Fifty Shades of Grey book review

By Stephanie Kutner

On Mother’s Day, my fiance and I traveled to my grandfather’s friends’ house to celebrate. The women there, ranging in age from fifty-five to seventy, were all abuzz, talking about a book I had never heard of. My ears perked up, “Oh, what book?” I asked, trying to hide my excitement since in this day and age it is so rare to hear anyone raving about a book. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” they all responded. They were all reading it. Now, I left under the mistaken impression that this was a tween book that was deemed too raunchy for young readers.

When I went to research the book, I was scandalized. It has been very hard to shake the image of anyone, much less my grandfather’s septuagenarian friends, cozying up with this book. “Fifty Shades of Grey” has rapidly become the New York Times #1 Best Erotic Seller. The book, written by E. L. James, has sold over ten million copies. E.L. James (Erika Leonard, for any of those interested) began her writing career as a fan fiction writer for Twilight, and she has subsequently described the writing of the book as “her midlife crisis.”

The story is set largely in Seattle and centers around a relationship between a college graduate and a business magnate. Its fan base is surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, largely made up of married women over thirty. Hence the moniker bestowed upon it by various media agencies: “mommy porn.” A notable ridiculous plot point is the college student, Anastasia, is forced to sign a contract allowing the manipulative Christian complete control over her life. Christian is into all sorts of bedroom shenanigans, to put it mildly.

As a writer, this story fills me with inner conflict. On the one hand, I am ecstatic to see that controversy sells; that the time-honored tradition of becoming a best-seller through being deemed subversive — especially in the contemporary laissez-faire atmosphere of morality — is still alive and thriving. The controversy that brought Henry Miller, Vladimar Nabokov, George Orwell, Aldous Huxley, D. H. Lawrence and Allen Ginsberg (to name just a handful) to the wider audiences they deserved has a pulse yet.

On the other hand, I do not champion this work in the least. The book is poorly written smut, which I know has been the sentiment through time immemorial of the townsfolk holding pitchforks dancing around in a book-burning circle, but hear me out. The characters have not progressed out of a high school mentality, particularly concerning teenage fantasies. It apparently didn’t suffice E.L. to make Christian Grey a millionaire. Instead, in keeping with the extravagant and ridiculous teenage fancy, he is a billionaire. The repetition of “shades,” “she turned fifty shades of red” etc., is grating, to put it politely. Then there’s the repetitiveness of characters’ quirks. The book is awash in raised eyebrows, pursed lips, blushes, flushes, whisperings, and the ever eloquent expressions of Ana’s “holy, double and triple crap.” Really, James was at her best here as that would have made an apt title.

Okay, I cannot continue to promote this by writing any more. I am staunchly morally opposed to continuing. I may as well be writing this on a cold New England shore in a buckled hat, or rather, a white bonnet and starched apron (in keeping with my gender.) On this, I am willing to be seen as a prude. Henry Miller wrote filthy things, but I have read and loved his work since I was fourteen because he did so with pervasive class, though that seems a contradictory term. This book, sweeping the nation, in the form of a rather sad tide of bored housewives with equally dull imaginations that haven’t progressed beyond high school, should be banned, as many libraries throughout the nation have done. Banned not for content but for lack thereof. That is all; I will abdicate my soap box now.

If you want to laugh hysterically, lookup the video of Gilbert Gottfried reading excerpts from this book. For those of you who have read thus far and still do not believe me, I present to you exhibits a-z: “My inner goddess is doing the merengue with some salsa moves.” “My inner goddess sits in the lotus position looking serene except for the sly, self-congratulatory smile on her face.” “My inner goddess jumps up and down with cheer-leading pom-poms shouting yes at me.” “My inner goddess looks like someone snatched her ice cream.” Voila. Believe me yet?

Read this article on Emma Watson and the possible 50 Shades of Grey Movie.

http://guardianlv.com/2012/07/fifty-shades-o…r-in-the-movie/

76 Responses to Fifty Shades of Grey book review

  1. Janell Elizabeth Meyer November 4, 2012 at 2:44 am

    “Anything For Georgetown And Other Stories” is erotic fiction with a focus on the fetishes of spanking and tickling.

    Monica is a spoiled Catholic schoolgirl with wealthy, successful parents. Despite her background, she hosts stripping parties for the boys of St. Veronica’s. She also bullies other students. She is a bit of an enigma at her school. The new guidance counselor finds out about her background, and offers her a deal: give up her racy past, and agree to be punished “his” way, and he will help her get into Georgetown University, her first choice college. However, the deal they strike becomes unbearable. Does Monica get into Georgetown?

