Fifty Shades of Grey – Lee’s mega-snark Goodreads spray from 21st June 2012

So, I had a comment from a fellow 50SOG hater relating to a Goodreads review I did on one of my hero Jenny Trout’s novels (Choosing You – it’s an e-novella – read it if you want to kill a couple of hours on a Sunday arvo with something light and fluffy)… ANYWAY it prompted me to read my review of Fifty Shades of Grey back from 2012. And I decided to share it here because it is still compeltely relevant….. (and if you then please do continue on to read the next post from contributor Rhi where she casts a very critical eye over the entire series from a decidedly non-snark standpoint – her writing is amazing, and she so perfectly sums up what is so so SOOO wrong with these books. She is sharing her original trilogy review that she posted on Goodreads, here on the blog as five parts. Please read!).

My Review

Jun 21, 2012
rating   1 of 5 stars
bookshelves 2012, read, why-the-hell-did-i-read-that

status Read on June 21, 2012
format ebook (edit)
updates view all 5 status updates
review In the acknowledgements EL James thanks her husband for doing the first edit. He must be illiterate, and her editors mokeys on crack because this awful lack of writing skill is making my brain hurt. The upshot is I am now very confident that if I came home pissed from a night out and decided to write an extended soliloquy about the intimate lives of two feral bogans from Western Sydney, that it would be picked up immediately and I would become a billionaire if the example set by this poor excuse of literary form is anything to go buy. However, as I am only up to page 4 I shall reserve final judgement till after the romp starts happening….


OK – so I am about 1/3 of the way through. I deserve a round of applause for making it that far. I wonder why the publisher didn’t buy the story concept from EL James, and then throw it at someone who, I don’t know, COULD ACTUALLY WRITE COHERENTLY, and go from there. It may have been slightly more redeeming.

And I can no longer call 50SOG a book. That makes all the real books cry. It even makes the boring stacks of reports that are bound with that plastic ring binder stuff that sit on my desk at my office cry at the thought of 50SOG being a book. Because the reports would love to be a book, and be interesting like many books are, yet they cannot attain that goal, and it makes them sad that the ink on paper that is 50SOG is being called a book.


They are now past the first lot of “the sex”. I will grant that during “The Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae Date” sex her writing became slightly less annoying, and yes, she can turn on the raunch, however to be honest I found the scenes in the Sookie Stackhouse books (which now seem like the greatest literary masterpieces ever in comparison to this grey shit) much more lusty and intense.

And can we touch on just what an arsehole CG is in getting indignant that Anastasia Beaverhausen (because I cannot help but infer that name upon her in the style of Karen from Will & Grace) dares to be a virgin. That is one of MANY MANY “WHAT THE FUCK” moments that lumbered out at me (when I can decipher this atrocious writing style).

(Whilst we are on Character names, that Kate chick whose name I wish to forget, is now Kimberly Kardashian.)


What the problem is now though that I can’t see Christian Grey as how EL James tries to pass him off (hot young billionaire Edward Cullen replicant except extra super dangerrrooooouuuussss). And despite her descriptions of him being tall, good looking, beautiful, attractive, tousled hair, long fingers, tall, good looking, beautiful, attractive, tousled hair, long fingers. I just couldn’t take to him in that image at all (douchey stalker arsehole tendencies aside). Not the least because the continual Long Finger references skeeved me out that much in their grossness, to the point where all I could think of was this bloke as ET with tousled hair. (*shudder*)

So I went to sleep and woke up this morning and realised exactly who EL James’ description of Grey reminds me of – and it is none other than Montgomery Burns. And Anastasia is a Smithers/Marge Simpson mashup.

I mean think about it – he is a young billionaire (so was the young Monty Burns), attractive (there was one episode when MB had a flashback to driving round in his convertible and he apparently thought he was attractive, and also athletic), wishes to feed the world (who can forget the 3 eyed fish incident), and is a completely dominating arsehole (Smitherrrrrs).

ETA: I also have decided at about 1/2 way that Christian also has the disgustingly creepy overtones of Hugh “weekend at bernies” Heffner. Because unlike monty who is a cartoon character, Hugh is real. And a creepy manipulative abusive self-absorbed pervert. And that realisation made me want to go and vomit into the nearest rose bush. HUGH HEFFNER is the PERSON I think of when reading this tripey shit. So people who love this book, think of Hugh Heffner and then decide of all the fucked up crap he manipulates that girl into doing is still sexy, naughty and hot.***FINISH EDIT

Now I have my character descriptions firmly established in my brain, I think I can finish reading the rest of this ink on paper thing. Well I am going to give it my best shot anyway.

OH, and I almost forgot.

