Tuesday, June 26, 2012

50 Bags of Douche

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

You know what's good about this book? Nothing. Except that I am three chapters away from finishing it.

Chapter 21 opens with Ana waking up alone in Christian's bed. She goes looking for him and finds him in his study, on the phone, brusquely saying a bunch of businessy sounding words so we will know he is a busy and important man. When he gets off the phone he fucks her on his desk. Wait, scratch that. When he gets off the phone they have a ridiculous conversation that is meant to be coy but isn't, and then he DRAMATICALLY SWEEPS ALL THE PAPERS OFF HIS DESK ONTO THE FLOOR and then fucks her on the desk. HE IS SO DASHING AND IMPULSIVE OH MY GOD. I'm pretty sure this exact scene is in every romance novel written ever, but without the stupefyingly florid language: "Pushing me higher, higher to the castle in the air."/"...as I touch the sun and burn, falling around him, falling down, to a breathless, bright summit on Earth." I don't even kn....WHAT? Everyone is all happy until he asks her if she really needs to go to Georgia, and when she says she does he turns all cold and pissy. IT'S NOT COOL IF YOU VISIT YOUR MOM WITHOUT ME. IT GIVES ME AN ANGRY. I feel like I should put the list of signs a person is being abused up here and cite all the examples of Christian exhibiting those signs, but we'd be here all fucking day, and this is only five pages into the three chapters I plan to cover today.

After she showers, they have breakfast and argue about how she's going to get to Georgia. She says she can buy a plane ticket, on her own, because she's sick of him buying her crap. He says, out loud, "I have a jet." I say, out loud, "I have a migraine." They also argue about her not telling him which publishing houses she's planning on interviewing with that day. I have no idea how this is even a plot point. I get that she wants to achieve something on her own, but he has magical cell phone tracking/future shopping/super stalker powers, it's not like he can't easily find this out and I find it highly unlikely given everything else he's pulled so far that he hasn't done it already. They end the conversation by playing schmoopie and promising to miss each other terribly while she is away. I already know where this is going and so do you. I'm setting the over/under on when he will show up in Georgia at 2.5 days.

Ana has two interviews today: one with a large conglomerate in which she fears she will be just one of many in a sea of editorial assistants, next to which I write "Welcome to real life", the other at a small boutique firm she is much more excited about. She goes into enormous detail about the second interview. She is interviewed by two people: a woman called Elizabeth who has what Ana describes as "pre-Raphaelite hair" as if the audience for this book were the same as the audience for classical paintings (I was just barely able to restrain myself from immediately getting up and shaving my head) and a man called Jack who is way hip, which you can tell because he has a ponytail and earrings and he doesn't even wear a tie! She spends much more time describing Jack than she does Elizabeth and feels unsettled after the interview despite it seeming to have gone well. I have several theories:
  • He is going to heart her and be creepy like almost every other man she knows.
  • He is going to not be creepy and turn out to be a good boss and mentor, but Christian is going to ruin everything with irrational jealousy.
  • Christian has already gotten to him and he feels like he has to hire her OR ELSE.
When she gets home, she confronts Kate about constantly winding Christian up, and Kate again admits to doing this intentionally and insists that creating jealousy is the key to a long and happy commitment, while at the exact same time warning her that Christian might be dangerous and questioning whether she is running to her mother to escape from him. Hey Kate, if you're worried your friend might be in a relationship she feels she needs to escape from maybe INCITING JEALOUSY in this potentially abusive monster is NOT THE BEST OPTION. Moreover, whether Christian does or doesn't have commitment issues is NONE OF YOUR GODDAMN BUSINESS. Ana admits that the only time they seem to get along is when they're screwing, to which Kate replies "If that's going well, then that's half the battle." Now, I'm the last person who is going to argue that satisfying sex isn't vital to a relationship, but this seems to imply that satisfying sex is pretty much how you know you ARE in a good relationship and that...that just isn't true. Kate apparently has yet to experience the glory of hate fucking someone you otherwise can't stand. I'm kind of sad for her.

