Fifty Shades…


WARNING: If you want to read this trilogy with an unbiased mind,
please do not continue to read this post.

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There are so much commotion about this trilogy and I wanted to see for myself what it is about. Before I give you my take on it, I must admit that most of the commotion I have read about, was about the reactions to the books, and not the books itself. I was halfway through the first book and have already formed my opinion about the writing, when I read some reviews on the books itself. Those very much mirrored what I felt.

… Of Grey

First, the writing. It’s bad. It is that I wanted to read these books, that I continued reading. If this has been any other random book, I would have thrown it aside after the first 50 pages, not willing to read through yet another ‘jeez’, which appears 10 times in the first fifty odd pages and in total (yes, I count it) 81 times in the book. The writing is really bad. Other phrases that immensely irritated me is “laters, baby” or “down there” (referring to her vagina) or “oh, Ana” or “finds his release” and last but not least “holy cow”. This last phrase made me think I was listening to an excited 5-year old telling about his day at school.

Then, the story. I will lie if I say that I hated all of it. Being in a D/s relationship, it’s obvious that I would compare what I know to what I was reading. I am a perfectionist and living by a set of rules really appeals to me. Having them strictly imposed on me is something I like too. What I also liked, were the email exchanges that Ana and Christian had in the book. Why? Because it reminded me of the beginning days of my relationship with Master T. I still have text files with our chats. I even read through some of those in the days that I was reading Fifty Shades of Grey and I saw our love story unfolding again in front of my eyes. Our love story… long before we ever engaged in a D/s relationship, but back in the days when we had some kinky sexual encounters.

This is what Fifty Shades of Grey is to me. A love story. Not a story about D/s. The characters in the book – all of them, including Ana and Christian – are shallow. The author should have put more work into their personalities. Also, my feeling is that very little research has been done before this book has been written. There are elements of kinkiness in the sex, but those elements only are interesting early in the book and the more I progressed in the story, the more boring they became. Even though there were still kinky elements, I frequently put the book aside to tweet or sat here yawning and thinking about going to bed. That does not happen when the story is interesting and well told.

In the last 20% of part 1 I started to doubt whether I would read the other two books in the trilogy, but because of the way part 1 ended, I decided to continue with part 2. And part of me could not help to wonder whether E.L. James might have done more research for part 2 and whether in part 2 Christian would really become a Dominant, because I did not regard him as a Dominant in part 1 at all.

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… Darker

Part 2 bored me. And made me angry.

Again I came across all the words that irritated me in the first part of this trilogy. As could have been expected, more phrases started to irritate me, in addition to those in the part 1. Phrases such as “take no prisoners” or “good point well made” or “we aim to please”. All through the book Christian and Ana “scowl” and “scoff” at each other and to the end of the book, almost all characters “murmur”. One sentence that I read over and over because I could not believe what I was reading, was “… pressing myself against him, eager for the friction.” This was in the beginning of a sex scene. I mean? Really? Or is it just me?

The ‘theme’ for the second book is not the love story and contract that were more or less central in part one. Part two is still a lame rehash of a love story, but the central themes seem to be the abuse of Christian in his youth and one of his ex-subs that kept on popping up all over the place and was suppose to be a threat to Ana.

But what really, really got me angry (and sorry if I am giving away the clue to those who still want to read these books) is that Christian confesses to Ana that he is a sadist and wants to beat dark haired girls like herself (all his subs were brunettes) because his crack whore mother was a brunette. Since these books were read by so many people, is this the kind of image that is carried out: that people in the BDSM scene all had some kind of fucked-up youth and therefore they want to hurt others or want to have pain inflicted on themselves?? And then, Christian referring to his being a so-called dominant as “all that shit”. Man!!!

One thing that also irritated me throughout this entire part, is the jealousy. Christian is jealous. Ana is jealous. Jealousy is such a waste of energy in any relationship, but I guess E.L. James had to get the book full in some or other way. The same with Ana constantly having to reassure Christian that she was not going to leave him again, as she did at the end of part 1. Over and over again, they have a fight, he breaks down and says ‘don’t leave me’ and she says she won’t. Damn, get a life. Grow up!

Maybe E.L. James thought it would be an interesting twist to add something new to the plot on the last two pages. No warning, nothing. The one moment you are reading a dialogue between Christian and Ana, the next it is as if you are reading something that has been misprinted in this book. But I guess that the author had to ‘create’ something so she could have a theme for part 3. My personal opinion is that she should have introduced this earlier.

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… Freed

I really had to force myself to read this book. Or rather, scanning it. I have not read every word in part 2, but more or less scanned it so at least I knew what the story is about. I started part 3 off exactly the same. I wanted to finish what I started.

Again in this book, whenever there is a sex scene, Christian tells Ana “I am going to fuck you now” or “I am going to fuck you hard”. I felt the irritation with this in the other parts too, but just have to say it now: can’t the man just get on with it and fuck her instead of making the announcement? Damn, if Master T. would announce it like this every time, it would really be a mood killer!

In this third and last part it seems as if E.L. James had some more BDSM related subjects she needed to mention. From sex scene to sex scene she introduces it… wrists cuffed to ankles, the butt plug, Christian feeding Ana, the St. Andrew’s cross, the wand, orgasm denial… And just as I thought she was out of ideas and rounding off this terrible trilogy, E.L. James introduced another term that she must have seen somewhere: topping from the bottom. Thankfully, she only mentioned this and did not continue to describe yet another boring sexual encounter full of ‘Oh Ana’s’. And then of course, just as I think I have endured everything, she introduces yet something new on the epilogue…


To follow some of the exclamations of Ana: Jeez! Gah!

