So We’re Going to Read Fifty Shades of Grey

The first novel that we’ll read on Bad Books, Good Times is the one that inspired it in the first place, EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey. A current New York Times Bestseller that is apparently just 500 pages of sex scenes, there was no way we couldn’t start with this one.

When Anastasia Steele, a young literature student, interviews wealthy young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, their initial meeting introduces Anastasia to an exciting new world that will change them both forever.
-Google Books

Ariel Says:

I’ve always been fascinated with what makes writing bad or good. On the one hand, it’s incredibly subjective, on the other hand, there seem to be universal standards that, much like toothpaste, 9/10 people can agree on. Most people I’ve spoken to that have read Fifty Shades of Grey acknowledge the bad writing but are too compelled by the plot (and the plethora of sex scenes) to put it down. This I can understand, because as I’m reading the book, though I don’t particularly care for any of the characters, though the writing itself is filled with so very many of my pet peeves (which I’ll get to later), I want to find out what happens. And I’ll be damned if it doesn’t make me laugh out loud sometimes with how terrible it is.

I’ve heard bits and pieces about Fifty Shades from friends who have either completed or are in the process of completing this trilogy (using the word ‘trilogy’ makes me feel like I’m giving it unnecessary prestige, then again calling it a novel also seems to be giving it unnecessary prestige. Can I just call it a shitovel or a shitlogy?). I’ve heard about the abundance of sex, kinky sex, the control issues Christian Grey has, and that it was originally Twilight fanfiction, so basically I need to read Anastasia Steele as Bella Swan and Christian Grey as Edward Cullen. I also heard they say each other’s full names constantly, that EL James (or maybe just Anastasia, it’s hard to tell) doesn’t understand what a subconscious is, and that it makes you “google things”.

It’s almost too easy to make fun of Fifty Shades, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to do it, because who doesn’t like to get a good laugh from mocking the mockable? But I’m going to do my best to also keep an open mind and engage with the plot and characters and at least get something out of this drivel work, because I don’t want to go the easy way on this one. I don’t want to go into it just knowing it’s terrible and thus be inclined to hate every single line and word even if maybe there are glimmers of hope throughout it. So come, take a journey with me as I embark on my quest to read Fifty Shades of Grey with both an open-mind and a readiness to mock.

Matthew says:

I heard two people talk about Fifty Shades of Grey before I decided I had to read this thing. The first was a good friend of mine at college, who told me, while we were up late starting finishing final papers for a class we were in, that she read the whole thing in a weekend and it was one of the funniest things she had ever read. The second was a Facebook status from my old AP Literature teacher from senior year of high school, writing that she didn’t get what the fuss was all about.

I’m going into Fifty Shades pretty blind. All I know about it is that it’s 1) poorly written, 2) got a lot of sex in it, and, perhaps most tellingly, 3) it used to be Twilight fanfiction, and then the author changed the character names and got it published. Even that doesn’t tell me very much about this novel, knowing thankfully little about the elements of Twilight that lend themselves to fanfiction. So it’s, hopefully, a quick read, makes me laugh a lot (intentionally or no), and doesn’t make me too uncomfortable. Although, as Ariel mentioned, our friend who directed us to it told us that a fair amount of the sex scenes “made me Google things”, so that may not last particularly long.

And so we read the erotic New York Times Bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey, where I will mock it viciously, share how little I know about BDSM sexual subcultures, and try not to think too much about how my parents are probably reading this.

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      • Cassie Reply

        Sadly, I bought this for my dad before reading anything about it. And then I had an oh-shit moment.

        My parents had a whole conversation about “vanilla sex” while I was in the room if that gives you any indication at the level of awkward.

      • 22aer22 Post authorReply

        That sounds terrifying but also beautiful because it makes for a great story!

  1. Olivia Reply

    I read all of your posts for this book, but I read them backwards. Even just reading your blog made me feel as if some small, yet essential, part of my soul was slowly dying. This is probably just because of the quotes, as I laughed the entire time I was reading. I’ve firmly resolved to never, ever pick up this book. Thank you for sparing me that pain.

    • 22aer22 Post authorReply

      That’s exactly it–a small, yet essential, part of my soul is slowly dying!!! That’s the feeling I’ve been unable to correctly identify during these past few weeks. Humor is the only way I can hide these deep, irrevocable losses. I’m glad to have spared someone else the pain of actually reading this thing while making them laugh in the process!

    • spiffymcpantsman Reply

      We’re suffering through it so other people can actually get some amusement out of our blog on it. It’s all for the greater good.

  2. Potato? Reply

    To think, I wouldn’t have known my aunty was into book porn about kinky sex if I hadn’t read this blog…

  3. Kim Reply

    Thank you for restoring my faith in humanity! I’ve just finished 50 Shades of Utter Shite after wondering what all the hype was about, and I honestly wanted to leave the planet. 31 million people have actually PAID MONEY for this? I don’t want to share the same air as these people.

    And then I began reading your blog, and laughing my arse off cut through the depressive fog. Hurrah! Your blog is the best thing about these books. Actually, your blog makes these books look good. I think E.L James owes you, big time.

    Brains! Some people have them.

  4. Kaleidoscope27 Reply

    I’ve read all three books (knowing they would be truly terrible) so I’m looking forwarding to your mocking of the suckiness. Onwards to the fun of your blog! *marches*

    (Also epic points awarded ’cause Matthew has the Dalek ‘Victory’ poster on his wall.)

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