Maybe you’ve heard of it, perhaps not. I’ve been avoiding posting about this because I haven’t wanted to promote a poorly written book, when I’m not good about promoting exceptional books. Except, now I have to. There have been too many people posting Facebook status updates, admitting that their lives have been “dominated” by the Fifty Shades trilogy. As an author, I’m not into book-bashing, believing instead that if you have nothing nice to say, go eat something. I also recognize how quick people are to tear down work without having the chops to create themselves. It’s a lot harder to create than it is to criticize. So, I’ll say only that it was a waste of my time to read. I got nothing out of it, save for frustration and disappointment. No insight, no laughs, not even a rich detailed glimpse into the foreign world of domination. I’m all for a light quick read, mind you, but even those usually stir up some emotion.
The comments I shared with two different friends, that I share again here, are the following:
1. I was so turned off by this series, especially by the fact that the first book has absolutely no arc, ending abruptly with “end of part 1,” which is no ending at all. I’m so frustrated that I spent any time on that shitacular book. It goes nowhere. You keep reading thinking something is going to happen, so you turn the pages, and don’t stop reading, hoping NOW I will get to the meat, here’s what I’ve been waiting for, some big twist or a tiny detail from the beginning that will reveal something big later on. Nope. Does not happen. Not even a little.
2. Ugh. I wish I had that time back. Any book that ends “ends of part one” without any plot wraps is a complete time suck waste. The sex / power struggle gets so old by the end, and there’s absolutely no surprise or twists. You have to keep reading the other books because in the first one… nothing fucking happens.
Lastly, since I was asked for discussion points, I asked only this:
In terms of a trilogy, what components need to be there in each individual book? Do you think it’s important for each book to have its own complete arc (a clear beginning, middle, and end), with a lingering of what’s to come–and how effective was E L James in satisfying those requirements? Do you believe Fifty Shades of Grey can stand alone as a satisfying read? You already know my answer.
For those who have NOT read on to the second and third books (which people can’t stop emphasizing were so much better), did you hope that something more would be revealed in terms of the plot? Some twist you didn’t see coming? For what were you hoping, aside for the author to put down the thesaurus (“I turn into my pillow and the sluice gates open.”)?
I was extremely frustrated that as information was drip-fed to the reader, it was never blown out. Chekhov’s “One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it” wasn’t just ignored by the author; it was never read by the author. For example, the part where Christian “orders up” a gynecologist for Ana, and Ana has seen that all the cars in Christian’s garage are all Audi’s, including the gynecologist. And Christian has bought Ana an Audi… come on. Isn’t that some absurdly obvious clue? I WAS REALLY HOPING the gynecologist was actually the “Mrs. Robinson Character.” A detail like this should have been wrapped up in book one OR it shouldn’t have been included because it’s misleading. Same goes for the whole “every woman he hires is a blond” then in a line, he tells Ana, a brunette, how he loves brunettes, so we HOPE it’s coming, that he’s going to turn her into a blond, just as his “unbinding” contract reads that he may do. Except it doesn’t come, not in book one, and from what I’ve heard, it never happens. And, you cannot blame the editors/ publisher on this one–it was self-published. The whole, “well, it was originally all written as one long book, and it was later sold as a trilogy” doesn’t fly. Know why? It’s sloppy. Each book should be a stand alone story, building on the full stories of the past. Each book needs to be self-contained and satisfying.
Also, looking only at Fifty Shades of Grey, what purpose did Ana’s roommate Kate serve as a character? In a film, she’d hopefully serve to highlight the differences between how she handles things and how our main girl deals, highlighting something we’d be hard-pressed to discover without that sidekick. That, and she’d serve as a way to get the internal thoughts, the judgments, the fears, out into dialogue, avoiding the lazy voice over. Your main character needs someone in whom to bear her soul and innermost thoughts. But in a book, you can have all the internal conflict you’d like. Did you care about Kate’s relationship with Christian’s brother? And did you think anything would be resolved, at all, with regard to her specific sub-plot line?
If this book came with a t-shit, it should read, “I’d rather have spent my time watching Secretary. Or cupping my own sex.”
Also, by “timesheet” I mean twat.