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on 24 June 2012
Oh My, I mean really, Oh my, oh my, oh my......No readers, I have not just been whipped (pardon the pun) into a bosom heaving wreck by the size of my partner's "impressive length". I have in fact, just dragged myself through to the final page of this ludicrous nonsense and found myself almost speechless. Almost...

The main character, Christian Grey, is quite obviously deranged. This does not however, deter Ana, who for some inexplicable reason, has spent so long with her head in a book that she has never looked in a mirror and noticed that she is a "total babe". A "total babe" who also happens to be a 21 year old virgin. No, Ana, in the space of 3 weeks, falls so crazily in love with "Mr Grey" that she manages to bypass the whole deranged thing and instead concentrates all her efforts on a) going from virgin to porn star faster than Hussain Bolt off the blocks and b) deciding whether to let him hit her with stuff. As you do.

As for Mr Grey, obviously, readers can't be allowed to see him as simply a deranged, manipulative psycho so let's give him smouldering good looks, a few zillion quid to throw around and hey, and this is the clincher, the ability to love art and music (y'know, like Nazi's do in the war films). (Note - the bit where he plays the "haunting" piano piece, semi naked, with his eyes closed actually made me laugh so much that I almost wet myself - in a non-orgasmic way. Check it out....enjoy! ). As if that wasn't enough he also has a personal and financial interest in saving the world from famine. Just that old world peace and cancer to sort out and then hey, job's a good `un. I mean really, how did the world ever shamble along without him? So what made this beautiful, charismatic and talented man so brutal? Could it be a traumatic childhood perhaps? Why, yes I think it could...yaaaaawn....

So, the 2 beautiful people come together (Oh my, another pun) and the rest of the book is basically about Ana wondering if she should let him hit her with stuff and then letting him hit her with stuff and Mr Grey wondering if he should stop hitting her with stuff but still hitting her with stuff while she whines on about wanting "more" love and less of the hitting stuff and he whines on about how he doesn't know how to give "more" cos he has only ever hit people with stuff.

In between these nonsensical blatherings they have lots of sex, which, like piano playing, speaking foreign languages and making zillions of quid, he possesses boundless expertise. Obviously. Luckily, virginal Ana also has her "inner Goddess" to guide her on the art of sex play and soon becomes an orgasm machine, chucking them out all over the place in a rampant, fevered haze of lust. So much so that she overlooks Mr Grey's general bastardry and bends over nicely for a few beatings. She is also too enraptured to take much notice his incessant stalking, which would have got lesser men arrested. Oh, and his `feeder' tendencies that, if successful, would have surely added a good 10 stone onto Ana's lovely buttocks which in turn would have incurred the cost of a refurb' to the `red room of pain' when his ceiling shackles needed reinforcing. Luckily he can afford it.

As many other readers have noted, the writing is appallingly poor and, if you removed the sex bits, would resemble a love struck teenager's diary. It's all been said before so I won't dwell on it. I will just say, if you are looking for erotic fiction, look elsewhere, if you are looking for an unintentionally laugh out loud bit of fluff and nonsense then crack open a bottle, put your feet up and prepare to be amused. Personally I would just say that there goes a day of my life that I will never get back. Oh my!
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on 6 July 2012
"So" he asks, looking at me with his grey eyes "what did you think of the book?"
I bite my lower lip, looking at his beautiful face.
"well?" he asks. I roll my eyes and blush and have an earth shatttering orgasm as I see his trousers hanging in.... That way. My inner goddess faceplants.
"oh my" I say.
We bonk for a few minutes.
He points his long finger at me. "you haven't answered me yet."
Holy crap I mutter.
He spanks me, I have an orgasm which makes me shatter into a thousand pieces then burst into tears.
Him and his twitchy palms. Ooh and his white linen shirt.
He tweaks my nipple. I orgasm again. From virgin to sex kitten in less time then it takes most people to clean the fridge. Not bad!!!
We have earth shattering sex AGAIN.
And again

Repeat until authors pen runs out.
The end.
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on 20 April 2012
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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There are hundreds of reviews here and people are clearly split into two camps: the 5 stars `loved it', and the 1 star `hated it'. I'm in the latter (forced to read this for a book group). But for all the leaden, wooden, repetitive, frequently juvenile-sounding prose, and the profoundly unerotic sex scenes, this book is so awful that it's brilliant... in an unintentional kind of way.

Read aloud in the pub over a bottle or two, this provided hours of fun as our `heroine' took one look at Christian Grey's gray eyes (yes, really) and his messy hair, and the way his trousers hang "in that way" (what way?) and literally falls flat on her face in front of him. Clearly smitten by her cute innocence, Christian of the grey eyes, sculptured lips, and spicy scent is soon whipping out his little "foil packets", his riding crops and hand-cuffs, and giving our previously-virginal Ana multiple and seemingly instantaneous orgasms, all of which are "shattering".

