Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few months then I’m sure that you have heard of the recent ‘bestselling’ novel “Fifty Shades Of Grey”. Now whether you have heard the positive or negative side about it, this book is the brainchild of
writer E.L. James and originally started off as a Twilight FanFiction which I have mentioned on this blog already, here.
In that post, I mention that you should avoid this book at all costs because it will devour your soul and make you want to weep tears of sorrow that the literary world has been brought so low. Nevertheless, I have long since grown accustomed to the fact that I will obviously do things that make my little inner voice want to slap me and so guess what I did. Yep, I read it. Someone had to take the bullet to see what it was like so that the rest of you don’t have to go through what I did. You’re welcome.
Jumping right in, the Book follows the life of
Bella Swan Ana Steele as she meets and almost immediately enters into a sexual relationship with wealthy entrepreneur Edward Cullen Christian Grey. The characters are so obviously based on the main characters from the Twilight series, from their mannerisms to their physical descriptions. Ah well, there’s at least the plot to look forward to! Plus, it gives you a fun game trying to read the whole thing replacing the names Ana and Christian with Edward and Bella, turning the whole thing into Corporate Twilight. Laughable times to be had. Anyway, enough of that. Lets jump into our first meeting with Ana…
Ana is set to interview wealthy sexual deviant (you don’t find out until later, but it makes more sense to tell you now) Christian Grey because her annoying roommate, who was written out “on holiday” halfway through the book, presumably because the author had already flip-flopped her character from sensibly forthright girl to romantically linked giggly imbecile and had nowhere else to go, is ill and asks Ana for this favour as the interview took so long to set up. This is where we get to see Ana’s true colours as she does nothing but complain about being forced into this favour for countless pages. As the novel progresses you see that almost all of the things in Ana’s life are a chore from her, from going to work, to moving apartments, to living so far away from everything. Ugh, some people. Interesting side note, Ana doesn’t give her sick housemate any sympathy because she is “too beautiful”. Jealous cow. At least she meets Christian Grey out of it and we can progress in the story.
Fast forwarding through possibly the dullest section of stalking and menial tasks ever we see Ana introduced to Christians dark side. He tells her that he likes BDSM (or rather a very poor substitute for BDSM) and that he likes to have sex with women whilst tying them up, hanging them from the ceiling and beating them with whips, paddles, etc. I will take this time to point out that Ana has frequently rejected the nice, normal guys that ask her out and yet she wants this crazy beggar! From this first glimpse, Ana refers to the “playroom” where all of this happens as the “Red Room Of Pain” as it’s red and he inflicts pain on people. Stunning writing. There’s a lot of stuff about him being a dominatrix and wanting to control every point of her life and Grey comes across as absolutely, unequivocally batshit crazy. Yet still Ana doesn’t run. There’s a lot of crap about a trip to Georgia and Ana getting a job before the final showdown where Ana realises she doesn’t like being hit by the man she professes to love, after only knowing him three weeks or so. The end.
I won’t mention the story any more because it, or rather the lack of it, annoyed me. This could have been really well thought out and planned, but no it was rushed and poorly researched and what COULD have been quite a good novel is left as Bargain Bin material.
The writing style is poor to the point of non existent and there awesome seriously overused phrases in this book, such as “Holy Crap/fuck/Moses” obviously not all at once, delete them as appropriate. If I ever read the words “I flush” again and it is not referring to a toilet, but blushing and having colouring your cheeks then I think I might throttle someone. It was used so many times and for so many things that it’s a wonder Ana is still alive, what with all the blood running to light up her face like a Belisha beacon… Some fantastic plot holes present themselves too with my personal favourite being found on Page 4 where Ana mentioned her friends Mercedes which is never explained how a student can afford a
sporty Mercedes CLK
I wish my loan would stretch to one of those.
The only good thing about the writing style is that the sentences are separated properly and not by a constant stream of ellipses! Hooray!
Overall, this book gets a 1 out of 10 because it’s truly dreadful but it could have been so much more with a better author and a more thoroughly researched plot.
Oh and if you think you want to get involved in the kind of kinky stuff they do in the book then please look at some other popular portrayals of bondage and domination, such as the truly entertaining series 2 episode of Castle, The Mistress Always Spanks Twice
I’m off to scrub my mind with bleach to get this frankly awful scrap of literature out of my head…