Grey, as it so happens, is created by combining black and white. This is a convenient bit of irony since I can say in black and white terms that Fifty Shades of Grey is the worst written, most idiotic book I’ve ever attempted to read.
Calling this literature would be akin to calling Kraft Dinner ‘cuisine’
I’d love to say it’s the single worst piece of published literature in all of human history but 1) I’m not authoritative enough to make such a bold statement, though I’m quite confident it is a Vegas odds maker favourite for the title and 2) saying as much is a disservice to the word literature and would be akin to calling Kraft Dinner, cuisine.
I am forced to say attempted because I did not, could not, finish this book. Not even close. I rarely leave a book unfinished preferring instead to push through to the finish out of morbid curiosity as to what the author will inflict upon the reader next. But this time it was just too much; a car wreck I could no longer watch.
I completed nine of twenty-six chapters which, according to my statistically keen e-reader, is twenty-eight percent of the book. That’s actually a fairly startling stat. Imagine someone attempting to stick one hundred rusty, iodine-soaked finishing nails into your eyeballs and you only stopping them after twenty-eight. I’m amazed I made it that far. Were I fifteen I’m sure I’d have finished it. Then again, when I was fifteen I didn’t have an endless supply of titillating internet erotica (fine, porn) at my fingertips, so perhaps my standards were more malleable. At forty-two, however, my requirements for excitement have elevated. A slight bump during a bicycle ride is no longer sufficient to redirect blood flow. And laughter, while certainly one of the foundations of love, is not particularly erotic.
And laughing is about all one can do through most of Fifty Shades of Grey. It truly is that ridiculous. I’m quite positive the author had no intention of writing a comedy but, oh my (one of several grandma-esque phrases the author has uncommon affection for), is this book funny. It reminds me of a song, the name of I no longer recall. I have this cassette by a band called Manitoba’s Wild Kingdom. I have no idea why I own it and I doubt any of you have ever heard of it (the Eighties and hair metal did peculiar, sometimes wonderful, things to the youth of that era). Anyway, there is a song on the album that begins with a recording of a Rolling Stones fan commenting that the band members “are so ugly they’re appealing.” It’s a great quote and in many ways captures the soul of Rock ‘n’ Roll. I will paraphrase that delightful quote and say Fifty Shades of Grey “is so bad it’s hilarious”.
The exact moment I couldn’t read any further
Here, then, is the exact line when the laughter proved too much and I knew there would be no finishing the entire book for me. As the book finally turns to actual depictions of sex (gasp), the two main characters are engaged in amourous relations via the heroine’s oral cavity, an intimate skill she remarkably masters her very first time trying, she proclaims (in her mind since her yap is filled) “He’s my very own Christian Grey-flavoured popsicle.” Where are the Booker Prize people? Is a Pulitzer not in order? I’ve read better prose in Penthouse Forum. Fifteen year old girls would be ashamed to write that in their diaries. Danielle Steele would read that line, snort, cringe, and then call up Jackie Collins and say, “you are not going to believe what I just read!”
I could go on and on. There is an endless supply of chortle-inducing claptrap in this monstrosity of a book (like having characters so edgy they refer to intercourse as fucking but so bashful they refer to women’s genitals as down there). Luckily someone else has already done so and I encourage you to read this terrific, hilarious review here. I’ll simply close out my review with two final, horrifying thoughts (I assume it’s obvious that I do not recommend this book unless you genuinely wish to witness ineptitude first hand). First, my mother has read this book. And though she says she too thought it was stupid, the simple act that she has read a trashy, kinky, sex novel, regardless of how awfully written it may be, unsettles me to the very core. Second, the author, Ms. E.L. James, has made an estimated $90 million on her trilogy of Fifty Shades books. NINETY MILLION DOLLARS! I guess she gets the last laugh.
[Yes, I know, I’m a little late getting to this one. I’ve been reluctant to join the latest fads as they sweep the world ever since I rushed out to purchase Colour By Numbers by Culture Club having thoroughly convinced myself that Boy George was a burgeoning rock hero for the ages.]