WARNING: If you are about to purchase the book 50 Shades of Grey, continue reading. If you are in the middle of it, you are already too late to save yourself a few bucks and an enormous amount of aggravation, but stop reading if you care to finish the book.
As you know, last week Meg put together a summer book list, and thinks she gave her readers some diverse and interesting choices, from some very good authors. One thing she did not include was her latest book club assignment “50 Shades of Grey“. She figured you guys knew all the hoopla and Meg thought she’d breeze through it like she used to do when she and her girlfriends were reading Cosmopolitan and Playgirl on the beach all those years ago.
Meg is here to warn you, it’s the worst damn book she ever read. Yes, I know it’s a book about S&M and dominance, but there is ZERO thought to any character development WHATSOEVER. Meg cannot stress the WHATSOEVER part more strongly. Usually when she reads a book, she has A VISION of what the main characters look like, and maybe even who might play them in a movie. She couldn’t begin to wrap her brain around who might play Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Nor, could she care.
Besides the major players being devoid of any personality, the author set the scenes in the Pacific Northwest, but writes like the characters ARE IN LONDON. Clearly, E.L. James should have consulted Wikipedia to check on Britishisms not widely used in the United States, or in this case, not USED at ALL; the reader will have to Google many of the quaint terms. Meg was confused whether the people in the book had spent a semester abroad or had she simply missed that in the alleged plot line?
Approximately 20 percent into the book, (and most likely sooner) Meg began to get annoyed. The same set of phrases were used for every “encounter” between Anastasia and Christian. Some of those included:
Biting her lip, chewing her lip, and the fact it drove him crazy.
Either one or the other were constantly “hitching their breath”. (bad case of hiccups???)
He continually asked her if she ate? (which excuse me, but eating a large meal does not go with any activity of this kind, am I not right, ladies?)
One very nice reader on Amazon analyzed the whole repetition thing and came up with these fun facts:
Thanks to the many other perturbed readers who have shared their own choices of the most annoyingly overused phrases in this masterpiece. Following up on their suggestions with my ever-useful Kindle search function, I have discovered that Ana says “Jeez” 81 times and “oh my” 72 times. She “blushes” or “flushes” 125 times, including 13 that are “scarlet,” 6 that are “crimson,” and one that is “stars and stripes red.” (I can’t even imagine.) Ana “peeks up” at Christian 13 times, and there are 9 references to Christian’s “hooded eyes,” 7 to his “long index finger,” and 25 to how “hot” he is (including four recurrences of the epic declarative sentence “He’s so freaking hot.”). Christian’s “mouth presses into a hard line” 10 times. Characters “murmur” 199 times, “mutter” 49 times, and “whisper” 195 times (doesn’t anyone just talk?), “clamber” on/in/out of things 21 times, and “smirk” 34 times. Christian and Ana also “gasp” 46 times and experience 18 “breath hitches,” suggesting a need for prompt intervention by paramedics. Finally, in a remarkable bit of symmetry, our hero and heroine exchange 124 “grins” and 124 “frowns”… which, by the way, seems an awful lot of frowning for a woman who experiences “intense,” “body-shattering,” “delicious,” “violent,” “all-consuming,” “turbulent,” “agonizing” and “exhausting” orgasms on just about every page.
My favorite quote in the Amazon review section was this:
I wanted to make a drinking game out of how many times the author wrote that someone “frowned”, but I thought I’d die of alcohol poisoning before the end of the novel.
And yes, Meg did knock back 2 of her friend Zadge’s skinny margarita concoctions because – well, just because.
And actually, the review of the novel and subsequent comments are so entertaining and laugh out loud funny, you should head to Amazon and read it for yourselves. It is the funniest thing she has read in FOREVER.
Meg is just going to say this – E.L. James may be making millions, but someday she will be arrested for flagrant misuse of a thesaurus, and her punishment shouldn’t be jail, but be something meaningful, like being crushed with the weight of a million copies of “The Elements of Style“.