Fifty Shades of What? An unconventional book review

Spoiler Alert: There may be comments in this review that you would prefer not to see if you plan to read the books.

50ShadesofGreyCoverArtOk, first no judgments please! I was coerced into reading Fifty Shades of Grey. Yes, forced! My neighbor offered me the book and I declined. Then I found it on my porch. This happened last summer. Then she asked me several times if I had read it yet. After six months I decided to peruse it so I could return it and let her know if I liked or disliked it.

My neighbor loved it. She loved the whole trilogy. She is older than I am. My thought was holy cow what’s in this book!

It’s an easy read especially if you are older. That is because you breeze through the sex parts. If you are young you may want to read them twice. It’s the same old plot. Girl meets guy who is perfect in every way except one and she struggles with whether she can change him. Guy meets girl who he thinks will fill his sexual fantasies period. Not all that unusual (except for the fantasies part).

The writing is terrible. The phrases are redundant and repetitious. I read a few reviews and some writers did word counts which are hilarious.

The heroine if you can call her that is either dumb or naïve or a combination of both. Ana is a 21-year-old virgin (yeah, really hard to believe) just graduating from college. Christian Grey is drop dead gorgeous (of course) and obscenely rich. It’s almost like reading a Danielle Steel  book (with a little extra kink and worse writing) where everyone is perfect except for that one thing.

Ana’s vocabulary is limited although she is supposed to be very bright. Her favorite words which you find on every page include “crap,” “down there” (do I have to explain that one to you?), “inner goddess” (which is located down there) and “oh my.” She blushes at least once on every page even when there is no sex going on. She chews on her lower lip constantly which causes Christian to want to “boink” her on the spot (wonder what her dentist thinks of all those lip sores?). There are many (ad nauseam) “sharp intakes of breath.” I also was astounded at how accomplished she was at sex for being a virgin.

I only read the first book. There really wasn’t an end and I think that was purposeful. No closure will get you to read the second and so on.

Having had enough of the poor writing, I decide to Google the title with spoiler. That gave me reviews that are a synopsis of the other two books. They look like more of the same with some progress. They get married, have children, deal with bullies and past partners but there isn’t an ending or resolution. Does she ever change him? Does he really love her? Why are they the way they are? Can they keep their hands of each other’s junk?

It’s not the Kama Sutra but I must say that I did learn some things. Thank God for Mr. Google. I had no idea what a butt plug is but you can buy them on Amazon. I know what vanilla sex is and safe words.

Hidden under the banality of the novel were glimpses of a classic “abuse mentality” that I didn’t like. It seemed to me that Ana took responsibility every time Christian became angry or unhappy. That made me uncomfortable especially since he often threatened to spank or beat her in some way. Others have said that they felt differently since it was two consenting adults and the violence was just active foreplay. Ouch!

I am not a prude but this was not my cup of tea for more reasons than the sex. However, the writer is a genius. She found a way to sell three poorly written books with the probability of more in the making. Cha-ching, cha-ching! Why didn’t I think of that!

(Note: There is no judgement on anyone who enjoys this stuff either.)

Art credit: Image is the book cover courtesy of Wikipedia. That tie is used to tie up Ana for some of the sex scenes!

30 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of What? An unconventional book review

  1. I read all 3. Mostly in fascination because I couldn’t believe how badly-written they are, but how successful they are. More copies published than the bible. I liked the emails between them. They were much better written than the books. I wonder if she had someone else write them. My only other observation is, a social anthropologist could have a field day with them. She took a subject that really is probably the last taboo and, because she made the guy a gorgeous billionaire and the girl a smart and beautiful virgin, she brought it into the mainstream and made it acceptable dinner party conversation. And God knows how much rope and how many sets of handcuffs she’s single handedly sold.’


    • I had wanted to talk about the emails in my post but forgot. You are right. They are the only thing that is well written. They were the one thing I routinely read and enjoyed. I was more fascinated with the neck tie than ropes. How erotic is it to see someone wear a necktie that was used to tie you up?


  2. I read all three of them. NOT because I liked them. Because everyone on WordPress was trashing them and I wanted to be part of the jokes! The books were so bad. So bad. I fell asleep during the sex scenes at one point.
    But yeah, I admire the author. Even if she came up with the most terribly written books with the worst characters and plot, she is a millionaire. Hats off to her.


  3. The young woman I work with has read all three books and she absolutely *gushes* over them. “This is the first series I’ve read where I want the hero to step right out into my life!” was almost enough to get me to read the book, but the reviews and excerpts were enough to convince me it’s a piece of crap and I will continue to refuse offers to borrow the book from some other fan because I can’t stand bad writing, either. To each his own, and bravo for the author and her piles of money.


  4. Brilliant review – just what I want to know before reading a book.
    If it’s all cliches and victim – no thank you! You’ve done a public service with this review – not that I intended to read it, but you’ve certainly enlarged my general knowledge with your comments.


  5. Oh you poor thing. What can we do for you? Some kind of mind erasing. I read the sample on kindle and laughed and asked myself if this was serious. This can’t be real writing? Ghastly.


  6. No more than two hours ago I was having a conversation with a writer friend about this book, however, from a different angle. I read this book. Why? Because Ana was attending a school located only three miles from my house. (Hey… this takes place in my neighborhood. I thought I should check it out.) You learn quickly as a writer, if the story is set in a real location you better get the specifics right…. she didn’t, not by a long shot. In this case it didn’t seem to matter.

    Hope your neighbor finds you a better read next time. 😉


  7. My fiance and I bought the book, wondering what the fuss was all about, and suspecting that it had contributed to the incredible pregnancy explosion that we noticed in Denver this past spring and summer. I think we read about two pages, and the writing was so bad we just couldn’t read any more. And the punishment thing really rubs me the wrong way – no pun intended.


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