Wednesday, June 13, 2012

50 Shrieks of Rage

I read and review Fifty Shades of Grey so you don't have to.

This is the worst book I have ever read. This book....this book is the 2 Girls 1 Cup of books.

When we last saw Ana and Christian, she had just admitted to her virginity. Chapter 8 picks up in the middle of that scene. I can only assume the reason there is a chapter break there is to create drama in a scene which is not actually dramatic. Grey asks if she's ever even been kissed before that time he attacked her in the elevator and for the second time she claims she has (but only once or twice). I could have sworn she said she'd never been kissed, so I went back looking for it. The line that made me think that is on page 48: "For the first time in twenty-one years, I want to be kissed." I interpreted that as "I want to be kissed for the first time", seeing as the only other explanation for this sentence is that all the other times she's been kissed were entirely against her will and that's a lot of rape kissing to be just brushing under the rug like it doesn't matter.

To his credit, Christian is extremely upset to learn this about her. Unfortunately, his ability to be a reasonable and responsible adult ends right there. "Come," he says. "We're going to rectify that right now." Because clearly, all that needs to happen for her to be physically and emotionally prepared for the demands of being someone's full time submissive is a quick humping to rid her of that pesky virginity. YOU CANNOT BE FUCKING SERIOUS. Look, I'm not going to sit here and generalize that no one has ever come into a D/s relationship as a virgin or a virgin minus one and enjoyed it immediately. Everyone is different. But for most people that isn't how this works, and for very good reason. People can be seriously hurt both physically and emotionally if they walk into this type of thing blind. You need to know yourself very well if this is something you want to participate in. If you are a Dom, you want to make especially sure that this sub you're courting knows what to expect and genuinely wants to participate in it, because if they don't, and they freak out, and they run off and tell people you sexually tortured them, the consequences will be extremely serious. The Christian Grey that has been described to us so far would have helicoptered her ass back to Portland immediately and reminded her all the way that she signed a non disclosure agreement and needs to keep her mouth shut about his riding crops and oddly positioned sofa.

Luckily, the author of this book has no qualms about drastically shifting her characters' personalities from ones she's already established to suit whatever type of scene she wakes up feeling like writing that morning. And so we end up with Christian telling Ana he wants to make love to her, right now, even though mere pages earlier he made it crystal fucking clear that he doesn't do that: "I don't make love. I fuck...hard." You know, except for those times when she needs her readers to be as in love with Christian Grey as Ana is, in which case he will happily throw such unequivocal statements right out the fucking window and instead say things like "Please, Ana, spend the night with me." SAY WHAT? He doesn't spend the night with anyone and he certainly doesn't say please! Does not matter, you guys. ANA HAS SPECIAL POWERS AND UNPARALLELED BEAUTY AND HE HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO FALL IN LOVE WITH HER. THIS IS SO ROMANTIC OH MY GOD MY HEART IS ALL AFLUTTER.

But don't worry, it isn't just Christian who suddenly does a complete 180. The author has spent seven ENTIRE chapters developing the character of Ana Steele. She has never liked a boy (or a girl for that matter, unless you count Kate, but we are clearly not supposed to). She may or may not have ever kissed anyone, but even if she has she didn't like it. She's definitely never held hands with anyone. She's never had a sexual fantasy. In a few pages we are about to find out, though I'm betting you've guessed this already, that she has never ever masturbated. Not once in her entire life. James has jumped through hoops to try and prove to the reader that Anastasia Steele has spent 21 years being entirely asexual 100% of the time, up until she met Christian Grey. So it makes NO FUCKING SENSE WHATSOFUCKINGEVER for this line to be anywhere in this book: "Finally, after all this time, I'm going to do it" SURE NO PROBLEM, LET'S IGNORE 110 PAGES OF CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT AND SUDDENLY DECIDE FOR NO REASON AND WITHOUT EXPLANATION THAT THE ONLY REASON ANA IS A VIRGIN IS BECAUSE NO ONE EVER LIKED HER BEFORE AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HER BEING COMPLETELY UNAWARE THAT SEX EXISTS. DO YOU EVEN READ BACK THROUGH YOUR OWN WORK? HAVE YOU EVER HEARD OF AN OUTLINE? IS YOUR EDITOR IN A COMA? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?

