I might as well apologise in advance to those people who loved Fifty Shades Of Grey, who said it was a revelation in erotic literature for women, who’s sex lives were revolutionised by it, for there are bound to be some of those people reading this, given that 95% of the world read it, it seems.
Before we start, I would like to state for the record that I’m not dismissing it because it’s erotic literature and I’m some kind of straight-laced prude. I can read anything if it’s written well. That’s the secret of a good writer, I think. To make the writing invisible and let the story shine. If you’re having to pay attention to the writing, in a bad way, the story is lost.
The names are probably a good place to start. Has she really called them Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele?! It’s as silly as if I decided to write a novel about cake baking and named the main characters Mr. Butter and Miss Sugar. Grey and Steele. It might even be ok if she left it at that but she just goes on and on about things that are grey and steel, as if she’s trying to send secret messages to my subconscious and create atmosphere except that she’s been so obvious about her subconscious messaging that I’m now paying more attention to the stupidly obvious references than the story.
How many people, when they are walking along and see a building with lots of metal things and some writing in silver by a door, how many people do you know that would describe it as being written in ‘steel’? O yes, I often see things written in steel… It’s so stupidly obviously a reference to her name and is trying to build a theme.
Please grant me with more intelligence than needing nonsensical references to names and words to create ‘atmosphere’.
It goes on and on. Lots of things are described as ‘gray’ too, the building, his suit, his eyes, his stare… Blah blah blah. It was either written in a really contrived way or an editor came along after and used the ‘find and replace’ tool on Word to replace every possible other word with ‘grey’ or ‘steel’. It bothers me, this type of thing. Bad writing. Poorly disguised efforts at ‘themes’. Bad editing. It bothers me.
The book also lost me when the Steele girl first goes into the Grey man’s office and is all intimidated and nervous then suddenly sees some paintings and just goes, “They’re lovely. Raising the ordinary to the extraordinary.” Like a deranged elderly person might. Just go off into their own little world and start saying odd poetic things in a singsong voice. How many people do you know that would come out with a line like that in normal conversation?
Next up, the language used in the first ten or twenty pages to build the theme of ‘sex’. Right after she’s turned into a deranged elderly person and started saying odd thing, he ‘cocks’ his head at her. Now I might not think anything of it if he didn’t ‘cock’ his head about six times over the next few pages. What an extremely poorly disguised way to get the word ‘cock’ in early on, to build the ‘atmosphere’ (I guess). I could hardly stop myself from screaming when he kept ‘cock’ing.
There is lots of finger talk too. I’m guessing fingers play a part later in the story? He gives her a ‘long-fingered’ handshake, she’s all ‘fingers and thumbs’, etc etc. Check this sentence out.
“He’s watching me, one hand relaxed in his lap and the other cupping his chin and trailing his long index finger across his lips.”
I mean, come on! It’s straight from a badly written porn film. As is this one…
“I squirm uncomfortably under his penetrating gaze.”
The ‘penetrating’, like the head cocking, is repeated to a fault. I’m still only about ten pages in and already I’m bombarded with bad writing and more references to sex than I can handle without rebelling.
I feel like saying, “Calm down, author lady! I get it! It’s going to be sexy. Don’t force the point.”
And that, my friends, is why I will not be reading Fifty Shades of Sex.
If I want badly written porn, I will go and find some actual badly written porn.