Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey?  Pfft.  More like Fifty Shades of OMG, what the crap am I reading?!



E.L. James, the pseudonymous British television executive turned crappy author, gives us the gift of Fifty Shades of Grey. Uhmmm.. thanks? But hey, is there a return policy?  

This mediocre novel started out as an online Twilight fan fiction called Master of the Universe. Apparently, James was bored with all that glitter skin and unrequited six-pack abs kind of love, so she decided to skip the love part all together.

Here's the plot: Anastasia Steele is a 21-year-old virgin and soon-to-be Washington State University graduate. She falls for a rich, handsome entrepreneur named Christian Grey after interviewing him for her school newspaper as a favor to her roommate. Christian Grey is a self-professed sexual dominant who cannot show any real affection. He asks young girls to sign subordinate contracts in which Grey controls their appearance, hygiene, nutrition, exercise and sleep schedule. He wants them "ready" anytime he requests their "company" in his "playroom", and if they break a rule, they are punished in the whips and chains kind of way.

Christian Grey is controlling, manipulative and abusive. In short, he makes Charles Manson look like the Dalai Lama.

Steele is a young idiot who will do anything to please Grey, but she can't get past all the S&M, hot, nasty, monkey sex, which is detailed explicitly in the novel. She also has concerns about signing his beck and call girl contract. Steele eventually decides that she can't handle a relationship based solely on erotica.

Spoiler Alert: That's it.That's the entire plot.

If I wrote a novel this bad, I would use a pseudonym, too.

Check out the first paragraph of the book:
I scowl in frustration at myself in the mirror. Damn my hair—it just won’t behave, and damn Katherine Kavanaugh for being ill and subjecting me to this ordeal.  I should be studying for my final exams, which are next week, yet here I am trying to brush my wet hair into submission.  I must not sleep with it wet. I must not sleep with it wet.  Reciting this mantra several times, I attempt, once more, to bring it under control with the brush. I roll my eyes with exasperation and gaze at the pale, brown-haired girl with blue eyes too big for her face staring back at me, and give up.  My only option is to restrain my wayward hair in a ponytail and hope I look semi-presentable.

If there was an award for the longest run-on sentence and the worst use of the word "mantra", I would proudly present it to E.L. James now.

And I'm sorry to report this is as good as the writing gets, folks. Seriously, I was more intellectually stimulated by reading Hokey Pokey Elmo.

And unfortunately, everything that E.L. James knows about Seattle -  or America in general - is what she read in the Twilight series. The geography references in this book sound like something written after a weekend-long game of beer pong.

Oh, and the repetition! She repeats the same words over and over again. There is so much repetition.  She repeats herself over and over again. You will read the same things over and over again. It's so repetitious.

Did that annoy you? Then don't read this book.

I never thought that a best selling novel would have "oh crap" and "quirk up" appearing 842 times per chapter, but I guess I was wrong. Every sexual encounter begins with Grey "cocking his head to one side" and ends with Steele's "inner goddess doing cartwheels".

Pete and Repeat were sitting on a fence... that was obviously painted fifty shades of grey.

Look, I'm all for an easy (no pun intended) read, but I was completely blown (no pun intended) away by the immature writing style displayed by this "pro" (no pun intended). A New York Times Bestseller?  How did she do it (no pun intended)?  The weak plot allows you to see every so-called twist and turn coming (no pun intended) from a mile away. I hate to sound hard (no pun intended) to please (no pun intended), but I thought the book royally sucked (no pun intended).

Fifty Shades of Grey has been called "Mommy porn", which is a misnomer because this kind of porn isn't strictly reserved for mommies. It's for perverts, sex addicts and 16-year-old boys, too.

I'm still baffled by it's popularity among Moms, though. If I had read this book before it was famous, I would not have told tell a soul, except maybe a priest during confession. Before Fifty Shades, if you had admitted to liking "Mommy porn", you wouldn't have wondered who they would be gossiping about at the next PTA meeting; you would know.

But now, "Mommy porn" has become socially acceptable. Some people even blog about it. Ahem.

You must suffer through the weak plot and poor character development just to get to the sexy stuff.  That's not Mommy porn, people - that's actual porn.

If your favorite show was Red Shoe Diaries or if you can't believe that Jenna Jameson never took home the Oscar for Best Actress, this book is for you.  

