Oh My…

I have a new guilty pleasure.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently you’ll have no doubt heard of the Fifty Shades series of books. If you’re female and under-sexed you’ll probably have read them by now. If not then you’ll have at least heard of them and be wondering what the deal is? Well, it’s simple really. Fifty Shades of Grey is porn. No, not your average porn for guys that has pictures and not much else to it, this is the stuff from the letters pages of those magazines and just as poorly written and conceived as those letters are.

The story centres on Ana, a twenty-one year old college graduate who is a virgin. We know she’s a virgin because she’s proud of her virginity and the writer is clumsy enough to just say it as a character building line for someone without much of a character at all. Yes, I know this started as Twilight fan fiction (and you can tell from the quality of the writing that it wouldn’t have progressed beyond that had it not been for the strong sexual content) and I know that the idea is to create an intentionally shallow woman for readers to inhabit and force their own personality into, but at least try to give them some semblance of a personality else they will come across as nothing more than a fuck puppet in a book like this. It doesn’t help that you can see the fan fiction in AJames’ writing of Ana. She speaks like an American teenager stereotype for the most part despite being a supposedly strong and confident woman.

So Ana meets Christian Grey (who coincidentally has gray eyes she loses herself in) and he introduces her to sex over and over and over in the kinkiest ways the author can think of while still keeping both hands on the keyboard. Despite Ana having been a virgin she takes to sex straight away and has the time of her life, never experiencing the reality that it’s always a bit shit when you first have it. Ana has an orgasm at the drop of a hat and pretty much any movement up from there. She also has no gag reflex which is odd for a girl experiencing oral sex for the first time but probably the reason Christian keeps her around for two more books. Yes, this is porn that lasts three entire books of purile nonsense.

Before anyone starts wondering, those books aren’t my guilty pleasure at all. They seem to be aimed at old women who have to live their sexual encounters by proxy while being written in a style that would appeal to the tweens that loved Twilight. I’m neither of these. I’m a reader and I expect some decent plotline from my books. I recently left a series that I’d gotten fourteen books into because the author was focussing more and more graphically on the sexual nature of her characters rather than the mysteries she used to write.

No, I don’t need porn in my life. I need laughs. As such I’d like to introduce you to my guilty pleasure – reviews of Fifty Shades of Grey an Amazon. Like me there are plenty of people in the world who can see this series of books for what they are – porn for old women whose lives didn’t turn out the way they thought it would. Like me they’re not afraid to point that out. Unlike me, they didn’t know about the books until they’d read them and they get very angry at having spent the money on this nonsense. It should come as no surprise that the following are all one star reviews, some claiming that they wish they could make it a no star review.

Ryan Williams (Lichfield, Staffordshire.)

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.

The next one bought it after hearing the hype. What she didn’t realise is that the hype was coming from people for whom the words “blow job” still elicit a blush and titter. That’s right, a titter.

Iona Hill “The Beetle” (North Yorkshire)

I think the real praise should go to author EL James for presumably making an absolute fortune from this pile of poorly written, unrealistic crap. Oh my. The second most over hyped book I have read, after Zadie Smith’s White Teeth which was also pretty poor. To sum up, not worth buying:

  1. Appallingly written: just because it is erotica based fiction does not preclude good writing
  2. Laughably repetitive: as picked up by other reviewers here, examples include ‘oh my’, ‘foil packet’, ‘flush’, ‘panties’, ‘explosion’, the way Gray’s pants fell from his hips ‘in that way’, ad nauseum
  3. Infantile use of euphemisms e.g. he touched me ‘there’ or ‘my sex’ and back to the ‘foil packet’ – it’s a condom for heaven’s sake!
  4. Utterly unrealistic that a university student does not own a laptop, remains a virgin at 21, is fantastically responsive to sex, despite having been a virgin and that Gray is a 28 year old self made billionaire to name but four oddities
  5. Why would an allegedly intelligent university student stay with a creepy guy who hurts her – a poor message to give out. Ok, yes, this may be the crux of the story, but it was not interesting

Buy it, if like me, you are curious to read this best seller, but be prepared to be disappointed or alternatively use it as a laugh as a shocking excuse for fiction/erotica.

And that’s from someone who calls herself The Beetle, so you know it’s a quality review. In all seriousness though, Iona hits on some of the problems with books of this type. Things that work in fan fiction forums where the characters are well known to all the members and you need something to distinguish yourself from the crowd, just don’t work when writing a new book. Making it erotica may make all the kids on the forums blush and giggle and say how grown up it is but actual adults don’t respond to that. Euphemisms that worked once and no doubt got praise on those forums don’t stand up to repeated use in a full book, and come across as infantile.