I want to rip Anastasia’s medulla oblongata out of her skull and step on it. Her REPEATED use of those two words alone have almost wrecked “Fight Club” (which truly is worthy of being called A BOOK) for me. Once may have been just bearable. But more. NO. NONONONONONOOOOO.
And I can never forgive EL James for that.




so. I am now 2/3 of the way though this ink on paper.

There are soooo.many.MANY things I could say right now but basically I have lost the will to live.

All of the characters are insipid dipshits, cloned from the stupid twilight books, but not even good clones, they are those clones that happen when they are a clone of a clone of a clone and then the final clone (almost every character in this book) end up not quite right in the head.

The only character I even sort like is Emmett Elliot. Make the book about him and Rosalie Kate Kimberley Kardashian instead, even though KKK really shits me. Because Emmett Elliot seems hot (and without being a twisted creep stalker abuser). I do recognise though that Emmett was one of my faves in Twi, so liking him in this incarnation is understandable.


EL James seems to have lost some of her intolerably bad writing style once The Sex came into play, as she can write The Sex ok. So I think she basically sat down and watched True Blood and then just channeled Erics sex scenes into the book.

And I will admit some of the email exchanges were the only bits I have found tolerable so far. She should have written the whole book as email exchanges. (actually, scratch that, it still would have been tripe).

But neither the couple of interesting sex scenarios nor the slightly amusing email exchanges (she did mean all of them to be amusing didn’t she, I could be suffering PTSD from having to read so far, so my judgment may be cloudy) can make up for the completely ridiculous Inner Goddess/subconscious shit, the stupidly ridiculous sex scenarios, the stupid cupping that keeps going on, the annoying hair grabbing obsession, the long finger references, the Yes Sir-ing, finger on the mouth stuff, the Ridiculous Red Room of Pain, EVERYTHING just makes me want to throw this pieces of shit writing at the wall.

OK – delving back into the rest of this, I hope to god I an finish it soon and then go rinse my eyes and brain out with dettol or something.


I can’t say more. This book is fucking stupid. And so help me the fact that there are women out there who will now be all “oohhh Christiannnnn, I lurrrve him, and would lurrrveee him to be abusive to me too” is just a completely horrendous thought.

The Mayans were right, the zombie apocalypse was coming this year, but they were late in their date assessment, it is here already in the form of the swooning ridiculous brain-dead “can’t wait to be dominated” raunch buckets previously sane women seem to be turning into after reading this shite.

Anyway, in the end HURRAH – she left him and all is good with the world again. Thank goodness there is no sequel and this ink on paper isn’t part of a trilogy or anything so I don’t have to keep reading…………… *shut.up*

ETA: I just had to add I had forgotten to mention that repugnant tampon scene. I was thiiiiis close to emptying my stomach contents all over the room. *FINISH EDIT*

FURTHER EDIT: For the record to be clear, yes, I am pretending other books in this series do not exist. It is better for all concerned that way.

Fifty Shades: A Series Review

My review deals with all three books. I just found it easier, at the time of writing, to talk about them as a whole rather than three separate entities. I’m reposting it here in 5 sections over 5 days, the original can be found here. This is one of the heftier reviews I’ve ever written! But also one of the more sombre. Rhi x

Here we go.

It is important to note, there is barely a description of either character in here. When all we know about the main characters is she has pale skin, dark hair and blue eyes, and he is ‘OMG so FUCKING HOT’ with unruly copper hair and grey eyes, we actually don’t really know anything. These characters are 100% empty vessels for every reader to pour their own fantasy into. We are never told about the shape of a face, or the imperfect aspects of either of them. They are just blank images. This is important. This right here partly explains why thousands of women are swooning after Mr Grey; an otherwise abusive, self hating, control freak, as though he were a god. They don’t need to know what he really looks like, or how his actions reinforce disturbing patriarchal constructs. They can just imagine him as their dream guy. Who’s really really good in bed. (Which, is a matter of opinion anyway. Let’s just say, I’m not particularly down with somebody RAMMING me repeatedly.)

1. Virgin vs. Whore: ‘I want to fuck your mouth!’
Of course Ana is a virgin. OF COURSE. She has to be for the crux of this story (if that is what we are calling this hot mess) to work. She had to be either a virgin or a whore, because that is all women ever are. She couldn’t ever have been a whore to win Christian’s love, there is only room for one person to have the sizeable baggage he brings with him, so she was always going to be a virgin.
A virgin of her choosing. Because she hadn’t found anyone to meet her high expectations of romantic love. As displayed to her through her love of the glorious works of Mr (original-woman-hater) Rochester or Heath(I’m-psychotic)Cliff.

As we all know girls thrive on romance. And boys thrive on sex. This is a construct that is perpetuated throughout society. Which is why men having lots of sexual experience is acceptable. Whereas girls who are sexually experienced must have something wrong with their romance gene.