    The other three stories in the collection focus on a woman who places a personal ad to jump start her sex life. Rebecca, who is almost a 40-year-old virgin, finally knows what she wants. But will she find a man to satisfy her, as well as one she can trust enough to fall in love with? The ebook is available on Smashwords.com. (Please deactivate the adult filter.) The print book is available for only $7 (excluding shipping and handling) through November on Lulu.com.

    Reply
  2. ana July 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    lol i liked the book. it’s entertaining and hooks you in. then again i basically read anything that comes into my hands when i’m bored and i can eat everything up unless it’s too deperssing.

    Reply
  3. Joseph July 19, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    My wife bought it. I read it. I did not like it. The genre depicted is certainly alien to me. Most distressing however is the weakness sexual helplessness of the main character. Most women behave better. Oh, I know it is a novel!

    Reply
  4. Lizzie July 16, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    Having been recommended, I purchased 50 Shades of Grey and found it to be considerably dull. The erotic content was not what bothered me, I found the book extremely difficult to read. It was repetitive and boring. I believe the book to be enjoyed by non-readers, who are less bothered about the story and plot lines, and prefer the excitement of erotica. When all is said and done, it is porn for women, and although I have no problems with that, it should not be promoted as a best seller. Too much money is being wasted on this poor excuse for a novel.

    Reply
  5. Vicki July 16, 2012 at 12:03 am

    Wonderful love story if you like kinky.. over the top in sexual descriptions, porn???…anyway, entertaining, but so sad this maybe actually happening in the strange worlds of the mega wealthy…or does it?? Well, thank God things turn out pretty normal, with exception of the rich and famous luxuries described…makes you wonder what is really important…possibly envious of those who really can afford this lifestyle…

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  6. chamiepop July 15, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I read all three books in less than two weeks. I was waiting for the characters to actually grow up. I’d be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t enjoy some of the smexy parts, because I actually did. It’s just that, I was waiting, in the hopes of all hopes, for the characters to develop and for the story to actually progress in a better direction. I found it too shallow. I have to agree, the repetitive words were getting annoying especially Anastasia constantly saying, “Jeez” and “Holy Crap/Holy Cow”, etc. I’ve read too many fanfiction in my life and I’ve got to say that there are far more better writers out there. :)

    Reply
  7. curious george July 12, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    No book should be banned, I’m disappointed that a writer would even suggest this (even if in jest). This is how the slippery slope of censorship begins.

    Reply
    • Zoe E White July 14, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      I believe she was only joking.

      Reply
  8. z July 10, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I dont understand the negativity re this book, what is the big deal, is just a book, what is it that people expect from a book?? you either like it or you dont, thats it, stop making it into something else… i bought and read all 3 in 2 weeks..liked it thats all. ;)

    Reply
    • Kate Emerson July 12, 2012 at 11:24 am

      Then you are extremely easily pleased.

      Reply
  9. agnesmannarelli July 9, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    this is not erotica. This book is Harlequin romance. so poorly written I cannot believe an editor would permit it. E.L. James must have one helluva publicist. a few adjectives come to mind to describe this book, boring, sophomoric, redundant and repetitive. What is wrong with my gender that they have been swept up by this moronic tale?

    Reply
  10. Judith Porzel July 7, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    I wonder how many of the 10 million copies sold have actually been read to the end. From the comments I have been reading here it sounds like the book has been really well hyped but alot of people haven’t got beyond page 50! btw – I’m not going to join the hoards. I don’t plan on either buying it or reading it so will not venture a criticism myself.

    Reply
  11. Susan Hollins July 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    I read this book very quickly, leaping pages to escape monotony. It’s poorly written with far too many instances of limited vocabulary: ” rolling her eyes” and meaningless references to the inner Goddess. Without the sex E L James leaves us with shallow story that lacks subtlety and grace while dragging out the dark secrets of Christian’s life. For an S&M addict you could substitute alcohol or drugs. Issues of severe control in relationships are very common. This book just makes this problem sexy when in reality it can be life threatening. Will beauty tame her beast? And will she encounter her own inner beast in the process?

    Reply
    • Nancy July 12, 2012 at 12:37 am

      I agree wholeheartedly with the comments by Susan Hollins and many others who leapt through sections of the book to avoid the monotony of repeated phrases, gee whiz comments and … someone please put her inner goddess out of her misery. I kept reading because I was interested in Christian’s background and relationship with his former subs, but skipped huge chunks out of boredom. Obviously a great idea for a book, given the popularity, but I wish it had been better edited before publication.

