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

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Okay I caved and actually read this book. Have you heard the expression ‘curiosity killed the cat’?

Christian Grey. Where do I start? Fifty shades of mental illness. How on earth this guy ever got around to making $100,000.00 an hour is a miracle. He spends hours training. I mean let’s be real here. You need to be in shape to be able to smack the arse off a petite, whiny virgin, if you really want to make her run for the hills. Christian with the grey eyes. How many ways are there to describe grey eyes? A lot it seems. There’s grey, intensely grey, dark and grey, serious and grey, super grey. Need I go on?

Christian is obsessed with Ana eating. It’s a little creepy. He even puts it in the contract she must sign. Oh yes. Ana has to sign a contract of what she will and won’t do. Foods she is allowed are listed in Appendix Four. And no snacking between meals, please.

As for Ana. She ‘rolls her eyes’ 25 times throughout the book. A little dangerous doing that, as Christian thinks that is an over the knee spanking offence. Then there is Ana’s inner goddess, who glares, is thrilled, dances, nods, jumps, stops jumping, glows, is surprised, is pleased, is not pleased, smacks her lips, does back flips, bounces, wakes, pleads, stares open mouthed, prostrates herself, spins, has a do not disturb sign on her door, is beside herself, grins, pouts, scowls, basks, gazes, swoons, is hopeful, and she also drove me to drink.

Repetition, repetition, repetition. Using my kindle search tool I discovered that Ana flushes exactly 100 times. There’s actually a whole lot of religion in the book. 39 holy shits, 30 holy craps and 18 holy fucks.

There is so much wrong with this book I don’t really know where to start the criticism. Although I could start with the fact the main character is a girl with silver balls in her vagina getting spanked and seemingly enjoying herself, who squirms under people’s gazes and says jeez 81 times. This same girl spends her time hooking up with an Adonis who has a red room of pain, won’t let anyone touch certain areas of his body and wants to turn this little virgin in to his own personal submissive.

Let me warn you. It is a wasted couple of hours that you will NEVER get back. I actually finished it because I wanted–I don’t know what I wanted. Maybe to be able to say I’d been to literary hell and back. These are two of the most annoying characters I have ever come across. Seriously, don’t waste your time. I’d rather have gone to the dentist.

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About Jo Bryant

  • Brett Ifill

    Here’s what, I just finished wasting my time reading this tale and was taken aback that the author would affront every young woman with such sexual denigration. His is a mishappen attempt to take the beauty and confidence of womanhood everywhere – people will be seduced by this garbage – and reduce it to sexual slavery. Sex is an entangled emotion already and this author makes no attempt to reshape or strenghten his heroin-like victims. I’ve read the Marquis de Sade and came away feeling that this contributes nothing new but makes me very disheartened with the impacts that it will have on young women.

  • Kate Raynes

    Oh thank you for taking this stance. A friend of mine raved about this series, then mailed the books to me. (Uh, thanks?) I forced myself through 50 pages until my inner goddess finally slit her wrists. The ‘writing’!!! How on EARTH did this get published??

  • http://jobryantnz.wordpress.com Jo Bryant

    Brett, you have a very good point. It is even more disturbing that the author is a woman. Sadly this book seems to have found an audience and a large one indeed.

  • http://jobryantnz.wordpress.com Jo Bryant

    Kate, when I saw other reviews praising this I was intrigued enough to have a look. I really had to force myself to finish it. My son [who hates writing] can write better than E.L. James. Don’t get me wrong. She found a market and milked it to make some money, and for that I say good on her, but when there are so many great books out there it astounds me that this in on the best seller lists.

  • Anon

    I got conned into buying this book. I wish I had read the reviews before purchasing it :(

  • Maggy

    Amen, amen, amen. I cannot believe that so many people “can’t put this down.” Gag me.

  • gift

    This Book is a joke and makes the lifesyle look like a game for anyone.. I actually took a pin to the pages and re-wrote things. Uggh was this just all the makings of a bad porn film or wet dream? Or just straight wickapedia research slapped into a book? Uff’da

  • Elva

    I read somewhere that this is a book written for people who don’t read books, and I suspect this is right.You actually have to be either a)non-reader,seduced by all the hype, or b)12 years old !!

