From the cover of Fifty Shades of Crap–Grey
When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind – until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.
The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her – 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 adoptive family – Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.
Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?
Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.
Obsess, possess and stay with me forever? Only because I can’t get those hours of my life back. Where the hell do I begin with this one? Oy. I’ll warn you now, there will be spoilers. Not that the book holds any surprises anyway. But some of you might want to experience the horror fresh as I did.
Believe it or not, I do not like giving a negative review to any book. I’ve resisted this series because I knew from the first lines I wouldn’t like this book. But I had so many fans of the series saying “Oh, if you’d just read it. You can’t say a book is crap unless you’ve read the entire thing.” So, in that spirit, I read it and I’m personally offended that anyone would think this is the kind of erotica a normal, grown woman would enjoy. It’s not hot and it’s certainly not scandalous. The orginal intent was to review this for OFW’s Spotlight, but I just can’t. The Edge is the better place for what I have to say about Fifty Shades of Grey.
Okay, the characters:
Anastasia Steele is an insecure, unbelievable embarrassment to the female population in general. If you like her, you are also an embarrassment and I’m afraid we’ll have to break up. I just cannot be in a friendship with someone who finds this girl relatable. It was nice knowing you. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
But seriously, you expect me to relate to a twenty-something virgin who has never masturbated? Right. But then again, she believes that pigtails are a way of keeping a man’s carnal thoughts or something at bay, so I suppose it’s possible she might believe that pleasuring herself is icky. She blushes every other paragraph and refers to her naughty box as “down there.” And while we’re on the subject of blushing, let’s get one thing clear, when you’re in a character’s POV, said character can’t describe what she cannot see. Second, she blushes crimson? Blushing the shade of crimson is impossible.
Ana is a useless waste of flesh. She’s indecisive, selfish, immature, and doesn’t have an ounce of confidence. The only times she stands up for herself are when it makes no sense to do so. She lets him spank her, but argues about a new car. She allows him to insult and demean her, yet argues about accepting a book. In terms of picking her battles, she’s dumb as a box of hair.
But let’s leave poor, pathetic Ana alone. She’s barely able to wipe her ass without fucking it up. We’ll move on to someone who can defend himself. Christian Grey is a misogynistic, abusive, controlling piece of shit asshole. His only redeeming qualities are that he’s hot (as we’re told every 500 words or so), he’s rich, has an enormous cock (although Ana has no frame of reference, so I’m willing to bet he’s more of Joe Average Dick than Super Cock Man), and he can make women orgasm on command. “You may come.” Really?! Thanks for giving me permission. I’d have never figured it out on my own since good girls don’t masturbate.
Christian is not attractive or appealing. I will not lay awake at night touching myself while imagining him and his oversized unit. James tries to sell Christian to the reader by having Ana go on and on about his charm and how “ridiculously good-looking” and “hot” he is. The only thing about him that’s worth dreaming about is his superpower. What superpower? Weren’t you paying attention? Christian can control a woman’s orgasm. Every time he orders it, Ana explodes in ecstasy a millisecond after. When he tells her she’s not allowed to climax, she doesn’t. That is a kickass superpower if you ask me. If I could just find out the radioactive material he fell into to get it, I’d have my bikini and diving goggles ready. Then I’d be on the street ordering every woman to “come.” World peace would not be far away.
The other part of his supernatural what-the-fuck abilities is how he’s able to orgasm and five minutes later be rock hard again. Mommies out there, you know that is simply not physically possible, no matter how hot you are. Stop dreaming. It’s time to face reality: Penises need time to…regroup.
And the repetition! I tried not to read this like a writer but how am I to ignore the 80 times she says “Oh my” or the bazillion times she says crap or holy whatever? I can’t ignore that. Of course, a man who can fuck a girl so “hard” that he rips through her virginity and makes her climax on command, only to take her from behind with his glorious erection not ten minutes later might elicit a few “oh my’s.” Sadly, his “oh my” qualities are cancelled out by the fact that he’s a total fucktard who I’d rather neck-punch than sleep with.
Also, he is obsessed with Ana’s food intake and sleeping habits. Um…yeah. In their “contract” he asks that she exercise and be slim and in shape, but then he’s shoving food in her mouth all the damn time and fucking her until she collapses in exhaustion. Goodness I gotta get me one of those.
Mentioning these things once or twice would’ve made it clear he’s got a preoccupation with food, but no, James has to hammer the point home again, and again, and again…kind of like how Christian gives Ana pleasure. Just hammering away at her special place until she’s “shattered.”
Speaking of sex, this trilogy has been given the tag “mommy porn” so let’s examine the porn factor.
Christian has a playroom. Seriously, he calls it his playroom. Ana calls it the Red Room of Pain, or something like that. I refuse to open the book again to check.
Were the sex scenes well written? The sex was boring. I’m far from a sexual dynamo, but I’ve had better sex than I read in this book. I’m positively vanilla when compared to some, but even compared to Christian and Ana’s “kinky” sex, I’m a fucking revolutionary in the sack.
Simply put: The sex in FSOG is nothing scandalous and nothing new. I suppose your response to the sex scenes depends on your (limited) experience. For me, it was a lot of slamming, thrusting and spanking. I mean, come on now. She’s a virgin, and yet she orgasms despite his hammering her hymen into oblivion? The problem is that it’s just so unrealistic for anyone who’s had sex with a man. Seriously. You don’t believe me? Let’s look at a few lines:
“He kneels up and pulls a condom on to his considerable length. Oh no…Will it? How?”
“Don’t worry,” he breathes, his eyes on mine, “You expand too.”
