Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spiri...

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Title:Fifty Shades of Grey
Author:E.L. James
Edition Language:English

Fifty Shades of Grey Reviews

  • Steph Sinclair

    Haters, please exit stage left.

    I'm not sure what possessed me to pick up Fifty Shades of Grey. I thought I might genuinely like it before I started, but all I was left with was one hell of a mindfuck. Whatever it was that brought on this knee jerk purchase seems to have mercifully left me with enough common sense to say I will not be continuing on with this series.

    Recently I discovered

    Haters, please exit stage left.

    I'm not sure what possessed me to pick up Fifty Shades of Grey. I thought I might genuinely like it before I started, but all I was left with was one hell of a mindfuck. Whatever it was that brought on this knee jerk purchase seems to have mercifully left me with enough common sense to say I will not be continuing on with this series.

    Recently I discovered one of my favorite publishers, Random House, has picked up Fifty Shades of Grey and made this statement:

    I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to call bull shit on that. Fifty Shades of Grey and Master of the Universe (the original fan fic) are essentially the same thing. The biggest difference being Edward and Bella's name being replaced with Christian and Anastasia respectively. And I would know this because I have both and while I was reading, I would occasionally switch back and forth between the two without difficulty. I'd go through and give you examples myself, but other people have done it already


    . So if you must read this book, do yourself a solid and find the fan fic online. You even get the second book too!

    I know some people claim this has no similarities to Twilight and got dammit, I'm allergic to all the bull shit. Do I really need to point this all out? Because it looks pretty obvious to me. The mannerisms of the characters are exactly the same. They even say similar things the original characters say. The whole "dazzle" line and Edward asking Bella to trust him. Her mother being remarried with the same inability to maneuver her way around a kitchen. Bella is still trying to save Edward from himself due to his troubled past. Edward still stalks and controls Bella, only now he gets to hit her when she gets out of line.

    I struggled to come up with a proper review for this book and couldn't figure out why I was feeling rather uninspired to write one. And then I figured it out. I was left so disgusted by this book that I wanted to purge the memory of its existence from my mind. With a rusty nail. Every time I thought of the book my brain cells would go on strike, yelling obscenities at me.  Anyway, I thought Bella and Edward's relationship couldn't get anymore fucked up than Twilight. I stand corrected. If I were to describe FSoG in one sentence it would be this: Fifty Shades of Grey is like Twilight on steroids, high on ecstasy, in a dirty little corner. A very dirty corner. With badly written sex. Lots.


    Fifty Shades of Grey tells the story of the beautiful (but of course she doesn't know it), naive virgin, Anastasia Steal after she is suckered into interviewing the Greek god, Christian Grey. Of course, sparks fly and for some unknown reason he can't seem to stay away from this incredibly, unremarkable girl.  Ana discovers Christian is into BDSM and desires her as his submissive fuck buddy.

    There are a myriad of problems with this novel, many of which ironically can be found in Twilight.

    Christian/Edward is still a controlling bastard, only now he hides behind his BDSM practices to camouflage his abusive tendencies. However, Ana doesn't see it that way. She thinks of him as a broken person and it's her duty to fix him. Even when he says things like this:

    Can you believe she let's him beat her after that? And please don't even bother to tell me that it's just BDSM. No, just fucking no. Ana is genuinely afraid of Christian and is never entirely comfortable with the "punishment" aspect of their relationship. But Christian just manipulates her with sex to continue the relationship. And that's what really gets me. I just have a hard time believing a virgin would somehow become a sex goddess overnight, because that is exactly what happens. When she first is introduced to his kinky lifestyle and tells him she is a virgin he immediately tells her he needs to handle that "situation" before they could continue. What?! Since when is your virginity a "situation?" But, that's not really the kicker. Oh, no, because that is when we are introduced to Ana's two best friends. Everyone say hi to:


    Anna's inner goddess, who always cheers her on when Christian wants sex or wants to punish her. She's also quite annoying, doing back flips at the mention of anything sexual related.

    Where did she come from exactly? Ana is in her twenties and has never felt the urge to have sex with anyone until Christian comes along with his whips and chains?!

    And... Ana's sub-conscious, who hides behind couches when it comes time for her beating. When it comes to Ana having sex with Christian, well, her sub-conscious only has one thing to say,

    So after the "situation" is handled, Ana has to sign a "contract" agreeing to his sexual demands and also outlining things she won't do. It was pretty pointless considering he still got what he wanted and she never signed the damn thing. He exploits her, stalks her and abuses her! She cries after sex. She is afraid of him being angry! Even when he is angry at something else, she thinks it's her. Her reasoning for allowing him to hit her as his therapy is because she's afraid to lose him. That is not a reason for agreeing to a BDSM lifestyle! In fact, that's not even really "consent!" These quotes just scream domestic abuse to me:

    Yeah, he's a real catch, that one. Barf. No, excuse me. That's not right. The barfing came when the little ass-wipe PULLED HER TAMPON OUT AND RAMMED HIMSELF INSIDE OF HER. OMFG. Yes, the caps were totally necessary because that was the most disgusting thing I have ever had the misfortune of reading. That is not sexy, that's foul.

    Whenever Ana thinks about leaving him, he comes over to her apartment unannounced pounds into her (literally) and her inner goddess does a fucking happy dance, forgetting her urge to kick his sick ass to the curb. They fight, they breakup. They kiss, they sex up.


    Christian: "Do you still want me gone Ana?"

    Inner goddess: *growl*

    Sub-conscious: ...

    The writing is a shitty mess too. I mean, if I had to sit and read Ana saying "Holy, shit!" or "Holy, Fuck!" or "Oh, my!" one more time, I was going to lose it. I wanted to take my red pen and have at this "book" so badly. It was the little things like Ana's roommate saying over and over, "You never cry Ana," and what do we find Ana always doing? Crying. I'm not sure where the hell the plot was. *smacks forehead* How silly of me! Didn't I mention this was a Twilight retelling? Why was I expecting a plot? And another example of poor writing: for these characters to be American, they sounded very British to me. They used phrases that Americans don't use.

    And now I'm trying to figure out why this book is so popular. Why do so many women love this book? I get the appeal of the bondage even though it's not my usual cup of tea. Whips? Chains? Sounds exciting!


    Abuse? Not so much.

    Fuck my life! Zero stars!

    Eh, I'm off to read a

    book now and possibly to bleach my brain.

    More reviews at


  • Kruti

    In the words of Miss Steele,

    Good day,


    Fifty Shades of Grey, more like

    *rolls eyes* I should get a medal for just finishing this tripe.

    I honestly do NOT feel like revisiting this book and writing a review. I’d rather spend the time searching for ways to remove this utter nonsense from my memory. However, this book is so bad that I feel the need to warn others from this drivel. Luckily, I did not buy this garbage. I d

    In the words of Miss Steele,

    Good day,


    Fifty Shades of Grey, more like

    *rolls eyes* I should get a medal for just finishing this tripe.

    I honestly do NOT feel like revisiting this book and writing a review. I’d rather spend the time searching for ways to remove this utter nonsense from my memory. However, this book is so bad that I feel the need to warn others from this drivel. Luckily, I did not buy this garbage. I do not even know what overcame me to read it and I can only blame a momentary lack of judgment on my part.