But that isn’t really the reason she is a virgin. She is a virgin because it would be unheard of to have an experienced female in control of her sexual desires. She has to be trained by her super experienced, super large hunk of man meat. It is acceptable for him to be experienced, whilst it would whorish for her to be so.

I am not taking issue with this being a story that portrays a virgin. More power to Ana. I am taking issue at this novel perpetrating the patriarchal expectation that female virgin = innocent, but female experience = whore. Ana is so innocent she can barely refer to her female organs as anything other than “there”. Hee hee, giggle giggle.

As Christian experiences new things such as actually sleeping with a woman, taking her home to his parents, somebody daring to speak back to him; they are noted by him as ‘another first’. They are all largely emotionally related. Yet the Ana overwhelming firsts are all sexual, something Christian revels in, glad that ‘some fucker’ hasn’t touched her before him, and that he owns her body and soul. She would have been dirty property if any man had got there before him, obviously.

It is a double standard that is just as much at play today as it was 10, 20, 30, 40, 500 years ago. What gets my goat is books like this encourage it. Books like this make it normal for the man to have the experience and for the woman to want ‘hearts and flowers’. Ana only enjoys the sexual acts performed on/with her, because she believes she has feelings for Chrisian. She knows he’s messed up, but she loves him anyway. Would she participate in sex if she didn’t have an emotional connection? Probably not. Because she is the innocent, virginal maiden; saving herself for The One.

Fifty Shades of Deceit – what I find so repugnant about the promotion of Fifty Shades of Grey

So, before I begin, I haven’t yet seen the movie. I probably will be in the next couple of weeks though, watching it after a meal on a night out with some girlfriends – and I am most looking forward to the meal and the company of said friends. But watching Fifty Shades of Grey. Yeah. Well, I’m not really looking forward to that at all.

And let’s be up front – most people would be all “Why are you going to shell out close on $20 on something that you don’t want to see”.

Which is a really good point actually.

Because I have read the Fifty Shades of Grey books. Well the first and the last one anyway – I didn’t bother with the second as I had borrowed the books, and Fifty Shades Darker was on loan when I was due to read it, so I thought I’d skip ahead.

And it says something for just how shit a series of books is if you can skip one entirely, yet really not miss anything (well, anything that can’t be recapped in an exceptionally witty email by Rhian, your Welsh penfriend…).

These books are literary garbage. If at any time the theory of 1000 monkeys with 1000 typewriters could be pulled into play, it’s with this series of books.

I do have to give some credit to the shrewd EL James, who has managed to make a ridiculous amount of money from the ballooning of her titillating Twilight fan-fiction, into a set of novels that has so captured the imagination of the minds of so many women around the world.

More power to her in that respect, but let’s be clear. She got lucky in managing to find traction at a point when obviously the world was crying out for mainstream erotica with a slick cover and marketing campaign that people who “don’t normally read books” could latch on to. Savvy timing can be a wonder. But bear with me on this, because her books ARE absolute rubbish – spack filled with ridiculous descriptions of every.single.flipping.thing, and then topped up with vapid catch-phrases, enough clichés to fill a warehouse, and knotted up in a grey tied world of (apparently) badly played out BDSM.

The fact that EL James’ scrappily written tomes were the ones that found purchase in a genre chock full to the brim of bodice ripping Harlequin or Mills & Boon novels, is one of the things that make me completely infuriated about her success, given that there are so many other authors in the erotic genre who write a much better sexy read, who unfortunately missed out on the eruptions of gush that Fifty Shades of Grey has unleashed. My fave recommendations that can deal out a much more well rounded bit of fluffy rauch – yeah, that’s my goodreads category – include Alice Clayton, Jenny Trout (aka Abagail Barnette) and the duo that form the pen name Christina Lauren – please do look them up.

What it seems that many (MANY) people do not realise this series started out as some dredgy Twilight fan-fiction, published online under the title Masters of the Universe (something that grates given the awesomeness of the rad 80’s cartoon – all hail She-Ra Princess of Power!).

I digress.

If you have read both Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, you will immediately be able to pick up on the correlations in the story-line. As another pen pal Stacey so aptly put it on a Facebook comment she left for me today, where she described FSOG as “Twilight with a sadist instead of a vampire.” Which is a billion percent accurate description.

So it really infuriates me that a series that is basically plagiarised from another authors successful franchise has become so blisteringly popular. It’s like rewarding a 8 year old for copying their older siblings writing theme of “what I did on the weekend” in their story book in primary school. (But with, like, you know, sex and money and cars and things as the theme instead).

BUT I know many people actually do not give a flying rats either that it is fan-fic. Which I can understand. “It enlivened my bedroom” or “it’s just sexy fantasy” and many other such statements are the catch-cries commonly typed on comment threads everywhere.

