Have you ever seen “Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus“? It’s one of those movies that’s so absurd and hilariously bad, that it’s entertaining — or it is until you run out of wine or you find something better on TV.
This is pretty much what “Fifty Shades of Grey” is like.
After all the hype, I couldn’t help myself. I had to read it … or most of it. I know it’s poor form to review a book you haven’t read in its entirety, but I made it through more than 400 pages and read the final page. Maybe if someone refills my wine glass or puts Twilight into the DVD player, I’ll find that I’m suddenly interested in reading the remaining 100 pages. But probably not.
Yup, you read that right. This book is 514 pages.
I made some notes as I read though (most of) the book, so here are my thoughts on E.L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey”:
- First of all, I’m pretty sure I’ve come across this generic gray tie image while searching for stock images at work. You’re not really winning me over. (Yes, I’m judging a book by its cover.)
- I have to give it to E.L. James. She’s made Ana just as dull and personality-less as Bella Swan.
- Wait a second… Ana is a college student without a computer? She just borrows her roommate’s laptop whenever she needs to write a paper? But she’s an English major! I’d get a new roommate if I were you, Kate. That’s gotta be annoying.
- Jacob José is a hilariously offensive stereotype. This Latino art student drinks margaritas and is constantly shouting “Dios mio!” Every time he appears I imagine him wearing a sombrero and munching on tortilla chips.
- OK, I know foreshadowing when I see it. Mr. Grey is going to tie Ana up with the rope he buys at her hardware store. Please tell me the coveralls will also make an appearance.
- Is this book sponsored by Twinings English Breakfast Tea?
- Show of hands: How many women have started biting their lips and buying up all the rope in the local hardware store?
- “Why is anyone the way they are? That’s kind of hard to answer. Why do some people like cheese and other people hate it? Do you like cheese?” Insightful, Mr. Grey. Very deep.
- OK, so Mr. Grey isn’t into knives or breathing control, but maybe there’s still a chance some of this other stuff could lead to Ana’s accidental death. *crosses fingers*
- I bet this book could be edited down to 200 pages if we cut all the scenes where Ana goes to work/sleeps/sits in her apartment and thinks about Mr. Grey, Ana cries for unspecified reasons, Ana drinks tea, and Ana comments on what her subconscious and/or “inner goddess” are doing.
- If you want to be treated like an adult, maybe you should stop wearing your hair in pigtails, Ana.
- If I were Ana, I’d be exhausted by my own internal monologue. Every other thought is Holy crap!, Holy sh*t! or Holy f*@k! For a girl who doesn’t seem remotely concerned with pious behavior, she sure does pair “holy” with a lot of curse words.
- “Laters, baby.” <—— How not say goodbye to a woman you’d like to see again.
- Ugh. This sentence. “No one is going to dictate to me what I eat. How I f@*k, yes, but eat … no, no way.”
- I bet this book would be a lot shorter if Ana were a women’s studies major.
- I don’t know who I’m more sick of: Ana’s subconscious, Ana’s “inner goddess,” or Ana herself. But I picture Kristen Stewart with tiny, angsty Kristen Stewarts perched on her shoulders.
- Are there really that many ways for a man’s pants to hang off his hips?
- I finally read a legal contract from beginning to end!
- Mr. Grey welcomes Ana into the 21st century by buying her a Macbook Pro and a … Blackberry? Do people even still use Blackberries? Welcome to 2006, Ana.
- So, the girl who’s never had sex is supposed to sign a contract about what kind of sex she’s OK with? This wouldn’t make any sense except that Mr. Grey buys her a laptop (finally!) and instructs her to Google all the BDSM terms. I’d hate to see her browser history.
- Hold up. Did this grown man and CEO of his own company (who never actually works) just use a winky face in an email?
- I keep waiting for something super romantic to happen since all the Tumblr teens with long bangs and eyeliner keep making posts about how Chrisitan Grey is their dream man. Now I’m worried there’s going to be an entire generation of women who need haircuts who think sexual relationships should involve degrading legal documents.
- Ana has some interesting “mantras.” They range from “I must not sleep with my hair wet” to “I must not nuzzle.” Words to live by, people, words to live by.
- “He’s my very own Christian Grey flavor Popsicle.” Great. This book has now ruined Popsicles for me.
- Every few chapters there’s a reference to Darfur with no explanation. I’m not sure if E.L. James actually knows what’s happening in Darfur, but I’m pretty sure Darfur should sue for defamation.
- Now that I think of it, the BDSM community should probably get in on that lawsuit, too.
- If Mr. Grey doesn’t want Ana to drink so much, maybe he should stop insisting she drink wine at every meal and sending bottles of champagne to her apartment. Just a thought.
- Ana’s lip should be bleeding by now.
- Ana sure does “forget” to eat a lot considering she knows to expect a diatribe and a spanking every time she doesn’t eat.
- Dios mio! Maybe Ana would be more inclined to eat it if José would bring over some tacos and guacamole.
- For an English major who supposedly spends all her times with books and wants to work in the publishing world, it’s strange that Ana hasn’t once sat down and read a book. But maybe she’s just too busy having violent sex to read.
- OK, so when you read this description: “acute, liquid and smoldering, combusts deep in my belly,” would you assume the author is describing diarrhea or desire? Because she’s describing desire.
- I thought this book was supposed to be sexy?
- Maybe I should abandon my novel and just write some really trashy fan fiction with several sex scenes that take place in 2004 inside a yellow Xterra… I’ll call it “50 Shades of Ogan Lechols,” and maybe someone will turn it into a screenplay and I can finally see something that resembles a Veronica Mars movie.
- “Just-f@*ked hair doesn’t suit me.” I wonder if this is better or worse than sleeping with wet hair? I mean that’s obviously a big deal since it’s the ENTIRE DISCUSSION in the book’s opening paragraph.
- As much as Ana’s “inner goddess” annoys me, I admit the book would be a lot more interesting if the story were told from the goddess’ point of view. Just look at all the stuff she can do:
- “My inner goddess sits in the lotus position looking serene except for the sly, self-congratulatory smile on her face.”
- “My inner goddess jumps up and down with cheer-leading pom-poms shouting yes at me.”
- “My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves.” (Hmm…maybe José’s inner god taught her that.)
- “My inner goddess pole-vaults over the 15-foot bar.”
- Oh, but let’s not forget the ever-present subconscious: “My subconscious is furious, medusa-like in her anger, hair flying, her hands clenched around her face like Edvard Munch’s Scream.”
- I never ever want to read the phrase “postcoital glow” again. Ever.
- I get it. Mr. Grey is “fifty shades of grey.” Way to drive the theme home with all his gray clothing. Now can he please put on the coveralls?
- I apologize for including this line, but I want to point out that E.L. James felt compelled to write it: “He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string — what?! — and gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet.”
- Don’t you know you can’t flush those?!
- And didn’t that contract clearly state “No acts involving blood.” For the love of legality, follow your own contract!!
- I definitely need more wine now.
- Dios mio! This book has sold more than a million copies?! I’m seriously considering that Meronica Vars/Ogan Lechols fan fiction.
- Or maybe I should just open a well-stocked hardware store next to a Barnes & Noble. Location, location, location.
- There’s still 100 pages to go?! Meh. Let’s see what’s on TV. Maybe watching a giant shark take down an airplane can get that last mental image out of my head.
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