Saturday, April 28, 2012

50 Shades of ... What!?!?

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Even over here in Kenya, I can’t escape the latest US literary phenom – Fifty Shades of Grey.  I’ve been able to use my considerable interweb sleuthing skills to learn that it has been the subject of enough morning talk shows, articles and mom blogs that it’s probably worth reading if only to learn what all the hype is about.  This is the beauty of the interconnected world: I find out about this stuff online, buy it on my 3G kindle and then spew back my impressions to all you lucky readers on my blog.

So, here's a brief play by play:

6% in:  

What?!?  Am I being punked?  What is this drivel?  Is this some weird large scale sociological experiment to see if people can be convinced they like something given enough buzz.  You know, like they did with the Mona Lisa?

And this is a goddamn trilogy?  Not possible.

I’m at a loss and I have no one to talk to this about, so I ask my facebook friends:

Will someone please explain to me why there is so much buzz around the FIFTY SHADES series? I've read 6% and it's nearly unreadable. Here's a summary: she is vapid and blushes often, he is hot. THAT's IT! I understand there's some racy "mommy porn" coming up, but I don't think I can get through the crap writing to get there... Should I continue?

My former roommate (who was known for unabashedly devouring romance novels, so something of an authority on the genre) tells me:

"Nearly" unreadable? That's generous, and you know I have no trouble reading trash!

Other people just paste in choice quotes from the book followed with internet laughter of the LOL, ROFL, or "spewing out my coffee" variety.

I stupidly take this to mean I should, in fact, continue.

13% in:

OK.  She’s still incessantly flushing and biting her lip and is still supremely irritating, but now there are three of her to hate since her subconscious (angel) and inner goddess (devil) are battling it out in one of the most played out literary devises ever.  She’s still acting like an immature 14 year old and Mr. Grey is still… gorgeous, aloof and rich.  We’re supposed to buy this chemistry because she’s demure and hot and he’s powerful and hot.

And I would like to know something Ms. E. L. James:  Are we really supposed to believe that Christian is a 27 year old billionaire?  He’s 40 if I’m a day.  27 year old billionaires invent music stealing software or social networking platforms and still act pretty much like 27 year olds but with more expensive toys.  They are not corporate moguls, and they don’t immediately become wine connoisseurs who order around a huge staff of personal assistants like a seasoned boss.  Why not just make him 40? You can’t possibly think your readers would be scandalized by a May-December romance, what with all those nipple clamps and hand cuffs looming in the background.

27% in:

Ohhhhh!!!!!  Now, I’m starting to get it.  And, in fact, I’m becoming a bit flushed, my belly curls and my whole body has come alive, every nerve ending singing softly.  A ghost of a wicked smile escapes my face.  My subconscious is enjoying a gin and tonic and my inner goddess is jumping on a trampoline. 

I close, uh, I mean, turn off my book, roll over and tap my long neglected husband on the shoulder.  And…. And…. Holy crap!  Am I really going to do this?

Now 50 Shades of Grey is his favorite new literary phenom, and I can’t believe they only wrote three of these!   

30 comments:

  1. haha. oh man. i have heard some of the hype but never knew if to buy in..hmm.... :)

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  2. I am around 15percent in and not sure... Will stick with it and see what happens. So far not liking his control freak nature nor how much he touches his own face with his long fingers.

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    1. Hang in there girl. The writing does not improve but there are some serious cheap thrills to be had...

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  3. So is this the kind of book you buy on your kindle or wrap in a brown paper bag? I've heard a lot of hype about here, too.

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  4. Haha! I've been hearing so much about this book, but I didn't think I could get past the terrible writing. After reading this review though, I don't know...I just might give it a try. :-)

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  5. IT'S NOT ABOUT THE PROSE. God knows, because the prose is abysmal. It's...well...it's that other stuff, that we know it when we see it (or read it). Porn, I think is the word we're looking for. http://mannahattamamma.com/2012/03/fifty-shades/
    heh heh heh...book three is particularly delicious.