Which brings me to the crux of why I really, REALLY absolutely HATE this series of books.

It’s the false marketing of abuse as romantic.

Because if I read the premise of a book or movie series as follows – “A creepy, controlling, manipulative stalker preys on a young virginal college student, using his money and good looks to lure her into a steamy relationship whilst isolating her from her friends and family.”, with the obligatory “Read/Watch the twisted erotic thriller of 2015” as the tag-line, then I would be all “ooohhh, wonder if it’s like Gone Girl or American Psycho”. And then I would be mentally prepared to read/watch a book/movie about a cringe-inducing handsome rich guy who ends up dragging a naive innocent girl into an abusive relationship. Because even if books or movies have very confronting content, if they are well written and rounded out to convey exactly what the story is, I will probably read/watch it.

And no – this has nothing to do with me being a “prude” or “vanilla” in the bedroom. I say more power to people who are in healthy relationships who can indulge in antics that steam up the place. GO CRAZY on it.

But Christian and Ana’s relationship…. It’s. Just.not.healthy.

Fifty Shades of Grey has Christian Grey as that creepy, controlling, manipulative stalker who due to his traumatic upbringing, preys on women who resemble his “crack whore” mother, and the young Anastasia Steele fits the bill so perfectly, that he wings his way into her life (or is that ‘blades’ – after all, Charlie Tango is a helicopter…), and seduces her with shiny shiny things like being RICH and driving AUDI’s and being OHSODASHINGLYHANDSOMEANDHOT. Ana is cajoled into thinking she can ‘fix’ and ‘heal’ Christian, and puts up with some really REALLY shady shit because he makes her believe that she is the answer to all his troubles, so she simply MUST do everything in her power (no matter how much her conscience – aka INNER GODDESS comes across against it) to make poor widdle Christian fweelings better.


What absolutely grates me about the books (and the movie promotion) is that it is marketing of what is by all accounts an abusive relationship (emotionally, physically and mentally), and bundling it up as “ROMANTIC” and “DESIRABLE”. And that people are eating that shit up like lollies at a party.

This series is NOT a “sexy romantic love story” as the display of the books and movie make out. It is in fact a “twisted psychological erotic thriller”.

And that is where many, MANY people are finding themselves almost smacking their heads up against desks all over the world in frustration at the “Fifty Phenomenon”.

Abusive relationships are not ok. It’s not ok to wrap them up in a tidy “Grey” bundle as being something every girl should want.

I mean, who watches American Psycho and wishes they could have their own Patrick Bateman – and he was rich & handsome (with a kinky fetish side) just like Christian.

It is fine to have fictional books or movies about really screwed up people in messed up relationships. But there needs to be honest portrayal of that aspect.

EL James has deluded herself into thinking her novels are the “marriage savers” the world needed. But they are not. They are a series of books that portray an exceptionally twisted relationship as romantic.

And that is just.not.ok.

I applaud Lisa Wilkinson and her candid review of what she thought of the movies, especially after not having read the books. It was brilliant. And I gave my own round of cheering ovation to her eloquent words and gutsy delivery.

So, back to why I will watch this movie? Well because. Because I have read the books. And hated them. But reading and hating them has allowed me to open dialogue with people about just what the books really convey, (once you take the sex out that has understandably captured the minds of so many). And because I have been so angry and vocal about the book series, I feel almost obligated to go watch to see just how it is conveyed on the big screen. Although, given some of the reactions of preview audiences I have read, I reckon I’ll be one of those getting shushed by fans for laughing inappropriately throughout at the cheesy dialogue – just like I did in the Twilight movies actually. Either that or I will be wanting to chuck Maltesers at the screen in shouting sheer frustration and anger about how horrible it is. One or the other.

Yep, I will most likely go watch it. On a night out with my friends while enjoying their company after a yummy meal somewhere. Knowing full well that it is a “creepy twisted erotic thriller” movie about an abusive relationship that I will be seeing, and not that smushy valentine romantic crap that it is being marketed as. And I’ll donate the equivalent cost of my ticket (actually, probably more than that) to White Ribbon Australia, so that they might be able to help someone who suffers an abusive partner, and who may need the help of a group like White Ribbon to leave that relationship.

**This is a Lee post**

Fifty Shades Freed – Chapter 13 (aka one of the worst, most stupid book chapters ever written).