Ana heads to her room to email Christian and then sits there staring at the screen waiting for him to reply. That's not me being sarcastic, that is actually in the book: "I sit and glare at the screen. Christian's responses are usually instantaneous. I wait...and wait, and finally I hear the welcome ping from my inbox." She sat there and did nothing but stare at her inbox for 14 fucking minutes. I'm not sure what's more idiotic, that, or that fact that usually Christian is doing the exact same thing yet we are expected to believe that he is a very busy and important man. INSTANT. MESSENGER. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

That evening, Kate drops her off at the airport, where she discovers that once again Christian can't help himself from meddling in her affairs and has upgraded her to first class. And I realize that that is a very nice thing to do on the surface, but the way I'm seeing it is that she is constantly telling him that those sorts of behaviors make her uncomfortable, and he is repeatedly ignoring her wishes. Therefore, this isn't a nice thing to do, it's just another way he's attempting to control her entire life and another reason why he doesn't deserve any of the trust she's given him. Also, this is more of the stalking: she never told him what flight she was on. He's got to be either hacking her email or tracking keystrokes, right? Because otherwise he's hacked into the booking systems of every airline that flies out of Seattle and I don't even want to think about that.

In Chapter 22, Ana gets a manicure and a massage in the first class lounge, which makes me wonder why she's at the airport so fucking early, and that is saying something because I am pretty insane about making sure I get to the airport early. She's also drinking a shit ton of champagne again, causing her "to forgive Christian and his intervention" or make excuses for him to justify his behavior, depending on how you look at it. She then gets on her magical FutureBook "hoping to test the theory that it works anywhere on the planet." Holy fuck, Ana, let me help you with that. It DOESN'T work anywhere on the planet. It works anywhere that has WI-FI. Places such as FUCKING AIRPORTS. Even my boss understands this and without going into too much detail, the man is NOT GOOD with computers and the internet (OK, one example: "Do you know how to get a Facebook?"). She emails him about her first class lounge activities and gets an immediate reply. See if you can guess which one of these lines was in his response:
  • I'm glad you are enjoying yourself.
  • I hope you have a safe flight.
  • I bet your nails look as lovely as the rest of your beautiful hands.
  • Who was massaging your back?
She replies that a very nice and attractive young man massaged her back and she enjoyed it thoroughly. She leaves out the part where she thinks he's gay (incidentally, she has made this assumption based on the fact that he has a tan - I did not realize this was the universal sign for "queer"). And then she thinks to herself "Oh, he's going to flip out". I would like to take this opportunity to remind you than only a few hours ago she was yelling at Kate for doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING SHE JUST DID, and to point out that this is the kind of behavior you would normally expect to see from a girl in junior high. She then continues being a complete asshole by being on her Blackberry after being told to put it the fuck away. SHE IS IN LOVE, THE RULES DO NOT APPLY TO HER. Her idiotic plan works - he goes into a rage and threatens to lock her in a crate. She is all, oh gee whiz, I'm super sorry that I made you all mad 'n stuff, which she absolutely is not because it was her stated intention to do so, and then he tells her to get the motherfuck off her Blackberry, saving me the trouble of screaming that out loud at no one. HAVE I MENTIONED THAT I HATE THIS FUCKING BOOK?

Arriving in Georgia, she meets her mother at the airport and predictably bursts into tears again. Here the author throws in a paragraph that has nothing to do with anything else about whether Ana should invite Christian to Jose's art show the following week (hint: NO). She has not brought this up again through the rest of the chapter and a half I've finished so far. I want to club a baby seal. Ana and her mother go to the beach, where her mom asks her what's up with this guy who has her so upset. Ana is amazed by this insightful question: "How can she tell?" Who knows, Ana? It could be maternal intuition...or it could be the fact that you are CONSTANTLY FUCKING CRYING OVER HIM. Her mother's advice, which for some reason isn't RUN THE FUCK AWAY, is that men are "simple, literal creatures." E. L. James does not appear to think much more of men as a gender than she does of women. Ana finds this to be sound advice: "She is on her fourth marriage. Maybe she does know something about men after all." I can't figure out a way to spin this observation in any way that would make it seem sensible, even to someone as crushingly illogical as Ana.