And for all you mathematicians out there, I'll break it down in your love language. Fifty Shades of Grey is 90% sex, 2% character development, and 8% filler to get to 100%. And that's being very generous with the character development portion of the equation.

Supporters call this book a "love story". Well, sure - as long as you think that love is whipping someone until her guts fall out on the floor. I guess I missed that scene in The Notebook.

Other supporters say that they're inspired by the "relationship" in this novel. Yes, there were plenty of "relations" going on; I just didn't find any that ended with "ship".

Look, people - it's all about the sex. Don't let anybody fool you into thinking it's a love story or it's about a relationship. Let's call it what it is: socially acceptable sex. And not romantic sex or loving sex, but horrid, abusive sex.

Next time, I'll just stick with Hokey Pokey Elmo.

85 comments:

  1. Ha! I haven't read it yet and I don't plan to. Some friends of mine try to say they read it for the story - I reminded them that's what a lot of guys say about Playboy, but we all know they aren't reading it for the articles! Thanks for the review!

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    1. You hit the nail on the head! To me, there was nothing but sex in this book. And if that's what you like, I'm certainly not going to judge... it just wasn't my thang. Thanks for your comment, Lisa!

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  2. Thanks for the review! Sounds like you saved me from 50 shades of misery! I won't be reading it!

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    1. Totally. I turned 50 shades of red reading it.

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  3. I've just started hearing about it on the 'Talk' shows. If they advertise it, I'm not interested! According to them, it is the best book out there. No thanks, and Thank you for the 'review'.

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    1. I see why it's caused so much conversation, but I definitely wouldn't call it the best book out there... not even a good book out there. ;) Thanks for your comment!

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  4. I loved it. With all it's repetition and graphic detail. An easy read, yes. Out of the box, for sure. Ammature writing well perhaps. No one in Seattle says "cross" I'm sure. However I breezed through the trilogy and loved every min. I chose to use this series as a light, mindless read. That's what it was, it got me hot and bothered and giggling like an idiot. Refreshing for this deprived Mom after cleaning 3 poopy diapers all day.
    Floggers and cuffs don't seem so bad? lol

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    1. Yes! I forgot to mention all the British slang! Thanks. I thought it was an easy read, too. And it definitely created some conversation, exchanging thoughts about the book with friends... and even this blog post. :)

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  5. Every page I told myself,"If I see the word 'murmur' one more time I'm burning this book. Is there no other words for "murmur"? This book didn't make me feel sexy (tampon scene, one example) it just reminded me of the losers you date when you're young that don't really "love" you. So glad other's have negative opinions, I thought I must have got a bad copy of it or something.

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    1. Murmur! haha! I forgot that! It didn't make me feel sexy, either. I don't know if it was the psychology major in me or what - but all I could see was abuse. If you got a bad copy, I must have gotten the same one. ;)

      P.S. LOOOOOVE your blog name. This makes me want to sing karaoke! :)

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  6. Can you get your money back?

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    1. Unfortunately, I think it's too late for that.

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  7. I have been hearing about this book a lot...thanks for the whole run down so I didn't have to waste my life!

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  8. Could not have said it better! This book was crap! Never mind getting a refund on my money, how do I get the few hours of my life back?!

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    1. Amen sista! I love how you said a "few hours"... I read this book in a couple of hours, too. I told my husband that it was either because it was written on a 4th grade reading level OR because I just skimmed to the good parts. Ahem. ;)

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  9. I read all the books..I don't know why, maybe b/c I was brain dead for a week. Either way, I agree with you 100%. My Sis in law lives in Washington State and complains about the weather all the time. About how it gets dark so early, like 4p in the winter. How they don't have a/c in their home because it's never really that hot outside to use it and they don't really go anywhere without a sweater. Point is, she didn't do very good research on place she was setting this up at. Same when they went to Aspen...I wasn't even impressed with the sex parts of the book. A lot of repeititon through out all that. It wasn't juicy, nothing. I didn't get hot and bothered by it, I actually skipped many parts b/c of how uninteresting the whole thing really was. The last book was not much of a page turner either. You did see everything coming from a mile away. All of it. Harry Potter had me more excited about the relationships of the characters than this one did. They were dull and boring (maybe she got that from twilight too?!) And GOD...She didn't even discribe the characters at all! I never really had a clear picture of what any one of them looked like....Even Ana. You hit the nail on the head with this review and I would have said the same thing as you did about this book. (are we really getting this stupid, that these books ended up on the bestsellers list???)

