Customer Review

1,980 of 2,096 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unadulterated tosh, 20 April 2012
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This review is from: Fifty Shades of Grey: Movie Tie-in (Kindle Edition)
I downloaded this one morning whilst listening to BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour and hearing E.L James being interviewed.

I'll confess: I did read it from end to end, and I must also confess that my Trollope took a backseat for a couple of days. But when I'd finished 50 SoG, it was a relief to go back to some proper literature, feeling saddened, cheapened, almost used, by having read it. Make no mistake: 50 Shades of Grey is utter rubbish!

The central theme is that a rather naive college student, Ana, is swept off her feet after a chance encounter with a fabulously wealthy business man, Christian Grey CEO. (He's ok though because his company sends aid to Darfur.) Not only is he immensely rich, but he has the looks to match - of which we are constantly reminded. He has "two penetrating gray eyes". Yes, that'll be both of them, and they combine to give him a "penetrating gaze"; he has "beautifully chiseled lips" and a square jaw. This together with the way his gray sweat pants hang off his hips "in that way", leave the poor girl wobbly at the knees.

His penis of course is equally magnificent. Indeed it scarcely ever appears without her being bowled over by its "impressive length". His erection (permanent, it appears) is "impressive". And of course he only has to enter her for her to have an an orgasm that causes her body to "convulse and shatter into a thousand pieces". Next time she "shatters again into tiny fragments", before "her traitorous body explodes in an intense body-shattering orgasm". She wonders will her body withstand "another earth-shattering moment". At least he is polite enough to comment in a moment of untypical post-coital congeniality, "You're shattered, aren't you?".
And so it goes on. The book does not reveal the mechanics by which the tiny fragments of the orgasm-shattered Ana were constantly put back together again. The secret of this process might have served Humpty Dumpty well.

The twist in the tale is that Christian is a sadistic sexual dominant who likes to tie his women up and thrash them before intercourse. It's not entirely clear whether this is consensual - but having been gagged Ana doesn't manage to say "no", so at least it's not rape. The agonising decision that Ana has to make is whether to lose him, or sign a contract submitting to his perversion.

As an undercurrent there is a suggestion that Christian himself was abused as a child, and this may explain his brutal treatment of women. Although she discovers that she is his 16th submissive partner, his own sad childhood engenders sympathy in Ana's mind - and so being whipped, spanked, gagged, tied up and forcibly screwed is the least she might do for him.
The man is not totally thoughtless: he arranges for her to be seen by his ice-cool, blonde doctor who prescribes contraception. After all, what fun would it be thrashing a woman who was pregnant? In the meantime he carries an endless supply of condoms, referred to by James as "foil packets". So he "grabs a foil packet"; releases her hair in order to rip a foil packet; and this delightful passage:
"You want it, you got it, baby," he mutters producing a foil packet from his pants pocket while he unzips his pants. Oh, Mr Boy Scout. He rolls the condom over his erection and gazes down at me. "I sure hope you're ready," he breathes, a salacious smile across his face. And in a moment, he's filling me [...] I groan... oh yes. "Christ, Ana. You're so ready," he whispers in veneration.

Again it would be wrong to traduce Christian while ignoring his good points: he replaces her ageing and much loved Beetle with a new Audi and takes her for a trip in his helicopter; and he buys her a first edition of Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Yes, he's not a total arse: he likes Delibes and Pouilly Fume and can play the piano with haunting melancholy - before his thoughts inevitably turn to sex. ""Maybe on my piano," he whispers. Oh my. My whole body tightens at the thought. Piano. Wow." I kid you not.

The story is desperately thin: poorly written, repetitive in its descriptions (there is an almost unbelievable amount of eye-rolling and lip-biting - both offences that lead to a spanking), one dimensional characters, and it's frankly stupid. Nothing really happens: rich man woos innocent women; he shags her; he beats her; she wonders if she is doing the right thing. That's about it.

Apart from using orgasms as some kind of punctuation, the book also features unbelievably tedious e-mail exchanges between the two characters. After reading a couple of lines I found myself skipping the rest. They are just puerile. You are, I suppose, to take note of some of the subtleties of these conversations: his use of "shouty capitals" and the funny way that he signs himself "Christian Grey Palm-Twitching CEO" after he has given her a good spanking. Oh dear! So endearing.

