Monday, June 11, 2012

Holy Crap: the shockingly bad writing of Fifty Shades of Grey

"'Oh... by the way, I'm wearing your underwear.'" I give him a small smile and pull up the waistband of the boxer briefs I'm wearing so he can see. Christian's mouth drops open, shocked. What a great reaction. My mood shifts immediately, and I sashay into the house, part of me wanting to jump and punch the air. YES! My inner goddess is thrilled."

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I came across a free copy of this book and just had to find out what all the hype was about. Sometimes though, even when there is a lot of smoke, there is no fire.

The writing is bad, the plot is tedious, and the characters are flat. Christian Grey is a 26-year-old gorgeous multi-billionaire who is also a skilled helicopter pilot, a classical pianist, and a philanthropist with a particular concern for ending world hunger. Anastasia is a beautiful, but not financially well-off, 21-year-old college student who has never been drunk, has never had sex, has never owned a computer, and even, it seems, has never had an email address. She "flushes" when listening to Bruce Springsteen sing about desire and is shocked by a suggestion that her billionaire boyfriend's money could be in any way appealing. She is as dopey and inexperienced as anyone can imagine, straining the limits of credibility.

Some phrases are used so often that I'm surprised that people are not playing Fifty Shades of Grey drinking games. Holy crap! is probably the author's favorite way to communicate that something earth-shattering has just happened. Christian "cocks his head" countless times through the book. Anastasia has a more annoying habit that occurs even more. She bites her lower lip -- over and over and over again. Readers must endure pages and pages of email exchanges between these unappealing and uninteresting characters. Even the sex scenes that the novel is supposedly known for are boring and, since I cared so little about these characters, none of the nonsense in which they were engaged in the bedroom seemed intriguing.

*** (MILD SPOILER TO FOLLOW) ***

Towards the end, the sex turns rougher and Anastasia is now horrified by this guy whose creepiness extends way past the bedroom. She might have gotten a clue on their first date when he showed her his Red Room of Pain. But again, this is a surprisingly clueless college kid.

People must be reading a lot of bad fiction to accept this junk; and they must be having a lot of very bad sex to be turned on by the adolescent, and ultimately tedious, fantasies played out here.

Why you should read it:
    • because this book has somehow hit a nerve with a lot of readers and you are curious to find out why. Are people really that tasteless when it comes to fiction? And why is this boring and mundane tale selling?
    Why you might hold off:
    • you don't want to waste your time or your money
    • you enjoy good erotica and don't want to read junk in a favorite genre

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