  • Jon

    I am glad to see that there are some people that haven’t been seduced by this book. I honestly can’t even be in a room with people praising this garbage. It sends me into a rant every time. And, I found that you cannot tell people that this book is garbage, especially being a man. Women have straight up told me that I don’t understand, because I am not a woman. Maybe all the women I know are into this type of domination, but I am sorry.. Any woman that would subject herself to that kind of torture obviously has no self respect. To top it off, it is written in a way that makes me want to re-read the Twilight series just to upgrade a step. To be clear, before this book, The Twilight series was my least favorite of all time.

  • ellehcir

    this book is really boring i thought i will finish one in 1-2days but it took me a week to finish it because i would rather sleep than read it.

  • tanja roy

    This is the only book in my life that ended up in the garbbage. I knew it would be a literary disaster after only 10 min of reading into it. Thank god, there are others of the same opinion.

  • Tiayiu

    You guys have hateful expression towards a book that has already been written. Personally I like the book its very good price of work but it ol you don’t like it everone has a right to his or her own opinion. Just please show respect to the author she probably work very hard on it just that if you child succeeded at anything you wouldn’t want someone disrespecting there work.

  • Genevieve

    I am gobsmacked that millions of women were turned on by this booked. One lady even told me “all married couples should read this book” as if it were to awaken my sexuality so much.

    I would have liked this book when I was 15 and knew nothing about sex. The dominant/submission thing didnt bother me (smacking hard was as bad as it got and after all it was deigned to shock) as much as the unrealistic plot, the moronic dialogue, repetitive sex scenes and little depth to either of the characters. I wanted something sharp to poke in my temple! A fantasy needs a little reality if I want to believe this could actually happen.

    Hats off to the author. I don’t disrespect her, I say “well bloody done!” She found a huge market for this badly written erotica novel (though I really can’t even say it’s erotica, as that would make it sound classy).

    For women out there who actually found this a sexual awakening, my you must be repressed!!!!

  • Latyshaa Sanchez

    I’m glad to high heaven that i found this site. I was beginning to think that i was the only woman on the planet to feel emotionally fucked up by EL James. Having read both fifty shades and fifty shades darker, i was in a deep depression for two weeks after i couldn’t sleep for a week because of frightful night terrors. Like many duped into reading this junk from the ravving reviews, i am appauled not that i am thirteen quid lighter but that i wasted two days trying to find a single chapter that i could tolerate. The more i read, the angrier and bored numb to my seat i felt and the harder i tried to find something, anything in this awful series of crazy shit to put an end to my suffering. Eventually i finished the second book and thank god because i contemplated scratching my eyes out. Having purchased the trilogy in ebook format, i wouldn’t bare to torture my soul through the final edition and pressed delete before i was left searching for a Dr Flynn. I am 25 and quite frankly if this series of rubbish was intended to make us all blush crimson, i think it has and but not in the way ‘MRS ROBINSON’ el james expected.

  • aurora

    omg! so glad that I’m not the only one who hates this book! I actually found myself reading about yet another sexual escapade and “rolling my eyes” bc I was getting tired of reading about them! the only reason I kept reading is bc there were a few questions I needed answered…why doesn’t Christian like to be touched? why is he obsessed with not wasting food? who is Mrs. Robinson etc. Man, was I ticked to finish the book and find that those weren’t answered. Well, I will not be reading the other two books to find this out!

  • JessyJames

    I’m not surprised with the comments penned here. It is a little repulsive and a little Mills & Boon sort of writing. Nevertheless, I was rather curious about Christian’s mental make up, what drew him to become what he is. If the focus was shifted from the sex to his damaged psychological being, it would have been an intelligent read. I guess, a bit of research would have done the trick. Nevertheless, James made an attempt to publish the kind of book that got people talking. I needed to know for myself and yes, I would not pick up any of her books without thinking thrice.

