On Grey, or Shades Thereof

Okay, so some of you may be surprised to hear that I’m reading 50 Shades of Grey. (Frankly, so am I). This book has been in the news, so when someone in my book club recommended that we check it out, I was game. After all, I took Danielle Steele novels to the beach years ago, how much worse could it be, right?

It’s worse. Much worse. And I’m not just talking about the content (although that is definitely on the seemy side), this book is JUST.SO.BADLY.WRITTEN. Granted, it was written as fan fiction and therefore was probably never professionally edited, but wow, I just can’t believe people are so in love with this book. The prose is badly worded, she repeats herself too much, and as a friend of mine said, you almost want to celebrate if she uses a word with more than two syllables.

But my dislike of this book runs deeper than just bad writing. One of the main literary techniques the author uses is an inner dialogue within the heroine’s head (if you can call her that, the term victim might come more to mind for me). Her ‘inner goddess’ and her ‘subconscious’ battle it out as she decides whether or not to play in an ugly, dangerous sex game with a very rich and troubled man. All of which has my ‘inner feminist’ pretty pissed off, to be truthful. Our mothers, who marched for equal rights in the 70’s, would have to be fuming if they knew what we were reading. Maybe I’m biased because I come from a long line of very smart, independent women who don’t need men to tell them what to do. I love my husband, don’t get me wrong, but he’s not my boss – because we’re equals in this relationship. Add to that the fact that the heroine in this book is the exact same age as my daughter, and that just makes me cringe.

The other thing that troubled me about this book is the way the author uses the fact that Christian Grey (the male main character) was abused as a child to explain why he likes to inflict pain on others. I’m sure the real BDSM community kind of cringes at that, and I have to believe that adult survivors of abuse do too. I seriously want to call this character up and suggest that he needs counseling.

So, if you liked the book, I hope I haven’t offended you. I try to be pretty open-minded and I’m all for letting adults believe and behave in any way that they choose. That said, given the plot and the amount of  just plain bad writing, this book was a serious slog. I decided last night that I’m giving up, so if anyone wants a free copy, drop me a note because I’d be very happy to be rid of it.

I’m off to read some Jane Austen, I think. I need to clear this junk out of my head and read someone who can put together a whole sentence without using the same word twice.

Happy Thursday, everyone.

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16 thoughts on “On Grey, or Shades Thereof

  1. dashzap says:

    I won’t read it. I started reading the story back when it was fanfiction as Masters of the Universe and “flounced” it fairly quickly. It is poorly written. As for gender politics, it is of a piece with Twilight. Ugh.

    That said I am impressed with the author’s ability to be at the right place at the right time and go for it. She took a mediocre story and is raking in cash.

    It is an interesting exposure of the changes e-readers have made in what people read.

    • mardeeknits says:

      I have to admit that I never could bring myself to read the Twilight series either, so maybe I was fated not to like this one.

      You make a good point about e-readers. I have to admit that I was a bit surprised to find a huge stack of these on the books table at Costco though (which is where I bought mine). It didn’t seem like their sort of thing but I guess, whatever sells…

      Thanks for the comment!

      • dashzap says:

        Oh yes, I saw several women digging through the book stacks to be sure they bought all three 50 Shades…sending staff for more copies. I am one part filled with amazement, one part disgust, and one part envy that I didn’t write something racy and sell it for millions!

  2. dashzap says:

    at Costco I saw them

  3. mardeeknits says:

    Yeah, no kidding – why didn’t we write that and become rich? 🙂

  4. Concetta says:

    I caved and listened to the audio books of the Hunger Games. I had the same reaction to them as you did the Christian Grey stuff. I’m not going to cave this time! Since when does it seem okay for so many writers these days to write so badly???

    In other news, JK Rowling’s new book aimed at an adult audience is coming out later this summer. I can’t wait – a great author of generational fiction should be a good adult writer as well.

    • mardeeknits says:

      Yeah, I read the first book of The Hunger Games series for this same book club and didn’t care for it either. It wasn’t that badly written (by comparison to this anyway) but it was just too much gratuitous violence for me). Will be interesting to see what you think about the JK Rowling book. I may wait to see what people think before I pick that one up.

      • Concetta says:

        You saved yourself, Mardee. I listened to all 3. The first one is the best written, and by the time the end comes around, its all “he said” “she said”, tons of violence — and then a happy ending tacked on.

  5. Lisa H Ross says:

    I wonder why most people’s inner feminists aren’t disturbed by Mad Men? This show is almost universally loved, despite the fact that it celebrates sexist stereotypes so happily.

    • mardeeknits says:

      Truthfully, I’ve never seen it. Maybe because it’s a period piece and people really did think that way back then?

      • dashzap says:

        I don’t get why Mad Men is loved. I watched most of the first episode on Netflix recently. I thought it was ugly on a whole bunch of levels. Not my cup of tea.

  6. eileen says:

    thanks mardee–now i won’t go out and get it.

  7. Brady says:

    I’m so sorry I recommend this. UGH. I started this and frankly, if I have must correct every damn sentence in my head before I understand it, it isn’t the book for me.

    • mardeeknits says:

      Hey, there was no way for you to know it would be that bad. At least we gave it a try so we know what all the buzz about it was. And next month’s selection is sure to be better.

      • Concetta says:

        @Brady, My mother always said you have to read some bad books to really appreciate the good books 🙂 (though she uses that saying to apply to any occasion, it really is true!

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