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Book Review — Fifty Shades of Grey (and kinky sex)

 

Today, I’d like to discuss “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James. I can’t help it as I have so much to say about this book.  As you know, or maybe you don’t and if so “where the hell have you been hiding?” this “mommy porn” novel is sweeping across the nation.  Universal has just bid $5 million dollars for the rights to the movie.

 

I first heard of it through my daughter a few months ago.  She’s a senior at Duke University and is taking a “popular fiction” course.  She mentioned that the book, originally a fan fiction, had been published and now was a best seller.  The result of this was that publishing houses were now perusing the Internet to find other crossover books that could be published.

 

So, what’s so damn unique about “Fifty Shades of Grey?”  To understand that, you have to understand what “fan fiction” is so WHAT IS FANFICTION?  Let’s say you are watching a popular TV show or reading a book and there are two characters who have a lot of UST (Unrealized sexual tension).  Examples would be David and Maddie in Moonlighting, or Castle and Beckett in Castle or even Lizzie and Darcy in much of Pride and Prejudice.

 

All you can think while watching or reading is “just get together damnit.”  That’s how people felt for years in Grey’s Anatomy about Meredith and Derrick.  Well, there is a website called ff.net (fanfic.net) where communities of people do just that.  They get the characters together in well written (usually) and often, a graphic sexual way.  There are “missing” scenes where on TV you would see them kiss and then wake up the next morning but in Fan Fiction, they fill in the “missing blanks.”

 

Want to know what happens in the ensuing period?  That’s what fan fiction is for.  Now, in fan fiction the man is always an incredible lover, ALWAYS! He doesn’t just have sex, he makes love and he worships the woman’s body.  I’m not saying it can’t be quick and dirty, I’m just saying that what these fictional men can do with their hands and tongues would put anyone on earth to shame.

 

There is “no such thing” as a woman not having an orgasm as the man always makes sure that she comes first and he “swiftly has his release” afterwards.  I never heard of ff.net until two years ago when I watched a show that frustrated me with the ending.  I was told of these stories and the first time I read an NC-17 version of the couple I loved, I basically had a heart attack.  I had never read anything like this before.

 

After a few more stories,I was reading them out loud to my husband.  Why don’t you know this trick I asked and OMG, do men really do this?  The scenes were very graphic and hot and arousing.  I was hooked.

 

So, Fifty Shades of Grey started as a fan fiction for Twilight.  Christian Grey (see? Fifty Shades of Grey) was Edward and Ana is Bella.  I have read Twilight because I had teenage girls at the time. And I enjoyed the first Twilight book.  It was really about the yearning of a first love and I could see why it was popular.  The storyline was great even though the writing was sophomoric.

 

I never felt either main character was attractive though.  So, when Keely told me that Fifty Shades of Grey was an AU (Alternate Universe) of Twilight, I had no interest in reading it.  What is an AU? An AU is taking the main characters and keeping them true to their personality but putting them in a different setting, in this case modern day Seattle.

 

Eventually, after hearing about it from so many people, I began to be curious. I love AU’s, especially when they are true to character.  This one wasn’t and there were a great deal of inconsistencies but since in my mind “Christian” looked more like “Matt Bomer” and Ana was “anyone but Kristen Stewart” I was ok with it.

 

But, here’s where it goes south.  I get why it’s popular.  One of the funniest things while I read was imagining my friends reading this book.  I simply can’t imagine most of the women that I know who are in their 40’s and 50’s reading this graphic novel. As a matter of fact, one had asked if I had read it (I hadn’t at the time) and said “oh my, you should” to me.  Remembering the first time I read “porn” on the internet, I can totally see why woman like this book.

