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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

From Book to Movie: Fifty Shades of Grey

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Let's just say, I was not going to write this post. I wasn't. However, I have been a little curious about people's thoughts on the film. So I figured, might as well share mine.

The Book

What a piece of crap. I first read Fifty Shades of Grey, by EL James back in 2012 at the peak of it's hype. Everyone woman in the office I was working at was reading it, and I wanted in on the craze. I don't think I have read such a terrible book in my life. If you've read the book, than you know. The writing is embarrassingly bad: From the dialogue all the way to the sentence structures and descriptions. I don't know what publishers were thinking printing this book- but, they must have been onto something, because Fifty Shades of Grey has gone on to sell something like 100 million copies or something stupid like that. Why though? I am certain there was and has been better erotic fiction written.

I guess I can sort of see the appeal. Regular boring girl, wins the attention of young billionaire bachelor. He's rich, he's hot, and he wants her so badly he can't seem to stay away. It's every girls fantasy, (have I mentioned yet,  James initially wrote this as a Twilight fan fiction... *le sigh*). What's funny about this book though, readers everywhere knew it was bad, gross bad. But like any disturbing thing, you can't help but stare, an share it with your friends (I know I certainly encouraged a couple ladies to read it- "guys, you have to read this, it's so bad, just read it.")

I attempted to reread Fifty Shades of Grey in November in anticipation of the film, but I couldn't do it. The writing was bad, the relationship was messed up, the dialogue was EYE ROLL inducing. I just could not. I have since skimmed it. I also have only read the first two books in the trilogy, I couldn't force myself to read the third. I don't think I ever will.

Anywho, let's get onto what we're really here for...

The Movie

When I first heard that Fifty Shades of Grey was going to be a movie, my first reaction was: Whaaaaa?!?! How on earth was this even a possibility. Fifty Shades of Grey, and erotic novel, how?Even now,  I find myself shaking my head thinking, I can't believe they made a movie, I can't believe it.

I went into this movie with low expectations. Very low expectations. The trailers hadn't blown me away. Nor has the cast really (even though, I am a HUGE Jamie Dornan fan, I thought Christian Grey was beneath him).  But I knew I was going to see the film- what can I say, I love the movies.  So, I went. On a Monday afternoon, with a girlfriend.

Really, the movie is kind of dumb. But I loved it. It was the perfect combo of corny and eye rolling. It was a grown up Twilight (and I loved Twilight).  Much like Twilight, the movie took away most of what made the book unbearable. Such as, The ridiculous dialogue (although there was still plenty of it), and the millions of ridiculous emails the two send to one another were also missing. In it's place, there was spunk and humour. Where somethings in the book were down right pathetic, the movie kind of made a joke out of them. I really appreciated that. I felt like I was part of one big inside joke.

I am not saying that the whole film was one big satire. It was not. The movie gets pretty nitty gritty. So, yeah, let's talk about the sexy times. They were sexy. I'd even go as far to say they were tasteful. This movie is not a pornography, I wouldn't even go as far as to say it's soft core porn, it's not graphic or smutty. There are less then five sex scenes in the movie, Dakota Johnson goes fully nude in the film, but not in a exhibitionist kind of way. She's just naked. I was initially a little shocked by what I was seeing, but then I thought, Sara, you've seen both True Blood and Game of Thrones, both Television shows are more sexually explicit than this. And it's the truth.

And finally, our Christian and Ana.

 Let's just say, Dakota Johnson completely stole the show! She was absolutely brilliant. She was so charming, and really brought Ana to life. And made her likeable. I don't know about you, but book Ana was awful. Whiny and annoying. Not movie Ana.  Dakota says something in the March issue of Glamour magazine, she says she doesn't see Ana as being weak, she believes her to be stronger than Christian is. I don't believe that to be true about book Ana, Movie Ana-Dakota's Ana, I would agree. I am completely smitten by Dakota Johnson. Jamie Dornan, I love him. I think he's so handsome, and a brilliant actor- if you haven't seen him in The Fall, you need to, he will creep you right out. I wasn't thrilled with him being cast as Christian Grey- like I mentioned earlier, he could do so much better. I couldn't picture it- I couldn't picture anyone being Christian Grey. I don't know if he did a spectacular job, but I thought it was believable. And he was hot.

I am sure there are 10 million other things I could talk about, in regards to this film. The chemistry between Dakota and Jamie (I thought it was fine), does it promote/support rape culture (absolutely not), is it an abusive relationship (perhaps, it's definitely unbalanced and dysfunctional). But I don't think that I need to. It was a fun film to watch with a friend, where we could giggle like we were back in high school. I certainly hope the sequels get the green light- that ending.

Ps- The soundtrack is spectacular! I am obsessed with the song Earned It by The Weekend. So good.

What about you guys? Have you seen the movie? What were your thoughts? I'm curious, so let me know.

