Jun 23, 2012

Fifty Shades Of Unmitigated Crap


un-mit-i-gat-ed adj. 

  1.  Not diminished or moderated in intensity or severity; unrelieved
  2.  Without qualification or exception; absolute

crap noun               

  1.    Excrement
  2.    Foolish, deceitful or boastful language
  3.    Miscellaneous or disorganised items; clutter
  4.    Cheap or shoddy material


I admit it. I bought into the hype. Everywhere I turned; on TV, in the paper, online, in real life, "Have you read 50 Shades Of Grey yet?"

Some liked it, some bagged it. Although, thinking back, the positive opinions were more along the lines of "I couldn't put it down", rather than "It is a really wonderful book", but I didn't quite catch on to that detail until now. An oversight on my part.

But the fact is, everybody was talking about it, in one way or another. "Ooooh, it's mummy porn." And I really dislike feeling left out. Not being able to offer an opinion. Not joining in. Just saying "No, I haven't read it" and retreating demurely to a corner to pour another wine and search for somebody else feeling ill-equipped for the discussion on the fastest selling fiction novel in the world.

Curiosity got the better of me. I went online to purchase it and... what the fuck? It's the first book in a trilogy? Dammit. I need to read three? Anyway, I've read the first book and NOW I CAN JOIN THE DISCUSSION.

The blurb on the back of the first book says "Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, this is a novel that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever", and then goes on to talk of a 'love affair' between the two main characters, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

Right. I beg to differ. It's not romantic at all. Romance, to me, is very different to what this book is about. My idea of romance doesn't involve being bullied. Liberating... well, while I was reading it I guess it liberated me from doing my vacuuming. Addictive? Not in the slightest. I could put it down. And did. A LOT. Especially to pick up my laptop and post a Twitter or Facebook status with a scathing comment about the book. And it only obsessed me as far as the fact I now have a deep-seated, yearning desire to.... smack the author. And not in a sexy way. It will stay with me forever, or until next Friday, whichever comes first, but for all the wrong reasons. And 'love affair'? No. There is no love in this first book. There is only sex and control and obsession and bullying and stalking and domination. It is not until the final chapter that the moronic Ana tells the psycho Christian she loves him. Unfortunately, it is not as they are both about to die in an exploding helicopter, which is what I hoped for, vainly (even though I have books 2 & 3 and knew it was unlikely), throughout the entire story.

Firstly, I found the writing style atrocious. I really struggled with it. The whole badly-written-first-person-present-tense thing was extremely off-putting. Some have likened it to creative writing projects they did in school. Like, when they were kids. Sentences starting with "I scowl with frustration at myself..." and "I roll my eyes in exasperation..." were clunky and annoying. And they were both in the very first paragraph. I probably got used to it by about page 513. Did I mention there are 514 pages in the book? It was also full of utter corn, ridiculous terms, and clichés which were repeated over and over, but I'll get to more on them later.

Anastasia Steele, what can I say. She shitted me to tears in so many ways. A 21 year old virgin who is about to graduate with a University degree in what I presume was English Literature in the year of 2011 AND DOES NOT EVEN OWN A COMPUTER. Nothing. Nada. Not a PC, laptop, iPad, not even a smartphone. I'm sorry, but only having access to your room-mate's lappy (who was also doing a degree and would have needed it herself) and the college library would not have been sufficient for the bazillion essays you would have had to write during your studies. I call bullshit.


Straight out of college, she lands a couple of interviews in publishing, and wham... she gets the job she wanted straight away. It seems the Global Financial Crisis has not yet hit the fictional publishing industry in Seattle.


Am I being picky? Yeah, probably. And I'm loving it.


Ana blushes, flushes, and colours crimson at an average of three times per page. Seriously, this girl needs to see a doctor and get herself some beta blockers or something. Oh, that's right, she's also managed to get to the age of 21 without having a personal doctor. Lucky her. 


Ana seems to spend so much time rolling her eyes it's a wonder she can still read the Thomas Hardy classics she's so fond of without holding them above her head, and also bites her lip with monotonous regularity in almost every scene with Christian. Many readers have shared with me their hope that it would be bitten right off at some point, but alas, there was no blood in this book. Wait, yes there was. Not from her mouth though.