 

It’s poorly written and incredibly repetitive.  As Keely said after she read it “I can’t believe Ana doesn’t have a hole in her bottom lip as often as she bites it.”  It tends to beat a point into the ground.  Obviously Christian has food issues since he spends 3 books harassing her about eating. Of course, Ana seems quite anorexic as well since she never eats.  The phrases are used repetitively.  The first time she used the metaphor “I felt like Icarus flying too close to the sun” it was appropriate.  Then you used it again.  And then again.  Really?  The same damn metaphor over and over?

 

But the sex?  It’s one scene after another of graphic sex.  Ana takes to sex like she was born to it.  Not only does she orgasm the first time she ever has sex but she becomes an expert in blowjobs immediately; none of that “carrot peeler” stuff for Christian here.

 

Then, the sheer amount of times they have sex is impressive.  I get it, the beginning of any sexual relationship is intense but most human beings get “sore.”  Christian obviously has some sort of Teflon coating on his penis.  Perhaps that’s how he made his money.  They say telecommunications but what the hell?

 

Beyond that, Keely texted me and said “I’m on chapter 10 and where’s the plot?”  PLOT?  Are books supposed to have plots? There are two basic plots throughout the three books.  In my opinion, the main plot is Ana fixing Christian.  This right there is somewhat unlikely.  I get that she “broke through his defenses” mostly through her incredibly inconsistent character traits.  She takes his shit but spends most of her time bemoaning her “poor Fifty who is Fifty shades of fucked up.”  That phrase is mentioned every 10 pages or so and to say its annoying would be a massive understatement.

 

As Keely said, if she says “he’s fifty shades of fucked up one more time I’m going to kill myself.”  Christian is “beguiled” by Ana, a word I don’t think I’ve used in my entire life, therefore he gives up his sadomasochistic tendencies for her.  Bondage and discipline is still ok though.

 

Ana is basically game for anything, especially when she discovers how “intense” her orgasms are while playing these games.  So you can see, dumb plot, repetitive writing, repetitive phrasing but “OH THE SEX!!”

 

And that’s what it comes down to.  Most women are sexually unsatisfied.  When they read this book they fantasize that it could happen to them.  Who wouldn’t want a guy who could make them come more times in a single afternoon then they have in their entire life?  Who wouldn’t want a gorgeous, fucked up, incredibly wealthy man to fall for them and then they “fix” him so he’s perfect?

 

If you go on ScaryMommys site and read her “confessions” you will see that there are a lot of unhappy unions out there and a lot of unhappy women.  Everyone wants to fantasize.  I’m in a great marriage and I fantasize all the time and it’s not just the sex; it’s the love, angst and romance of it all.

 

But here’s the kicker.  The book came out on eBook long before it was printed.  So now you can read it surreptitiously.  No one needs to know you’re reading porn because no one can see the cover.  I think if it had been out in Hardback, there’s no way this would be a phenomenon.  It’s a guilty pleasure.  It’s a shock to the system but a titillating one.

 

Did I enjoy this book? It was fine and I read all three books in 2 days.  For me, the sex wasn’t shocking, as I’ve been reading sex scenes like this for years.  I have met and known MUCH BETTER WRITERS than this on fan fiction and the storyline did absolutely nothing for me.  However, I did learn a little bit about sex toys that I didn’t previously know.  And yet, I could see why people liked it.

 

To the average person, imagining these sexual scenarios is so far beyond anything they’ve thought of.  It’s taken the world of fantasy and brought it to the forefront.  It’s taken the taboo and given it the “Good Housekeeping” stamp of approval. How they’re going to make a movie out of this I have no idea?  First, the characters are young and how they’ll make it sexy without an X rating I can’t imagine.  Secondly, many people will imagine porn and read porn but will they actually go watch porn?  I seriously doubt it.

 

One of the great things about having a secret vice is that it’s actually secret.  Going to a movie and watching a sex scene with your friends can be uncomfortable.  If there’s one thing I’ll say about the book is that if it makes you talk to your significant other about what YOUR NEEDS are and that they could be better served than that’s a good thing.