    What baffles me is the

    fangirlgasm following this book. So what’s causing it a hit? I can only come up with ‘twilight’. Doing some research, this book was originally posted online as a twilight fanfic! Yes, a twilight fanfic. The fact that this book’s source material isn’t a good piece of literature just shows what you should expect from this book. And dubbing it a twilight fanfic and promoting it as such is no doubt raising the bar on the sale figures. What has the world come to? *headdesk* Whatever’s causing its success; I can safely say it can’t be the book itself.

    The execution and the characters. And the writing. And the plot (wait, was there one?!?)

    Firstly, it has been said a countless number of times how abusive Bella and Edward’s relationship was. And it is arguably the most anti-feminist portrayal of any relationship. FSoG simply continues this unhealthy view and promotes an even more abusive and degrading relationship towards women, targeting older women (and possibly even teenage girls who know no better). Oh dear god, I hope teenage girls do not jump on this disturbing bandwagon.

    Surely, it is degrading to ask a woman to sign a contract where ‘she is now the property of the Dominant, to be dealt with as the Dominant pleases’ and ‘submitting [herself] to any sexual activity demanded by the Dominant…without hesitation or argument’ – especially when you take into consideration the fact that she would be signing up to something she has not yet experienced and knows little about as she is still a virgin. This is

    something that should be promoted as desirable or idealistic. This book cheapens what feminists have fought for years! Don’t get me wrong I wouldn't deprive women of their right to express themselves sexually, nor to act upon their desires but I shudder at the thought of women aspiring to a relationship where she will take part in various things that she is not comfortable with and at times, even when she’s genuinely in fear of taking part, simply because she finds the guy ‘hot’.


    - I’m not even sure if there was one. 50% of the book is spent talking about sex/the contract and the other 50% is made up of clumsily written sex scenes.


    is dull and unimaginative. It reads more like a diary – he did this, I did this. The constant repetitions are enough to make someone suicidal! I hope I never have to see the words, ‘my subconscious’ and ‘my inner goddess’ ever again or so help me god! The sex scenes were terrible and frankly a little disturbing to put down on paper – an incident with the tampon springs to mind.


    are simply absurd in this book.

    Anastasia Steele irked me quite a lot and reading this book from her point of view was no picnic in the park. Finding out that she is 21 years old was a shock – she reads like a dim-witted 12 year old, who’s vocabulary doesn’t extend further from ‘jeez’, ‘oh crap’, ‘damn’, ‘oh my’, ‘holy cow’ and even the constant reference to her vagina as

    . I found nothing remotely interesting about her. She has most of Bella’s traits and then some – she’s boring, clumsy and downright bitter, even towards her best friend, Kate. The only other word I can use to describe her is a ‘scrounger’ – can’t she afford her own clothes?

    She’s too gullible and a hypocrite. She’s weak-willed and succumbs so easily for my liking. And I’m pretty sure she suffers from some form of mental disorder – schizophrenia perhaps? She constantly refers to what she calls her ‘inner goddess’ and her ‘subconscious’, who either cheer her on when there’s an opportunity for sex or take opportunities to call her a ‘dirty hoe’!

    I swear Kate was a much more interesting character and would have made a better female lead, but like the other few characters she was mentioned only for the sake of a story. A real shame.

    Christian Grey…where do I begin?


    From: Kruti

    Subject: Your issues

    Date: April 18 2011 23:15

    To: Christian Grey

    Dear Mr Grey,


    are a pompous asshole! And frankly, you are in need of much help. Perhaps, I can direct you to the nearest mental hospital? Or better yet, accompany you to the nearest police station? It's the least I can do.

    In response to your email, I think you have that the wrong way around, sir. It is

    who would like to hurt you til you’re fifty shades of red!


    On Apr 18, 2012 at 23:00 PM, Christian Grey ([email protected]) wrote:

    "I want to hurt you. But not beyond anything you couldn't take."

    Christian Grey

    CEO, Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc.


    There are simply so many things wrong with his character that I don’t even know where to begin. What’s unacceptable is how his upbringing is used as an excuse to cover up his abusive tendencies. NO!! That does not give him the right to exert control over her and abuse her. Ana constantly tells him how uncomfortable and afraid she is with what he wants and all he can say is

    . Hell NO! That's not BDSM.

    Okay children, let's explore the definition of BDSM:

    Consensual being the key word! Don't tell me we have two consenting adults here. No, Ana is just a child trapped in a woman's body. She has no true idea of what this lifestyle entails and is at most times in fear.

    If you're still not convinced about how unhealthy this relationship was, this probably will convince you. To ensure he gets her to do what he wants, he manipulates her with promises of a relationship if she is willing to try his way of lifestyle. And, Ana being the fool she is lets him beat her thinking


    . So in her mind, his need to control her and beat her is a form of therapy? No! That's not BDSM either.

    I have absolutely nothing more to add. I'm taking my inner goddess elsewhere and grabbing a


    Honestly this is what I imagined Christian to be like. If you have a facebook account, you should definitely visit this



  • Wigs

    You know, I was beginning to wonder if I needed to change some of my two star books to one star. I was thinking that I might not ever personally read a book worthy of one star, and I was messing up my scale by giving some of the more lame books I've read lately two stars instead of one.

    Thank you E.L. James, for proving to me there was something worth waiting for. Something that truly exemplifies the meaning of terrible.

    Now hold up, all you would-be defenders. I read this whole thing. I did not s

    You know, I was beginning to wonder if I needed to change some of my two star books to one star. I was thinking that I might not ever personally read a book worthy of one star, and I was messing up my scale by giving some of the more lame books I've read lately two stars instead of one.

    Thank you E.L. James, for proving to me there was something worth waiting for. Something that truly exemplifies the meaning of terrible.

    Now hold up, all you would-be defenders. I read this whole thing. I did not skip anything, I did not skim, I read every word. I bought this book with the intention of giving it the benefit of the doubt. You see, I love erotica, and I'm not ashamed to say that I both read (as you see on my 2012 books I've already read two others) and write it myself. So I was thinking to myself, oh, maybe there's a possibility that even though this is a twi-fiction rewrite, and even though everyone makes fun of it, it could still be a fun little guilty-pleasure read that I can laugh along with.





    This book is NOT:

    - erotic/sexy

    - funny, even ironically

    - endearing

    - full of sexual taboos

    This book IS:

    - repetitive

    - plotless (well, you knew that)

    - painful to get through

    - depicting manipulative, controlling, and self-destructive as desirable

    - how to not write a novel

    - how to gain success by using other people's characters, barely changing them and then laughing all the way to the bank

    Most people know about the twilight matchups so I'm not going to go into too much detail, but it was actually quite sickening, how lazy she was to change ANY story details:

    Anastasia, a clumsy girl who grew up in

    Las Vegas with her mother, then moved to

    Vancouver, Washington where her

    stepdad lives, while her mother lives with her new husband in

    Georgia. She has a younger friend named

    Jose with a crush on her, and whose dad is friends with her dad, because they are fishing partners and

    army buddies, and who gave her his old

    VW beetle.

    Christian, who is adopted and has a sibling named

    Elliott and a sister named

    Mia, also adopted, who live with their parents

    Carrick (really? CARRICK? We couldn't even change the first three letters?) and

    Grace. Their

    mother is a doctor.

