Tagged: 50 Shades of Grey

REVIEW: The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice

The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty

I post on a women’s forum that runs very much to the mainstream. The posters tend to be married with children or heading that way. When a poster went “undercover” to post about her secret life as a submissive, it caused a bit of a sensation. She has a “taken in hand” marriage, which means her husband calls ALL the shots. They discuss things, but he has the final say. Period. And that might mean deciding what car to buy, where to live, or it might mean whether they have sex tonight.

It doesn’t much concern me what consenting adults do in their homes. However, the definition of consent in this scenario makes me nervous. The poster said that she gave her husband “blanket consent” for sex, whenever, where ever, and however he wants. But is consent still consent when it’s given in advance? How do you get out of this agreement if you want – isn’t it sort of, too bad, you gave your consent, so now what I say goes? To me, consent is rooted in the present tense. I can consent to sex now, but I can’t give consent for sex that’s going to happen tomorrow. Anyway, Drama Ensued. There were even accusations that this poster couldn’t be for real, but, a quick search of the internets tells me that “taken in hand” is a thing.

As I read The Claiming of Sleeping BeautyI thought about consent quite a bit. Sleeping Beauty was my first erotic novel. I admit to reading the odd, shall we say, flash fiction erotica, but it’s not a genre I ever considered for a literary experience. I chose Sleeping Beauty because it has a reputation as a literary Fifty Shades (I know, I know).

I knew that the story was based on Sleeping Beauty fairy tale, and that it would have a BDSM element, but I was not expecting so much cruelty and so little tenderness. I don’t have a problem with BDSM, and I understand this is fiction; however, when presented with non-consentual, penetrative sex with a minor, or if you wanna get real, a child being raped, on PAGE TWO I was taken aback. Context: “Beauty” is fifteen and unconscious.

He mounted her, parting her legs, giving the white inner flesh of her thighs a soft, deep pinch, and, clasping her right breast in his left hand, he thrust his sex into her. Continue reading

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More Snobbery

I came across this article satirizing book clubs on Jezebel. The article had me chuckling, but the comments are even better, and are in the same vein as my “Book Snob” post the other day. Hunger Games, Twilight, Fifty Shades; it’s all there. And Franzen, who I seem to talk about a lot, judging by my “most used tags.”

My feelings are summed up by an article title, referenced in the comments: “Can 35 Million Book Buyers Be Wrong? Yes.” It’s a review of Harry Potter by Harold Bloom, full text here. A great moment in book snobbery!

I had better finish The Idiot if I want to have any book snob cred. I ordered a Kobo reading light which should help that cause considerably. In the meantime, I added the full list of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (see “The List” tab up top), with the ones I’ve read crossed off, for your perusal. I love crossing items off lists, so pressing Alt-Shift-D one hundred times (to format the strike-throughs) was quite enjoyable!

Don’t Wanna Be A 19th Century Russian Idiot

The Idiot is #861 on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.

First things first. I know that I never post regularly, but this time I have an excuse. An adorable excuse!

Baby Henry

Henry Keith Frey, born February 15th 2012.

With my first son, I didn’t read one word (other than baby books, which, yuck, that’s a whole other post) from about eight months pregnant to six months post partum. I also suffered from a severe case of mom brain. I used to think the whole baby brain/mom brain concept was sexist, but having experienced it, I can say that it’s true – pregnancy and child birth makes you dumber. That’s why I was so determined to reach 100 books, and to make #100 a doozy, before baby #2. I was afraid that this time, it would be worse. I might never read from the list again. I might have to start reading chick lit. Or The Hunger Games. Or 50 Shades of Grey. *shudder*

After triumphing over The Magic Mountain, I put the list aside, and ended up reading some great books (Half Blood Blues, Slammerkin, The Lover’s Dictionary) and some so-so books (The Virgin Cure, The Happiness Hypothesis, Juliet Naked, The Help). (Psst: Hover over titles for mini-reviews.) All this while in the end stages of pregnancy or with a very demanding newborn. And all thanks to TECHNOLOGY!

Henry and The Idiot

Not a great shot, but I will not risk him waking up to take another. That’s “The Idiot” on my Kobo. Trust me.

And I don’t even like my Kobo. The buttons are clunky, it’s slow to load, it’s a base model with no wireless and no touchscreen, and the free books don’t work. It doesn’t have the look and feel and smell of a real book. It makes Jonathan Frazen cranky. BUT I CAN READ WITH ONE HAND. And that has made all the difference in the world.

FYI, if you use Spark Notes, be prepared for spoilers. Yes, it’s still a spoiler even if it was written 150 years ago!

There is NO WAY I would be reading a heavy, thick book like Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot in traditional form. The only time I get “to myself” is while nursing (if you classify having another human being attached to you as time to yourself) and now I can read!

Until I started The Idiot, I was pretty smug about the mom brain thing – not this time, reading will keep my mind sharp. But the Russian names and complex plotting and character development are throwing me a bit. I’m having a hard time keeping the characters and their motivations straight. So now, I’ve got my Kobo in one hand, and SparkNotes on my phone so I can refer to the character list and read plot summaries. I’m not proud that I need this much help, but, I’m working on the list… on very limited sleep… and feeling pretty good about it.

I need to finish before I can fully comment, but, I’m finding similar themes as in The Magic Mountain – a naive young man meets and unconventional woman; corruption through drinking and disease; you know, light stuff. But more important that the ins and outs of this book – I won’t be an “idiot” on this maternity leave. I’m excited to get through even more great books in between Curious George and Little Critter’s adventures.

“A fool with a heart and no sense is just as unhappy as a fool with sense and no heart.”