Disclaimer: This is an adult book for adult people. If you are not an adult person, you go now. Listen, I really don’t care. I’m not about censoring and I don’t think that children should be mollycoddled or hidden from sex. That said, I’m really doing you a favor by telling you to leave while you still can.
Summary not necessary because everybody on the planet knows it’s about doing the dirty.
So let me get the suspense out of the way first: this is not going to be the most professional review ever because I have very strong feelings about this book, namely, I hated it with the fire of 1000 suns. And like most people these days, when I don’t like something my immediate reaction is to take to the interwebs with an angry screed.
To be fair, I was pretty sure going in that I wouldn’t like it based on excerpts that I had read, the poor editing of which caused all of my hair to spontaneously fall out. Also, it got its start as Twilight fan fic and I’m not really a fan of the Twilight books. Unsurprisingly, the character traits and personality quirks that I found annoying about Bella and Edward carried over into ANASTASIA STEELE AND CHRISTIAN GREY.
Yes, ANASTASIA STEELE AND CHRISTIAN GREY. Think on those names for a minute. Those names are appropriate for exactly three things: characters on television medical dramas, professional wrestlers, and Cold War era spy movies. Honestly, Christian Grey isn’t really that bad. I’m just being nitpicky. But the other one. Good lord. I couldn’t stop reading it in the voice of a monster truck rally announcer.
Anyway, much like I do with my I Got Class(ics) reviews (holla) this is going to be more of a list than a flowy review. I apologize for that, but it’s just easier this way. Deciphering several handwritten pages of angrily scribbled notes is a big enough job in and of itself. I will note that there are spoilers ahoy, the first one being THEY HAVE SEX. I hope I haven’t ruined the book for you.
- Anastasia – or Ana – thinks it’s totes hot that Christian wears “snug jeans.” I don’t buy it. I don’t care what a guy’s face looks like, if he looks like he painted his jeans on you just chalk him up as damaged goods and move on. There is nothing more repellant than a guy in a pair of ballhuggers. Only country singers, cowboys, and guys who stick zucchinis down their pants as if that has EVER fooled anyone think they can get away with wearing “snug jeans.” In addition to having a low sperm count, these people are also incorrect in thinking that anyone wants to see the outline of their twig & giggleberries. Tight jeans on men fall directly below hairy and/or elderly men in Speedos and right above mullets on the “Oh, hell no” style hierarchy.
- I was sincerely annoyed by Christian constantly trying to bully Ana into eating. He’s like my grandma on Thanksgiving if she dropped acid and got ultra-aggressive with the food pushing instead of gently nudging us all to eat ourselves into oblivion. Then again, I’m also annoyed by female characters who never eat, are never hungry, or nibble on a crust of bread and declare that they’re hopelessly full. Obviously I could not relate to this because nobody has ever had to force me to eat. Sister isn’t missing many meals, if you know what I mean.
- There is a scene where Christian threatens Ana that if she were his she “wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week” or some other such nonsense implying that he was going to give this woman – who he barely knew – a SPANKING. Not going to lie – any rando dude who threatened to make it so I couldn’t sit down for a week would be drinking through a straw indefinitely. She has basically just met this man and he’s threatening to hit her. Ladies, that is what is known as a red flag and an indication that it might be in your best interest to purchase some pepper spray in the near future.
- If I were into alternative lifestyles (and don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with them – I’m a big believer in to each his own and none of my business and not being all judgy and all that), this book would make me furious. Beyond furious. It takes what is generally a healthy and mutual activity and turns it into something creepy, damaged, and dangerous. To me it was totally anti-hot because she is obviously NOT into this lifestyle and she’s obviously very distressed by it. It made it more rapey and less sexy, at least in my opinion. And the whole “damaged in childhood” angle is pretty trite.
- She uses his toothbrush. Twice. Skip the spankings, TAKE HER OUT BACK AND SHOOT HER. This is the biggest breach of etiquette on the planet. If I found out that someone else had used my toothbrush – regardless of who it was – I would never stop throwing up.
- All of the stuff with the subconscious vs. inner goddess stuff grated on my nerves. A little at first, to a murderous degree the longer the book went on. What a couple of assholes. They cheer. They sneer. They dance and pole vault and do ballet. It’s like reading a BDSM re-imagining of Sybil.
- She tried to fix the damaged guy. Because, you know, that always works. Just give him everything he wants and whine afterward, he’ll come around in no time! The fact that this strategy has worked for no woman ever is no problem.
