Oh, lord, 50 Shades. I have so many mixed feelings about this book. (Not about the quality, however. Never about the quality.) On the one hand: ye gods, it is a terrible, awful book that puts forth the same gender stereotypes and romanticized abuse as Twilight, James just takes the erotic undertones of Meyer and makes them explicit. It makes me twitch.
On the other hand, just like so much of the criticism of Twilight centers around icky girls daring to like icky girl things, much of the criticism of 50 Shades centers around icky women daring to like icky women things. (Plus a general "ewww, kink" reaction, which--um, if your objection is that Ana and Christian have a fundamentally abusive relationship, that's 'cause they do, and would even if they were vanilla enough to make an ice cream cone blush. Bedroom dynamics and accessories have nothing to do with it.)
Armintrout's review of 50 Shades has me howling with laughter because she appears to have grown a penis solely to accommodate the hate-boner she has for this book, and yet she can't look away. And that's sort of Meyer and James in a nutshell. Armintrout does a wonderful job of going chapter-by-chapter and discussing why Christian is an abuser, though, and she does it without once heading into a kink-shaming place. It also doesn't hurt that she's screamingly funny.
(I have womanfully resisted doing any Twilight reviews on this blog even though I read all of the damned things, because it seemed like a bit of piling-on. But when The Host comes out in theaters, I will probably not be able to stop myself. That book was--it was like looking into Meyer's psyche on so many levels, and it was horrifying. I screamed at the book as if Meyer could hear me through it. More than once. In public places.)