Movie Review : The Book Thief

 

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Based on Australian author Markus Zusak’s bestselling novel of the same name, this tells the story of Liesel (Nélisse), a child sent to live with foster parents during the early years of World War II. When she arrives, she has a book with her and her new father Hans (Rush) encourages her to read. It is through this love of words that Liesel can escape the horrors of her life and foster the writer within.

Her parents Hans and Rosa (Watson) are struggling to earn a living, due in part to their continued reluctance to join the Nazi party. Of course, they appear to toe the line by flying the swastika and letting Liesel join the Hitler Youth but at home it is quite a different story.

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Fifty Shades of Grey

 

Author: EL James

514 pages

Available: Now

Warning: Very Adult Content in parts….read at your own risk.

Anastasia Steele is a naïve and innocent college girl who offers to help out her best friend, Kate, by interviewing mega-industrialist Christian Grey for their student newspaper. Anastasia stumbles, literally, into Christian’s office and is instantly attracted to the very handsome yet intimidating young man. She gasps and blushes and he watches with a slight smile. Christian is attracted to her as well and he pursues her with good deeds and expensive gestures. Grey is dark, secretive and composed in contrast to Ana’s fumbling, childlike innocence. And when I say innocence, I mean it in a very literal sense. Ana is a virgin and has barely been kissed. The scene has been set…..Grey is very, very dark and Ana is very, very innocent. Oh my!

But the course of true love never did run smooth. You see, Mr Grey is a Dominant and wishes Miss Steele to be his submissive. Within a short amount of time, he issues the breathless, swooning Ana with a detailed contract he wishes her to sign. She must agree to be his submissive if she wishes to pursue any kind of relationship with him. Grey has never had a relationship of any other kind and does not wish to do so now. He wants Ana but will not relent. For all her innocence, Ana manages not only to avoid signing the contract but to engage Grey in the previously unknown world of ‘vanilla’ sex. He breaks rule after rule for her.

In between all this chasing and contract negotiating there is sex. Lots and lots of sex. The pair cannot keep their hands off each other. He slowly introduces her to his world of BDSM via some very tame and light bondage. A little bit of spanking and one session in his fully decked out playroom. She introduces him to the world of sleeping the night together and cuddling. Ana is all goodness and light and will save the dark, tortured Christian from himself.

Yes, you are so right. We HAVE seen this all before. And very recently too. Maybe not the specifics but the general premise of this relationship is very, very familiar. 50 Shades of Grey started it’s life as Twilight fan fiction. Crap!

Okay, so here we go…..

There is nothing wrong with this book. It is not a bad book but it is not a good book either. The premise is a very interesting one and, in the hands of another more accomplished and/or knowledgeable writer, it could have been much, much better. I found it engaging, I must admit but that was mostly because it is a very easy read. When I asked friends who liked the book why they liked it, they unanimously agreed that it was because it was an easy to read love story.

That electric feeling between our star crossed lovers is something most of us love. Whether you are happily married, single, newly dating, whatever, we all yearn for that passion. The first days/weeks/months when you will do or say anything just to make your beloved happy. To have someone want us so badly that they put aside their own wishes to accommodate another person. Ahhhhhhhhh yes!

This brings me to the writing. Now, call me a harsh bitch but if you are going to put pen to paper and write an erotic novel….or three… then you had better be comfortable with references a little more specific than down ‘there’. Seriously. This woman is writing about a potential Dom/sub relationship, with a contract stating all types of sexual acts I am sure many people do not usually engage in, but she cannot find a suitable adjective….or three….for her vagina. This entire relationship will require honest and open communication but she fumbles over a few words. Crap!

It also bothers me this whole ‘good girl must save bad boy from his dark demons’ thing. Is it a coincidence his name is Christian and her name is Steele? It probably is, you know. I fear I am delving into depths that simply do not exist.

Why do women think they need to save bad boys? Why is BDSM being demonised? The relationship he proposes is built on trust and consent, he is very clear and particular about that. Safe words are established and he reminds her of them many times. She has, as all subs do, complete power over her situation. She can leave at any time. She chooses to stay. Why can she not just stay and see what happens rather than continually imposing her ideas and ideals onto him. I suppose if she did that, we wouldn’t have a story.

Or would we?

I would love to read this story without the moralising and the whole good triumphs over evil undertones. But I am someone who cut her teeth on Pauline Réage’s The Story of O and The Sleeping Beauty series by A. N. Roquelaure so perhaps my views are a little more left of centre.

But this good girl saving bad boy morality is exactly what has allowed this novel to go mainstream and sell its millions (or whatever) copies. Mommy porn as it has been dubbed. The kinky sex book all the girls can feel okay about reading. Sex shops and the like must be rubbing their hands together as these women order a riding crop and some silky soft ties.

Should you read this book? If you want an easy to read love story with an ever so slight edge to it, then go for it. I can absolutely see the appeal and as it is only $10 a book, why wouldn’t you read it? If you are expecting a real glimpse into the BDSM lifestyle, this book is not for you. I mean, was there ever any doubt? Oh there are some aspects that are spot on, most assuredly, but for the most part, this has been watered down and watered down to feed the masses.

Finally, I would like to see Ana’s subconscious and her inner goddess go outside and beat each other senseless. No safe words just duke it out. The constant references to these inner parts of her psyche were so annoying I wanted to scream. That and her constant holy crap and holy shits. Please *rolling my eyes*

Now I am off to read Fifty Shades Darker because why not? These books are such a pop culture phenomenon that I simply cannot resist. It’s just what I do….