We particularly enjoyed the way Christian manages most of his sexual exploits either fully-dressed (just a quick unzipping and a coy fiddle with a "foil packet") or with his shirt (always white linen) still on, while Ana bit her lip, and breathed `oh my!' for the umpteenth time.

So, really, this IS as bad as people say - but for barely more than two quid it managed to provide hours of derisive laughter.
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on 23 June 2012
I gave into the hype (inserts shamed face ) or my inner goddess shouts to me 'holy crap!' Several of my friends who are adult intelligent women bought it so I thought I would give it a try. I made it to Chapter 10 when the mother arrives! Not literally of course - although the book is so full of unsubtle innuendo I began to wonder.
I was already skimming the terrible unrealistic sex chapters by then and was bored beyond belief. The characters have no depth at all. Ana wasn't sympathetic or kooky she was a mindless foolish character to be used by a dominant. Horrible.
In my teens I read more sophisticated Mills and Boon books. Angélique, the Marquise of the Angels by Sergeanne Golon is a masterpiece in comparison.
The worry is the awful dreadful dominant Christian. How on earth would any woman in her right mind find him attractive after the red room of pain or whatever it was ? She really should have ran for the hills.
I do get that women like a man to be protective, handsome and rich and a bit naughty in novels but Christian is alarming as all he seems to want is to get Ana to a point where she is ready to receive physical pain which will of course please him
But of course :(
How this passed as a romance staggers me. I have no idea what the author was hoping to achieve.
That's it no more of this utter tosh. I will not read it. I am so relieved to see other reviews giving it the thumbs down too.
Agree ~ don't waste your money
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on 20 August 2012
I have literally just finished this book. I like stories that make me feel good and feel complete...this book left me feeling very sad, unsettled and as if I've been left mid story. Well of course i have as the author has written the rest in two other volumes.

If you strip this sad narrative back to its bare bones and focus on the male protagonist; what you're reading about is a tragic, highly damaged man whose preying on a vulnerable, younger woman continuing a cycle of sexual abuse he has clearly experienced himself. I would add I'm not ad libbing here - the author refers extensively to the characters' own highly damaged childhood so dark he barely speaks of it which renders him revolted by the idea of his partner touching his bare chest which is covered in scars. It is this abuse we are left to surmise that has led him to be incapable of truely loving anyone including himself!

When the above dawned on me, I could understand why I was left feeling so utterly hollow having read this. This it NOT romance or erotica its a depressingly sad tale of two people trapped in a miserable cycle of sexual abuse. The sex scenes are frankly irritating by the end - littered with repetitive prose!!!

There is no actual story line beyond this obsessive 'love/sex' affair instigated by one sexually abused man inflicting his depravity on an innocent younger woman thus continuing a cycle of sexual abuse.

If you want to feel like you've checked out of the real world and entered the mind of the depraved - carry on and read it. I'm not entirely sure who I'm more concerned for; the character Christian Grey or the author who created him.
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on 16 April 2012
I did read this in 2 days and found it overall entertaining - BUT - like many others I found myself intensely irritated by the repetetive prose - Holy Moses, Holy Crap, Inner Goddess,Subconscious, not to mention all the running of hands thro hair, clenching, tightening, quickening, blushing and bloody lip biting!!!!!

However, the bones for a decent storyline are there - a damaged male and an innocent female, some possibilities for a genuine love story and psychological development of characters - and I DO want to find out what will happen to Ana and Christian, so I will be reading the rest of the trilogy, whilst trying to ensure that my 13 year old son doesn't read it over my shoulder and assume it is a typical sexual experience!!!

With better editing, more mature prose and a little more rounding of characters, plus less repetitive descriptors in the sexual scenes (got too predictable) it could have been a 5 star for me.
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on 10 July 2012
I must have done something truly noble in my past life because I was lucky enough not to spend money on this trash. Maybe I was a professional kitten rescuer. Or maybe I saved a pope from being raped by rabid dogs. i was however unfortunate enough to waste my time, precious time which will not be coming back.

So a few things. I was a 22 year old virgin when I met my husband. He was my first everything. I too didn't know how to get my rocks off myself and I too hot off the starting blocks ended up with a man who is an exceptional lover (but I have nothing to compare, so how would I know!). So that part was not so unbelievable to me. However, my husband was not a dominnering as$hole, and I was not a mincing idiot. This wasn't in 1962 in case you're wondering. I'm 30. And the first few times hurt like a mofo. Seriously, exactly no women orgasm five times the first time they have sex. Except for porn stars.

Anyways, on with this epic piece of literature! Meet Mr Grey, a man who is the Michael Flatley of sex. And boy does he like to have a lot of it. I'm not complaining, au contraire. I wish often that I too was getting banged as often as the door of an atheist in a Jehovah's Witness neighbourhood. But then along comes Ana, a girlwoman about as interesting as George Osborne's nasal hair. She's never had sex! Doesn't even know what it is! The man-whore and the virgin? Jeez, get outta here!

