’50 Shades’ Is Just Bad (But I Read Every Word)

by Amy on April 21, 2012 · 4 comments

It has ridiculous lines like, “Oh, baby, welcome to my world” (this by hero Christian to heroine Ana after he introduces her to spanking…yes, I said spanking).

It has a conventional (almost) plot.  Jeans-wearing bookish virgin new college grad Anastasia Steele falls for tycoon prince charming Christian Grey, whom she quickly discovers comes in 50 shades of that color…from his sweet vanilla true love for Ana to the deep shade of grey that is his abusive past and his preference for BDSM.  (Say what?  That’s bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism, according to Wikipedia.)  It’s not long before he presents her with a contract that would make her his “submissive” and he her “dom.”  Oh, and a “Red Room of Pain” features prominently.

It’s disturbing.  Why would this principled smart woman put up with the controlling, jealous, abusive behavior of this schmuck — and even kind of like it?  No matter how rich and gorgeous and sexy he might be?  Ana represents we women at our weakest, when all that matters is him, even if he’s bad for us.  And most of us have been there.

It’s been dubbed “mommy porn” because the desperate housewives set is apparently the biggest market.  I’m no housewife, and I’m NOT desperate.  What a cliché for a single girl to get her kicks from a romance novel.  REALLY.

It’s a bestseller, apparently, partly because of its clandestine e-book beginnings…pop open your e-reader on the subway and you could be reading the Wall Street Journal for all anyone around you knows, except for the telltale blush on your cheeks.  And the fact that EVERYONE’s reading it has made it okay for YOU to read it, too.

It’s 50 Shades of Grey, and if you haven’t heard of it you’re spending too much time going to church or volunteering for charitable causes.  It’s the top ebook download in the country right now, and its sequels are ranked right behind it.  The self-published book just got a seven-figure book deal and was the recent subject of a Hollywood bidding war.

And no offense to the author, but I think I just put it better than she did.  The writing is stinky bad.

And naturally, I’ve read every word of it.  Downloaded it to my iPad bookshelf, in between The Sun Also Rises and Pride and Prejudice.  And each night in those moments between climbing into bed and snapping off the bedside lamp, I ponder: Elizabeth and Darcy tonight…or Ana and Christian?

Are you kidding?  Polished off the first book over the course of three nights and am now in the middle of the second (50 Shades Darker).

Want my opinion?  It’s really awful.  Worse even than the Twilight series (of which I also read every word).  Ana completely loses herself in Christian and loses all sense of her former self, and Christian acts a hundred years older than his 27 years (which makes sense given these two characters were originally based on Twilight’s Bella and Edward).  Even the sex scenes, which you will eventually find yourself flipping straight to, lack creativity after a while.  My beloved Pride and Prejudice is a thousand times sexier.

On the other hand, it’s like that piece of chocolate cake staring at you from the dessert menu, or that one-wear pair of stilettos staring at you from the store window.  Or that sexy bad boy staring at you from across the bar.

You KNOW it’s bad for you.  But you should probably read it.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Marge Everhart June 30, 2012 at 8:38 pm

As for me, I wasn’t looking for a good story! Just one of those older women just at awe at Ana’s stamina.

Lesley July 11, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I loved the series for what it was: a break from the teen angst-like dramas that most adult novels have turned into. I mean, let’s get serious here. You don’t read this book for the plot. There’s room for more than the Pride and Prejudice, Voltaire, Shakespeare, and Great Gatsby’s we all have. It was a great entertainment to read, no more, no less. No reason to bad-mouth or overly praise the series.

Irene July 29, 2012 at 11:11 am

I finally caved in, and read the first book. It was ok. Nothing spectacular. I won’t be reading the second and third. Lora Leigh’s BDSM books are better written and sexier.

Janell November 25, 2012 at 9:58 pm

If you liked (or hated) “50 Shades of Grey,” check out “Anything For Georgetown And Other Stories” on Smashwords.com. Brilliant, beautiful Monica meets new guidance counselor Gabe Houlihan. He offers to help her get into Georgetown University. But will she agree to be punished via spanking and tickling for her transgressions? Now in print at Lulu.com! Ebook available at Smashwords.com. (Be sure to deactivate the adult filter!)

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