Friday, August 10, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

Title: Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: E.L. James
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: Vintage (April 3, 2012)
Available: $9.57 at Amazon (and the e-book is $9.99!)
Rating: 2.5 stars
Rater: Lauri

From the publisher:
When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—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 family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.
Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

What I liked: I don’t ordinarily read erotica, so let me preface my review with that disclaimer. That said, I am happy to report that the sex acts in this book weren’t retold so explicitly that I had to skip those parts. The sex is, however, central to the story’s progression, and perhaps the author attempts to use it to symbolize something bigger that two grunting bodies. (I’m giving her the benefit of the doubt here.)

What I didn’t like: A lot. Most everything, in fact. I read this book because it’s so popular right now, and while I knew it was erotica, there is a lot of erotica out there, and so I expected something – grand. Above the crowd. Or at least really good.

I didn’t find it.

Someone recently said of this book that it’s like a teenage fantasy, and I think that nails it. Christian (Grey) is like 28 and a billion-billion-billionare? Really? With a really big penis? And he wants to dominate Ana's every move, in the bedroom and out?

And she’s a 22-year old, super-super na├»ve virgin who swoons at his feet every time he even looks her way?

Oh – come on! Really? Really?! 

The writing isn’t horrendous. The sentences don’t all start with “She” and “He.” But the writing skill skids to a halt right there. The plot is ridiculously shallow. And every other sentence describes how Ana is biting her lip, doubting her self worth, and just generally debasing herself over and over and over and over and over and over and over. It’s truly abysmal writing, and I sure wish I could get my ten bucks back.

In sum: Yeah; the publisher was right. This story will stay with me forever. But then, so does taste aversion after a good food poisoning.

If, like me, you just have to see what all the fuss is about, borrow the book from someone. For the love of God - don’t buy it.