Saturday, 1 October 2016

Fifty Shades Of Grey by E.L. James | Review | #reviewfriday

I am so excited to review this book finally.

Image result for fifty shades of grey

Name: Fifty Shades Of Grey
Author: E.L. James
Genre: Erotic Romance

So, unless you live under a rock in a remote island, you would have definitely heard of the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. The name itself might make some of you excited and the others shudder. Personally, I am in the category of people who cringe into the next century when I hear the name Fifty Shades of Grey. The trailer for the movie of the second part of the trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker, just got released and that gave me war flashbacks to the time I attempted to read the trilogy. Attempted is the operative word since I didn’t even make it to the end of the first book. In celebration of the trailer release, I have decided to make this week’s review a DNF one of Fifty Shades of Grey where I will be basically telling you guys why I didn’t manage to make it halfway through this notoriously hyped book.

Remember that time when you couldn’t go a day without hearing something about FSOG?  It was either in the news for breaking some sales record or the other or it was being discussed and pages from it being read aloud in interviews and talk-shows by celebrities, random people on the streets, politicians, you name it. Whenever I visited my favourite bookshops, there would always be about 10 copies of the book displayed in the front of the shop. Apparently they sold off like hot cakes. Okay then.

One day I decided I needed to know what all this hype was about and got hold of an e-book  version of FSOG.  I knew the author originally wrote the story as a fanfiction for Twilight. Now, I’m someone who lives and breathes fanfiction. I have read fanfictions that would put novels of established authors to shame. Some of the fanfictions are better written, have more thrilling plotlines, better humour and way better sex scenes than any published novels I have ever read. So I would never judge a book solely on the basis that it was initially written as a fanfiction. In fact, I would have supported the hell out of it. But FSOG is not a remotely supportable book, I’m sorry to say. I would go as far as to say that I’m ashamed of it ever being linked to my beautiful fanfiction world. It is fanfics-turned-books like these that give the vast amount of good fanfictions out there a bad name and reinforce all prejudices against them.  
The novel starts off unpromisingly. Meet the lovely (that’s sarcasm at its peak) protagonist, Ms. Anastasia Steel, damsel-in-distress extraordinaire. One paragraph into the book and I got tired of her whining and insecure ramblings. The fact that FSOG is written in the 1st person doesn’t help matters either. It makes it feel like she is directly moaning to me about how unfair her life is. Keep in mind I hadn’t even finished the first chapter and I was already annoyed by the protagonist.  I prefer my protagonists to be strong, independent women who don’t need no man but I understand it’s a bit irrational to expect such women in erotic romance novels whose entire plot depend on the woman not being self-sufficient and needing a man for validation. But Ana becomes a particularly desperate specimen on her first meeting itself with the hero of the novel.
Meet Mr. Christian Grey, part-time business tycoon, part-time sexual-deviant and full time megalomaniac. Their chance meeting happens when Anastasia steps in for her friend, who had conveniently fallen ill, and agrees to conduct an interview with Mr. Grey for an article. Ana shows up for the interview in her full naive, hapless, bumbling glory and literally face-plants into his office. Smooth. Actually that was a smooth move because it probably triggered Mr. Grey’s saviour complex and immediately attracted him to his newest prey. He is definitely amused by Ana and gives her a leering once-over that makes her “flush crimson”. Their dynamics throughout the entire first meeting scene made alarm bells go off in my head. He makes her uncomfortable and awkward but she’s still completely enamoured by him. Why? Because he’s “freaking hot” and apparently that is enough of a redeemable quality for her to overlook how condescending and predatory he was throughout their first interaction. She’s insecure about her looks, her abilities, everything. She believes he’s superior to her in all aspects and seems about ready to lick his Gucci boots if he asked. The power imbalance that arises in such a situation provides the perfect backdrop for a spectacularly abusive relationship, which of course is what it ends up being.

 I made it to about 1/10th of FSOG before I gave up. By then, the sexual tension between Ana and Christian had reached suffocating levels with all the intense stares he keeps giving her and her responding hot flushes. And he was becoming more and more of a patronizing jerk, well on his way to upgrading to an abusive boyfriend.
Before I waved the rest of the novel goodbye, I was curious enough to want to check up on the infamous sex scenes in the book; the sex scenes that had taken up the world by a storm and was apparently so hot people started taking tips from those to spice up their own sex lives. And.... I have no idea how people could stand to read it without cringing, let alone get actually turned on by this sorry excuse of an erotic novel. The sex scenes weren’t sexy, neither the scenarios nor the acts. The BDSM scenes, which are what made everyone go crazy, are so horrifically and incorrectly portrayed that these scenes bordered on being considered actual abuse. While practising BDSM, full consent and understanding between all parties involved is required with a complete knowledge of the risks and safety issues engaging in these sexual acts pose. Half of these requirements are NOT met in the BDSM scenes in the novel. Most of time Ana has no idea what’s going on and there are several instances of dubious consent throughout.   
You would think this book couldn’t get any worse. But wait, I haven’t yet mentioned what irked me most about FSOG. The language. It has a well-deserved place in my Top 5 Worst-Written Books of All Time list. E.L James’ writing induces the same feelings in me that fingernails on chalkboard would. I’m pretty sure Anastasia seemed more annoying than she really was because of the author’s ridiculously written dialogues and monologues. Most of E.L James’ descriptions and word usages were toe-curling(from embarrassment). She has given Anastasia a very limited vocabulary consisting of mainly 5 usages :  Holy, holy hell, oh my..., holy crap, holy shit. Riveting stuff, I know. These words are incorporated into every scene of every situation diligently. I have to hand it over to James for her ability to express wide-ranging emotions with just “holy hell”, though. “Holy hell, I have an assignment tomorrow”, “Holy hell, I am coming”, “Holy hell, someone I know just died”.  See, very effective. Most of the cringe-worthy dialogues come in during their sexy times. Allow me to quote a scene:  [“Does this mean you’re going to make love to me tonight, Christian?” Holy shit. Did I just say that? His mouth drops open slightly, but he recovers quickly.“No, Anastasia it doesn’t. Firstly, I don’t make love. I f**k… hard.] *APPLAUSE*
I can go on and on about every single thing wrong with Fifty Shades of Grey but I guess I better stop now. I hate this book with a passion even though I never completed it. I did watch the movie though (just for Jamie Dornan) and I am glad to say everything I mentioned in the review without fully reading the story did turn out to be true. Theirs is very much an abusive relationship, no matter how romanticised it is by some people. Fifty Shades of Grey is a terribly written book, with a terrible plot and terrible characters and I won’t recommend anyone ever read it.

Rating: TT/ 5
 (TT - Truly Terrible)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let us know what you think.