      Reply
  12. Patroklos July 4, 2012 at 8:42 am

    What we have here is the conversion of some stock fantasies into a commodity. The only way to do this is to appeal to some liberal democratic ideology of ‘experience’ without the suffering. So the book is really just an extended advertisement for the consumption of a shake-n-bake sexuality which can only succeed by trivializing the complexities of desire. Compare it to Hanneke’s The Piano-player, or The Story of O, or Bataille’s Story of the Eye and you’ll see this book is the literary equivalent of McDonald’s. Measuring its success by referring to the author’s accountant seems to me to prove the opposite of what so many here claim.

    Reply
  13. DM July 1, 2012 at 4:37 am

    credit to E.L for managing to write a book of ” poorly written smut” in which ten million copies were sold.i hope i’m not the only one to see this contradiction. if E.L didn’t right a good book then someone suggest to me what exactly she did right. possibly ten million people purchased ” fifty shades of grey” for the artistic front cover?

    Reply
    • Kate Emerson July 12, 2012 at 11:27 am

      People are stupid, don’t you know that?

      Reply
      • Jennifer July 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

        Thank goodness for Kate Emerson…it seems as if it were not for her there would only be dumb people left. I enjoyed the book…and I guess that would make me easy to please as well. I honestly can’t wait until my man reads it…he may just become my own “Christian Grey”!

        Reply
        • Xabi July 23, 2012 at 9:59 pm

          I agree with Kate: this book is a piece of s… no matter how many people bought it. I bought it. Why? Media publicity and curiosity. Read it and in the end, felt it was the poorest written book I have ever read (language, unbelievable plots and characters…)

          Reply
  14. robin June 28, 2012 at 9:59 pm

    books totally sucked.. no pun intended.

    Reply
  15. Karen June 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    I bought these books Friday and today Monday i have finished all three, before you start reading do the jobs you need to do because you can’t put them down .it’s not knowing how everything will turn out . Everyone I have spoke two said they were good but I thought they were over reacting but boy how wrong I was . Can’t wait for book 4.

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  16. Dione June 25, 2012 at 5:51 am

    I totally respect your view on this book. In fact, you gave me an additional insight about the book (though I’m already on my 3rd book, “Fifty Shades Freed”). It’s a ‘poorly written smut’ (in your own words) referring to some lines that I never thought existed (or maybe it was my first time to hear/read those). But despite these, I like it!. However, what surprises me is your lack of consideration for words. You can never tell that persons who liked/like these books are ‘bored housewives with equally dull imaginations that haven’t progressed beyond high school’. We have different perceptions, different interests. You just can’t sum it into one equation and come up with an answer that will justify a person’s character. I’m sure, there are a lot of women out there that appreciates this book with scholastic achievements and rational/logic/analytic mind just like yours.

    Reply
    • Strickland July 9, 2012 at 1:06 am

      I’m not a bored housewife- I have a great career in a very admired profession. This book has helped me reconnect with my husband. I was totally offended by your reference. No one forced you to read the book-so the fact that you did seems a bit uneducated.

      Reply
  17. Sean June 22, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Managed about twelve pages of cliched and contrived authorship. Can someone convince me to read on?

    Reply
    • Dione June 25, 2012 at 3:42 am

      I read the first 2 books of the trilogy and I am on my third book. I read the two books in less than a week. It’s just so captivating. I know, everyone says it’s all about ‘kinky sex and all that’ but there’s more to that. As you read through, you’d really want to know what will happen to Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, especially about their ‘special’ relationship. The book simply indulges the mind, emotion, and the senses of the readers. My opinion. =)

      Reply
    • robin June 28, 2012 at 9:48 pm

      stupidest thing i have ever forced myself to read.

      Reply
      • Jennifer July 19, 2012 at 10:19 pm

        That was one of the dumbest things I ever read! If you didn’t like it why did you keep reading it?? You forced yourself?? Odd.

        Reply
        • GM July 19, 2012 at 11:28 pm

          “You made me love you, I didn’t wanna do it”

          Reply
  18. Caroline June 22, 2012 at 3:55 am

    The book sucked. Plaine and simple. Not only was it badly written but for two people who live in America they taked an awfully lot like people from Britian. I have read good books and bad books. This is a bad book. The words and phrases used in this book ‘holy crap’ ‘holy moses’ and others were that of which I was readng whe I was in middle school. It seems to be written by a teenager not a forty year old. Like I said it sucked and that’s three hours of my life I’ll never get back.

    Reply
    • Catherine July 3, 2012 at 3:51 am

      Thank god! I thought I was the only one who thought the writing of these books was atrocious! Thanks to my daughter’s kindle, I was able to find out that the word “murmur” was used 277 times in the second book alone! It got so bad that I skimmed through the repetitive and ultimately boring sex scenes just so I could find out the story of Christian. I mean, really??? In one month or less a series of potential tragedies happen where before and after it was smooth sailing for everyone? And the faintly incestuous relationships of the rest of them- Kate marrying Christian’s brother, HER brother going with Christian’s sister? I hold no grudge against the authors of Twilight and Harry Potter making a fortune because at least their books were somewhat literary and got the kids reading again- but if this Grey crap is what they have waiting for them when they get a little older then we are all doomed.

