Book review: 50 Shades of Grey

Twitter alerted me to the “50 Shades” phenomenon, mostly with jokes. I held out against the trend until I thumbed through a copy and found some ridiculous lines staring at me. I was tempted: I had to read it and see if it was as bad as the random lines I read were.

And yes it was.

The back cover says: “Romantic, liberating and totally addictive, this is a novel that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.” HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA.


Here’s the basic story: Anastasia Steele is this insecure woman who is a virgin (OF COURSE SHE IS!) and has never been interested in any man until Christian Grey, a dashing tycoon, walks into her life.  All we know about how they look is that Anastasia has hair that doesn’t behave (tough shit, get a straightener) and he thinks she’s beautiful…and that Grey is hot and has a big p*nis, and is into BDSM. Yay?

They seem to have no personality whatsoever and there is absolutely no explanation of why they even like each other. She’s this moron who wants to work in publishing because she loves English Literature. And what exactly does Grey do as part of his business? I HAVE NO IDEA. He’s like one of those men in Indian TV serials who carry random briefcases and files around and announce pompously to their wives: “I’m going to the office.” Yes, but to do what, smartass?

Christian Grey… he’s the Edward Cullen of the non-vampire world: broody, sullen, powerful, and breathtakingly handsome. And all the while you have no bloody idea what he’s really about. BDSM is one thing, I mean that’s a lifestyle and personal choice, but his need to control her every single move, and quite literally stalk her… that’s ridiculous and sends the completely wrong message. No honey, it’s not romantic if he stalks you. It’s not romantic if you feel scared that he’s going to hit you. That is NOT BDSM (or so says my Google research). It’s messed up, is what it is.

Yes this book is about BDSM – when one of my friends found out I planned to read this book, she cautioned me against it, saying the scenes were graphic. Well, let me tell you… that’s not true. One of the truths about the s*x scenes in this book are: they are nothing special. I read Mills & Boons sometimes, and those have better intimate scenes than this pile of boring crock.

Anastasia is also a yo-yo. At one point she’s all, yeah I’m going to do everything I can to please him, how can I do better… and then she gets upset for all the pain he’s putting her through. Make. Up. Your. Mind. And she seems to be crying more after she met him than before! Abuse victim much?

The author also keeps repeating some phrases so many times, I could predict by the end when those damn things would rear their ugly heads on the page. Anastasia says the phrase “Oh my” so many times, I wanted to shoot her. And then she kept going: “Holy crap!” or “Holy shit!” or “Oh crap!” or “Holy f*ck!” or “Holy Moses!”… Every. Few. Paragraphs. For an English Literature graduate, she sure has a limited vocabulary.

I need to dedicate a paragraph to Anastasia’s inner goddess, whom I have taken a pledge to hunt down. Just some examples:

  • “My inner goddess is jumping up and down, clapping her hands like a five-year-old.”
  • “My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves.”
  • “My inner goddess has stopped dancing and is staring, too, open-mouthed and drooling slightly.”

Her inner goddess is a moron and needs to be put down.

The writing is, quite frankly, appalling. To borrow inspiration from the book, my inner editor was holding a red pen out and making horrific slash marks across the pages.

And there is very little plot. It’s like any random excuse to throw sexual scenes in … fine, but there still needs to be a story! All in all, Anastasia comes across as a super-confused, dependent, whiny moron. She’s the classic example of the emotional abuse victim btw: “I CAN CHANGE HIM! I JUST HAVE TO PUT UP WITH HIS SHIT FOR A LITTLE WHILE!” Ummm. No. Girls who like this book and think they can change their man ‘for the better’… yeah, that’s not going to happen. If they’ve lived a certain way for decades, the chances they’ll change because you’re putting out? Nada. Zilch. NONE! ZERO! GET IT?

The ending of the book is ominous because it alerts me to the fact that there are two more books out there in this series. TWO MORE!

I might do what I did with Lauren Kate’s series (my reviews here) and read on and stay appalled at the stupidity in this world. This is me putting myself through the torture of reading insane things so you don’t have to.

Oh. By the way…there’s going to be a movie.

Also read the review of 50 Shades of Grey by Savannah on her blog, Easy as Pie in Dubai, and this review on Kimi Who, which is from the perspective of someone from the world of BDSM (and they hate it too apparently).


12 thoughts on “Book review: 50 Shades of Grey

  1. You’ve mirrored my thoughts exactly. I’ve only ever written one book review, and it was on this exact thing, only because I was so appalled. Hurrah for intelligent people who know rubbish when they see it. And yet, I did end up reading all three. Stupid waste of time.

    1. Yeah I find it easier to write a review either when I’m completely horrified, or completely in love with it. Middling feelings don’t help to get the emotions out, do they? Ah I’m tempted to keep reading…surely the writing improves? Or maybe not!

  2. Thought the review was so much more exciting than the books :). I read all three of the 50 shades book in a night because I just couldn’t belive a book could become so popular with such horrible beginning, middle AND end! Funny side story though, when I joined this forum for pregnant women due in march, over 75 women claimed their babies were 50 shades babies. To say I was amused would have been an understatement :).

  3. I so agree. The book, which I am reading now and can’t wait to finish in a bad sense, is a SM torture in itself. Boring and painful (not in the sense it was meant by the author!) E.L. James should be spanked.

  4. Its like you read my mind! It reminded me of twilight..i tried so hard to like it but just ended up forcefully finishing it cause i had already bought it…her inner goddest was probably the worst thing about the whole book god it was annoying! I can imagine the next 2 books fk that

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