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19 December 2012 @ 09:44 pm
I Can’t Even.  
So, after months of trash-talking 50 Shades of Grey, I finally decided to actually read it. I am regretting that decision immensely.

I had read bits and pieces of it before, some of the sex scene bits, and I had various thoughts on those, but I figured if I was going to keep talking trash every time someone brought it up, I’d better at least give it a chance. I really tried to go in with an open-mind, I did.

OMG. Let’s put aside my complete and utter offense on behalf of people who have actually been in freakishly controlling or abusive relationships or who have actually been stalked - (the main character even recognizes that he is stalking her at one point and she thinks it is romantic, that he came and rescued her when he tracked her cell-phone to the bar she was at, even though she refused to tell him where she was). Or how offensive this seems to be turning out for people who live healthy BDSM lifestyles, which I gather are nothing like this. Let’s just forget all of that, because frankly I go could on for quite awhile about the things I have read already and I am only just over 100 pages in. Just…okay, whatever.

Let’s talk about how, as a writer, I am utterly offended. If this shit is a best-selling novel, I am fucking Shakespeare over here, okay. In one paragraph, she uses 5 exclamation points. In the course of three sentences, she uses the word ‘besieged’ twice. Every time Christian walks into a room, it reads something like…‘Christian walked into the room. Holy crap! He is stunning in his blue blazer. Wow.’

If she uses ‘Holy crap!’, or ‘Wow’ one more time, I am going to burn this damn book! Watch me use as many exclamation points as she does! Over and over! Repeated use of the same words, phrases, exclamation points…

Also, for the record, she could not possibly be any more annoying as a character. She is constantly stating how everyone else is so attractive and competent and that she is just a little mousey awkward nobody who doesn’t deserve this attention. It gets old fast, but hey, no wonder he is interested in her - she is going to be so easy to mold to his over-bearing will.

I can’t even believe I have made it this far - 133 pages for the record. It couldn’t have even been that good when it was fanfic, because there are clear hints at some troubled background for Christian and if this were a proper fanfic, it would at least be partially his POV, so we could get all kinds of H/C details about his abusive childhood and who did such terrible things to him - (he says he’s never engaged in ‘vanilla sex’ before and I’m thinking, “Not even when he was like 16? WTF is that about?”). So then, where are all the details about his brokenness and how he got that way? Also, not that hardcore by fanfic standards - he isn’t into water sports, fire play or piercing play, among a few. No piercing play? Why not? Dude, he would never last in SPN fandom.

In my final laugh at this stupidity - his name is Christian and his brother’s name is Elliot. Yeah, she disguises her other fandom well, doesn’t she?

I think I will cleanse my mind after this with the traditional Christmas reading of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Or maybe bleach. Whichever works best for brain-cleansing.
Deni: Team Deandenig37 on December 20th, 2012 04:44 am (UTC)
People like you restore my faith in humanity *nods*

I tried to read it...tried...got a few pages in and realised that no amount of blackmail material (on people who "like and praise" it) that I could get from reading it was worth the time, effort and brain-bleach needed for this piece of shit.
dodger_sister: wtfdodger_sister on December 21st, 2012 07:48 pm (UTC)
I know, what the hell is wrong with people who like this book?! It's not that hardcore on the sex (as far as I have gotten anyways), the main character is boring as hell, it's offensive as all get out to women who have been abused by controlling men, the author spends way too much time describing what everyone is wearing and the writing is utterly terrible!
Why all the pearls?Why all the hair?Why anything?: Holiday - Smithers' Christmasrhymephile on December 20th, 2012 06:35 am (UTC)
The reason this book is so contemptible to we fan fic writers is because it is popular merely because boring soccer moms think it's the sexiest thing ever. They've never been exposed to good shit they could get for free. Well-written shit! Ugh, it annoys me that virtually 90% of fic out there is better than that crap. What I'd like to know is HOW the original fic became so popular.
dodger_sister: fangirldodger_sister on December 21st, 2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
Yes! I think fanfiction writers should be screaming their heads off about this because now, this stupid ass story is what mainstream people think fanfiction is all about! This crap is representing us to the world and the thought kind of makes me want to throw up.

I've basically just started trying to get anyone who says they love this book to please go read some fanfic and find out what good porn is.

What I'd like to know is HOW the original fic became so popular.

Honestly, I think it is Twilight fandom. I mean, if you like Twilight then you already think that a controlling man is romantic and you already like books where they spend infinite amount of time describing what people are wearing, so...yeah. So many fandoms often have fanfiction better than the source material, but it seems not so with Twilight fandom.

