The Female Perspective: “Fifty Shades of Grey” aka “Fifty Shades of Blah” (Safe For Work)

Welcome! This blog is written by author J.L. Metcalf and will chat about comics, movies, garden gnomes, ghosts or even books and daily life. It is a place where I offer my ladylike perspective on anything and everything my brain can think of. 

DISCLAIMER: I want to start by saying that this post is mostly family friendly, there are no bad words but there are references to orgasms and sex, but nothing vulgar, I promise!

Fifty Shades of Grey aka Fifty Shades of Blah
Fifty Shades of Grey aka Fifty Shades of Blah

A few things you should know about me, I don’t mind reading erotica, I enjoy some of it and find a lot of it silly and amusing. But I have nothing against it. I do, however, have LOTS against crappy writing.

I kept hearing about this mysterious “Fifty Shades of Grey” and it’s author, E.L. James, who started out by self publishing her book before it became a worldwide sensation. Honestly, it sounded kind of silly and in the spirit of full disclosure,  I wanted to mock it because, from what people told me, it had the potential to be hilariously awful. I realized to truly mock it properly I needed to actually read it. So I found it for $8 on Amazon and read away I did.

I read the book in about two days, so I’ll give it that, it is a very quick read. Was it entertaining? I’m not sure, I only kept reading it to get through it and to be honest, I did not read the other two books because this one was MORE than enough.

My initial impressions as I read the book are as follows:

  1. I will never understand the general public and what they choose to obsess over (other examples include Honey Boo-Boo; Jersey Shore and anything Kardashian related), this is not to say that obsessing over pop culture is bad, I’ll simply never really understand what draws people in.
  2. This is possibly the worst book I’ve ever read up to this point in my life (I’m leaving room because we all know more craptastic stuff can and probably will come out). It is poorly written, even more poorly edited and down right dull.
  3. Writing about sex is difficult (I’ll admit that), but it is possible if you have a brain in your head, an imagination and a good thesaurus.
To each his/her own I suppose...
To each his/her own I suppose…

I’ll tell ya, I found myself re-writing passages of this book as I read because the sentence structure was so poorly formatted it was making me crazy. I found the author’s choice of words to be repetitive and often unintelligent. Some of the big stands out for me were as follows:

  1. For some inexplicable reason the author chose to refer to her laptop as “the mean machine” and then continued to do so on pretty much on every other page. Over and over and OVER again. It was lame the first time lady, STOP USING THIS PHRASING. I have never heard anyone refer to their computer as “the mean machine”.
  2. The author, E.L. James, chose to articulate what a woman sounds like when she is having an orgasm. OK, that makes some sense since this book is about erotic pleasures and sex features prominently in the story. My issue isn’t with articulating the sound of a woman climaxing, it’s the fact that the author chose to use the word sound of “Aaarrghh”. I don’t think she could have used a less sexy sound. Is she a pirate* having sex? Because, I gotta say, people make all sorts of noises during sex but “Argh” is not one of the ones I would choose to highlight.   *Hmmmm…pirates would have improved this book quite a bit.
  3. Whoever edited this book should be fired. They didn’t seem to make any kind of effort. I realize that at first it was a self published book, which explains some of it, but once an actual publisher picked it up, they should have done better. Perhaps they read it and though, “Damn, this is already a best seller, it doesn’t have to be well written or edited!”
  4. The author uses the same words, over and over again, sometimes on the SAME PAGE. What the hell? A good author will use different ways of saying the same thing, its kind of what writing is, or, at least, good writing.
  5. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again. Writing about sex is challenging – you feel kinda silly and goofy but there are ways to write a sex scene without it being dull and lame. This author did not accomplish that here one bit. Her sex scenes were contrived, silly little moments where the main character (a naive 20 something virgin until she meets Christian Grey) orgasms at the drop of a hat. I think a strong wind could have made her climax. The other thing is she kept saying “Whoa” about Christian’s body, the sex, etc. Either she is really 14 instead of 20 or else she was channeling the character “Joey” from “Blossom” (remember him?).
  6. Finally, I get that the main character is naive. But does she also have to be totally stupid? She is an insult to women. One of the dumbest lines (and there are many) comes when she is talking about Christian to her mother. Her mother gives her some advice and she goes (to herself) “Well Mom has been married 4 times, she must know something about men.” – I’m sorry, but WHAT???? I think all those marriages would be a bright red flag that says Mom clearly knows nothing about men.


Now, as I said before,I did not read the other two so in all honestly, I have no idea if perhaps the young lady smartens up or takes control but I have my doubts. Anastasia seems to never really have a handle on who she is or what she wants, which, to some degree, is understandable since she is young and a virgin. After awhile though, you want her to smarten up or else go with the flow. Christian is a clearly troubled man and the biggest cliche in this book full of them is that he is the “bad boy” the “mysterious, dark-haired stranger” and blah, blah blah. I am not offended by the BDSM or any of that, I am offended by the way the female characters are treated as dumb, slow-witted and yeah, stupid.

I know that a lot of people are offended by the fact that the female character allows herself to be “controlled” by the male character, feminists are horrified and I get that to a certain extent. The fact is, people engage in this kind of behavior and it doesn’t make it sexist or wrong if BOTH parties agree to it. I don’t have a feminist argument against the movie, I have an problem with Anastasia being an idiot. That offends me more than the sex scenes or Christian Grey’s behavior. I want my heroine’s to be smart, sexy and powerful.

All of that being said, I DO plan on seeing the movie in a couple of weeks because even as I read it I thought, this would make a good movie. So it does have that going for it. I can only hope that the movie is better than the book (which wouldn’t take much really). In the end, it’s your choice, read it, don’t read it…but seriously, don’t read it…nah, do what you want. Personally, the worst part of this book was the bad formatting and editing. Had the story been tightened up a bit, it might have been a decent read, not great, but decent.

What do you think? Have you read all 3 books? Can you enlighten me on how Anastasia does or doesn’t grow as a person? Are you seeing the movie? Sound off in the comments!

3 thoughts on “The Female Perspective: “Fifty Shades of Grey” aka “Fifty Shades of Blah” (Safe For Work)

  1. I never read any of her books based on the negative reviews from my friends who had. However, my curiosity will take me to the movie theatres when it makes its debut. The privacy that a darkened cinema affords will now replace the little brown paper bags people carried their copies of Fifty Shades of Grey around in.

  2. Hahahaha…excellent point!

  3. […] recently did a blog post that reviewed the book of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and if you read it, you know I am not big fan of the book and that I in fact only read the […]

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