- Ladies and gentlemen, stalking is not hot. It’s just not. And it should be made clear to the stalker in a non-jokey and non-wishy washy manner that it is, in fact, the anti-hot. For the sake of clarity…acceptable behavior: asking a woman for her phone number. Unacceptable behavior: using a woman’s phone number to track where she lives, where she works, etc. via GPS. Acceptable behavior: buying a woman flowers. Unacceptable behavior: buying a woman a smartphone and a laptop so that you can keep in touch with her at all times. Unacceptable behavior: following a woman all the way across the country and crashing her girls’ night out with her mom. Unacceptable behavior: getting pissed that a woman wants to go and visit her mom in the first place. Unacceptable behavior: acting like a petulant asshat because a woman has male friends. And so on.
- The feminine hygiene product scene. Can we just not? Who finds that hot? Anybody? I mean, unless you’ve got a fetish or something and if you do more power to you, but I can’t imagine the general public getting all hot and bothered by it. My reaction was something like this:
- As if they weren’t annoying enough, Ana & Christian are the type of people who can’t end an email or text conversation so it just keeps going on and on until it gets completely mundane, they’re reduced to three word answers, and time folds in on itself.
- Let’s talk about one of the things that I found least hot. That scene, ladies and gents, is where Christian mentions that he’d pay to watch Ana have a gynecological exam. If you have ever suffered the indignity of one of these exams, you will know why I find this so grievous. It’s bad enough that the doctor is poking and prodding all up in your shit, but having some goober looking over her shoulder and staring at your business like it’s game seven of the World Series is truly a revolting thought.
- Ana is so naive and innocent that she’s absolutely scandalized by leaving the house without underwear. GASP! Apparently she has never been too lazy to do the laundry for three consecutive weeks. Not that I’d know anything about that or ever had it happen regularly in college.
- It bugged endlessly that she kept referring to her vagina as “down there” like some kind of five year old. I’m a firm believer that unless you’re mature enough to refer to your ladybits by a grown up name like virginia or hoo-haw, you’re too immature for the sexual relations.
- Near the top of the non-sexy list: the scene where they’re considering doing the deed in IHOP. Hey look, while I’ve been Lady Poopypants about most of this book because I didn’t find it sexy, I get that most of it WOULD be kinda hot under different circumstances (like less annoying characters). Sex in public? Why not. But in an IHOP? A guy who tries to have sex with you in an IHOP is the equivalent of a guy who takes you to the dollar movies on a first date. Or takes you out to dinner and then pulls the old “oops I forgot my wallet, I’ll pay next time.” The guy who, when you ask him to pick you up some tampons, buys the generic ones with cardboard applicators just to save fifty cents and you’re all, “what the…do these things even still exist?” In other words, this man should be avoided at all costs. I mean really, who wants to take their clothes off in a place that serves this?
At least take her to the Ruth’s Chris or something. Damn.
I need a shower just looking at that mess.
Like anything truly ridiculous, this book can be best enjoyed by a drinking game. Therefore, I have created one. I’m sure others are out there as the drinking game is hardly an original concept, but this version is mine. I do not recommend playing it unless you are looking to spend some time in the ER.
Fifty Shades of Alcohol Poisoning
Take a sip when:
Anastasia says the word “crap”
Anastasia acts overly infantile to show how innocent she is
Anastasia bites her lower lip
Someone’s long fingers are mentioned
Someone has to be reminded to breathe
The inner goddess or subconscious appears
Anastasia knots her fingers together
Someone’s insides melt or turn to liquid
Someone says “oh my” or “oh please”
Someone runs their hand through their hair
Do a shot when:
Someone shatters into a million pieces
A British expression that nobody in the Pacific Northwest would ever say is used
There is an attempted force-feeding
Someone is admonished for touching someone else
It is mentioned how beautiful Christian is
Someone is unnecessarily referred to by their first & last name
Christian overreacts about Ana’s car
There is a mention of Icarus flying too close to the sun
You need to refer to the dictionary
Someone has sex (ha, just kidding. seriously, do not do this).
Set yourself on fire when:
Someone contemplates having sex in a chain restaurant that specializes in pancakes
There is an awkward family intrusion JUST AFTER sex has been completed
May God have mercy on your soul.
So can’t I say anything nice? Well, yes. It’s getting a lot of people to read, so there’s that. I dread the day my mother is all, “Have you heard of this Fifty Shades of Grey?” I also sincerely doubt that the author really gives a damn what I think, as she’s prob too busy watching the money roll in. So she’s really got the last laugh anyway, right? Plus I’ll probably still read the sequels because I’m an idiot.
Also I feel the need to say that even though I didn’t like the book I certainly don’t believe it should be censored in any way. It sickens me that it’s getting pulled off of library shelves for being porn or whatnot. First of all, it’s not porn. Second of all, let’s be grown-ups here, people. No need for the nanny society, everyone should be able to decide on their own whether to subject themselves to this book.
If you want to save yourself the reading time, check out the Fifty Shades Sims trailer by the hilarious April over at Sim-Sational Books. It’s perfect.