Right, so I was suffering through reading Fifty Shades Freed and I got to Chapter 13 and I could not help but throw the book at the effing wall approximately eight times (in about six pages!) such was my disgust at this stupid stupid book. I actually think I became dumber whilst shovelling through the crap that ELJames wrote in this chapter. I had to go to facebook to vent my indignation to Rhi, and here is the summary of just what went down on that facey post…. I think those of you that have bothered to read Freed will hopefully find some solace in the snark about to be unloaded. Note, that some of the names have been changed to protect the identity of some of the most fucking ridiculous fictional characters ever plagarised.
Things that are wrong with Chapter 13 (besides the whole Cullen fest that occurs – and I only just remembered at the start of this chapter that Ethan is Kates bro – I had forgotten that)
* Unnecessarily adding that the time is MST when they touch down at Aspen. (NO ONE CARES).
* Inane plane talk between pilot and Christward (really, NO ONE CARES).
* Christian being “immediately placated” by Taylors tight, contrite smile and a slight shrug. (Christian really IS gay and is in lurve with Taylor.)
* Why the hell can’t they all get their own fucking luggage??
* More MURMURING (that is on the list of WORDS ELJ uses that drives me nuts – TDMN for short).
* Who cares where Mia and Ethan sit – it has no bearing on “plot”.
* Anabella feels shy around him today. (Yeah, that is because HE WANTED TO KILL YOU YESTERDAY. You fucking moron.)
* “Elliot and Kate join us last.” Hmmm, thanks for pointing that out ELJ, because my skills in mathematical deduction are rusty and seeing as they were the only two whose names hadn’t been mentioned yet as GETTING IN THE FUCKING MINIVAN I am so glad you pointed it out to me.
* Taylor is left to load the luggage – again, is it THAT HARD TO PUT YOUR OWN BAG IN THERE. because it takes Taylor five minutes to do that for you, lazy gits, when you probably would have been on your way to the house if you had have actually helped him.
* The fact that ELJ actually says that it takes 5 minutes to do this. (really, REALLY. NO ONE CARES).
* Repeating the word “highest” in the last two sentences of the paragraph where they actually get driving and she is describing the mountains. (for fucks sake ELJ – get a thesarus!)
* Really, Aspen is the winter playground of the rich and famous? (I did not know that. Thanks again ELJ for point it out to me.)
* Tell your psyche to shut up Ana. I hate your psyche. Your psyche needs to be doused in bleach. Because your psyche is questioning what you have done to deserve the Chrsitward lifestyle. And what you have done is beemotionally abused and manipulated, physically abused and manipulated, sexually abused and manipulated, not to mention threateningly controlled, isolated from your friends and family, subjected to humiliation and punishment.
ANA DESERVES EVERY BLOODY CENT of that lifestyle you stupid psyche!!!
* “You might break your neck” his grin gone (or he might break it for you Ana).
* WHISPER another word ELJ uses TDMN
* “I frown, wondering what could be bothering her, and resolve to ask her when we’re on our own”. Resolve away Ana, you are still a fucking bitch to your best friend.
* MORE murmuring (TDMN)
* Ana flushes/heats/blushes/turns crimsonredvioletpink that often, I think she needs to go get her body checked over for signs of early menopause (maybe brought on by her eating disorder).
* ELJ’s descriptions of ANYTHING are fucking annoying. She says the name of the thing, what colour it is and what it is made out of. EVERY TIME for EVERY THING. With little deviation from form and zero imagination. Sheis worse than Dan “State the fucking obvious” Brown.
* “Home” he MOUTHS – holy shit I cannot stand when ELJ says one of her characters Mouth or Mewels or Murmurs. (piss off with the M words!)
* Actually any time Christian says just a single word, I shudder and immediately think of Hannibal Lecter.
* Mialice (Mia+Alice). And the fact that ELJ copied everything to do with Alice and plonked it in the story here. Right down to Jaspethan being a “late addition” to the Clan Grullen.
* “Carmella, this is my wife Anastasia” Christian says proudly. His *tongue* caresses my name, making my heart stutter. 1. If his tongue was caressing the word Anasataia it would come out sounding like “hanhastwazwah”. His MOUTH might caress her name, his LIPS might caress her name, but not the tongue. 2. Hearts flutter not stutter. IF her heart was stuttering she would need to get to a hospital STAT.
* The inane sentence where Carmella tells them about that it might rain and her eyes darken, and then she smiles again and her eyes twinkle and Ana is then automatically (and in no superficial or condecending way) going to be bestest BFFFFFF friends EVER with this lady she has just met and not actually said a single word to or had any actual interaction with.
(Maybe Carmellas twinkling eyes are betraying her Vampireness and she is just glamouring Anabella instead.)
*Christwad lifts and carries her again for no reason. STOP IT.
* “He sets me down gently on the hardwood floor”.!
* Blahblahblahblah boring decor description and MORE CREAM LEATHER COUCHES (Christwad must have gotten a two-fer deal when he got the lounges for the office). I will admit though I am SAD LEE because ELJ doesn’t tell me exactly how many people the couches seat – I was expecting this after the description of the Escala apartment. I need to KNOW NOW.
(No I don’t).
* Christwards eyes narrowing. He does that alot. He needs to see his optometrist.
* FINALLY someone helps Taylor with the luggage. Good on you Elliot, this is why I like you and liked you when you were Emmett too.