"My breath hitches." Oh my fucking god. This is the most ridiculously overused phrase, without a doubt. (I think Christian's is "Stop biting your lip")  I estimate Ana's breath 'hitches' on about 450 pages. That may be an exaggeration, perhaps 400. Over and over again, ad nauseum. Honey, just stop breathing altogether and that will solve all of our problems.

Considering this book is erotica, or soft porn, or BDSM for mummies, or whatever you want to call it, this character referring to her genital area as "down there" on every second page was just comical. So was the continual usage of the term 'my sex', as in "he runs his hand over my sex." At other times, the words vagina and clitoris are used, so I'm still not sure what 'my sex' is. I'm confused. Are we talking one of the labia? (labias? labii?) The clitoral hood? The pelvic area in general? Or is there a part of my body called 'my sex' I don't know about? Seriously, do I need to get out a hand mirror?

So, this virgin, who has no less than three blokes lusting after her within the first 100 pages, who has never had a boyfriend, never really been kissed properly, and has never 'pleasured' herself, who agrees to being 'deflowered' by a strange man she has known for what feels like a full twenty minutes (oh, but it's okay, because he's BEAUTIFUL, and rich and hypnotising, and did I mention BEAUTIFUL?), manages to not only orgasm during her first sexual experience (and EVERY subsequent one), but multiple times! And she's able to climax whenever Christian tells her to! What a fucking legend! Literally!

But wait, there's more! At Ana's first attempt at a blowjob, her mouth and tongue move perfectly, she has a deep throat, NO gag reflex and.... SHE SWALLOWS! Is there nothing this angelic creature can't do? You'd think having her period would at least slow her inexperienced self down though, right? Wrong. Not only does she let this dysfunctional man she's only known for three weeks soldier on regardless, she only bleeds for a couple of days, feels great, and has NO CRAMPS. Biaatch.

She's the perfect woman, clearly. I suspect the character of Ana will be played in the movie version by a blow-up doll.


And then there's her 'inner goddess'. This inner goddess appears as often as the lip-biting and breath-hitching, adores all the sexing and dances and jumps around and pouts and sways from side to side and smiles and claps her hands and loves the word 'panties'.

I wanted to high five Ana's inner goddess. In the face. With a baseball bat.

Christian Grey. Psycho. Stalker. Dominator. Bully. Wanker.

I hope that's what his business card says, but I'm guessing it says Rich & BEAUTIFUL. Anyone who thought Edward Cullen of the Twilight vampires was the ultimate creepy weirdo who sent a bad message to girls about putting up with stalkerish, obsessive behaviour will now have another target. 

The first time Christian and Ana meet, she is interviewing him. He is a rich, powerful businessman. Ana is flustered, naive, unprepared and polite, and does the demure "Yes Sir, No Sir" thing. In that moment, Christian decides she would make a great 'submissive' in his BDSM playroom, as you do. Say WHAT??
But Christian's BEAUTIFUL. And rich. And BEAUTIFUL. So it's okay, clearly.

Of course, his 'impressive length' may have something to do with it too. Ana notes this a LOT..."It's so big and growing". Which begs the question... impressive compared to what? She was a virgin, no boyfriend, no prior penis experience. I'm guessing Christian is really a needledick. He is a knobhead who refers to Ana's virginity as a 'situation' which needs rectifying, has never had 'vanilla sex' (no toys or add-ons), and when presenting her with his 'impressive length' on one occasion, delivers this amazing speech...


"I want you to become well acquainted, on first name terms if you will, with my favorite and most cherished part of my body. I'm very attached to this."

If a bloke said that to me, I would either laugh so hard I'd have convulsions, or I'd reach for the sharpest implement I could find. I thought this mummy porn was supposed to arouse all the bored, frustrated housewives, not make them laugh until they pee out of their poor old prolapsed bladders.

Christian knows where Ana lives and where she is all the time. He tracks her. He follows her when she flies across the country to have a break from him (bullshit it was for work - this sort of stalking behaviour being written as normal and acceptable pissed me off and made me very angry, more than I can articulate). He knows her mother's name and where SHE lives. He wants to control the food Ana eats and the clothes she wears, all in the name of sexual arousal, all in the name of the Dominator and Submissive game. His excuse? "It's all I know." Fifty shades of pathetic.

The sex scenes are either mildly bemusing, comical, or just plain laborious. It's like the author is explaining (in minute, graphic, unsexy detail) a game of Naked Twister. Or Naked Hokey Pokey. You put your left leg in and shake it all about....


