Fifty Shades of WTF was I thinking?

When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind – until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.

The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her – but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success – his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family – Grey is man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.

Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

For the past few weeks I had been hearing murmurings of this book that is sweeping the nation. This underground book previously known as a Twilight fan fiction is the talk at every school pick up line. Let me begin by saying that I adore anything that helps ease the clutched hand off of America’s pearls. I want our society to be more European and not freak out every time someone shows some nipple in a half time show. But I am so disappointed that this is the book that has America talking.

The story is accessible as far as first time erotica encounters go. There’s a nice virgin girl and a mysterious sexy man who is so 1% rich its sexy. The main characters felt well defined. That is where my love of this story ends. The side characters are merely there to be one dimensional and say all the right things to our heroine. Oh, he is so into you. Maybe you should cut him some slack. I’m her dad and I REALLY like you guy I’ve never met.

The publisher of Fifty Shades of Grey boasts a large staff made up of eleven editors and three proofreaders. I sincerely think that they failed this author in a big way. There were misspellings, the grammar was more than atrocious, and the love interest said the girl smelled good so many times without ever saying what she actually smelled like. He said things like “I’m not interesting in that.” And words were repeated over and over again.

I’m not one that thinks every book has to be perfection. That there can be no mistakes, or no room to start a new trend or do something extraordinary and outside of the box mentality but none of those fine things were found in this book.

From this point on there be spoilers:

She’s a virgin, he’s a guy who is ‘fifty shades of fucked up’ and that is why he likes BDSM. Why can’t he just enjoy the BDSM lifestyle? Why must there be some child abuse thing behind it that makes him need it? The protagonist learns that he learned the lifestyle from an older woman that she likened to a child molester but this plot line doesn’t get developed at all. He likes to control things, I do too but I don’t feel the need to spank my husband to control him. I can yell at him for that. If I wanted to spank my husband it wouldn’t be because I felt the need to hurt him.

Ana doesn’t like being spanked. She lets him try it twice and both times it leaves her in tears. He says that he NEEDS to do this to her, so she hem-haws about in Bella fashion but unlike Bella at the end of book one she decides to leave him. I GAVE THIS A HOORAH. I refuse to read the other two in the series but I have to believe that she goes back to him if there are two more books. So that takes the float out of my feminazi boat. Why go back if you don’t want to live the BDSM lifestyle with him?

Mostly I’m just pissed that I paid $6.99 for a book that no one could bother running a spelling and grammar check on. My suggestion is if you want to try erotica and talk about it in the pick up line save yourself $4 and buy Immersed in Pleasure by Tiffany Reisz. Its incredibly hot and all the words are spelled right!

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15 Responses so far

  1. Gravatar

    Thank you for the recommendation! Really the more BDSM-themed of my stories is SEVEN DAY LOAN. My IMMERSED IN PLEASURE is more light bondage and voyeurism. SEVEN DAY LOAN has the D/s elements in it.

    As a BDSM author, I’m thrilled that something…ANYTHING kink is going mainstream. Time for us kinksters to come out of the closet and proudly stand up for our right to kneel. ;)

    Thanks again, Bookalicious!
    Tiffany Reisz!

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    Everything I’ve been taught as a writer has been thrown out the window based on the success of this book. it’s an unwritten rule you don’t profit from fan fiction and they fact that it’s riddled with errors, including the sheer WTFckery of the two main characters boggles my mind that not only are people eating this up like candy, but 50 Shades and the sequel made the NY Times best sellers list.

  3. Gravatar

    To be fair, everyone makes mistakes sometimes. For example, in this article, “off of”. I think the majority of books I’ve read have occasional errors.

    Overall a good review though. The book was incredibly one-dimensional and the main character was just plain annoying.

  4. Gravatar

    I read this as fanfiction as couple of years ago…it was still crappy then so I guess it’s still crappy now. I was curious about it since I noticed it’s #1 on Amazon right now…and you can still get the fanfiction online…under the fanfiction name of course. The side characters are probably there only because they needed to have Alice, Charlie, Rosalie, and the rest in the fanfiction…to make sure it still had that Twilight feel.

  5. Gravatar

    Jack, yes to be fair everyone makes mistakes. My MS is riddled with them, I promise. BUT, this was beyond the scope of a few mistakes. Surely you must concede to that.

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    Wow, it’s pretty sad that the Twilight model (weak female qprotagonist with jerk face, controlling love interest and touted as the best love EVA) has seeped out of YA and into Adult–erotica no less!

