(Will contain spoilers)
I’ve been putting off writing my review of Fifty Shades of Grey for a while now, for a few reasons really, one because I don’t really like writing negative reviews, two because there is so much wrong that I’m not sure where to start and three because I am worried about potentially offending those who really liked it.
Checking my status updates on Goodreads it took me from 15th June to July 26th to finish it (yes over a month!!! It wasn’t one I was racing back to though I was determined to finish it so I could slate it with authority). I started to read it because of some very funny contract related discussions that I wanted to be able to join in with. I wish I’d left it there to be honest.
Here are my Goodreads status updates:
I actually ummed and ahhed about the star review rating to give it – in the end I went with 2 stars (out of 5 which according to Goodreads means – it was ok). My real rating would be 1.5 stars. So, as a friend asked, why so positive why not 0.5 stars.
What contributed to the stars rating:
• As somebody who longs to be a published author one day I am in awe of E.L. James success and the money she must have made but also at the fact she actually finished not one but three books (I’m also acknowledging my potential jealousy with generosity of rating).
• It did leave me with questions about where this was going to go, what had screwed Christian up that much, would Ana get a back bone etc (but not enough to read the others myself – not yet at least and certainly not if I have to hand over more money to do so).
• The sex scenes were ok I suppose – although they were very repetitive and mostly much more ‘vanilla’ than you would be led to believe.
• I liked Christian’s brother Elliott he seemed pretty normal.
• The fact that Ana did leave him at the end of this book – actually if that’s where it had ended it might have even had the extra 0.5 from me for a bit of character development for Ana (I am sad to hear that it completely follows Twilight though in that they get married and have a baby).
What stripped those stars of their light and sparkly will to live:
• The repetitiveness of the writing – Ana uses the words ‘oh my’ and ‘holy crap’ all the time (as two of too many to mention examples), always talks about Christian’s grey eyes (please!!) and everybody cocks their head (seriously the publishers ought to be ashamed at the lack of editing that went into this).
• The tell not show of the writing – please don’t constantly state the obvious, allow your readers a teensy bit more credit. My god the helicopter scene was painful.
• Ana’s pathetic – I/my body melts at Christian Grey so my common sense will go out of the window.
• The fact that if Christian Grey wasn’t rich or completely gorgeous that she’d be running a mile.
• The fact that Christian Grey is a stalker (even some BDSM participants on a TV programme pointed this out).
• The fact that it is insinuated that Christian only really participates in BDSM because he is damaged in some way.
• And then that Ana is so disturbed by it that she really doesn’t want to participate (that’s not consensual people), one example of this is when Ana wants to move any sort of anal action to her hard limits and Christian automatically responds with well we can build you up to that rather than respecting her decision.
• The fact that Christian is so controlling about everything – yes I can understand he is a Dom in the bedroom but to tell her what to eat, wear, how often to exercise, etc etc – this moves it beyond a fun sexual fetish to something more sinister and as others have said more akin to abuse – she’s already too scared to tell anyone else about it and she didn’t even sign the contract.
• The whole maybe I can change him thing.
• The tampon scene – bleurgh. I read somewhere that supposedly FSoG is good at showing condom use, well yes Christian does seem to have a constant supply on him but when she Ana is on her period he doesn’t seem to think condoms are necessary!!
• The fact that Ana seems so sexually naive and can’t even refer to her vagina – calling it down there – but yet she’s going to go straight into a BDSM relationship. She also gets lots of feelings in her belly – I think she needs to see a Dr.
• The fact that a book referred to as Mommy porn actually has no sex in it all for ages!! And that there isn’t really that much BDSM despite this being such a huge push in the marketing.
• Why does Christian have such a thing about Ana rolling her eyes – I would have been spanked by him so many times had he seen my eyes roll when reading this, which they did frequently.
• His insistence that her biting her lip means he has to have sex there and then – me thinks a trip to sex addicts anonymous is required.
• What is it with Ana’s inner goddess and subconscious – I wish they’d both back flip into space.
• The fact that her male ‘friend’ Jose gets away with attempted rape.
• Finally (and I apologise if I do offend anyone with this point) – the fact that this has got people fantasising over wanting their own Christian Grey. I get that he seems to be good at the whole sex thing, so want that people, but not him. I only hope he has a complete personality transplant in the second and third books because I’m sorry but so many things he does would have me running for the hills and signing a contract with a nunnery if it meant securing my safety from him.
A writer friend of mine started reviewing each chapter as she read the book – these reviews were much more entertaining than the book itself – you can read them here – http://quillersplace.wordpress.com/fifty-shades-of-grey-reviews/.
This review on Goodreads is also rather entertaining – http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/340987215 and this reader has bravely read the next two books and reviewed them too so I don’t have to.
Now I’ve neglected to mention that FSoG was originally Twilight Fan Fiction – now I actually liked Twilight (no it’s not the best writing out there but I enjoyed the story). When I started FSoG I was struggling a little to see many links. However after finishing FSoG I read Midnight Sun (The partial draft of Twilight but written from Edward’s – Christian’s vampire counterpart – POV) and I started to see the links more. It affected my enjoyment of Midnight Sun and I’m afraid it may have tainted the Twilight series for me too. Damn you E.L. James. Analysing it even more, as a member of Team Jacob I think the problem with FSoG and Midnight Sun is that it is very Jacob (Jose) light. In Twilight Jacob makes Bella more likeable, cheers her up even, Ana in FSoG really needed a Jacob to keen Mr Grey in check because she clearly can’t do it but Jose nearly rapes her and barely has any role in the story (not sure if he even exists in the second/third books).
I hear E.L. James has even started rewriting FSoG from Christian’s POV too – nooooooo!
My fuller reviews of FSoG and Midnight Sun will appear on my Goodreads account and I will link to them here when they are done.
Reasons why I am glad I read FSoG on my Kindle
• It was cheaper than buying the first book alone (and I’m so glad I didn’t end up buying all 3 together just because they were on special paperback offer).
• The Kindle was clever enough to realise I had fallen asleep and switched itself off to conserve energy (I also didn’t end up with passages of FSoG imprinted on my cheek!)
• It prevented me throwing the book across the room.
• I’m not an advocate of book burning so I’m glad that removing FSoG from my Kindle is as easy as choosing the delete option – I wouldn’t have wanted to give FSoG to a charity even and risk inflicting it on someone else.
• Even though I’ve been open about reading the book I’m glad that people didn’t have to know what I was reading, and when, though I have to say I did still feel uncomfortable reading it in public.
• Had I not been so insistent on finishing reading it before I could move on I would have had a world of other books at my fingertips.
Midnight Sun hasn’t been published and as I am not a fan of reading large volumes of text on my computer screen (or even my iPad because of the screen glare) I used the e-mail to my free kindle address feature of the kindle. You can use the word Convert in the subject line, if needed, to change PDFs, word documents etc to kindle format. This feature is fantastic if you are asked to beta reader anybody’s book or want to see your own stories in a different light.
Fifty Shades of Grey is available on Kindle but I can’t honestly recommend that you buy it – buy something else – when it’s released at the end of September I highly recommend What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang which I will be reviewing soon. Do buy a Kindle though, you won’t regret it.
(but clearly not for FSoG!!!)