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    1. Yeah, I totally remember reading your blog and actually that was the first I heard of the series. You totally intrigued me with that post. And so many seriously smart writers (like yourself) seemed to be enjoying it so that's what got me to hang in there until the juicy parts. Definitely knew it when I saw it!

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    2. All right. So if anybody wrote another book with even more detailed more vivid kinkier naughtier, racier stuff, are you willing to give it a chance?

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    3. All right. So if anybody wrote another book with even more detailed more vivid kinkier naughtier, racier stuff, are you willing to give it a chance?

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  6. Girl, pat yourself on the back for keeping up with American life while living in Kenya; I'm right here in Texas and haven't heard of this book/books, but that may be because I'm living in a tv-less bubble. Loved your post, though! Even though I'm out of it, I found the progression of repulsion to getting-sucked-in totally enjoyable, and the ending is great.

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    1. Thanks Louise. Yeah, I really have my new obsession with yeahwrite to credit with my discovery here. Otherwise I'd be pretty out of it too. I'm glad this made sense to someone who hasn't heard of or read the book though. I was kind of worried the post was too unrelatable for you all...

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  7. This was brilliant: "What?!? Am I being punked? What is this drivel? Is this some weird large scale sociological experiment to see if people can be convinced they like something given enough buzz. You know, like they did with the Mona Lisa?"

    I haven't read it. But I'm glad you ended up liking it.

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  8. hahaha hilarious! i haven't read it and probably won't (no time) but i do love hearing everyone's reaction to it. :)

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  9. I seriously want to buy this book just to read the sex parts. I'm totally serious. I have no desire to waste my time on nearly unreadable drivel, but I have a lot of desire to reignite my toddler-oppressed sex drive and unleash my inner goddess on my long-neglected husband - which is EXACTLY what every blog post I've read about this book says happens when you read it.

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    1. DO it Kristin! You won't be sorry...

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  10. Hahahha honestly, this is the best review of it I've read so far.

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  11. Great, honest review. I must admit, even with that last paragraph, I still don't think I'll ever be able to stomach it. Kind of like the Twilight phenomenon, I tend to shy away from over-hyped books. But seriously, this was a hilarious review!

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  12. I haven't read it. Every review I read convinces me that I'll hate it. Or then that maybe I won't. I'm torn...!

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  13. I can't imagine reading it. I'm a guy and it's practically porn, what is wrong with me?

    I too am scared off by reviews of the bad writing and hideous dialog and listless plot.

    I asked Mrs Mynd and she said she isn't likely reading it either.

    WG
    http://itsmynd.com

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  14. I have not read it, but heard a lot about it - glad you have 73% left to go, that should ensure lots of excitement!
    I loved your post, that shift in the last paragraph was great!

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  15. I haven't read it yet but it seems to be all anyone is talking about these days. I'll cave and buy it, I know I will. It's what all the cool kids are reading....

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  16. After having read several reviews of it, I think I've had my fill. Hope you, and your husband, continue to enjoy it.

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  17. Oh dear. I would read it for my book group, but I don't have time to read badly written books about S&M. I think I lived that at some point in my late 20's - the badly written and the S&M.

    Besides, I can just scour the internet for photos of Colin Firth and get hot and flushed. Mmmmm. Colin Firth! No, I'd believe that he's a 40 year old Billionaire who could tempt my demure self at any age.

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  18. I don't think this is a book for me. I get uncomfortable watching Game of Thrones with my husband in the room. However, I really enjoyed your play-by-play!

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  19. PERFECT SYNOPSIS!! I mean it. Brilliance in a blog post. Erin

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  20. Ha! I haven't read it yet either, but it seems to be what everyone is talking about these days. Loved getting your take on it - it's the only one that's made any sense to me at all! Now to decide whether or not to buy it...

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  21. Maybe I need to read it after all....

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  22. Holy Mona Lisa this was funny. This line killed: "27 year old billionaires invent music stealing software or social networking platforms and still act pretty much like 27 year olds but with more expensive toys."
    Glad I stopped by! Ellen

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