I have had the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy sitting on my Kindle for months and months and months. A friend was kind enough to e-mail them to me, but now I’m sort of regretting her kindness. I was intrigued by the books, to be honest. A sadomasochist sex novel hits the Bestseller list? Interesting. I had a basic premise of the book and thought, at the very least, I might remember how prudish I can sometimes be and how vivid my imagination inevitably becomes when engaged in a book.
My imagination was not satisfied. Mostly because I stopped just after our crazy leading man deflowered our useless Anastasia. (Anastasia? Really?) I swear to you that I went into this book series knowing exactly what I stated and now I’ll tell you in explicit detail why no one in this world where compelling novels are published every day should ever spend a moment reading Fifty Shades of Grey.
Immediately after starting the book I became suspicious. I am always suspicious when books feature a young, awkward female who is innocent and inexperienced, but all the boys on the block want to get a piece of that. (A la Twilight.) I have read enough fan fiction in my day to spot a Mary Sue from a mile away. And when you’re trying to live vicariously through your characters, it is an immediate set up for a disappointing read and a sure sign of a sorry author.
After finally deciding I could not continue with the very first book after a few chapters in, I did some research on this E.L. James. (Wouldn’t we all use a pseudonym if this was our namesake?) Her real identity (Erika Leonard) is all over the internet, so any hope of keeping her children from learning her sexual fantasies is out the window. After reading the Wikipedia write-up on her I know exactly why her book made me want to punch babies. It was originally a piece of fan fiction. And it gets better. It was a Twilight fan fiction!!
I think the books should have a disclaimer that reads something like: If you prefer to read authors who can actually write, then don’t waste your time on this Twilight knock-off that doesn’t even have a fantasy aspect to keep you interested. Oh, but there’s lots of kinky sex. That would do. That would have satisfied me and, let’s be honest, millions of other readers who might have stumbled into attempting to read these books.
Moving on. More reasons why you should never read this book. Do you remember the Thesaurus feature on Word? We’ve all used it at least once. Particularly when you were thirteen and wanted to sound so intelligent. And usually you weren’t being true to the word’s proper usage. If you had a nice teacher, they didn’t tell you. If you had a good teacher, you lost points. Well, Leonard’s editors should have removed that feature from her computer. The book is written as an interior monologue from a twenty-one year old. And I don’t care how advanced her Bachelor’s in Literature is – no one uses the word phlegmatically in their head. No one. Ever. Never. Most people don’t even know what it means.
By the way, did you catch that she’s twenty-one? I knew the basic premise of the book, but I never dreamed that the main character had barely graduated from college. That’s just messed up. And how many middle aged women are reading these books getting their jollies out of it. Would you want someone whipping your barely-legal-to-drink daughter? I get that he’s not yet thirty, but it still gave me immediate pause. Page one. Excuse me? Seriously? She’s only twenty-one?
Oh. And she’s a twenty-one year old virgin. Virginal virgin. She’s never even kissed anyone. So, our main man that so many women are in love with does the compassionate thing: he takes her virginity. Actually, I believe in the book he tells her he’s going to “f*ck her hard.” And then sends her to a separate room to sleep. Yes, absolutely, when my future hypothetical daughter has her cherry popped, please let it be like this!
Needless to say (at this point), this book was not for me. If it did it for you, then that’s great. If you think Christian Grey is the bees knees, then I feel sorry for you. I know that people who loved these books will tell me something like, “You should read all three before you pass judgment.” Well, for those individuals I tell you that I heard the same thing about the Twilight series. Four books later I still think Stephanie Meyer is a sorry excuse for a writer and never should have been published.