Home > Book Reviews, Books > fifty shades of grey – e l james

fifty shades of grey – e l james

Fifty Shades Of Grey

Tonight I achieved something that for the past three weeks I believed was going to be completely beyond my capabilities. I actually finished Fifty Shades Of Grey, and honestly, you would not believe how proud I am of myself to have battled through to the end!

No doubt like many (mostly) women that have picked up this book, it was out of idle curiosity – I wanted to know what all the fuss was about.

I also needed to use an Audible credit, and thought ‘What the hell!’.  That was probably mistake number one.  If you haven’t yet read the book and you haven’t got decent enough friends to warn you off reading it, then please PLEASE don’t be tempted to get the audiobook!

I have no idea who Becca Battoe is – and I am sure she’s an absolutely charming woman, but she has one of those drawly American voices that is toned at exactly the right pitch to get on my nerves. I had to listen at x1.5 speed just to make it in ay way bearable to listen to.  Her accents for all of the men were absolutely awful!  And to be honest, I would be really surprised if she had read the book beforehand – she seemed to be completely unaware as to how each sentence was constructed and kept putting the inflection on the wrong words.  The end of sentences often sounded like a hasty addition.

But, to be fair to Ms Battoe, that could have been mainly down to the awful, clunky writing.

As I listened to this as an audiobook, I wasn’t able to mark out sentences to refer back to and quote — and that may be a good thing as I think it would have just made me really cross.

WARNING:  this may (will) contain spoilers and rants!

Repetition (of words):  This is just within the same sentence – no wonder Ms Battoe had so much trouble reading them out. think “The bright light was really bright in my eyes” – obviously not a direct quote, but there were many instances of this kind of word repetition within a sentence.

Repetition (of sentences etc): Honestly, the book could have been cut down to less than half its length if you took out all of the times the following were used “Holy shit!”, “Holy fuck!”, “Holy crap!”, “Holy cow!”, “Oh my!”, “He looked so hawt / it was so hawt” (I believe it’s actually hot, but I was subjected to the drawl), “My inner goddess…”, “My subconscious…”, “His long fingers…”, “His grey eyes…”, “His mouth set into a hard line”, “His eyes darkened…” and there were probably a hundred more that I am trying to banish from my memory.

His grey flannel trousers and white linen shirts: Yes, I get it. If I heard one more time that his trousers hung of his hips in ‘that’ way, I was going to throw my phone across the tube carriage.

His tousled/unruly copper hair:  Yes! he has hair! A lot of men have. Does it really have to be mentioned about three times a chapter though/ (There are 25 chapters by the way!)

His ‘Christian smell’: I guess anyone called Christian would smell like Christian – and that doesn’t mean that they are all going to smell the same.  There is no such thing as a Christian smell. And to be honest, people don’t smell the same ALL the time – especially not men, in my experience!

Rolling eyes and biting lips: Ok, it’s all a bit bosom-heavey but does anyone really bite their lip that much?  And does a 21 year old recent virgin biting her lip really drive a 27 year old man with a vast, murky sexual history to distraction?

Blinking and eye-widening: Honestly, I have never known a cast of characters so lost for words. And I have never known a narrator so conscious of their own eye-movements. There were countless times that I read / heard “I blink at him”. This is actually code. Code for “The author couldn’t think of any dialogue”.  The same goes for eye-widening. Everyone was at it. they never seemed to voice their surprise, they just widened their eyes. From Kate widening her eyes when Christian asks Ana for a coffee, even though she’s kept saying he obviously fancies her to Christian himself widening his eyes that Ana doesn’t like to be punished, in the same way he doesn’t like to be touched. Really? this is shocking news from someone who was a virgin little more than a week ago?

When does he do any work? From the moment that Ana meets him, he is stalking her, calling her, emailing her, seeing her or arranging gifts for her with no regard for the time of day. How does he make his money? When does he run his multi-million dollar business that he’s somehow made at his young age.

Ana’s total lack of understanding of human nature: she seems to do things purposefully that she knows winds him up and then can’t understand why he gets wound up.  She mentions that she knows that Jose fancies her, but then when they’re both drunk and he makes a clumsy pass at her, she is absolutely horrified and can’t work out where that came from.  she has really rubbish dreams which aren’t exactly steeped into mysticism but she can’t work out why she’s having them. I am in a cage and Christian is feeding me strawberries…why? Erm, because he tied you up, bound you, and keeps telling you off for not eating and trying to force you to?  *sigh*

Fifty shades of grey: You could almost tell the moment that the author had decided on the name of the book – just over halfway through I’m guessing, as suddenly the term ‘fifty shades’ was used regularly throughout the rest of the book.

The contract:  Oh, the contract.  The boring contract that is actually completely irrelevant to the book really.  And parts of which are repeated 2-3 times throughout the book.

Have I mentioned the repetition?

And finally (as I can’t bear to waste any more thought on this book), the emails:  This is really just from the audiobook really.  If I had been reading it myself, I would’ve skipped over the to’s and from’s but with the audiobook, the lovely Ms Battoe read out EVERY to, from, subject heading, time and signature! argh!!

