Friday, June 15, 2012

50 Sobs of Anguish

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

Sorry for the delay in getting to the next review. I was in danger of walking out in front of a bus over this book, so I did some other things for a few days such as heavy drinking and my job. I thought I was ready and started reading again last night. Wrong. I will never be ready.

Chapter 9 begins with the typical bullshit: Ana wakes up in Christian's bed and describes his resplendent face which is all the more beautiful for him being asleep, then goes looking for the bathroom but wanders into a closet first which she describes in detail, the sole purpose of this being to once again remind us that he is rich. WE KNOW. WE FUCKING KNOW ALREADY. HE HAS MORE MONEY THAN GOD, I THINK WE CAN ASSUME HE HAS A GIANT CLOSET OR FIVE THAT ARE FULL OF EXPENSIVE CLOTHES. MOVE THE FUCK ON. She is also about to ramp up this thing she's been doing throughout the book where she personifies her subconscious and has conversations with it. I have notes about this from earlier in the book, but there are so many other things wrong with it, I've mostly glossed over this. But now I can't anymore because it's in every other sentence. This is exactly how she tries to process the night before while she is making breakfast, to wit:
  • "My subconscious has woken. She's staring at me with pursed lips, tapping her foot. So you've just slept with him, given him your virginity, a man who doesn't love you."
  • "My subconscious scowls at me...Fucking - not lovemaking, she screams at me like a harpy."
I am not fucking kidding you guys, there is something similar to that on nearly every page I read last night which is THREE. FUCKING. CHAPTERS. Not only is this incredibly irritating, it also makes no sense. You can't have a conversation with your subconscious because you are not aware of it. THAT IS WHAT THE WORD SUBCONSCIOUS MEANS.

In the meantime, she has complained about her hair (she will now begin using the term "just fucked hair" over and over and over and over and I wonder if she misplaced her thesaurus or just shoved it up her ass for the time being) and decides to put it in pigtails thinking maybe Christian will find her less attractive that way, thus proving my theory that she has never seen any porn. Christian shows up during the breakfast making and they have an entire conversation using exceptionally ridiculous innuendos i.e. "How would you like your eggs?" "Thoroughly whisked and beaten." Right. I remember my first "whisking". This is asinine. He asks how sore she is, which she thinks is an extremely personal question for some reason. Later in this same conversation, she will ask him if his family knows about his "predilection" which I found at least equally personal and also stupid because who in the actual fuck tells their family the details of their sex life no matter what kind of sex they are having? There's more foreshadowing about wasted food because every time he's in the room she loses her appetite. I'm pretty sure she hasn't eaten in about three days.

After breakfast Christian decides they should take a bath together. She has several freak outs in her head during this scene over the fact that she is naked, and that he is naked and JESUS YOU JUST FUCKED HIM IT'S A BIT LATE TO BE WORRIED ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT HE CAN SEE YOUR TITS. He washes her and it's idiotic and makes me wonder if she's ever seen a washcloth before. Then he tells her it's her turn to wash him and I don't even want to describe this scene to you guys because it starts out fucking awful and progresses to preposterous. First of all, she turns around to face him and he has his dick in his hand. She gasps and her mouth drops open. That is her actual reaction to that. No idea that penis touching was a thing. None. I was about to roll my eyes until I read the next sentence, spoken by Christian: "I want you to become well acquainted, on first name terms if you will, with my favorite and most cherished part of my body. I'm very attached to this." Now I can't roll my eyes because they have just fallen out of my head onto the fucking floor. NO ONE TALKS LIKE THIS. AND IF THEY DO YOU SHOULD LAUGH AT THEM BECAUSE THAT IS A JACKASS THING TO SAY. He starts showing her how to jerk him off, or trying to, but she's not watching because she can't stop gazing into his eyes (hand jobs: the most romantic of jobs!). She is so amazed by this entire process that "My lips are parted to accommodate my breathing." ACCOMMODATE. YOUR BREATHING. STOP WRITING LIKE THIS, I AM RUNNING OUT OF SWEAR WORDS TO SHOUT AT YOU. That was the awful part. The preposterous part is when she instinctively starts sucking him off, despite twelve seconds ago being completely paralysed by the very sight of a cock, AND guess what? No, seriously, guess what you guys? Just guess.


