Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Rating
**
2 stars - I read all three volumes but in retrospect could have better spent my time cleaning the bathroom or staring at the wall



What? You think I just read great literature? Hey! At least I didn't waste my money on these books as they were lent to me by my mother. So there.

Before I even begin, let me save you some time. If you are keen about a love story that involves a sadomasochistic relationship, then just rent Secretary staring James Spader and Maggie Gyllenhaal. It is a wonderful story of two people made for each other who fit together perfectly, just the way they are.






Still here? OK, here goes. I warn you that this review is fraught with spoilers. No worries, I have been assured via an in depth report on NPR that spoilers actually enhance reading pleasure. So it must be true, right?



Synopsis:
  • Psycho stalker obsessive emotionally dead extremely wealthy erotically sadistic boy meets virginal naive well educated girl.
  • Psycho stalker dude does what he does best... stalks.
  • Boy has sex with virgin girl.
  • Girl is smitten.
  • Boy reveals that the only sort of relationship he can have is master / slave and shows girl his play room.
  • Girl agrees to a spanking. Admits it wasn't so bad.
  • Boy impresses girl with his desire to beat her.
  • Girl lets boy beat her because she loves him.
  • Boy beats girl. It hurts. Girl runs away.
  • Boy stalks girl. Boy is charming and boy and girl's families think he is wonderful.
  • Boy interferes with every part of girl's life like the total possessive megalomaniac stalker that he is.
  • Girl succumbs.
  • Bad guy wants to kill boy and girl.
  • Somebody gets kidnapped.
  • Boy "tortures" girl by not letting her climax during sex.
  • Bad guy gets disposed of.
  • Boy reveals troubled past.
  • Girl gets pregnant (idiot).
  • Boy marries girl, becomes model father.
  • Boy is cured of all the bad parts of his nature thanks to true love.
  • Girl decides she likes being tied up, blindfolded, and lightly beaten.
  • Everybody lives happily ever after.

That pretty much sums it up. Even though the first volume was, at times, titillating and fun to read, the ensuing sex scenes and dialog in volumes two and three are so repetitive, so agonizingly predictable that one can only imagine that the author and editor went mad with cutting and pasting.

Editor: "Shall we insert another sex scene here?"
Author: "Oh do, let's. We haven't used the one from page 52 in a while."

Well, that's good news for the reader as many pages can be skipped and reading volumes two and three really only involves touching down for a few key paragraphs here and there.

I can't even give this one a good rating for a romance novel (and believe me, at the end of the day, this is no more, no less than formulaic romance writing). In the few romance novels I have read which I enjoyed, the main characters didn't have to change their fundamental nature to be together and each grew as an individual from being with the other. Those alarm bells that went off in Anna's head when she first met Christian were spot on. "Run away!"

On a more serious note, my next door neighbor is wondering whether he should let his 20 year old daughter read the book. First of all, you don't "let" your 20 year old read anything. She can read whatever she wants.

But I do worry about the moral of this story which appears to be "stick by your man no matter how f*&k'd up he is because true love will turn him around." Sadly, that is the prescription for far too many relationships that start out lovely and turn into abusive situations. 



Now then, if anybody has a female black lab who is interested in exploring new territory, I happen to have a male lab who is willing.



Fifty Shades of Black

19 comments:

  1. You hit this review spot on!!!! Totally spot on!!!!

    michele :)

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  2. Time for MangoMom to pen a novel or? You have a seriously wonderful way with words and I enjoyed your review immensely! I prolly won't read the tome, however! Thanks for the new blog tho - lots!

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  3. Neither Fi nor Abby is THAT kind of girl, so Dexter is going to have to go looking for like-minded labragals. My girls have been taught to run away from psycho sociopaths. (Unless said aforementioned psycho sociopaths are holding steak, and then all bets are off.) BTW, my parents gave on 'allowing' us to read anything by the time we could reach the top shelf of the bookcase. But yeah, I'm not into 'romances' where people stay the same throughout. Or of anything where people don't change. Because either they are super boring people, or they are so fake I can't handle it. Life happens, and if people don't develop and grow (ideally together in a romance) then I don't see the point...

    -Dr. Liz, who LOVES the header photo! :-)

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  4. Neither Fi nor Abby is THAT kind of girl, so Dexter is going to have to go looking for like-minded labragals. My girls have been taught to run away from psycho sociopaths. (Unless said aforementioned psycho sociopaths are holding steak, and then all bets are off.) BTW, my parents gave on 'allowing' us to read anything by the time we could reach the top shelf of the bookcase. But yeah, I'm not into 'romances' where people stay the same throughout. Or of anything where people don't change. Because either they are super boring people, or they are so fake I can't handle it. Life happens, and if people don't develop and grow (ideally together in a romance) then I don't see the point...

