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Friday, July 13, 2012

Book Review – Fifty Shades of Grey

I started reading Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James with preconceived notions.

By the time I reached the end of the book, I did a complete flip, shocking me to my core.

First, the writing is atrocious. No way to get around that fact.

Echoes. "...He smirks. 'Are you smirking at me, Mr. Grey?' I ask sweetly..."

Repeated and unnecessary dialogue tags.I whisper. He whispers. He orders/warns/breathes.

Profanity that plops out of nowhere like a dead bird falling from the sky.

Bad sentence structure. '...I can almost hear his sphinxlike smile through the phone...'

Internal dialogue that slows the story line to a crawl.

All this and more tooth-grinding moments.

And yet…

Hidden in the horrible writing and the sex scenes that aren’t worth my time to read or review, there is an interesting story.

Talk about flummoxed. Here was a book I intended to hate. The sarcastic notes I took as I read the book attest to that fact.

Halfway through the novel, my attitude changed. It took that long for it to hook me.

This book could have been so much better. But the crappy writing and subject matter make it too easy a target for a discerning audience.

One last thought. This is not a knockoff of Twilight. The comparison is ridiculous and feeble to the max.

Now, will I buy the next in the series? Probably not. I am curious about the outcome of the characters though. I cannot recommend shelling out ten bucks to read it. But don't make up your mind on reviews or sample chapters alone. I've made that mistake in the past.

Summary: This book surprised me and the ending made me want to know more. If re-written and edited by a knowledgeable person, this novel would have garnered good critical reviews. 

Too bad voyeurism and poor writing overshadowed a good story.

Did this review make you roll your eyes? Or intrigue you? Remember, I assumed I would loathe this book. *baby shocked face*


Angela Brown said...

I admit. I rolled my eyes because you identified the thing that makes me shake my fist at the expectations demanded for defining a book as a great read. Readers gobbled this story up like it was the last batch of ice cream on the last day on earth. And yet, the writing is, as you mention, atrocious. What was the there to love? The story. I've stopped my fist shaking now and am going back to my own WiP where I'm diligently trying to make sure the writing is good AND that it has a good story. Just can't help shaking my head about the whole thing.

Em-Musing said...

Yeah, I noticed all that you mentioned, but still I continue to read. Guess the story trumps all. I also reviewed it today. Head over to see what I said. :)

Huntress said...




Suzanne Furness said...

Erm, reading it at the moment and indeed noticed all the above points. Also how many different ways are there for someone to blush? Not sure if will read the second, maybe after a break, but good luck to E.L. James anyway. Will head over to em-musing now!

Brent Wescott said...

Okay, but no one is saying what about the story is so great. What about the characters did you want to know more at the end?

What I'm saying is that I have a hard time accepting that there's some magical story under lousy writing. If the writing is lousy, then how does the story even get out from under it?

Huntress said...

My initial title for this post was 'Fifty Reasons to Avoid Fifty Shade' so believe me, I was playing on your team. Horrible writing just about derailed the train. That opinion didn't change for the first half of the book.

I was ready to quit at about 1/3 of the way in but that seems disingenuous. To give an honest review, I had to read the whole book.

My Kindle displayed 56% of the novel read when it happened. The character traits expanded into a secondary story line, my interest peaked, and I *cared* about them.

I skipped the sex scenes. As with any novel that contains graphic sex - Richelle Mead's Succubus series and Storm Born come to mind - I find them distracting. I want story line not stereo instructions (insert tab A into slot B)

Matthew MacNish said...

I won't be reading this book, but obviously she did something right. You don't sell ten millions copies for no reason.

Huntress said...

If it wasn’t for the guilt factor – judging before reading – the thought of buying it was furthest from my mind.

Very strange. Especially my change of heart after reading the book.

Huntress said...

I had to skip over 'those parts' *evil grin*. I'm not old enough (58) for stuff like that.

Huntress said...

A Fantastic Idea!!! I love what your take on this crazy stuff.

Mel Chesley said...

Well, I'll take your word for it. I don't want to read it simply because of the reviews. Everyone says the writing is horrible. There may be a story under all that dirt and grit, but I don't have the energy to clean it all away. I have to be thrifty when it comes to reading. I'm sure if I read it, I would change my mind as well, but... meh. The fact that it sold so many even with the horrible writing... makes me question why we work so hard to hone our craft. :(

Liz said...

Ah ha! There is a story. Too bad the bad writing almost distracted you from it.

Still not going to read it, though.

mshatch said...

I think what strikes me is the fact that you say it could be a much better book - if only someone was willing to put in the time necessary to make it so.

DEZMOND said...

yep, everyone I know says the book seems as if it was written by a hillbillie, deeply uneducated. The sad thing is that so many books like that, written by absolutely shallow writers, have become bestsellers. And imagine authors like that actually share the profession with Dostoyevski, Tolstoy..... Horror, sister, horror! Whenever I read a bad book like this, I always ask myself - didn't they have an editor?

Lexa Cain said...

Well, at least you didn't waste your money and found something worthwhile in it.