Yes. Anameoba (I just thought of that right now and I am super proud of myself), of Thefirsttimeieverthoughtaboutsexwasyesterdayland, is multi-orgasmic, has hypersensitive nipples, and NO gag reflex. I WILL CUT A BITCH. According to Wikipedia, about one third of healthy adults have no gag reflex. Ana is one of them because OF COURSE SHE IS, SHE WAS BUILT FOR SEX. The most annoying part of this is that it isn't at all hard to learn to suppress a gag reflex, and having Christian actually teach her that could have potentially been an extremely sexy scene (in the hands of another writer, anyway). But no, James doesn't have any interest in writing characters that are in any way believable, let alone relatable. They all have to be the most extreme example possible of whatever it is she wants them to be and she wants Ana to be a Realdoll with sound effects. The crowning jewel of this scene is this line right here: "He's my very own Christian Grey-flavored popsicle." OH FUCK PLEASE STOP THINKING THINGS BEFORE I LOSE THE WILL TO LIVE.

Afterwards, he takes her back in his room, and we get the first bit of bondage in the book. He has her put her hands together and then ties them WITH A NECKTIE FROM HIS CLOSET. EVERYBODY GET INSIDE QUICK BEFORE YOU GET HIT WITH THE CLICHES THAT ARE RAINING DOWN FROM THE SKY. So he ties her hands together and tells her to leave them over her head, which she sucks at, and he tells her to hold still, which she sucks at, and right before he goes down on her she says "My heated blood pools low in my belly, between my legs, right down there." I don't even know where to start. 1. Your blood is the same temperature it's always been. 2. If blood is pooling in your belly, then you are hemorrhaging internally and you require medical attention. 3. STOP SAYING THERE. IT'S A VAGINA. IF YOU CAN'T SAY THE WORDS THEN YOU ARE NOT READY TO DO THIS. VAGINA. She comes from the oral and she comes again approximately 30 seconds later from the sex.

As they are laying there recovering, they hear voices in the hallway. It's Christian's assistant telling his mother she can't go in his room because he's with someone. For some reason, Christian is super excited to introduce Ana to his mother. He gets dressed in a hurry, much to Ana's shock: "...pulls on his jeans - no underwear!" OH MY GOD I DIDN'T EVEN KNOW YOU COULD DO THAT. Ana has a self obsessive freak out because she has no clean clothes and her hair is a mess and her subconscious has just called her a ho (seriously). She finally gets her shit together and goes out to meet the mother.

Christian's mother is Dr. Grace Travelyan-Grey. Ana's first thought at this introduction is that Christian's middle initial is T, which must be for Travelyan because what else could T possibly stand for? Not an assessment of this woman's demeanor, not more than a perfunctory description of what she looks like - just "I bet his middle name is Travelyan! Wow!" AS IF IT THAT'S WHAT WOULD FUCKING MATTER TO YOU WHEN BEING INTRODUCED TO YOUR BRAND NEW LOVER'S MOTHER. While they are chatting, Ana's phone rings. She excuses herself and answers it without bothering to look at the phone, which absolutely no one ever does in this day and age, but it has to be that way because if she'd SEEN it was Jose calling and not Kate she wouldn't have answered it and that doesn't fit the story E. L. James is trying to kill me with. She quickly ends the call, but not fast enough. Dr. Travelyan goes to leave (how long has she been there, five minutes? Who does that?), offering her cheek for Christian to kiss, but not touching him (so I guess we'll be finding out at some point that part of why he's "fucked up" is that his mother is not affectionate). As soon as she's gone, Christian's whole demeanor changes. It is glaringly obvious that this is due to Jose's phone call to Ana, which lasted less than one minute and during which she was very short with him and eventually hangs up on him, but it is still all her fault that he called somehow, and Christian is INFURIATED. Ana, clueless as usual, can't put her finger on why he's being such a dick all of a sudden. HEY FUCKWAD, YOUR NEW NOT BOYFRIEND IS A VIOLENTLY JEALOUS AND POSSESSIVE STALKER WHO WILL SOON START INSISTING THAT YOU HAVE NO MALE FRIENDS BECAUSE IF YOU DO HE WILL KILL YOU. THIS IS EXTREMELY CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR, NOT IN A BDSM WAY, BUT IN AN UNHEALTHY ABUSIVE WAY. IT IS FUCKING INSANE THAT YOU DON'T SEE THIS COMING. WHERE THE FUCK IS YOUR PERSONIFIED SUBCONSCIOUS NOW? I cannot, CANNOT believe at this point that there are thousands of women out there reading this book and thinking this is somehow romantic. This is making me hate my entire gender.