Can I just point out that I am this angry and the sex hasn't even started yet?

In the bedroom, we are treated to another round of describing Christian's otherworldly hotness and an excruciatingly detailed account of him removing his clothes. "He steps out of his Converse shoes and reaches down and takes his socks off individually." No shit. If he stepped out of his shoes he was obviously standing while doing this, how the fuck is he going to take his socks off at the same time, jump up like a fucking frog? Then Christian says "I assume you're not on the pill." Because the only reason to ever use condoms with a virtual fucking stranger is so no one gets pregnant. Every time I think I can't hate this book any more she throws in something as mindblowingly stupid as this. He starts touching her and pulling her clothes off. He pulls her hair out of a ponytail and mentions that he likes brunettes. Please note that the ONLY other detail we have about Ana's appearance is that her eyes are blue. It made me think of a brilliant piece from The Oatmeal that he wrote about why girls go fucking batshit over Twilight. Given that this whole thing began as Twilight fan fiction, it should be no surprise that it is equally applicable to this story (just substitute the correct names and put in "rich" wherever it says "vampire").

It is at this point in the story that I started taking more notes about how stupid this scene is than I could possibly hope to summarize here. I'll try and stick to the parts where I also shouted expletives loud enough to cause my roommate to repeatedly come in my room and ask if I was ok (I am not making that up).
  • "...running his nose up the apex between my thighs. I feel him. There." Apex is a terribly unsexy word to use, and she's going to repeat the word "there", almost always italicized, several more times until I finally wrote this note: "STOP SAYING THERE OH MY FUCK. PICK A NOUN, ANY NOUN. PUSSY. VAGINA. SNATCH. ENVELOPE. TOASTER. I DON'T FUCKING CARE." Repeatedly saying "there" like she's astonished it's even possible for someone to touch her vagina makes me picture someone saying "Show me on the doll where the bad man touched you." Be a fucking adult, for fuck's sake.
  • "'I can't wait to be inside you.' Holy shit. His words. He's so seductive." Oh Jesus, no.
  • "Show me how you pleasure yourself." There is absolutely no one who didn't know she was going to say she never has. Not one person.
  • "I am squirming with need."/"his tongue dips into my navel." Gross. You couldn't come up with less sexy phrases to describe having sex if you were told everything you write has to apply equally well to sex and a landfill.
  • "You fit my hand perfectly, Anastasia." (regarding her breast) YOU SHOULD RUN AWAY AND GET MARRIED RIGHT NOW YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY MEANT TO BE TOGETHER BECAUSE SHE HAS THE RIGHT SIZE TITS.
At this point, Ana, the asexual virgin who has never touched her body except to wash it, comes for the first time, from nothing but nipple play. I write next to it, "No." Again, this could and probably has happened for some people. I couldn't find a solid statistic showing me what percentage of women can get off from nothing but nipple play. I saw estimates anywhere from 2-30%. Even at the high end of that range (which is probably very overblown since it came from online men's entertainment magazine askmen.com) this is substantially less than the majority. She's also bound to be extremely nervous, it being her first time, and she's never touched herself at all which means she's completely unaware of what's right for her body. Combining all these factors, I find the idea that she comes from nipple play in this situation highly improbable. This absurdity continues with Christian saying "You are very responsive." If that is what actually happened she's not "very responsive", she's a motherfucking grand prix car.
  • "You're so deliciously wet." Well I'm glad someone is. I have never been less turned on in my life. I messaged StereoNinja in a panic that I might never feel sexual desire again. It's true, ask him.
  • "He palms my clitoris" What, like a basketball? How big is your clitoris, Ana?
  • "He kneels up and pulls a condom onto his considerable length." Again, considerable length is not a noun. USE YOUR BIG GIRL WORDS. Also, since we can assume she's never watched any porn, or been to a Chippendale's show, or seen another live penis in any context in her life before this, PRECISELY WHAT IS SHE COMPARING THIS TO? He can obviously see on her face she thinks he's huge because he says-
  • "Don't worry...You expand, too." YOU DID NOT FUCKING JUST WRITE THIS SENTENCE. PLEASE KILL ME I AM READY TO DIE.
  • "...at the entrance of my sex." This is not better. Go home and practice saying "pussy" in the mirror until you can write something even remotely arousing.
  • "...as he rips through my virginity." Fucking Christ. I don't even know enough words to describe how horrifying this image is. I'll have to borrow her thesaurus when she's done humping it.
So he gets on top of her and fucks her, and she comes again, and I find this nearly as unlikely as I did the first time because I suspect very few women discover they are multi-orgasmic on their first go. But Ana does, probably because it's Christian who is SO TALENTED AT EVERYTHING EVER. She wants more, OBVIOUSLY, so he flips her over to fuck her from behind and this is when she realizes he hasn't taken his shirt off because now that he's shown off his dungeon she has to have a new thing to foreshadow about. I'm sure he's not hiding scars from all the beatings he used to get or anything like that. So that happens and it's really boring, and he sticks his thumb in her mouth which she thinks is "really wrong" and he says "I want you sore, baby" because he keeps calling her baby now all of a sudden and I yell "OF COURSE SHE WILL BE SORE. SHE'S A VIRGIN YOU TOOL." and the bartender comes in and checks to see if I'm ok again. And then mercifully that bullshit is FINALLY over. I find I am grateful to be done reading about sex and it scares the shit out of me. WHAT IS THIS BOOK DOING TO ME? I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE. (Later, when I finish the whole chapter, I will immediately go to my living room and grab the first volume of erotica I see, which happens to be Taboo: Forbidden Fantasies For Couples edited by Violet Blue, and read the first three stories just to make sure I still like sex. I do.)

