Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Fifty shades of Grey - what's all the fuss about?

As an occasional mummy blogger I feel that it is OK for me stray from my usual fare of amusing anecdotes about family life into the territory of book reviews just this once, for the book in question - Fifty Shades of Grey - has been dubbed 'mommy porn', such is its success amongst us mums.

It was first brought to my attention by fellow blogger, Nappy Valley Girl, who currently resides Stateside where it has topped the New York Times bestseller list. She piqued my interest so I instantly downloaded it to my Kindle. It's a pretty tawdry tale about a virgin college girl who is seduced by an enigmatic and gorgeous billionaire (surely a creature that only ever exists in fiction) with a taste for kinky sex. Now many are up in arms about the morality of such a tale, but that is not what bothers me about the book. 

I am not averse to a bit of filth, but what really put me off my stride was the appalling writing. Now I know onscreen porn is famous for its wooden acting and stilted dialogue and I do understand that that's not really the point of it. But when it comes to written smut do standards have to sink equally low? 

There was no way any amount of riding crop flicking, nipple tweaking or cupping of sexes was going to get me hot under the collar when I was so distracted by the monotonous, repetitive style. I found myself twitching not with lust for the sexy Christian Grey, but with irritation as the writer explained that he was wearing 'a white linen shirt and black pants' or that he had 'soft copper hair' for the umpteenth time. 

Describe what your hero wears, if you must, but please, please, please only do it once. I don't need to be reminded every other page. I don't give a fuck. Get yourself to the Red room of Pain E.L. James, you need a good spanking for your tedious repetition of trivial detail. I know that Ana's borrowed plum dress 'clings in all the right places' you told me five pages ago, and 10 pages ago, and 15 pages ago - ARRRGH. And that is not a cry of sexual abandon.

Every vaguely interesting revelation, argument, sexual act, day with the letter y in it is greeted with either Ana or Christian's breath 'hitching'. Not entirely sure what that means, but it is certainly a catch all action that indicates that the lead characters are shocked/aroused/annoyed/alive. 

Another thing that really annoyed me was that, although the book is written by a Brit, it is an homage to the Twilight vampire movies, and as such is written in ersatz American. So the heroines lips are awkwardly wrapped around the phrases 'Oh my' 'Holy crap/shit' and 'Jeez' every other sentence. Surely this is not how American's really speak, even inside their own heads? 

Perhaps I am missing the point as clearly other women's quality control switches off the moment a pair of hands are roughly tied behind a back or smooth buttock cheeks pink up under the discipline of a twitching palm. A quickie over the bathroom sink and they care not for a misplaced full stop or the excessive use of slang. But Fifty Shades of Grey left me not panting with desire, more fuming with righteous wrath at it's flagrant abuse of my mother tongue. 


  1. Well, I do agree it isn't well-written, and it did annoy me too at first. But once I got past that and more engrossed in the story, I have to admit I enjoyed it. Maybe I just have a dirty mind!

  2. Perhaps I didn't get far enough in. I just couldn't get past the annoying language and I feared I was going to chuck my Kindle at the wall if I read the words 'Oh my' once more!

  3. I was so sick of Christian's eyes becoming "hooded" or Ana "fisting" his "copper hair" over and over that the book really didn't do it for me. I am so happy someone else gets this!

  4. Thank you so much for the wonderful book! I finished it a few days ago and cannot get it out of my head. It is pure magic. It was everything I hoped it would be and much more. Fifty Shades