    Kate and

    Ethan are also siblings in this story, but have been changed to be friends of Anastasia, since in Twilight they already have a convenient different last name than the other Cullens.

    Also, he 'dazzles' her.

    I can't even function over the fact that upon preparing this book for publishing she couldn't change one fucking thing to make it even remotely different. That was too hard. TOO DAMN HARD. The similarities in character are so untouched that I am sincerely appalled that she thought it 'different' enough to publish as is. It's quite disgusting.

    Alright, continuing on, and once again, I'm sure you've heard this already: this book is terribly written. Most notably the lack of ability to describe anything other than the few choice phrases she knows how to type.

    Lather rinse repeat. Over. And over. And over. For 500 pages. Then there's the case of multiple personality disorder, where she hears the voices of two distinct other pieces of herself in her head. The subconscious, the one telling her she's not good enough, and the inner goddess, the one that's all into the sex. It's strange because I'm also currently reading a book right now, Deadline, where the main character hears a voice in his head because he is literally insane, and it's written almost the exact same way, he talks back to his voice, who presents herself in italics, just as Anastasia talks back to her two italics voices. It's funny because she's supposed to be completely normal, and yet shares the same schizophrenic tendencies as a book about someone who is completely insane.

    This is sense.

    Check out this awesome short paragraph from chapter 24:

    “Through the haze of light, I squint and see Christian leaning over me, smiling. Amused. Amused at me. Dressed! In black.”

    What are these fragments, four in a row. What is this punctuation. GASP AT HIM BEING CLOTHED. Is this supposed to be poetry?

    Let me add some line breaks for poetic interest:

    Through the haze of light, I squint and see ,

    Christian leaning over me,

    Smiling. Amused.

    Amused at me.


    In black.

    That's almost better.

    Let's have another, shall we, from chapter 24 once more:

    “I didn't put that song on my iPod,” he says casually, and puts his foot down so that I am thrown back into my seat as the car accelerates along the freeway.

    He knows what he's doing, the bastard.

    And I have to listen to Britney going on and on.

    The song ends and the iPod shuffles to Damien Rice being morunful.

    I stare out the window, my stomach churning. Who?


    Okay and now, maybe even worse than the writing (oh hell, nothing's worse than the writing, nevermind) is the lack of plot. Now once again, you already know this. Do I even need to tell you nothing happens? Seeing as it's based off of a book where nothing happens, you can be guaranteed that as we go one step removed, even less happens.

    Here is the part where I apologize to Twilight, where I said, in my page by page commentary below, that 50 Shades was more entertaining. I was at the very beginning. I was young and naïve. I didn't realize. I'm sorry.

    You know how The Office kind of got bad after Jim and Pam got together, because there was really nothing you were waiting for after that? This happens by like...chapter 2. You're like...okay....what, now we jut have to watch them whine as a couple for the next zillion pages? Okay.

    I can't even fathom that there are two other books written about this couple. I literally want to open the window and invite birds to eat my eyes out as punishment for buying and reading this book.

    And now for a bit of tiddlybits, I'm going to share some information on storywriting that you guys might find interesting, and will help show exactly why 50 Shades has zero plot.

    I went to school for film, and we had story development classes. One thing we were beaten over the head with about is something called the 7 Sentence Story. This will help for any writers that are writing their books to be cinematic or would like their novel to be considered for film purposes (this is by no means a rule, but a really helpful guideline). First, you need a problem, a conflict. A reason to tell a story. Once you have that, your plot should be able to be described in seven sentences thusly:

    Exposition: we are introduced to the protagonist and/or main characters

    Inciting Incident: something happens that kicks off the conflict, the whole point of the story

    Plot Point 1: because of the inciting incident, character sets off to do something/correct the problem, etc

    Midpoint: here in film you might see a montage, but it's a place where either plot point 1 is resolved or there is a transition in the characters way of thinking

    Plot Point 2: often an even bigger issue arises, or a twist that changes or accelerates the conflict

    Climax: final showdown or decisions needed to be made

    Resolution.: everything comes to an end, the conflict is settled in one way or another

    Basically, if you can tell your story in this way in seven sentences, you'll know that A) the main point is clear, B) that your story doesn't wander too much in different directions, and C) that you actually have a plot to stand on, that you can justify there's enough substance there.

    And since that's a lot of vagueness, we'll go with a classic captive/dominant story to show how one tells a story in seven sentences: Disney's Beauty and the Beast. First, the main conflict:

    Conflict: The prince has been turned into a beast and has only a limited time left before he is trapped forever as one.

    And the seven sentence story:

    Exposition: Belle is a smart girl who rejects the advances of Gaston, as she doesn't want to be stuck in a mundane life.

    Inciting Incident: Belle's father gets lost and captured by the Beast in his castle.

    Plot Point 1: Belle trades her freedom for her father and is prisoner in the castle.

    Midpoint: Belle starts to experience feelings for the Beast and is complacent.

    Plot Point 2: Belle's father is sick, and the Beast decides to let her go, even though he's giving up his chances of being with her.

    Climax: Gaston comes with an angry mob to destroy the Beast.

    Resolution: While Beast lays dying, his love for Belle turns him back into a human and he can live with her happily ever after.

    Simple, right? Of course, other things happen, but no doubt you can communicate the main story with just these sentences.

    Okay, so let's try 50 Shades, which, hilariously, has had its film rights bought already.

    Conflict: Anastasia must decide whether to be with a guy who she thinks is super hot but also scares her (This fascinating decision, I tell you what.)

    Exposition: Anastasia is a literary student at WSU.

    Inciting Incident: Anastasia meets Christian on page 7, and thinks he's hot and mysterious and also frustrating. It is clear they both have chemistry.

    Plot Point 1, which is sloppy and all over the place: Christian chases her down, brings her to his house and shows her he's into S&M. Also they have sex.

    Sorta Midpoint, but kind of squished close to Plot Point 1: Anastasia must decide whether to pledge herself to him via contract if she wants to continue seeing him.

    Plot Point 2: Nah, she's still deciding and whining about how he's kind of scary but continues to have sex with him throughout this whole time. There is no plot point 2.

    Climax: Well there isn't really one, it's just kind of an all over the place ending...either the more complicated sex scene at the end with the hymnal music or him hitting with her with the belt the next morning, one of the two I guess...

    Resolution: She says he's too weird and ends it.

    What a complex, thrilling, and incredible plot full of depth. SHOULD I HAVE CUT THAT FOR SPOILERS? OOPS? Did you even care? If you've gotten this far, nope.

    But guess what. We know that there are two other books and they get together and lesson isn't really learned so AWESOME, COOL. I guess that's how she gets people to buy the next ones because hot diggedy I can't wait to see them get back together and whine some more.

    And let's talk about the sex for a moment. Nothing forbidden actually happens that you'll be like ohhhh how scandalous I want to try that. For the most part it's pretty much all basic stuff or basic toy play, because basically he's taking it easier on her since she's inexperienced. Except for the belt part at the end, I guess, which just doesn't sound fun.

    And you already heard about the tampon, so like, that's not even a surprise (although imo it's not a big deal anyway. Out of all the women having sex on their periods regularly, I can guarantee you there are quite a few men that are tasked with taking the tampon out and throwing it aside.) I was actually more upset about the fact that she is sleeping completely naked in a hotel room bed on day two of her period. As if that isn't going to be a mess in the morning.

