Book Dare - Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

Book dare – 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James

Rating = 2 stars

I’m surprised to be giving this two stars instead of the one star rating I thought I’d give. Don’t get me wrong, the writing is awful but it does have a simple enough story to be interesting. There is also good back and forth between the characters which I found funny. The relationship between a dominant and submissive makes it instantly intriguing.

I can’t believe I’m giving this the same rating as I gave the Road by Cormac McCarthy. I also can’t believe 50 Shades of Grey has sold over 125 million copies! From starting out as a Twilight fan fiction series under the pen name ‘Snowqueen’s Icedragon’, E.L. James has certainly done well for herself and this book should serve as a reminder that absolutely anyone can publish a book no matter what their background.

Whilst updating my status on Goodreads my good friend, Mrs Danvers, pointed out that when E.L. James hosted an AMA someone asked the question ‘After the success of “Grey” have you considered re-telling the story from the perspective of someone who can write?’ A good burn and definitely deserved.

Above all, the message that you should give abusive relationships a try and stick with it is disgraceful.


It’s a simple, linear story which is easy to follow when the writing doesn’t trip you up. When I looked over my wife’s shoulder whilst she read this, I was appalled to see that a good percentage of the book is made up of emails. The critic in me instantly hated this but I thought these were actually the best part of the book. The short quips via email balance out the horrendous dialogue when they are face to face.

Notable issues

Where to start? I’ve never made so many notes whilst reading a book. I can’t possible include everything. The writing is truly awful!

Instead of showing us what the main character is like the author chose to simply tell us. She spells out the fact that Ana prefers her own company, doesn’t do well in crowds and is very clumsy. Real writers do this through showing us, not telling us. Seriously, she mentions that she’s shy and clumsy at least four times in the opening chapter. ‘Here’s me, all gawky and uncoordinated, barely able to get from A to B without falling flat on my face.’

How many times do you have to exclaim ‘Holy sh*t!’, ‘Holy crap!’, etc?It loses all impact quickly as she uses it nearly every second page.

The author forgot to put Ana’s internal thoughts in italics during the first couple of chapters and then remembers to do this for the remainder of the book. She also doesn’t know how to use commas.

Ana is super annoying and dumb. Throughout the whole book she says things like ‘some of his answers were so cryptic’. No they weren’t. For the most part, Christian sat you down, talked very clearly about what he wants, what he needs from you and even has a bloomin’ contract for you to look over so that you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into. He couldn’t have been less cryptic.

The fact that I had to use a dictionary to look up some words shocked me. Was this an attempt to look smart or just an overuse of a thesaurus? No one uses words like foisted, autocratic, somnambulant or phlegmatically!

You know Troy McClure from the Simpsons who says things like ‘have it your way, baby?’ That’s what I think of every time Grey speaks during any sex scenes – ‘Feel it, baby.’ ‘That’s right, baby.’ Everything has ‘, baby.’ attached to the end of it.

James has the annoying habit of inserting feelings and situations that just aren’t true in an effort to push the story in the direction she needs it to go. Grey mentions his past and suddenly he’s been ‘sexually abused’. He didn’t say that at all. And his ex is all of a sudden marked an evil bitch but has done nothing to warrant it.

Kate / Katherine / Miss Kavanagh / Katherine Kavanagh and the Katherine Kavanagh Inquisition’s (seriously, can’t you just call her one thing instead of switching all the time?) hair seemed to change from blond, to reddish blond to ‘she’s almost blond – well, strawberry blond’. Why the hell does Kate’s hair colour matter so much and why does it keep changing?

“Tell me about your parents,” I ask - Not a question. And why is there a comma here?

‘Stop! Stop now! my subconscious is metaphorically screaming at me.’ – Not a metaphor. Also ‘my’ should have a capital M.

‘And it’s suddenly blindingly obvious. He’s too gloriously good-looking.’ – Adverb much?

‘The drinking – oh no, the drinking – the phone call – oh no, the phone call – the vomiting – oh no, the vomiting.’ – Worst. Sentence. Ever!

‘probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells.’ ¬– Really? She mentions the medulla oblongata a few times in an effort to sound smart.

‘It’s not a room – it’s a mission statement.’ – What?

‘First, I don’t make love. I fu*k…hard. Second, there’s a lot more paperwork to do.’ ¬– I was in stitches reading this, it’s so bad.

‘I think I’m in shock. My subconscious has emigrated or been struck dumb or simply keeled over and expired. I am numb. I can observe and absorb but not articulate my feelings about all this, because I’m in shock.’ – Bad, bad writing. You think you’re in shock, or are you in shock? This is a good example of how James slows the pace to a crawl at key points. A good writer would simply write ‘I was shocked.’

‘Christian Grey’s feet… wow… what is it about naked feet?’ – Yuck.

‘Two orgasms…coming apart at the seams, like the spin cycle on a washing machine, wow.’ – Wow indeed! I can’t believe I read and then typed that sentence.

‘I ignore her, but deep down I know she has a point.’ – That’s not ignoring someone!

‘“Your new e-mail address.” – I have an e-mail address?’¬¬ - It’s 2011, why is this a big thing?

‘The plane banks and turns as the wing dips, and we spiral toward the sun. Icarus. This is it. I am flying close to the sun, but he’s with me, leading me. I gasp at the realization’.– The realisation that you’re Icarus?

A truly awful book!




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