~Happy Reading Everyone!

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

My Thoughts: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah's story to tell. The later years are Jude's. What the twins don't realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

I have so many different feelings when it comes to Jandy Nelson's, I'll Give You the Sun. I had heard so many good things about this one, I don't think I'd seen a single negative review. So, I was pretty excited to get to it. However,  I'll Give You the Sun, took me FOREVER to read. I want to say the whole month of January. This is a long time for me. Why though? Why did it take me so long to get through? Let's see...

I'll Give You the Sun is the story of twins,  Jude and Noah, a brother and a sister, with little in common, but still, are bound to one another by some magical unseen force. Both Jude and Noah narrate this story. It is their story to tell- no more Jude's than Noah's.  While Jude tells the present day story, Noah reveals it's past. This aspect of the novel, ended up working in it's favour, The two different narrators really took me a bit to get comfortable with. I normally really enjoy the back and forth of a story- I really like flashbacks (If I Stay, Jellicoe Road), I like when there are two stories being told at the same time, and seeing where they connect.

In the case of I'll Give You the Sun. The back and forth drove me crazy. I think because I was getting bits and pieces of the same story. And I was never certain what was going on. When I finally got a handle on the way the story was being told, I found myself enjoying what Nelson was offering way more. I was maybe half way through the story, when I finally found the rhythm. It really was the first half of the novel that took me the longest to read. Because after that first hurtle I flew.

I'll Give You the Sun, was a beautifully written novel, about misunderstandings and missed opportunities. Jandy Nelson is an author that everyone needs to experience. I felt so much while reading this book. It was nothing less than magical. I don't know how else to say it. The way Noah experienced life was beautiful, and completely inspiring. His relationship with art is like nothing I have ever read about. I am in wonder now just thinking about it.  Jude was a harder character to unravel, but you do, and she's amazing in her own way. Jude has done some pretty hurtful things, and in her story she's punishing herself for it all, or searching for redemption?  One of my favourite things about I'll Give You the Sun is Jude's relationship with her mentor, sculptor Guillermo. It's so special and perfect.

Both protagonists have their little romances, and they are wonderful in the same way that this whole book is wonderful. But really, I'll Give You The Sun, is about how people relate to one another. How Jude and Noah relate to each other and both stages of their life. They've lost one another and are trying to figure out where to go from there.

Overall, I absolutely loved this book. It's beautifully written and is nothing short of magical. It does have a slower start, and it does take some perseverance. But it's completely worth it. This book is a must read.

~Happy Reading Everyone

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Monthly Recap- January

These post may be more for me than any of you. But here I go anyways. I really enjoy(ed) keeping track of what I'd read in a month this way. So I bring back to you the Monthly Recap.

I read only six books in January. Which actually, is pretty standard for me. I'd like to push that to seven for February, we'll see. Anywho, here they are.

1) The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley- Had to read this one for Book Club. I didn't like it. I found it incredibly boring and poorly written. The theme of the novel would suggest that it would be an incredibly moving novel, with a ton of emotion and would be the cause of a number of tears. That is not what I got. I felt nothing. Oh well.

While I was reading The Promise of Stardust, I was also listening to....

2) Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling- This book was brilliant! I started watching The Mindy Project last summer (maybe even later) and I fell in love. SO naturally, I wanted to read her book. But seeing as Mindy herself narrates it, I thought it'd be pretty fantastic to experience it that way. I was right. I loved the way Mindy told her stories. She had me cracking up all over the place. It was a lot of fun to listen to.

After weeks and weeks I finally finished...

3) I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson- I don't want to say to much about how I felt reading this book. Because - wait for it - I think I'm going to write a review. But I have mixed feelings on this one. Stay tuned.

Then I moved onto....

4) Take Me On by Katie McGarry- I don't think I have every been so disappointed in a book ever. I am a huge fan of McGarry. But Take Me On was weak. I found that there was absolutely no depth to the story and I couldn't connect with the characters or their situation at all. I was sad. I am hoping this one was a fluke bust on my part, and her future books will be better for me.

After, I quickly read...

5) The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen- What an absolutely lovely little novel. I loved this book. It was so endearing and just a feel good book. I loved it. I am eager to read more by this author. (This is another Carrie recommends, and she never steers me wrong).

I ended the month with...

Fixed On You by Laureline Paige- Why did I read this?!? I don't know. It was so STOOPID! I have thoughts on these types of books and the way the female protagonists are portrayed. Maybe, someday, I'll get around to writing about them.

Overall, it wasn't a bad month. I have a plan for February's reading. I have three series I am hoping to finish. I just have the last books to read. SO keep your fingers crossed that I get to them.

Here's to hoping you'll be seeing more of me, but I make no promises.

~Happy Reading Everyone!
"So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall."
— Roald Dahl