Fifty Shades Of Grey – The Juggernaut

Ubiquitous: ‘present, appearing, or found everywhere’ (old definition). Ubiquitous: ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’ (new definition).

The world has been conquered, not by aliens as I always expected up to the age of around 30, but by a novel. Not merely a novel, a way of life. All bow down before E.L.James and her ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’. We have surrendered to banality, but a few of us are running screaming to the hills.


What is Fifty Shades Of Grey, I hear absolutely nobody ask? We all know what it is, because it is a behemoth that cannot be avoided. Put two women in a room for more than ten minutes and they will have mentioned Fifty Shades Of Grey at least twenty times. A friend of mine is a lay minister in the Catholic church, he tells me how he overheard a group of elderly women discussing it at the back of the church last week: they weren’t criticising it, as you might expect, they had all actually read it! I went to my local Asda yesterday and I couldn’t get to the salads aisle because it was blocked by a huge stack of Fifty Shades Of Grey from the floor to the ceiling. I had to edge around them carefully to grab the packet of florette crispy for my tortoise; one false move and I would have been buried beneath a bland avalanche.

I must say here that I have actually read the book. Which is a lot more than most people have, I defy anybody of sound mind to get more than a hundred pages in. Unless they were getting paid for it, as I was in my role as occasional book critic for my local paper.

It deserves an award: the bad sex award. When I first heard that there was a bad sex award I was enraptured: at last something that I could win! Especially if there was a solo spot. Only joking of course, my last partner said that I was an animal in bed. A boar. But this bad sex award is for bad sex in literature. Normally I would expect Martin Amis to collect this ‘honour’ ad infinitum but Fifty Shades Of Grey’s particularly twee take on sado-eroticism will surely take some beating. And then a bit more beating. Amidst repeated descriptions of moistness and squelching.

Here are some crackers from the tawdry tome:

The muscles in the deepest, darkest part of me clench in the most delightful fashion.

I had no idea giving pleasure could be such a turn-on, watching him writhe subtly with carnal longing. My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves.” (Fortunately Clive Revel-Horwood wasn’t there with a score card, because he would surely say it was a ‘disaaaaster’.)

My insides practically contort with potent, needy, liquid, desire.” (Pass the immodium).

Fifty Shades Of Grey fails on every level. It is appallingly written. It is relentlessly repetitive, the same (b)anal expressions are used again and again. I think that this book uses the term ‘inner goddess’ more than it has ever been used in the whole previous history of the Earth. The protagonists are called Anastasia and Christian. Anastasia and Christian! Why not just call them Kylie and Nigel. Even as porn, it is blander than a chicken korma when it should be a tindaloo. The Stateside setting is laughable: James has never been to Seattle and boy it shows.

The worst offence of all, of course, is that the message of the book is deeply disturbing: that women are worth less then men, that it is good to subjugate yourself to a man. That cruel, savage men are sexy. That an abusive childhood gives a man the right to abuse women.That freedom for women is over-rated. That women can only be powerful when they are being overpowered.

There is one solitary level on which Fifty Shades Of Grey is a success. The financial level. It brings in pile upon pile of money. I am crazy about literature, but this doesn’t count as literature in any way shape or form. Jordan’s ghostwriter (may they be forever punished) can churn out better trash than this. Fifty Shades Of Grey doesn’t count as reading, it is anti-reading. It is a book for people who hate books. It is artifice for those who despise art and fail to believe that reading can be a moving, uplifting, soul-enriching experience.

If you agree or disagree, then please leave your comments below, these are just my opinions after all but I hope that I am not alone in them. Fifty Shades Of Grey? I would rather read Tortoise Soup to be honest (coming soon, my fellow book lovers, coming soon). Yes, Fifty Shades Of Grey is a juggernaut, but who wants to be run over by a juggernaut?


12 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. VC
    Jul 07, 2012 @ 11:10:39

    Have to admit I’ve read all three 50 Shades books. Yes they’re repetitive, yes they’re full of S&M but they’re also a lighthearted escape from every day life. That’s all anyone really wants from a book surely. You buy fiction purely because it’s fiction it’s be different if it was in fact non-fiction.
    I enjoyed the first two but wasn’t much of a fan of 50 Shades Freed felt Anatastia turn into a bitch but I did like how Christian became a little more real.


  2. David Rawnsley
    Jul 07, 2012 @ 13:02:13

    My wife disagrees


  3. Glynis
    Jul 07, 2012 @ 18:24:51

    I agree with a lot of your comments Nick. The books are not very well written and the repetitiveness did annoy me.
    BUT, i couldn’t put them down!
    I was totally hooked by Ana and Christian’s story, and HAD to read all three books.
    Not my usual sort of book but VC is right, they are an escape from every day normal life.
    I think the 50 shades series is a bit like Marmite, you either love them or you hate them, and I’ve seen both opinions expressed.
    Despite the bad points of the book, I LOVED them.


  4. ms spider
    Jul 08, 2012 @ 21:32:42

    HA HA, reviews now, you are playing with fire! 😉
    I see quite a few wimin reading it on the bus. Have read dismal reviews and would only be prepared to pay up to £1.50 from a charity or if you want to lend it to me?
    Any woman who wants to read sumat in this vein should be redirected to the Queen, ANAIS NIN ❤
    And they will be blown over by her beautiful original writing & subtlty & perceptive insights!


  5. ms spider
    Jul 08, 2012 @ 21:35:38

    I had no idea there were THREE of them.

    Ooooooa shows what I know!
    She has done rather well for herself!


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