Look, I'm sure there are some okay-ish parts.


*thinks*


*has a shower, makes a cup of tea and thinks some more*


Right. Umm. Well, some of the email exchanges between Christian and Ana (after he buys her a laptop and Blackberry and sets up an email account for her so he can stay in constant communication with her; psycho much?) are admittedly amusing and entertaining. And there was one conversation (just one, mind you) which I actually enjoyed. I thought it was sharp and witty. So much so, that I immediately came to the conclusion that somebody else must have written it.

In summation? Hey, each to their own. Whatever floats your boat, levitates your wand, or wets your whistle. It's not for me. It did not stimulate or satisfy me one iota; not in the literary sense, not romantically, not emotionally, not sexually, not psychologically, not intellectually, not escapismally (yes, shut up, I know that's not a word, but if she can write crap, so can I). 
I have absolutely no problem at all with two consenting, functional adults on even terms (or for money as worker/client) getting their BDSM on. All power to us. Err, I mean, them. In this case, I feel the character of Christian is dysfunctional and has emotional and psychological problems (alluded to regularly), they are not really on even terms (rich, powerful, domineering, experienced vs poor, naive, clueless virgin) and while she doesn't say no, I think she's subtly bullied/persuaded into the consent on occasions. As I've said, I have greater issue with the stalking and dominance outside the bedroom. And the shit writing.

What worries me is that due to it's popularity, hype, and availability (apparently selling for as little as 
£3 in UK supermarkets, probably in the condom aisle), I know that girls as young as 11 are reading it. I sincerely hope they don't think this book is indicative of how your first 'romance' should be, or there's going to be a major rush on cable ties and brown plaited leather riding crops in a few years time.  And possibly restraining orders. 


I don't want any girl to think it's okay to be swept off her feet and onto her knees just because he's rich and BEAUTIFUL. We need to look after our knees, or we'll find ourselves at age 47 making bone-crunching noises every time we go up or down a step. So I've heard.
Jokes aside, it is a dreadful, demeaning example of a 'love affair'. Nothing to aspire to here.

So buy it, don't buy it, read it, don't read it, love it, hate it... I don't care. This is just my opinion, and I thought it was unmitigated crap. And I have two more of them to read to finish the story, for fuck's sake...


My breath hitches at the thought.





127 comments:

  1. I could not get into it either. The writing was really ordinary xx

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    1. My daughter could do better. Different topic though ;)

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  2. Yes, to everything! I got to the first few pages of book 2, I was really hoping for a shift in direction, some romance, less of her "Inner Goddess" & "Oh My" . Not to be found. Definitely doesn't float my boat.

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    1. It's like she decided on a handful of themes and clichés and decided to just use them over and over and over...

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  3. Yes i heard a big hoohar about it so i was waiting to see some reviews and so far all i have seen or read including this post .
    So glad i did not buy the booklol... great post

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  4. Love your review. I have no intention of reading it. My Mother, yes my mother, is reading it and would love to discuss it with me. Yukkity, yuk yuk. No can do!

    Looking forward to your review of Book 2 and 3. Gotta finish what you started! Enjoy!

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    1. Am trying to imagine that mother/daughter convo. Ugh, LOL.

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  5. You've confirmed it for me. This is yet another world-gone-crazy craze (like Twilight) and I'll be taking a wide berth around it.

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    1. Twilight shits on this stuff. That's how bad it is.

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  6. awesome. I nearly bought it on kindle because of the hype. But then I remembered that Twilight had hype too. And cherry coke. So I said NO. Glad I did. This quote "I want you to become well acquainted, on first name terms if you will, with my favorite and most cherished part of my body. I'm very attached to this." reminds me of a time a guy said to me "every boy wants a girl to touch his woo-woo" - true story.
    My Sex - correct spelling, Misex - was a band in the 80's. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-m8IOD-wk9g

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    1. Hah, I was going to make a Mi-sex joke, wasn't sure who'd remember them!

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  7. I read all three this week. Yes all three. In my defence, I did not buy the copies. What can I say, I needed mindless distraction. I also had this deluded hope they may get better, not worse.

    The thought of 11 year old girls reading it is disturbing.

    I just got worse, more schmalzy and the sex was so frequent it became boring, and bordered on ludicrous. No one can have that much sex that much of the time, surely.