 

I told my daughter that it’s up to you to make sure your needs are met in any relationship, not only in regards to sex.  There aren’t that many guys who give a damn whether you’re satisfied or not.  Here’s another thing I always found amusing.  In the book, after her intense orgasm Ana always fell asleep.  In real life I’ve found it just the opposite.  Find me a guy who doesn’t pass out on you and I’ll be shocked.

 

Well, that’s my opinion.  Spend the money or just go to fanfic.net and find an “imaginary” relationship on there that you like.  There’s stuff like this for free and trust me, much of it is better written.

 

Or spend the $30 and find out for yourself.  If nothing else, you’ll realize that there are tons of worlds out there that you knew nothing about.  I’m not just talking BDSM (Bondage Discipline Sadistic Masochism), I’m talking about writing communities on Fan Fiction and Live Journal.  There are a lot of excellent writers out there and there are a hell of a lot of explicit stores.  Then you can spend that $30 on some sex toys and “spice up your own life.”

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27 Comments

  1. Mayor Gia
    April 10, 2012

    Hmm..interesting. I’ve been hearing a lot about this book lately. I occasionally will read some fanfiction, but not sure how i feel about an entire book of it…
    Mayor Gia recently posted..Extra Boyfriend TextingMy Profile

    • Lynn
      April 10, 2012

      well, it depends on how much you like to read about plotless sex

      • Name *
        April 16, 2012

        it’s funny tho.
        I got one with a total story. mostly true- i’m not the type to tell all so i put it in fiction format.
        funny and weird. Had inner wars, visions-creeped dreams that try to tell the truth, paranoia, fear…sex.
        And the twisting nature of your friendships on the drug. Oh, the sleeplessness!!
        https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/jfloater2000

  2. carmen
    April 10, 2012

    Yeah I agree that this looks really interesting and i think I have to get a copy of my own too…Anyway, thanks for the great share!
    carmen recently posted..Trouble Getting PregnantMy Profile

    • Lynn
      April 10, 2012

      i think you missed the point of the review

  3. Tere
    April 10, 2012

    I bought the book, just have to find time to sit down and read it. I heard great things… guess I need to make time.

    • Lynn
      April 10, 2012

      great things! hahahaha…

  4. Jester Queen
    April 10, 2012

    YES! Most frustrating thing ever is to end an awful day with Scott thinking we should have nice ‘relaxing’ sex. No, honey, YOU will have nice ‘relaxing’ sex. I WILL BE ALL ENDORPHIN DRIVEN and not fall asleep for HOURS.

    • Lynn
      April 10, 2012

      hahaha…their sex is highly acrobatic

  5. Julie
    April 10, 2012

    A friend shared her copies (all 3 books) on my Kindle last week end. I’m almost done with the first one. I agree with what you said about the “guilty pleasure”. I would NEVER carry it around with me for the world to see, for 2 reasons. 1) It is horrifically written and I wouldn’t want anyone to know the ‘crap’ I was reading and 2) I am a tad appalled at myself for continuing to turn the page.

    • Lynn
      April 10, 2012

      so poorly written it’s shocking

  6. Melanie
    April 10, 2012

    Like the Twilight books, I couldn’t get through 20 pages of this book. I wrote a better book when I was 11 about a girl who couldn’t find a date to prom. I can’t believe people can sit through things this badly written. That being said, if people like it that’s great. I myself don’t get it.

    • Lynn
      April 10, 2012

      it was so poorly written that i laughed … but although it was simply awful it’s apparent people like smut

  7. Brittany
    April 10, 2012

    I havent read this or twilight but I can tell you I am 33 and I know where to turn for well written smut set in these days, days of old or even outer space and it is a highly enjoyable break from my usual reads. Of course, there is sex with good writing and plots and boy is it good! I loved your review Lynn and I love heating about your conversations with Keely. I hope my girls and I have such a great relationship!