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    1. As a Georgia native, I know very little about Washington State, but even I knew enough to know that she didn't know anything! I haven't read the other two books in the series. I might read them just to check them out, but I'm setting the bar pretty low. :) The lack of character development really got me, too - I want to get to know characters when I read a book. The only thing I learned about Ana is that she has an inner goddess who is annoying as crap. ;)

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  10. Happy to know I'm not the only one out there who feels that way about the book! I have about sixty pages left before I finish the book, and I just can't bring myself to pick it up and get it done. I believe I lost all interest (although it happened gradually as I was reading the book) after the tampon scene. Blaaaa... And to think it's part of a trilogy!! Lol

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    1. The tampon scene is one of my top five least favorite in the book, too. I have caught so much flack for this review. So many people have come up to me and told me that I have GOT to read the next two books. Uhmmm, really? PLEASE tell me that they get better first. I'm with you. I'm not sure how I could make it through two more books. Thanks for your comment!

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  11. I think you went in to it with the wrong expectations. The book is supposed to stimulate you....just not intellectually. : )

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    1. hahaha! Now that's hilarious! You're right! Total wrong set of expectations. :)

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  12. I am currently on the third book. I enjoyed the second one the best because there is actually a "story" in it. I am having a difficult time getting through the third book. The sex is overrated now and VERY repetitive. I think that this book is so popular because it is "acceptable" pornography. I had to pray after every chapter and felt guilty after finishing the book. No literature should make us feel guilty in that way. Thanks for your review. Very eye opening and make me think about what I read.

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    1. Thanks, Jennifer! Many people have mentioned that the second book has a much better plot than the first one. I just don't think I could make it through, but curiosity might just get the best of me. ;) Let me know if you make it through the third book! There's an award for that, you know. ;)

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  13. I agree with you. I was so sick of the "rolling eyes" and "biting lips" I found myself skipping over the sex scenes to get to the non-sex scenes which were even worse. I'm not getting the hype on this book. Love your blog! Thank you!

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    1. I've decided to send E L James a thesaurus for Christmas. She obviously needs it. :)

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  14. Thank you so much for saving me from this ridiculous series. I could feel myself getting sucked in by all the hype. Hooray for a real review!!

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    1. If I save just one person, I feel like I'm making a difference. ;) Thanks for your comment!

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  15. Uh, THANK YOU! I was beginning to think I was the ONLY one on the planet not thrilled at ALL by Fifty Shades of Grey, let alone "The Twilight Saga." I'm glad to hear someone else has not enjoyed it. My best friend has a life-sized Edward Cullen in the room she shares with her fiance. I love her, but definitely not that.

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    1. Nope, Emily - there's at least you and me. :) Then again, I never got the Twilight series, either. Maybe I'm setting my literary bar too high?

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    2. Me three! Everywhere I go, women are talking about this book, and they want me to read it. I don't want to read it! Yes, I am above it too. The only thing stimulating about this book, is that I'm having more sex in spite of it, just to prove to myself that I don't need a crappy book to do so.

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    3. I was the same way, Lois. I just wanted to see what all the hype was about.

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  16. I didn't really know alot about this book, but it looks like I do not want to pick it up now. I don't like books like this, and I had no idea this is what it was about.

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    1. Wade, for every one review like mine, there are fifty (shade of grey) that love it. But I'm proud to add you to my hater team! :)

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  17. I am on about chapter 11. I hate it and I just sit fuming that someone would think this is a love story. While I understand everyone has a different view of porn and the secs industry. I at no time like to think of women being punished or made to sign a contract for anything to do with our bodies. Yuck...

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    1. That's the part I couldn't get past, either. I would never judge anybody for what they like to do behind closed doors! But Ana didn't like it or what it (most of it, anyway), so to me, that takes it from sexy to cruel.

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  18. I just heard about this series this week. I had no idea it even existed. Needless to say, I have not read it. But I'm certainly glad I stumbled upon your blog.
    http://www.memoirsofmeandmine.com/

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    1. It's seems like more people it than not (obviously - since it's a #1 best seller), but I'm happy to represent the minority on this one.