Ana gets back to her iMpossible to find an extremely long email from Christian, highlighting the intended dynamics of a D/s relationship, which would make absolute sense if not for the fact that Christian is the one saying it and he is constantly violating every single tenet he mentions. The email makes her realize how much she loves him and misses him. They have been apart for less than 24 hours. She emails him back some fucking nonsense while she gets dressed to have dinner with her parents. It takes him two whole minutes to respond to it, and the conversation devolves into frighteningly juvenile cybersex before her mother calls her because they are leaving for dinner. When she gets back, they continue this idiotic exchange until he sends her a final email for the night: "I am having dinner with an old friend now so I will be driving."

On reading that, Ana immediately FREAKS THE FUCK OUT because the only friend he has that she's aware of is the woman who was his Domme, and not only is Ana rabidly jealous of her for no legitimate reason, she is wholly convinced that she is nothing but a predatory child molester who preyed on his horrific early childhood in order to manipulate him and ruin his entire life. I won't debate the appropriateness of seducing a 15 year old, but I would like to point out that this relationship went on for six years, meaning that for half of it he was a legal and consenting adult, and that when it ended he was the exact same age that Ana is now. In a rage she starts googling him looking for photos of him with this woman, which she doesn't find because there aren't any, because nothing sinister is going on here at all - they are FRIENDS. After paging through eighteen pages of search results (who is the crazy stalker now?) she emails him the extremely loaded question of who was he having dinner with and then goes to sleep in despair.

After spending the next day shopping and whatnot with her mother, they decide to go for cocktails. They are drowning themselves in Cosmopolitans. Christian has uncharacteristically not replied to her email all day. When her mother goes to the bathroom, she checks and finds the email she's been dreading, confirming that he did have dinner with THAT EVIL WOMAN and also pointing out (again) that they are just friends. Ana shits a canary. ALL HER FEARS ARE COMING TRUE. She went away for two days and he immediately "runs off to that evil bitch." She unleashes the crazy in a frantic email: "She's not just an old friend. Has she found another adolescent boy to sink her teeth into? Did you get too old for her? Is that the reason your relationship finished?"(Which, by the way, if that were the reason, I can't figure out what she's afraid of - it's not like he's going to suddenly age backwards and become acceptably barely legal to her again.) Seeing as she's so unbelievably upset, she does the reasonable thing and orders another Cosmo. When she gets his reply I find it half reasonable, half terrifying, and 100% what I predicted earlier. Reasonable: I'm not having this conversation with you in an email. Terrifying: BTW, how many cocktails do you plan to have you fucking lush? Wait, can he see her? Holy shit, y'all, THE CALL IS COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE. Predictable: GUESS WHO THE FUCK IS IN GEORGIA AT PRECISELY THE BAR SHE AND HER MOTHER HAVE GONE TO FOR DRINKS?

He walks over to them to start the next chapter, and she temporarily forgets how angry she was five seconds ago. She is now ecstatic because he came to Georgia for her. She introduces him to her mother. Now, I don't have any children, but if I did, and my impossibly naive daughter's boyfriend who makes her cry ALL THE FUCKING TIME decided to STALK HER ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE CONTINENT, at the very least I would be pointedly polishing my gun and staring at him, assuming I didn't just immediately stab him in the throat by way of introduction. Not Ana's mother, though. Carla is at first speechless, due to his being so breathtakingly handsome, and when she recovers from her awe over the existence of such a beautiful creature, she invites him to sit down for a drink, and then later invites him to have dinner with them the following evening. She then excuses herself so they can have some privacy.

