I've been married for 36 years and raised two daughters, so I am somewhat familiar with most things female.
So, when Patch editor Lance Howland asked me to read E. L. James' "Fifty Shades of Grey" and provide a male perspective, I figured I was up to the challenge.
The request was prompted by a Patch story late last week that revealed the Contra Costa library system has a waiting list of more than 900 people for its 88 copies of the best-selling book.
I thought I'd take my time reading the controversial novel and present my review in a series of blogs.
My wife has warned me. She read about half the book and gave up.
So far, I have traveled through the first 80 pages, which means I haven't gotten to the sex scenes yet.
My overall thought is the plot is intriguing. You've got a vulnerable and likable lead character in Anastasia Steele. You've also got an interesting, powerful and ominously troubling antagonist in Christian Grey.
Through the first 80 pages, you are well aware Grey is capable of some destructive and evil things, although you aren't quite sure what they are or how bad they will be.
It reminds a little of the movie, "A Clockwork Orange," where you are frightened by Malcolm McDowell's character but continue to watch nonetheless.
I enjoy a good plot whether it's on the silver screen or on the pages of a book. I don't mind disturbing content if it fits with the story. We'll see how I feel on page 200 or 300 of this book.
James' writing abilities have been panned by critics and readers alike. The writing so far isn't John Steinbeck or even John Grisham. But it's not horrible. It's readable.
There are a number of phrases that are quite repetitive. If Anastasia says "Oh my" one more time I might vomit as much as her character did outside the bar. If she "murmurs" one more time, I might shout at the top of my lungs or throw the book against the wall.
But so far, so good.
I move forward with trepidation. My wife did warn me and after 36 years I have learned that Mary is usually right.