Ana wakes up alone in Christian's bed. It's still dark out. She goes looking for him and finds him at his piano, expertly playing something really really sad. I write a fairly long note: "CHRISTIAN GREY: MASTER PIANIST. He is probably also secretly the Pope, the head of the IMF...no scratch that. He's Jesus. Sexy Jesus." Sexy Jesus and Ana discuss his exquisite piano playing for a while and then he decides she needs to go back to bed, so he stands up to take her there and his pants hang from his hips (4). Back in his room, the sheets are covered in what seems like an absurd amount of blood, but it's been a long time and I don't really remember what that should look like so I let it go. She tries to touch his chest and he freaks and puts a shirt on while she wonders if she's ever touched his torso (NO, you haven't, it would have been in your excruciatingly boring details from earlier). He climbs into bed with her (since he never sleeps with anyone) and spoons her to go to sleep (since someone used to sleeping alone would be comfortable sleeping right on top of another person). The chapter ends with this: "I can't help but feel a residual melancholy either from the music or his demeanor. Christian Grey has a sad side." DEEP DOWN INSIDE HE IS JUST A SAD SAD LITTLE BOY WHO ONLY WANTS TO BE LOVED.

I AM GOING TO STAB THIS BOOK UNTIL IT'S SO DEAD IT NEVER EXISTED.

28 comments:

Philippus Van Yaas said...

This book is fiction.
- It's bad; unrealistic, fan-fiction.
From your descriptions of the sex scene - it's falling somewhere between a Penthouse Letter/Forum and Twilight and Jackie Collins.
Not quite as arousing as "Peterotica" from Family Guy!
:p

Anonymous said...

Crasstalk is so helpful . . . I would never have found this hysterical evisceration of what I am sure is the result of a bet.

Also, I'll be enjoying this until you dig your eyes out with a spoon. Then after that, I'll enjoy your vocal opinions on the audiobook.

Erimentha said...

Ok, so "This book is the 2 girls, 1 cup of books" just made me shoot beer out of my noise. No more drinking while reading. I love you, please keep reading this piece of shit for us, we really appreciate it.

Erimentha said...

Wait, no, the beer came out my nose, not my noise.

SuzB said...

Perhaps you could do a follow up piece about how 50 shades of dipshit reflects the attitudes of the Republican leadership of the Michigan State Congress. They have a problem with saying vagina too...

And thank you for saving me from reading the book!

Incognito Linda said...

I did consider reading this, just to see exactly how awful it is. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for saving me!

Quvonda said...

the bartending checking on you and the sexy Jesus line had me in tears! oh. my. God. i can't stop laughing.

Anonymous said...

This piano scene is also a total rip off from Pretty Woman...

Anonymous said...