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  19. I am SO happy to see a negative review on this book. I heard that it was juvenile, poorly written, repetitive, and 99% sex. I had heard it called "mommy porn" AND that it had S&M -- so I was like what the crap is mommy porn then again?! It's poorly written erotica. End of story. I hate that it's become so popular. Does this say something about the intellect level of this country? It's even worse than all the middle-aged women going nuts over Twilight. (I'm sorry, but if you have Twilight stickers on your minivan and act like a 15-year-old at the movie's opening night, you have issues that need dealt with, I think.) I just don't understand it. Does being on the best seller list make reading porn a little less taboo? Ease the conscience a little? Mercy.

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    1. Were we separated at birth? :)

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    2. Well said!! Moms have turned just plain creepy!

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  20. bought the books out of curiosity and wow, major disappointment. Might as well picked up a $4 romance novel from Wal Mart. The repetition is what killed it for me too. It truly saddens me that this has been made a best seller. Are women today that bored, sex-starved and intellectually dumbed down to accept this as a good read? I'm all for a mindless read every now and then, but this was just stupidity. Ana is one of the most unlikeable female protagonists I have ever read. And then there's the sex: From everything I heard it was over the top steamy, kinky to the point of disturbing. I kept waiting for my jaw to drop and to feel uncomfortable. Maybe I'm just not as prudish, but light bondage and spanking doesn't speak over the top to me. Racier than your average romance novel, yes. But over the top disturbing BSDM, not really. Not that I was hoping for that, it just wasn't as steamy as I had heard. And the simple fact that a 21 year old naive, virgin went into it willingly just made the whole rest of the story entirely unbelievable. But let's not kid ourselves, this book is just about the sex. There is no story. I read them in an afternoon, and immediately listed them on paperback swap knowing sadly that they'd be snatched up instantaneously and I would get more points. I was right, but I still felt I should have burned them instead.

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    1. I want to copy & paste this into my review! :)

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    2. "Are women today that bored, sex-starved and intellectually dumbed down to accept this as a good read?"

      THIS!!! This is what worries me! I just don't get it.

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  21. Ohhh just wait until you read the last chapters of the last book! That was when I decided to burn it lol. If you don't know what I mean yet, you will.

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    1. I've only read the first one. Can't bring myself to continue with the trilogy... yet. But now you've got me tempted just to read the end of the last book and call it a day! :)

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  22. i hated it. i bought it because i had heard all the hype in the teachers lounge ( of all places) at my kids school. The way they talked, it was way freaky, kinky, weird. hmmm ok i gotta read this. TOTAL DISAPPOINTMENT. the amt of "kink" in this book is dismal. Yes theres some dom - sub stuff going on but nothing that is beyond weird. I am not going to read any further in the series bc this was a total waste of a day for me. i have learned my lesson

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    1. It seems that what made this book so taboo was just the fact that so much content was sex. But you're right - it's nothing as crazy as was described to me, either - and not anything that you won't see on HBO after midnight. ;)

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  23. It is discouraging that this trilogy is a best seller. I read the first two (on loan - I never would have read the second if I had to purchase it myself). While I read the first one, I kept thinking, "what am I missing - this is crap!" Then I learned the book started out as Twilight fanfiction, and it was like the pieces fell in to place! It was like it was written by a 9th grader. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise - the second book is NO BETTER than the first. I wanted to strangle that damn inner goddess! Repetitious, silly, unbelievable. You know, it's entirely acceptable for a book to be mindless - entertainment for the sake of entertainment. But it should still be well written. Did you hear they are making this into a movie? Heaven help us!

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    1. I did hear about the movie! Actresses are falling over themselves to play Ana. Hopefully some experienced screen writer will take hold of this book and add some storyline to the sex.

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  24. I don't understand the negativity towards this book. I read all three and enjoyed the story at face value. Some of the chapters did get a bit vulgar and Christian's thrill with spanking was disgusting (as you said, it was more like abuse), but overall, it was a fun and easy read. Anyone with an interest to read it should not be discouraged

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    1. First off, THANK YOU for writing such a respectful, well-worded negative comment. I wish I had some kind of award to present to you! Most people start off their negative comments by calling me an idiot. I've gotten so many of them lately that if I don't get called an idiot at least once a day now, I feel like I'm doing something wrong. ;)

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  25. I have yet to read it and from the sounds of this, doesn't look like I will. Thanks for saving me from it!

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    1. Yes! Another Saturday afternoon saved! :)

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  26. I caved in and made it through Chapter 9 before I couldn't take it anymore. HATED this book. Like many here, I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around why everyone is so ga-ga over this, especially when there is far superior erotica out there. Plus I don't find a misogynist like Christian Grey sexy in the least. He's a jerk! I'm beginning to think that this book appeals to women who are filled with a lot of deep-rooted self-loathing or women who are attracted to prison inmates.