As they get ready for him to take her back home, he hands her an envelope with the contract in it and tells her to read it and to do some research. And then has to specify "on the internet" because she is confused, after four years of college, about what research means. Even armed with this instruction she's stymied - she doesn't have access to a computer. Apparently on the WHOLE CAMPUS, there is not ONE public computer. Not in the library, not in the student computers available for students who don't have or can't afford one of their own to use. Or, in fact, at any off campus location in the entire city of Portland. No public libraries. No internet cafes. Nothing. This book is set in 2011 in a city. I started college in 1996 in a very small, very rural town in southeast Ohio and let me tell you something: there were computers everywhere. There is zero chance that this girl went through four years of college without access to any computers. This plot point is entirely contrived so that Christian Grey can buy her an awesome new computer. I can never go to West London again, because if I accidentally run into this author on the street I am going to lose my shit and it's going to start an international incident that could lead to a third world war.

They begin heading back to Portland in one of his cars, I can't be arsed to go back and look up exactly which one. On the way they stop at a restaurant, for three reasons. The first is so she can foreshadow more crap about Christian's issues with eating everything on one's plate for about the sixth time. The second is to give her a chance to reminisce about the way his pants hang from his hips (5). The third is to give them a chance to have another ridiculous conversation touching on the following points:

  • Ana is the first girl he has ever introduced to his mother.
  • It is the first time EVER IN HIS LIFE he has had vanilla sex.
  • An explanation of the term vanilla sex, leading Ana to think to herself "I thought it was chocolate fudge brownie sex that we had, with a cherry on top." You guys have no idea how much I wish I was making that sentence up just to amuse you.
And also the following MAJOR PLOT POINTS:

  • Christian was seduced by a friend of his mother when he was 15 years old.
  • He went on to be her submissive for SIX YEARS.
I'm trying to withhold judgement on this until I know more, but I'm having trouble wrapping my head around this. While there are certainly people in the community who enjoy taking both Dominant and submissive roles (lesson of the day, vanillas: these people are called switches), I believe it is pretty rare to have been very rigidly one of those things for years, and then suddenly give that up entirely and only be interested in the opposite. Maybe that's not what's happening here, but so far it looks that way - Christian spent six years being a woman's full time submissive and when that ended, he decided he was a Dominant and appears to have never looked back. I also dislike Ana's thought about this, "he knows what it's like", due to the implication that because he knows what it's like, he's can't be capable of going too far as a Dom. I feel like she's preemptively excusing behavior from Christian for which there is actually no excuse. We'll see, but I don't like where this is going.

When Ana gets home, she does her best to tell Kate about her night with Christian without really telling her much of anything, still under the impression that the NDA she signed is somehow legally enforceable. Kate has spent that whole time boning Elliot. From the conversation, she is clearly in love with him despite having known him for two days. Then Jose calls again. Ana immediately forgives him for being a piece of shit the other night because she doesn't have a lot of respect for herself and so James can set up a situation that will be a source of continued conflict between Ana and Christian for the entire rest the book. HE IS JEALOUS, THIS IS HOW YOU KNOW BOTH THAT HE IS A DOM AND THAT HE IS IN LOVE WITH HER.

Both girls are exhausted from their "carnal exertions". I am exhausted from dry heaving. Kate goes off to bed, and Ana goes to her room but stays up to read through the contract Christian gave her to look at.

