Fellas, I have to tell you. Once in a while you have to take one for the team. Whether that means playing wingman and engaging the two nines while he chats up the perfect ten or whether it means reading a poorly written chick-lit book with bad sex (it exists, but only in books) in it.
Fifty Shades of Grey is a fantastically entertaining read, though not for the reasons you might think. If I were to pull a Roger Ebert and offer a paragraph of wit and whimsy to sum up my thoughts on the book it might read a little something like this:
E L James succeeds where nearly every other fan fiction writing author fails — she’s willing to go there. You know, there.” Those places which are either too ridiculous to fathom, or so absurd that they become comical. A master of purple prose melded with some sort of bubble-gum BDSM, the concept of a twenty-one year old virgin ex-vampire fetishist being helicoptered out to a Patrick Bateman-lite’s sex dungeon is simply too awesome to ignore. It’s like crazy pills stuck between the pages; you’ll quickly become an addict.
And with that, I present the evidence that will surely cement this novel as a comedic masterpiece that will be engraved forever in the lists of greatest literature.
EXCERPT: Double crap – me and my two left feet! I am on my hands and knees in the doorway to Mr. Grey’s office, and gentle hands are around me helping me to stand. I am so embarrassed, damn my clumsiness. I have to steel myself to glance up. Holy cow – he’s so young.
I can’t believe I’ve not heard that term previously.
Quite possibly because I’m not eight years old anymore. We also don’t use the term “poopy” or “doo doo” which I was almost certain would appear during the racier segments. Sadly, when I saw the stipulations of the “slave contract”, I knew my hopes were crushed.
Half an hour later, Christian Grey walks into our suite. Holy Crap! He’s wearing a white shirt, open at the collar, and grey flannel pants that hang from his hips. His unruly hair is still damp from a shower. My mouth goes dry looking at him… he’s so freaking hot. (Fifty Shades)
Grey flannel pants. The very thought…It’s enough to make the mouth water.
I recently saw a re-run of Family Feud in which Richard Dawson, ever suave, asks a contestant to name the sexiest possible article of clothing a man could wear.
- Calvin Klein fitted boxer briefs, black: 15
- Nothing: 20
- Grey flannel pants: 65
I’m not sure if they were strictly polling the elderly or people from an uncommonly cold country, but I don’t think it’s pure coincidence that both I and E L James find a man in old-man-slacks to be irresistibly juicy.
EXCERPT: “Firstly, the technology to track cell phones is available over the Internet. Secondly, my company does not invest or manufacture any kind of surveillance devices, and thirdly, if I hadn’t come to get you, you’d probably be waking up in the photographer’s bed, and from what I can remember, you weren’t overly enthused about him pressing his suit,” he says acidly.
Pressing his suit! I glance up at Christian, he’s glaring at me, his gray eyes blazing, aggrieved. I try to bite my lip, but I fail to repress my laughter.
“Which medieval chronicle did you escape from?” I giggle. “You sound like a courtly knight.”
The author of this novel having characters mock purple prose and antiquated words is very amusing given that it is one of the primary criticisms of the book itself.
No, this practice is no longer “hipster-type” ironic, sadly.
EXCERPT: When I’ve finished, I head into the bathroom. I want to clean my teeth. I eye Christian’s toothbrush. It would be like having him in my mouth. Hmm… Glancing guiltily over my shoulder at the door, I feel the bristles on the toothbrush. They are damp. He must have used it already. Grabbing it quickly, I squirt toothpaste on it and brush my teeth in double quick time. I feel so naughty. It’s such a thrill.
EXCERPT: I glance up at him. He looks so cool and calm, like he’s been doing the Seattle Times crossword. How unfair. Is he totally unaffected by my presence? He glances at me out of the corner of his eye, and he gently blows out a deep breath. Oh, he’s affected all right – and my very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba.
And my inner god-man swings Mjolnir, hammer of Thor. What does that symbolize, exactly? Maybe this metaphor would have worked better with “My inner boogaloo shrimp from 1984’s Breakin’ does a complex pop-and-lock joint.” It would have made more sense. Plus that movie ruled.
EXCERPT: “No, Anastasia it doesn’t. Firstly, I don’t make love. I f___ (sorry kids)… hard. Secondly, there’s a lot more paperwork to do, and thirdly, you don’t yet know what you’re in for. You could still run for the hills. Come, I want to show you my playroom.”
My mouth drops open. F___ (fark!) hard! Holy shit (we may be able to say this), that sounds so… hot. But why are we looking at a playroom? I am mystified.
“You want to play on your Xbox?” I ask. He laughs, loudly.
“No, Anastasia, no Xbox, no Playstation.”
EXCERPT: “I stretch out beside him, feeling loose-limbed, my bones like jelly, but I’m relaxed, deeply relaxed. I grin at him. I can’t stop grinning. Now I know what all the fuss is about.
Two orgasms… coming apart at the seams, like the spin cycle on a washing machine, wow.”
“Like the spin cycle on a washing machine.” Wow is right. This is a bestseller, folks. Reheated Twilight fanfiction outsells everything else out there, and is one of the most successful debut novels in modern history. Can anyone get ahold of Mike Judge and see if he wants to release a sequel to Idiocracy?
All joking aside, Fifty Shades is not particularly original, engrossing, or arousing. It is not the best of its kind and is definitely not the worst, either. Anyone who has had the misfortune of spending more than a few bare seconds in contact with Twilight fanfic or the associated fan communities can attest to the above. In the meantime, we can all wait for the upcoming fanfic-turned-phenomenon Gabriel’s Inferno.