  • fasfsad

    I believe this book should be stopped. This is dangerous. The reading material is not suitable for everyone. The content itself is harmful, dirty and disgusting. The author should be subconscious. I mean if you want to make a book best seller do it on a right thing, on a good story not like this. What’s wrong with these people going crazy about this book and the author also! Doing BDSM is so pathetic. How low life they have to do this. BDSM is not LOVE or ROMANCE that we all desire to have. Its like an act of violence! In short its so YUCKY!!! And I think there is something wrong with them psychologically if you’re in BDSM!

  • fsdafd

    Kill this book. Of course if you’re parent this book is dangerous and no parents would want to date Christian Grey because he is psychologically unfit! Dangerous! and doesn’t deserve your daughter!

  • Deepa T

    Just finished the book….what is the author thinking? What are the kind of people who have helped in the success of the author? In a conservative country like mine such books can actually contribute to rise in sexual crimes.It is actually pathetic!

  • Cindy McGrath

    Thank you! This is a grown up version of Twilight, only not so engaging! Blech!

  • janiep2

    This book was degrading to women! Grey was a freaking jerk and mental case. I read the whole book because I wanted to see if the stupid girl left this jerk. I was relieved she did! I would not read another book by this author ever again!

  • aurora

    I agree with Brett Ifill and Janiep2–this book is so denigrating to women. I could not make it past the first few chapters before throwing it in the trash. I feel discouraged that people rave about this book when it is about abuse.

  • Alicia

    I read 50 Shades of Grey, and I actually enjoyed it…Personally, I think its a good read…very entertaining and adventurous. The author never implied that this was a nonfiction book, Its FICTION!! To think or judge this book as if its nonfiction, simply implies that you really don’t know jack about reading, authors, or all the different genre of books. Know what you’re reading before you start criticizing an authors hard work. Lastly, who ever stated that this book should be read by anyone under the age of 18, is absurd.

  • vanessa

    this book isnt just about sex, there is a stroy to christains madness . you have to read all three books…not just the first few chapters. yes this book has alot of sex and fictional moments-dah its a fictinal book!Its funny and whitty to see christains life change because of this strong ,NON-COMPLIANT woman.I dont feel this book is degrading to woman at all. She stood up for her morals and was willing to fight for what she was ok with .she loved this fucked up man.. and they both changed.There is more to this book, you have to think beyond the words, with closed minds its hard to enjoy a good story :)

  • http://jobryantnz.wordpress.com Jo Bryant

    Vanessa I have read all three books and I stand by my review. Different strokes [all pun intended] I guess. As for thinking beyond the words I disagree. This is a book [full of words] and a very badly written one at that. If an author can’t get beyond cliches and errors then it shows a blatant disregard for her readers. The plot, IMHO, is poor and shows the author knows little about the BDSM world she is trying to show. As for the characters, they have little real substance going for either of them.

  • http://jobryantnz.wordpress.com Jo Bryant

    Alicia,
    I am glad for you that you enjoyed the book. However no-one is judging this book as a work of non-fiction. Fiction can also be denigrating to people. As for the author, I applaud her ability to get this tripe out there and earning a bucket load of cash. I wish I had thought of it, but that doesn’t make the book a great read IMO. There are both punctuation and spelling mistakes rife throughout. It is repetitive in its use of words and phrasing which I believe shows a terrible disregard for her readers. To me it reads as if she wrote it in a sitting or two them boom…publish. I know a lot about reading, authors and book genre. You should remember this is a review where I get to state what I think of the book. I understand that others may choose to agree or not. But attacking me about my opinion is not cool, just as it would not be cool should I personally attack you for liking the book. If we all liked the same things our world would be a very boring place indeed. And I am sure my little review has never and never will bother the author who has plenty of good reviews and a few million dollars now to ease her pain at the bad ones.

  • GeorgiaMinelli

    Not to mention the fact that the whole plot plus characters plus names (didn’t even have the decency to change names Mr Grey aka Mr Grey) is completely ripped off the movie ‘Secretary’ starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader. Yes the ripping off is at the level of fanfiction I am not joking, but devoid of everything interesting about this beautiful and unusual film. Hoe this book got around without being sued is a mystery to me.

  • Regina

    50 shades of Grey = Twilight, the story matches, characters are very similar and oooh the feelings, exactly the same…only one have BDSM and the other have vampires :D:D

    Personally i did’t like it at all – waist of time. I dont mind rough sex or reading about it, but i think if you dont know much about it, then dont let readers think that you do. Story is boring and is already written once.