The beginning of Chapter 11 is the contract. The first several pages of it, I have only written one note: "I AM BORED". It is written very much like a legal contract, despite the fact that it is in no way legally enforceable (BrownsFan says that this explains the language in the contract capitalizing submissive - Submissive referring specifically to Ana to differentiate her from other unnamed submissives that might be mentioned in part of the contract. Since it's not an actual legal document though, I still think this is pretty much bullshit). It's all pretty boiler plate stuff that I don't really feel like going over, so feel free to google it if you're interested in how a D/s contract is worded. I do want to point out one thing, however: a clause on page 169 that reads "The Dominant shall maintain his own good health and seek medical attention when necessary to maintain a risk-free environment." There is absolutely no such thing as a risk-free environment. I don't even know what this is supposed to mean. The appendix with the hard limits is repeated, followed by an appendix with a list of soft limits. There's a lot of them, but the one I make note of is anal fisting, because I can't imagine a person like Ana calmly reading something like that on the same day that she nearly passed out because Christian lightly touched his own penis in front of her. You'd think I'd be used to her reacting in ways that no reasonable person with her level of experience would react, but I'm not. No, she can handle reading about anal fisting - it's the food list she can't bring herself to consider.

She reads all this and she is outraged. This is the first thing she has done in this book that has made any sense. Anyone with no natural submissive tendencies and virtually no knowledge of sex of any kind ought to react that way. Her personified subconscious is now arguing with her "inner goddess" while I try to dig a hole through my leg with a letter opener. Subconscious says this entire idea is ludicrous. Inner goddess says "Please let's do this...otherwise we'll end up alone with lots of cats and your classic novels to keep you company." YES BECAUSE IF YOU DON'T BECOME A SUB ON YOUR FIRST TRY AT ANY KIND OF RELATIONSHIP, YOU WILL NEVER GET ANOTHER CHANCE AND YOU ARE DOOMED TO THE LIFE OF A SPINSTER. I hope inner goddess drowns in the fucking bathtub.

The next day, Kate wakes up Ana because there is someone at the door with a large package for her - Christian has bought her the "latest" MacBook Pro. The guy tells her these MacBooks aren't available in stores yet. He isn't kidding. Allegedly, Ana's new MacBook Pro has 32 gigs of RAM and a 1.5 terabyte hard drive. Aware of the author's tendency to exaggerate things in order to prove Christian's extraordinary wealth, I get on to check the specs of the current MacBook Pro and as I expected there is no such MacBook. CHRISTIAN GREY IS SO RICH HE JUST BOUGHT HER A MACBOOK PRO FROM THE FUTURE. Not only that, but all she's planning to do with this incredibly fast machine with practically limitless storage is google shit and check her e-mail. I'm no tech geek, but I do believe that's overkill. SPEAKING OF E-MAIL, as her door to door Apple Genius is setting up her Me account, he explains that it's her new e-mail address and she is totes startled because oh em gee, she has an e-mail address. Ana, we've been over this: It is 2011 and you are a college student. You HAVE an e-mail address, IT COMES AS A FREE GIFT WITH YOUR EDUCATION. It has been that way for AT LEAST 15 YEARS. Stop acting like it's still the late 80's, YOU WEREN'T EVEN FUCKING BORN THEN. The author of this book has never met anyone born in 1990. There is NO WAY this girl never had an e-mail address before.

What follows is a series of idiotic one line e-mails between Ana and Christian where they are replying to each other so quickly I write in my notes "WHY DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT INSTANT MESSENGER IS?" She gets some direction from him on what specifically she should google, but she phrases it as "What would you suggest I put into a search engine?" instead of "What should I google?" because E.L. James is worse at writing dialogue than George Lucas. And when she's done, she sighs happily because Christian Grey e-mailed her. HE IS SO FUCKING DREAMY, YOU GUYS. HOLY SHIT, WAIT UNTIL YOU SEE HOW AWESOME HE IS AT WEARING PANTS.

I need a handle of tequila. And an ice pick.


StereoNinja said...


Maqz said...


Anonymous said...

Love your style. That's the problem with self published ebooks (as this was initially), no editorial control.

Sarah Stevenson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Stevenson said...

Also - at the end of chapter eight after she loses his virginity to him: "I realise that I've not see his naked chest before".

Erm, how about mid-way through chapter five when "he emerges from the bathroom wet and glistening from the shower, still unshaven, with just a towel around his waist".

Anonymous said...

Iam very much enjoying reading your blog on this (and saving me from reding the book)--I appreciate the great sacrifice you're making! It's also great that you have knowledge of the BDSM world, so you can put a good perspective to how completely bat-shit ludicrous this is.

