Amanda’s Note: I did not want to do this. I am going to be upfront. My Anabel here goaded me into it, and so, here she and I are, talking 50 Shades of Grey. God help us all. Side note: This post contains some spoilers, so if you haven’t read Anabel Divided, consider yourself warned.

Amanda: You ready, baby doll?

Anabel: Oh. My. Stars. Yes.

Amanda: Okay. So, you read the book, right?

Anabel: ::snorts:: I know you did. How’s your baby?

Amanda: He’s great. Shut up.

Anabel: The reason I wanted to talk 50 Shades with you is because I am getting more and more frustrated with people complaining about the book.

Amanda: Because they didn’t read it and we did?

Anabel: YES. How dare they complain about something that they haven’t read, when you and I suffered through it?

Amanda: This brings up an excellent point. So many people have complained about the poor writing quality in 50 Shades of Grey; yet it seems like everyone and their mother has read it. So why do you think so many of us persevered, even though we had to suffer through descriptions of Anastasia’s horny inner goddess doing the splits–

Anabel: And don’t even get me started on the use of “double crap.”

Amanda: I hear you. But answer the question.

Anabel: I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it is an easy read. I mean, yes, the dialogue is terrible, stilted, and unbelievable, but it’s one of those total train wrecks where you can’t stop reading.

Amanda: Like Twilight?

Anabel: Yes. Wanna go there?

Amanda: You know it. My biggest problem with the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy is the outright glamorization of emotional and verbal abuse. I think actually all of the people who are getting morally outraged over the sex and the references to the BDSM lifestyle who HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK need to cool their jets. You know what 50 Shades of Grey is? It’s a look at the consequences of statutory rape and abuse, and a study of how the cycle of abuse is pervasive. Christian was beaten as a little boy. He was seduced by an older woman as a teenager. He may not beat Ana out of the playroom, but he is abusive to her in other ways. He is manipulative. He is controlling. And somehow, people think this is sexy because “he is just showing he cares about her.” GARBAGE. And the worst part is, this stuff is Twilight fanfic for a reason. Edward was the same exact way with Bella. He controlled and manipulated her, too.

Anabel: ::cringes:: I thought we had agreed to never speak of the summer we read that series again.

Amanda: But you understand what I am saying. And you know why I am bringing this up.

Anabel: Because of my own history of being emotionally abused by Jonathan? That’s where you’re going. Twist the knife, Amanda.

Amanda: I’m sorry.

Anabel: It’s fine. But yes. My father abused me. Never physically. But I had a hard time reading 50 Shades because when Christian would fly into a rage against Ana, it reminded me of Jonathan. How he controlled who I interacted with. What I wore. He even accused me of seducing Jared, even when that was the furthest thing from what happened.

Amanda: How would you say that impacted your relationships, past and present?

Anabel: ::becomes guarded:: That’s usually something I discuss with my therapist.

Amanda: Anabel…

Anabel: One of the reasons I walked away from Matt–before we got back together–is the accusations he made to me reminded me of how Jonathan used to treat me. I realized then our relationship was unhealthy and so I chose at that moment to walk away.

Amanda: Would you consider the way he treated you abusive?

Anabel: In some respects. He understand how I feel now, and has learned what I will not tolerate from him. And I will not tolerate being made to feel bad when I have done nothing wrong. Again, I walked away from the relationship.

Amanda: But you took him back.

Anabel: Because he has changed. I have not felt that way since we reunited.

Amanda: I am glad to hear it.

Anabel: If I was made to feel that way again, though, I can promise you that I would leave.

Amanda: Cycles of abuse are hard to break. Are you sure? You’re also pregnant.

Anabel: Yeah, thanks a lot for that plot point. But I don’t think that would change my mind. I don’t deserve to be made to feel like I am less than I am.

Amanda: No one does.