The Controversial Book that Is Fifty Shades of Grey

by - Sunday, July 15, 2012

I read a lot, mostly in ebook format, and I read a variety of genre - paranormal, mythology, sports, military. I actually have an account at Goodreads.com so I'll have an idea about new and old titles I should read next. One time, while browsing the site, I came across Fifty Shades of Grey. It has so many bad reviews though that I didn't even read the summary and moved on.

Fifty Shades of Grey
Fifty Shades Trilogy
But, I noticed that the book has been getting a lot of buzz. In fact, someone from a local radio station I listen to regularly mentioned the Fifty Shades of Grey and the other two books (it's a trilogy). She said that she have read it and it's, well, a good read for her. I mean, really? After all those bad reviews both from a book site and Amazon.com, people are going crazy about this?

So, what exactly is Fifty Shades of Grey and why has it become a best seller? The book is an erotic novel written by E.L James. It's a BDSM (bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism) story about Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. 

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.

This is the summary on Goodreads.com. So, on to the next question, as to why it has become a best seller. I'm not sure. Maybe the world has gone crazy. Haha. Or maybe because it's a book (or all three of them) that provides a ground for freedom for those who have secret sexual intensities that will otherwise be condemned in the societies where they live. Let's face it. Not many people have high regards for BDSM type of sex. And by reading this book, the reader can put themselves in the shoes of Anastasia and live their fantasies. 

I, for one, is not very amused about reading BDSM. Sure, I have read my fair share of erotic fiction and have encountered few scenes in relation to BDSM. I guess it's not enough to get me interested. I don't even like the idea of a ménage à trois. Why would someone like to go through that is beyond me. Well, that's just my opinion and I am not judging anyone here. 

Anyway, what turned me off about this trilogy are the reviews. I mean, I'm not wasting my time (and money) with three novels if I'm going to feel ripped afterwards. 

Here's a review from Amazon:
I enjoy erotica and heard so much about this book that I had to give it a shot, but I'm five chapters in and just can't take it anymore. This has to be the most appallingly atrocious writing I've ever seen in a major release. The pseudonymous British author sets the action (such as it is) in Washington State... for no reason than that her knowledge of America apparently consists of what she read in "Twilight"... but the entire first-person narrative is filled with Britishisms. How many American college students do you know who talk about "prams," "ringing" someone on the phone, or choosing a "smart rucksack" to take "on holiday"? And the author's geography sounds like she put together a jigsaw puzzle of the Pacific Northwest while drunk and ended up with several pieces in the wrong place.

And oh, the repetition...and the repetition...and the repetition. I'm convinced the author has a computer macro that she hits to insert one of her limited repertoire of facial expressions whenever she needs one. According to my Kindle search function, characters roll their eyes 41 times, Ana bites her lip 35 times, Christian's lips "quirk up" 16 times, Christian "cocks his head to one side" 17 times, characters "purse" their lips 15 times, and characters raise their eyebrows a whopping 50 times. Add to that 80 references to Ana's anthropomorphic "subconscious" (which also rolls its eyes and purses its lips, by the way), 58 references to Ana's "inner goddess," and 92 repetitions of Ana saying some form of "oh crap" (which, depending on the severity of the circumstances, can be intensified to "holy crap," "double crap," or the ultimate "triple crap"). And this is only part one of a trilogy...
If I wrote like that, I'd use a pseudonym too.
Like some other reviewers, what I find terribly depressing is that this is a runaway bestseller and the movie rights are expected to sell for up to $5 million. There are so many highly talented writers in the genre... and erotica is so much more erotic when the author has a command of the language and can make you care about the characters. For examples, check out the "Beauty" trilogy written by Anne Rice under the pen name A.N. Roquelaure, or any stories by Donna George Storey or Rachel Kramer Bussel. Just stay away from this triple crap.

*UPDATE*: Thanks to the many other perturbed readers who have shared their own choices of the most annoyingly overused phrases in this masterpiece. Following up on their suggestions with my ever-useful Kindle search function, I have discovered that Ana says "Jeez" 81 times and "oh my" 72 times. She "blushes" or "flushes" 125 times, including 13 that are "scarlet," 6 that are "crimson," and one that is "stars and stripes red." (I can't even imagine.) Ana "peeks up" at Christian 13 times, and there are 9 references to Christian's "hooded eyes," 7 to his "long index finger," and 25 to how "hot" he is (including four recurrences of the epic declarative sentence "He's so freaking hot."). Christian's "mouth presses into a hard line" 10 times. Characters "murmur" 199 times, "mutter" 49 times, and "whisper" 195 times (doesn't anyone just talk?), "clamber" on/in/out of things 21 times, and "smirk" 34 times. Christian and Ana also "gasp" 46 times and experience 18 "breath hitches," suggesting a need for prompt intervention by paramedics. Finally, in a remarkable bit of symmetry, our hero and heroine exchange 124 "grins" and 124 "frowns"... which, by the way, seems an awful lot of frowning for a woman who experiences "intense," "body-shattering," "delicious," "violent," "all-consuming," "turbulent," "agonizing" and "exhausting" orgasms on just about every page. - DS from LA 

And from Goodreads:
I downloaded this because of the New York Times article claiming that this erotic novel "electrified women across the country." I just had to see what all the buzz was about. Erotic thriller? Hey, bring it on. 

Sigh. 

This is the best you can do? Seriously? 

This book reads like the sexual fantasy of a virgin Twilight fan... oh wait, it IS the sexual fantasy of a virgin Twilight fan. Gotcha. That explains the crappy writing, the lack of character development, the slow as sludge plot, and the dullest sex in print. If this book is truly "relighting a fire under a lot of marriages" in America, I'm even more worried for the sate of our fair nation. 

Jesus Christ. 

Look. Real women read The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. Or we find the good stuff in Ken Follett and pretend we read it for the plot. Or we go for old reliable: the bodice-ripper. But at least we know where to go for something we can friggin use. 

Fifty shades of SUCKED!  - La Petite Américaine's Reviews

Really, it's fun reading all those reviews. I should say though that there are still those who gave the book a 5-star. Don't say I'm all against this book (or even trilogy) cause I'm not. I just got hijacked by all those reviews that my interest in reading it has been postponed indefinitely. But, I think I will come around to reading it just so I can add my two cents. Hey, I might change my tone when I do. After all, bad reviews has never stopped me from reading a book (even a whole franchise of it) because who knows I might have different opinion. Or maybe, I should wait for the movie. Perhaps, Ian Somerhalder could sway my mind about everything Fifty Shades. 

Fifty Shades of Grey
Ian Somerhalder (Christian Grey?)

:D

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