Five reasons I’ll never read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Umm, pass...
Umm, pass…

Well, at least never read it straight through, because I have to admit to having read exerts — often aloud. What can I say? I like sharing bad aloud, and the great thing about “Fifty Shades of Grey” is I can flip to any page and get bad. Now if I were clever, I would have titled this piece “Fifty Shades of No” and provided 50 reasons, but to be honest that would have ended with me quoting 50 horrible passages from the book, which speaks volumes toward one of my main reasons for not wanting to read this book or its sequels: It’s just so poorly written! I can shut off the editor portion of brain to a point, but not enough to make it through this book seriously.

I’m not trying to belittle people who have read and enjoyed “Fifty Shades of Grey,” because, admit it or not, we all have our guilty pleasures and we should feel no shame for having them. So on that note, here are my five reasons for why I’ll never curl up with “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

No. 1: I find E. L. James unethical.

Like Cassandra Clare before her — I find E.L. James unethical for publishing her fanfiction. Such actions are really toeing the line as it were, and it takes advantage of the good graces of authors who allow fledgling writers to play in their sandbox when they really don’t have to. Several authors, such as Anne Rice, do not allow fanfiction based on their works, some for this very reason. Writing fanfiction can really help writers come into their own by letting them play around with existing characters and settings, giving them a good idea of how these aspects work before moving on to their own works. And that is the key: Serious writers need to move on to their own works, leaving behind other authors’ “toys.” It is unethical to take those toys and just change their names from Edward and Belle to Christian and Anastasia. Let it be known that I’m not a “Twilight” fan, but I do feel for Stephenie Meyer, having been plagiarized myself.

No. 2: It’s poorly written.

Eh, no? I prefer my men with much less baggage.
Eh, no? I prefer my men with much less baggage.

“I feel the color in my cheeks rising again. I must be the color of The Communist Manifesto.” Or how about: “My very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba.” Yeah. Let those sink in a bit, because they do exist. And as it sinks in know that there are hundreds more just waiting for you to turn the page. Though perhaps these little gems are a blessing, because the unintentional humor would be the only carrot to really goad some readers into reading this poorly written book.

From the exerts I have read, the dialogue is just as bad, coming across as stiff or just plain ridiculous. Just look at Christian ordering a drink: “I’ll have a gin and tonic,” Christian says. “Hendricks if you have it or Bombay Sapphire. Cucumber with the Hendricks, lime with the Bombay.” Seriously, who talks like this!?

Then there is the repetition with the orange juice, with Anastasia’s inner goddess, the frowns, the whispers — seriously, this blogger breaks it down in this blog post. With this level amateur writing skills, I would be cringing throughout the effort of reading, and besides if I want to get to the humor, all have to do is just visit 50 Shades of Suck on Tumblr… I’ll just stick with that.

No. 3: There is better written erotica out there!

Now don’t think me a prude just because I don’t like “Fifty Shades,” since I’m not one. I just figure, why should I read something horribly written when I can pick from the 142,700 erotica books on Amazon in the hopes of finding several that are better written, thus more sensual than “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Because lets be honest: A well-written book is sexy. Plus, there is erotica out there with actual characters, not cardboard cut-outs, and that have, gasp, decent plots! Heck, I’ve read fanfics — many more deserving of being published than “Fifty Shades” — that handle erotica better.

No. 4: Tampon pulling, really?

“He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string – what?! – and gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet. Holy fuck.” — “Fifty Shades of Grey,” page 311.

Yeah, that’s right folks. Nothing is more sexy than yanking a tampon out of your lover and then tossing it into the toilet, thus destroying the plumbing, because let’s be honest, they aren’t digging it out. Honestly, this whole scenario just doesn’t do it for me, and when I first heard about this scene, I was like no way. Poor naive former self.

No. 5: I need more than wish fulfillment from my books.

Anastasia constantly has orgasms, which is so utterly unrealistic, and probably like Bella has very few real faults within the “Fifty Shades” world to make her even close to being human. And Mr. Grey is as perfect as they come, just as Edward before him. Call me crazy but I want something more from my reading. I want real people, real situations, real emotion — I want to feel, I want to be challenged, I want to walk away from a book knowing the characters as if they were real. If a book can achieve those goals, even if it has faults, I will consider it a good read. I know during the reading process of “Fifty Shades of Grey” that I would be throwing the book, tearing into the prose with a sarcastic voice — probably aloud — or breaking out a red pen. And all in all, what is the point in that? Especially when I could be going on an adventure with other characters in other books? Sure, I would get laughs from reading it, but time is short and we don’t know how much time we have, so I will spend it in exciting worlds with characters that can pull my heartstrings with their losses and bring me to smile at their triumphs.

Bonus Reason: I will only hear Gilbert Godfrey’s voice. 😐


Published by smwright

Sarah Wright is the author of The Heritage Lost Series and several other works of speculative fiction. Professionally, she works as a staff writer and editor at a newspaper/magazine company. She enjoys interweaving her love of history into her writing, even in the most fantastic settings.

7 thoughts on “Five reasons I’ll never read ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

  1. Another reason I won’t ever finish reading even the first book is that I am not a fan of dominating alpha males in novels. There is nothing healthy or loving about a jealous man who tries to control a woman. When the contract came out, I closed the book.

    1. Ditto here! I prefer an equal partnership that is healthy and not abusive. I know in several passage I’ve read, he is so verbally abusive to her, calling her stupid for forgetting something. If I was in her place, I would have so been out the door.

      1. I couldn’t agree more. There is a problem in today’s culture–too many young women (and maybe older ones, too) associate jealousy and control to love. It’s scary.

      2. It is frightening. I thought the reaction to the “love” shown in Twilight was bad, but the reaction to this is just … Wow.

      3. I actually enjoyed the Twilight series (guilty pleasure, what can I say…lol). But it didn’t leave me with the disturbed feeling 50 Shades did, not even close.

      4. Hey, we all have to have our guilty pleasures ;-)! I tried to read the Twilight series but couldn’t stomach Bella, and with it being a close first person with Bella as the narrator, I didn’t get very far. But I’ve seen almost all the films and do see some of the same domineering male tendencies; after all, Edward does mess with Bella’s truck so she can’t leave to visit a friend and Bella does shut down when her man leaves. But “Twilight” is more innocent than “FIfty Shades,” which takes the male-domineering relationship in “Twilight” to a new level, quite literally when you keep in mind it started out as “Twilight” fanfic.

      5. Yeah, I guess also where “Twilight” deals with supernatural characters, for me, it made it easier to gloss over those things. I am less likely to compare the relationship and characters to a relationship that could happen in real life–I mean, ya know, vampire attraction/obsession doesn’t happen in the real world…lol. I can also forgive vampires and werewolves going a little crazy because of their animalistic and supernatural essence. It just ain’t the same in my book. Of course, maybe that’s an odd way to be looking at it, too. 🙂 I was also very surprised when I heard that “Fifty Shades” started as “Twilight” fanfiction. It seems so removed from that–I can barely see the similarities. lol

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