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  19. dary June 19, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    I started reading the book, it is very badly written. But it has been edited at least. However it is very obvious this is indeed born from fanfiction. (I would have thought it inspired on Sex, lies and videotapes) I couldn’t get past the fact that this guy is supposedly a self-made billionaire at age 27. That is too much to ask from my suspension of disbelief powers! Even tho they are considerable….

    However, I have to say to the writer “way to go lady!” I have done a little fanfiction myself (not able to finish my stories).

    To be able to sell so much and make money off this is truly to be admired. She found something people want to read and made a buck out of it. Excellent!
    I am just dumbfounded this found an editor.

    Someone explain this to me.

    Reply
  20. Roachie2027 June 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    I HATE reading period. I have tried to open many other books for the past 10 years, NOTHING catches my attention, they are BEST-SELLERS but they suck. I make it to the 4th chapter then forget about them. I even thought Twilight was dumb (really a vampire and wold…dumb)!
    This book KEEPS me reading. I get lost in this book, I LOVE the relationship between characters. It’s what young people are doing these days. The young generation aren’t having 7am coffee with “the love of your life” while sitting in a car watching the sunset, or whatever the older generation did (which isn’t much, I’ve heard my parents boring love stories). They add to life, and are excited to live life. If you people kept an open mind and kept reading, this book shows that! TRUE LOVE. I love this book, I will watch the movies and I have bought the series. People in this world need to stop be so freaking conservative and have fun. Open up your mind. It’s very well written in my opinion, and I CANT WAIT for the 4th to come out.

    Reply
    • ashleigh June 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      “I HATE reading period.”…”It’s very well written in my opinion”

      seriously? I’ve read children’s books better than this. If you don’t read what gives you the right to say whether a book is written well?
      I LOVE reading period. On average I read 3 books a week and I have never read any even close to being as repetetive, and just plain boring in parts, as the ‘Fifty Shades’ books. Yes, I read them all cover to cover and I feel like E.L.James has just stolen part of my life.
      Yes, it has a good premise which is very rarely explored and considered taboo even in this day and age but what’s the point in having a really good idea if you can’t portray it well. I just don’t see what all the damn fuss is about!

      Reply
      • robin June 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm

        EXACTLY!!!!!!!! i want my time and moey back. oh my i am rolling my eyes! my lips are set in a tight line and my inner goddess cant stop vomiting!

        Reply
    • Kate Emerson July 12, 2012 at 11:31 am

      She married him and had his babies-what’s going to be in the forth???

      Reply
  21. CanadianWoman June 11, 2012 at 1:36 am

    As I read your extremely well written review, my ‘inner goddess’ cheered loudly. I was strongly encouraged by several female friends to read this series but resisted for weeks. I finally caved. It took me five days to slog through the first book, thinking it had to get better. What was I missing? I managed to read the second book but won’t bother with the third. I could no longer stomach the eye-rolling, lip-biting, ‘oh my’ repetitive fluff that seems to have captivated so many women in my 30-something age bracket. Drivel. I feel slightly queasy thinking about the time I’ve wasted. I greatly appreciate your candor. Differing opinions make life exciting, and I’m happy to share yours in this instance. I look forward to reading more from you in the future!

    Reply
  22. Archana June 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    I just posted the review of the book here:
    http://readingaftermath.blogspot.in/2012/06/fifty-shades-trilogy-eljames.html

    I partly agree with Stephenie – language of the book is beyond poor and the characters of the book are taken straight off Twilight series.
    But, there is a story – and for me, it was a novel one. Troubled childhood leading to BDSM inclinations – thats quite a unique angle.

    The book has becomes famous for the sexual fantasies it is creating, but if you ignore that and focus on the story, it is worth spending 3 days on!

    More importantly, the book should not be judged based only on the first book – I loved the second book.

    Reply
    • Dione June 25, 2012 at 3:46 am

      That’s true! At first, I thought it was just all about the sex and all that jazz. However, the story does seem to captivate. That’s all I can say. I read the first 2 books in less than a week!

      Reply
  23. Marie Guney June 7, 2012 at 1:05 am

    These three books should be left out of libraries, not because of their content, but because they are so badly written. What a crap… as Miss Steele would aptly say. My inner goddess is revolted.