    Okay lest I go on as long as the book, you get the point. If you want to see more, my commentary while reading it is below. However, a few things:

    -I cannot stand how much the author being middle aged shows from the point of view of this 21 year old. “I'm gonna buy plane tickets...on the Internet.” ARE YOU NOW? WHOAOOOAOAOA. Don't get crazy on us, I might be too overwhelmed by this turn of events. “I fired up my email.” BLAZING SPEEDS REQUIRED.

    -They actually do the “you hang up” “no

    hang up” “no

    ” that gross couples tend to do. And it was, expectedly, gross.

    -Someone on ONTD who liked this book yelled at me because I said that Christian is not a dominant (they also said I wasn't 'experienced enough to understand,' lol okay, like you know who I am, anon.) I still stand by that statement. It's not what he's doing, it's how he's doing it. He is deeply troubled, whiny, and manipulative, and while he does love control, it's for the wrong reasons. He was abused as a child, and sexually abused as a 15 year old and vastly denies it, and because of this he justifies his activities as personal preference when he is in fact a bit too fucked up to currently have a relationship. He ends up making the naïve Anastasia batshit crazy because he continues to string her along, trying to convince her they want the same things, instead of getting himself some help.

    -He gives her the illusion that she has the choice to back out, but then turns around and says ha-ha I'm joking but I know where to find you by the way. She goes to visit her mother because she needs a break from him to think, and what does he do? Flies out there, using his roundabout stalker way of finding information about where she's at, like he always does, to meet up, have sex with her and take her out with him. She's supposed to be visiting her mother and having time to think, yet he can't stay away and makes this about HIM, taking her away from time with her mom whom she hasn't seen in 6 months. I can't at this selfish fucking bastard because he just can't stay away.

    It makes me mad just thinking about someone that clingy. Which is another thing that pisses me off, almost everything about their whining and relationship conversations reminds me of everything I've hated about past relationships I've had. How does ANYONE enjoy this book? How does anyone think that this is sexy, that this depicts something they want?

    I can't even.

    I cannot.

    (Also I should never have imagined Chuck and Blair from Gossip Girl as the main characters. Now everytime I see a commercial for Gossip Girl, rage courses through my body.)

    I'm bored. Someone get me out of here.

    P.S. Did you know that James recently stated she's set the bar for writing pretty high?


    Please, do yourself a favor and go buy a book of much higher quality plot and writing, ohhhh like....Modelland.

  • Mel

    Garbage. Absolutely horrifying, utter trash. A waste of trees, bookshelf space and precious, oh so very fucking precious braincells. Honestly, why is this even published? Every single book store in Sydney is promoting this tripe, claiming it to be some kind of awesome romance novel. Are you absolutely shitting me? There is nothing romantic at all about this 'book'. And I don't mean the BDSM erotica themes, I mean the fifty levels of abuse in this friggin' thing.

    In fact, that's what this book sh

    Garbage. Absolutely horrifying, utter trash. A waste of trees, bookshelf space and precious, oh so very fucking precious braincells. Honestly, why is this even published? Every single book store in Sydney is promoting this tripe, claiming it to be some kind of awesome romance novel. Are you absolutely shitting me? There is nothing romantic at all about this 'book'. And I don't mean the BDSM erotica themes, I mean the fifty levels of abuse in this friggin' thing.

    In fact, that's what this book should be called. 'Fifty shades of absolute-fucking-insanity-and-abuse'. I know at least every one star reviewer has taken the title and created their own pun with it, but fuck it, I'm jumping on the bandwagon too.

    Before I decided to read this (God help me), I kept seeing it everywhere I went, and the book store where I work was involved in the promotion among other book store chains. Typical. All me and my co-workers knew that it was smut, and a hell of a lot of it too. We even turned the book into a drinking game, and it goes as thus: Flip to a random page of the book. If it's something dirty, take a drink. I do not recommend this game, for one could die from alcohol poisoning within the first round. But if you're feeling adventurous... by all means. Glad I could be of service to your crazy party ideas.

    But anyway, let's cut to my opinion of this abomination of literature. I decided to read it because it sounded like garbage, and I haven't written a review about garbage in too long. I owed something to the people who actually found me worthwhile to follow on Goodreads. So I decided hell, I'll review this.

    Brain cells I will never, ever, EVER, get back.

    This is literally the worst book I have ever read, and I say that about many books. But this is the worst book for a damn good reason. Let's talk about what I hated about this book. The bottom line is I hated absolutely everything. And I'm not saying that to be funny, I'm saying that out of all seriousness. I didn't find a single redeeming quality in this book. With the Hush, hush series we at least had the unintentional hilarity and the awesomeness of Marcie. In Twilight we had that chick who wanted to kill Bella and Tyler's van. Fifty shades of Grey has no such redeeming qualities. The characters are bland and merely props to set the stage for fucking weird BDSM-ing, and the plot was lost somewhere in the vagina of the author's wet dream. (Believe me, I feel weird for even typing these words.)

    Not to mention, even though everyone already knows this, this was originally a Twilight fan fiction called 'Master of the universe' or some shitty, stupid title like that. How did such a thing get published? What, Twilight wasn't horrible and abuse-glorifying enough, so we had to kick it up a notch with publishing 'Master of the universe'? Are you people serious? Why is it that dumber and dumber things are getting published? Quality is almost non-existent. Fucking hell.

    But before I rant on for hours about that, let's talk about the characters. Oh, I mean props. Yeah, props is more appropriate. Why? Because the characters, for all the personality they had may as well have been props.

    Our first main prop is Ana, aka Bella Swan. The plain, virginal wallflower who thinks lowly of herself whilst everyone around her just seems to freaking worship her. She is also clumsy, reads books, has divorced parents, doesn't get along with her step-father, and is a brain dead moronic twat. Remind you of anyone? I wonder who you're thinking of. That is a humdinger, isn't it? I'm amazed how many women are not pissed off with her complete lack of sense and self-respect. She lets a man abuse her physically and emotionally, and allows him to satiate his ever-growing need to control her completely, passing it off as some cute obsessive habit. And even if she has doubts and runs away, she comes running back to him only seconds after. How are people not pissed off about this? Seriously? Not to mention she has zero personality, zero brain-cells, and zero common sense. Her character serves no purpose other than becoming some abusive asshole's sex toy.

    And let's not forget our second main prop, Christian Grey, aka Edward Cullen, aka creepy-stalker-sociopathic-megalomaniacal-abusive-horrifying-asshole. The fact that he has fangirls in the real world has pretty much ruined my faith in mankind, and the new generation. Christian Gray pretty much pushes the limits that Edward Cullen, Patch, Daniel and others have yet to push due to their PG ratings, but fuck does Christian Grey push those fucking limits. He physically abuses Ana, and it somehow gets excused on the account that she was briefly aroused by it. SERIOUSLY PEOPLE?? SERIOUSLY?? Fuck my life. He also decides what she should eat, what she should wear, how she should act, speak, communicate with him, where she can and can't go or what she can and can't do, threatens her constantly even with physical violence, and the list goes on. I kid you not. He even has this set out as a contract (which by the way is repeated at least 5 times in the fucking book). Here's another example of how romantic this mother fucker is:

    See? Romantic as freaking Mel Gibson. And by the way, the women who find this guy romantic need some serious therapy. Seriously. Harsh I know, but finding this guy romantic is like like excusing the actions of a child-molester because he has nice hair. This is not romantic. This is ABUSIVE and WRONG on sooooo many levels.

