◆ Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
◆ Read October 2012
◆ English Edition
❝ When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.❞
I have never suffered so much while reading a book, wishing so badly it was over already. And no, it's not even because of the erotica. I'm still wondering how the hell this got published, why it has become a bestseller and why it is commonly listed as "a great love story".
I started reading Fifty Shades of Grey because I had read a lot of reviews about it and was kind of curious what had gotten people so worked up. So I decided to give it a try, intending to have a good laugh about it if it did turn out to be as horrible as I'd heard. And guess what? Even a good laugh was impossible.
First thing that I noticed was how similar the main characters were to those in Twilight. Christian Grey is a cold, handsome man who has control issues and stalks the girl he likes. Anastasia Steele is a virgin with low self esteem (yet miraculously multiple guys fall in love with her) and a possible eating disorder who falls for Christian despite his warnings that she should stay a way from him. Remind you of two people from Twilight? Exactly.
Imagine that I therefore wasn't surprised at all when I found out that the book was originally a Twilight fanfiction written by the author under the penname Snowqueens Icedragon. For Fifty Shades, she changed the names, but according to multiple internet sources the two works of fiction are 89 % alike. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this plagiarism?
Either way, I can handle unorginality, but there were so many other things that bother me.
For one, the writing style does indeed resemble a badly written fanfiction. Words and phrases are repeated so often that I'm still wondering if the author has ever heard of the words synonyms and rephrasing. It is repeated a million times how handsome Christian is, that Anastasia should stop biting her lower lip and to top it, all the pages are filled with phrases like "oh my", "holy crap", "crap", "holy shit" etc. Chapter three alone already mentions "oh my" five times. Her writing is anything but refined.
The pages are filled with emails and a pages-long contract describing the rules between the dominant and submissive, which is just an easy way out having any proper dialogue, setting or mood, things that are crucial in a good book. There is a constant mention of Anastasia's inner goddess or subconscious, which quite frankly I find anything but sane. Furthermore, the story stars a female protagonist who is weak and submissive (see what I did there?) and desperately clings onto a guy who obviously has huge issues. The unrealistic scenes, like the fact that Anastasia has never had sex before nor pleasured herself, yet has an orgasm the first time she has sex and magically knows how to do perform certain sexual acts after that despite her inexperience.
I could go on and on why this book (which I don't think deserves the title of book) is badly written and ridiculous, but to conclude: it's unoriginal, sexist, unrealistic, disturbing and most of all I hate it because it gives woman the wrong idea of what they should be like and kind of guy is good for them. I'm keen to forget about the whole book, and I definitely won't be reading the other books in the Fifty Shades of Fucked Up (as Anastasia likes to call Grey) series.
1 star because:
✗ Unoriginal plot and characters
✗ No character development
✗ No character development