Once she's gone, Ana resumes her anger and she and Christian have a heated conversation about this woman. She insists to him that this woman molested him, abused him, and forced him into a BDSM lifestyle he didn't actually want. Because she knows absolutely everything since she was THERE and SHE SAW IT ALL and he just DOESN'T UNDERSTAND how horrible it was for him. Christian has a different opinion: the relationship was entirely consensual from the beginning. She was never abusive to him in any way - in fact, she saved him from the destructive path he was headed down. She has never been anything but good and kind to him and that is why despite having no sexual relationship any longer, they are still close friends and business partners. Ana's not having any of it. And not only is she unable to accept that this woman isn't a depraved sexual predator, but she's worried there might be an even bigger problem: "Did you love her?" Because, she tells us, if he ever loved her at some point in the distant past BEFORE ANA EVER FUCKING MET HIM, then EVERYTHING WILL BE RUINED. HOW DARE HE HAVE HAD A LIFE AND HAVE FELT FEELINGS BEFORE SHE CAME ALONG? THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE.

He doesn't get a chance to answer this before her mother comes back. When she does, he heads back to his room. Her mother is completely fucking smitten with him. Mother of the fucking year Carla encourages Ana to go to him - he is obviously in love with her if he flew all the way there for her on his private plane. All will be well. They just need to talk it out. And, you know, if she needs to spend the night with him, it's all cool. But, you know, let's finish our Cosmos first because that will be excellent for your judgement.


Ana goes to Christian's room, where he is stupid enough to be surprised to see her, and is also on the phone saying more buzzwords because he is super important. When he gets off the phone she is all set to have this out with him, but she can't because he is so overwhelmingly sexy she has to bang him right now. Oh by the way, she mentions a few pages earlier that she's started her period. I find it interesting that the same author who absolutely cannot use the word vagina in a sentence is completely comfortable writing two different scenes of period sex. I am also shocked to find out that Ana uses tampons and not pads, since that would involve putting her hands down there which I would have imagined she would find terrifying. (Oh, side note, I was talking to H-Town today and we've decided that every time she uses the phrase "down there" we are going to replace it in our heads with the phrase "special purpose" from The Jerk.) In between the two sex scenes, Ana realizes FINALLY that if the scars on his chest AREN'T chicken pox...it must mean that someone was probably using him as an ashtray at some point. Her immediate reaction is to assume that the person who did this was the woman who was his consensual lover for six years rather than the much more likely candidate of his crack whore birth mother (who by the way, has not been mentioned or wondered about since the GO TO SLEEP part, which is absolutely fucking insane. She did not outline this story before she wrote the book. There's no way. This makes no fucking sense). She is also upset because she thinks if he hadn't met this woman he would totes be "normal" and not a freak: "I just wonder what you would be like if you hadn't met her. If she hadn't introduced you to your...um, lifestyle." Now, I don't have any scientific studies to back this up, but my personal opinion born of my own experience and of other people I know in real life is that he probably wouldn't be any different sexually. He may have come to it later in life, or he may have gotten into a relationship with someone who wasn't compatible in that way and it would have remained just a fantasy forever (many, many people are in exactly this situation), but nevertheless, the interest in bondage and domination was probably always lurking there somewhere. I don't know, maybe I'm wrong and most people get into this lifestyle by first being dragged kicking and screaming by someone else. But somehow I doubt it, and if they could talk, so would all of my Barbie dolls who used to get tied up when I was young. I really can't stress this enough: BDSM sex is something people gravitate toward because they like it, not because someone fucked them up. Anyway, he does his best to disabuse her of the notion that his former lover is the cause of his overall fucked upedness. She was a grounding influence that kept him from becoming a person just like his birth mother and she most certainly did not put out cigarettes on his chest. She is a trusted friend he goes to for advice when he can't talk to anyone else. Ana still can't (and I suspect never will) accept this, and continues referring to her as "Mrs. Pedo" until Christian forces her to drop it. He instead goes for a much lighter subject: all those times when he was still learning the ropes when he paid for sex. She is predictably judgmental about it and idiotically upset that she can't say or do anything that would shock him in a similar way, because the goal of every healthy relationship is to constantly one up each other about things the other person finds appalling. But wait! As it turns out she's wrong! She's done plenty of things that shocked him to the core! Why, she wore his underwear once when hers was in the wash OH EM GEE! And she calls him by his first name like she's some kind of equal! Once she even went to dinner at his parents house without wearing any panties! GOOD LORD THIS WOMAN IS OUT OF FUCKING CONTROL HOW WILL HE EVER KEEP UP? This abomination of a chapter ends with them going to sleep together once again, and despite the fact that basically everything he's said to her the entire night is upsetting and the exact opposite of the traits she appears to be looking for in a mate SHE HAS NEVER BEEN SO FUCKING HAPPY.

