Nia Forrester's Reviews > Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever

Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever by L.V. Lewis
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it was amazing
bookshelves: erotica, quirky, romance

Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever is not at all what you might think.

For starters, I should say that I have a love-hate relationship with the Fifty Shades trilogy by E.L. James. I think the writing wasn't . . . well, whatever, but let's just say I wasn't impressed by her craftsmanship. But (and this is a BIG but) she had something that many writers who are great craftspeople don't have - she had a definite ear for what resonates emotionally. Despite my eye-rolling over some of her word choices, I had genuine emotional shifts while reading the story she crafted. But this is not about E.L. James. This is about L.V. Lewis (see what she did there? even her pen name is a play on the prior series - nice), a writer who has both emotional and verbal eloquence. And to top that all off, wit as well. Not just the ability to interject funny one-liners, but true intelligent wit that comes through loud and clear in her writing.

So if I had to say what I most enjoyed about this book, it would be that. She also paired an unlikely hero and heroine in virtually unbelievable circumstances and gave them such strong voices that you could see them and believe that they do in fact exist, or that they could.

No one is more surprised than I am that I loved this book. I hate - yes hate - the term "jungle fever" to refer to interracial relationships. (And I could go on forever about why, but I won't.) And the only time I use the word "ghetto" is to refer to places not people. And come to think of it, not even then. So I was a little biased from the outset. But as has been the case with almost all my biases, I was proven wrong. The title is parody wrapped up in irony cloaked in social commentary with a healthy dollop of humor. So that takes care of the title. So don't be afraid of it because of that . . . now about the plot.

I know, I know. The innocent-and-the-billionaire has been done to death. First up, Keisha is no innocent. She is a smart-mouth, streetwise, intelligent and driven woman who is not about to be led down anyone's primrose path. But having said that, she has the wind knocked out of her by the force of her attraction to Tristan White (hah! the choice of surname, again demonstrating the author's humor)and embarks on an unconventional relationship, being indoctrinated into the exciting and pleasurable world of BDSM. And, as was the case in that other Fifty Shades series, she is as surprised as anyone that she loves "all that kinky shit".

L.V. Lewis walks us through her internal monologue and has Keisha thinking things that you could totally imagine you might think if presented with an extremely attractive new lover who just happens to want to tie you up and "punish" you a little bit. The exchanges between Tristan and Keisha were humorous, sexy, clever and oh-so-true-to-life, considering the utter unlikelihood of the situation. And I don't mind telling you that the sex scenes increased my pulse, I mean, considerably. And hey, I write sex scenes, so I know how clinical the writing of it can be, but the reading of these . . . let's just say, not clinical. At all.

Having read the other Fifty Shades series, I know what is likely to happen between Keisha and Tristan, but already it's clear that L.V. Lewis is an artist in her own right, not someone doing a cheap knock-off, because the places where she chose to depart from the other series (not just the obvious - like the interracial relationship, girl-from-the-'hood aspect) were smart choices. So now I'm curious to see in the remaining parts of the quadrilogy where she goes. My only complaint is that there will be three remaining parts (I hate series) but who the heck am I kidding? I'm going to buy them all.
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Reading Progress

January 12, 2013 – Started Reading
January 12, 2013 – Shelved
January 15, 2013 – Finished Reading
January 17, 2013 – Shelved as: erotica
January 17, 2013 – Shelved as: romance
January 17, 2013 – Shelved as: quirky

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)

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Lillian Mackenzie I loved this review. I must admit, the title almost prevented me from reading and the fact that I'm so against the Fifty Shades series (I'm such a non-conformist...lol). But with me being an African American female, this version gave me a more emotional pull than the original series could have done. I've learned that with e-books I can't judge a book by its cover or title; I just have to close my eyes, hold my nose and slowly descend in WITH CAUTION. Great review Nia.


message 2: by Nia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nia Forrester Levon wrote: "I loved this review. I must admit, the title almost prevented me from reading and the fact that I'm so against the Fifty Shades series (I'm such a non-conformist...lol). But with me being an Africa..."

Thanks Levon. I held out for a long time on the whole Fifty Shades phenomenon, and for the same reasons as you. But that urge was at war with my desire to know EVERYTHING that's happening in popular culture and what was more interesting than the Fifty Shades books was figuring out why women found it so appealing . . . the whole notion of surrender, and submitting . . . it's intriguing.


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears I could go on and on about everything that was wrong about 50 Shades, but suffice it to say, the idea of any female character being touted as a "heroine" but who seemed forever stuck on stupid is just not enticing to me as a reader. And there's nothing "sexy" about a hero who stalks and abuses the heroine and calls it "love". I barely made it through the first chapter of FSoG and nearly threw my Nook against the wall. Outside of the plagarism aspect, it boggles my mind how this book even got published. There are way better BDSM-themed books out there, including Briget Midway's Love My Way and Woman in Chains which are fantastic in my opinion and the heroines are strong, savvy and there's no "ghetto" aspect involved. It's my own mantra, but unless we're talking Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, anything literary or related to Jewish history, I really don't want the word "ghetto" anywhere in a title or a book.


message 4: by Nia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nia Forrester TheFountainPenDiva wrote: "I could go on and on about everything that was wrong about 50 Shades, but suffice it to say, the idea of any female character being touted as a "heroine" but who seemed forever stuck on stupid is j..."

Understood. But a big part of the FSoG fascination for me was wondering why there was this fascination given the elements you mention. Thoughts?


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears Honestly I don't see the attraction, but I know the damsel in distress and/or the sexy billionaire are tropes that are extremely popular. My guess is the fantasy of the "untamable" man being tamed by the gentle touch of a woman *shrugs shoulders*.


message 6: by Nia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nia Forrester TheFountainPenDiva wrote: "Honestly I don't see the attraction, but I know the damsel in distress and/or the sexy billionaire are tropes that are extremely popular. My guess is the fantasy of the "untamable" man being tamed ..."

I thought maybe it was post-feminist longing for the Alpha male archetype. Or maybe just a bunch of horny broads. :-)


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears LOL. Bored housewives who live with a real life version of Al Bundy???


message 8: by Nia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nia Forrester TheFountainPenDiva wrote: "LOL. Bored housewives who live with a real life version of Al Bundy???"

Exactly!


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