Jojo: Stock ⇒ Writingjojothecr on December 20th, 2012 12:03 pm (UTC)
I hate fics with this theme (bondage, spanking, etc.), so you can imagine that I find this book really freaking disgusting. But that's me, I am more vanilla than vanilla itself. I flipped through this book last week just out of curiosity and yep, nope. Because of the theme only, this is a total tabo for me, but the writing style? You said it right, I nearly feel like Shakespeare myself now.
dodger_sister: wtfdodger_sister on December 21st, 2012 08:00 pm (UTC)
Yeah, if you don't like bondage or spanking, then this is not the book for you, most certainly. (though I am almost 200 pages in and so far they have just had regular ol' sex). Also, if you don't like knowing every outfit each character is wearing every time they change their clothes, this book is not for you. And if you don't like listening to the various ways in which her 'inner goddess' dances around, this books is not for you. Also, if you hate bad writing and romantically glorifying abusive relationships (not BDSM, but actual stalking and abuse) - not for you.

How this shit got published is beyond me. Maybe the problem for you and I as writers is that we are too good and the masses of consumers are all too stupid?
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on December 20th, 2012 01:45 pm (UTC)
So, it's Twilight, with a Bella character... and really bad BDSM?
dodger_sister: wtfdodger_sister on December 21st, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
So, it's Twilight, with a Bella character... and really bad BDSM?

YES! Have you not heard about this book?

The thing is, it isn't really BDSM. It's controlling abusive behavior mixed with stalking. It reads more like sex slavery to me, honestly. Which is fine, if you want to read that, but don't put it forth as anything other than what it is.

I read a review by someone in the BDSM community and it says this among other things - "In her novels E L James romanticizes the BDSM community, takes elements of ‘play’ out of context and dramatises what many would consider to be extremely unsafe D/s practice. The female in the story enters into ‘scenes’ which she is unsure about, where limits have not been pre-discussed or agreed, and where she is abandoned post-scene on more than one occasion with no after care or conversation about what had happened during the session"

Plus, with the beyond terrible writing and the fact that this is now what mainstream people think fanfiction is all about, I am pretty pissed off.
Ironlily - Making My Marquevikingprincess on December 21st, 2012 09:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, I've heard about it, and was absolutely certain I didn't want to read it, because it would only piss me the hell off. That quoted objection is the very reason why people really need to talk to folks in the Life before they write ANYTHING related to BDSM. Or at least to someone who's been a responsible dabbler! Sheesh.

No, I read Twilight so that I could reliably refute the reasons why my students loved it. I don't think they'll be reading 50 Shades.
fragrantwoods: bad santafragrantwoods on December 20th, 2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
Here's the antidote:

50 Sheds of Grey
I'll be back to rant at the horridness, if I may :-) but do give "sheds" a try. It brought back my Christmas Spirit.
dodger_sister: wtfdodger_sister on December 21st, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
LMAO! Omg, 50 Sheds is awesome!

That made me smile so hard. I think once I am done with this horrid book (if I manage to finish it that is) I will go read more 50 Sheds, to cleanse myself.

Yes, I would actually love to know what you think of this book because it seems to be romanticizing abuse and that just upsets me. I am all for some good healthy BDSM fic, but this is not that, at all.
fragrantwoods: bad santafragrantwoods on December 22nd, 2012 05:05 am (UTC)
What I think...oh, my.

First, I'm confused because good printed fic (better than this) has been around for 20+ years from Black Lace and Nexus, among other lines. And there was a time when the covers were not horribly tawdry, even for some pretty hard core, non-con, dub-con stuff. Amazon has a huge erotica/BDSM fiction section with dozens of good authors. So the "newness" of it baffles me. And in the internet age...I just don't get it.

Second, I can't wait until the readers branch out into what I've seen displayed near the 50 Shades books, like the Beauty trilogy. That should be fun.

The "inner 5 year old" and "inner princess" or goddess or whatever was very disturbing, not just for obvious reasons but because it suggested to me that the MC couldn't feel or react as herself without these other personas doing it for her. And the 5 year old was super-creepy.
The plot holes and inconsistencies (grad student that can't work a computer, going for never having alcohol to downing multiple drinks and functioning, the general incompetence of the MC) were grating. The romanticizing of horrid treatment...well, we've got Twilight to blame some, but this shoots so far past that. The controlling of eating,the over-controlling without it being discussed, and I guess the over-riding sense that this girl (and maybe the author) just didn't see the very many red flags he was slinging all over the place was very disturbing.

I would have gnawed my own foot off to get away from somebody making me read that long, boring, and annotated contract.

