Ever since I figured out piracy and how to make it work for me, I haven’t paid for a single book. Finally last week, I bought the ebook version of Fifty Shades of Grey after my friend recommended it to me. I haven’t spoken to her since. The two events may or may not be related.
Not since P.S. I Love You, have I come across such a badly written piece of “literature” (although it’s probably because I don’t count Chetan Bhagat among writers). I’m not talking about the story, of which there is no trace. I’m talking about language and the basic art of storytelling. The first 30 pages are filled with descriptions of Christian’s beautiful, hot, sexy, freaking hot, freaking beautiful, so hot, good-looking, so good-looking, freaking good-looking body. This gives you the feeling that Christian is possibly an attractive man. And that maybe Anastasia fancies him. She also bites her lip a lot and Christian hates this. But only because it makes her look sexy, hot, so hot and very good-looking.
But this is not just another love story between two attractive people. Christian is a very complicated man, because he doesn’t “make love”, he “fucks….hard”. The only way he can be with a woman is if she is bound, gagged, whipped, etc. So naturally Anastasia (who is a virgin until she meets him) is very intrigued but not at all scared by this at first. He IS after all quite the respectful gentleman. Between the threats of whipping her bottom if she ever rolls her eyes at him, he is a very caring man. He even draws up a contract for her to sign over herself to him physically in whichever manner he pleases. About 3 pages take up the contract. Once he learns that she is a virgin though, he decides he must have “vanilla sex” with her because her first act of physical intimacy cannot be of the nature he describes in the contract. He’s not a monster! Anyway, despite his different tastes, he quite enjoys this kind of mating. And this is the point where you are distracted from the bad writing by the bad sex. And you always know there is going to be some whoopee when you see the words “oh my” in italics. This is supposed to be erotic and not at all weird.
The rest of the book is various versions of plain ol’ copulation, some kinky sex on the side and a lot more descriptions of Christian’s body which is damn hot and sometimes super hot. Also, his eyes are grey. Also, his name is Grey. This is very clever.
E.L. James goes to great lengths to make Christian seem human and Anastasia seem not stupid, dependent or submissive. She achieves this by never letting Ana actually sign the contract. She can surrender her body to him but as long as she doesnt make it official, she’s good. This is a victory for womenfolk everywhere. Christian on the other hand went through deep childhood trauma which is what made him like this.
Considering this novel developed as Twilight fan fiction, it is remarkably even more lousy than you would think it could be. Where have all the literary heroines gone? Where is the role model for teenage girls? And WHY on earth is such poppycock getting published in lieu of actual literature? These are only some of the questions that come to mind after reading this book. The questions that REALLY plague me are – will Ana and Christian make it? Is Fassbender really playing him in the movie? Will she finally open up a thesaurus while writing the next book? E.L. James has ingeniously typed up a cliffhanger for us.