* “He’s radiating excitement – or is it anxiety? It’s difficult to tell”. OH NO – difficult to tell, I am again SAD that I can’t tell if he is excited or anxious. (No I’m not).
* Oh shit. The subconscious is back. I would like to see the subconscious, the inner-goddess, and the Psyche duke it out in an Ultimate Cage Fight. That would be worth watching fo.sho.
* Christwad takes her hand and drags her around again like she is an errant puppy who might piss and shit on the rug and soil his Aspenhouse. Oh Edward, you are so gentlemanly and valiant and brave and strong and… (ugh).
* Why does he need to eye her warily when he tells her what the fucking name of the fucking mountain is. IS she going to take to it with the rocket launcher she packed in her bag? Stupid Christwad
* And why does him eyeing her warily need to then lead to a description of him wearing his black (not blue or pink or aqua or tiedyed but pointlessly described BLACK) jeans and he has his thumbs looped though them. SO WHAT!
* Oh, I know, it is so she can NOD. Really, ELJ must have been worn out typing the names of the mountains, deciding that Christwad can eye her “warily” and then deciding to put the reference to his jeans in, and she got so overwhelmed a the fact that paragraph made no sense at all, that the only thing she could do was fucking NOD. SO that is what she typed that Ana did.
* TUGGING or touching or fingering or feeling or grazing or ANYTHING to her chin/face/lips/bodypart ARGHHHHH Fucking stop it Christwad!
OK where were we? Oh right. Stupid chapter 13.
* “You’re very rich”. Christwad is RICH – hold the phone, I had NO IDEA
* More muttering, except this time it is AUTOMATIC muttering.
* Another gasp. (Gasp, I didn’t see that coming!)
* Ok, the line about Emiott fucking “mainly women” was actually funny.
* Anabella is shocked that Emiott is a “Player”. This is because blue-eyed people are never players. Ever. EVER EVER EVER.
* more MURMURING…. and this time combined with nuzzling. ARGHHHGHGHHGHGHGH.
* Marveling at the ridiculousness of Christwad being “a gay”. noooo. really?
*Oh he just grabbed her chin again.
* Blah blah blah.
* He was an eligible bachelor in his HEART. WHATTTT. ELJ stop that whole paragraph was just baaaaad. REALLY REALLY BAD AND STUPID.
* Either one of them “claiming” the other is overdone too.
* Shy smiley Christwad is back. Ugh.
* Dark wood table. Nice to meet you.
* Blahblahblahblah blahblahdeeblahblah.
* Oh look, Mia and Kate dress Ana up like a life sized barbie doll. Just like they did when they were in Twilight.
* More eye rolling.
* Another mention of an Audi. Couldn’t we have some DIFFERENT vehicles please.
* OK now we get to where Ana has missed all the signs that Elliot is going to propose to Kate and was using the watch battery as an excuse to go buy a ring. Dumb AS A FENCE POST.
* Ana is again astounded by something expensive in an expensive shop in an expensive street in an expensive town is EXPENSIVE.
* And fists – ELJ is obsessed with fists and various things fists do.
* Mia skips ahead. Because Alice liked to skip. SO does Mia.
* The whole paragraph on page 285 where Ana is internalising dialogue about Kate. (Hit me in the head with a plank).
* More alcohol consumption.
* Oh my shock horror Anabella is tempted by a motorbike. At least it isn’t Josecob there as the one telling her not to ride fast.
* Anas brow can admonish. Clever brow.
* Another Holy Shit.
* blahblahblahblabhablah
* Another Christwad murmur, this time one that has overtones of dominating controlling Christwad. (dundunnnnnn)
* Another Christwad lecture about “why the whole world is unsafe for Ana”
* Ana runs the bath, and pours “expensive” bath oil in there. Because nosireebob – inexpensive bath oil would
* ANOTHER murmur, what a surprise.
* ANOTHER headcock from Christwardcock.
* ANOTHER murmur, an amused one this time.
* “SHIT, the water” I struggle to sit up, all postorgasmic and dazed. (OK that is the FUNNIEST LINE EVER!!!!!!)
* Christians foot fetish – at least this time in the bath he cleans them before sucking them off, making Ana feel it THERE. You know. IN her like groin-ey type place, the one she could not possibly mention.
* MORE MUMBLING – arghghghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
* More mentioning of Christwads freak fingers.
* Hello, this is a turn up for the books, Ana “Gapes’ at her reflection. Well good on you ELJ for finding a new word to use.
Ok I had to create a new paragraph there to just discuss this little sentence, on page 291 after Ana is all gussied up in her new dress and GAPING at herself in the mirror:”I need Christian to approve”
And then the next two pages describing why she needs him to approve with the threatening overtones that she is shit scared of what he might do if he does not approve. That is so fucked up, and just a PEARLER of an example of why I do not get what the mummy brigade finds so damn alluring about Christian.
Ana is fucking scared he will have a negative reaction to something she is wearing. And then she tames him with letting him feel her up as part of letting him control her again to get his approval.*I run screaming from the room at the sheer brainlessness of some women who love this shitty book*
Back to it:
Blah blah restaurant, blah.Another pearler: “You’re the best therapy. His words, whispered while we were making love once, echo in my head. Am I? Oh, Christian, I hope so.”
Good.grief. I am going to end the chapter 13 “Recap of why these books are shit” on that note. I need to keep reading to finally put this crap to bed.
So there we go that was Chapter 13. If you haven’t yet read the book, this pretty much sums it up. And we’ll have to get into a whole other conversation about Chapter 15 aka The Near Rape Scene which was so repugnant it nearly made my head explode.