The damaged Dom trope was done so much better in Robin Schone's books, IIRC.

What this writer didn't get (and I share your pain that people will think this is an example of "good" fanfic since it's making a fortune) is that it's not that the intense physical sensations are abusive, it's the relentless control he tries to push that is non-consensual (IMHO) due to the huge power imbalance. I skimmed, I admit, but I didn't see any genuine affectionate kindness towards the MC. That she was a virgin and he was all "I don't make love, I fuck, hard" very much made me wish she'd told him to go try that on himself so she could go have sex for the first time with a decent human being. I've read some villains who do some horrible non-con things, but it's clear that the male MC is a bad guy (or it's stuff that's supposedly been written by a misogynistic, sadistic guy) and it's not presented as romantic like it is here.

And if she had described that damn plum dress the MC borrowed from her roommate ONCE and gone on, and did other edits to take out unneeded padding, there wouldn't have been three books. Just sayin'.

I will say that this has brought out some amazing parodies and answering fics that jack him up and hang him out to dry, so there's that. It's been worth it so "50 Sheds" could be written, I guess.

dodger_sister: wtfdodger_sister on December 24th, 2012 03:56 am (UTC)
Yes, why this book in particular made it into the mainstream, I do not understand. And yeah, acting like this is a new thing makes me wonder too, "Have they never used the internet?"

because it suggested to me that the MC couldn't feel or react as herself without these other personas doing it for her.

I haven't noticed the 'inner 5-year old' but her 'inner subconscious' (different from her inner goddess) constantly hides behind things because she is so afraid of this man. I agree, it reads as if she can't react to her own feelings in a way that an emotionally mature adult would be able to. The part I just read, she is so shocked after he has spanked her that she says 'thankfully her inner goddess has finally gone quiet'. All I could think was, "No, that's mean you aren't processing the emotions you are feeling, that you are shutting down from what just happened to you." Yep, as soon as she was alone, she started crying.

(grad student that can't work a computer, going for never having alcohol to downing multiple drinks and functioning, the general incompetence of the MC)

Yes, it's like she's the anti-Mary Sue somehow, whereas instead of being perfect at everything, she is so weak and unable to do anything right herself - and I think we are suppose to find that attractive in her but I so don’t.

The romanticizing of horrid treatment...well, we've got Twilight to blame some, but this shoots so far past that...and I guess the over-riding sense that this girl (and maybe the author) just didn't see the very many red flags he was slinging all over the place.

I was so upset to see so many girls who think that Edward's behavior in Twilight is romantic, and now I am even more upset to see the adult version of that being romanticized by adult women. I agree about the red flags - their first kiss, he slams her against the wall, pins her hips with his, holds her hands above her head and yanks her face up. If that doesn't send off warning bells as a first kiss, what does? He starts scolding her about not eating when they have only barely even met, before they have started a relationship. It's so disturbing his need for that level of control. This guy wants to control everything she does, 24/7, even on her own time. That is what makes me think it is not 'bdsm' but 'sex slavery'. He wants to 'own' her, he says so more than once. If the author had passed this off as a slave-ownership book, all fine, but she is passing it off as erotic romance and it is NOT.

Can you tell me the tile of one of these Schone books to try out?

is that it's not that the intense physical sensations are abusive, it's the relentless control he tries to push that is non-consensual

I think the author thinks that what he does to her is okay because she enjoys it sexually. But women orgasm from rape all the time and it pisses me off that this is romanticizing it to the point of, ‘well if you came from it then you liked it‘. Before they have even signed their contract, he starts to take off her shoes so he can fuck her and she is suddenly embarrassed, starts to pull away, tells him 'no'. And he tells her to stay still and be quiet or he will tie her down and gag her. She is so mortified at the thought of him tying her up, that she shuts up. It reads pretty rapey to me.

He does have affection (as warped as it is) towards her, I will give him that. Some banter, moments of physical affection, but his mood changes so quickly - like he catches himself being nice and fond of her and rights himself. She comments more than once about how fast his mood changes and how nervous that makes her because she doesn’t know what she did wrong (pushing that notion that his mood changes are her fault and she can somehow correct it).

As for the terrible editing, you know, fanfic beta readers can be good - I learned more about writing from my first beta reader than I anywhere else - so where the hell was hers? And after a publisher picked it up, why did they not do an edit?

Sorry for the rant, it's just pissing me off, obvs. lol Oh well, I do like listening to all the awkward readings of 50 Shades of Grey by celebrities (they karooked it one night on Jimmy Fallon - it was awesome!)