Fifty Shades of Really

Yes. I really just read these. All three. So here’s my 50 cents on Fifty Shades of Grey (et all). Sorry Mom.

fifty shades of grey fifty shades darker fifty shades freed e.l. james


Honestly, before I read these books, my experience was limited to Gilbert Gottfried’s reading *Link NSFW* which I urge you all to watch. Oh, and this, which I can believe… but also… really? Thankfully (?) I borrowed the Overdrive audiobook, as to avoid any and all possible contact with lingering ews. Now that I’ve finished them, I do have a bit of praise — shocking.

The books are marketed as “Mommy Porn” and I suppose to the bookish heterosexual female, this would satisfy some of those needs, but anyone calling themselves bookish may pause before considering reading these for any literary value. There’s little to these books that I find actually believable. The actions and reactions of characters are over exaggerated, yet predictable. If the narrator Ana says “Oh, Christian’s going to be angry,” you can be sure he throws a tantrum. Ana seems to notice every nuance, especially flashes of emotion over people’s faces. Really? She’s perceptive enough to see the someone’s past flash across their face, but she doesn’t know appropriate use of language she sends through corporate email accounts? Give Me A Break.

I won’t pluck out memorable quotes and pick them to pieces, and I’ll refrain from … wait… Didn’t I say I was going to dish out some positivity? Looking past the glaring flaws of these books, let’s consider what this story has to offer besides a possible trip to the free clinic.

We’re presented with a semi-sheltered college-aged girl who is forced into helping her over-zealous and over-booked roommate by interviewing an (unrealistically) successful young CEO. Their encounter develops into a relationship, which our doe-eyed protagonist should have no part of, but ultimately succumbs because she is showered with gifts (and sex). I’m inclined to think that if any other woman found herself in this situation, things would have turned out very differently; however, Ana’s naivety was grossly taken advantage of– and maybe that was the point. What’s interesting to me isn’t the sex (STG, if I hear “apex of my thighs” one more time….SMH. Snore!) it’s the childhood abuse that Christian experiences.

Highlighting the abuse he suffered as a child, and how it affected Christian in his adult life is something I never expected to develop though the narrative. The issues of dependency, dominance, ownership, and strong emotions are all directly related to his past, explaining (but not excusing) his behavior. The constant fights Ana and Christian had, though the reasons may have been weak, made sense… But really? Those outbursts were just too over the top. I’ve never rolled my eyes so many times at a book. And yes, I rolled them defiantly, with no fear of disciplinary action!

But wait… This is supposed to be a smutty explicit erotica book, right? Things are supposed to be unreal and fantastical! So… Why delve into character development? Because it’s trying to be something it’s not. Fifty Shades of Grey was originally a Twilight fan fiction (don’t get me started)… But it’s not Twilight. It’s trying to be, but it’s not. It’s an erotica, but it’s not traditional erotica. It’s trying to be, but it’s not. It’s trying to be a trilogy, and though it is physically… That was a clear marketing ploy.

What’s the point? Fans. That’s it. Fans are the money makers, and companies love fans. As long as the fans are happy, there is easy money to be made. Not to mention movies to be made — oh, and not just the rates R version, but an NC-17 version too… So all those fans can go see BOTH movies!

Sigh… Really?
Yeah. Really.



9 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Really

  1. I hated, honestly truly hated these books, if you have seen the movies ‘9 1/2 weeks’, ‘Wild Orchids’, ‘The Story of O’ you can skip reading these books. So many elements from these movies are found in 50 Shades. The books are repetitive and stupid and the woman who did the audiobooks got on my nerves. There are so many other book that are of this genre that have an semi original story and written sooo much better.

    1. Funny you should say that about The Story of O– I thought it would have been too obscure a reference to mention! I got about halfway through that book and then just watched the movie… You’re right about the audiobook narrator too. I listened through Overdrive, and I sped up the playback, so I got through them all a lot faster. Once or twice I slowed it down again and I just couldn’t handle it!

      Makes me wonder what the next big hit will be… And if it’s going to be trash or not.

      1. I liked erotica better when it was taboo instead of trendy. I was the same with The Story of O halfway through and I just gave it up one of the few books I just could not finish reading and the move I forced myself to finish it and wished I hadn’t in the end. It almost seems like something was lost in translation from French to English.

      2. I got that sense too. Maybe there’s some nuance we’re missing out on.

        Funny story about The Story of O– I picked it up and read the first part of the blurb, which said something about a photographer, and without reading the rest, I purchased it. It wasn’t until I started reading it that I thought “wtf did I just buy?!”

  2. I haven’t read these, but enjoyed your review. From what I hear, they dangerously romanticize abuses about women that are all to common in our society. Wow…. what a pretentious comment this is.

    1. Haha you took it there! I nearly did… That’s another rampage, and one that, unfortunately, is quite common in this literary genre. That said: Grr! Yes! I know!

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