Laters baby.

*this was a Lee post*

Why. HOW?????

See Rhi, you are amazing in your ability to eloquently and gracefully lay out the rage, going straight to the crux of why these books are so insidious in their ability to seemingly (and creepily) let the concept of rape/abuse as a seduction technique gain a foothold into acceptable mainstream culture.

It is completely disturbing that the cruel and violent elements so very prominently written in 50SOG are being brushed aside by people, thinly veiled behind a curtain of justification like:

  • it’s just fiction
  • some people analyse too much these days
  • it’s not that bad don’t take it so seriously
  • it’s written for entertainment purposes, nothing more
  • just some light reading, an escape from our everyday lives
  • this is just a fantasy novel, that is all

Your exploration on this topic in your “Not Ok” post is brilliant – especially in the light that those above dot-point comments were actually taken straight from the Facebook thread discussing the books that we both commented on last week.

And your ability to write such insightful posts is very much something I tip my hat to, given that my reactions to 50SOG in general are far less eloquent and considered, and more of an exclamation along the lines of “it’s so shit shitty it amazes how can people like it because the abusive nature and dreadfully shitty writing in this book is shit on a shit sandwich type of shit”.

Because really.


HOOOOOW can people like it? Or LOVE it even?

As in, not just say “oh, it was OK, with this one bit of the book that was pretty good” (because to be honest the only thing I didn’t mind in the books were the email exchanges).

But how can people absolutely fawn over the whole world (so poorly) constructed in the novels, and at the epicentre of this trembling abusefest that infatuated people for some reason adore, is one of the most emotionally and physically abusive, manipulative, cruel, controlling, misogynistic and down right douchey male characters to ever be turned into ink on paper.

I have been told of the “I don’t read much” angle on more than one occasion, but I have also known of people who read LOTS who think these books are it and a bit. People with varying levels of education and from differing backgrounds are all “Christian this” and “Christian that’.

Does it possibly come down to the fact that many people in long term relationships may be having dullish sex lives, and the raunch conveyed in the Fifties has stirred the lust on the home front.

Is it that women seem to finally be “allowed” to read erotica and subsequently have permission to enjoy a bit of naughty romp?

Is this what seems to make it easy for women to gloss over and ignore the more disturbing aspects of the books and brush them aside as simple light entertainment?

Because there are MANY. SOOOO MANY disturbing aspects – yes, “tampon” scene, I am referring to you, and to you there “multiple punishment f**ks”,  and you “almost rape scene” in book three, and you “baby in my womb is moving so it likes sex” scene. Along with the all the repeated declarations of Christian about needing/wanting/wishing to beat the shit out of Ana – it goes on and on and on. (like this blog post, wha-whaaaaaaa).

But to me no matter how lukewarm the home fires have been a-burnin in the bedroom in many households around the globe, I can’t just CAN’T get my head around WHY people love these books and HOW they can overlook the abuse contained in them.

It is not okay

I have read many articles over the last week, decrying Fifty Shades of Grey as light entertainment, no more serious than porn films. As another example of how women will always judge other women for their choices, in this case reading and enjoying 50shades. As a publishing phenomenon that is really harming nobody, but opening up the way for more female erotica. I have read all this with a mounting frustration that I find hard to put into words. But I will do my best, dear Lee.

As a high school English teacher, a literature and gender studies graduate, as a lover of all books, I understand that no novel can be taken out of its context. It can not be removed from its societal history and background. I teach my pupils this in class.

