Thursday, July 5, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

I only read this because I was able to borrow it from my sister, and because as many people were buying it and going crazy over it, I felt it was important I at least gave it a try.  And I wasn't really mistaken in my original thoughts about this book.  I gave it a 1 out of 5 stars on  Now, let me warn you that this is definitely a very adult book, and so my review will have some very adult topics and examples in it, so please don't read on if you are afraid you'll be offended.
First, the good?  Well, I can understand a tiny bit how it can be enjoyed.  It is very titillating in the sex scenes.  They are very explicit, and definitely can get a person's mind imagining.  However, I have seen similar writing of these types of scenes in the Penthouse Letters books.  Yes, I have read those before.  I went to college, those things were around then, and it was a naughty thing to read now that we were away from home and on our own.
Unfortunately, that is really the only good thing about the book.  So now I will describe all the problems I have with the book.  One reason I was not going to read them, is that an author friend of mine had said she'd started reading it, and it was so similar to Twilight she couldn't go on.  Okay, hopefully everyone knows this book started as Twilight fan fiction.  And if you are a fan, both of the books, and have seen the movies, you will see all the connections in the story.  The brother named Elliott.  All the fancy sporty cars that Christian Grey, the "Edward" of the book, owns.  Anastasia, our "Bella", who just goes by Ana, like Bella instead of "Isabella".  When Ana is in a bar drunk, kind of in trouble, Christian shows up out of nowhere to save her, like Edward did in Twilight when Bella was in trouble in Port Angeles.  Which, there is your setting too, it all happens around the Seattle area, as Twilight is in the state of Washington as well.  Ana's mother lives in Florida, and is scatterbrained, and divorced, etc.  And Bella, excuse me, Ana goes to see her, and her mom just seems to know there is something different about her with this guy.  Now, those are mostly things from the book.  But, anyone who watched the Twilight movie, without having read the book, didn't understand how Bella and Edward fell in love, and it is like Fifty Shades of Grey followed the movie technique in that you don't really understand how the two of them are in love.  I could name so many more Twilight connections, but I'll move on to another criticism.
The second thing I have to say is that it is so poorly written.  This article by Patti Greco sums up one of the problems:  The 50 Worst Synonyms in Fifty Shades of Grey.  And I hate criticizing the writing for the main reason that as I began reading it, I actually am afraid that it reminded me a bit of how I write.  So I can take that one of two ways, either I'm a sucky writer too, or if that's how "good" my writing is, I should finish my novel and get it published.  And I don't know if the writing got better as I got further in the book, or if I was just used to it by then and ignored the problems, but I didn't notice the problems as much at the end.  Also, this whole "inner goddess" bit that kept being brought up, really got old and annoying.  It was not a clever device to use, at least not to the extent it was used.  The "laters, baby" thing.  Also so stupid sounding.  If someone said that to me, I'd laugh at them, seriously laugh AT them.
And the third problem.  Okay, anyone who ever said that Edward was a stalker and abusive boyfriend, well, I hope that those aren't people who like this book.  This guy IS a stalker, whereas Edward really did do the "stalking" to protect her, Christian Grey shows up in all kinds of places, her work job, then he is there at her college graduation as the speaker, then he just happens to have a business meeting in Florida when she goes to visit her mother and get some space to think about her relationship with him.  How is that giving her space and time to think?  And why is she okay with it?  And abusive?  Edward "wants" to kill her, but as we see, he keeps himself away from her until he is able to control himself so that isn't a problem.  Mr. Grey does not keep himself away, and the way he wants to have her is through BDSM, a very interesting acronym for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism.  He even says he only wants her if he can discipline her.  When she rolls her eyes at him, he wants to spank her, and even does it one time!  Now, okay, whatever floats your boat in the bedroom, okay. I don't have a problem if that is what you're into.  But the fact that he NEEDS it that way.  He won't let her touch him.  I admit I've only read the first book, and I'm going to assume that he gives in and gets more normal eventually, but wow.  It's like the old saying that you can "fix" someone.  You know, sometimes yes, sometimes no, but don't count on it.  I can see that the idea of some of it might sound exciting and spice up a sex life, but I'm not sure a lot of it is that great.  And really, with all the tools and such in the "red room of pain/pleasure" I don't feel that Christian ever gets quite that far into what could be done, at least not in the first book.
At the end of this book, she tells him to make it as painful as he would ever go.  And she doesn't like it.  And she leaves.  He's shocked, and hurt.  I'm sorry, but he's hurt??????  Another reason I began reading this is because another review I read said that she did tell him no, and he did it any way.  I'm not sure I found anything in this book that seemed that way.  At least not in a way that he didn't change her mind to where she was okay with it.  Until the end, and then she let him do that, but knew that it wasn't what she wanted.
I could actually go on and list more issues I had.  BUT, this is already getting to be a really long review, and I don't want to really spend any more time on this.  Now that I have actually read it though, I am having a harder time when people who buy it at the bookstore go on and on about how good it is and didn't I really enjoy it.  I can't say to them that I thought it was horrible written, I'm supposed to be selling books.  So I just say that I can see why it is such a big deal.  And leave it at that.  And, I was not left hanging at the end, I am glad she left, and don't really care to read about her changing her mind and going back to him, as she obviously must do since there are two more books.
Please leave your opinions in the comments, whether you agree with me or vehemently disagree, I really do want to hear my fellow bloggers' thoughts.  I just ask that you keep your comments based on the book, or reasons I have listed, and don't do any name calling of me, (of course :-), or of other people who may comment with their opinions that may differ from yours.