Fifty Shades of Grey - E.L. James WARNING: This review will probably involve me swearing profusely, and quoting/discussing sex scenes that children should not be reading.UPDATE: And another quick note before you read this, since I seem to be getting a lot of similar comments. Let me spell this out for you: BDSM DOES NOT OFFEND ME. If a couple decides to engage in BDSM, that's totally fine. I don't care. It's none of my business, and everyone is entitled to their personal choices. However, I think couples need to come to a proper agreement about these things. They need to have a serious discussion before getting into this stuff, and they should both know about what they're getting into and consensually agree to what they're doing and what the boundaries are. While I have nothing against BDSM, I have a lot of issues with how it was portrayed in this book. I didn't feel that Christian and Ana ever had a good, understanding discussion about the boundaries they were setting. It seemed more that Christian was forcing Ana into something she knew nothing about, and it obviously scared her at times in the book. So, that does NOT scream "healthy relationship" to me. So really, stop telling me that I hated this book because I "don't understand BDSM." I do ... and I don't think it was portrayed in a healthy manner in this story. On top of that, even if BDSM did offend me, I hated everything about the book anyway––the plot (or lack thereof), the characters, the writing ... I thought it was all horrible. So yeah. ANOTHER QUICK UPDATE: Laci Green does an excellent job explaining why BDSM is portrayed poorly in this book. ON TO THE ACTUAL REVIEW: Well...This book was unbelievably horrible.I mean, really. I hated this book more than I hate House of Night. Possibly even more than I hate [b:Halo|7778981|Halo (Halo, #1)|Alexandra Adornetto|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1361296225s/7778981.jpg|10695325]. At least those books attempted to have a plot. Fifty Shades of What the Fuck Grey didn't even do that.Okay, let's back up a little. I started hearing about this book probably a month or two ago. I kept seeing it all over Goodreads, and Twitter, and Amazon, and all that jazz. So I was like, "Wow, this book is super popular. Wonder if it's any good!" I look up the plot here on Goodreads, and I'm like, "Uhh ... This sounds like ... porn." And soon I was hearing about how ridiculous it is, and yada yada.Yet, I was still tempted to read it, because I kind of wanted to see what the hype was about. And some of my friends were like, "Ooh we should all read it and see how dumb it is!" ... And you know me, I always like snarking about stupid books.But it turns out, this is hardly even a book. A bit of backround research will quickly inform you that this book is actually a very long piece of Twilight fanfiction. I kid you not. The author originally posted it on Fanfiction, using Bella Swan and Edward Cullen as the two main characters' names. Because it was apparently too sexy, she then took it off Fanfiction and posted it on her own website, swapping Edward and Bella's names with Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. (Update: If you think I'm exaggerating, just read this. The original piece of fanfiction and Fifty Shades of Grey are 89% the same text.)So, this book is literally a weird, porno version of Twilight––only with the characters' names changed, and the author replaced the vampires with ... sex. If that doesn't send you running, I don't know what will.But really, this book even fails as fanfiction. There were parts where E.L. James pretty much just copied scenes word-for-word out of Twilight and swapped the names. Take the two scenes below––one of them from Twilight and one of them from Fifty Shades of Grey––for example. In both of them, the couple is at a restaurant. A waitress walks up to take their order, and she is dazzled by the handsomeness of the male character. She walks away. And the couple has almost word-for-word the same conversation afterwards.From Twilight:"Um––" She shook her head, blinking. "Your server will be right out." She walked away unsteadily."You really shouldn't do that to people," I criticized. "It's hardly fair.""Do what?""Dazzle them like that––She's probably hyperventilating in the kitchen right now."He seemed confused."Oh, come on," I said dubiously. "You have to know the effect you have on people."He tilted his head to one side, his eyes were curious. "I dazzle people?""You haven't noticed? Do you think everybody gets their way so easily?"He ignored my questions. "Do I dazzle you?""Frequently," I admitted.Now, the scene from Fifty Shades of Grey:“Thank you sir. Will that be all?” Leandra whispers, looking anywhere but at the two of us. We both turn to stare at her, and she flushes crimson again and scuttles away.“You know it’s really not fair.” I glance down at the Formica tabletop, tracing a pattern in it with my index finger, trying to sound nonchalant.“What’s not fair?” “How you disarm people. Women. Me.”