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Fifty Shades of Grey – E. L James

02 Jul

Everyone’s going on about how great it is blah blah blah, and i was lent the book to pass judgement on sadly, I had to read it to give it a fair crack of the whip (snigger) before I passed judgement.

You all know the plot by now so I need not go into it, the whole BDSM thing is of course the main selling point of the book, as if it’s something new and sensational like Madame Bovary etc but they were sensational for a reason, these days it’s nothing new, just another novelty beach read.

“Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, this is a novel that will obsess you, possess you and stay with you forever”

the back cover lies to me. After reading the first few pages, it was clear it was going to be another one of those poorly written books which bring nothing to the literary world. What finally destroyed any credibility the book could have had was the following exchange:

“I assume you’re not on the pill?”

“I don’t think so”

The main female character (the heroine, can that really be the right term?) the intelligent student of literature and her penchant for British classics doesn’t even know that? And we are expected to invest time in such a character? Anytime the story has any flow, ana’s constantly distracting curses, break it up. She, being literary and reading the great works really needs to diversify her vocabulary.

I know what you’re thinking willing suspension of disbelief and all that ,but this takes it to new heights, but in this case it would take a gargantuan effort. Are the paying public meant to engage with this? I was insulted by it. I can happily get on board with Shakespeare and or Aeschylus say, but not this.

Perhaps the one thing that could have made the book something worthy of a read would have been an insight into the complex psychology of Christian Grey and his BDSM tastes , happily we readers are spared anything that may be of interest, because it would make us think and that is a bad thing, instead we get another simplistic plot line. Shocker.

The plot is very plodding, really just padding to link the sex scenes. Without those scenes the book would have stayed on the Twilight fan fiction sites and we would have been saved a couple of hours reading time for something better. Overall It’s very dull and repetitive, most notably Ana’s internal monologue. but then the whole book is a bit of a clichéd mess, perhaps reading and researching those classics might have pointed the way forward to an infinately better book.

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32 Comments

Posted by on 02/07/2012 in Romance

 

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32 responses to “Fifty Shades of Grey – E. L James

  1. Anonymous

    02/07/2012 at 10:52

    Finally, an opinion I can relate to. Although you’re a braver man than me for reading it in the first place!

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    • StetotheJ

      02/07/2012 at 11:15

      I couldn’t do it down enough had i not read it. Although it 500+ pages, once you start skipping all the repetitve phrases it cuts the book down substantially and you can read it in a matter of hours. After all that rubbish though I have moved onto The Histories by Herodotus. Nothing like a good pallet cleanser.

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  2. boomiebol

    02/07/2012 at 13:32

    The past few days I have been reading reviews of this book…andi think the truth about itbis finally getting out…fortunately for the author, the initial response was built up hype and much pomp about the book so she got a lot of attention but I think as people finally started to read, they figured it all out…I still havent read it but my curiousity is getting the best of me…it might be one of my summer reads. Another great review!!!

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    • StetotheJ

      03/07/2012 at 05:14

      Why thankyou! Be warned, It will insult your literary senses if you read it. However once you start skimming over all the repetition it won’t take you long to read it. It is terrible though. You’re right about the hype though, sadly it’s that what sells books these days and not actual talent.

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  3. gaele1

    19/07/2012 at 17:55

    I put this down, and returned it for refund after page 3. It was too much like blah blah blah SEX – and well, there is a whole series of erotic romance with tried and true writers who have facility with the written word AND the ability to delve into characters far more than this. Kudos to her for making the bestseller list – and I know several who profess to “like” it – but they liked the back of the Cornflakes box as well.

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    • StetotheJ

      19/07/2012 at 18:00

      Haha! I know people like that…It is strange that a writer who chooses her main female character to be a fan and studyer of great literature doesn’t have much capacity with the written word herself. I think you are the only person I have ever heard of returning it. So kudos to you. If these ladies want to enjoy a little bit of S&M i’ll happily offer to drop the book on their heads for free. I absolutely refuse to charge because I have morals.

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  4. legionwriter

    24/07/2012 at 18:43

    Thanks for lighting up the Grey, and thanks for the follow!

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  5. readinpleasure

    25/07/2012 at 14:32

    I don’t know if this book is available in Ghana, but I’ve heard so much about it on the internet and on blogs. You’ve done a fine review of it and frankly I’m not in a hurry to read it. Too much of this BDSM thing or any heavy stuff on sex puts me off. Thank you.

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    • StetotheJ

      25/07/2012 at 15:38

      Well it’s not as graphic sexually as the hype lead me to believe, what was there, was frankly a bit boring, repetivtive and pedestrian. There are many other better books, that ignore the sex that convey a love relationship better. But you7 don’t need me to tell you that. Thanks for the positive feedback. I hope I can keep it up in future.

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  6. aliceatwonderland

    02/01/2013 at 21:30

    Ha, how did I manage to miss this before? This series has so much suckage, it’s taken dozens and dozens of blog posts for me to fully explore it. (One might say this was obsessive. One might be right.) Nothing about this book is redeemable. The characterization is bad, the writing is bad (like 7th grade level bad), the plot is nonexistent, the sex scenes are comical not erotic, the “romance” is taken out of a battered woman’s handbook and . . . I could go on and on, but you’ve read some of it before! Still, kudos for actually getting through the book!.

