Fifty Shades of Bad Writing

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve suddenly taken an interest in reading as many wonderful books and watching as many engrossing movies as I can. I’m sure this is to fill up my brain space with something else I can get lost in besides my own thoughts, but it’s also nice to be a part of what’s popular in our media-filled world.

Which is why I didn’t hesitate to pick up Fifty Shades of Grey, followed by Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

I knew about the hype, and as far as I can tell, every woman I came across (and a few men…) have read this series. So, I decided to give it a go.

Without giving anything away, let me just say this: In the first book, I was captivated because it was so new – the explicit, raunchy descriptions of sex, mixed with a can’t-decide-how-I-feel-about-this-man kind of emotion. I wanted to keep reading – I wanted to know what would happen, if for no other reason than to learn more about Christian Grey. In the second book, I got my answers. That book was a quick read as well, because I was interested in Christian as a person.

Now, I’m into the third book and I’m struggling to get through it.

Even though the first two books took two days each to read, giving the impression that I really liked the books, I’d have to say it’s not exactly true. Sure, the books are captivating, in a way. But they also lack good, quality writing.

With the exception of Christian’s unique lifestyle and his background story, the characters are underdeveloped. Ana, along with the other main characters, has seemingly just been thrown together by the author, without thought as to who these people were prior to meeting Christian. The dialogue is choppy. The only time the author is specific on details is during the sex scenes. Speaking of the sex scenes, in my personal opinion, now that I’m in the third book – there are too many of them. Yes, I got it, they used that and put it there. Fascinating- I sure hope they washed their hands once in a while. I want to get down to the plot of the damn story! I was over the sex scenes after the first book.

Then there’s the Twilight connection. I loved Twilight as if I was indulging in a guilty pleasure, which I suppose I was. But I can’t get past how similar Edward is to Christian – that same bucket-full of crazy, super-controlling, totally dominating personality, yet which appears so attractive sometimes. Other times, I can’t stand it. Ana, Bella! Run for the hills, don’t take this crap from these men. Ana and Bella have the same personality, too: dumb. Apparently they don’t have their own values or morals, and if they do, the authors have not made them clear. In Twilight, I didn’t mind this as much, probably because of the ages of the characters. Twilight takes place in high school. The fifty series features grown adults.

I heard somewhere that E L James stated that she used the characters of Twilight to help develop her characters. To me, minus the vampires, plus graphic sex scenes – they are almost the same.

I guess what surprises me most is the hype about the books. People rave about how wonderful they are. I wonder if they are only referring to the sex scenes. If you took those out, the series would be a rough draft in the first stages of the writing process. I admit, I read them quickly, and I will finish this last one as well. But don’t you love a book that makes you question life, or has such wonderful descriptions you feel like you’re reading a piece of art? I want a book I can’t put down, because I can’t stop thinking about the issues the author has raised.

Not how Ana and Christian are planning to use “butt plugs”.

I’m a little disappointed, because so many people carry on about these books, and I was hoping to not be that person who says, “Yeah…not so much”. I still have no interest in being bound and gagged, thank you very much.

Bring on the next “life-changing” book series.


8 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Bad Writing

  1. sherry says:

    I feel the same way! I am struggling to get through the third book too! How realistic is the amount of sex they are having? I have not been inspired, or uplifted by this book. It gets old quick! Less sex more character development. I want to know more about Anna’s past and the influence that all her mothers’s husbands have played in her life. What book to read next?

  2. Kate @ Infertile First Mom says:

    I agree! I did not have high expectations of this book from the get go because I knew the writing was reportedly subpar, but I found myself rolling my eyes and even facepalming often throughout the first book (I’m not even sure I’m going to read the last two). If Ana says “Oh my” one more time during sex, I might puke. Who says that?!! Whips and shackles and blindfolds, Oh My! {gag} Way way way overrated in my opinion.
    Looking for a good read? Try State of Wonder… I really liked that one a lot! It’s about a small Congonese tribe whose women give birth into their 90s! Very interesting and gripping read.

  3. queenelizabethi says:

    I always seem to resist books that get a lot of public hype & media attention. I haven’t read the Grey books because of that, and now reading your critique, I’m glad I haven’t! Thanks for sharing!

  4. 35life says:

    Interesting. I was looking to pick up a few books for our upcoming beach vacation. Now I’m thinking I shouldn’t check these out. I was curious about the hype. I’ll have to be on the lookout for some good books to take with me.

  5. TheStorkWhisperer says:

    I haven’t read them and probably won’t. It seems like the author is just trying to shock readers by talking about whips, chains, and bondage. It’s all been done before; it just hasn’t gotten this much publicity.

  6. K.Smitty says:

    I also haven’t and probably won’t read them for the same reasons. I’m not a fan of bad writing and my prudish tendencies have enough excitement in my own life. If you have any other good recommendations, though, do pass them along!

  7. Katie says:

    If you want something with a bit of sexiness but a much better story (and I haven’t read 50 Shades yet but if you’re comparing it to Twilight it can’t be that great, just guilty) read the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey. Start out with Kushiel’s Dart and go through them all. They are pretty long (in a great way) and incredibly detailed and wonderful.

  8. vtbarb says:

    hi! just started following your blog recently and i could not agree more! i wanted to know what happened in the end, but by the 3rd book i kept getting frustrated at the poor sentence structure, constant fight-sex-fight-sex, and the same lines over and over. if i read “we aim to please” one more time, i might have gone crazy! i was so happy to just finish the books, not because i loved them so much but because it was complete! look forward to reading your blog! 🙂

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