about our society that the books have been so successful.

28 Marilyn { 08.22.12 at 10:52 am }

It is only a book. Its fiction, it is not real, and anyway, how many woman would really want a man to shower them with money and sex. Really ladies lets get real

29 Bea { 08.22.12 at 11:42 am }

I told Mr Bea you were reading them and he kept asking why. I will tell him he’s officially not to ask.

I haven’t read the books, so you’re not pushing any buttons here (except the one which makes me want to read the Harry Potter series again) but what you say seems to make a lot of sense from a 50-shades-aside perspective. Very good advice to young (and older) women everywhere. I hope someone, somewhere is busy heeding it.


30 serenity { 08.22.12 at 12:38 pm }

Until this moment, I didn’t know that this was a series. I haven’t read them, nor do I plan on reading them.

This is totally random but I love how you’ve posted about a book I haven’t read and made it completely understandable to me. This is the least book-reportish book report I’ve read.

You are an amazing writer, you know that? 🙂


31 myinfertilitywoes { 08.22.12 at 12:44 pm }

I’m also glad you wrote this and gave a synopsis because after I read the first book, which I hated but also couldn’t put down and couldn’t explain why I couldn’t put it down despite it being so poorly written and having a terrible plot and terrible for women to read!. So, I’m glad you wrote this because you have freed ME from reading the other 2 books! 🙂

32 Zoe Alexander { 08.22.12 at 5:07 pm }

Well done on publishing this post! It takes a great deal of courage to speak about abusive relationships and certainly the synopsis was a great way to share your experience with others. Thank you,
Zoe x

33 Trisha { 08.22.12 at 6:59 pm }

Congratulations on your freedom! I applaud you for getting through all 3 books. I could not make it past the 1st because of the poor writing and how horrible the relationship was.

34 cindy { 08.24.12 at 9:09 am }

I didnt even think about how abusive a relationship they actually had…it does put it in perspective…I did however enjoy the books for what they were 🙂

35 S.I.F. { 08.24.12 at 6:29 pm }

Nothing I have heard about these books has been appealing to me (and I LOVED the Twilight series), so I have refused to pick them up on principal. You pretty much just completely affirmed that decision for me. Thanks for being you Mel… and for being so gosh darn smart about everything! 😉

36 Tinks { 09.27.12 at 2:55 pm }

Wow. Really – I read the books and I felt somewhat uneasy about the whole thing but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it why… now I get it. A while back I was in an abusive relationship as well for almost 3 years and while reading the books that did come to mind but not as detailed as you described and you are absolutely right! So many girls will start reading these books and think to themselves – “this is great, this is the kind of guy that I want”, and while Twilight was a bit too cheesy for my taste this is just plain wrong. This is not a healthy relationshiop, just like you said. Its controlling, he’s keeping her from the people she loves and cares about, its scary really. Thank you so much for posting this, I finally get why I didn’t like the book, apart from all the repetition and superficial trys to add some plot to the story!

37 Re { 10.03.12 at 6:40 am }

I found your page by accident. I have just finished the second book, 50 Shadows darker and I was sure I would run to buy the third part. That what happened when I finished the first. I had to keep reading. But while reading 50 Shades darker I tfelt exactly as you did. After 50 Shades of Grey I ended up half in love with Mr. Grey but when I read the second part I felt just as you did- what a bad relationship! He is way too possesive, way too controlling. I was actually feeling sorry for Anna each time a friend wanted to meet her and that seemed terrible. I think the first part, with the Dom-Sub relationship left place for thins kind of behaviour, when they game was on, but it would have left Ana some free time to be normal.
I don’t think I would buy the third part. I don’t really care. as Christian lost his mystry, most of the sexy feeling was gone. For me at least, because it turned to be a bad relationship with really good sex moments… but hey, this is relationship when you are only 5 weeks together. But what they have apart of sex is not so good at all… and I fell out of love of Mr. Grey andhis romance with Ana Steele…
Whay I must say, it put some more action in my love and sex life and made me rememebr that I want to feel sexy again, after some years together and young son and another pregnancy… so that’s not so bad at all 🙂

38 LBEvans { 10.09.12 at 5:52 pm }

YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD. I am relieved that someone else feels the exact same way about these books. I am about 1/3 of the way through Freed, and I just don’t think I have the strength to push through. Especially now that I know there is a pregnancy, more neglect, lies, accusations, and a stupid blackmail on the horizon. While I have some sympathy for Christian, this is clearly an abusive relationship that needs to be terminated with massive amounts of therapy in its wake. THANK YOU – I purposely went looking for spoilers on the internet today. Your blog has convinced me that both my Inner Goddess and Subconscience with the half moon glasses has better things to do.

