So I read it, or most of it anyway. And though I hate to sound pretentious, it's the worst shit I've ever read. It is complete literary rubbish. If Fifty Shades is considered art, it's the lips and assholes (I mean this figuratively as in art's refuse, and literally as in literally, and I think there's a pun about a hot dog in there). It's atrocious, vapid, juvenile, and the only four letter word that was missing was 'plot.' That being said, I still made it through ¾ of the book.
Someone might at some point in my past have called me a book snob. And they might be semi-correct. But I think I should get a plaque for completing AND thoroughly enjoying the Twilight series, just to broadcast the fact that I am no high-minded intellectual. A more mortifying confession is that I read the Janet Evanovich books, both "One for the Money" and "Two for the Dough" about Stephanie Plum, female bounty hunter and unlikely badass. I've read Dan Brown (and had to vomit only a few times), and even once read a book by James Patterson about a spider or something. And I do know who Kay Scarpetta is. Sometimes brainless activity is a perfect way to kill some time.
“As if you could kill time without injuring eternity,” tsks Thoreau, making me feel guilty for reading terrible books and not watching squirrels more intently.
“Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think,” counters a Chinese proverb. Take that Thoreau, you nature-loving gorgeous man you! You do not get to be the Keeper of Acceptable Forms of Time Wasting.
“We cannot waste time, we can only waste ourselves,” says another admonishment which makes me feel middle-aged and kind of fat and an overall damn shame.
“Regret for wasted time is more wasted time,” (I seize this one and put it in my pocket, as I know for sure I'll need it later).
“Work! Work! Work! What else have you got to do?” says Leader of the Walking Dead, Queen of Drudge, and internationally recognized most repulsive woman that ever was, Suze Orman.
“Death twitches my ear. 'Live,' he says, 'I am coming.'” says Virgil, and I feel the ever-tightening noose, and I begin to panic.
“If you don't drink and you don't smoke, you don't live longer, it just feels like it,” say lots and lots and lots of people who experience this exact same life, in an unrelated comment that seems to fit perfectly at the moment. Cheers.
I had plenty of reasons for and against reading my friend's most recent recommendation of Fifty Shades, and had originally decided against it. But then she started baiting me, see below her insidious mind-bending.
These were our texts over several days during a ceaseless game of Scramble:
Her: This book has turned me into a sex-crazed maniac.
My thoughts on Christian Grey:
Oh my. First of all, I was at the pool, and the Kindle Fire for some ridiculous reason doesn't have the technology to enable the reader to see it in the sun. What is mom porn for if it can't be read at the pool?? What an inconsiderate piece of technology! I couldn't see a word, no matter the angle or distance. So I covered myself and my kindle with my t-shirt, making a little tent of darkness so I could see the screen, and every “Mamma?” was met with a sharp and quick facepalm. Unfortunately, it was 102 degrees outside, and 114 and climbing in my little tent.
And it was difficult reading because my repugnance wanted a partner. (This desire as far as I can tell is a distinctly human characteristic.) Outrage begs a playmate. When you say, can you believe that she used this word yet again? Or does she really think the reader is going to tolerate that disgusting little dangling carrot trick (no pun)? Or is this the laziest writing, the most preposterous premise, the most cliched piece of triple crap? These pages don't deserve to be toilet paper! You want someone, anyone to agree. I mean when you live in a world where 20 million copies of this have been sold, setting new records and beating Harry Potter, you could very well be the crazy one.
And since reading is a solitary activity, I will share my repugnance here and hope to move you to similar outrage. See below.
“He's so freaking hot.” (She says this about 8 million times. And this was presumably written for people of age. I think you have to be at least 18 or 21 or something to buy it … but the sentence is further evidence that she's really just an oversexed 14-year-old dreaming of Bieber. I wonder if she could have saved space by using text lingo. OMG, he is so fkg HOT, OMG, OMG, WTF!)
When “his erection springs free.” SHE says, “Holy Cow!” (I'm not kidding.)
“I feel the color in my cheeks rising again. I must be the color of the Communist Manifesto.”
(She blushes more than she squirms. And she squirms more than she breathes or thinks or eats, and she orgasms more than any of it, all of these corporeal activities are dictated by Grey. I guess there are only so many ways to describe blushing. This sentence has the added bonus of establishing our heroine as an intellectual. I guess that's what it's for?)
“He presses his mouth into a hard line.” (Please read this book. Just so you can be astounded by the number of times she uses this sentence. It's the primary filler amidst the smut.) “He cocked his head to one side.” (This is Christian Grey's reaction to everything from a ringing phone to using his flogger.) (Hmmm, maybe she's brilliant. Repeating “hard” and “cock” for subliminal influence? But she is never subtle. Never. Not one time. So I can't even give her the benefit of the doubt.)
And there is just so much more. However, though I can turn purple with outrage, there has to be some value to it. Some value to someone, else it would not have been so wildly popular. This is a comment I found on FB:
And though moms always insist that men are most attractive when they are unloading the dishwasher or changing a diaper, I think Fifty Shades reveals that this is not the full truth. There is something else, something beyond feminism, glass ceilings, the domestic division of labor, and the desire for a loving and equal partner. Perhaps the author sheds light on something primal, archetypical even, something to do more with the way we're made rather than the way we'd like things to be. Whatever it is, apparently 20 million women are screaming for it (or reading it quietly on their Kindles, facepalming their kids). For my part, the jury's still out, and I may be forced to endure the next two in the series for “research.”