Predictably, Chris wants her. And she's all like "You want me? For serious? Gollygoshwow!" CG by the way has made a lot of money by marrying rich old oil tycoons and waiting for them to pop off, thus inheriting their huge amounts of cash. Joking! He's a billionaire at 27, runs his own company and still has ample time to harass and stalk Ana and shower her with inappropriate gifts. He has made his money by being Richard Gere in Pretty Woman.

But there's a twist... Chris is into shackles and whips and bondage, oh my! But whatevs, Ana is too astounded by his enormous assets (literally and figuratively) to care. Her kitchen scares her. Note - a man who lives in a house that doesn't look like anyone lives in it ever is kind of a warning.

Lots of haymaking ensues. Around this the author has cobbled together snippets from Pretty Woman, teenage novels, the Sun's problem page and online porn. Eyes roll, lips are bitten. Most ground breakingly of all, there is a tender scene where Christian lovingly removes her tampon to engage in some peiord humping while Ana's mother is in the hotel's bar downstairs. I kid you not. At this point, so many of my braincells had died. My eyes wanted to commit suicide by blinding themselves. My brain wanted to be rinsed. I wish I could unread the whole book.

Anyway, towards the end Ana grows a second braincell that confers with the first one and is all like "Jeez this may not be such a good idea". THE END. Ha! I wish. I wish she'd choked on her own lip. But there's two more books. Two. More. Books.

Well there you have it. I'm not a prude, I like erotic fiction, and if you've ever read Anais Nin you know it can get weirder than anything FSOG has to offer. It's just not written like literary vomit from the mind of a 12 year old who just typed `SEX" into Google. The hottest S&M scene I ever read was in Paulo Cohelo's 11 minutes. It was astoundingly well written and extremely erotic. The comparison is Justin Beiber and Pavarotti.

It amazes me that so many women love this book. Let's face it, Christian Grey is only attractive because he's rich. That makes all his issues ok. If he was broke, Ana would have run a mile the other way from his stalking and domineering ways. Wrong on so many levels. Ask yourself, would you want your daughter going out with a man like this? NO! I pray to God that never happens to any female I know and love. Hot sex doesn't make up for you being half crazy. Though if you're as stupid as Ana you probably deserve it.

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on 24 June 2012
Finished Fifty Shades of Grey.

While I'm in no way a literary type - as we all know - I still believe a novel can teach us something vital.

Here's a brief list of the many lessons this novel has taught me.

1. People in Seattle, USA talk exactly the same as in Surrey, UK.

2. University-educated women still wear pink PJ's with fluffy bunnies on them.

3. University-educated women say 'Oh my God!', 'Crap!' and 'Double crap!' more times hourly than a teenage male thinks about sex daily.

4. A 'mega-industrialist tycoon' talks like a character from Le Morte D'Arthur...

5. ...and has time to spend his day ceaselessly e-mailing.

6. Newcomers to oral sex have no gag reflex.

7. The more ham-fisted allusions to Thomas Hardy, the more gravitas.

8. Forcing the word 'dearest' as many, many times as possible into a sentence really, really, improves it.

9. Spelling out your theme for the reader in every third chapter is an adroit strategy.

10. A sub's contract needs 3 appendices.

11. Orgasms feel like 'a spin cycle'.

12. A sentence like 'He's my very own Christian Grey-flavored popsicle' is deathless.
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on 4 July 2012
Well, hats off to E.L.James for selling her erotic trilogy, getting it discussed on Woman's Hour and in The Guardian and (I think I'm right)selling the film rights, but my first thought was that this must be a spoof. Apparently not, it seems, there are women out there who get turned on by this kind of thing, and like the idea of a certain amount of perverse, dominating sexual stuff as long as the man who's providing it looks young, beautiful, has 'burning gray eyes', (how do gray eyes burn, I wonder? Dracula's did, but they were red!) is powerful, rich, plays the piano, has been damaged in his youth and shows flashes of tenderness and concern etc etc.

I honestly don't get it, but then for me, in a romantic or sexy book 'less is more' and pages and pages of descriptions of sexual acts bore me rigid. But to me, what's really disturbing is the character of Ana, so submissive, so easily turned on, so lacking in feisty resistance to this ghastly, dominating, weird (if improbable) man. Is she a good role model? No, she's not. I do hope any young woman between the ages of 14-30 coming upon this book sees it for what it is, a fantasy, a vibrator in book form, and doesn't take it seriously.

I really wanted Ana to lead Christian Grey on, and then turn the tables on him in some way, expose him to ridicule or just slap him in the face with a kipper! But then I'm not into S. and M., so what do I know?

I shall now go and delete this stuff from my Kindle! Luckily, I didn't pay much for it!
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