    I don't know why they decided to plant this book in the general romance section. This is not romantic. And don't give me the 'IT'S MEANT TO BE BDSM, SO IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE ALL DOM VS SUB'. This goes way beyond the good ol' BDSM theme and just ends up treading into abusive territory. Christian takes these aspects into the relationship where he ends up not only controlling a woman sexually, but also emotionally, and deliberately moulding her into not just a sex partner, but an ideal of what he wants her to be and leaves her no room for her individuality and instead brands it as 'punishable'. That's not part of the BDSM jig. I'm sorry, but it's not. Why people even call this romantic is beyond me. I already mentioned the abusive aspects of this so called relationship, but other than that it was a relationship built on air. Since neither of the characters had any personality outside their sex drives, they had nothing that they saw in each other. They couldn't relate to each other, they didn't share any common interests, they didn't do any good for each other, outside the sexy stuff. And at the end they want to pass it off as though the two are actually in love? Give me a break. Watching people get swooped at by magpies is more romantic that this garbage.

    The plot? There was no plot. Seriously, I could not find it. ANYWHERE. I searched and searched but alas, my search has left me unrewarded. Let me explain in a quick paragraph how this book goes:

    'Girl meets some guy. Some guy is hot. Girl thinks some guy is hot. Hot some-guy shows up where girl who thinks some-guy is hot works. Hot some-guy asks out girl, takes her virginity. Stuff happens. Hot some-guy introduces girl (who thinks he's hot, by the way) to his BDSM sex dungeon, and the next half of the book is spent pondering whether or not girl (who thinks some-guy is hot, in case it wasn't mentioned enough in the book) wants to indulge in hot some-guy's fantasies. Also the hot some-guy takes complete control over girl (did I mention she thinks he's hot?) who seems to be totally okay with it. More stuff happens. Girl gets spanked too hard, breaks up with hot some-guy. The end.'

    That's it. That's the whole book. And the whole 'Ohhh Christian has secrets' bullcrap in the blurb? Bullcrap. His secrets are mentioned in only 5% of the book and drive the plot nowhere. The book is only about how some asshole wants to control some stupid girl. The other characters are barely relevant. They were just more props whose only role was to be interested in the 'relationship' between Ana and Christian. They didn't seem to be interested in anything else. They could be buttering toast and thinking 'I wonder how hard Christian is fucking Ana right now.'

    An absolute waste. The media might be promoting this tripe as the new hero of literature, but this is and always will be just another wart on the ass of literature, along with Twilight and all its' descendants. You know what they say, you can polish a turd, but it will still be a turd.

  • Katrina Passick Lumsden

    What in the hell just happened? Did I really read that? Oh, my god, I did. I did read that.

    Meet Anastasia Steele:

    Ana is just a giant mess of a human being. She's insecure to the point of it being laughable, 'klutzy' (even though she only trips twice in the entire book), and a complete ditz. She's a virgin (of course) who's never taken any sexual interest in anyone before. Right. I'm fairly certain there hasn't been a woman this naive since 'round about 1954. At one point, she thinks putting h

    What in the hell just happened? Did I really read that? Oh, my god, I did. I did read that.

    Meet Anastasia Steele:

    Ana is just a giant mess of a human being. She's insecure to the point of it being laughable, 'klutzy' (even though she only trips twice in the entire book), and a complete ditz. She's a virgin (of course) who's never taken any sexual interest in anyone before. Right. I'm fairly certain there hasn't been a woman this naive since 'round about 1954. At one point, she thinks putting her hair in pigtails will keep her safe from Christian's lusty advances. Fuckin'

    She "flushes" constantly, and on several occasions referred to her hoo-hoo-naughty place as "down


    Next, we have Christian Grey:

    Christian is a misogynistic, self-loathing, abusive piece of shit. Apparently, his only redeeming qualities are, in this order; his ridiculous good looks, his money, and his giant penis. The only time Ana seems to like him as a person is when he's being "lovable", and those times are few and far between. Most of the time he's serious, brooding, and threatening. How charming.

    I knew from the very first line this wasn't going to be good.

    It was cemented that early, my deep, deep dislike for this moronic, simpering asshole. Your hair won't behave? Guess what?

    My suspicions were confirmed a few pages later when Ana admits that any "sympathy" she feels for her sick friend is "unwelcome". Unwelcome, apparently because her friend is beautiful, even when she has the flu...? What a petty, jealous cunt.

    The only thing that made the first 4% of this book tolerable was the fact that I read it aloud to my younger brother, and his frequent commentary was amusingly distracting. Once he gave up, however, I had to travel the rest of the road alone. What a painful journey it was.

    My first impressions of Ana were bad (deservedly so). What were my first impressions of Christian? Well...

    how I felt about Christian Grey. From the beginning. Any time an author tries to sell me on a character's "charm" by waxing hormonal about how "ridiculously good-looking" he is, I snicker inwardly. I can't think why....


    Anyway, after reading about the description of Christian's building (hello, first penis metaphor), I had to sit through the awful dialogue between these smarmy idiots and hope beyond hope that something, anything, would distract me enough to see me through to the end. Turns out, I found something about 15% through. I went back and counted, and kept track throughout the rest of the book, and do you have

    idea how many fucking times Ana said "Oh my" in this monumentally bad missive? Do you? I'll tell you; 79! 79 motherfucking times. "He pulled me back against his chest...

    ." "He began kissing a trail down my belly,

    ." "He's an insufferable douchenozzle,

    !" (I'm just thankful that neither lions, tigers, nor bears were brought into this mess at any point.)

    About halfway through, I wished I'd been keeping track of the word "crap" because Ana is constantly saying/thinking it. Crap, Holy Crap, Double and Triple Crap, Oh Crap, This Crap, That Crap, any and all Crap. Speaking of crap, if I ever,

    ever have to hear/read the words "inner goddess" again, I'm going to construct a pyre out of tampons and maxi pads, light it, and toss unsuspecting women into it.

    ^My inner goddess will cap yours in the face if you don't shut the fuck up^

    I'm sorry, I just couldn't take

    of this seriously. His playroom. His

    ? Really?

    Or how about his weird-ass issues with food? He wants the girl slim and in shape, yet he won't stop trying to force her to eat!

    I simply love the attempt E.L. James made at giving these pathetic shells personalities. Ana wears Converse, drives a vintage car, and likes classic British lit. *Yawn* haven't heard any of

    before. And Christian; we know Christian's super deep and sophisticated because he plays the piano and listens to obscure classical music. This is how we know

    Christian is really just a lost soul in need of love; his love of music. Everyone knows that no one threatening listens to music. Music lovers just aren't capable of doing anything bad.


    Psychos like music, too.^

    Since this is considered nothing more than "mommy porn", I will attempt to pander to that particular demographic for a moment. Were the sex scenes well-written? Well, none of it was particularly well-written. The sex scenes could be kind of...honestly, they were kind of boring. I've had more exciting sex myself, so I guess reader response to the sex scenes is dependent on reader experience. There's nothing revolutionary here, and a lot of it is just plain unrealistic. I mean, come on, he pretty much jackhammers her hymen and she walks away with nothing more than a passing, pleasant soreness? Riiiight. How about the time he gives her a handjob with a soapy washcloth? Hello? Apparently neither one of them has ever heard of a urinary tract infection. Oh, or we could talk about her first time giving Christian a blowjob, during which Ana established herself as some kind of Queen of Deepthroat.