I’ll leave you with my favourite review so far.

SisterJane

“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 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.

Did I not mention the inner goddess that Ana references in the clumsiest women have hidden power metaphor ever? No? Well the fact is that the only women who truly have an inner goddess are the ones with enough grace to avoid a book like this, and avoid being treated the way Ana is by Christian (it’s all very “You’re my bitch and I get to beat the shit out of you”). Considering the Fifty Shades series has gone on to be the fastest selling book in history… Well, my view of women just dropped severely.

This drivel is not only sold right next to batteries in supermarkets (and I think we all know why) but sold at the front where kids can get their hands on it.

If I could somehow give a wake-up call to everyone who ever bought this book, I’d do so. If I could give a decent book to all who thought this was literature, I’d be sure to go broke doing so. Either way it wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference. These people aren’t in it to read a compelling story anyway. They’re here for the…

Oh my…

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35 thoughts on “Oh My…

    • That’s pretty much the main problem I have with this. People are eating up this mass produced shite in all aspects of life these days. The majority don’t care that it’s crap, they don’t care that even a little talent could have made it much better, they don’t care that the time they’re spending with crap like this is time they’re not spending with actual good things. All they care about is that it is different.

      Different for the sake of being different. Different to make itself stand out. Different because it’s easier to shock your readers than it is to engage them. The same could be said of so much these days. Dubstep for example. Rather than making something that involves actual talent, these are people who shove sounds together in a way that makes your ears revolt. There’s no talent to the vast majority of it, simply a formula that they follow in order to try and find success.

      Remember when the people who were actually talented were the ones who did well? I do, barely. These days everyone can try their hand at anything and with so much new stuff in the pool, it’s unsurprising what floats to the top.

  1. Twilight meets Nine 1/2 weeks. Anyone old enough to remember the hype about the book and the movie with Rourke and Basinger?

    But wasn’t all of that Twilight-stuff about being undersexed making Bella a role-model for all girls who skip college and work to marry and have children asap?

    • I remember and yes, it’s the same sort of hype in this case. More of a BDSM vibe than using food though. For those who thought Nine and a Half Weeks was kinda kinky, this will likely blow their minds.

      As for Twilight, yes that was the idea. The naive ideas of love at first sight with no need for sex at all combined with the strong protective man dominating the female to make teens swoon. In reality that is a damaging perspective for girls to see, but it sold by the bucket load. In this case the sex is put back in (it’s fan fiction and most fan fiction for anything is porn) and the dominating man becomes dominating in the bedroom while the virgin is submissive. The author, and Iuse that term hesitantly, picked up the themes of their favourite series and ran with them in pretty sad new directions.

  2. Wow. I mean, I knew it was puerile drivel, but I had no idea it was quite this bad. Having read through the Twilight books at the behest of a family member and found those to be incredibly childish and poorly written, I didn’t think it could get much worse.
    I won’t be suffering these, despite the raving reviews all these middle aged sexually-unfulfilled women give while pretending not to have used it as a cheap masturbatory aid. It’s so sad, so pathetic, there aren’t words in the history of language to accurately convey the pity and disgust I feel, not at the sex – I’ve read the Anita Blake series up to a point where it’s pretty much just hardcore supernatural bestiality orgies – but at the awful quality of the writing, and the fact people are marvelling at its’ “genius” all over. I mean, at least when the Rampant Rabbit was the thing to have, I could see its’ use just be looking at the damn thing and knowing what it stimulates. This seems to be a playground idea of hardcore porn.

    • It’s more that it’s porn written for the masses but with a playground level of execution. At least when Hamilton went through her sudden fall into constant sex scenes, the quality of the wtiting was still there. This is just fan fiction at best and should never have gone any further.

  3. That book “series” has gotten some pretty rotten reviews here too.
    I couldn’t help noticing one sentence from one of them, though…
    It was something along the line as “nobody will suspect you’re reading about steaming sex with these book covers. You can read them on the metro without anybody knowing…” – yeah, you catch the drift.
    Definitely nothing I’ll pick up.

    • Except everyone will know because it’s so far spread now (in that way). The one thing it had in its favour is gone and everyone will know that person on the tube is reading porn.

      The interesting thing is that covers can make books appeal to different audiences. Both the Harry Potter and Discworld series have adult cover variants that have sold well and increased the spread of the series. Perhaps of this were released with a plain cover and different title… 😉

    • That’s not a rock. It’s the roof of a school that teaches creationism rather than evolution. May as well be a rock for its educational value.

