17 Jun 2012

50 Shades of Boring

The last few years it has seemed like one hyped booked after another has taken the book markets with storm and in a way that is great. It keeps interest in the industry and hopefully brings in people that otherwise wouldn't read but it also means that some genres get put in a box. 
If you haven't heard of "50 Shades of Grey" by E.L. James, I have to asked where you have been for the last few months because this book has been everywhere. Literally swept the globe, invading book shop after book shop and defining a new genre that goes by the name mommy porn. Which in my humble opinion is a horrible name and evokes some nasty pictures reminiscent of Stifler's mom but that's besides the point. The point is that this is one of those hyped books that I can't figure out whether I like or hate. 
The story about it is more interesting that the plot as it were. It started out as a fan fiction blog imagining a heavily sexual relationship between Edward Cullen and Bella Swan of Twilight. Oh yes, someone actually got so fed of with the lack of s.e.x. and abundance of lukewarm romance in the Twilight books that they took matters into their own hands. Well done and a fun idea but if you ask me, it doesn't really work as a book. 
The heroine is a young woman called Ana. Short for Anastacia. She is pretty without knowing it, clumsy and quite bookish - not a party girl. So far, so Bella (though Bella is not bookish, I guess). By coincidence she meets the very handsome, very rich, very eligible Christian Grey who turns out to be a bit of a pervert who doesn't do girlfriends but instead have young women sign contracts detailing their relationships. Sounds pervy, doesn't it? 
In the end, it isn't. Not really. The first book was okay, entertaining, it had novelty factor and I will admit that Christian Grey is quite a catch. But by book three, I was so weary of the same boring sex scenes over and over and over that I skipped them. And then you might as well not read the bloody book in the first place. 
So instead of writing up reviews of all three books and driving myself nuts in the process, here comes the list of all of the things that annoyed me about the three "50 Shades..." books:
  • All of the characters apart from Ana and at times Christian are decidedly 2-D and lack personality. 
  • The ridiculous psycho-babble about why Christian Grey is who he is - who gives a ....?
  • The fact that Ana climbs the career ladder faster than you can say casting couch.
  • The cover art. Cringe.
  • The way it airbrushes sex (no limbs get in the way, nothing is ever awkward). 
  • The focus on all things material - I don't want to know the brand of her shoes!
  • The fact that it is hyped up to be boundary-breaking when really it is very very vanilla (as Christian would say). 
  • Book three. All of it. Every single bloody page.
Read it if: You are curious what the hype is about. You have never read erotic fiction before and want to be put off it forever. 


  1. Love love love this review! I have not read the books and don't intend to as a) I don't like reading erotica, b) it started out as Twilight fanfiction which just got published for crying out loud and c)... mommy porn? S&M fetishes for the main stream crowd? Oh hell no

    So basically, your review confirms everything I suspect I'll think about the books if I wasted time reading even one of them

  2. Thanks for saving me many disappointing and disgusting hours. I was on the brink of reading this just to find out WHY THE HELL EVERYONE IS FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS BOOK.

    But I love the idea that 3 whole books are based on a Twilight fanfiction. How much is there to write about those guys having sex?! Apparantly a lot...

  3. Hehe I completely agree. I read the first book and it was awful. I can't wait until this ridiculous hype dies down, ESPECIALLY the term 'mommy porn'. I actually know some people who work at Cornerstone, the UK publishers, and even they were secretly bashing it!

  4. I read all three and wrote up a post: 50 Shades of Endorsements for some of the repetitive bits.

    Great post!

  5. @Iben: Thanks so much! Your praise really made my day :-)

    @Cassandra: It is fascinating that it started out as fanfiction... but maybe that's where it should've stayed...

    @Headless Owl:Good to hear that you agree. And I agree with you. Mommy porn is a terrible genre name. Hate it. Makes me cringe.

    @Andi:Thanks Andi, will pop by your blog and check it out :-)