And that's been my opinion on this book, from reading your review....this book is merely bat-shit ludicrous. Until I read the part about the MacBook. (background, I work for a certain that kind of manufactures and sells said computer....). At this point I am now rage face, screaming, wanting to throw my iPad (which I'm reading your blog on) out the window, going to burn down the local Barnes and Noble. New MacBook Pros were just released, and even those don't have the specs that this book describes (32gb of RAM? No, that's still a computer from the future)....and this book was written well before the announcement in June 2012 that you could put up to 16gb of RAM in a Mac laptop. Sure, you could put in a 1.5tb hard drive...but that's not an option available from Apple...and as you pointed out why for the love of god would you do that. Any Specialist (person who sells computers at Apple) would talk even the richest motherfucker out of spending unnecessary money on a computer with specs that are too much. I don't care how rich Christian is....there is NO FUCKING WAY HE COULD GET A COMPUTER BEFORE ITS RELEASED. NO FUCKING WAY. NONE. I'M SO SERIOUS ABOUT THIS THIS IS IN CAPS, BOLD AND ITALICS. Even of you knew Steve Jobs himself, you are not getting a god damn computer before its'd have to, I don't know be a vampire and "glamor" (that's a thing, roght?) someone to get something before its released...on excuse me...before its even fucking ANNOUNCED. New product doesn't exist at Apple until its announced. PERIOD. Ask me, is Apple working on a new product? My response, until it's announced, nope.

Did James specify in the book that it was an Apple Genius helping her set up the computer (or was it a non-descript computer IT guy and you inferred it was a "Genius"?)? If James blantently said "Apple Genius", also false. 1) Apple does not send retail employees on house calls. If I'm to suspend a bit of disbelief, and yes, Christian is really really rich.....sure Apple could send someone to your house to set up a computer, but it sure as fuck is not going to be an Apple Genius. It's going to be a contractor....and I also seriously doubt Apple would be willing to send a contractor out to a PERSONAL home to set up ONE computer (I mean, if you're really really rich, I suppose anything is possible). 2) even if Apple did house calls, they also wouldn't have sent a Genius. Geniuses do NOT set up computers (they fix them....what Ana's amazing, new, not-available-to-the-public...or available in reality computer is broken already? I'm sure since she's such an idiot with computers, it will be soon....).

Inbetween Girl said...

This blog is fantastic. Thank you so much, not only for saving me the trouble of reading this appalling book, but for turning it into something that is actually well written and enjoyable.

I misread "carnal excursions" as "camel excursions" at first. Any time I want to talk about humping in future, I will call it a camel excursion.

Anonymous said...

Wtf? The book is awesome, it's supposed to stimulate your fantasy and make you hot and bothered not be perfect in every way. It's one of the BEST erotica novels I've read...

Quvonda said...

I promise you honey, If you keep'll know better!

ooooh and i don't mean 50 shades....i mean REAL erotica

amberance said...

I think I may post a list of my suggestions for erotica books between book reviews. I haven't found one moment of this book sexually stimulating, and I am a person who gets turned on from things as innocuous as the smell of fabric softener.

Quvonda said...

Omg. I never would have caught that! What was James doing? Sleeping? Fucking idiot!

Anonymous said...

Ugh, the part about the search engine reminds me of the part in Twilight where Bella enters the word vampire into "her favourite search engine". Is there a reason why they can't use the word Google? Will they get sued for unauthorised product placement or something? Hasn't the word sunk into our collective consciousness enough by now that we can use it willy nilly, like kleenex, or hoover? I just don't even know sometimes.

Loving this blog though, keep up the great work. I die laughing at all your entries, I'm so glad the internet exists so I can laugh at this piece of shit without actually having to read it.

Anonymous said...

Loving the Blog thanks a million. I really think someone needs to pay you Christian Grey levels of money to publish this as a companion guide.

MJN said...

MOst entertaining book review I have read in years. Apologies if you have already done this (I have only just encountered your blog) but can you now do a Movie review of Prometheus?

Spankyouhelpyhelper said...

Love your work - have only got this far in the book...couldnt bear to read any more until I was directed to your blog through the guardian...Im going to have to read more now so I can carry on reading your posts! Hilarious - makes the book worth reading!!!

Shawn Lucas said...