Three more chapters, you guys. Just three chapters left for me to get through without committing murder or permanently destroying my vision with some sort of sharp implement. I better get a fucking medal for this.


Unknown said...

I keep hearing about this book over Twitter and other social media, and I am no so curious I am actually going to read it

Your commentary made me giggle out loud the whole time I was reading. I shall remember it while trying to get through the book xD

StereoNinja said...

The best bits...
You are genius women.

Jenn said...

The end will make you understand that whole Nazi burning book thing. It's the first time in my life I've wanted to do that, and simultaneously felt ashamed for passing along my own cash to read this in the first place. I felt dirty. I fed this. I supported this with my money.

Incidentally the CAPTCHA phrases for blogger are becoming increasingly incomprehensible. It's like they have the same editor as whatsherface James.

Ames said...

You are my hero <3
I really don't understand this mania that's sweeping around this series. I'm so relieved that I'm not the only one who constantly argued and despaired over the book....Please please please keep reading the series, you need to experience the horror of where this goes :p

amberance said...

I have to say, I do take comfort in the fact that I'm borrowing these books from someone else.

Don't blame yourself, you couldn't have known.

amberance said...

I will be making an announcement after the next one that I will be reviewing the rest of the series. I'm going to change the format of the reviews up a little, which I am very excited about, so stay tuned! <--- shameless plug

Unknown said...

I'm VERY excited by this....having read them all I can't wait to hear your notes!!!!!

Jenn said...

I was really really hoping you were going to read the next two because these reviews are priceless! The worst books I've ever read, yet it was like watching a train wreck... I just couldn't look away.

Anonymous said...

What kind of Kickstarter am I going to have to drum up to get you to read the other two books? You're a brave woman, and your rants on this subject are getting me through a very rough week.

amberance said...

I have found a way to handle at least one more: I've tricked my best friend into reading it with me. There will be details in the last post from this book.

Zombiehammer said...

I love this thing that you're doing. ALSO, I just realised something... this book is basically a story about Stockholm Syndrome.

That's scary.

amberance said...

YES. I have been trying to figure out how to say that without including a lecture on how Stockholm Syndrome works and why it happens, but it always comes out way too preachy.

Zombiehammer said...

Hell, go for preachy. This is scarily similar. This whole book terrifies me. If I had a daughter, I'd be deeply concerned if she read this. It's awful to see female friends on facebook posting 'I wish I had a Mr. Grey' on their statuses. If they'd prefer that over their existing lover... I shudder to think of the neglect these poor girls are receiving to choose THIS as a fantasy.

Anonymous said...

I too borrowed the books from someone I know. I am so glad I did not part with my hard earned cash for them.

Your reviews are brilliant, and have had me in hysterics from start to finish. Keep going!! The end is almost in sight!!

It brings me comfort to know that other people were thinking what I was thinking whilst reading it, although I feel that you put it more eloquently than I could with "what the zebra raping fuck" :-)

april said...

Hysterical! I love it!

Anonymous said...

WHAT IN THE ZEBRA RAPING FUCK? might be the best line I have ever, ever read.

You continue to delight me with your tortured review. I hope you do read all three books because you are doing a service for all human kind!

