Never one to resist the hype and hysteria of a good page turner, I eagerly dived into the highly recommended 50 Shades of Grey with the anticipation and excitement of a puppy with a forbidden Louboutin. With all the promise of a modern-day love affair darkened by a generous portion of mommy-porn erotica, who could possibly refuse such a Kindle download??
For those of you who have been living in caves – while I now envy you – I would love to ruin your blissful ignorance by at least supplying the plot. Suffice to say, however, there really doesn’t appear to be one. Well, at least one that doesn’t induce bouts of unintentional snort-like guffawing and mockery.
That’s because, in between the sickeningly copious amounts of juvenile references by the narrator-cum-protagonist of “down theres”, “freakin’ hots” and “wicked grins”, EL James expects her not-too-bright readers to believe the following:
The 27-year-old, devastatingly handsome, gazillionaire entrepreneur and apparent closeted concert pianist and stalker Christian Grey (no, we are never filled in as to how Mr Moneybags makes his oodles of dough – that’s obviously not relevant in making his character believable) is mesmerised by Anastasia Steele.
Miss Steele, as he annoyingly insists on calling her throughout, is a 21-year-old college student who apparently managed to get through university without a cellphone, a laptop, being kissed and with her virginity intact.
No, she was not home-schooled by Buddhist monks in the remote Lawudo Lama region of Nepal. Main stream uni in the grunge capital of Seattle, it was. I digress. Anyway, the pair initiate a passionate love affair, but creepoid Grey isn’t into the orthodox girlfriend/boyfriend thing and would rather appreciate it if Ana would sign a contract stipulating that she will be his submissive sex slave over the weekends.
Sensibly, Steele takes some time to consider this offer.
The contract includes him being allowed to spank, whip, cuff, chain, tie, punish, gag, restrain, humiliate, inflict pain upon and dictate her meals, work-out regime and clothing requirements for three months. Fortunately, the contract is negotiable. Phew. So taking back some power, Ana sews up the deal by insisting on three instead of the four stipulated weekly gym workouts. Now who’s boss?!
So the story itself lacks believability and character development. But let’s be honest, that is not why throngs of women have been secretly harassing Exclusive Books staff daily to find out if their copy, ordered under a pseudonym, has arrived yet.
In which case, I am dumbfounded again. While the sex scenes are frequent and explicit, the only thing distinguishing 50 Shades from your average Mills & Boon is the accompanied over-used descriptions of how “beguiling”, “intoxicating” and “hot” bondage and being slapped upside your booty can be.
The prose borders on terrible, the dialogue is completely unrealistic and the use of language will lead you to believe a 17-year-old likely penned it.
Why has it sold millions of copies you ask? I can only put it down to the fact that not enough comparative, decent writing is consumed by the masses, as there is very little that is unique about this book and we all love an unexpected spell of side-splitting hilarity. – Lara Kurik