Review of the book in which the world’s two most annoying people have thoroughly unsexy sex. Repeatedly. 18+

Fifty Shades of Grey
By E.L. James
514 Pages
Source: Gifted

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 blushes
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
Poor editing
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

Chug when:

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.

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39 Comments

  1. Great review! I had some fun reading it 🙂

    Reply
  2. I agree with you on so many things.. Tight Jeans… no thank you! I went on a date with a guy who showed up in tight jeans. I ended the date early and he called me a prude. Tight Jeans are no good!

    Yes! —->
    ” 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.”

    My opinion as well, You said it perfectly

    I’m still dying over the pancakes. Fucking in an I HOP, totally hot. You wouldn’t even need lube with all that sticky pastel goodness!

    Ugh, the tooth brush. I forgot to mention that in my review, but it seriously grossed me out. I accidentally used Brians one day. He put it in my hole. — haha. My spot in the holder. Anyway, I was serverely disgusted with myself, and that day I stopped at the store and got us both new brushes. I find it hard to believe that if he could send Taylor out to pick up some clothes for her, that he couldn’t have grabbed a tooth brush for her as well. Dumb.

    The tampon scene.. “oh my” I think it was maybe her way of keeping the blood in the fan fic. Although, if Christian was really like Edward, he would have popped it in his mouth and sucked furiously. So that was a disappointment there.

    You made so many good points here. I can’t wait till you read book 2. It’s hysterical.

    Reply
  3. SO HILARIOUS! I will never lose brain cells reading this garbage. I tried to warn my sister off of it by telling her how much all us book bloggers know it’s crap, but I might have just come off as pretentious. LOL

    Reply
    • Pretentious or not, it’s bad. Baaaad. I’m not going to hate on those who liked it, it just wasn’t my cup of Twinings tea. Which was mentioned like 100 times in the book as well. Product placement, yes.

      Reply
  4. Let me just tell you: BEST REVIEW EVER! I loved it. I haven’t read the books and I don’t know if I will but the review was amazing! And the trailer is awesome! I’ll be waiting to see your review of book 2 🙂

    Reply
    • If you do read the book I advise heavily against playing the drinking game. Maybe only play it for every third chapter or something.

      Reply
      • Oh I started the book alright and I see what you meant… The ‘oh my’s and the ‘fingers through the hair’… they’re everywhere. I keep bursting with laughter pretty much to every sentence. I keep remembering your review and I can’t keep up a straight face.
        I won’t play the drinking game because I value my life and I don’t want to risk it 😀

        Reply
        • Yes, I definitely don’t recommend actually playing the drinking game! The book is just soooo repetitive, I couldn’t take it after a while.

          Reply
  5. Seriously. I think this review is even better than your Twilight review. Perfect.

    Reply
  6. lisabutterybooks

     /  May 21, 2012

    HaHa! Love this review. The repetitious phrases in this book were torture. I felt like I was reading the same few pages over and over again.

    Reply
    • Yes! This is one of the most accurate statements ever. I was reading on my Kindle and at one point I actually thought I had pressed the back button instead of turning to the next page.

      Reply
  7. stephscottil

     /  May 21, 2012

    Very entertaining, thank you for collecting your hilarious thoughts. Like you, I wasn’t impressed with the excerpts I read, but unlike you, I’m stopping there. The drinking game alone outlines why I can’t put the time and effort into this book. There are too many great books begging for my attention.

    Thank you for the sacrifice. I consider you a hero.

    Reply
  8. This is, without doubt, the most accurate and most hysterical summary of the book. You’ve got yourself a follower for life. FOR LIFE!

    Reply
  9. jenlanebooks

     /  May 21, 2012

    Hilarious review! Here were my favorite parts:

    “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.”

    Amen. Who the hell forgets to eat? Certainly not me!

    “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.”

    *chortles*

    “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.”

    Very astute.

    The comparison between acceptable and unacceptable behaviors when it comes to defining stalking was great.

    I admit I haven’t read this book yet. I wanted to, partly to see what they hype was about, but when I read that Ana didn’t want to engage in this behavior, it sounds more abusive than hot and I don’t want to support abuse against women when there’s already so much of it out there.

    Reply
    • For me it was kind of one of those things where I felt like I wanted to read just to see what the fuss was about. I felt like I was missing out on a major pop culture phenomenon. Now I just feel sad.

      And yeah, I felt it was more abusive and less hot. Not overtly abusive or anything, just…I dunno, like, she just hated most everything he liked and it bothered me to see her just subjugating herself to him. Not in the dom/sub sense, in the “I’ll do whatever I have to do to keep this man” sense. There’s a big difference between the two.

