Fifty Shades of Eh

I was in the middle of The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides when I got an email from the library letting me know that they were holding a digital copy of Fifty Shades of Grey for me.

I had put my name on the list months ago and promptly forgotten all about it.

I signed up because I was wondering what all the fuss was about. It seemed like I saw women reading the book everywhere I went this summer. There must have been fifty copies of Fifty Shades within fifty yards on the beach. And just as many copies its sequels.

Plus, I heard that it was extremely poorly written and figured I couldn’t be snarky about it until I read it myself.

And I hate to pass up a good snark.

So I put my name at the end of the massive list and today was my lucky day.

I’m always in favor of a book that gets people reading, and Fifty Shades is doing that. Folks… no, let’s be honest… women who haven’t read a novel since high school are reading the Fifty Shades trilogy.

So for that, E.L. James gets my hearty congratulations.

For the book, not so much.

I read that Fifty Shades was originally written as fan fiction for the Twilight series. I’ve never read or seen Twilight, or experienced any fan fiction for that matter, but I don’t get it. Other than the setting, what makes this fan fiction? Or was it changed when it was published so it was less fan and more fiction?

And then there’s all the sex. I know, that’s why people are reading the books, but it’s a little much. It seems closer to porn than erotica, although I have never read either so I could be wrong.

The sex might be easier to read if it were well written. But it’s really not.

For instance, in one of the first big sex scenes the female protagonist cries out , “aargh” in pleasure.

Really? Aargh? That sounds more like a Charlie Brown cartoon than a steamy sex scene in a bestselling novel.

The author uses the same words repeatedly (the use of “besieged” in two sentences in a row really stood out to me) and the overall feel is just plain juvenile.

Well, except for all the S&M.

When I complained to my mother about how bad the book is, she suggested I stop reading.

I know should, but I can’t seem to put it down. It’s like the literary equivalent of a car crash and I can’t look away.

Of course the author of this car crash has sold millions of books and is probably a gazillionaire, so I guess I shouldn’t pity her too much.


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