      • I blame age. Since I have turned the corner of four decades, my interests in popular culture have faded completely. Not just my personal consumption of mass-culture but also my interest in other people’s wallowing in its manifestations. I can’t be bothered. Yes, of course I shake my head when I read a review like the above, but the fact that crap like this exists and is popular doesn’t surprise me at all, and it does not envoke any sentiments at all. I don’t care. So, I stay under this rock.

  4. It seems I was living under the rock because I’ve never heard of that book. Not that I am interested in that kind of literature, as well :left:

      • Well, around here it would probably have to be written in “Mxitese” to be bought en masse! 😛
        Of course, if it’s popular in the UK this year, it will probably be a school set-work here next year! 😦

        • Bah! If you’ve any influence on the schools make them stick to Harry Potter. Rowling is British, popular as anything and actually a decent writer.

          • Unfortunately, I have no influence there. 😦
            Our schools still teach that there are nine planets in the solar system, despite the International re-classification of planets and dwarf-planets back in 2009! 🙄

          • To be fair, Pluto slips in and out of being a planet or not. It’s so far away and we keep finding new things about it. Recently another moon found for it started a push for yet another reclassification. On top of that you have the tenth planet that people keep discovering then somehow forgetting about every decade or so.

          • Whether or not Pluto was a planet or a dwarf planet was eventually settled back in 2006! (I just checked and confirmed the date)
            And there are no shortage of potential dwarf planets! 😛
            Basically, there are either ten planets or eight since, if Eris does not qualify as a planet, neither does Pluto! 🙄

      • Interesting, I was listening a radio in a car when we travelled to BC interior this weekend and someone put “fifty shades of grey” in some kind of commercial. Maybe I’ve heard about it before but didn’t have the idea what was that all about. Only thanks to your post I connected few bits and pieces….

  5. Faye was gutted that she convinced a friend of hers to get a Kindle, then gave her a voucher for her birthday, and her friend bought this pile of crap. Not the Arthur Conan Doyle, Dickens, Hardy or Austen Fate suggested, but this literary abomination.

    If I shared a publisher with this, I’d feel polluted by association. Fuck, I’d rather read a book of the reviews of the book. I’d rather read Jordan’s umpteenth autobiography while having a tooth extracted by a gorilla.

    • You know, on the app WordPress doesn’t say what posts comments are to. Took me a while to add that one up.

      Good to see Mrs Bod has taste too. The reviews are, as I say, really funny. Even professional ones in newspapers (yes, I read what I just said) talk about how bad it is and take the piss a bit. One refused to go further describing the trilogy and said to imagine more of the same review for the last book.

      • Yes, the app is a bit weird. Took me a while to figure out the Read section, and even then it lies about how many comments there are. Obviously their focus is in your content, not that of others.
        The first english book I introduced Mrs Bod to was I Am Legend, I think. I took some books every time I went over there and she borrowed a few. Now, of course, she has access to my mini library and all the free classics a Kindle can provide 🙂

        • Ha, when Kim and I first met I loaned her that book for the train home. It’s one of her favourites. One of mine too actually.

          I still count the ending as one of the truly great twists. Didn’t see it coming at all.

          • Simple. The end, the part that the title actually comes from, cannot easily be filmed. It’s a culmination of the entire film, a montage of memories that reinforce that sudden, epic realisation. Done well it could be a truly great cinematic moment, but it would have to be handled perfectly, kind of like the ending to Oldboy for example. Done badly or so that most don’t understand it, and it’ll just be a pile of shite.

            The thing is you can’t guarantee it’ll be done well, or that the rest of the film will be up to that standard either. You can’t guarantee that the average movie goer will undestand the ending, especially if they just want to see a vampire versus humans war. Those outspoken people who don’t get it will skew the rankings the movie gets and possibly put others off. Fact is, the people who would be guaranteed to understand that sort of ending don’t use review sites as they have their own opinions already.

            It’s all a numbers game.

  6. I just noticed that this post attracted a couple of pieces of spam. One was for a bondage and slavery porn site and the other… That was for comparing penis sizes across the world. As Furtopia has the largest average size and as many slaves as you could wish for, I left both of them as spam.

  7. Pingback: Kristen Stewart Is A Miserable Cunt « The Dark Furie

  8. Sounds like the next book in the series should be something about dehydration and chafing, given all the orgasms that went before.

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