    As for the word panties. Ugh.

    What disturbs me is not the BDSM - as you say between consenting adults, go for it. But the stalking, obsessiveness of him and the way she just gives in under the guise of love? That's worrying. As is the fantasy of beauty and money. No ones life is that perfect that easily.

    I have though thought of a good use for the book. It could be a drinking game, each time eyes are rolled, lips are bitten, panties are mentioned or the word ....there written you drink.

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  8. Loving that women are buying all the soft rope they can get their hands on. Bunnings must be making a fucking* fortune!

    * impressive length

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    1. I wonder if sales of silk ties shave spiked at Lowes too.

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  9. I'd read the blurb and your post and another post proved to me that my assumption of the blurb was right! Why would self-respecting women think that a woman in this day and age being submissive to a man for sex is a woman to emulate???? Just reading the blurb made me want to smack Ana on the head. And yes, I'd wanted to smack Bella from Twilight in a similar way after reading a couple of chapters. And what the hell is 'my sex'??? :|

    Loved your post...made me laugh. More than once! :D

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    1. Thanks! The blurb was as rubbishy as the whole book :)

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  10. Aaaand this is why I have not read these books. And I'm a gal who loves a good trashy romance as escapism!

    I actually remember reading a review of this on Smart Bitches Trashy Books last year, before the hype hit... (here it is - http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/blog/50-shades-of-grey-by-e.l.-james)... and that was well enough to turn me off ever reading it.

    Hilarious post :D

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  11. Brilliant! Your blog that is, not the book. I haven't read the latter and and never, ever will, for all the reasons you articulated so eloquently. Excreta, pure and simple.

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    1. Yep, do not waste your precious time or money, Benison. I'll take the hit for the team ;)

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  12. I wonder do women feel obliged to read this so they don't get 'prude' stamped on their foreheads? I don't plan to read this and I really hope my daughter doesn't - the last thing I want her to think is that it's okay to be with a bullying control freak just because he's rich and beautiful, grrrrr

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    1. I worry about the 11 year old I heard about, I sure hope her mother sets her straight.

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  13. I've heard similar things, especially about the writing. I'm not interested in reading it, let alone buying it...

    Awesome review :)

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  14. Ha ha I was wondering whether 2 read it to find out what all the fuss was about defo. Won't bother now. It sounds excruciating thanks for saving me the money & the time

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  15. I wish I'd read this review before I read the book. I did know that it was apparently written as Twilight slash fanfiction. Once you know that the parallels are easy to see.

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    1. I preferred Twilight by far. At least that was pure fantasy.

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  16. Loved your review, Cate! I cringed many times reading Fifty Shades, mostly when reading the words 'panties' and 'moist' but now that you mention it, there was a lot of lip biting and breath hitching.
    I have to say, I was amused for more than 50% of the novel, yes there was a fair amount of eye rolling and times when I laughed out loud at the ridiculousness of the scenes (and implausibility!), but I have to admit I kept reading. (Call it research...is this what women want to read? Sales of 10 million copies in less than two months would indicate YES)
    For all the carry on about Fifty Shades being a BDSM tome, it was incredibly tame...Christian might have had a Red Room but he certainly didn't utilise it, not with Anastasia anyway...His idea of BDSM was vanilla!
    So whilst I didn't hate the book, I don't think I'll be reading books 2 & 3...at least not for a while. Mt TBR pile is overflowing with amazing Auusie writers and they must definitely come first.

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    1. I laughed so much too, but I'm guessing the author wasn't planning on it being a comedy ;)

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    2. You know would would have made 50 Shades a much better read? If EL James had written it as a comedy...she could still have left most scenes in...just rewritten to make it more over the top...and er, funny!

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  17. PMSL and this is why I will not read it!

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  18. "It was also full of utter corn"

    I wanted porn, and all I got was this corn!

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    1. I'm wondering if the editor said "it needs more porn"... and it was misspelled as corn...

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  19. This just confirms my reasons to not understand how anyone can think this book is "really good." Bad writing is bad writing. If a reader doesn't mind then we can't argue it, I guess. I'm disturbed too that so many women would be okay to stalking and bullying.

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    1. It's written as acceptable behaviour, really irks me.