“Do I disarm you?”I snort. “All the time.”See what I mean? This isn't just fanfiction. It almost verges on outright plagiarism. But anyway, that's just a brief introduction to the book. So, let's look at the other things at which this book utterly fails.The Plot:Anastasia "Ana" Steele is a 21-year-old woman who is just finishing college. Her best friend is supposed to interview a wealthy entrepreneur named Christian Grey, but falls ill on the day of the interview. So, she sends Ana in her place. Of course, Christian ends up being a sexy man––but also an arrogant bastard. Ana is like, "Wow, what a jerk. But he's so HAWT."Naturally, Christian then begins stalking her like a maniac. He shows up at some café where she's eating, then at her job ... Then, one night, she gets super drunk at a club and calls him. He tracks her cell phone and hunts her down. He then essentially kidnaps her, takes her to a fancy hotel, and takes off her pants (but doesn't have sex with her). Oh, and of course he buys her a bunch of nice new clothing to replace the ones she vomited on.The next day, he takes her on a helicopter ride to his giant mansion. Soon, he says he wants to show her something, and then leads her into a torture chamber. ... You read that correctly. He has a fucking medieval torture chamber in his house. (And the "fucking" part is quite literal...)So, you'd expect Ana to be like:Instead she's just like, "lol How kinky."And ... well ... this all happens within the first 80 pages or so. Soon after, Christian finds out that Ana is a virgin and feels the need to amend this "situation" as he refers to it. What follows is about 300 pages of sex scenes that escalate in weirdness. Occasionally the two of them go out to eat food, or Ana goes somewhere to visit someone and Christian stalks her ... same old, same old. But most of it is just the bizarre BDSM sex scenes.(And a quick note to trolls: It's not the BDSM that offends me, it's the weird way in which the sex scenes are written.)I guess the only "conflict"––if you could really call that––lies in Christian's backstory. Apparently he is into this S&M stuff because his virginity was taken away by one of his mother's friends, and then they had some weird affair together ... and ... yeah, I don't really understand how it's related, either so I won't try to explain it. So anyway, if there is any conflict in this book at all, it's Ana's occasional, bizarre jealousy of this Mrs. Robinson character. Towards the end of the book, she and Christian argue about it, and Ana is convinced that the two of them are still a couple and ... it's just stupid and not really worth discussing. So, that is pretty much the whole story.The Characters:Both of the main characters are Mary Sues. Or I suppose Christian is a Gary Stu. Whatever. Anyway, here are just a few Mary Sue traits of both:Ana:- thinks she can't fall in love- has no interests in anything besides British literature- is a klutz but doesn't really have any other realistic flaws- hates herself and sees herself as totally undesirable, yet everyone is in love with her- has never been drunk before- is a virgin, yet is miraculously awesome at sex- is apparently gorgeous and in good shape, even though she repeatedly claims to never work out at allChristian:- "doesn't do romance" and has so-called "commitment issues"- is richer than God, and so can buy whatever the fuck he wants at the drop of a hat––like first editions of really old books, laptops that haven't come out yet, fancy cars (all for Ana of course)- plays piano exceptionally well- is allowed to be a bastard because he's attractiveBut on top of being clichéd, Mary Sue-ish characters, these two are just bland and terrible people to begin with.There isn't really much to say about Ana. She obviously has no idea what the difference between romance and abuse is. She even admits several times that Christian seems like a stalker, and that he's rather scary ... plus, she has many golden opportunities to run away from Christian. Yet, she sticks with him because "he's so freaking hot!" apparently. Seriously, reading her train of thought is just painful. Christian ... is just a sexist, abusive bastard. Did I mention that besides all the creepy sex stuff, he makes Ana sign a fucking contract (which is like ten pages long) basically turning her life over to him. This contract allows him to choose what she eats and wears, how much she exercises, and how often she shaves/waxes. He also forces her to take contraception, and he forbids her from masturbating because he "wants all her pleasure."... No. Just freaking NO. Dang, this guy makes Edward Cullen look like the best boyfriend ever. I don't think I've ever come across a main male protagonist who was so controlling, sexist, demanding, and disgusting ... and then is portrayed as being "sexy." NO. NO, THAT IS NOT SEXY. THAT IS PLAIN, CLEAR ABUSE.(EDIT: Okay, trolls. So no, Ana does not actually sign this contract. I misspoke (or mis-wrote, whatever). However, the point is that Christian wants her to sign this contract which does actually say all of those things. And even though Ana does not sign it, Christian still does whatever he wants with her, so to me I don't find it very important whether she signed the contract or not. The point is, Christian actually wrote this ridiculous document spelling out everything he wants a woman to do for him, and tries to pressure Ana into signing it––and yes, I think that is abusive. Moving on.) The writing:Where to start?This book is just written like the stream-of-consciousness of a 15-year-old. All Ana can seem to do in her narration is comment on how sexy Christian looks, and throw in a lot of "Holy shit!"