At a risk of sounding repetitive myself, how many times do you think an author might use the expression "my inner goddess" in one book? Once or twice might suffice, but Ms James uses it 65 (yes, 65) times. Example:

"Ha! My inner goddess is thrilled. I can do this." (She manages to get the Impressive One into her mouth.)
"My inner goddess smacks her lips together glowing with pride." (He gives her an 'A' for swallowing.)
"... he looks at me hungrily. Jeez, my inner goddess swoons"; (He "squeezes carnality" into her name. At least that is one you can try at home.)
"My inner goddess polevaults over the fifteen-foot bar" (she didn't wear her panties when she meets his parents for dinner);
"My inner goddess is still basking in a remnant of post-coital glow. No - we are all clueless. I towel-dry my hair...".
By the end of the book I was ready to strangle the inner goddess and the external part too.

The book ends inconclusively. At first I thought that maybe the author had got bored with the whole thing and decided to pack it in. Then I discovered that there are two sequels. I also didn't realise until later that the book had originally been posted as fan-fiction. I don't pretend to know much about this, but I guess it may explain the lack of structure and the repetition. If you are turning out a couple of hundred words at a time for serialisation, maybe there is no imperative to write well.

As a piece of titillating light-hearted fun, this might keep you amused for a little while; but as a piece of literature worthy of the author making the hallowed interview seat on Woman's Hour, NO! It's awful.
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Comments

Tracked by 16 customers

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Showing 61-70 of 362 posts in this discussion
Posted on 1 May 2012 20:02:07 BDT
MSimic says:
i agree that ''inner goddeess'' was annoying but book is not bad ...if you dont have anything else to do lol. I enjoyed it . Christian and Ana are messed up couple but who isnt those days ?

Posted on 1 May 2012 21:21:34 BDT
Loved your review!! Thought it was very funny, although I can't comment on the book have not read it yet ...tho after reading your review I've decided to save my kindle book penny's and borrow it off my friend who has just read it ..I don't think she's got to much of an opinion of it either as she just skipped to the rude bits :)

In reply to an earlier post on 1 May 2012 23:31:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 May 2012 23:31:56 BDT
jelly 1960 says:
Thanks!
I bought this book intending to skip straight to the "rude bits" as I correctly divined that the other parts wouldn't be up to much. The only problem was that the rude bits were dismally poor too.
The book is cheap enough on kindle - £2, I think - so it won't break the bank. But if you are looking for cheap eroticism you might do better to buy a packet of condoms and read the instructions. Believe me, they are both sexier and better written than anything you'll find in 50 SoG.
Kind regs. J

Posted on 2 May 2012 06:54:10 BDT
What a great review ! Brought a smile to my face, early in the morning on a grey, wet day.
Won't be buying the book, but will check out your other reviews.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2012 09:25:30 BDT
jelly 1960 says:
Thanks!
Don't let me put you off...
I'm afraid my other reviews are rather utilitarian. I don't make a habit of reviewing books, but this was so awful that I felt compelled to act.
If you want a real scream on Amazon, check out the reviews for Veet Mens Hair Removal Gel (200ml). They are the cult reviews and some are hilarious.

Posted on 2 May 2012 09:30:01 BDT
Blue Baby says:
I probably won't read the book, but I certainly enjoyed your review!

Posted on 2 May 2012 19:47:59 BDT
Last edited by the author on 2 May 2012 20:29:46 BDT
Liz Mint says:
Loved your review, I haven't laughed so much in ages. Could you write a book please? I'd buy it. (And thanks for the Veet Hair Removal Gel comments recommendation - fabulous.)

In reply to an earlier post on 2 May 2012 21:50:05 BDT
jelly 1960 says:
Ha, ha!
I'm afraid my writing skills are limited to:
a. Excoriating attacks on E. L. James;
b. A review of chocolate-flavoured condoms that I've had to remove due to embarrassing comments;
c. Worthy and well-intentioned reviews of household items: pond pumps, garden table, etc.
d. A couple of erotic short stories posted on ASSTR which I would NOT want anyone to connect with me (particularly as they might be compared unfavourably to E. L. James; and
e. Congratulatory messages to the brave reviewers of VEET who have - in the name of scientific research - applied it to their genitalia.

But you never know: if you supply me with a suitable plot line, I could always have a crack at it.

Thanks for comment. I must say I've been really pleased to receive so many kind remarks. In a moment of unconscionable duplicity I almost downloaded the sequel to 50 Shades of Sh-te so that I could write a review of it. But I realised that no-one would take me seriously if I had read TWO books by Ms James.

Posted on 3 May 2012 13:35:02 BDT
S. Gore says:
Hilarious review and much better written than this atrocious work. You should be writing fiction yourself. I have just got through the first sex scene and it will take a superhuman effort to keep going, it's abject, 24-carat, breathtakingly badly written tosh.

In reply to an earlier post on 3 May 2012 18:43:48 BDT
jelly 1960 says:
Thanks!
It gets so much better as you carry on...
We could be related. I have a cousin called Sheila Gore.