There are so many imperfections these books. Not only spelling errors, but from some sentences it seems as if the story at first had been written in the third person narrative before it was changed to first person. There were sentences where the ‘h’ of ‘her’ had not been deleted, which left a sentence with … h I … in it. Very annoying. Kate also seems to have undergone a name change, as in the third book Ana got an email from Kate and then checked whether Rose was online, discover that she was and then started to chat to Kate. Confusing? Yes! A sentence such as “We’re going to have with some fun with this” makes me wonder whether the publisher of these books have proofread them at all!

Apart from the bad writing, the story is… Well… Uhh… It has no body. It has potential if it is properly proofread and if:

  • the three parts are all put into one book;
  • the story lines run parallel with each other;
  • lots of crap that has obviously been written to fill three books are deleted;
  • it is not called a book about BDSM, but just a love story with some kinky sex scenes;
  • it SHOULD be about BDSM, a proper research of the topic is done, so it gives the reader the feeling that the author is knowledgeable about the subject;
  • it is not called a story with a supernatural theme, because there absolutely is nothing supernatural about it.

All in all, will I recommend these books to anyone? No!


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Links to some reviews on the book or reactions to the commotion around the subject in the book:

Molly’s Daily Kiss (Fifty Shades of Me)
Suburban slut (50 Shades of Dreck)
Sir Jaerls (50 shades of I quit)
Blogging Dangerously (50 Shades of Grey review)
The Telegraph (Mommy porn: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James review)
The Guardian (Fifty Shades of Grey review)

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Added on 1 June 2012:
I came across a brilliant article on The Huffington Post and just had to add it to this post.

© Rebel’s Notes

17 thoughts on “Fifty Shades…

  1. Nice conclusion and in many ways I feel the same as you. After the first part I also stopped reading. It gave me a rather bad feeling, asking myself “is this also the way I behave in a bdsm relation ?” The answer was “no !” Personally I find that Christian handles to much form his obsessive need to control someone in stead of “giving” something to Anna. Obviously Anna is not a sub at all, she’s a woman that is attracted to Christians way of behavior. No more, no less.
    With the love story, no problem, as in a real bdsm relationship there’s also a lot of love and care involved. But as you say, it’s only love with a kinky accent – as you find it in the film “9 1/2 Weeks”.
    What’s not clear to the reader is the essence of a bdsm relation. It’s once more a confirmation of the many prejudices that exist about bdsm.
    In my opinion, only bdsm insiders are able to give expression to intense feeling that are involved. As you say… there was no research at all !
    Apart from the poor style of writing it down, “50 Shades” once more is a risk for all bdsm minded ones to be miss understood and to support the many prejudices spread around by the media.
    So far my humble opinion – sorry for my English that’s far from perfect.

    Keep on the good work with your beautyfull site !
    Lord X
    ( @MrLordX_Antwpn )

    1. First of all, you do not have to apologize for your English at all! Secondly, thank you so much for your comment. Thirdly, thanks for your compliment! And lastly, thanks for the follow on Twitter too 😉

      And of course, I agree with all you have said in your comment, and especially with the part that only people who are in the lifestyle can really write about BDSM, or if an outsider write it, they should definitely do proper research to start with 🙂

      I hope you will keep on enjoying my site.

      Rebel xox

  2. I hate these books and I haven’t read them. Men find out I’m a sub and a rope bunny and they think they know something simply because they’ve read the book. “can I tie you up?” Um, NO! You’d hurt me you imbecile. Do you even knew what a square knot is!?

    Great review, and I’m with you on the indignation about portraying an entire life style ass mommy and Daddy issues

    1. I have heard so many opinions on these books. Mostly people who know what the lifestyle is about loathe these books and vanilla people think it’s hot. Sigh.

  3. Pingback: Fox in the Flowers
  4. Not a read that I will be undertaking. I have seen so many negative reviews on these books now from genuine people in the lifestyle I shall give them a wide berth as I shall only get very irritated with them!!

    As always Rebel, superbly written.

    ~Mia~ xx

  5. My Master and some friends of ours are reading these together. We’re considering making some drinking game rules out of how many adjectives she’ll use, references to “gray”, and so on. ^_^ They’re utter dreck, but completely amusing when read aloud in a group.

    1. I think that is the best way to approach the book… sort of make fun of it. No one in the lifestyle takes it serious anyway. Enjoy the ‘grey’ fun 🙂

  6. This is spot on, and I only read part 1. So I defenitely will not read on. I have been reading the entire book frustration after frustration. The only simularity between Twilight and 50shades, is that S Meyer fucked up the vampire genre and E.L. James fucked up the bdsm genre. In the sense that because this popular now, more garbage will pop up and the mainstream thinks this is how it should be.

    1. Reading these books turned out to be such a pain, but once I started I did not want to stop. And after I have read them, I wish I never did!
      Thanks for stopping by to comment 🙂

  7. Heh, don’t think I’ve heard about a BDSM practitioner liking this book yet. From what you and other people have said, it sounds like a pseudo-kinky Twilight. Ugh.

    Completely agree with you about the image Christian’s confession seems to portray.

    In any case, I think I’ll pass on this one.

    1. It definitely is better to pass on this one. I will not suggest this book to anyone to read!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment 🙂

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