Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James

Dreadfully written novel, woefully weak storyline, non-existent counter narratives and stick-thin plot. Oh and did I mention the horribly drawn characters? The repetitive writing? The narrow vernacular employed throughout? Goodness me, after all that, and I still read the first installment of E.L James’ Fifty Shades trilogy, Fifty Shades of Grey.

E.L. James' 2011 Erotic Novel Fifty Shade of Grey

E.L. James’ 2011 Erotic Novel Fifty Shade of Grey

Mind you, it was simple for me to resist reading the book for the longest of time, notwithstanding miriad friends, relations and even my own mother-in-law (who came to stay with us for a week, her copy of the book firmly in hand) taking to its tiresome chapters with gusto. In fact, I was actually repelled by the thought of the urban saga contained in those very chapters. And I will readily admit, I did not read it out of sheer literary snobbery.

Then my husband purchased it for me. I read the book within the span of three days. And with that part of my life safely over and my brain recovering from being stuck in cerebral first gear, personal experience with the book could thus inform a review of Fifty Shades of Grey. Lets be clear: this erotic phenomenon is boring, cliched and without literary merit. Anastasia’s orgasmic exhortations (“Jeez!” “Holy crap!”) were embarrasing. And the author must have employed the adjective “unbidden” (as is “unbidden thoughts came to my mind”) at least 25 times. By the penultimate chapter I was so irritated by the chronic misuse of proper syntax that I dispaired; I just had to get to the damn end.

It is a paradox indeed. How do we explain the huge international print run? To its merit, the book is hot in some places. But for my liking, not hot enough. Not clever at all. Gentle reader, shun Fifty Shades of anything. Save your pennies for a tome with a pulse, and brains to boot.

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