Tag Archives: Twilight

Friday Fiction Fixes #19…

Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James – 2011

220px-50ShadesofGreyCoverArtThis is one of only three novels that I’ve started and failed to finish. The other two are classics that I intend to go back to one day. Fifty Shades of Grey is no classic. It’s easy to believe that this started life as a piece of fan fiction for the Twilight saga, because this is poorly written even for a first draft, let alone something that has (allegedly) gone through several.

I’ve only read the first seventy pages of this novel, so this isn’t a review, nor is it my opinion of the book as a whole. It is however, a place for me to say how awful I believe those first seventy pages are, and how head-scratchingly annoying it is that the author made many millions of dollars off the back of something that quite blatantly pandered to the lowest common denominator.

I feel the colour in my cheeks rising again. I must be the colour of The Communist Manifesto.

Fifty Shades of Grey was sold as the most sexually charged and hedonistic mainstream work since Caligula, and if that is true and not just crass marketing hyperbole, then the genre of erotic fiction is in a lot of trouble. Now, have I fed into this whole thing by even starting the novel in the first place? Yeah, probably. But I had to find out what all the fuss was about.

His lips part, like he’s taking a sharp intake of breath, and he blinks. For a fraction of a second, he looks lost somehow, and the Earth shifts slightly on its axis, the tectonic plates sliding into a new position.

I had an open mind going in, but that soon became very difficult. The lead character, Anastasia (yes, that’s her name) is fascinated by the older and more experienced Mr Grey, although she hardly knows him at all and lacks the confidence to say much of anything to him.

And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain—probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells—comes the thought: He’s here to see you.

Going in I thought this was going to present a strong female lead, but instead, Anastasia comes across as nauseatingly weak. She is the single most pathetic, insipid, can’t-make-her-damn-mind-up protagonist that I have read in any novel. And for a novel that’s sold as being all about sex, there sure as shit isn’t so much as an exposed thigh in those first seventy pages. I know Anastasia is all about her flower, but goddamn woman!

Perhaps the four hundred pages that follow is filled with the most mind-blowing coitus ever commited to paper, but I doubt it.

Grumpy Old Man (Items 1 – 5)…

Yesterday, someone asked me what – if anything – I would consign to Room 101. You know, stuff that annoys me; irks me. Things that make me want to reach for the nearest blunt object. For the few of you out there who are not familiar with the reference, read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. It’s one of the best novels you can get your hands on.

Anyway, I drew up a list which I was going to post in its entirety, but it turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it would. So here, in no particular order, is the first clutch of those things that currently… make me want to count to ten.

  • People who talk on their mobiles/cells at upwards of 127 decibels. You’re on the phone: you really don’t need to shout! If you want to do so please wait until I have vacated the area and am suitably out of earshot.
  • And still on phones: people who find it imperative to tell the other person the minutiae of their every move: “I’m on the bus; yeah, I’m just passing the corner store now. Wait a minute, we’re stopped at the lights. I’ll just be a minute. Oh! I can see you now. Look, I’m waving. Can you see me? Yeah, I’m wearing my red coat. Thanks, I decided to treat myself. You’re right, I do deserve it. Ok, I’m just getting off now. Right, I’m hanging up…”
  • People (usually teenagers) who play music on their mobiles without headphones (usually on a bus), with the express intention of making everyone else listen to it. Why do they do this? The quality is rarely crystal and it’s always an artist or band that makes you want to jam the phone down the user’s throat just to see if you can still hear it from the depths of their stomach.
  • Adults who look to Harry Potter and/or Twilight for points of reference, disregarding the fact that these books/movies are aimed squarely at people no more than half their age. Minus one point for those who take pride in being able to quote these characters, and minus another point for the ones who attend fancy dress parties as either Dumbledore or Edward Cullen.
  • Women who haven’t read a book since The Hungry Caterpillar at school, yet managed to get through all three volumes of Fifty Shades, which now serves as their benchmark for what is good or bad in the world of literature. No, reading one titillating trilogy does not allow you to have an opinion on anything else – it barely categorises you as a reader. You’re just a horny housewife who has read three shit books, that’s all.

…more to follow, once I calm down…