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  7. StetotheJ

    04/01/2013 at 19:45

    Had it not been for some friends who took delight on me trashing in, I wouldn’t have bothered. I would prefer to be stabbed than attempt anything like that again.

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  8. Zeljka

    20/04/2013 at 21:29

    OMG, I was just going through your 2012 Reads list and seen this… For a second I thought my eyes were playing games with me! You actually read this? Indeed as first commenter above said, you are quite brave man! I satisfied myself with chuckling on reviews about it – now I added yours to the collection 🙂

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    • StetotheJ

      22/04/2013 at 17:17

      My ‘friends’ waited for me to have had a few to many beers then encouraged me to take it home and read it, stupid of me to do so, but that is the way I roll and I read it anyway, I’ll never get that time back sadly….

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  9. thejerseygal®™

    25/07/2013 at 16:47

    I think I just fell in love with you. 100% agree with this review. Yay!

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    • Ste J

      25/07/2013 at 16:51

      Normally women give me abuse for not being a fan of this…as if I ever could be. It’s always great to bond (without the ‘age’ attached) with new people.

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      • thejerseygal®™

        25/07/2013 at 17:12

        Hahaha good one! And I found the book to be beach trash and while the author tried to spring emotion and head-gamey goodness upon us, it fell flat. Or maybe I prefer the subtle maneuverings of Madame Bovary, or heck, Edna Pontellier in The Awakening.

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        • Ste J

          27/07/2013 at 16:10

          Anything beats this book, which is ironic as the book has some beatings…I remember when people used to buy real books, not this trash that is everywhere these days. I think this book is dumbed down to a below beach read level.

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          • thejerseygal®™

            27/07/2013 at 16:42

            Yes, you git that right. I am laughing at how you said anything beats this book, ironic about the book having beatings…Laughed good at that comment!

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            • Ste J

              27/07/2013 at 16:45

              The whole book is just so ridiculous I can’t help but find these dumb parallels…always good to help raise a smile, they wanted me to raise the Titanic but I was busy reading that day…a good book.

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              • thejerseygal®™

                27/07/2013 at 16:49

                LOL…the movie Titanic I truly did not like.

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                • Ste J

                  27/07/2013 at 16:56

                  I only saw half of it, annoyingly it was the talky half as well. I should have rethought that idea.

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                  • thejerseygal®™

                    27/07/2013 at 17:36

                    I think I could spend an afternoon delighting in your comments!

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                    • Ste J

                      27/07/2013 at 17:40

                      Ironically, I think my commenting is the weakest part of my writing, that and a tendency to make up words and stuff. Perhaops i will publish a book of replies…but with no comments for which people can understand my answers…it could be a cult hit.

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                    • thejerseygal®™

                      27/07/2013 at 19:57

                      Your sense of humor is awesome!

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                    • Ste J

                      27/07/2013 at 20:47

                      I stole it from a man in a fixed poker game!

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                    • thejerseygal®™

                      27/07/2013 at 21:09

                      Ya gotta know when to hold ’em…know when to fold ’em.

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  10. shadowoperator

    25/07/2013 at 17:43

    Yes, I too read the book (all three of them!) for the sheer purpose of writing a post on them, which I faithfully did. My curiosity was initially sparked by the hype and anti-hype alike, and so last year at about this time or a little later (September, maybe) I cheesed my way through the books. They do have one major virtue: they’re (unintentionally) hilarious! What got me were all the dangling modifiers, which gave inanimate objects and dangling body parts (such as the famous Grey penis) powers that were meant to be applied to other parts of speech in the sentences. When I read that Grey got a thrill out of strapping the erstwhile unbound heroine into a life jacket, what the sentence literally said (if it had been a competent English sentence) was that HE HIMSELF was strapped into one. The thought plickens! I can honestly say that now I have read the worst book(s) so far that I’ve ever seen published. And you’re right, that time can never be recovered. But, since I usually only read and review books that are worth something to me, it was a change. Having scaled the heights with Shakespeare and Woolf, I can now say I’ve plunged to the depths with E. L. James (“down there!” as the heroine would have it!).

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    • Ste J

      27/07/2013 at 16:16

      All three, you are a glutton for punishment…like Ana in many ways, ha! The language is hilarious and I fear for all the people inspired to write from these books. I need to read some Woolf, I could have read one of her shorter efforts in the time it took me to read Fifty Shades….still no matter, I am now so wary of bestsellers I rarely buy one and my book collection has not suffered for it either. I will always buy a new Irene Nemirovsky though for they are bestsellers that are subtle…in that they are well written and so are ignored by a lot of people who won’t take the time to get involved in a plot and characters.

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  11. Gitanjali Singh Cherian

    09/06/2016 at 17:33

    I was contemplating buying it at the time when every single person was either reading it or talking about it, but then I read the first two pages at the bookstore and thought the writing was quite bad, and that put me off. Good thing too, because it sounds like it would have been a complete waste of my time!

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    • Ste J

      09/06/2016 at 22:10

      Had it not been for peer pressure, I wouldn’t have gone near it. Don’t waste your time with it, it is truly shocking, I am amazed that it was deemed to be worth publishing.

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