    -Dr. Liz, who LOVES the header photo! :-)

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  5. I am so glad I didn't read these when everyone was telling me how good they were. Anything that started out as Twilight fan fiction isn't worth my time I do not think.

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  6. Howdy MM, glad you started this book and movie review thingy. I'm always on the look out for new ideas. I was brought up going to the library every week and we continued this with our own kids. We also visit second hand bookstores too. I've even bought old books cause I like the feel of them! Weird huh. We all moan about never having enough room in the house for all our books. I don't care what the kids read as long as they are reading and enjoying themselves. I've got a couple of favourites too. 'Ride the Wind' by Lucia St Clair Robson and 'The Ladies of Missalonghi' by Colleen McCullough, if you are after another read. Look forward to more reviews. No worries, and happy reading, Carol
    P.S. Got the book His Family, free on kindle, yay!

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  7. I read the reviews on Amazon and the words used most often in describing the books were repetitive and boring, so I chose not to waste money on them. If I ever stumble across the first volume I might read it.

    Fudge does not understand what happened. Once upon a time Samba smelled wonderful and she let him 'get very friendly', if you know what he means. Then those silly puppies came along and now Samba won't let him get close to her anymore. He checks each of the girl dogs every day, sometimes twice a day to see if they smell 'friendly', but it's never happened again. He's sure like to 'get friendly' with another girl dog. What's going on?
    Sue and Fudge

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  8. This trilogy was not on my list, but it's interesting to have a review from an intellect I respect. Still can't imagine what the fuss is about, but apparently the author is laughing all the way to the bank. Of course, some authors manage to do that and actually produce decent literature; J.K. Rowling springs to mind.

    Jed & Abby's mama

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  9. Ha ha ha ha ha! Okay, I read the first one, because I was curious, but after that I vowed not to spend any more money on it. Your review totally cracked me up! You nailed it!

    Right now I'm reading The House at Riverton and I am fascinated! I love a mystery that promises to keep me guessing.

    Bunny and Blueberry are definitely not those kind of girls, and Morgan would probably bite poor Dex if he tried anything funny with her!

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  10. Excellent review and you just saved me a ton of time not reading the 2nd and 3rd books. I admit I read the first out of curiosity, but lets face it, this is bad writing. I read it and really have no desire to continue. I do appreciate you letting me see the rest and now I can move on to much better books. I recently bought Maxdog and can't wait to read that one.

    Anne

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  11. The relative from Denver (who shows up at Thanksgiving) has been telling me about how I should read these books, and blah blah blah about the author and whatnot. This series sounded greatly overrated to me, and I'm glad to hear you confirm that. I won't waste my time or money.

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  12. I must admit that I was curious about this series partially because I often fall for the "too good to be true" books, etc. I have been the girl who often falls for the "too good to be true" guys who need a mother, a counselor, a booking agent, and the list goes on! I often thought that by me loving these men well enough that they would turn themselves around, gain some maturity, get a decent job, get motivated, etc, but it never happened! Sure, it's a nice fantasy to hope that true love will prevail but a series that promotes this is a waste of time!
    I wish you had a GFC way to follow your posts but I will add your blog address to my "Impawtent Blogs" sidebar and subscribe by email! Great blog! Love it!

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  13. ha ha ha... I so enjoyed reading your review. (especially the finale - the lab take on things )
    I am fascinated with the ensuing cultural liberation of talking about these reads that seems to be taking place since the publication of these books. It certainly challenges conservative literary culture.

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  14. hello mango momma its dennis the vizsla dog hay i think i am probly too yung to reed this buk and that i probly woodnt unnerstand it ennyway!!! however i hav visited the fifty shayds of grey seks seen jennerator site witch is wot i assoom the socalld awthor yoozd wen riting her buk ha ha ennyway dada has seen the moovee sekretary of witch yoo speek and agreez that it is mutch better than wun mite think!!! but he has ben a fan of james spader ever sinse the film tuff turf in witch james spader rides a bike and kanoodles with the alien girl frum witch mowntin dada is so weerd!!! ha ha ok bye

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  15. I m excited for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. and i watch your work it is pretty awesome to see on the screen the movie fifty shades

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  16. Thank you so much for the wonderful book! I finished it a few days ago and cannot get it out of my head. It is pure magic. It was everything I hoped it would be and much more. ...
    the movie fifty shades

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  17. Great review!!!
    Thanks for sharing..
    You are a great writer EL James.....
    the movie fifty shades of grey

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  18. I m excited for the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.I cant wait for releasing date of the movie.
    Fifty Shades of Grey

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