Fifty Shades of No Thank You

The book which is currently flying off the shelves and creating a stir everywhere is by a British author who, inspired by the Twilight novels (which I love) self-published her book, and then saw it become just as successful as the books she was inspired by. Her trilogy has now sold over 31 million copies and been picked up by a major publisher. It's sold on a huge display in the supermarket I shop in. To such I aspire.

But I won't be reading it. The book is "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James and it has sold the way it has because it is, essentially, pornography in print. Most of the book is about the characters (Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele - or Edward Cullen and Bella Swan in Ms. James's original manuscript) having sex. Not just any sex either, but sadism, dominance and other unpleasant and  twisted things.

Now, call me a prude (no, please do, I'm fine with that) but I have never written a sex scene (and never will) because I happen to believe that sex is a very special and beautiful thing which is meant to be private and personal between a couple in love. Even when that couple is fictional. And while a good novelist can stir deep emotions, I don't believe that titillation is an emotion worth stirring in this context. Surely literature is above such things? I was horrified, for example, to learn that people are writing sequels to Jane Austen novels which include sex scenes featuring well known characters. Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy getting down and dirty? Now that's sacrilege. How dare they.

Actually, now I have to shock you and admit that I have read some of it. In the interests of seeing what all the fuss was about I downloaded the Kindle sample having been assured that there was nothing offensive in those first few pages. So, filth aside, what did I think of the book?

It was terrible. Really badly written, amateurish and clunky. For example:

"Miss Steele could you wait here, please?" She points to a seated area of white leather chairs. [page 5]

Seated area? The chairs are sitting down? I think she means seating area. In any other book I'd assume that this was a typo, but based on the poor use of language throughout I think the author actually doesn't know the correct form. Like the many annoying people who say "could of" rather than "could have". And first person present tense is not something I enjoy in a book.

Doesn't this book have even one redeeming feature? Well, yes it does. This review:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R53SXA5IQFRKH/ref=cm_cr_dp_title?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0099579936&channel=rw-dp&nodeID=266239&store=books

Now that's some good writing.

Comments

  1. Anna, I'm not a fan of this genre, not my cup of tea, but I thought I would give the book a go to see what the fuss was about. I did the 'peek inside' thing with Amazon. Well, I lost interest due to the set up. It was just Too Stupid To Live for me. Journalist works for evah and evah to get an interview with a billionaire recluse bachelor. Finally she gets it, but on the day of the interview she is sick and can't make it. Instead of getting another industry professional to take her place she decides to ask her roommate (who is not a journalist) to do the interview. Not another journalist with experience. Her roommate. And then I lost interest. . .

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