Anonymous said...

My book club is currently reading this [sigh]. I'm suspicious of anything that's #1 on best seller lists, which I suppose means I have little faith in the literary tastes of my fellow [wo]man. When I heard this book had kicked Harry Potter to the curb, I was doubly reluctant to read it. The initial buzz and a preview from a friend confirmed my suspicions: I'd be ashamed for anyone to see 50 shades of shit on my bookshelf and doubt I'd have been able to finish it out of pure frustration with the writer. Thanks to your fan-fucking-tastic review, I don't need to! This drivel makes Flowers in the Attic seem titillating. Judy Blume's material, aimed at a tween audience, was more erotic than this. The last time I can remember being incensed by such a vapid, self-absorbed character was while reading Eat, Pray, Love - I wanted to stick hot pokers in my eyes. I knew it was headed for the screen just like this one. There's talk of Angelina Jolie directing and Bret Easton Ellis writing the script....

This book sets women back at least 50 years and as noted, is a really sappy version of stockholm syndrome. And having dabbled in BDSM myself, it's sad to see the same tired misinformed stereotypes disseminated to such a large audience. I guess it would be naive to expect any integrity from the publisher with this kind of $$$ on the horizon.

But the popularity of this crapola brings up a broader issue: Who the hell are these women swooning over this series? Are they really so sheltered and inexperienced that this yawn of a story is seen as exotic and exciting? Has popular literature become so dumbed-down that good sentence structure and plot lines are no longer necessary?

You are a force for good in all of this. I would have gladly paid to read your reviews over anything by E.L.James. Maybe you should set the record straight on the BDSM front by writing a tome of your own - you have the gift. Or at least consider a future as a professional reviewer or editor. Having worked in finance myself, I know that good writing opportunities are few & far between. I look forward to your next installment - you are the shit!

You had me at douche-canoe....

Goggle Eyed Krenbot said...

I think "what in the zebra raping fuck?" may be one of the great questions of our time. Unlikely to be answered by this book.

You are doing so well, still reading this asinine shite - but hey, turning it into comedy gold, so finding good in the rubbish.

amberance said...

I don't know about novel length erotica, but I do actually write short erotica stories on my other blog. I wish you weren't anonymous, I'd have emailed you the link!

Hannah said...

Knowing exactly what you're ranting about is probably the only thing that makes me pleased I read the pile-of-shite books. It's making me seriously question the judgement of the majority of my friends who have raved about them and how in love with Mr Grey they are.
I may have made the mistake of handing over money for EL James' drivel but I've done my best to make up for it by persuading other people to borrow it rather than buying their own.

Stef88 said...

I also take comfort in the fact that I have only borrowed these books and havent spent my hard earned cash on them!

I thought I would like this, Im a Stephenie Meyer fan (Don't hate me!) I completely bought into the whole Edward thing... Im also a fan of the hunger games despite them being an overnight hit too so I would have thought that I might have been the right sucker for these stories but no.... no way....

I completely and utterly agree with you, this book makes me ashamed of my gender. I have friends who are seriously gushing (bad choice of words perhaps?) over this book. Why can't anybody see how terribly written it is, how the author seems to have completely given up when trying to think of various nouns and adjectives to use, how creepy/stalkery Mr Grey is and how horribly pathetic Ana is.

To me, it seems like the creepy guy has found a stupid naive virgin to play with. I would like to say that its not anything to do with the D/s side of things, each to their own and I know nothing about it so I'm not judging him for that... for me this is about him hunting her down and getting his end away at every available opportunity... sometimes she even says no to him and he does it anyways.... theres a name for that.

The foreshadowing is painful and now I have finished the first book I notice that there are a LOT of unanswered questions in there... if you are going to foreshadow, make sure you actually explain it later on!!

The sex scenes are terribly boring... theres only so many times I can read 'my sex' or 'there', it makes me cringe! I'm no prude, I love a good bit of erotica but if its a grown up scene you need grown up words!