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  20. Cate, I'm going to be campaigning to get escapismally put in the dictionary - it should totally be a word! Hope you survive the perils of 2 & 3 with enough grey matter intact to be able to share more insights with us.

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    1. Thank you, was quite proud of escapismally!

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  21. Thanks Cate :) No other comments...you summed everything up for me !!!!

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  22. Cate, thank you for this. when I recover from this blast of fresh air I will be back to suggest an Emperor or two whose "clothes" you should look at. For the benefit of humanity.

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  23. Hilarious! I have heard of this but had no desire to read it - glad your post confirmed this for me.

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    1. Thanks, happy to do a community service :)

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  24. Before I heard/read the hype, I spotted this book in Dymocks. I picked it up, read the blurb on the back, skimmed a couple of pages and put it back. It seemed trashy to me. There's no way I'm paying my hard-earned cash for stuff like that. Now after reading your review I'm even more glad I didn't bother with it. And you say there's two more books? huh.

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    1. And since I've already paid for them I will soldier on! At least I might get another scathing blog post out of them :)

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  25. I'd pay to see Ana's inner goddess high fived with a baseball bat. I really really would.

    Atrocious book, brilliant review, laughed my head off!

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    1. Thanks, if only my high-fiving dreams could come true ... ;)

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  26. I bought this book of utter shite and bollocks for my mum for mothers day , I hadnt heard of it or the hype just picked it up in Big W. Luckily I didnt give it to my 82 year old mum she would have not been impressed! Lets hope that with the gazillions of dollars this woman makes is that she may be able to afford a creative writing course
    Love your review x

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    1. Thanks. Trying to imagine my 85yo mother reading it and nup... really don't want to go there!

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  27. I think I'll take the same approach I did with Twilight (and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for that matter) and wait for the movie. There is going to be a movie isn't there? :oP

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    1. There IS going to be a movie, so I believe. Struggling to visualise how the sex scenes will be filmed... would have to be X/R rated!

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  28. You put your third leg in.
    You pull your third leg out.
    You put your third leg in and shake it all about.
    You do the hokey pokey and stuff comes out.
    That's what it's all about.

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  29. I haven't read the 'proper' version of 50 shades... I read it when it was free online Twilight fanfic. I've wondered since if the author did anything to develop the characters more as for those that read in its original form the characters were already known... Have since read she just changed all the names from Bella/Edward etc an left it as is.

    That present tense thing kind of worked in that format... A chapter was released each week so there was more immediacy about it.

    I really enjoyed it at that time in the same way I enjoyed Twilight. Pure escapism. Although I won't be buying this new version and I do NOT love the idea that quite young girls are reading it. The messages it stands are not exactly empowering, but then Twilight doesn't win any awards on that score either.

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    1. I can see that the present tense would work a bit better in that chapter by chapter format, for sure. Think it's something that should have been reworked for a novel, but that would have required a complete rewrite, which takes time and chews up $$ of course.

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  30. As someone currently being stalked across the country, the thought that this is being defined as romantic is nauseating. That said, I laughed out loud all the way through your review. I'll read your trilogy any day.

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    1. I thought of you a couple of times when I was writing about that Kristin, and wondered how women who'd experienced such behaviour would react to the stalking, controlling themes in this book. With more disgust than me I'll bet, and rightly so.
      Very glad you laughed with me xx

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  31. I found the book to be pure mind numbing escapism, poorly written and monotonously repetitive. I was waiting for him to bite her lip off!

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    1. If only it was a "choose what happens next" book. It would have ended at the first chapter for me.

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  32. Cate this was the funniest post I have read in a looooong time. Had me in stitches and trying to explain to my children what was so funny after they came running to see what Mum was laughing about on the computer (move along no funny kitten pictures to see here).

    *Seriously, do I need to get out a hand mirror?*

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    1. My hand mirror was on standby throughout the entire book...

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  33. Cate, do you realise I am the only person (reading your blog) willing to admit I didn't mind it? What does that say about me? (Rhetorical question. Please don't answer.)