    Anyone wanna hear about the tampon scene? Oh, you've already

    about the tampon scene? Yeah, same here, although hearing about it and reading the actual scene are a bit different. For some reason, you imagine it being worse than it actually is, while at the same time, reading about it is more horrifying than you could


    Look, I'm not against sex during menses, but a guy plucking out a girl's tampon? Yeah, gross. I'm not a prude, but there are certain lines people just shouldn't cross. What makes it worse is that Christian is just thrilled that Ana's raggin' because he hates using condoms.

    Apparently, Mr. GinormoDick doesn't know that a woman can get pregnant while on her period. Which is hilarious considering all the teaching and training he's doing to remedy

    sexual ignorance.

    Sexual dependence, thy name is Anastasia Steele. We're supposed to believe that this girl has gone 21 years neither having had sex

    masturbating? Hm. Well, Christian's supposed sexual prowess makes a bit more sense now, as does Ana's assertion that he has a giant bologna wand. She has absolutely

    experience, and she's never once had anything "in

    ". Thing could be the size of a baby carrot and she'd still be like, "Oh, my

    How is it ever going to fit?!"

    It's good that she stockpiled all those potential orgasms, though, because now she's capable of having like, 15 a day or something. It's ridiculous. Come to think of it, Christian's obsession with her eating habits makes a bit more sense now. She was probably beginning to look like something out of a horror movie.

    Seriously, though, are we going to take the word of a girl who is apparently so undersexed she's never even masturbated? I guess I can sort of understand this obsession with some kind of an awakening, but...really? "Oh, he's

    good in bed!" How the

    would she know?! She has absolutely

    with which to compare, not even

    Now I'll be totally honest, the biggest issue I have with Fifty Shades of Shit is neither the sex nor the horrible writing. It's the plot. Thin as it is, it's still there, its core message being that, given enough time, you can change someone. While I don't have any problem with this if all you're trying to do is help them to lose weight or quit smoking, when you're talking about an emotionally and (dangerously close to) physically abusive relationship, sending that kind of message is ridiculous and irresponsible. Christian is controlling, possessive, condescending, and cruel. He doesn't allow Ana to behave as she normally would, and Ana just puts up with it, insistent that if she can give him what he wants, when he wants, as often as he wants, she can eventually begin to pull his strings. Will it work? In the books, probably. In real life? No. Almost never. How many misguided women are going to waste their lives on some emotionally retarded prick because they've read shit like this and think this kind of fucked-up fairytale will come true for them? I've known women with this mentality. "Oh, he's so dark and dangerous and threatening, but he's got a sad, lonely side, and if I could just figure out what's wrong, I could change him!"

    Wake the fuck up! He may be hot, he may have a huge dick, he may even be rich, that doesn't make him a good person. It doesn't even make him a

    good person. Quit.Being.A.Fucking.Idiot. (Look, I can make my words Staccato like Christian. Now hold still while I choke you until you pass out...)

    ^Ana and Christian^ - "I said don't roll your eyes at me!!"

    Christian stalks Ana (which she turns into a fucking joke), and whispers things to her "threateningly". She's constantly afraid he's going to beat the crap out of her, and with good reason as he, on more than one occasion, tells her he's going to/wants to.

    Potential rape is downplayed. Ana's friend,

    Jose, starts pushing himself on her rather vehemently when they're both drunk. Ana repeatedly says no, but Jose just keeps trying to go in for the kill. Admiral Chaps busts on up with his riding crop, however, and saves her. Ana (understandably) avoids Jose for a while after that, and when her other friend asks her why, all Ana says is, "He made a pass at me." Later on, she and Jose are friends again, the "attempted kiss" forgotten. *Sigh*

    Rapists appear to be a theme. Christian tells Ana that he gets off on having complete and total control over another person. This is not just in the bedroom, but in Ana's overall life. On several occasions, he fails to yield when Ana says no, plunging on regardless, assured she'll like whatever he does, anyway, so why bother stopping?

    And there are women out there who think this is romantic.

    I wish you the best of luck, ladies. Just keep in mind that while you're fantasizing about abusive, misogynistic assholes like Grey, there are a lot of women dealing with the horrors of actually living with men like him. For all you ladies bustin' out your toys while daydreaming about Hunky Mr. Grey, I want you to do something for me. It'll only take a moment. Close your eyes. Think about all the things Christian Grey does in the book. Not just those supposed sweet things, but really, everything. His condescension, his control, his insane jealousy, his threats.....and now....imagine he looks like this:

    Still turned on?

    The end of the book was absolutely hilarious, with Ana fleeing in emotional tumult because Christian can't give her what she needs (


    And we're treated to her alternately being angry about the pain and humiliation she faced at Christian's hands, and chastising

    for being a failure and for being

    to Christian. It really is

    abuse mentality. Yet I see her being touted by some as "strong and independent".

    It's this kind of ignorant trash that sets feminism back decades. Women who defend this book are, however unwittingly, participating in some of the most blatant misogyny I've ever witnessed, giving the impression that some women enjoy being debased, abused, and controlled (

    of a consensual Dom/sub relationship). This is not a book about BDSM, this is a book about one sick, abusive man and his obsession with a young, naive invertebrate. It's a book about a girl who has absolutely no sense of self, who sacrifices any pretense of individuality in order to hold onto a man who doesn't even show her the faintest glimmer of respect. It's about two attention-starved individuals with the emotional maturity of toilet paper convincing themselves that their relationship is 'like, the best thing ever, OMG'. It's trite, insulting, and dangerous. I fear for any impressionable young women who read this and think that

    is how an ideal relationship should operate. If nothing else, it should be issued as a guidebook to mothers around the world to show their daughters the kind of man to avoid at all costs. This book does

    men (and indeed, all of humanity) a disservice.


    A bestseller. They're thinking of turning it into a movie....I can't....

    Word Count:

    "Oh My" - 79

    "Crap" - 101

    "Jeez" - 82

    "Holy (shit/fuck/crap/hell/cow/moses)" - 172

    "Whoa" - 13

    "Gasp" - 34

    "Gasps" - 11

    "Sharp Intake of Breath" - 4

    "Murmur" - 68

    "Murmurs" - 139

    "Whisper" - 96

    "Whispers" - 103

    "Mutter" - 28

    "Mutters" - 23

    "Fifty" - 16

    "Lip" - 71

    "Inner goddess" - 58

    "Subconscious" - 82

  • Kiki

    If any of you fuckers comment at the bottom of this review and say, "You don't understand BDSM" I will hunt you down and make you eat your computer, plus the mouse, plus the keyboard, plus any other internet-connected devices in your home, including but not limited to iPhones, iPods, iPads, Androids, games consoles and ereaders.

    . Thus, by defending it as such,

    If any of you fuckers comment at the bottom of this review and say, "You don't understand BDSM" I will hunt you down and make you eat your computer, plus the mouse, plus the keyboard, plus any other internet-connected devices in your home, including but not limited to iPhones, iPods, iPads, Androids, games consoles and ereaders.