So for the purposes of effective book reviewing, here is some social and cultural context that I think is vital to the reading of 50shades:

  • In any one year there are 13 million separate incidents of physical violence or threats of violence against women by their partner or former partners in the UK alone. Thirteen million.
  • On average 2 women a week are killed by their partner or former partner. Two women a week.
  • 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence.
  • In 2007 stalking was the most commonly experienced type of ‘intimate violence’. Just under a quarter of all women have experienced stalking.
  • In the UK the police receive one call a minute relating to assistance for domestic violence. 89% of these calls are women being assaulted by men.
  • Less than 24% of domestic violence crime is reported to the police. Let me repeat that. Less than 24% is reported. Less than 24% yet they still receive 1 call a minute.

But here is the kicker. Here is the statistic that makes my job as a teacher to young people so difficult, and so important. Here is the statistic that demands ‘lighthearted’ best selling novels be held up against a burning light of deconstruction and analysis. Here is the statistic that suggests to me something is going very very wrong with our culture, with our expectations of equality and entertainment. This is the statistic that explains how a novel depicting an unhealthy and abusive relationship can become a best seller in the first place.

1 in 5 young men think abuse/violence against women is acceptable.
1 in 10 young women think abuse/violence against women is acceptable.*

Did you read that? Abuse/violence is acceptable? This is not okay with me.

So excuse me whilst I can’t just pass 50shades off as an amazing publishing phenomenon. Excuse me whilst it saddens me women would defend a novel that depicts such a unhealthy and abusive relationship. Excuse me for being sad and mad and angry beyond belief, that not only do people not seem to be able to spot an abusive relationship – but they are okay with an abusive relationship.

This is not okay. I am not okay with this. And I will write and talk and rage about this for as long as necessary. For as long as the police receive one call a minute. For as long as my pupils think it is acceptable for their fathers to hit their mothers. For as long as I live in a culture that tells me control is romantic and the norm for women.

I am not okay with this.

*All statistics taken from

Rhi’s intro

There are many reasons I jumped at the chance to write this blog with Lee.
1) She is the best Australian I know and have never met.
2) She has become a good friend over the years and is always the person I turn to to snark about the latest YA novel.
3) Because this trilogy really holds far too many opportunities for snark to pass up.

But most importantly, because I believe as much as this series is good for a laugh, it is simultaneously terrifying. The popularity these ‘novels’ (and when we use that word on this blog we use it very loosely) have garnered have terrifying implications for the role of women within our society. They say things about relationships, expectations, rape culture, and misogyny that need to be looked at in closer detail.

As an English Literature Major (and currently a high school English teacher) part of this blog will be a great laugh. It will be written with the incredulity to the power of a thousand that this book was written, and got published, and is being touted as good work, let alone good erotica. I plan to recap the novels for those of you who can’t face reading them, and Lee has some outrageously witty notes on some of the most important chapters.

But most importantly as a Gender Studies minor, and proud feminist, the other part of this blog is really going to look at how this novel represents the insidious and scary realities of living in an unequal and frequently problematic society.

So strap in and come for the ride. It will most like end up being you and me reading this stuff, Lee! But boy, is going to be great.

You can read more from Rhian here.

The rage against Fifty Shades of Grey (and its spawn) is infinite

Ok people, we are two grown women who HATE the shit out of the travesty of literature that is Fifty Shades of Grey.

We recently suffered through reading Fifty Shades of Grey, at roughly the same time. One of us lives in Wales. The other in Australia. One of us read all three books (yes, condolences). The other borrowed a copy of the first one to read, and suffered through the last one to be able to discuss them, and she didn’t feel like she actually missed anything by not reading the second one that couldn’t be garnered from a brief recap given by her Welsh friend. By the way, it says bucketloads for how terrible a book series is, when the middle tome of a trilogy can be skipped all together and you can ably pick up the story line in the last one. Anyway, the other woman may read the middle book – but by golly that’ll only be when she musters up the mental fortitude to suffer though more of ELJ’s tripey writing.

We hate these books. Hate is a strong word, but we feel it is validly used in the context of this literary abomination that EL James has managed to get published.

She ripped the story completely from Twilight, can’t write coherently, added in some repetitive (and quite overdone and boring in the end) sex, had a lead male character that in many cases would probably be pegged as an obsessive psychopathic rapist douchebag and tried to pass his quirkier traits of as “sexy” and “hot” (primarily because he is Riiiiiiich. Like really rich. RICH), and instigated one of the most insipid, stupid, awful lead female characters around – AND tried to pass her off as being a woman other women should hold up as a shining light example of awesome womanly godessness. *yes, we can make up words like that, EL James has proved it possible*.

So read our blog. It might only go for a week while we vent our rage, it might go for ages if our mashup un-FanFic version of 50 SOG and Twilight actually comes together. We don’t know. But enjoy the ride of our venting rage while it lasts!