  • Dragon Lady

    check out GQ Spain’s Fashion Film inspired by the book itself…

    http://vimeo.com/60465577

  • JMasc02

    I read 50 Shades of Grey. After reading the trilogy, I wouldn’t recommend it. The Author is average at her best, completely unbelievable at times, and such a repetitive writer. After reading the Authors like J,K. Rowling, and others like her, I did not do well with these books. Here is why…..
    1. Book takes place in America, yet has a slight British feel. Tea Cups? What 21 year old college students do you know have a taste for wine? I went to college and believe me we sure did drink, but not a glass of wine with dinner. Unbelievable.
    2. Most woman remember their first sexual encounter as a bit painful. It is an absolute Miracle, Ana has a very pleasant enjoyable time. She is 21, never been with a man, yet is completely comfortable showing him her body, and relaxing enough to climax multiple times????
    3. Inner Goddess? Ok, I can handle the fact that she has conflicting feelings, She is young, a bit naive and completely head over heels for Christian. HOWEVER,,,,,,, I can not help but picture a tiny cartoon character in a little white bubble “tapping her foot with her hands on her hip” as Ana disappoints herself. I had to look up the author to make sure she wasn’t some teenage girl.
    4. Ana is oddly similar to Bella from Twilight, clumsy, beautiful but doesnt know it, well read…….. I read that the author started out writing Twilight Fanfiction. Enough Said. (I love the Twilight Books)
    5. We know Christian is wealthy, but what the HELL does he do exactly? He owns his own company, What does the company do?
    6. Completely obsessed with food and Ana’s meals. WEIRD to say the least.
    7. I don’t know if this bothered anyone, but I found it absolutely Hilarious that Christian rubs Ana’s rear end with baby oil and lotion after a spanking. WTF.
    8.The sex scenes became repetitive.
    9. Sex, on your period, where he is removing your tampon, and drawing a bath while the 2 of them sit in the tub, while Ana is still bleeding? I don’t know any woman who would allow a man to pull out her tampon? How embarrassing even if your husband does it.
    10. I had to stop reading and mentally change the clothes the author says Christian is wearing on several occasions. This may seem odd, but I feel like if she would have researched a little more, she could have made it a little more Americanized. I hate the pin stripped jacket and jeans. Put him in one of those nice suits Robbin Thicke/ Justin Timberlake/ T.I. is always wearing.That makes more sense to me, especially because he is young.
    11. 2 Chapters are written in his point of view………… Stephanie Meyer started writing a book in Edwards point of view also, but did not finish. Be original.
    Just a few things that bothered me.

  • Anastasia is a dumbo.

    Just to break the cyber criticism , this book was aimed to bring men and women , 15 hrs of constant stimulation . Not for any literary achievement . That being said , I wouldn’t recommend reading this overrated piece of crap , unless you want to have boner without watchin porn.

  • Nicole

    When I first heard of this book, I honestly was expecting something better. I read this book when I was 15, a bit young, but I read a lot. I honestly was disturbed that this book was published and a best seller. The main characters Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey (great way to stick with the title -_-) were shallow at best. Grey was sadistic and masochistic, and Steele was naive and weak. Now there is going to be movie? No! No! NO!!! I usually like to give some credit, but OH MY, I just can’t. Holy Crap! I hope I don’t sound repetitive. The author, as a woman, should be ashamed of making a woman character like that, and a male character that mentally screwed that he hurts people physically. Don’t make the movie a box office hit!! I will literally lose hope in older generations if that happens.

  • Katie

    The most annoying part of the books for me was the constant referring to each other as mr grey and mrs Steele. No one talks like that!!!! And how any damn times does she bite her lip. The sex scenes were sooooo boring I had to skip over some. I’m thinking oh here we go again, it was predictable! My 5 yr niece could write a better story! And mr grey as mrs’s Steele likes to call him is so controlling about everything and she just takes it makes me want to slap the sh*t put of her if I could. She’s been In one relationship and she knows he’s the one for her not to mention she’s never slept with anyone. This book just irritates me in everyway!!