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    1. PMSL I'm going to answer. It means you are an amazing, unique individual who sees the good in everything. How's that? ;) x

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  34. ER MAH GERD. Perfection Cate, perfection. You know what I think (50 shades of shite) but there is NO way I could have written anything better than this. xx

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    1. heh, thank you Bern. I'm sure you could have done it 'justice' too. x

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  35. Love it Cate. Truly you made me snort laugh. I bought the first book as a joke for my 76 year old mum who was asking me what it was all about for Mother's Day. She had read something about it in the newspaper i think. So she chose a random page and started reading it. She looked at me and chose another page and read it out to me. I giggled at her trying to make it sound interesting! She put it down after a few paragraphs from random pages and said: "i don't see what all the fuss is about! i could write more exciting stuff with my eyes closed." She got bored with it and put the book down on the edge of the kitchen table - where it still sits to this day!

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  36. Good lord, I'll just slit my wrists now, shall I?

    I have another (almost as bad) book for you which Kevin nominated as our 'read' a couple of years ago. It's called 'Lot 22' and was SO BAD I was driven to slate it openly on an Amazon review.
    And that's really saying something.
    I can only presume all the rave reviews were from the author's friends. Or individuals with a particularly perverted sense of humour.

    LCM x

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    1. I shall add it to my 'read when desperate for badness' list. x

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  37. Oh Cate, that was such a good laugh, it almost made the 57 minutes I spent reading the book worthwhile. x

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    1. Just think, that could have been 57 minutes spent ironing, tut tut. ;)

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  38. Excellent review! I started reading this drivel online. Made it as far as the sex contract. The thing that bothers me most about it is that it's so badly written! Never mind the sex, it's so tame and, quite frankly, makes sex sound awful, repetitive and short. I'm so glad you picked up on the lip biting and the 'Oh My...' count. She uses English colloquialisms for American characters (I've never heard an American say "Keep your hair on!" in my life), seems to have done little-to-no research to make anything sound remotely plausible. I pity people who think this book is amazing, and suspect because they're not getting any, they must settle for reading it badly described instead.

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    1. They must be easily pleased, so to speak ;)

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  39. Wonderful! My mum handed me the book this morning and said "you can have this when I'm done, it's not great but something to read..." Think it'll be given a wide berth. Ick. I hated Twilight. My rule was if I started at the top of the left hand page and skipped to the bottom of the right and they were still on about the same thing then I'd turn the page without reading. Consequently I missed lots of the book!

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    1. Twilight beats this book hands down. Or should that be 'hands tied'?

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  40. Cate, you are awesome. :-)

    I bought 50 Shades, because I generally avoid hype books and then feel all left out when everyone else is talking about them.

    So, I caved in, bought 50 Shades and now I will feel entirely justified in the future when I give a clear birth to any similar overhyped 'must read because everyone else is' books. I admire your fortitude in making it through the whole book. I stopped after about 150 pages because I could feel my brain shrinking.

    I particularly agree with your comments about the stalker/bully aspect of the relationship. What happens between consenting adults is their issue, but the obsessive control isn't about kinky sex, it's truly alarming, especially if it is giving the impression that such relationships are okay.

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    1. At one point the Ana character comments on the stalking..."but it's okay, because it's him." WTF? Oy.

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  41. Thank you. Thank you, thank you, Cate. Did I say thank you? Luckily for me, I only succumbed to a quick thumb-through at a bookstore (could hardly believe I caught myself doing it) and I have to tell you, the first few lines left me absolutely - bored. No breath-hitching in sight. But then, I kind of suspected this would happen.

    Thank you for being honest about this book. But moreover - thank you for proving that the general public are getting tired of publishers resorting to hype and 'marketable', 'sell-able' pap. We want more. We want well-written. We want want well-edited. Alas, this is difficult to do when brilliant editors all over the world are being made redundant so sales teams can be expanded.

    Where will it end? Hopefully not with a hitched sigh of regret. I, for one, want More. And it's not a 12-inch penis. (well, having said that...)

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    1. So true, we DO want more impressive... books. This one is all hype and no substance. (possibly just like Christian's length...)

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  42. bugger, I bought the still unread 3 suckers

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    1. LOL You may as well have a laugh then ;)

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  43. Hysterical review. Loved it. The review not the book. The eighties were bad enough for all the erotic crap that came out then. I haven't read this one and don't intend to but your review is a classic. xx

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  44. Oh gosh you made me laugh.
    I haven't bought it & won't be.
    I love your narration. . .girl your brilliant!

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  45. I'll tell you who's a fucking legend - you are. What a brilliant review.

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  46. I agree with all you have said and it is alarming that what was once Twilight fan fiction is being touted as a 'liberating' love story. Ugh. Anne Rice did it better with her Sleeping Beauty BDSM stories.