This book made me constantly roll my eyes in despair – and I just wish that someone had taken me over their knee to give me the distraction I needed to stop reading it!

The writing was awful, the characters were unbelievable (yes, I know that this was written as a Twilight fan-fic, so Ana is based on Bella and the unruly copper-haired Christian was actually Pattison-vampire), and the sex, ugh! I have read many MANY erotica books, and I can honestly say that this is one of the least erotic stories I have ever read.  Perhaps it was just because the writing was so awful it was putting me off.

And it doesn’t end.  No, no, no, don’t be silly.  It comes to a very sudden stop because guess what? There are TWO more books to subject yourself to. If you’re that way inclined, so why bother writing a proper ending to the first book to give some sense of finality, just pretend that it’s a third of the way through the story!

I wanted an ending, dammit! I deserved an ending! I made it to the end! For that kind of achievement, I should’ve got a dom/sub of my own to play with for a few hours. (I wont tell you which one I would prefer, I will let you work it out for yourself…)

Of course, if you’re still curious, give it a go, it may suck you in but I personally found it just one shade of brown. A shade I refer to as shite.

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  1. June 19, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks for your review! I was curious although after reading the reviews on Amazon last night no longer so, but it just sounds absolutely shite. How did it ever get published even?! Thanks for doing us who haven’t read it yet a huge favour and warning us off. Its a dirty job etc

    • June 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm

      If you want a bit or erotica, pick up one of the many Black Lace books around (porn stories for women) – I swear more effort is put into writing them, and they are so much shorter 😀

      I’m not sure how it managed to go from Twilight fanfic to a three published book deal, but let’s face it, E L James is laughing all the way to the bank! — and I have helped with that! Grr!

  2. June 19, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    The repetition of the same words & phrases drove me mad too. I was so curious though I read all 3 books. I can only imagine that listening to it on an audio-book must have been awful. At least reading it I could skip over the boring bits and pages & pages of sex (even the sexy bits got repetitive). I am so glad this week to go back to reading books that aren’t totally riddled with sex.

    • June 19, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      You read all three books!?!? I am shocked! I couldn’t even imagine reading another one!

      • June 19, 2012 at 9:30 pm

        I found book 2 a bit boring but wanted to know where the story ended. Book 3 was a lot better but the amount of repeating of the same phrases was throughout all 3. Really she could have rolled the 3 books into 1. I am a fast reader so I got books 2 & 3 and read them in 3 evenings. Loads of people I know have read all 3 & are raving about them.

  3. June 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    yeah, I know! But to be honest, the people I know who are raving about them are 1) not people I would usually rate an opinion from and 2) not great readers.

    They really were in it for the ‘mummy porn’. And I wasn’t even impressed with the sex scenes – I’ve read WAY more erotic!

  4. Suzie QQQ
    June 20, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Oh, I love you Son 🙂 Was feeling a little off today and you put a smile on my face 🙂 Thank you!
    xxxx

    • June 20, 2012 at 7:28 am

      Ha! Glad to be of assistance…although not happy you wree a little off. Stick some Barry White on love xx

  5. June 20, 2012 at 10:02 am

    Okaaaay so I will most definitely give this book a miss! Very funny review, sorry you had to endure the whole of this book but at least you made us laugh!

    • June 20, 2012 at 10:18 am

      I am glad to have been of service 🙂

  6. June 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I’m so pleased you posted a link to this on the FB Bookshop Cafe,

    I’ve had an utterly pants morning, but your aces review actually made my face ache from smiling lol. Just brilliant : )

    I tried the sample chapter on Amazon and was so bored a handful of pages in, I concluded life was too short to finish even that. I just couldn’t engage with it and I love good Erotica too, My best girl friend read it and said it was the only book she’d ever bought that left her angry because she couldn’t get her money back on it!

    I think curiosity is a MASSIVE drive on tomes like this. Kudos to the writer for achieving that level of success, but have to say, as a fellow writer, I’d hate to achieve it as a novelist at the price of so much derision. I would be gutted to be honest, but then again I’m sure she buy a lovely set of blinkers from the royalties bless her.

    • June 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm

      😀 I must admit, when I wrote the review, I was bashing the keys with sheer annoyance, and didn’t realise it was going to come across as amusing – but that’s just an added bonus.

      I am all in favour of anything that gets people reading who usually don’t, but am really keen to stop actual readers being so disappointed and conned!

      Still, i have had LOADS of hits on my blog from this, so that’s a good thing, right? 😉

  7. June 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Thank you for the review. When I saw that book at the store yesterday, I kept looking at it thinking maybe I should get it. But thank god, I saved myself from that torture for sure! 🙂

    • June 20, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      i sacrificed myself so that others didn’t have to 😉 x

  8. Erika
    June 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    I ran across your review on a quick Twitter search when I was trying to figure out what why everyone is reading this dreck. I was curious enough to read the first and then sort of pole vaulted into the second without really thinking since as you note, the first doesn’t really end. I got to the end of the second and I am so embarrassed at having spent time and money on these books. I couldn’t make myself read the third, though I have heard from a few friends that it is the best of the three.

