I read an article today on the recent success of the E.L. James “Fifty Shades” trilogy. This book series has just surpassed the previous record for fastest time selling over a million copies. I have read the first book in the series, so I’m here to offer a little book review.
Now, I could probably write an actual novel on why Fifty Shades of Grey is a terrible piece of literature, including, but not limited to, its extensive use of British slang by an American character, which is really just lazy writing. However, when I offered these arguments up to people who rave over this series, they’re all like, “Jenna, stop it.” And, “No one cares about the writing.” And, “That’s not the reason you read this type of book.”
So point taken, and obviously they have a point, because millions of people are reading this all over the place, even though they seem to be aware of its shortcomings as a novel. So I’m going to address a separate issue then, and I’ll be bold throughout the rest of this, but then again we are talking about a book that asks the question, “When did your period start?” more than once.
The same article I read earlier about the marketing success of the trilogy also mentioned that a woman wanted to personally thank James for this series, which she states has been the cause of her new pregnancy. So….and maybe I’m the first woman to say this, maybe not….I DON’T GET IT!
I am an open-minded female; I’ve been to Fascinations, and I’ve seen Cruel Intentions at least ten times, and we all know it’s not because of Ryan Phillipe’s stunning acting performance. Fifty Shades of Grey is not hot! I realize I’m alone in this opinion, but here’s why it does nothing for me.
Things that are hot, and I recognize that this is a subjective topic, so obviously this applies mostly to me, are hot because they’re relatable. And the sex that weaves its way through every page of Fifty Shades of way too long, is more unrealistic than the stories I’ve read in the Penthouse compilation book on my bookshelf (it sits next to the Collected Works of William Shakespeare and a book called All About Hanukkah).
Fifty Shades of Grey doesn’t remind me of anything that’s ever happened to me, or anything that I’ve really ever wanted to happen to me, or anything that I’ve seen happen to anyone, ever. And that includes nine seasons of watching the Bachelor. Also, maybe James could have whipped out a thesaurus for her twentieth sex scene for words like “moan,” and “convulsing.”
Fifty Shades of Grey is supposed to be an erotic romance novel. But since there is no character development or really ever any building of tension, I don’t feel anything when they get together, ever. There is a very short scene in a great book called Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky, that I find WAY hotter than any sentence I read in Fifty Shades. This is from the Perks scene:
“So I kissed her. And she kissed me back. And we lay down on the floor and kept kissing. And it was soft. And we made quiet noises. We went over to the bed and lay down…and we touched each other from the waist up over our clothes. And then under our clothes. And then without clothes.”
And a little snippet of Fifty Shades action (this is a super mild example):
“At the touch of the leather I quiver and gasp. …My body convulses and…I moan loudly, pulling on my leather cuffs.”
Anyway, I’m all for anything that makes women feel more confident and honest about their sexuality. But that disclosure can’t mask my complete confusion at Fifty Shades being the cause for this sexual revolution. And despite my happiness that the taboo on female sexuality and shame is wearing off, it does bum me out that it takes a story that revolves around another unhealthy, co-dependent relationship to achieve this.
Is this the only thing that is hot, ladies?! Someday someone really awesome, and hey if I have to do it I will, will write a really awesome erotic novel that is both hot and well written, if you can imagine that. Also, it will remind everyone that sex and obsession aren’t synonymous. …and that stories should have plots. …and be edited for grammar and syntax errors. End rant!