You, along with the woman from 50 Shades of Suck, have become a part of my support group for my obsession with the obsession with this book. I have tried (and failed) on numerous occasions to understand the appeal of the book. I have even read parts of it. Unlike you, though, I was not able to get beyond the horrible writing, unrelatable characters, and atrocious story. Plus, I don't have the witty banter with myself as I read, so it was a wholly unenjoyable experience. With your reading, at least you were able to bring joy to others with your commentary.

I have not yet received an answer to why people like the book. It's bubblegum for the brain, a good summer read. No, it isn't even that. I can forgive a bad story, terrible characters, and awful writing as long as one or two of those are involved in the story. There are none in this case. Even bubblegum serves a purpose by occupying your jaws. There's a story around the sex. There may be. I was not able to find it buried underneath the awful dialogue and terrible prose.

So, thank you again for giving voice to people who despise this series of books and who have been called frustrated starving artists, prudes, or just haters. There are legitimate reasons to hate these books. Sharing in mutual hatred has been a boon for my psyche. Sorry that you had to endure and I wish I could repay you somehow.

Anonymous said...

my god. the macbook of the future. Even barbara cartland didn't do that.

katie (the girl) said...


Seriously,I have been guffawing (yeah, I've got a thesaurus too!) the whole way through these chapter reviews. They're so funny.
I actually have read the books, and while I found the style of writing pretty ridiculous, I couldn't put them down.
Anyways, keep it up, I think you're fantastic!

Lucy "lupiilu" O'Sullivan said...

"Oh my" I don't even know how you're reading this tripe! I live in England, you send me the authors address and I'll gladly do time for her! She needs to die for the sake of humanity!

My sister, best friend and other friends are reading this and they keep trying to force it onto me! NOT GONNA HAPPEN!

Your descriptions is fantastic, just wish I'd read a samestyle blog re: twilight and saved myself the hardship of having to live with that book in my brain!

Lucy "lupiilu" O'Sullivan said...

Oh crap! I mean are fantastic! Damn the damage left by twilight!

Leanne said...

Chritian T Grey.

The "T" stands for Turd.

Kate said...

"I want you to become well acquainted, on first name terms if you will, with my favorite and most cherished part of my body. I'm very attached to this."

I actually, quite literally facepalmed at that sentence.

I was laughing pretty much throughout and then sobered up when I read your commentary here.

"I feel like she's preemptively excusing behavior from Christian for which there is actually no excuse. We'll see, but I don't like where this is going."

Neither do I, if you know anything at all about abusive relationships, you know that a major warning sign that someone is becoming a victim is when they start making excuses for their partner's unreasonable behaviour. That is not something that should ever be portrayed as being okay.

Then I laughed again when you said she's worse at dialogue than George Lucas.

Holly said...

Please do post a list of erotic fiction. That would be awesome! And thanks for all your longsuffering humor. :)

RogueFiccer said...

I doubt Ana, who had no idea what masturbation was until Christian told her, would have any clue what anal fisting was.

Nebel said...


I love you for this. For this all, really :D

Anonymous said...

Your reviews are so great, you make me laugh so hard! I want to print this and hug it every night before going to bed!

Jessie said...

I put a link to your blog on mine, because I couldn't stand to summarize another bit of Fifty Shades of Crap.

Lianabug said...

Love love love these reviews. Thank you so much for writing these, I seriously could not think of a better way to spend my Wednesday evening.

One thing I wanted to point out though: The whole idea of going from being a submissive to being a Dom almost overnight seems ludicrous at first, but if you think about it, it could have been that Christian was too young when his mother's friend became involved with him to know what he wanted out of a sexual relationship, and after coming out of it, realized how horrible or emasculating or whatever being a sub actually was for him. And then trying to regain his masculinity/self-confidence/whatever through being a Dom. Or perhaps he just realized that being a Dom suited him better. I'm just hypothesizing, but these things actually do happen in real life; in fact, something similar happened to my current S/O. Just wanted to throw that out there.

Now, to continue reading the rest of the reviews! :)

Nelly Alejandro said...

Thánk you for saving me from reading this filth ... I would of break my iPad had I read this crap

Lucky Vine said...

"Anameoba (I just thought of that right now and I am super proud of myself)."

~ LOL you should be! ^_^