      Reply
  10. You always give the best reviews! I agree with everything you said. I’ve read all three…..I had to finish the series. Yes I’m a dumbass. 🙂 I still cannot believe how popular this damn book is becoming and movie rights? Goes to show you how our society is going to the shitter. So many better books that should be made into movies and such. Sad sad state of affairs.
    You are brilliant as always!

    Reply
    • LOL at the shitter. And I agree, there are so many books out there more suited to be made into movies.

      I don’t know how they make this movie without cutting a lot of the sex if they want to give it anything less than an NC-17.

      Reply
  11. Rebecca Norton

     /  May 23, 2012

    Holy crap I’m drunk! Only on chapter 2! Haha. Forget the ER, if anyone reads this, plays and gets past chapter 5, they’ll be in the morgue. Try listening to the audiobook. Even worse if you can believe it. Casting was terrible, but I spent a damn audible credit on it so i listened! Oh my!

    Reply
    • Oh my god, I didn’t even think about the audio book. I really think I’d vom before getting through the first chapter, although the heavy breathing would probably be hilarious. If you haven’t seen it you should look up the thing of Gilbert Gotfried reading excerpts, it’s so freaking funny.

      Reply
  12. I swear, I am seriously considering picking this book up just because it’s been ripped to shreds by some of my favorite reviewers:) I’m not sure I’d actually be able to make it past all the hair flipping, blushing, and bottom lip biting though. I sort of had enough of that with Bella Swan 5 years ago. And the drinking game: PERFECT. Promise you will do one of those with all the annoying books you read from this point forward!

    Reply
    • Oh man, I don’t even know. I wouldn’t torture myself with it if I were you, but if you’re like me you won’t be able to resist.

      Haha, it’s a deal on the drinking games.

      Reply
  13. As I said before I love your review, but I also like the book. I read it and it was a very funny experience because I kept laughing out loud every time I came across something you’ve mentioned. It is quite addictive if you tune out most of the sex… That was a lot and Ana is annoying as hell at times but the ending was the best part of the book and the smartest thing that girl’s ever done…! Read book two and see what happens then. I did and if you tune out the constant sex at various places it’s better.

    Reply
  14. Thatguykevin

     /  August 12, 2012

    If you think reading it is bad, you’ll really want to take a Xanax after listening to the audio book. The narrator is THE worst EVER.

    Reply
  15. Thank you so much for this. It made me laugh 🙂 I have given up on the second book & will not read the crap any further. I’m shocked I made it that far into the series haha.

    Reply
  16. jess wodzinska

     /  October 1, 2012

    “thoroughly unsexy sex”
    can’t agree more. fifty shades is written by a horny hag whose sex life is probably fucking dull she doesn’t know how to write sex properly. this is the worst book i’ve ever read with most annoying, unsexy characters. ana is fucking annoying with all her ‘inner goddess’ and ‘subconscious’ stuffs and christian…aw fuck. he’s not hot, he’s not cool, he’s just a regular annoying, pretentious fifty shades of asshole who thinks stalking or having sex with a girl who’s having her period is sexy.
    there are many scenes that made me laugh. hard. there are stupid dialogues. “oh mom, he’s mercurial” ,”holy hell this is erotic” etc . . i wish ana and christian would come to live for a moment only so that i could do hostel-style tortures to their genitals.

    AND this book ruins the image of classical music. christian grey should play Toxic or Call Me Maybe on piano, but NOT bach or chopin. NOT them. aw fuck.

    Reply
  17. My pick for the movie Fifty shades of Grey to Play Christian grey is Matt Bomer. You can find more information on http://www.themoviefiftyshadesofgrey.com/

    Reply
  18. Reblogged this on Writerling.

    Reply
  19. Jen

     /  June 20, 2013

    I enjoyed the books but I agree the repetitive phrases were awful. Also the “English” phrases for American characters was ridiculous! “Famished and fetch”?? At first I liked Ana, but she got to be so whiney and practically threw temper tantrums a few times. She really became irritating!! Anyways.. I really enjoyed your review!!

    Reply
  20. jackz

     /  August 14, 2014

    Omg!!! Best review of the book ever! I only finished the book because I had bought it. The thing is one of the worst books written ever. The situations are ridiculous and Ana needs to be put down. I refuse to read the other two. I may have to yank my eyes out if I did.

    Reply
  21. Jenny

     /  August 14, 2014

    That was one of the best and funniest reviews that I have ever read!! I enjoyed the books, but I completely agreed with every point you made. I actually had a pocket dictionary next to me when I read it, so you mentioning that made me laugh!!

    Reply
  22. amanda

     /  August 11, 2015

    I loved your review. Completely true.

    Something that completely irritated me was after they had sex the first time she decides to make breakfast (just for show?) then has to be urged beyond belief to eat what she made. I don’t know about you but when I put in the effort to actually make food there’s no way in hell I’m not going to eat it. no matter how annoyed I am with something someone said, otherwise we would all be dead from starvation.

    Reply
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