How does one “kneel up” anyway? Pulls a condom on. That’s interesting. Just what is “considerable length” in inches? I’m curious. And yes, my dear Ana, his considerable length will shred your insides when he slams it into you like the two-dollar whore you’re so worried about becoming. How? Usually tab A goes into slot B and you go from there. And he’s right, you’ll expand. How romantic, eh?
“I cry as I feel a weird pinching sensation deep inside me as he rips through my virginity.”
That’s all you felt? Really, Ana? Ripping through your “virginity” would not elicit a mere pinching. It would burn like the fires of Hell.
I’m sorry, I can’t buy into the myth that is Christian’s sexual prowess. He’s a teenager stuck in a man’s body. Considering Ana’s never had any sexual experience, not even with her own fingers, it’s hard to believe her assertion that his little Mister is a gigantic beast of an organ.
Also a hand job with a soapy washcloth is asking for trouble. That’s dangerous stuff to be jamming in your hoo-haw ladies, unless you enjoy bladder infections and whatnot. Turns out that Ana is a bit of a superhero too though. She’s got no gag reflex. Can you hear the men fighting to get a piece of that action? That first ever blowjob is certainly praiseworthy. She deep throats the shit out of his massive cock and she swallows. Well done, Ana the innocent. I am impressed. Kurt would love to have your phone number, Miss Steele.
And then there’s the tampon scene. “He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string…what! And…gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet.”
I imagined it couldn’t possibly be as bad as everyone was saying, but reading it, I realized that oh yes it is indeed a disturbing and awful scene to behold. Not because I’m against sex during menstruation. That’s fine. It’s great. Sometimes it’s fantastic. But keep your damn paws off my tampon. There’s a line that just shouldn’t be crossed. Tampon pulling is on the wrong side of that line. And the author must have missed health class in high school. She’s got Christian all horned up over Ana menstruating because he can’t get her pregnant so he won’t have to use a condom. How many of you know a girl who believed that myth about not being able to get pregnant when you had your period? Yeah, I know a couple…and their kids.
I can let crappy characterization go. I can even let stale, shitty dialogue pass. I cannot let a shitty plot just sit there being shitty. There’s no story. They meet, he controls, they fuck, he abuses, they fuck, he controls, she cries, she runs, he stalks, they fuck, he abuses, she cries, one last fuck, and they break up.
The message of this novel is that you CAN change an asshole if you do whatever he wants you to do. We’re talking about a man who is emotionally and sometimes physically abusive. She doesn’t like what he does to her. She flat out says it—wait, no. That’s not right. She says she doesn’t like it, but she doesn’t hate it. Much more clear. Christian is controlling, possessive, condescending, and just mean sometimes. Ana puts up with him because she thinks if she can give him what he wants she’ll have control over him. Does that work? Not in real life it doesn’t. This message is irresponsible. How many women have already wasted their lives on some emotionally retarded jackass like Christian because they think they’re living in a fairy tale where their dreams will come true in the end? Far too many. “Oh, if I could just find out why he is the way he is, I can save him and we can be in love and have a future and oh my, I’m so fucking stupid.”
To be honest, Christian Grey makes Edward Cullen look good to me. Yep. Don’t you roll your eyes at me. Ana is about as repulsive as Bella. They’re not characters, they’re husks.
A bestseller? Ugh.
What I thought as a writer:
The repetition in this book is unbelievable. Ana oh my’s, craps, jeez’s, holy shit/fuck/cow/Moses/hell/craps, gasps, murmurs, whispers, bites her lip, inner goddesses and subconsciously this or that’s more than fifty times each in a single book. Some of these words/phrases appear more than 100 times, folks. 100. Times.
“May I suggest you do some research, so you know what’s involved.” Christian says to Ana about the contract and what being a submissive means. Ahem, may I suggest you do the same Ms. James?
I read an interview somewhere in which the James says she didn’t research BDSM before writing this. Believe me, it shows. Did she research anything? I think not, considering the WTF moments I experienced while reading. There are also moments that are not only impossible, they’re inconsistent.
A girl that says whoa, hot and such repeatedly does NOT use words like taciturn, nor does she refer to her brain as medulla oblongata. (which for those not wanting to Google it, is the lower part of the brain stem responsible for autonomic functions such as breathing, heart rate, digestion, etc.)
Is the actual technical term for a butt plug a butt plug? And what’s this about “preparing” one’s ass for anal sex? It’s not really a process unless you’re training for the anal sex Olympics. Seriously, you can do it whenever the urge takes you. A little lube and some care, and you’re good to go. Research woman!
And let’s address this moth to a flame nonsense. Ana’s inner dialogue repeatedly likens her relationship to Christian as like a moth to a flame. I’ve read moths are not attracted to flames but I edited because a fellow blogger says they are. Until further research is done, I’ll assume that it’s possible they’re attracted and the author was not wrong in using the phrase. HOWEVER, it is not necessary to mention the whole cliche moth to a flame analogy over and over again. One time. We get it. Girl likes asshole. Understood. Can’t stay away from abusive jerk. Yes. I think we’re clear on that.
Her mother is on her fourth marriage, so Ana assumes she must know something about men. Honey, if you’re on the fourth, you obviously haven’t learned the basics about men and relationships.
Okay, I’m almost done. Overall the book reads like a teenager wrote it, and that’s insulting to the intelligence of almost every teenager I know. I’m sorry, but it’s the closest comparison I can make to the juvenile feel of the characters and the story. To top it all off, there’s no real ending. Sure, it’s the first in a series, but there should be some kind of conclusion. This is just cutting the damn thing off at a convenient place and putting the rest of the shitty “plot” in the next book.
Worst book I’ve ever read. It will remain Fifty Shades of Crap—no wait. It has been retitled Fifty Shades of What the Fuck is this Shit and Why Did I Read It?