    • Lynn
      April 10, 2012

      thanks you…i’m glad you know where to turn and OMG!!! you’re so young

  8. Nikki
    April 10, 2012

    I started reading this last night! It is poorly written and repetitive, but I didn’t know anything about the book until I started reading it, so I really wanted to know the secret. When I got to the part about Christian being a “dominant” I was extremely let down. I only made it through the first sex scene and I’m done. Almost no one has an orgasm the first time. This isn’t what I was expecting. She went from a very inexperienced virgin to someone who will do anything? Doubtful. Awful.

    • Lynn
      April 10, 2012

      I know right? The popularity is inexplicable.

  9. Lady Estrogen
    April 10, 2012

    Carrot peeler stuff. Bahahaha.

    Good thing I do read my porn – I watch it.
    Lady Estrogen recently posted..Easter is a Blast’phemousMy Profile

  10. Arthur R Floyd
    April 10, 2012

    And I doubt any books on why men have sex will ever be published. Probably only need a one page pamphlet with pictures to fill up the rest of the space..
    Arthur R Floyd recently posted..HerSolution Gel Where to BuyMy Profile

  11. alaina
    April 10, 2012

    This review is 100% accurate. The repetition and zero-editing was horrible and if you are looking for a Pulitzer Prize, this book is not for you. But beyond that, it was fun to get lost in an alternate universe for a few hours. A universe where insanely hot billionaire men worship a plain college girl and want nothing more than to take care of her. And fun is the only way to look at this story because describing it as anything more than fun is giving it credit the story hasn’t earned.
    alaina recently posted..Sleep Good.My Profile

  12. MommaKiss
    April 11, 2012

    well I’m going to be totally honest, I skimmed the post because I eventually want to read this series – I was looking for your take on it, and it’s just as I hoped – good read, but there are similar things out there {that’s what I’m getting – am I wrong?}
    SO – I can finish my other books and not rush to buy this like this millisecond.

    • Lynn
      April 11, 2012

      i wouldn’t even buy it. I’d find some good nc-17 fan fiction and read it. just my opinion

  13. IndolentCin
    April 11, 2012

    Thank Whomever that I’m not the only one who thought it was crap. I’m mid-40s, and had several people (my age!) tell me, oh, read this read this, it’s really great. I have a major book-issue (my boyfriend says I’m the only person he knows who can turn reading into a vice), so I bought the first one. Not only is it trite and repetitive, but, if you know anything about the BDSM world, it was predictable. As soon as he mentioned paperwork, there was no surprise. (Just for the record, I am not a member of that scene but I have a number of friends who are and, well, I read a lot.) I will give credit (based on what little I know) for accuracy of the lifestyle (safewords, etc.), but that’s about the best thing I could say about it. And the characters are supposed to be the 21/22 y/o virgin college girl and the hot young (28?) multi-millionaire; couldn’t really relate in any meaningful way that allowed me to just run with the story (what there is of it). If you don’t want to read fanfic but want mommy porn, there’s a lot of better-written things out there (some with plots, some with not so much, even some written with more than a touch of humor).

  14. Kamilla Lecher
    April 12, 2012

    I think I’ll have to pass on this one.
    Kamilla Lecher recently posted..Read about general information on ArthritisMy Profile

  15. MommaC
    April 12, 2012

    HOLY WOW! I just got an unexpected education this morning… AND quite a few laughs to go with it. Thanks for this, I now will have to go find this fan fiction and check it out! LOL!
    MommaC recently posted..The "SCARY" RevolutionMy Profile

  16. Liz
    April 13, 2012

    I actually liked these much more than you did. I could see past all of the sex to the thin plot and that kept me reading. It was there… But yes, the sex is a bit unbelievable. I’ve never known anybody to have such a great sex life. It’ll be great if people can spice theirs up after reading these.

    • Lynn
      April 13, 2012

      i bet most people would be embarrassed to talk to their significant others about this

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