Ive started playing the game where I shout 'HOLY COW' everytime she says it and at first it was funny but then it got ridiculous.... my other half laughs at me because if Im not yelling Holy Cow I'm sighing or making very disgruntled noises (not to be mistaken for horny noises!) at the print...

This book angers me. Everyone seems to be an arsehole.

The only reason I will be reading the second book is so that I can continue to thoroughly enjoy your blog and pass off some of your comments as my own during arguments with my friends about it!

You should review a lot more books!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely crying with laughter here. I have read all 3 books and find it really hard to restrain myself when all my friends are gushing about how great they are. By the time I made it to book 3 I just wanted to break stuff and snarl at people a lot lol. This review is just genius.

Simonf said...

Just genius. I have no interest in this book, I have very little interest in BDSM, but this blog has made me laugh out loud so many times.

What in the zebra raping fuck, indeed.

2stopspastBarking said...

What's the betting that the most popular baby names this year are Christian or Ana?

Alone again, naturally said...

In an internet sea of dross your blog stands out like a hilarious and yet rightfully angry beacon of sense.

After spending most of this summer (such as it is in the UK) being saddened to see so many women furtively reading this drivel on their kindle's during their daily commute i found myself sinking into a (relatively shallow, it is only a book after all) pit of despair while listening to colleagues and friends pretend that they are now all experienced kinksters having read this.

Then I found your blog and realised there is hope for womankind after all.

amberance said...

It seems like the most popular line I've ever written, which surprised me because I only found it mildly amusing when I wrote it.

amberance said...

Thank you! And yeah, if this book can't figure out how helicopeters fly at night, I suspect there's no hope for the more existential questions.

amberance said...

Of course I don't hate you, everyone is entitled to like whatever they want to. I'm not sure we should start a book club together, though :)

amberance said...

Hey, how come when I come over there in the spring and autumn the weather is gorgeous, but when I come in the summer it's miserable? I think you all are doing that on purpose to keep annoying tourists away :)

SJ_Hutch said...

Now don't get me wrong, I've read the books, but only because my 13 year old daughter came home from school and asked if she could borrow some money to buy the first one because her friend (14) said they were "well cool and, like, totally like Twilight but like way cooler". Suspicious of this older girl (who's a little trollop already) I borrowed them from the library and read all three over one quiet weekend. I didn't understand why the female librarian was blushing and fumbling as she checked them out for me. I do now. Because they are dreadful.

Well firstly, no way is my 13 year old going to get her hands on them. She's way, way too immature to deal with the themes and the language in them, but to be honest, the books *are* similar to Twilight in that the Ana character is just as weak, wet and utterly kickable as Bella Swan. And I thought Bella Swan was the worst female character ever written. (Unfortunately, I couldn't stop my daughter from reading Twilight - she got there first and it only hit my radar after the first film came out and I wanted to rip my eyeballs out and jam them up Stephanie Meyer's nostrils.)

But now this cretinous Ana creature comes along and by Christ if she's not worse! And for me that's the most troubling theme in the book, much more so than any D/s imagery or bad language, as BDSM and swearwords are lifestyle choices and something that my teenage daughter can discover and experiment with on her own later if she chooses. But, like Twilight, these books seem to encourage the notion that what women need to do is be feeble, weak and pathetic. Then powerful and controlling men will make everything okay and hey, you'll sacrifice your soul and any self-respect you have in the process, but that's okay too because you'll live happily ever after. Especially if the man is super-rich! Hurrah! I'll be buggered if I'm going to allow my daughter to believe that.

But you know what's really fascinating about these books? The fact that seemingly intelligent, normally well-read women are the ones buying, reading and utterly loving them. These women are my clients, colleagues and friends and I truly believe that for these educated, middle-class women I socialise with, it simply doesn't matter at all how poorly these books are written. It's the element of titillation that is proving so massively popular, akin to showing an ankle or, god forbid, a flash of *calf* in Victorian times. Which is sad because if you want something to masturbate to, there's a wealth of porn available that's written much better than 50 Bags of Shyte. Which is saying something. And it's also sad that these same women are quite happily glossing over the shockingly poor prose just to get to the sex bits and possibly crack one off.