/"Holy crap!"/"Holy fuck!"s. I read this in ebook format, so I looked up how many times each of these phrases was used."holy shit" = 65 times"holy crap" = 54 times"holy fuck" = 45 timesAnyway ... just some little gems to give you a taste of what the writing is like:"My scalp prickles at the idea that maybe, just maybe, he might like me. After all, he did say he was glad Kate didn’t do the interview. I hug myself with quiet glee, rocking from side to side, entertaining the possibility that he might like me for one brief moment.""She blinks at me with surprise – I very rarely throw my toys out of the pram" --> Some weird British saying?OOH HERE'S MY FAVORITE:"Travis is José’s friend and gopher" --> BAHAHAHAHAHA OH GOD. I think the word you meant was "go-fer." This, E.L. James, is a GOPHER:Anyway, moving on ..."My mouth goes dry looking at him... he’s so freaking hot.""Oh my... he really is, quite... wow. As I touch his hand, I’m aware of that delicious current running right through me, lighting me up, making me blush, and I’m sure my erratic breathing must be audible.""Grey smiles a dazzling, unguarded, natural, all-teeth-showing, glorious smile." --> Would you like some sentence with those adjectives?"My mouth pops open as I gasp and swallow at the same time." --> Pretty sure that's impossible…"Two orgasms... coming apart at the seams, like the spin cycle on a washing machine, wow." --> Uhhh ... WHAT."He’s my very own Christian Grey flavor popsicle." --> Yes, this means what you think it does."His fingers circle my ear, and very softly, he tugs my earlobe, rhythmically. It’s so sexual.""I blush scarlet." --> Okay, she uses this phrase like five hundred times. What other color would she blush?! Green? Purple?"body-shattering orgasm" --> lolwut"Now please do not refer to yourself as ‘some woman I fuck occasionally’ because, quite frankly it makes me MAD, and you really wouldn’t like me when I’m angry." --> Isn't that something the Hulk says? Well besides the "woman I fuck occasionally" part…And THEN there was this really odd description E.L. James kept using where Ana kept referring to her "inner goddess" ... whatever the hell that means. Somewhere in the story, "inner goddess" was swapped with "subconscious" ... but in both cases, Ana keeps talking about this imaginary person living inside her and it's just ... well, see for yourself:"and my very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba""My inner goddess glares at me, tapping her small foot impatiently.""My subconscious scowls at me... fucking – not lovemaking – she screams at me like a harpy. I ignore her, but deep down I know she has a point.""My inner goddess has stopped dancing and is staring too, mouth open and drooling slightly.""My inner goddess is jumping up and down, clapping her hands like a five-year-old.""My inner goddess glows so bright she could light up Portland.""My inner goddess is not pleased.""You look kinda dorky... my subconscious is at her snarky best. So are you going tointroduce Ray to the man you’re fucking? She is glaring at me over her wing-shaped spectacles. He’d be so proud. God, I hate her sometimes.""'Ho’ my subconscious mouths at me.""I flush, and my inner goddess smacks her lips together glowing with pride.""My inner goddess is panting.""My inner goddess is going to explode.""My inner goddess has woken and is paying attention.""My inner goddess has her pom poms in hand - she’s in cheerleading mode.""My subconscious chides me, but I don’t want to listen to her – I almost hug myself with glee because I know this will drive him crazy.""My subconscious is furious, medusa-like in her anger, hair flying, her hands clenched around her face like Edvard Munch’s Scream.""My subconscious stares at me with an ugly twist to her mouth""My subconscious rears her ugly head, leering, and I’m shocked and nauseous at the thought.""My inner goddess pole-vaults over the fifteen-foot bar.""My subconscious has her snarky face on.""My subconscious has passed out, and my inner goddess is endeavoring to look brave.""Deep down, a nasty, unbidden thought comes from my inner goddess, her lip curled in a snarl..."(Note: The phrase "inner goddess" is used in this book 47 TIMES.)Oh, and here are just a few really WHAT THE FUCK moments:"I eye Christian’s toothbrush. It would be like having him in my mouth. Hmm... Glancing guiltily over my shoulder at the door, I feel the bristles on the toothbrush. They are damp. He must have used it already. Grabbing it quickly, I squirt toothpaste on it and brush my teeth in double quick time. I feel so naughty. It’s such a thrill.""Not taking his eyes off mine, he scrunches my panties in his hand, holds them up to his nose, and inhales deeply.""He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string... what! And... a gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet.".........Okay, I think we've all had enough, now. I really don't have anything else to say about this book. It was dreadful––badly written, sexist, boring, predictable, disgusting, and just ... horrible.Let's just say, Christian Grey would spank me about five thousand times for how many times I rolled my eyes while reading this.----------Read more of my reviews at Flying Kick-a-pow! Reviews.