    . Thus, by defending it as such, you are doing a disservice to the actual culture of BDSM (no kinkshaming). So don't fuck with me and try to pull that shit.

    Oh, also, there will be a substantial amount of cussing throughout this review. If you care about the sanctity of your virgin eyes then shut down your computer and go do something else. We are all grown-ass adults and this is the internet. If you're going to come over and here and lecture me about swearing then I'd advise that you PIPE the fuck down and stop being so bloody delicate.

    Alrighty, then. You guessed it, guys: it's story time.

    When I was thirteen, I decided I wanted to be an author. For years I'd chattered away about being an architect or a vet or what have you, but who was I kidding? All I ever wanted to do was write. So I sat down, and I did. I did write.

    I'm actually not shitting you. I thought it would be as easy as sitting down and writing some crap on Wordpad (alright, calm down, this was the noughties) and I wrote a lot of crap: I tried to write a

    , and then I tried poetry, and then I wrote short stories, before eventually expanding into novels.

    Novels is a stretch. I wrote about a hundred single-spaced pages and to my present-day horror, made my family read it.

    . Remember all those embarrassingly awful school projects you did when you were thirteen? Or even just those embarrassingly awful things you did in general when you were thirteen? I feel the same level of shame when I think of my little preteen self, handing this pile of shit over to my sister and thinking I actually had something.

    About a year later, with zero knowledge of how publishing works, I posted it straight into a bunch of indie publisher's slushpiles. A vanity publisher replied to me and told me they didn't want my work, and I did the undoable:


    As I write this, I'm practically convulsing with embarrassment. Vanity Publisher, if you're reading this, please forget I ever existed. But if you can't do that, at least give me an alias when you tell all your friends about that dumb kid who sent you the book about pyromania without having done any research.

    In some ways, having read this book, I finally feel like I identify with that vanity publisher: I read someone's irredeemable shit and hated it, but then they tried to defend it and I got so mad I broke a window with my face.

    (Peeps, if you think E.L. James hasn't tried to defend this shit, then you need to get on YouTube and watch some pleading vids from the publisher.)

    I just...

    I haven't read a book this awful since

    (but let's not open that can of worms). It was like an acid trip. Am I reading this, I thought? Is this actually a published book? Are people actually parting with money for this slab of steaming garbage?

    I feel like this book insulted me, really. I feel like it spat in my face, because what reader-respecting author would create a protagonist this redundant and awe-inspiringly dense, expecting an audience to love and respect her? It's as if someone took an ice-cream scoop and relieved Ana of her brain. How could you...? Why would you...? Why is she...?

    I just...

    I have no words. I have no words to explain this protagonist. None at all. I have more to say about the love interest, who's like a more threatening Charles Manson but with only one brainwashed follower (Ana). This guy goes to the hardware store and buys like chains and lime and shit and Ana doesn't think this is weird?

    What the fucking fuck?

    And of course there's the whole "inner goddess" shit and Ana thinking that it's sexy to wear a chunky knit sweater and be strapped into a vehicle, and then using the word "vagina" during a sex scene.

    "Oh, he touched my vagina".

    Yeah, excuse me while I tame my boner!

    I felt so uncomfortable reading this book. Now, let's be honest here: I read porn. Of course I read porn. Anyone over sixteen who says they've never looked at or read porn is talking out of their ass. But this book made me feel uncomfortable, and here's the kicker:

    . I was reading it alone in my living room, and I felt uncomfortable inside my own head. What the fuck does that tell you?

    I don't want to start yammering on about the way this book is written. It's written like horrendous fanfiction. There are spelling and punctuation errors, stupid turns of phrase, random asides, stilted dialogue, awful physical descriptions, weird pacing, and I don't know, like a thousand instances of brand dropping and band-naming which gives the book this bizarre cheap and dated quality that really takes away from what little redeeming features it might have had.

    What are the redeeming features? I don't know. The blurb sounds interesting. That's about it.

    But what is it about this book that's captured the attention of so many millions of people across the world? The absurdly stupid protagonist? The pushy, obsessive, totally unrealistic love interest? The relationship in which only one party is actually interested in BDSM, and the other is incredibly resistant to it, but is forced into it? The terrible writing? The awful cover art? The cheap, thin binding? A story so convoluted, so ridiculous, so totally immature it could only ever have been born from


    There is nothing enjoyable about this book. This book is garbage. There are no two ways about it: it is shit. Awful, awful shit. And I'm not sorry for saying so. This is my fucking opinion, and I'm damn well going to voice it.

  • Navessa

    *Trigger Warning: This review contains strong themes, to include rape.*

    Before I begin what will likely become a very long rant/public service announcement, let me first say a few words. I have nothing against E.L. James. Nothing. She’s said that this series is a fantasy she managed to put on paper and that she never expected it to gain such momentum. Good for her for perusing her dream of writing.

    If this book also fulfills one of your fantasies, or if you just plain enjoyed it, good for you too

    *Trigger Warning: This review contains strong themes, to include rape.*

    Before I begin what will likely become a very long rant/public service announcement, let me first say a few words. I have nothing against E.L. James. Nothing. She’s said that this series is a fantasy she managed to put on paper and that she never expected it to gain such momentum. Good for her for perusing her dream of writing.

    If this book also fulfills one of your fantasies, or if you just plain enjoyed it, good for you too. This review is in no way meant to belittle or condemn you for liking these books, and nor is it an attack on the author. These are solely MY OPINIONS about how dangerous FSoG is to society and specifically to women.

    Needless to say, this book does not fulfill one of my fantasies. It’s pretty much my biggest nightmare.

    “But it’s just fiction!”

    No. You can’t use that argument with me. Not anymore. This book is not “just fiction”. This book has become a frigging phenomenon. As I write this, over

    copies have been sold in the United States alone, hardware stores have

    “natural fiber” rope and there are even ‘BDSM for Beginners’ classes cropping up in small town America.

    So excuse me, but I can’t just read this and think of it like a fantasy, not when it’s become a reality for so many people, and not when I was so enraged by what I found within it.

    Okay everyone, take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and settle in. We’re going to be here for a while. First up is probably the most inflammatory of the statements I’m going to make, so we might as well rip the band aid off.

    There, I’ve said it. I’m not taking it back and I’m not apologizing. If you’re unfamiliar with this phrase, allow me to elaborate.

    defines rape culture as:

    Let’s look at the first half of that definition. As much as we may want to ignore the facts, rape and sexual violence are common in America. According to

    , the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes. On average that’s about 207,754 sexual assaults each year. 54% of sexual assaults are not reported, 97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail and 2/3 of these assaults are committed by someone known to the victim.

    I could go on for days about how prevalent attitudes, practices, and the media condone sexual violence, but I won’t because I’m really going to try and keep my words and links relevant to FSoG. Thankfully, throughout my research, I found several…hundred.

    The University of California has an

    about how social and cultural norms perpetuate rape and rape culture. In it, they specifically address how women are conditioned from early ages to be passive and accept and affect certain attitudes and behaviors. Here are some of the social rules they list and elaborate on:

    When spoken to, a woman must acknowledge the other person with a gracious smile.

    Women must answer questions asked of them.

    Women must not bother other people or make a scene because they are uncomfortable.

