Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

So I'm sure by now that most of you have heard of this little book.  It first crossed my radar around the end of last year when Goodreads was having their 2011 Book of the Year voting.  I noticed it had a ridiculously high rating compared to the number of reviews it had.  I figured it must be a really good book, right?

I got it from Amazon and read it even though Romance/Erotica generally isn't my gig.  I totally shift all that to Kari because I just don't care for it.   I thought I'd go out on a limb though and see what all the fuss was about. 

The book aggravated me from start to finish.  I hated the characters.  I hated their actions.  I hated their inability to make a decision.  I didn't like the fact that Christian was supposed to be this big bad BDSM master and was getting bossed around by his supposed sub. 

Then the book got published by Vintage and the movie rights got picked up.  That opened a whole pandora's box.  I think most authors were ok when the book was just an ebook, but once it went mainstream there were a whole lot of pissed off authors ready to start speaking their mind about Fifty Shades and it's history.  For those that don't know it was originally written as Twilight fanfiction and then tweaked and the names changed now you have Fifty Shades.  There are a lot of questions about what lines have been crossed.  Dear Author has several articles about the controversy.

Kari's Take:

If you follow this blog, you know I am the romance reader.  I read most anything. M/F, M/M, and I have even reviewed some menage stories.  So, when Autumn told me about the controversy and buzz behind Fifty Shades of Grey, I figured I'd give it a try. I am all for debut authors and I know that in this business it is hard to get your stuff out there.  I give anyone props for being able to write a book, since I know I am not a writer.  That being said, I really feel like you either have it or you don't.  This is why I am baffled as to how this author got a big contract and why everyone is so gaga over this book. I have to wonder what editor thought this book was good enough for big money. 

I'll admit, I didn't finish the book.  Not only was the story just all wrong, the writing was horrible and very juvenile. The conversations felt forced and really lacked substance. The characters felt very immature to me and were so flat that I didn't care for any of them. I was bored and never felt any attraction between Christian and Ana.  I only knew there was one because the author kept pointing it out to me.

The story, as a whole, was ridiculous.  First, if you have the flu, you find someone on the magazine staff to go interview the guy, not your roommate who has no experience.  Second, Christian repeatedly tells Ana that he is no good for her and to stay away from him.  But, then he stalks her.  He follows her and sends her gifts.  Talk about a mixed message.  And don't get me started on the whole drunk Ana scene.  That was over the top. After she gets drunk and throws up on him, he takes her to his house far away and presents her with a non-disclosure contract. Wait, what?  You see, he is into BDSM and wants it to be their little secret. This comes out of the blue seeing as how he has only kissed her like once in the elevator. He wants her to be his sub and tells her there will be no emotion behind it.  She agrees after reading a ridiculous set of rules.  Then comes the surprise... wait for it.....She is a Virgin.  Of course she is and, of course, no one has EVER made her feel remotely sexual until now.  No problem, he will just pop that cherry in a gentle, kind way, but after that it's all Dom/sub and I only want to sleep with you and I will be mean to you.

At this point I stopped reading.  I couldn't take it anymore. I especially had no interest in trying to read through three books with this theme running through it.  I'm not really sure why this book is getting so many good reviews. But, I guess to each his own, right?  IMHO, if you want to read erotica, there are SO many better authors out there to start with such as Lori Leigh, Shiloh Walker, and even Anne Rice's early erotica was better than this book. I have also reviewed a number of erotica authors on this blog who have put out much better works.  Do yourself a favor, check one of those out and skip this one.

Autumn's Final Thoughts:  Kari's right, when I first told her about this book, when I was trying to describe it, I think I said it was YA BDSM erotica....if YA could have such a thing.  It was just ridiculous!  Don't even get me started on the stalker thing.  What is up with that in the YA genre?  (And yes, I think this book is YA all the way.)  Why do we think it's ok?  Why does the main character always fall in love with her stalker?   Anyway....different subject for a different day!  I thought it was crazy how this book went from an insignificant little ebook that neither of us liked to being on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and we decided to finally share our thoughts on it with all of y'all.  What are your thoughts on Shades of Grey?


Summer said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts about these books. I wrote something fairly similar in my "review" as well, although I guess I got caught up in the story a bit.

From a personal standpoint since I am writing an erotic series with BDSM elements to it as well, I suppose I found some of it very over the top and unrealistic.

I found myself skipping over the sex and just skimming the "story" to find out where the characters would end up, etc.

In some ways - I welcome the attention this is getting - take a look at my blog post - I compare this series to "The Tiger Woods effect."

Amanda said...

I couldn't agree more. I reviewed it on GR but chose not to post my review on the blog because it was too negative for even MY liking. I have never been able to say I *hated* a book, but Fifty absolutely disgusted me. I've never felt such violent feelings toward a book. I had the urge to personally hunt down every single fan and ask them what on Earth was wrong with them, that they could actually find this sexy. I absolutely LOATHED everything about this book. (And I won't even subject myself to the rest of the series.)

Book Passion for Life said...

It's a shame you guys didn't like it. Jess and I both LOVED this book but we know there is mixed reviews. Thanks for your honest review. Donna xxox

Marce said...

I am one of the fans that LOVED it and so not my genre.

I can appreciate everyone's different opinions though.

A 1st for me, if I knew this was Twilight fanfic I wouldn't have read it, not into anything Twilight wise. So this was not a sell in my opinion. I have a friend that read both and loved both for different reasons.

YA, I totally disagree, again I am not a YA fan though.

I loved that this was mysterious, thrilling and couldn't wait to find out where their relationship will go.

I didn't think the writing was the best but loved the story.

I saw Summer's review and have added her book to Wishlist.

I will say that in my opinion the first was the best and it lost its 'edge' but overall loved the trilogy.

I don't think it should be made into a movie unless it is a amazing XRated not Hollywood R but whatever.

Again appreciate a different opinion.

Unknown said...

I actually just posted on my blog about this (

Completely agree with your review, and I stopped reading at the same place. I'm interested in reading some properly written erotica, and will check out your suggestions! Thanks!