Fifty Shades of Consent

If you ever read a book that falls into the category of adult or erotic fiction, I am quite sure you are fully aware that there are many, many ways a woman can say yes without actually uttering the word. Sometimes she says no, repeatedly, but still manages to have consensual sex. However, once she gets that elusive guy no other non-raped woman was able to tie down, there are no more nuances. Only white, hot light.

If it’s so important to have the element of inability to control oneself, I think that the erotic fiction trend would benefit from implementing the nature of consent as depicted in Beautiful Bastard.

Chloe Mills is unable to say no to Bennett Ryan. Even though she hates him, she is attracted to him and there’s no helping it. Note that she never says no to Bennett. Once, she even orders him to get on his knees. I’m not a fan of multiple POV, but in Beautiful Bastard Bennett’s point of view functions to level the playing field. He is no different than she is, which is something that all writers should strive towards (to please me). He is also unable to say no, even though he knows he probably should, given the fact he is Chloe’s boss.

Sure, there are a few “usual” problems, some of which definitely stem from the fact that Beautiful Bastard originated from fanfiction. The story gets a bit diluted in the last 100 pages or so, I skipped through entire chunks of book because an intercourse per chapter is in my view a bit too much. There was some strained willing suspension of disbelief as the hate they felt for each other turned into something else. I also think that the familial relations should have been additionally elaborated and put to better use. Authors try to introduce multiple characters, but really the world consists of two “real” people. Other characters have limited use: 1) to enable the protagonists to learn something through conversation; 2) to illustrate just how hot, kind, sweet and complex the protagonists are; 3) to serve as a source of conflict between protagonists.

I think most fans of 50 Shades of Grey might be interested that there are multiple similarities between Beautiful Bastard and 50 Shades, only Beautiful Bastard is not lousy. Also The Office (fanfiction on which Beautiful Bastard is based) is said to have inspired 50 Shades and its brethren. If you read adult/erotic fiction, you like 50 Shades, or would maybe like to find something like it but you prefer female characters with a backbone and male characters who are not pricks, Beautiful Bastard is the book for you.