Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Books: 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Really? Really? Millions of American housewives? Really? Can't you all do better than this? This 'book' is so badly written that it barely deserves to be mentioned. I would not mention it if it hadn't wasted two days of my life in the reading. I have purposely refrained from writing new material in the hope that this terrible piece of writing will not influence my style.

As Twilight fan fiction it perhaps has limited appeal. It is kind of funny to think that the chaste main character of Twilight is deeply involved in BDSM. Funny perhaps as the punchline of a short anecdote. The fact that this has fueled not one but three terribly penned books is a tragedy. It makes me sad to think that millions of people have bought this book and sadder to know that some of them may have actually read the thing. If they also enjoyed it I might despair. A book that is littered with 'holy heck!' 'holy hell' 'holy crap' 'holy fuck'. Seriously? This isn't Batman is it?

The whole thing about BDSM is that it is a choice. The fact that the protagonist of this book goes into it because she is so in love with this man is problematic. If you love someone you should submit to whatever they want even if you don't want to? Again, I think - what are we teaching the children?

Why am I even trying to analyse this? If the author of this book can't respect that I am an intelligent reader by writing prose that is not labored, littered with adjective after adjective, prose that shows me without telling me everything, and prose that does not say Holy Hell! every paragraph, then why should I bother discussing it. In fact why should I bother reading it all the way through.

Please do not buy into the water-cooler driven frenzy to buy this book, just look up some excerpts of it on the net, realise how bad the writing is, and save your cash for something that is not, as a friend put it 'mindnumbingly mindnumbing'.


James said...

Oh dear. Here I am number 11 in a list of fad following erotica junkies on the BCC Library wait list queued up like a line of trenchcoat wearing old perverts outside a peep show. I am ashamed to admit that the popularity peaked my curiosity. I haven't yet gone out and bought a new grey tie but I do have a thing for sexy housewives. So I will read the book and wander through the BCC library and the Queen Street Mall at lunchtime wearing my grey tie hoping that a subtle wink may catch my eye and a daring rendezvous ensue. Krissy we should not be erotica snobs. While some of us may yearn for Anais Nin to turn up and take us away to Paris for a seven course sensual lovemaking session there are times when a burger at Hungry Jack's is all that is on the menu. It reminds me of a funny conversation I overheard on the train between a couple of young Kiwi labourers. One said to his mate he put up with watching Twilight because his girlfriend liked it and there were a couple of good fight scenes. Life as a series of compromises? Or a case of making the best of any situation...your Grandmother would think the latter I'll bet...James

Krissy Kneen said...

When you have read it let me know what you think but seriously, if you want some proper BDSM read Story of O. Grey is lazy writing of the worst order and if you live on Hungry Jack's burgers you will get heart disease. There are plenty of good sex books out there. This may just be the worst I have ever tried to read. If you are a writer, try to avoid to many books like this or it might taint your own writing.

James said...

Thanks for the reply Krissy. I liked Story of O too but found Emmanuelle a little too dark. I have wide taste in erotica. Sometimes you come across some gems amongst the rubbish. I enjoyed a series of books written by a writer called Blakely St James - a pseoudonym used by a male writer writing from a womens point of view witj some very imaginative and racy story lines but very 1970's retro porn which is funny now. I like to write and so far have only been published in a trashy mens magazine and I have so far failed three times to get published in One Book Many Brisbanes - maybe the judging panel don't appreciate trashy 1970's retro porn :). Seriously I write many things - poems, short stories but my aim is to write a great Brisbane erotic novel. I really like "Affection". You captured student life in Brisbane in the 1990's really well. Maybe I will write about my grey tie adventures in the BCC library and feature a scene where I am trying some kama sutra athleticism with a horny housewife perched high on a library shelf and we tumble down and concuss a gathering of One Book Many Brisbane judges. Revenge is sweet! James

Krissy Kneen said...

I would aim higher than a one book many brisbane's judge James. Good luck with your writing. (Haven't read Emmanuelle yet but I suppose I should)

James said...

My goodness would that mean falling from a ceiling fan and crushing the Premier to revenge failing to shortlist for his Literary Award? James

Garden Gal said...

I honestly don't understand what all the almost violent and arrogant objections are to Fifty Shades of Grey and the people who enjoy it.

I recently watched an interview of E.L. James and she stated very clearly that her writing this trilogy was inspired by the Twilight series....not the content, but that it was a trilogy of novels. She also related, rather bashfully, that she wrote all of her fantasies in this work. "All of my fantasies are out there for the world to read."

This is most definitely light reading and I doubt it was meant to be anything but that. The fact that millions of women might also enjoy some of these same fantasies is the reason for its popularity.

It's really that simple, and it's beyond me why anyone is getting their panties in a wad over it.

Krissy Kneen said...

I have no problem with anyone's fantasies. You can be as unethical, violent or damaging as you want in fantasy. I seriously don't mind. What I have a problem with is that a badly crafted book can sell half a million copies when a thing of beauty quite often struggles to sell 1000. It makes me sad that the world demands so little of art.

James said...

Hi Krissy
Me again. I read the book and actually enjoyed it. For me it was a good old fashioned Mills & Boon style romance with a bit of serious spanking thrown in. No wonder it appeals. The writing is corny and the sex descriptions are pretty straight forward. If the popularity of this book suggests women are seeking a bit more than boddice ripping or Mr Wonderful's male hardness pressed against their melting loins then that can only be a good thing. Anything that encourages reading is also a good thing.



James said...

Hi again - idea and plot line for a mega best seller - dark brooding handsome vampire - takes shirt off often - engages in occasional bondage, spanking etc. - cunnilingus expert who offers free labial and clittoral piercings.


Jan greyt full said...

Ugh. I read all 3 greys. I tell everyone not too. The writing really is bad bad bad. I tell them to read Krissy Kneen's books instead. Our book club is reading Affection one month then 50 shades of blah the next:)
Why did I read Greys? I thought it was real life erotica stories experienced by women over 50! First shock was it was fiction. Second, so badly written. Thirdly, my OCD made me read them ALL. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Give me a Kneen's or an O anyday. Jan

Meldo said...

Opened it at random five or six times. All but two gave me girl-girl dialogue of relationship upswing and/or doubts, a "how've you been?" conversation. One time gave me a list of rules (which went on for pages) like a contract. The other time contained the only "erotic" event, a blowjob, which strained my credibility and led me to suspect E R James was pseudonym of a male. My partner read half the book before she gave up. Best thing to say for it is that it reminded me there are writers like Anais Nin.