Monday, 29 June 2015

Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Let me be honest; this is the second time I have read 'Fifty Shades of Grey'. I first read it a few years ago when the book originally came out, after a colleague in my regular book club recommended it to us for a laugh. I read it quickly and with some amusement during the exam season, and did not pay it too much heed. 

Since then, I decided to reread the book, after seeing that the movie was being released on DVD and that a new version of the story was being released in the form of the aptly titled 'Grey'. Since reading it the first time, I am now married and have a beautiful little boy. Context of reception is everything when reading a book, because every reader brings their own unique experience and emotional interaction to the story. This time, I have found myself feeling quite different about the story...

The Author & Blurb
'Fifty Shades of Grey' is written by E.L.James, a woman in her 40s who is a TV Executive based in London. James is a wife and a mother to 2 children. Her books have gone on to amount massive success and profits, after 'Fifty Shades of Grey' sales spiraled out of control a few years ago, in 2011. The book and the author herself have been described as liberators of women's sexuality and erotica fiction. 

The blurb reads...
"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.

This book is intended for mature audiences."

My Thoughts

Reading the novel this time I have to admit that it is written with little professional style or quality; a lot of it smacks of teenage writing, the kind of transformation coursework I mark and oversee at A Level, as part of my job. 

However, E.L.James has an ability to elicit sympathy in the protagonists. I wanted to find out what happened to Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, and that lent the story a compelling, page-turning quality. I enjoyed it, and have continued on to book two; Fifty Shades Darker. 

Ana and Christian are two characters who, in some way, shape or form, are battling a desire to be happier but don't feel worthy. I could identify with this on many levels, as I too have often felt I wasn't 'good enough' or I wouldn't be 'good enough' to do something. Women especially, I think, have a tendency to over analyse and to see the many pros and cons down the road, and allow this to eat away at us. In the book, Ana is able to overcome her sense of shame about her own body and learns to basque in Christian's admiration of her. Yes - there are sexual scenes that are explicit in detail and content, but not in a way that I found uncomfortable to read - and often they were page-turning in themselves. 

The story between these two people, and their relationship is what keeps you engaged in the plot - and for me it did just that. 


Is it a grand piece of literature in line with classics such as Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice? No.
Is it enjoyable and a fun read? For me, yes.

I would give 'Fifty Shades of Grey' 3 out of 5 stars.
Weekend Book Club

My Top Ten 'Me Moments'

Having a baby is undoubtedly an amazing experience and a huge achievement, but becoming a mum is hard work! It's tiring of course and you generally don't get much time to yourself. 

As a working mum who is a full time English Teacher in an 11-18 school, those precious moments are even rarer. So, when I do stumble across a bit of 'mummy time' I like to enjoy it reveling in my favourite 'me moments'. Here are my top ten:

  1. Reading a Book - one of my favourite pastimes is reading a good book. The book can be real or kindle versions; hardback or paperback. I don't mind. Just as long as I can read the words on the page and imagine the world taking place inside my own mind. It's quite incredible to think that reading can take you on a thousand journeys - to a million different places and times, with a million different people. Extraordinary. 
  2. Keeping up with Twitter - before motherhood claimed me, I was a prolific twitter user over on my teaching account @ MissBex_M I would endlessly read, research, trial, share and reflect upon classroom practice and I was extremely passionate about it. It was my real strength as a practitioner and it meant that my own performance was never less than Outstanding. I use past-tense here, as since having Jake I haven't found the time to dedicate myself to that pastime of late, but I feel it coming back in waves as Jake gets older and as my new job for September rolls closer.
  3. Listening to Music - I love music. I don't understand people who don't buy music, who don't listen to it, who have no emotional connection to it. Music is one of my favourite hobbies and my collection and taste is eclectic. I don't play or sing myself - I do not have that talent - but I adore the highs and lows, the rumbles and pitches that all different music can bring. Not to mention the powerful memories embedded in the rhythm of a song and how it can transport you back to times and places and people. 
  4. Watching Rom-Coms: I do love me a bit of boy meets girl; girl meets boy; they have some kind of conflict; it's funny, and they fall in love. To name a few... Dirty Dancing, Bridget Jones' Diary, Pride and Prejudice (both versions), Jane Eyre (both versions), Along Came Polly, Sex and the City, The Proposal etc. etc. 
  5. Baby Clothes: Even though I don't have a never-ending supply of funds, I do enjoy looking at all of the different baby clothes online for little JD. Of late I have been coveting some more Panda and the Sparrow items - particularly the leggings and grows, along with the Joules collection. 
  6. A good cuppa' tea: You can't beat an English brew - and I really love a nice cup of Twinings English breakfast tea. There is something so calming and enjoyable to take 5 minutes and have a hot, delicious cup of tea. It is even better twinned with some cake ;-) 
  7. Organising Photo Albums: Every month I use the brilliant FreePrints App to order photographs of Jake and the family. Then, I organise those photos into family albums which I am creating for Jake when he's older. I want Jake to have memories of loved ones and to see how happy we all were that he had arrived in our lives. I've blogged numerous time on this, and you can see my posts herehere and here
  8. Pinterest: OMG exploring Pinterest is one of the best way to just EAT time. I get lost looking at ideas, things to try and the fashion. I have numerous accounts (3 actually - one for work, for pupils to use). 
  9. Catch up on my TV shows: I am a prolific TV watcher - but not as it airs! I like to record shows on the Sky+ box and watch them when I have some quiet time. At the moment I am indulging in a whole range of series (some I am behind on or have now finished), which include House of Cards, Elementary, Scandal, Madam Secretary, Hannibal, Game of Thrones, True Detective, Castle, Bones, The Blacklist, The Mentalist etc. I mainly enjoy American shows now, as I find a lot of the British TV is reality-based, and I'm not a huge fan of that. 
  10. Eat: Yep - it's every fat girl's dilemma, really. I love nice food. I want nice food. I eat nice food. I get fat. I feel guilty and bad that I'm fat. I get a bit upset. I eat nice food.
    I do love the social aspect of eating though; I enjoy going for meals out, and trying different places. But - I like it too much, and I am still on a mission to drop 30lb before I am 30. So far I am only 9lb down... hmmm. 
So there you have it! My top ten 'Me Moments'. I have realised that a) exercise does not appear here, and b) I may be considered incredibly dull to some of you more look-I'm-a-really-cool-and-busy-yummy-mummy's. But in all honesty, after working full time and looking after Jake when not at work - I don't want to do a lot else! 

Hugs xx

Saturday, 20 June 2015

9 Months out!

So, Jake has reached the 9 months old milestone. It feels incredibly overwhelming to think that my little boy is 9 months old; some days I forget he was ever a new born!
Jake has really grown these last few months; he wears 9-12 month clothes comfortably and will not be in them much longer by the looks of things.

We have seen him lenthen; his arms and legs are long; his hands are like dinner plates and his feet seem ginormous.

But size isn't the only thing - we have also seen Jake begin to do his own version of crawling - which involves a myriad of defying stretches and sprawls to snake his way around to the things he wants. Add to this is obsession with being stood up, holding your hands and walking (trying to run) everywhere. Whilst it's amazing and super cute - it is also majorly tiring and gives you chronic back ache! It is exciting though to think that he might be walking by himself soon.

9 months has also brought us his 3rd and 4th words. Jake can now say 'Dad', 'Mum', 'Nan' and 'Uh-Oh' which is reeeally cute :)

Happy 9 months Jake!