FIFTY SHADES OF OH CRAP

wedding vow

I wasn’t ever going to post on Fifty Shades of Grey. I am well aware of the fact that there are already thousands upon thousands of opinions out there regarding this first novel in E.L. James’ erotic romance trilogy. These novels have been discussed ad nauseam, by everyone who doesn’t live under a rock. What I have to say about it is neither enlightening nor profound, and yet, I still can’t seem to keep my pie hole shut regardless.

Now I haven’t read FSOG in its entirety, because the writing is so atrocious that I just can’t bring myself to do it. I’d rather get a gynecological exam, or have my nipples clamped, or my clit whipped, or…well, you get the idea. I’ve been reading excerpts of it in blog posts penned by a hilarious writer who is critiquing the book chapter-by-chapter, and just from those horrid excerpts, I feel I’ve seen enough. If you want a good laugh, you should check out her blog: jenniferarmintrout.blogspot.com. You won’t be sorry.

“Lighten up!” the fans say to us haters. “It’s just a book.” Ah yes, but to writers it means so much more. It signifies a poorly-written piece of work unjustly catapulted to the top of the bestseller list. There are so many talented writers in the world who have been toiling away for years, and yet their words will never see the published page.

Most writers spend hours upon hours painstakingly choosing the right word to use, searching for a way to describe something that causes the reader to see it in a new light, mulling over phrases so as not to be cliché, and yet here is an author whose heroine “flushes” or “blushes” 125 times. Really, I’m not kidding. Certain repetitive phrases or words have been searched for on Kindle, and here are some of the things that came up:

The heroine bites her lip 35 times.

Characters raise their eyebrows 50 times.

The heroine says “Jeez” 81 times.

The heroine says “Oh my” 72 times.

Characters murmur 199 times.

Characters whisper 195 times.

There are 92 repetitions of the heroine saying some form of crap, from “Oh crap,” “Holy crap,” “Double crap,” and when she’s on a really good one, “Triple crap.”

Now, I’m not expecting Jane Austen or even Anaïs Nin here, but I expect a writer to have some standards, for God’s sake! Yes, I know FSOG was originally written as Twilight fanfic, a methadone of sorts for all the Twihards going through withdrawals. Yes, I know that even though this is the author’s first published novel, no one, including her publisher, felt the need to use the services of an editor. Yes, I know E. L. James’s inner goddess, subconscious, Id, ego, super-ego, clitoris, spleen, and what have you are all laughing their way to the bank.

Sadly, this leaves me with only one thing to say to the fans of Fifty: SHAME ON YOU!

Shame on you for praising a novel that reads like it was written by an over-sexed twelve-year-old.

Shame on you for glorifying an extremely jealous, possessive and controlling hero, who at times, is downright creepy. (For all you wives out there wishing your husbands were more like Christian Grey, get thee to a therapist and fast!)

Shame on you for buying into the fantasy that the only thing a broken man needs in order to be “fixed” is the love of a good woman. Anyone who has ever been involved with an abusive man or a “bad boy” knows what a crock of shit that is. Just go to the local women’s shelter and ask some of them.

Shame on you all you bored, frustrated housewives out there who think light BDSM is way kinky and totally “out there,” and/or is a fetish that needs to be cured. I get that your husbands are passive vanilla pussies in bed, but please, do yourselves a favor and go buy yourselves some quality erotica that doesn’t degrade women.

I’ve come to the sad conclusion that based on what constitutes a bestseller nowadays, our society prefers their reading to be more on the Kraft macaroni & cheese and Wonder bread side. No one wants to have to look up a word, and based on the fact that the “average” American reads at a 7th or 8th grade level, or hardly at all, the choices of reading material is going to be limited. And probably have mostly pictures.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise though, considering we’re the same culture that has made the members of “Jersey Shore” and “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” millionaires.

So I guess I don’t begrudge the author of FSOG anything. If someone were offering me boatloads of money for crap I’d written, I certainly wouldn’t go on national television apologizing for my crap. In my humble opinion, it’s our society that’s fifty shades of fucked up.

