Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fifty Shades of Godawful

I know I almost never write two entries in one day, but I just spent my day off plowing through Fifty Shades of Grey, mostly because I read at lunch on the days when I eat by myself and I don't want to have to make eye contact with anyone in the elevator on my way to lunch with this thing in my hand. It was bad enough getting a look from the girl at the register when I bought it.

I'm not going to bother with a scathing critique, because this book isn't meant for that kind of response and I doubt I can say anything about it that hasn't already been screamed across the internet. Instead, I'll share a few thoughts, and then a few lines.


1) Why is the tie on the cover slightly out of focus? It's been bothering me all day.

2) I will not be reading book 2 or book 3. I don't care what happens to these people. The author didn't do anything to make me care about them. Instead, they just veer irrationally from action to action. Only the supporting characters seem to behave like actual people would, and they fail to do so consistently.

3) The copyright on this is 2011, but I feel like it was written much earlier. There are definite oddities here, but I can't tell if they are due to this being an old manuscript or sloppy writing. The three that jump out are:

a) The narrator is graduating from college at the beginning of the book and engaged in a job search, but doesn't have her own computer or, even more oddly, her own email.

b) A MacBook is described as "new technology", but iPods are frequently mentioned. The narrator is given a Blackberry so that she can send email, but not an iPhone, even though she has an iPod and a MacBook.

c) The narrator's parents accompany her to her gate at the airport.

Those points seemed oddly anachronistic to me, but the fact that I noticed them instead of all the kinky, allegedly hot sex probably just means that I'm not the target market for this.

4) I've read some pretty smutty books before, so I wasn't particularly shocked by any of the pornier aspects. Glamorama was at least as graphic, and I did read that copy of Every Frat Boy Wants It that my friend sent me, so I wasn't especially surprised by anything I read. I'm much more surprised that this is listed on the back cover as a romance, because this is a book about a man who wants to own a woman coompletely, down to her thoughts, and a woman who wants to convince herself that he does it out of love. That's not romantic, to me, but it's possible that I'm just too vanilla for this.

Now that we've gotten my thoughts out of the way, here are the twelve lines in the book that jumped out at me:

Page 25: His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel... or something.

"Or something"? Seriously? You're an author. Find an adjective, or cut that sentence off before the ellipsis. And on the topic of the ellipsis, why is there one on every page?

Page 36: My mouth goes dry looking at him... he's so freaking hot.

My brain went numb reading that... it's so freaking bad.

Page 73: "I'd like to bite that lip," he whispers darkly.

Nothing particularly bad. It just made me laugh out loud.

Page 95: "If there are only two choices, I'll take the debasement," I whisper, gazing at him.

This is romantic? Listening to a girl agree to debase herself to make a man love her makes me want to take her aside and ask her to think about her life choices.

Page 107: I shift uncomfortable, the word "ho" rattling around my head.

"Ho" is a word now?

Page 137: "Don't you have a gag reflex?" he asks, astonished.

I giggled.

Page 186: Oh my, some of this stuff is HOT.

So hot it's capitalized.

Page 191: I don't remember reading about nipple clamps in the Bible.

Again, I giggled.

Page 206: Oh... shouty capitals!

This is written in response to an email. She doesn't have a Facebook page, her own computer, or her own email before her boyfriend buys her a newfangled MacBook, but somehow she knows that an email written in all capital letters means that someone is shouting.

Page 256 "Your ass will need training."

Romance. Right there.

Page 273: His voice is soft, menacing, and it's damned hot.

At least she didn't say it was freaking hot.

Page 367: The woman who brought me into this world was a crack whore, Anastasia.

What's sad is that this was supposed to be a major revalation and peice of character development, and it falls completely flat.

In closing, this is a real book. It was published, is on the bestseller lists, and has probably made the author a tidy pile of money. Thinking about that, I'd say it's time I wrote another novel.


strong cookie. said...

slow clap. this is genius.

stanford said...

Perfect. You are totally right, i didn't need another tirade on how bad this book was...I needed evidence without having to read it. Your analysis is outstanding...or something.

Jeannie said...

I love you, Joel. I am so glad you read this crap so that I don't have to. Please do write another novel!!

Marcheline said...

1. Revelation
2. Piece

I can't help it. I know you're a serial proof reader too, so you'll forgive me, or at least understand.