    Reply
  24. Yorkshiregirl June 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm

    I am neither over 30 nor a bored housewife, this review basically shows one persons response to a book that has brought women from all different ages and lifestyles together to talk more openly about their sexuality etc. And as someone earlier said, a true review of a book has to be by someone who has written the whole book and not after a chapter deemed it as ‘smut’.
    Yes there is a definate undertone of sex to the book but there is also an interesting storyline which develops throughout the trilogy.
    Perhaps some people are too prudish/narrowminded to actually admit they enjoy the book. Its a pity really.

    Reply
    • Dione June 25, 2012 at 3:47 am

      I love the book! =))

      Reply
  25. jeannie June 6, 2012 at 1:37 am

    I’m not going to argue the books merits. However, the unsigned contract in question is not something constructed for the book. BDSM couples actually use them all the time. They are, as in the book, not legally binding but rather used for clarity

    Reply
  26. Clare Neruda June 4, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I’m reminded of a potent review written about The Da Vinci Code when it first came out. I can’t remember the reviewer’s name, only that the piece appeared in The Times and described the novel as being ‘like the badly plotted walk-through to an 80s text based video game’. Congratulations James, I would say that your novel amounts to nothing more than a badly plotted walk-through to sex that no-one has, relationships that cannot exist outside of clichéd, repetitive prose, and writing that no-one should ever attempt. Success can, and does, evidently exist independently of talent.

    Reply
  27. Jen June 4, 2012 at 6:14 pm

    I bought the trilogy (big mistake!) as it was highly recommended by a number of friends. It was dreadful! I actually could not believe the repetitive drivel that so many people are raving about! My god, what other books have you read in your life to think this is anything special? It’s truly dire! It transported me back to reading crappy teenage books that included a bit of ‘rude stuff’! I only managed the first book, and I feel robbed of the six hours it took to read! I’m hoping to make a profit selling on eBay though, as it’s in very high demand, and two of the books are brand new!!!! Well done Stephanie for an accurate review.

    Reply
  28. Phoebe June 1, 2012 at 12:11 am

    It’s just a book… Well written or not, it’s entertaining to all. Why? If you like it, you promote the book… If you dislike the book, you discredit it. It gives us all something to talk about. I found it to be a captivating read. As well, thanks to all happy and unhappy readers, this site too is entertaining. :)

    Reply
  29. Mark Twain May 30, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Brava! Your short review lends considerably more to the annals of literature than this crap-book “Fifty Shades of Banality.” At the age of 22 you will find your intelligence assaulted, again and again, over the course of your life, by the less-than-mediocre tastes of the masses. I got through one chapter of this book and it was like chewing on metal, akin in it’s shocking lack of quality to one of Stephen King’s latest offerings. I say that because my neighbour insisted I read “Duma Key,” because “it’s amazing!” Uhm, yeah-no, it’s only fit fodder for the fire. Again, it’s a first chapter read, because it is at that point that you want to scratch your eyes out. Fifty Shades is smut! Well-written smut can elevate itself to literature, poorly-written smut remains just smut. Reading books like this doesn’t make one an idiot or even say that you have bad taste, but championing such garbage does. Stephanie, I look forward to seeing your book on the shelves soon; your writing chops are evident just from your well-written review.

    Reply
  30. AndreaJ May 30, 2012 at 12:26 am

    My room mate read this book and loved it and recommend that I read it to. I did and happened to enjoy it very much, I felt pretty hurt when you mentioned the types of people who would enjoy this book and I don’t consider myself either a bored housewife or pretty much “dumb” which is what you implied. I respect your opinion and actually agree with many parts of the review, the book is poorly written and the story is not an original but I really did like reading this book for its entertainment value, the story with its many flaws was a fun read, I laughed and cried with the characters, however I do agree with all your criticism, I think that many readers who don’t consider themselves idiots liked reading this book and felt insulted by what you said, (I know I felt sad that people thought I was dumb simply because I liked this book), that is really my only complaint but overall I think your analysis about the “quality” of the book is accurate.

    Reply
  31. Stephanie89 May 29, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    1. When I mentioned the other writers in this book, it was not to make a comparison to James’ prose, it was plainly to state that other writers have been banned throughout history.

    2. Did I go into this book thinking that James was to be a second Faulkner? No.

    3. “‘The Marriage Plot’- has a young character, Mitchell who wants to speak ‘in tongues’, feels he can & on the Parthenon steps too, he has a go-nothing comes out. Cringe worthy?? But it gets me in- on his side like nothing else.” Please don’t bring Eugenides into this. You can not compare this protagonist with Mitchell.

    4. Yes I do agree that most of Henry James’ writing is misogynistic, and I am clearly not championing those themes.

    5. Jealous of the success of this book? I do not write to please anyone, I do not write to become a best seller, I write because it’s cathartic, so jealousy really doesn’t come into this arena at all.