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I need to read some good stuff before I venture back for books 2 & 3.

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  47. I've read all 3 books. Yes the writing was crap but hey honestly, what do people expect, it was adapted from fan fiction, James never professed to be a professional writer.

    What has been interesting to read, has been the observations of the actual BDSM community in relation to the book. They are scathing in their reviews of it and I have to concur, the book is a vanilla/tame version of BDSM and it barely skims the surface.

    I also want to touch on the obsessive control that so many commentators have mentioned. If you're brave enough to get into the very depths of BDSM, into it's guts, then yes obsessive control plays it's part. Some in the BDSM community, would tell you that obsessive control and BDSM go hand in hand and exist happily next to each other, others will tell you that one cannot exist without the other. I do not agree with that because you can indulge in BDSM without obsessive control coming into it, there are varying levels depending on how far you wish to immerse yourself into it but yes for some, BDSM is all about control.

    Lastly - obsessive control is in no way the same as stalking, they aren't even on the same page when it comes to BDSM. At the very core of every BDSM relationship is those two words outsiders looking in never believe exists in a BDSM relationship - mutual consent.

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    1. Well said. I know book 1 is a very lame account, and I assume 2 & 3 don't get into any further depth.
      I agree consent is the key.

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  48. Cate, you should put your review up on Amazon. It's priceless!

    I am not going to waste money on this book, but it stuns me that it has sold so many copies. What does that say about modern women (who enjoyed it), their sexuality and their sex lives? Even as a sexual fantasy it sounds like drivel. Is that the best they can do?

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  49. Oh seriously... I loved your review - you had me (& my prolapsed bladder) wetting myself laughing. I've tried to read this 3 times & have never been able to get past the first page. I won't waste my time or money & your review has just reiterated why.

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  50. This idiotic book is so incredibly bad in every possible way. It makes Twilight look like fine literature. God almighty. And the fact that so many women I know find it OMG SO AWESOME bottles the mind. I mean, they have got to have the most uneventful sex lives EVER to find this utter crap stimulating.

    And don't even get me started on the whole business of warping young girls everywhere. I have two 14yo nieces and I will beat them severely with a stick if I find out they've been reading this drivel.

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  51. I haven't read this book, but I work in a bookshop and have looked at enough to get the gist. What worries me is the thought of all the derivative books that are sure to flood the books market soon.

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  52. Oh thank goodness, another person who does not like this series! I actually just read the little Amazon samples of books 1 and 2, and actually purchased book 3 because it sounded more interesting. Granted, there are some titillating scenes, but there was SO MUCH OF THE SAME. It was boooooooring.
    (I do have to admit though, that Christian Bale circa Batman Begins - nice visuals, haha!)

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  53. I heard people making fun of it saying it was Twilight fan fiction. Then I found out it actually started out that way.

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  54. You know, I do enjoy your writing but I could not drag myself through this post because the quotes from 'Fifty Shades...' were so very trite and tiresome! Ugh. Thank you very much for your review. I do enjoy a writing style more full of prose and one that, as all of my writing teachers and professors admonished throughout school, shows rather than tells. Now I won't have to bother even peeking at the book.

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  55. So very proud to say that I still have not read it yet. Despite the hype it's been getting and is still getting. It was a Twilight fanfic, I've been told and it's true. But I've read other fanfics that were way better than the original (in writing and plot etc). Will I get curious enough to read the 50 Shades trilogy? Ummm...not unless it's free.

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  56. Oh bugger, I have it on my Kindle app.... luckily have several other books too. Enjoyed your rant!

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  57. Loved your review of this book. I must admit I read all 3 in 10 days. I admit to not being able to put them down. But I agree wholeheartedly that it was unmitigated crap.

    I love your blog and will be adding your blog to my blogroll.

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  58. Thank goodness someone else has said this. I thought it was just me. I read all three thinking that surely it would improve. No such luck. I'm sure there were a few bits I enjoyed in book one but for the life of me I can;t now remember what they were. I agree the blackberry/email conversations had their moments. I was so sick of " inner goddess", lip biting, eye rolling and Ana's blushing. Mind numbing describes the books perfectly.

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  59. Andrew just bought it for me. BASED ON YOUR REVIEW! Hahahaha! He asked me - do you know a chick called Cate? D'oh.

