Spoiler alert: sorry I’m not sorry.
I’ve just recently finished plodding through the literary horse shit that is E L James’ Fifty Shades of Grey, a novel that has recently become a favorite on the nightstands of curious twenty-somethings and horny middle-aged women across the globe. This is the first novel in an erotic romance trilogy written by Erika Leonard James during what I am sure was a heinously devastating mid-life crisis. I don’t know which is more disturbing to me, the fact that the book started from Twilight fanfiction that she wrote under the pen name “Snowqueens Icedragon” (I couldn’t make this shit up) or that Time Magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world. Are you fucking kidding me?
I don’t even know where to begin in unpacking the train wreck that is Fifty Shades of Grey. From its blatant misuse of the English language to its utterly dimensionless characters, I can only imagine the drunken, meth-addicted chimpanzees that must have been the editing staff for this pile of manure. The only reason I made it through the first 75 pages was the sweet sweet promise of some halfway-decent scenes involving supposedly scandalous pornography and the occasional whip or butt plug. The only reason I got through the last 425 pages was through an extreme power of will, a desperation for anything to distract me from my boredom, and a moral obligation to appreciate any published work that has come up with so many different substitutions for the word ‘vagina’.
I found greatest issue with Christian Grey’s character. Yes, his domineering, sadistic tendencies leave much to be desired, but I was most disturbed with James’ insistence on describing him as ‘long-fingered’. Literally every other fucking page had something on it about Christian’s tantalizingly slender fingers, whether he’s feeding himself a grape or pensively steepling them in front of his mouth, she really cannot seem to move away from this obsession with his bony ass digits. I don’t know who the fuck she thinks she’s kidding, but I cannot think of a single time I have ever seen a man with long girlish fingers and thought to myself “damn, I’d like to suck on those bad boys.” In examining other disarmingly long fingered characters, you might see why I find them so off-putting. Voldemort, E.T., The Grinch, Edward Scissorhands, Mr. Burns from The Simpsons, the list goes on. I can pretty much guarantee you that not one of these characters are particularly fuckable, nor would they be popular in an erotic romance, although I’m sure Harry Potter fanfiction writers everywhere would beg to differ. On top of all this, he’s constantly described as having ‘copper hair’. Honey, copper is just a nice way of telling us that HE’S A GINGER. Okay, so let me get this straight, E L James. You’re telling me that I’m supposed to believe that this long-fingered ginger is a devilishly handsome sex god whose mere presence makes women everywhere jizz in their panties? Give me a fuckin break. He’s a ginger, for christ’s sake. Point made, moving on.
The sex scenes themselves were what made the prose really flow. Not because they were eloquently written but because they were so repetitive that you could read just enough to figure out which new piece of disturbing paraphernalia he was using on her, and then skip ahead to a point that actually matters to the plot (“plot”). There’s only so many times I can read about quivering members and hitched breathing before the whole thing becomes rehearsed and blase. Also, the number of orgasms Anastasia is able to reach throughout the novel is just thoroughly unrealistic. There’s no way in hell you can violently lose your virginity after having never touched yourself (which is a real crock of shit – bitch is either lying or she’s led a heinously depressing 21 year existence) and just miraculously come despite the excruciating pain of your vagina being ripped open. Sister, that ain’t a thang. Also, simultaneous release is a myth and a lie and I don’t appreciate James’ insistence on its existence. Literally every sexual encounter ends with them coming at the same time. Shut the fuck up.
Now, like our dear friend Nicholas Sparks, E L James has created a generation or two of women who expect mind boggling orgasms every time a man touches them. Bitches everywhere are gonna run astray in search of a man who can send them to the moon and back without a word of direction or coaching. That ain’t right. Honey, if you want a mind blowing orgasm that works every time, Amazon has some pretty top notch fuckin deals on battery-powered vibrators. I suggest that you invest.
What really toasts my bagel is that Universal Pictures and Focus Features just purchased the movie rights to this sucker. I am giddy to see how the fuck they plan on pulling this one off. The only reason anyone even buys this shit is so that they can read porn in public without feeling guilty about it, fuckin perverts. Unless they plan on the movie going straight to the top shelves of Blockbuster stores in between Frisky Business and Ferris Bueller Gets Off or getting an NC-17 rating, basically condemning it to small indie theaters and porno houses, they’re going to have to cut a shit ton of the material, leaving a movie script with literally no plot line.
Despite my ranting I do find it thrilling that a porno has made it to the #1 spot on the New York Times Bestseller list. Even though dead feminists everywhere are probably rolling over in their graves while the live ones I’m sure are raging furiously throughout the streets of Portland, I’d much rather live in a time when sex sells than back in a time during which I would have been forced to go through life quietly lugging my chastity belt around while clinging to my virginity for dear life.