    I don’t like the misperception of BDSM. I, personally, have no qualms against it. It’s not like people in BDSM have enough trouble without these misperceptions. What this really screams is that the Love Interest is using BDSM as a cover for his very obvious abusive and misogynic behavior. If this guy wasn’t into that lifestyle, he would be another abusive boyfriend who wants to control his girlfriend. It’s sad this is a best seller. (I’m extrapolating so badly right now. That is just the vibe I’ve gotten.)

    I guess I really need to reconsider my publishing plan! Apparently my poor critiquing partner and I did all that work for nothing! We should have left all the spelling mistakes. I would have been on the NYT best sellers by now!

    I’m kidding, I would never lower myself to this tripe. Eleven editors and two proofreaders? Note to self: stay away from that publisher!

    Wonderful review! Very insightful.

  7. Gravatar

    Well, this isn’t the sort of book I’d read anyway, but it drives me insane when I find tons of mistakes in a finished book!

  8. Gravatar

    50 Shades of Grey is originally a public Twilight Fanfiction still available online. The author ripped off another fanfiction story written by Tara Sue Me called “The Submissive” and “The Dominant”. By ripped off I mean her plot is almost exactly the same both “Edwards” have lost their parents and Tara Sue Me would use the saying “several shades of…” or “twenty shades of…” so basically the only reason this author has many fans is because she influence many Twilight fans into thinking it was a Bella/Edward story. By the way there are plenty of free fanfiction stories ten times better than this crap that is getting attention. Personally I thought it was horribly written, just because you can type it doesn’t make you an writer.

  9. Gravatar

    I agree about the editing. I’m 1/2 into the 2nd book and just absolutely am eating it up. I do protest, however, how many times do we need to hear, over and over and over again, the ripping of the foil of the condom. Really? That’s the one main thing I roll my eyes over constantly.

    OOPs..better be careful of rolling of the eyes!!

    Great books! Not disappointed!

  10. Gravatar

    It frustrates me because I secretly don’t like the idea of BDSM going mainstream. I like feeling like it is my little secret/community.

    It also bothers me that this is clearly a misinterpertation of BDSM. People don’t get involved because they were molested as a child or because the person they love likes it. (If they do, that is a terrible reason to get into the scene. Unless you enjoy it, someone is just beating you up.)

    Second, Subs in BDSM enjoy and consent to it. A spanking isn’t a punishment, it is a reward.

  11. Gravatar

    I’m so glad I caught your review before I got sucked into it.

  12. Gravatar

    I’ve read all three books. At first, it was out of curiosity. I wanted to see what all the hype was about. I hated the first book, but I really wanted to like the series so I gave the second book a try. It was a descent read but the influx of adverbs always took me out of the story. As a writer, I’ve always been told that too many adverbs are a no, no and that I should use strong verbs. IDK. The writing style felt very Twilightish (more info than the reader needed, constant angst). I also wasn’t too keen on the holy (add any swear you’d like to complete the phrase). I did feel however that the author at least improved as the series went on. For what it was worth, I thought it was a descent read and with some improvements could be worthy of the copious amounts of praise.

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    I’m definitely not into BDSM stories, but I have to say that I truly liked this one. This was those types of books that keeps you glued to the pages; staying up reading into the morning hours. I found it to be really addictive which is really disturbing for me personally.

    This is not your typical boy meets girl let’s date and fall in love romance. Christian wants to dominate Anastasia and he wants her submissive. He comes up with a contract that he wants her to sign. She’s torn between her love for him and her fear of him.

  14. Gravatar

    I just heard you wrote this review so I had to check it out. I LOVE your take and the personal notes.

    This book wasn’t on my radar until 1) The Jennifer Armintrout situ on Twitter the other week 2) Amazon suggested it when I pre-ordered Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight and 3) My Dude said it was talked about even in the non book blogosphere.

    After reading a few passages on Armintrout’s blog, which I felt was just too jaded a viewpoint, I considered reading this myself. But after taking a peek at a couple of the passages that Parajunkee had posted in her read-along, there’s no way.

    And after reading your thoughts I absolutely can’t.

    And it’s not the typos, Twi or subject matter. But her descriptive phrases and word choices drove me insane. And that was just from a small call-out on a blog post. So I couldn’t imagine making it cover to cover without screaming.

    I’m not sure the author actually thought about what she was saying when she phrased things. If laundered linen and body spray were so intoxicating wouldn’t this poor girl be left in quite a fretful state any time she was around men or women who wore clean clothes and used perfume/cologne? I never knew laundry detergent was an intoxicating scent.

    Anyway, thanks for the thoughtful analysis. And I also wonder where the copy editors were. At now nearly $10 it just wouldn’t be worth it.

  15. Gravatar

    [...] is also rumored that Tara Sue Me has a book deal for her trilogy, the BDSM version of Twilight that was written before 50 Shades was written by EL [...]

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