I had a Dom-curious boyfriend for a short while. There were nipple clamps, cuffs, paddles, hot wax, safe words and hard limits, and for the short time we dated, it was incredibly worthwhile. I wonder now that if I ever share this with my female peers, would I be branded a harlot, or secretly revered for my sexual experiences? I haven't told a single one of them because I know in truth they'd be horrified and that shouldn't be the case at all.

So maybe we haven't advanced much at all since Victorian times. Deep down for the majority of women, sex is still taboo, erotic fiction is just as "filthy" as the porn films that men buy and that is why these books will break every literary record on the planet. Because they allow us women to believe that by reading them, we are liberated, we are daring and we can fantasise about sex lives we are not experiencing with our husbands, partners or boyfriends. And have a girly wank whilst doing so. But then not admit that to anyone later because masturbating is dirty and wrong, remember?

Well, I didn't want to play with myself at all after reading these books. I did want to play with a high-speed train though.

Sarzi said...

Oh My.....what a poorly written excuse for a book. I am bewildered that many of my friends (intelligent, educated women) are creaming their pants over Mr Grey. Personally, I would have given his rapey arse a restraining order back in the hardware store.

The whole premise is a nonsense. How are we supposed to believe that a virgin who has never wanted to kiss a man before turns into a multi orgasmic deep throating insatiable goddess (for want of a better word - apologies, I'm sick to death of this inner goddess bullshit), after the first time of sampling his ginger cock?

I've struggled to get as far as this chapter and I have to agree with everything you've said - spot on. You've expressed it much more eloquently than I! I share your vitriol

I have never not finished a book, so I'm going to persevere. After all, it cost me £2.50 on kindle and I'm loathe to waste money. I'm glad there's only a few more chapters left.

I'm a fan of erotic literature but this didn't even raise a twinge 'down there'. I read the Nancy Friday books when I was younger, they were infinitely more of a turn on. I may have to dig them out again! Even if just to prove that it's the material and not me at fault :-/

Good luck with the other 2 books. I think I'll stick to reading your synopsis, rather than putting myself though such dreadful torture. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly, I want to get hold of Ms Steele by her hair at the nape of her neck and slam her head first into a wall. Surely that can't damage her anymore than she already is?

Anonymous said...

Jack and Elizabeth? What, is she a Pirates of the Caribbean fan as well as Twilight? (And probably a Jack/Elizabeth fan ... that would explain a lot, actually, come to think if it.)

Fawn Holl said...

If at all possible,could you send me the link to your fictional writings? I have so enjoyed your style in these reviews. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

i never thought i'd say this but i am so glad these books were written, so i could read your review - i'm literally crying right now.

G04T_FCK3R said...

I had to sign up to this just to respond to all of your reviews...

so far i've gathered that the nastiest nasty they've nastied is some spanking and occasionally being tied up at the wrist. and there's only three chapters left!? this book is barely about BDSM OR D/s, it's just the two of them taking a dump all over what a D/s relationship is supposed to be, isn't it?

i am surprised you've made it so far. thanks for taking the silver bullet for me so that I didn't need to read this.

Anonymous said...

[TO Uknown at 3:04 AM]

I bet my arm on the sole aim of that "50" post series was to advertise and market the book in a virus ad way.

Lucky Vine said...

"...she emails him the extremely loaded question of who was he having dinner with..."

~ Extremely loaded? How is that question even REMOTELY loaded? Wikipedia defines a loaded question as "a question which contains a controversial or unjustified assumption." All she did was ask him who he had dinner with. Granted, she WAS making an unjustified assumption, but this cannot be deciphered from the question itself, especially in an email, where one cannot perceive tone or inflection. Therefore it would be impossible to tell whether her question is loaded or not.