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Crazy. Kinda.
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 13:46:58

    Can I just say a huge “THANK YOU”!!!!!! I couldn’t have said it better myself. I just finished the 2nd book and I have bitched and moaned through all of it. Why did I finish the first and read the second you ask? Perhaps I’m a bit of a masochist myself. The writing was so attrocious, but I actually found the “idea” decent. I swear, the author kept a thesauras next to her computer, just so she could use big words to make herself sound smart. When I have to check the dictionary on my kindle once or twice per chapter, it’s a bit much. It’s books like this that give me hope that someday I’ll see my name published somewhere, because, not to pat my own back, I write so much better than the the author of FSOG. As for the erotica. . .I’ve written better via email to my fiance.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jun 12, 2012 @ 18:16:47

      I agree with you. The idea was pretty good. I’m not sure romance and BDSM have ever been combined before. Seems like it’s either/or: a straightforward romance or BDSM erotica. Nothing has hit mainstream before like FSOG has (unless you count “The Story of O,” or Nancy Friday’s “My Secret Garden”). I would think better of it if it were beautifully written, but then it might not have appealed to the masses. It was certain details, like the heroine being a student, yet not owning a computer, or her being a virgin, yet blessed with the ability to orgasm 47 times when she finally does have sex — these unrealistic aspects just made me want to stick a fork in my eye.

      Reply

    • Renee Seiler
      Jul 13, 2012 @ 15:40:25

      I am so glad that I am not the only one who thinks this book is crap, it is written on a high-school level, I could not even get half-way through before I was thoroughly disguted. THIS is what so-called intelligent people consider a good read? Stupid low-self esteem women everywhere, see you on Jerry Springer—“But I LOVE him!”

      Reply

      • Tiffany N. York
        Jul 13, 2012 @ 16:04:09

        YES! That is what blows me away, too. That “intelligent” women all over the world are devouring this and declaring it the best book they’ve ever read. And wishing their husbands were more like Christian Grey — because, you know, abusive, overly-controlling stalker men get them really hot and bothered.

  2. Menopausalmama
    Jun 13, 2012 @ 12:58:06

    Amen to this! Girl, you nailed it with this one! I’m still scratching my head over the success of this book because all of my daughter’s friends are drooling over it and stating that it is THE BEST BOOK EVER!!! Seriously??? It’s crap that sells because of the sexual content ONLY and it sounds like it was written in an hour in a bathroom stall on some damp cocktail napkins in a questionable bar. Ok I’ll admit I’d love to have that kind of success as a first time writer, but geez, not with junk like that. I’d rather struggle for years writing good stuff and then get published somewhere down the road. At least I’d be able to sleep at night with a clear conscience!

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jun 13, 2012 @ 14:10:09

      I just read the most frightening news ever. E.L James is considering rewriting FSOG from…wait for it…Christian’s point of view! Ugh. There goes another gazillion dollars into her bank account.

      Reply

  3. Crazy. Kinda.
    Jun 15, 2012 @ 08:30:28

    I’ve been slowing reading the blog you recommended. I’m loving it. It’s so much better than the book itself. Can you believe they’re actually considering making this piece of crap a movie?!?!

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jun 16, 2012 @ 10:18:21

      Isn’t she hilarious? Unfortunately, there’s another author with the same name, only one letter difference, who has been getting hate mail on GoodReads because readers are getting the two confused. So this Jen considered stopping her reviews of Fifty, but luckily for us, she didn’t.

      Oh yeah, I can definitely see why they want to make this into a movie. It would make soooo much money, unless they make it too erotic, in which case it would limit the audience.

      Reply

  4. Meredith Schorr
    Jul 03, 2012 @ 12:16:33

    Great post and I totally agree with all of it! I read the first one only because it was free. It was awful! I wanted to strangle her “inner Goddess”, kick her each time she referred to her vagina as “down there” – (if you can’t even say vagina, you shouldn’t be entitled to 47 orgasms!) and even the sex was not that hot. It was the same scene over and over again basically. Worst of all was that she had an orgasm the very first time she had sex and immediately said “I’d like to do that again.” And she gave him the best head of his life after never doing that before. Pleeasse!!! So bad. I made my friend give me a synopsis of the second two books just so I would know how it all ended up. Predictable. As a writer, I am insulted that this book is tauted as the best book ever by some readers.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jul 03, 2012 @ 16:03:58

      Haha, oh Meredith, you have me rolling. I’m with you on everything you said. Oh wait, you mean you didn’t have multiple orgasms the very first time you had sex?

      Ana’s words after were “I’d like to do that again.” I believe my words were “Holy shit! Get the hell off me!”

      Reply

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