Friday, June 08, 2012

50 Heaves of Puke

Ok, I know I owe you another post about my time in Pittsburgh because there were drag queens and I was dressed like a slut and we watched porn and I swear I will get back to it.


I have been asked recently by about a dozen people whether I have read Fifty Shades of Grey. It's not an unreasonable question. Even people who casually read this blog  know that I am a reader of books and that I am all about the sexy time. Some people who know me even better than that know that I also write about the sexy time (elsewhere, not here) and that said sexy time is not entirely unlike the type of sexy time that is contained in this book. Also because everyone else is reading it.

Up til now I hadn't read it, for two reasons:
  • A book becoming super crazy popular overnight such that OH MY GOD EVERYONE IS DOING IT makes me immediately not want to read that book (see: The DaVinci Code, The Hunger Games, any of the Twilight books)
  • Based on my own experiences of people reading MY writing, it seemed unlikely that a book with such mass appeal was going to be an accurate representation of BDSM culture and I almost certainly wouldn't like it.
A few people had tried to encourage me to read it by pointing out that bringing an historically hidden subculture into the mainstream was probably a good thing and I thought, eh, maybe. They also pointed out that if I didn't like it, I could always skewer it here on Bizzybiz, which you probably guessed from the "up til now" statement above I am about to do (this is called foreshadowing. I will discuss foreshadowing at length very soon), but at the time it still wasn't enough for me to take the leap. What finally changed my mind was when my *friend* (she has appeared frequently on this blog, but I haven't asked her permission to talk about this yet so I need to wait to tell you who it is) got it as a gift and said to me "You have to read this. It is TERRIBLE."

So, last night I started reading 50 Shades of Grey, with the expectation that I wouldn't like it and for the express purpose of saying mean things about it on this blog.

I was entirely blindsided by how earth shatteringly awful this book actually is. I had a notebook on me to take notes so I could remember what I didn't like about it. After ONE chapter I had two pages of notes, largely written in all caps and containing insightful criticisms such as "I hate everyone in this book" and "Go die". After TWO chapters I was actually yelling. Out loud. At a book. Halfway through the third chapter I realized I was taking notes about every single page and went downstairs to try and buy a copy I could write in, but the book store was sold out of it and I knew humanity was doomed.

So here's the deal. I am going to read and review this book for you guys. The temptation is to do chapter by chapter summaries, but that is what Mark from Mark Reads (a project that started with Mark Reads Twilight (So You Don't Have To) and is fucking amazing) pioneered and does an incredible job of on his website, so I'm going to do my very best not to write it like that because stealing isn't nice. There are going to be spoilers all over the place, so if you're one of the people out there who has just been DYING to read this but hasn't had the time, I would suggest not reading this. Or do read it to avoid completely wasting your time because oh my god. Whatever works for you. I may post photos of my notes, or instead cite a few of them if I start taking notes in the actual book because there are so damn many of them. It is also very likely that I may give up in the middle of this book, given that I haven't finished three whole chapters and I already want to throw it into a fire.

One last warning and this one is mostly for my family (since my co-workers already know this shit): it is extremely likely that I will compare and contrast scenes in this book to scenes related to my own experience. It is probably more than you EVER want to know about me (if you don't believe me, ask BrownsFan). So if you are at all related to me and/or are desperate to avoid any spoilers, you will want to skip any post in which the title starts with "50". Got it?

Great! Away we go!


Erica said...

I haven't even read your review(s) yet, and I love you already. You had me at "50 Heaves of Puke." LOL! I can't wait to dig into this and laugh my head off.

Really makes me nuts that this clueless woman read a few stories on the Internet, wrote this dreck that bears no resemblance to BDSM reality, and is making millions from it!

Rena said...

I. Love. You.

Eric Kovach said...

Lol. Erica, I haven't read the reviews yet either, and I already love YOU for saying exactly what I was going to say almost to the letter. She had me at "50 Bags of Douche" then I realized I had to go back to the beginning to truly enjoy this. Awesome reviewing. 50 Laughs of So-Much-I'm-Crying-ness

365 Attempts (At Life) said...

I. Love. You. Too.

Shell said...

Must find your reviews. I HATED this book.

Like you, if "everyone" is talking about it, I'll probably hate it. Though I loved Hunger Games and Harry Potter. That I read before the hype was out of control. So: exception to the rule.

