Friday, April 27, 2012

Fifty Shades of . . . Hey, I’ve read this before

Literature is sweeping the nation again.

No, I’m not talking about ‘The Hunger Games.’

I’m talking about the ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ trilogy by E.L. James.

Of course, to call ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ literature is akin to calling ‘Howard the Duck’ a masterpiece. In reality, the trilogy is essentially erotica – written on a third grade level.

What’s the difference between erotica and porn you may ask? Porn is visual and erotica is written – that’s the only difference.

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is set mostly in Seattle. It tells the story of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. What is the story? It’s S&M kids (not to be confused with M&Ms).

Now, I don’t want to give the whole plot away – and I use the word plot loosely. My problem with the first book (I have not read the second and third – which have also been mass released – and have no intention to) is not the sex.

I read a lot of books, and there’s sex in quite a few of them. I just prefer my sex to have some actual prose and story with it – and when I don’t, I want something down and dirtier than ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ Understand the distinction? I want a fiction book to be better written and I want erotica to be hotter? ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ fails at both.

On the prose level, this book could have been written by any middle school student with spell check. There’s nothing special about the writing and there’s certainly nothing special about the story. In actuality, this subject matter was tackled better by ‘The Story of O’ years ago.

As far as the erotica, I’ve read steamier stuff in several recent vampire fictions books – including Gerry Bartlett’s ‘Real Vampires Hate Skinny Jeans,’ which came out earlier this month.

There are any number of bodice rippers that tackle this exact subject matter in fact – and they do it with more aplomb and entertainment. At least they don’t try to be something they're not.

So why has ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ went viral? I have no clue. It’s the same stuff that’s been around for years – it’s just dressed up in a prettier package frankly.

I do know some people who have read it and call it “hot” fiction – and then they giggle like 12-year-olds. Maybe I have a different basis for what is hot – but this wasn’t even tepid to me. If I wanted to read about men mistreating women I’d just look in the cops and courts section of any newspaper. 

In fact, with the Bashara case getting so much press locally these days, this book’s phenomenal rise is fairly interesting – or frightening if you know anything about that incident.

I’m all for people reading more – and if this is what gets them reading, more power to them I guess. If they’re going to do it, though, they should probably admit what it is about the book that is speaking to them – because it certainly isn’t the writing.

What do you think? Is all the hoopla surrounding ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ deserved?


Blogger miglet said...

I agree with you completely. I read all three in astonishment that anyone paid this "author" money for it. Additionally, there is a way to write an Alpha Male hero without the character bordering on abusive...Harlequin Romance authors do it all the time, and they do it WELL.

April 28, 2012 at 7:20 AM 
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