    6. Katie, Nadine, Sunny, LJ thank you, whoever you are, thank you : )

    7. No, there is not such a shortage of badly written smut, but why would I, as I writer, choose to write about a smutty book that’s sold fifty copies, as opposed to one that has sold millions?

    8. To ‘Law Student’ this is a review. I am entitled to my OPINION. Therefore, negating all that you’ve said about ‘incendiary prose’ and ‘professionalism’. This is an OPINION piece, take with you what you will of it.

    9. “I can only think Stephanie Kutner who wrote this review is wishing she wrote the books herself!”

    Dear god, I cringed so hard when I read this, it left a sort of, how would I describe it, metallic, biting taste on my tongue. No, I am not wishing that I wrote these books, that’s very insulting to me. I have high aspirations for my writing career.

    10. “I could just as easily insult the haters of this book as frigid academics without souls who care more about punctuation and grammar than emotion and connection to a book”
    Literature is about the human condition, not about grammar and punctuation. Without souls, come now…

    11. “Obviously E L James has tapped into the female psyche with this “poorly written smut” so much so that it has sold over 10 million copies and every female friend I know has read it or reading it.”

    This comment perhaps offended me the most. I resent the fact that Anastasia is somehow representative of the entire female psyche.

    Honestly, I have nothing more to say. I think those of you with the more visceral responses were offended by my descriptions of this book’s readers. No, not all of you are bored housewives. But all of you did take the time out of your busy busy days to attack a twenty two year old fledgling writer because she said things that were unkind about a teenage romance.

    Reply
    • Alisa May 29, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Like you said Steph we are all entitled to our opinions and my post was MY opinion and from my point of view and I won’t apologise if I offended you. If you can’t take it don’t dish it out.

      Reply
      • Sunny May 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm

        Ok Alisa we get it, you wish you were Anastasia Steele and that a Christian Grey would fall madly in love with you. I hope you get the satisfaction you crave trying to live vicariously through these characters. This is solely my opinion and I’m not going to apologize; if you can’t take it, then don’t dish it out.

        Reply
      • Erin May 29, 2012 at 7:47 pm

        Internet trolls getting all worked up over something they didn’t even write. Go ahead and cry because someone disagrees with you.

        Reply
    • Racquel May 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm

      Steph, Twilight also captured the hearts and minds of millions and look at what little substance that had to provide. I suppose we should just be proud that this is a successful book that can’t be found in the young adult section.

      Reply
  32. janeuro May 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    I understand why professional writers can’t like this book-you explain & that needs no apology. But most readers don’t read with your discerning technician’s eye.
    Professional writers write for the appreciation of their peers- and for the appreciation of their discerning readers who have the necessary skills to value the effort and the quality of writing that is truly accomplished in every sense of the word?

    But >10 million women out there are appreciating this particular smut.
    I sense you might advocate deprivation through banning and help through enforced mass re- education of these ignorant people. But that sort of thing hasn’t been shown to work. Anyway can literary education and taste be used as a measure of the intrinsic worth of so many human reading lives? If we decide that on principle that these people have value, then we have a problem. You can’t write for them and nor can your peers. So WHO then should ‘write’ for these women? How should we regard this ‘writer’? Obviously it’s an easy thing to do- write smut that sells millions? Why don’t more smutty writers succeed spectacularly at it?
    Is there such a shortage of badly written smutty smut? By no means, so why haven’t people been out grabbing all that? They have settled instead on this -maybe because it has some small completely ‘non literary’ quality hidden within that only the non literary can value?

    Reply
  33. janeuro May 29, 2012 at 11:09 am

    Thankyou very much for your review (xxx). Your view is shared by very many . But “Smut” is – obscenity in writing. Since we are going on this heroine’s journey- inside her head- by reluctant necessity we are going to be pretty pre-occupied with smut.

    And it IS pretty ‘Obscene’, as in; “abhorrent to morality or virtue; specifically: designed to incite to lust or depravity” But surely, for even the most conservative- only the 2nd part of the definition can strictly apply?- since we have a mutually monogamous caring relationship where marriage occurs-and their is no pregnancy out of wedlock- surely it can’t be immoral or unvirtuous?

    But it does, for many, incite lust- lust for one’s husband.
    Lust may be obscene but I just can’t help thinking how it has saved healthcare providers a fortune in consultations and expensive lab tests for poor libido in marriage. This is such a common complaint-so if women will stubbornly persist in declaring it a valid health concern and even though the effect might not last long…. every cent saved ?

    Reply
  34. janeuro May 29, 2012 at 10:34 am

    It’s written in the first person. The heroine’s 21. We get only her private thoughts. She says incredibly silly things- good. While they might be cringe worthy- so are mine, always & that’s why they stay private. But because of this- I can readily believe in this girl and I am with her.