I just read 50 Shades and it was truly awful. I hated the characters.

I bought it on my kindle and clicked the return button on Amazon- and they refunded my money, which makes me all kinds of happy.

Mr T said...

This blog is a work of art. No, seriously: it's cleverly constructed to describe the mental rape and torture of the blogs author by the book, whilst she simultaneously gets something she needs out of the 'relationship', too (a thing to write about, if nothing else. But why does she keep returning to it if it's so awful, one must wonder).
A perfect parody of the book she's blogging about, methinks.

A win for you! Also, thanks for saving me from buying the book myself :)

VH said...

copy pasta I wrote to someone: "…;
This person pisses me off. If you don't like the book, then don't read it. If you want to comment on the bad parts of it, do it like an adult instead of like a terrorist. you are worse for the perception of the bdsm community, by wanting to kill someone for not being accurate in a fantasy erotica novel, than that woman will ever be.

D< I heard the book is bad, I heard it is good. I heard it is abusive. I heard it is vanilla. Alas, I do not care enough about it to read it. I will offer that woman my support, I cannot fathom anything she could have done to deserve this hate, even if she wrote a story with a million misconceptions about bdsm. She was not attacking the community, but interested in it and writing masturbation fodder. She is now in a position to CLEAR UP those misconceptions if we will offer a hand to her and educate her. rather than THREATEN HER LIFE. If there are no misconceptions, GREAT.

It's an erotic novel. Not a scholarly journal. Don't hold it to unrealistic expectations.

also: harry potter, the lord of the rings, and The Hunger Games all make use of the Four Master Tropes. They all use imagery rather than directly narrating their stories. They all have mistakes, they all have problems. ANY person who has studied literature will tell you that they cannot be written off books with horrible writing though. Granted, Hunger games needs more breathers, but it is overall wonderfully written. Sometimes popular books are good, sometimes they are bad. Writing something off because it's popular is something i do too, but i don't think i'm superior for it. The fact that you do shows me how naive and teenager-ish you are. We aren't in high school anymore, sweetie.

RogueFiccer said...

"I was entirely blindsided by how earth shatteringly awful this book actually is....Halfway through the third chapter I realized I was taking notes about every single page and went downstairs to try and buy a copy I could write in, but the book store was sold out of it and I knew humanity was doomed."

LOL! Oh, I've known that for years. '50 Shades' just confirms we're still on the Handbasket Express. ;D

It's Twilight fanfiction with the names changed. Enough said.

RogueFiccer said...

@VH: It has nothing to do with tropes. It has to do with the fact that '50 Shades' is poorly written; even more poorly researched; portrays stalking, sexual assault and rape, and misogynistic, controlling men in a positive light; and is an extremely inaccurate portrayal of BDSM. All of those are legitimate criticisms of this book. 'Hunger Games', 'Lord of the Rings', and 'Harry Potter' are all series that *are* well-written, well-researched, and negative behaviors and attitudes are treated as exactly that: negative and to be avoided.

LucyStone said...

I love you! Seriously. Just followed your blog from a great comment you wrote on a Pamela Stephenson Guardian article and here you are, with more great insight. Looking forward to reading your review!

Oh dear... said...

This is So. Much. Win.

Anonymous said...

@VH:"I cannot fathom anything she could have done to deserve this hate, even if she wrote a story with a million misconceptions about bdsm. She was not attacking the community..."
Are you aware there are communities within communities? Such as the Church-Going Community, the Gay Community, and, oh right, the BDSM Community! Just a few off the top of my head. Now that that's cleared up, this books moral is this: "Only whack-jobs, weirdos, and children who were abused horribly are into BDSM" Do you get how that might, just might, be offending to someone? No? Okay let's try again, "Only whack-job, weirdos, and children who were abused horribly end up being Gay." See that? See that right there? See how that is OFFENSIVE? See how it MIGHT look like an attack on a community she CLEARLY knows nothing about? And then, to top it all of, she treats BDSM as if it's a DISEASE that needs to be CURED. Seriously? They're not just misconceptions any more, they're INSULTS. And I, for one, cannot get stand up for an author who did absolutely NO research whatsoever and is all-around RUDE to an entire community of people. It AMAZES me how many people actually think this OKAY!

Anonymous said...

Best review I have EVER read. You literally made me spray my coffee over my poor dogs from even some canines hate this book now. That's some going.