    Your review was spot on. My only addition is just how unrealistic it is! You didn’t read the second book but in it there is a story arc where Ana got a job at a company, within a week Christian had bought the company (of course), her boss hit on her (of course), Christian had him fired (of course), and she was promoted into the bosses position (without Christian’s help)… in one week. Seriously?

    • June 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm

      Bloody hell – I am SO glad I stopped where I did 😀

      i was worried that (perhaps?) I had actually missed the ‘good’ bits stopping where I did, but obviously not! Hurrah!

      And boo for you! x

      • Erika
        June 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm

        Indeed. Now I just have to cleanse my brain (mind you, not from the erotica aspect which I didn’t mind but from the horrendous writing. I have heard good things about the Paris Wife so I am hoping that will do the trick.

  9. June 20, 2012 at 6:37 pm

    Let’s face it, pretty much anything is going to seem GREAT! 😀

  10. sylviefan
    June 20, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Think I’ll follow Boy George’s advice and stick to a cup of tea. Can’t imagine anything worse than badly written porn. Now where did I put that Chippendales DVD!

  11. Quillers
    June 21, 2012 at 7:46 am

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Honestly it’s bad enough reading this book. I can’t begin to understand the horror of having to listen to the audio book. It makes me wonder if all that really goes on Christian’s Red Room of Pain is that he forces his subs to read this book. That’s got to be much worse than being spanked!

    • June 21, 2012 at 9:43 am

      I think I would have welcomed a good spanking, just to make the book more bearable 😀

  12. June 26, 2012 at 9:53 am

    shame this was just the first in a trilogy. if you ever plan, heaven forbid, to actually get to the real end, i suggest getting a bootleg of the e-book for a programme on your computer, most likely in a PDF format.

    • June 26, 2012 at 12:24 pm

      Oh no – I will NOT be reading any more 😀 Thanks for the tip though.

  13. July 2, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    I too got the audio book. I got it as a free trial as the friend who had read all three and liked them enough to recommend them has questionable taste. Goodness, I a) wish I had looked at this blog first and chosen a book that engaged instead of irritated me. b) stopped wasting my time going back when I fell asleep to see if I had missed anything. c) not bothered getting to the non-ending so that I felt properly qualified to have a good rant about how bloody awful it was.as a book and doubly dreadful when read by the inept actress Becca.
    I’m British and may be totally wrong but could not get any hint of Georgia (? audiobook, so cannot go back to check, life being too short) she has that nasal, make every sentence/ phrase into a question ‘lift’ that has always seemed to be upstate NY. Or maybe it is California – somewhere actors hang out who look lovely and cannot read well enough to be able to make a sentence sound like a sentence and who are incapable of reading French or Latin words in common usage so they are intelligible.

    Yes,why was it necessary to read all of the nonsense you get in emails which you skim in real life? Why did all the men sound as though they had sore throats and were about to pass out?

    Back to the author – Pants hanging from hips? Men don’t have waists! Dooooh! How did this 27 yr old captain of industry run meetings with his hair in his eyes and his employees not finding him ridiculous/crazy.
    This book is aimed at illiterate teenagers which shows the level of intelligence of the author as they will not be impressed by someone who is studying ‘the classics’ as they are still moving their lips when they read comics and NOT going online or into actual bookshops to buy something they hope is a ‘good read’! Which is where all the rest of us are – hoping best seller means ‘entertaining read’ as opposed to ‘walk this way internet flock’.

    I am sorry, it is all so lazy and insulting and there is almost certainly lots of it out there. You are so right in all the points you make about genre, I don’t have your memory or patience to detail all the failings but isn’t it sad that with such a hunger for good books out there this sorry mock up of a book should rise to ‘best seller’ status. I did keep thinking it would improve as chapter after chapter (are there really 25?) went by, but it is a stinker.

    Thank you for an entertaining and accurate commentary.

    • July 3, 2012 at 8:34 pm

      😀

      I’m glad it’s not just me that made th emistake with the audiobook! i’m British too, and have no iea of American accents to be honest and have no idea what accent Ms Battoe was giving Ana (or anyone else to be honest).

      I really am pleased that it’s got non-readers reading, but it’s down to the extremely clever marketing, and part of me hates that it’s made the author and publishers of such a pile of mediocre tripe so much money!

    • August 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks so much Valerie – I’ve emailed you back, and just joined the group 🙂

  14. Maddi
    May 19, 2015 at 3:51 am

    Man, I needed to read this 1 day ago before I downloaded the lousy audiobook!! Clunky writing indeed! I’m American and couldn’t hang with Battoe’s *terrible* reading style paired with the lousy writing. How did this drivel get published? It literally reads like the fan-fic it is/was.

    • May 28, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      Sorry that you got to me too late 😉

  1. July 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm
  2. December 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm

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