Book Review: Pulling back the Shades

I will start this off by saying I was naive. I am familiar with the popular series 50 Shades but I did not know what it contained. I really didn't have a desire to read it although a good friend and sister in laws have read it and raved about it. But they are also Twilight fans and I am not, so I overlooked the suggestion.

I say I was naive because I read books that are in the genre of romance. I love a good love story, but some of them had explicit content in them. A lot of argument and controversy centers around the 50 Shades series and books with explicit content known as "soft porn" or "mommy porn". The trouble with this is addressed in this book and opened my eyes to the harm of it not just for me, but for Christian wives.

Dr Juli Slattery (co-author) is a clinical psychologist and co-founder of a ministry focusing on intimacy for women. Dannah Gresh teamed up to write this book to expose the dangers of erotica and the phenomenon of what 50 Shades has become. What I was shocked to learn is Christian women and even teens are reading it. It may not be fair to base my opinion of this book on theirs but it gave me enough information to form my own. It doesn't feel like something I want to expose myself to.

They list reasons why women read books of this type. They (when I say them or they I am referring to the authors) talk of the contradiction of women's independence and feminism, yet this book is "spreading like wildfire" (20). A book about bondage! "No longer is it considered romantic or chivalrous for a man to open a door for his date or even to ask a woman out in the first place. Men have to be told "step aside-we can take care of ourselves!" (20). Yet, a series surrounded by bondage, submission, and torture for pleasure is a best selling book. I was appalled to find some of the things that was in this series like "red room of pain", BDSM (bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism) are used. I have to admit that my naivety showed through because I did not know what BDSM was and this book answered that. I came to the conclusion I am not the type of person that would want physical pain and torture to achieve pleasure or gratification. I find it disgusting and degrading to what God has made "making love" to be. It pains me to know women are turning to this for whatever reason. Yes it is fiction and maybe read for fun, an escape from reality. I will admit that is why I love to read. I get lost in a book and escape. The harmful part of erotica and books like 50 Shades is it leaves a dissatisfied look at your marriage or love life. The authors tackle reasons why the books are read and other harmful reasons not to. Juli and Dannah state that "we have met with women who started reading erotica to awaken their sex lives with their husbands but it actually caused them to be less satisfied in their marriage bed than ever" (30)." 

The author of 50 Shades has even gone as far as stating in an interview "what I wanted to demonstrate is that I do not look at the world in terms of black and white...I think it's shades of grey (32). She wanted to test the boundaries of morality. That my dear readers, is scary for Christians.  Christians are reading this series and getting sucked in and blurring lines. God believes in black and white; his instruction manual is the bible for us. You want a good love story and a guide to romance? Read Song of Solomon (maybe I will do a bible study of it and blog about it? What you think?)

I think the authors said it best with this quote: "God designed sex as a powerful symbol and celebration of covenant love. It is a physical and emotional expression of the deepest commitment two people can make to each other. But sex is more than that. It represents the ultimate covenant love: God's love for his people (44).

Bottom line of this review...this book was an amazing eye opener to a very controversial topic. I had no intentions of reading the series and I definitely won't. I also will be a lot more careful of my romance/love story novel choices. I applaud the authors for tackling this and hope more Christian women will read this book instead. 5 stars.


  1. Count me in! I've got to read this book! I was a little aware of the dangers of 50 Shades but not THAT aware...Wonderful review Cherish! Definitely effective!


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