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    1. haha! I agree that there is nothing really special about the sexy stuff; there's just a lot of it. I was really disappointed in the poor writing and lack of plot and character development.

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  27. Fifty Shades of Grey tells a story of Anastasia Steel who falls for a rich, handsome entrepreneur named Christian Grey. Love, pain, loses, anger, passion...Read and find out more.

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    1. Your review sounds so much better than mine! :) For anybody who still wants to read the book, PLEASE skip my review and read this comment only!

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  28. Hey, yesterday I'm hiking in the mtns and while we were going up the trail I saw a young family, mom, dad and a daughter under 3 coming down the trail. They seemed nice and friendly etc and made the hello, cute dog, nice day for a hike chitchat and went by slow enough for to see he was carrying a book. HE. So, of course I read the cover and see it is none other than the 50 shades of Grey book and I tried to make a poker face and bite my tongue at the same time! This is a VERY steep trail in 8000+elevation and you bring a book? OK, maybe, but that book? With your kid? UM? Just what WERE you doing in the forest before we met on the trail, eh? And with your kid? I am still confused 24 hrs later.

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    1. hahaha! That sounds like 50 shades of family fun that we don't need to ask about!

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  29. I saw your blog comment and came to see if I could find your original post, but there's a lot to scroll through and I replied to the comment. If you'll send me the link to the post I will be happy to link it back, because as I stated when I posted it, I simply got it from a friend on facebook and when I googled it, there were so many hits for it and couldn't tell where it originated. :)
    I gotta say, this post made me chuckle. I haven't been able to bring myself to pick up 50 shades of grey because i'm not down with the whole mommy porn thing, but all my friends are talking about it and looove it. IDK WHY!!! lol

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    1. Hey Anna - no worries!

      I read Fifty Shades of Grey and I still don't get it. ;)

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  30. I haven't read it yet, but decided that if it was about S & M then I really wasn't interested. Any time I want to read good sex scenes (and great stories!), I pick up a book by Katie MacAlister. She does an amazing job!

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  31. The biggest shame of all regarding this trilogy of trash is that a better work of literature may not have been published because of it and lets face it there must be a million undiscovered authors who have deemed their work unpublishable and rewrite their work over and over again, James must have just wittered on and on writing Fifty Shades without re-reading it, or she has no shame, once again talentless crap gets gold.

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  32. hello! I've heard nothing but negative stuff about this book, I have no desire to read it. I think it's so sad that society has raised up this book as great writing. It's a discouraging reflection on us. I love your review, have read a few others like this. I applaud you for speaking out. If we say nothing, the crap only increases. I'm new to your blog and am going to follow. :-)

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  33. Thanks for this review. I have no interest in reading it, it's just not my thing (I'm not a romance novel fan either) but I truly don't understand the popularity of this book, esp. if it has such bad writing. WTH??

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  34. Someone should mention the number of times words/phrases like "flush", "oh my!", "that way", "down there", "murmur", "whisper" and "holy crap" are used in these awful, awful books. I cannot understand how this made it to a bestseller's list... sad to say that maybe the idiots have started to read now.

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  35. Horribly written. A 4th grade level at best, with a bunch of words even I had to look up at weird intervals, must've used a thesaurus. What was most distrubing was the enjoyment of physical punnishment (he likes to punnish her... thats not rough sex, thats ABUSE), the need for controlling, and the unbelievable stalking. Every time she wanted to do anything, even go to a friends art show (when they were broken up) he controlled who she talked to, for how long, and what she ate and drank. He followed her across the country, and happened to end up in the bar she was at?? When she decided a BSDM relationship wasnt for her (even as a joke) he turns up banging down her door...Books 1 & 2 occur in less than 7 weeks, what kind of person tolorates that behavior from a new aquaintance?? Ive said before, if it ended with her dead it could be a lifetime movie of the week..

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  36. I couldn't have said it better myself. The book is crap! Just came across your blog and I love everything that I've read so far. And I'm thrilled that someone else hates this book as much as I did. I was beginning to think that I was the crazy one for not liking it everyone seems to love it.

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  37. I think that your post is just a bit over exaggerated.It was not meant to be a life changing self help book. It was for entertainment and fun. If you were looking for a Newbery Medal winning book..you were looking in the wrong section.

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