Author: EL James
Part of a Series: Fifty Shades
Type of book: abuse, fanfiction, plagiarism, fifty shades of grey, bdsm, America Washington, British slang, insult to injury, milking the cow
Year it was published: 2011
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.
Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.
This book is intended for mature audiences
Before getting technical and before my Medusa fury becomes unleashed at the author and the books, let me mention my definition of romance: it's someone who respects your boundaries, does not pressure you into anything you don't want to do, and is gentle and sweet. My definition of romance also includes someone who gives without asking anything in return and someone who is not afraid of commitment.
To be fair, I couldn't stomach reading Fifty Shades itself and when I tried to do it on my Sony e-reader, I couldn't get past fourth or fifth paragraph where Anastasia continues to obsess about her hair. Since I couldn't bear seeing the written word in this case, I thought of using youtube video but alas the ones I liked were taken down, and I still couldn't listen to the actual non-funny sensual Fifty Shades audio, which left me with one last option: chapter recaps. I was lucky. Here's the link to the recaps I read: Link by Jenny Trout.
Even reading the recaps by Jenny Trout proved to be an incredibly draining task, not because she's a horrible writer (on the contrary her commentary helped me survive,) but because just mere snippets of the paragraphs from the book literally made me want to choke myself.
I wondered at what comparison I could use between the book and Ana's behavior, and realized that Barbie Girl by Aqua seems more appropriate. Really listen to the lyrics and pay attention to some scenes, such as how Ken gets Barbie to get to party, or the disturbing lyrics of the fact that Barbie is asking for someone to do stuff to her. I know that its just a song, and that I'm over-analyzing and stuff, but this is the feeling I got while reading chapter recaps!
This book is even worse than all the other bad books I have read in my entire life; not even Dickens or Dumas have encouraged me to come up with a -1 stars! On second thought, because I'm listening to Smile by Lilly Allen, this is Mr. Grey's point of view, at least smiling at the pain and crying part.
Okay, enough songs, right? Please unleash your fury and tell the world how much you hated the book and what you hated about it. People who read my blog on a daily basis (thank you by the way :) ) know that for one reason or another I cannot stand to read British literature, at least what one would consider classical British literature. This book is British literature personified; too much telling and no showing, unrealistic dialogue and situations between the characters and so forth. This is one of the creepiest novels I have had a chance to read. The style is very similar to that of Twilight, but somehow E.L James makes the style a lot more worse than that of Twilight. And if the chapter recaps are correct, this is similar to Bridget Jones diary? (Will never forget reading that book either, although for horrible reasons instead of good ones... and in one instance I will say that MOVIE is better than the BOOK!)
The transition between thoughts and actions is very poorly handled and it struck me that either Ana or the author are having some kind of withdrawal symptoms, or else this was a poorly written epistolary novel or else E.L James drinks way too much caffeine than is good for her. There is rape of the thesaurus with unnecessary adjectives, although worse than Twilight's Stephenie Meyer misplaced adjectives of providential and so forth.
I find it ironic that for a culture and time period that allows women to explore their sexuality and more decisions dealing with motherhood, career and so forth, the book that puts down Ana's decisions and her right to be treated respectfully is worshiped this way, and women want for men to be either like Christian Grey or Edward Cullen. Back then when women had little choice and voice in these matters, books that remained popular treated women respectfully, and heroines were more stronger. For example, in Mysteries of Udolpho, the heroine wasn't raped or mistreated physically, I don't think. Yeah there were mysteries and threats on her life, but she ended up with someone good and decent instead of someone who wanted to spank her with a belt. In Dumas's book, Louise de la Valliere, Vicomte de Bragelone never forces or rapes or punishes Louise de la Valliere but does let her go to love the king. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov treats the girl prostitute with respect instead of scorn and abuse, and so forth. I wonder why its like this? What is lacking that so many women love this book and would want for men to be like Christian Grey or Edward Cullen? How and why did this become a romance novel? Its not a romance novel I'm familiar with, and the only ones I could recall are by Janelle Taylor, which bear negative ratings on my blog.
For some more of technical aspects: its written in first person narrative from Ana's point of view, its a perfect example of why show don't tell became popular for novels, and all that the characters do, well, argue about food, sex and so forth, at least if chapter recaps are to be believed. This book needs an editor very badly, because half the time I wanted to do something to ever forget why I read the book in first place.
For good and talented writers this is adding an insult to injury. I have been writing fiction and stories since I was almost twelve years old, and today I'm almost twenty-eight! Yet how did this, well, insult become so popular?
I am really regretting that I even touched or read the book, and if there is a brain bleach for books available, please email me right away...
-1 out of 5
(-1: Help! Brain bleach emergency! 0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)