    Anyway, I have read the first few chapters.

    5 shades of vaguely offensive beige more like....

    LOVE your work as always Cate.

    xx

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  60. I also fell for the hype, gave in, and bought the books just to see what all the fuss was about.

    I read the first book very quickly, but it almost felt like I was trying to get to the good bit which just never really happened. I HATED how repetitive it was! The constant lip biting, hair pulling, eyes changing colour and blushing was infuriating!

    That being said, I did carry on and read the other 2, just hoping that something would redeem the first one but nothing really did. About a quarter into the second book I was actually bored of all the sex.

    And so much of it was unbelievable - are we to buy into the fact that a plain, clumsy and naive girl catches the eye of a "beautiful" billionaire and makes him rethink his entire outlook on his lifestyle choices? And don't even get me started on her being able to give the perfect blowjob without ever having properly seen a penis before. As if. When the lack of gag reflex was mentioned in tr blow job scene I actually thought it must have been written by a bloke. No joke. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was a woman who was writing a story where it was deemed acceptable to even consider a man who wants you to sign a contract an enter into a relationship as his submissive. Any other girl would run for the hills. I hope.

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  61. Excellent review, Cate! I've read all three but thankfully didn't buy them; a friend lent them to me. If I rolled my eyes once, I rolled them a thousand times at the number of times Ana said Jeez, holy crap, oh my... the list goes on.

    I think the part when he 'sensuously' removed her tampon before taking her into the bath for another round of orgasmic sex was the point I nearly threw the book at the wall. I mean, COME ON! Like really??? And there will be young girls reading it thinking that sort of stuff actually happens, or is okay. FFS. If I had teenage daughters, there's NO WAY IN HELL I'd let them read this.

    As I've said before, just because something is published doesn't make it good. More's the pity.

    First time reader of your blog, Cate. Love it - I'll be back xx

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  62. Someone gave me this link after I confessed I didn't like the books at all. I was beginning to think there was something wrong with me!!
    The writing is rubbish and I couldn't stand "he put his hand there" there!?? Argh
    Thanks for giving me a laugh :)

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  63. Thank you for one of the best laughs I've had in ages and stating so perfectly all that I felt about this book. I can't wait for your reviews on the subsequent volumes. I have no problem with a good steamy romance type novel especially on a Summer's afternoon but the absolute disregard for polished writing and editing had every english teacher I ever had screaming in my head. Mercifully I was able to read them for free through the library and only did so because I was surrounded by people who just thought it the best thing ever written. thank you for making me feel less crazy for having hated it. I bet you'd be amused to hear what the audio version of the book which was offered in the US sounded like. It featured one of the worst narrations I've ever heard in all my born days. Thanks again for making me laugh and preserving what's left of my sanity (smile). I'm now a fan of your blog and can't wait to see what the other two horrid volumes inspire you to say in response.

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  64. It took me way to long to get around to reading this, Cate. I'm so glad there is a voice of reason in this world!

    Loved your review; you made me snort more than once. And not in derision, which is what I did reading 50 Shades of Nausea.

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  65. Now I must read it to count how many times "down there" is mentioned and "hitches".

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  66. Oh my...it is the worst book ever written! The only explanation I have for why it's so popular is that maybe the idiots have begun to read.

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  67. One of the bet blogs I have seen; love your work! Elle

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  68. Loved this article, thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  69. Completely enjoyed your review of this book! It was far more entertaining than the ridiculous story itself! You took EVERY point and problem I had with the writing/ story/ characters and nailed each eloquently to the wall! I died laughing through the entire read....thanks so much, feels much better to know I'm not alone out here!

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  70. I'm just so glad I never got sucked into this book (I have an "anti-hype" radar)when it comes to this kind of crap. Really enjoyed your review - thanks, cracked me up completely.

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  71. I'm super late to the party, but god I love your work...

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  72. I can't wait for the movie. I loved the books. I should agree these are not the best written books, but they are addictive and fascinating.
    The Movie Fifty Shades Of Grey

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  73. I wish robert pettinson would cast as christian... and am also excited to see this book on reel.
    The Movie Fifty Shades Of Grey

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  74. Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson shared an intimate clinch while shooting the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey in Vancouver.
    I hope movie will be best on screen in 2015 and much more. ...

    Fifty Shades Movie

    ReplyDelete

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