When Fifty Shades was really really big still, I made my first attempt at reading it. I had to. It’s one of the hazards of being a librarian. When something gets huge, patrons will tell you over and over again that you need to read it. Then there are the people in your private life that read and I find that it takes only one or two of them to suggest a book on top of the 50 patrons to push me over the edge. This is why I started reading Harry Potter (awesome) and also why I read Twilight (eh). Most of the time I find that these suggestions don’t actually work for me. Most of them I don’t make it through. So, I was not at all surprised when I made it 10 pages in, decided it was trash and Christian Grey was a complete tool and Ana was an idiot, and I tossed the book in the return bin at work and went on with my life, satisfied with my decision.
What made me try again? Well, earlier this month I read the parody, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, and it was completely ridiculous but also just funny enough. When I finished I went on a book ordering frenzy. In one day I requested 12 books. I got the Fifty Shades trilogy, the Twilight books, and every John Green book. (I had to balance it out, you know.) I decided to give FS a try again and I have an experiment in mind for Twilight. And I just love John Green and have only read Looking for Alaska.
I was on the couch sick on Sunday and Monday and in those two days I managed and impressive 225 pages. And then it sat there. Last night I attempted to pick it up again but I only read one paragraph before closing the book and turning to Hubby. “I think I might give up on this,” I said. Hubby rolled his eyes and said, “Just return them. I have never heard you bitch so much about a book and, frankly, I’m sick of hearing it.” I went to my second main bitch, The Bestie, and she said that at this point I was “book raping” myself and it probably wasn’t worth it.
So, what happened?
Oh, God. Well, to begin with, I knew that this was not a masterpiece of literature. I knew the content, probably way better than my mother-in-law who suggested it to me a number of times because I grew up with the internet. I knew what I was getting into. But, BUT part of me kind of died while I was reading it. It just felt wrong. I didn’t actually want to read it and I knew that it wasn’t something I would enjoy. I was trying to fit a square peg into a round hole and part of me knew that it wasn’t going to work. I was embarrassed to be reading it. I know I sound like a snob, but I felt above it to begin with.
And why wouldn’t I? I may use a pretty damn informal style here and in my real life but I have my English degree and I spend a ton of time with books and I know shitty writing when I see it. At one point, Ana is “shaken from her reverie” twice within the span of a page and a half. She’s very reverent. Never ever start a novel with descriptions of a character getting ready, but that’s exactly what we get along with a description of her looks. BTW, I think we get a great glimpse of Ana on that first page. She puts herself down constantly. She’s always, “I’m so stupid! My hair won’t do a thing! Blah blah blah.” No wonder she “falls under Christian’s spell.” Girls like that are drawn to DB’s. Then we find out she’s, like, gorgeous and guys are falling all over themselves to be with her and she’s like, “Kate is prettier! Giggle!” So, she falls into Grey’s office and he’s condescending and charming (a DB). I hate him. Any guy can tell you he finds you irresistible. Whatever. He’s a creep, get the hell over it. Basically, I don’t care about these characters at all. At all. I’ll buy into Ana’s inner Goddess bs but when she talks about her subconscious, which is always stomping or screaming, I want to rip pages out. If it’s that loud and insistent, it’s no long “sub.” One more thing, I have a hard time trusting a girl who’s about to graduate college and has never “diddled around with herself,” as Hubby put it. And she hates coffee and doesn’t understand the proper way to steep tea. Boy, is she talented at picking up new skills too. After losing her virginity she orgasms like 6 times in 24 hours or some crap. She also just randomly decides to go for a run after never exercising one day in her life.
The whole thing, everything about it, felt just too contrived. The supporting characters? A rich girl and a very ethnically insulting guy. Like, if I were Hispanic I would be effing insulted by Jose. A couple of car girl things: Grey seems to only drive Audis (and helicopters). Like, I’m a car girl and your expensive foreign piece doesn’t do it for me. If a guy tried to impress me with an Audi, I’d laugh. Ana drives a vintage Beetle, just so you know that she’s cute and innocent. When she borrows her friend’s Mercedes, she calls it a Merc. We all know, that means Mercury. Grey listens to Brice Springsteen. Is he trying to remind us about his hard knock life?
I was willing to look past the sub/dom story line and let that stuff be. Okay. Grey likes to be in charge and he’s got a fetish. Whatever. But, you know, the rest of the bullshit was just too much. I couldn’t waste my time on it anymore. I returned the books today and went back to reading Gossip Girl. Believe it or not, it’s a bit more believable.