Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James

"Fifty Shades of Gray" by E. L. James

Three out of Five Stars

This book was almost impossible to rate.

On the one hand, I wanted to give her Five Stars just for the huge amount of press she was able to generate for this genre of book. On the other, I wanted to give her one star for seemingly mixing Twilight-esque teen writing with serious BDSM. And while she's liberal in using the F-bomb, she leaves a lot left to the imagination -- and this can be both a good thing and a bad thing.

It's also a bit disconcerting to read about a recent college grad, (and virgin) Anastastia, who captivates a 20-something year old billionaire, Christian. I've heard of Lana Turner being discovered in a soda shop, but this is an entirely different animal. Anne Rice (writing under various pen names) wrote about BDSM the way it probably deserves to be written about -- and this ain't it. The premise (and writing style) is on such a juvenile level that I kept thinking it was a teen book until woah Nelly, out come the whips and restraints and the F bombs. That discontinuity was jarring, to say the least.

Also, if you turned the book into a drinking game and took a shot every time the author wrote "murmur", you'd be drunk in three pages. Add to that the annoying and constant reference to her computer as "the mean machine", biting her lower lip so often you're surprised it hasn't been bitten off yet, all the eye-rolling, overuse of the word "clamber" (which, in my not so humble opinion, should *never* be used in an erotic text), and Christian's sudden departure from ten-year past of strong BDSM to considering a major change for Ana -- well. It was hard to know whether to laugh, roll my OWN eyes, or keep reading. The book is not the best of this genre I've ever read by far.

Yet, I couldn't look away.

I'm not sure what that says about either me OR the book. I'll finish the trilogy, but I'm certain the story won't change, the style won't rise above a fifth-grade level -- but the author has SOMETHING here, and whatever it is, I'll give the next book a chance.

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Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and wrote the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She is the creator of the Bead Soup Blog Party tm.


  1. Not surprising it is Twilight-esque as I believe it started off as Twilight fan fiction. I'm not wasting money on it, just waiting till my hold #78 of 219 comes in from the library. I read Anne Rice (A.N. Roquelaure)'s Sleeping Beauty trilogy years ago...I wish I still had them.

  2. haha! I was asked if I wanted the trilogy by someone who had finished the three books and she handed them over saying "here's your pseudo porn!" And told that they were so bad that she just couldn't put them down.

    Nice to see comparable reviews :)

  3. I have no problems with erotica at all, but this author lost me when I read that the story was originally a Twilight fan-fic.

    I suffered through the Twilight series, mostly because I love vampires and it was getting hard to avoid NOT reading them. But once I put them down four or five days later, I sincerely wished for those days back. Putting all of the story holes aside (and the weird vampires-have-no-fangs-LIKE-THEY-SHOULD thing), it's just flat out bad writing.

    Still, I tried to read the first 50 Shades book. All I can say is that I'm glad it was lent to me because I got a few pages in and all of the things that bothered me about Twilight came roaring back. The one saving grace about Twilight was these characters are supposed to be teenagers, so they're going to do stupid things. With the 50 Shades characters, they are young but not kids. So... what are they DOING?

    No clue.

    I totally agree with how amazing she or her marketing team is, but dang. When compared to other erotica out there, this is just not good. It's titillating because it's a subject matter most people haven't read, but that doesn't mean it's good.

    If it wasn't on my Nook, I would have thrown the book across the room like I did with Twilight.

  4. P.S. Did you see the 50 Shades parody books? 'Cuz they are hilarious:


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