I am loving this so much! I'm not going to read the book - I find it too awkward since everyone in my family knows about it, and from what I hear it's terrible. You're only reaffirming this, so thanks for that :D I also really enjoy reading your reviews/rants.

Kate B said...

I think I might be in love with you, based on this post alone.

Carly said...

"He steps out of his Converse shoes and reaches down and takes his socks off individually." No shit. If he stepped out of his shoes he was obviously standing while doing this, how the fuck is he going to take his socks off at the same time, jump up like a fucking frog?.. the best fucking line ever!

Shah Wharton said...

I've read a lot about this being an awful interpretation of Ds lifestyle, about it getting it so wrong, but it isn't a BDSM book. It's a romance loosely featuring that as a big part of one characters personality. Lets face it, they don't really have the Ds relationship at any time... he thinks he wants it, she wants it because he does, but doesn't really. He's questioning his old desires in the light of this new and different relationship. Vanilla as he calls it.

Taken as a romance, which has taken a very different route to the boring miriad of others out there, and ignoring the repetitive description used by the (self confessed poor) author, these books will never win academic awards, but they have won millions of fans. Sometimes readers don't want literary brilliance, they want to be moved, shocked, excited, to give a shit about who they're reading about. And I'm afraid, like it or not, wrong or right, this average author did it. Will she again - who knows. Will she need to once the movie hits the screens, probably not.

sweetpea said...

Laughing out loud very much at the socks reference, and the whole description of the sex scene thereafter! So pleased to have been recommended to your blog!!
(also so pleased to have not wasted my money on that god awful unrealistic book!!)

Anonymous said...

best review ive ever read - hilarious!!!!

Caketin said...

There's a Cliffnotes book in this review somewhere...

Anonymous said...

"STOP SAYING THERE OH MY FUCK. PICK A NOUN, ANY NOUN. PUSSY. VAGINA. SNATCH. ENVELOPE. TOASTER. I DON'T FUCKING CARE."

Toaster! I laughed so loud I scared the cats off the kitchen table!!

Metteius said...

I am in pain from the constant laughter that just keeps on coming. I can't stop!

Leanne said...

The piano thing - straight out of Twilight.

Midnight Ariel said...

Yes to everything!

Villy said...

"If he stepped out of his shoes he was obviously standing while doing this, how the fuck is he going to take his socks off at the same time, jump up like a fucking frog?"

I almost choked on my cereal. Thanks for that. ;-)

Noleeniebeans said...

Not only only does the author steal from Pretty Woman, she also steals from American Pie. When his thumb is in Ana's mouth he says "suck me baby". Seriously. In American Pie Chris Klein's character says "suck me beautiful" and even Stifler ridicules him for it! Mr sexy mysterious Gray quotes American Pie.

Anonymous said...

As someone who has been a bit rough with her hymen a number of times: the blood is very minimal unless there's serious damage involved. It should be a spot about... maybe a bit bigger than quarter-sized, but not by much.

Unless her period started early. Oops.

Anonymous said...

I love you so much I want to form a secret club with you and not do anything but mark up copies of 50 Shades of Grey with angry comments and delightful stick figure drawings with red marker in the style of all try psychopaths then read The Oatmeal and make up new and awesome swears like Jesus Tittyfucking Christ on a Cracker.
Never stop the mocking!

Anonymous said...

This blog almost makes the fact that 50 shades less tramatic for me, if only for the comedy factor.

bezukhova said...

I just found your review and have read up to this post.

I LOVE YOU. I seriously love you. Thank you so much for this. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU EVER NEED A KIDNEY OR ANYTHING.

Lucky Vine said...

"Look, I'm not going to sit here and generalize that no one has ever come into a D/s relationship as a virgin or a virgin minus one..."

What does "virgin minus one" mean? I tried Googling it, but no relevant results came up.

Lucky Vine said...

"Can I just point out that I am this angry and the sex hasn't even started yet?"

I don't know why I laughed so hard at this, but I did. ^_^

Lucky Vine said...

"PICK A NOUN, ANY NOUN. PUSSY. VAGINA. SNATCH. ENVELOPE. TOASTER. I DON'T FUCKING CARE."

~BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! This makes me almost want to read the books myself and substitute every instance of "there" with "toaster". *Almost*. XD