    When in trouble, it is best to defer to the protection and judgment of men.

    Casual touching or suggestive comments in social settings are meant as a tribute to a woman’s desirability.

    It is the natural state of affairs for men to carry the financial burden of social situations.

    When engaged in a social encounter, it is not proper for a woman to superior in any game, sport or discussion if she wants to be accepted.

    Women should always accept and trust the kindness of strangers if they offer help.

    There’s a

    by Harriet Jacobs that also speaks to this and I urge you to read it in its entirety. In short, it says


    it is not okay to set solid and distinct boundaries and reinforce them immediately and dramatically when crossed (“mean bitch”)

    it is not okay to appear distraught or emotional (“crazy bitch”)

    it is not okay to make personal decisions that the adults or other peers in your life do not agree with, and it is not okay to refuse to explain those decisions to others (“stuck-up bitch”)

    it is not okay to refuse to agree with somebody, over and over and over again (“angry bitch”)

    it is not okay to have (or express) conflicted, fluid, or experimental feelings about yourself, your body, your sexuality, your desires, and your needs (“bitch got daddy issues”)

    it is not okay to use your physical strength (if you have it) to set physical boundaries (“dyke bitch”)

    it is not okay to raise your voice (“shrill bitch”)

    it is not okay to completely and utterly shut down somebody who obviously likes you (“mean dyke/frigid bitch”)

    Now how do these two examples relate to FSoG? Simply put, Ana, the main character in this series, continuously exhibits the behaviors listed in the rules and seems to have the mentality of those listed in the bullets. She might as well be the case study on which both were based.

    Early in the book there’s an interaction between her and a young man named Paul, the son of the couple she works for. This is someone she says has

    . Just after they greet each other with a hug,

    Does she tell him that she’s uncomfortable or step out from beneath his arm? No, that’d be going against everything that rule number three has taught her. Plus, she wouldn’t want to come across as a “mean bitch” now would she?

    Just after this, Paul asks her out.

    Is it a ritual? Or is it something more than that? Has Ana, like many of us, been conditioned to follow the rules to such a degree that she doesn’t know how to tell him “It’s not okay to keep asking me out”? Is she so terrified of breaking cultural norms and coming across as a mean-crazy-angry-dyke-shrill-frigid bitch that she’ll put up with his pursuit of her indefinitely? Or does she just not know to put a stop to it because she hasn’t been taught to?

    When she turns him down, yet again, he goes on to say

    Creeped out yet? You should be. How does Ana respond to this declaration? By escaping the room they’re in and getting back to a crowded store floor. What does this tell us? She felt the need to flee. She felt the need to not be alone with him. Part of her clearly recognized the danger of the situation and the repeated advances of her “friend”. But instead of speaking up, she fled.

    She never voices her discomfort. She is the submissive, quiet person that society has taught her to be. And 70 million people have read about her and have had these dangerously passive behaviors reinforced, yet again, through her actions, behaviors and words (or lack thereof).

    How will this same mentality play out in a situation involving sexual assault? I can tell you, because just a few chapters later, she’s sexually assaulted, by another of her “friends”.

    Luckily, Ana is spared further abuse because the one and only Christian Grey arrives on the scene and saves her. How? By saying

    That’s right. Ana can try to push José away and tell him ‘no’ multiple times but that’s not good enough. One sentence from a man and José immediately releases her, bringing us back to rule number four: When in trouble, it is best to defer to the protection and judgment of men. You got that, ladies? Don’t try to fight back because you’ll just be ignored, rely instead on a man. Sort of a catch 22 when the one who’s going to get you into trouble will likely also be a man.

    Bear in mind that this little scene takes place in the parking lot outside of a crowded bar, just a shout away from salvation. You’re probably wondering why Ana didn’t scream. Why she didn’t fight harder. Well, I’d like to bring up Harriet Jacob’s blog post again because just after her “bitch list” she says this:

    Eerie, isn’t it? I sure thought so. Hopefully by now you’re beginning to understand the inflammatory statement this all started with.

    Not only do Ana’s actions and behaviors throughout the book reinforce the horrible societal conditioning that I mentioned earlier but this series also contains a lot of the other facets of rape culture, like victim silencing. For instance, once she’s collected herself, this happens:

    That’s right folks. It isn’t ladylike to yell (shrill bitch). It isn’t ladylike to swear (crazy bitch). It isn’t ladylike to defend yourself after you’ve just been sexually assaulted (mean bitch). Leave that to the menfolk. Surely they’ll defend you. Surely they’ll be the ones to address the fact that you were just sexually assaulted. Men, you know, the other sex, the ones that have been raised to talk about emotions. In public.

    And while we’re discussing this scene we can’t forget about rule number eight: Women should always accept and trust the kindness of strangers if they offer help. That’s what Christian is to her at this point in the book. A stranger. She’s seen him only three times, in formal or work-related settings, and knows nothing about him other than he’s rich, good looking and that his shopping list resembles those of serial killers (I’ll get to that last part later in the review). But accept his help and trust his kindness she does. She lets this complete stranger remove her from the bar, assuming that as he’s just saved her from a sexual assault, he's not planning one of his own.

    When she wakes up in his suite the next morning, pantsless by the way, she accuses Christian of stalking her. He defends himself by saying:

    You got that? Stalking’s okay. Because it’s better than being raped.


    I’m almost at a loss at how to address the rest of this without copious amounts of swearing. How little she’s concerned with her “friend’s” behavior is appalling. That there’s no thought on her end about Christian’s allusion to her rape escape is appalling. How she glosses over it all and makes a fucking joke about it is appalling. It continues by the way.

    A shrug is a dismissive gesture, just in case you were wondering. She dismisses sexual assault as ‘getting out of line’. She downplays the severity of what happened. Why does she do this? Because it’s awkward to talk about it? Because it’s scary to think that someone she knows and trusts assaulted her and that when she tried to push him away and said ‘no’ he ignored her? Guess what? It’s always going to suck to talk about. It’s always scary to realize that statistics say that if you’re raped, you’ll know your attacker. But we need to talk about these things because if we don’t, nothing will ever change.

    And now the grand finale, victim shaming and blaming. You see, José feels bad for what he did. At first, Ana is pissed at him, as she should be, and even after he calls her numerous times and leaves several messages, she continues to ignore him, deciding to “let him stew”. Then the NEXT DAY, this happens:

    She feels cruel? She feels cruel for not returning the calls of the man that forced himself upon her? Well, of course she does. She's been trained to be gracious and polite. He's addressing her. Rule number one has taught her that she should smile in this situation so it would make sense that she feels bad for not doing so.

    Two days later, they talk:

    Here’s where I start to get really angry.

    what exactly? Were there? Were breathing? Had tits? How can José’s behavior in any way be blamed on Ana? This is the “she deserved to be raped because she was wearing a skirt” mentality that needs to be burned from our collective minds. No one can ever make you do anything. Everything you do, every way you behave is a choice that you and you alone make. So no, there is no


    Books like this, with scenes like the ones I’ve spoken about only perpetuate our silence, our ignorance, our discomfort, and our complicity. They reinforce unhealthy behaviors and thinking patterns and they perpetuate rape culture.

    Authors, I beg you, don’t cover tough issues and strong themes if you can’t do them justice. Grant them the depth and the severity they deserve. Please.

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