    ‘The Marriage Plot’- has a young character, Mitchell who wants to speak ‘in tongues’, feels he can & on the Parthenon steps too, he has a go-nothing comes out. Cringe worthy?? But it gets me in- on his side like nothing else.
    I’d love to be inside the head of those who find her thinking vomit inducing; must be a very edifying place , no swearing even.
    It’s fantasy- that’s why he’s a billionaire- you could miss this altogether if he was very average millionaire. It’s over the top, its all Harlequin stereotypes but more so. Then curiously it’s also very moving.It sells the idea that Eugenides says does not exist (well I know this) but I suspend disbelief and I go with it and love doing so.
    It must be just one of those things – some are into it, some not

    Reply
  35. Alisa May 29, 2012 at 8:19 am

    Steph, whilst i respect your views, I think you have missed the point of Fifty. Yes, I agree the prose is not on a par with D H Lawrence or Wilkie, but nevertheless it is a rollicking good yarn. Obviously E L James has tapped into the female psyche with this “poorly written smut” so much so that it has sold over 10 million copies and every female friend I know has read it or reading it. Surely you should acknowledge that not all these women are bored housewives and most are quite intelligent human beings. Please give this book credit, it is a book which enables total escapism, which is testamount to its appeal and I love it.xx

    Reply
  36. Kylie May 29, 2012 at 6:03 am

    I adore reading and nothing pleases me more than finding a story that is unusual and has the ability to sweep me away. I loved Fifty Shades, I found it new and exciting and enthralling, for that alone I could easily look past concerns with writing style or construction. If you like the classics read the classics. If you like a new idea then jump on board with the new favourites. If you don’t expect them to be the same you wont be disappointed. Well done EL James!

    Reply
  37. aufumn May 29, 2012 at 12:49 am

    This reminds me of people complaining aboht what is on tv and how obscene something is. Well get a life and turn it off if u dont like it. Same goes for this book. It states up front it is erotic material. If u arent prspared for that why bother to pick it up and read it. I am not a prude. Im an educated woman as well as a wife and mother of two grown children. I enjoyed this book so much i was reading the sex scenes out loud to my husband. He was enthrallex and it was a fun and sexy thing to do for him. Get a life…if your embarrased by it put down and give it away and stop complaining. Im not a bored housewife either

    Reply
    • robin June 28, 2012 at 9:57 pm

      i did not find it the least bit erotic. no one has sex 3 or 4 times a day everyday unless you are bored llamas at the petting zoo.

      Reply
  38. Sunny May 28, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    This review is spot on and I agree with everything she said. With all the hype I thought it was going to be the most amazing book. It turns out it is the worst book I’ve read in my life! It is poorly written, there is no content or substance, there’s hardly a plot, it’s highly repetitive, and the use of language such as “oh my,” and “holy crap,” were annoying to say the least. And the sex scenes are just awkward, weird, and kind of disturbing, I don’t know how all these women are being turned on. So yes I think this book mostly appeals to bored, stay-at-home-wives.

    Reply
    • pamelia May 28, 2012 at 10:52 pm

      Sunny –Just curious if you actually KNOW any housewives? All the stay at home moms I know are hardly bored (harried, fulfilled, loving and overwhelmed is usually more their speed). Conversely the women I personally know who love this book are like me: happily married moms who work outside the home in very good paying jobs (career women if you will).
      I could just as easily insult the haters of this book as frigid academics without souls who care more about punctuation and grammar than emotion and connection to a book, but I don’t happen to believe that’s true. I do believe insulting people for liking something you don’t like is very telling. Those who need to disrespect other people (particularly those they have never met) usually have a clear lack of self respect. Why should it matter to you who likes a book you don’t like?

      Reply
      • Sunny May 29, 2012 at 3:22 am

        I’m sorry Pamelia, I meant no disrespect to any stay-at-home-wives/moms out there. My tongue in cheek comment stems from the fact that I felt there were several comments trying to belittle the author of this article. I apologize. My feelings doesn’t change about the book though and it makes me sad that it’s this kind of book that is being hyped about in the media. It’s so predictable and transparent and unrealistic. Unfortunately I bought the trilogy and after reading (trying to read) the first one, I don’t know what to do with the other two…I think burning them is probably the best option. With that said, this is all my opinion and everybody else is entitled to theirs.

        Reply
    • L J May 28, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      I haven’t gotten beyond page 50 yet and “Holy Crap”, the blushes, flushes, and descriptions of the clumsiness of the main character, are driving me crazy. I just had to stop to see if any of the reviews agreed with me.There is also a contradiction from the main character in the first few pages. On page 6 she was wondering what he looked like and wondering how old he was. She regretted not doing any research on him. On page 21 her explanation as to why she asked him if he was gay, was because he was never photographed with a date at social events. Wouldn’t that mean she had seen a picture of him? I agree with you, completely.