39 freja { 11.29.12 at 12:47 pm }

I’m really glad that i stumble on your post. To be honest i just finished the 1st one and had no desire to read the others. In my opinion is not very well writen and it’s really hard to feel something for the characters except disgust and it has nothing to dop with the sex part but as you said it’s actually about an abussive behaviour. I’m sorry that you’ve had to deal with that type of “love” but it made you stronger. I can say i couldn’t really feel the book aswell because i never was into bad boys and never took any crap from no one and i prefered to be alone that with someone that doesn’t respects me and it payed off the wait cos now i have the best husband anyone could ask for, well at least for now cos if it’s not working i’m not scared to say bye. What really amazed me was the fact that a lot of women as you said aswell they didn’t see the books for what they are and they don’t make the difference between being kinky and a bit dominating in bed and having the same attitude in daily life. It’s one thing to be more adventurous and explore your sexuality and another thing to abuse mentally someone, i think that can be even worse than physical abuse cos that one can destroy your personality, your individuality and it the end you’re nothing but an image of your partner and that’s sad. Btw, you defo rock, you captured the essence and you were really objective, you go girl!

40 thea { 12.15.12 at 1:33 am }

I read this book mostly out of peer pressure. I was looking for an answer to what happens at the end of the third book so I could have some sort of literacy closure without having to read book 2 and 3 in the series. I’m so glad I got it. Thank you for this post. It’s nice to read something besides praise for a horrible book. I’m going to think of it like a really scary horror movie where you wish you could unsee what you saw. I can’t unread what has been read.

41 robbi { 12.22.12 at 7:32 pm }

You took many of the words right out of my mouth…ohmy, my inner goddess was clapping and turning flips! Seriously, I read the first to see what all the fuss was about. Started reading the second because I was bored, but eventually skipped most of the sex and just skimmed to see what was up with Ms Robinson and the crazy ex. Then I spent about 5 minutes looking here online, mostly because I do not have the energy to invest in the third one but wanted to at least see if jack killed them and if they got married. So…thanks for saving me several hours reading and giving me a good laugh to boot!

42 Kathy { 12.24.12 at 4:18 am }

Finally broke down and read the first book in a day and a half, I just could not put it down. Was it a literary masterpiece? Of coarse not. This is a young girl experiencing sex for the first time, granted it is not your standard love story. I think for me personally, it showed that people are flawed and yes even the ones who are beautiful and rich. I don’t think it glorified abusive relationships, but I only read the first book. If you read a book or see a movie that envokes a negative feeling then you don’t read it or see it again. Relationships that end, usually end badly otherwise they would never end. They are learning experiences for the next until you find the one who challenges and makes you a better you. I am a bit sadden to hear that the series does not make Ana stronger individual and Christian does not tackle his inner deamons and learn how to receive love in a healthy way. I myself was in an abusive relationship when I was young (order of protection, the whole nine yards). My husband was also abused as a child, so I do have some expierience in those areas. Bottom line is…. I made love to my husband after the reading, and told him how important he is to me. I think it depends on where your own issues and frame of mind are when reading this, perhaps because I am now in a loving and healthy relationship. Thank you for hitting send, because anytime a light is shined on abuse is a good thing and your story will help someone I guarantee it, even yourself.

43 Blue { 03.14.13 at 8:18 am }

When I read the first book I was naive about Dom n sub relationship the BDMS stuff and found it a little weird but ya something different.Only the time I finish second book, I was sure this is going insane and was skeptical about the third though was thinking to finish the trilogy but now I am really not interested. I was bearing the character Christian and his acts along with the patience of Ana, i even thought he might change. But after knowing he reacts to Ana for getting pregnant, in the third book, its just an unbelievable nonsense. Thanks for your post.

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