      Reply
      • pamelia May 29, 2012 at 12:16 am

        LJ. Are you actually reading this book? The are you gay question was on the list of interview questions given Ana by her roommate who did do her research for the interview she was supposed to conduct and who asks Ana later “Good-looking son of a bitch, isn’t he?” and who explains to Ana the reason for that sexual orientation question is that he’s never been photo’d with a date.
        It’s really difficult to enjoy a book if all you’re going to do is seek out faults and problems so that you can go online and bash it like all the other cool kids.

        Reply
      • janeuro May 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

        Hey- as obsessed fan I can oblige with that little bit of trivia! She doesn’t see any photo- it’s her friend who looks for photos- the one was too sick to do the interview , the one who framed the gay q.

        Reply
      • Alisa June 4, 2012 at 2:33 am

        Just felt I needed to replay to your post. I think you need to read the book a few more chapters or you are misunderstanding what you are reading. Her friend Kate is the one who asked her to go to the meeting she did not know anything about him at the time. Her friend had written the interview questions regarding him being gay because he is not seen in any pictures with women. This is all her friends reference. I think you need to read the WHOLE book before you make silly assumptions. I to am a housewife and not a bored one either who really enjoyed this book. Yes the writing is very simnple, but it made it an easy read and I am looking forward to reading the rest of her books. I think most people are un accepting of this book because of its contents and can’t handle the diversity in the world.

        Reply
  39. Nadine May 28, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Stephanie Kutner wrote an excellent and accurate book review on 50 Shades of Grey. I highly doubt she is jealous. Read the customer book reviews on Amazon.ca,very accurate,yet I did not listen and bought the book. Next time if the average rating for a book is only 3 stars after 47 reviews it’s a good indicator the book is media hyped.

    Reply
  40. SAra May 28, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I loved the books get a grip another ass trying to overcompensate with their uneducated vocabulary

    Reply
  41. Lisa May 28, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    …..please do not judge these fantasic books on this review. Its a genuine gripping love story (with lots of lust & spice) and I can only think Stephanie Kutner who wrote this review is wishing she wrote the books herself! I read all three within a week and am only sad there is not a fourth one! Huge congratulations to E. L. James I say.

    Reply
  42. Cris May 28, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    As a law student I’m not only offended but also shocked by the type of people that the internet allows to be published to an audience and by the lack of professionalism in your part, it is amazing that you can call yourself a journalist whilst single-handedly insulting the readers of this book which by the lack of research on your part doubt you even know of, before you generalize and say such inflammatory comments attacking the intellectual capacity of the readers of this book I suggest you begin your research by actually reading the book.

    Reply
    • Katie May 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      I believe that in all your attempts to sound superbly educated (you proclaimed yourself a law student in your very first sentence which is substantially irrelevant as far as literature goes) you failed to remember that this is a REVIEW & she clearly stated she read it. Which would be why she is writing the review in the first place. Not because she heard of it & decided to insult it. I am a 23 year old REGISTERED NURSE and I found the book to be very poorly written. It is Twilight fan fiction by a 40 year old woman. I think I might have tolerated it more were it written by a girls age with all my experience.

      Reply
  43. Pam Baker May 28, 2012 at 7:06 pm

    I really don’t know who you are, but I don’t care to be called a bored housewife, with a dull imagination. You should walk in the steps of one and you will change you tune. Now to get to the book. I give this book 5 stars. It is not only a book about sex, it’s about two people getting to know each other and falling in love. I think the fifty shades is about his personalty not just what he likes in sex. I would tell anyone to read all three of these books. To E l James they were great

    Reply
  44. pamelia May 28, 2012 at 6:51 pm

    “A notable ridiculous plot point is the college student, Anastasia, is forced to sign a contract allowing the manipulative Christian complete control over her life”
    Excuse me, but why did you review a book you obviously either barely skimmed or didn’t actually read at all? What you state here did NOT occur. If you, like many readers, could not get past the unedited fan-fiction prose that is understandable, but then you should not write a review which implies you actually, you know, read the book in question.
    As for Henry James, he may have been able to construct a sentence, but his writing is misogynistic and stomach-turning. At lease Fifty Shades describes a woman having a voice in a relationship and standing her ground about what she will and won’t/can and can’t do and communicating about sexual matters. Henry James used women (and I can’t use the word he actually called them without having my comment stricken) as receptacles of lust and avenues for male bonding.

    Reply
  45. Samantha May 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Again… Another writer that is jealous over the success of this book.

    Reply

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