GUEST REVIEW by Katrina Lumsden: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

This review is by a photographer named Katrina Lumsden.  Ginny found her review on Goodreads and it was so hilarious that I just had to e-mail the person that wrote it and beg permission to post it here on Pure Textuality.  Lucky for us and all of our readers, she said yes.  So here it is.  The funniest damn review I have ever read of Fifty Shades of Grey.

 

 

 

What in the hell just happened? Did I really read that? Oh, my god, I did. I did read that.

Meet Anastasia Steele:


Ana is just a giant mess of a human being. She’s insecure to the point of it being laughable, ‘klutzy’ (even though she only trips twice in the entire book), and a complete ditz. She’s a virgin (of course) who’s never taken any sexual interest in anyone before. Right. I’m fairly certain there hasn’t been a woman this naive since ’round about 1954. At one point, she thinks putting her hair in pigtails will keep her safe from Christian’s lusty advances. Fuckin’ really?She “flushes” constantly, and on several occasions referred to her hoo-hoo-naughty place as “down there.”

Next, we have Christian Grey:

Christian is a misogynistic, self-loathing, abusive piece of shit. Apparently, his only redeeming qualities are, in this order; his ridiculous good looks, his money, and his giant penis. The only time Ana seems to like him as a person is when he’s being “lovable”, and those times are few and far between. Most of the time he’s serious, brooding, and threatening. How charming.

I knew from the very first line this wasn’t going to be good. 

“I scowl with frustration at myself in the mirror.” 

It was cemented that early, my deep, deep dislike for this moronic, simpering asshole. Your hair won’t behave? Guess what?

My suspicions were confirmed a few pages later when Ana admits that any “sympathy” she feels for her sick friend is “unwelcome”. Unwelcome, apparently because her friend is beautiful, even when she has the flu…? What a petty, jealous cunt. 

The only thing that made the first 4% of this book tolerable was the fact that I read it aloud to my younger brother, and his frequent commentary was amusingly distracting. Once he gave up, however, I had to travel the rest of the road alone. What a painful journey it was. 

My first impressions of Ana were bad (deservedly so). What were my first impressions of Christian? Well…

That’s how I felt about Christian Grey. From the beginning. Any time an author tries to sell me on a character’s “charm” by waxing hormonal about how “ridiculously good-looking” he is, I snicker inwardly. I can’t think why….

Huh.

Anyway, after reading about the description of Christian’s building (hello, first penis metaphor), I had to sit through the awful dialogue between these smarmy idiots and hope beyond hope that something, anything, would distract me enough to see me through to the end. Turns out, I found something about 15% through. I went back and counted, and kept track throughout the rest of the book, and do you have any idea how many fucking times Ana said “Oh my” in this monumentally bad missive? Do you? I’ll tell you; 79! 79 motherfucking times. “He pulled me back against his chest…oh my.” “He began kissing a trail down my belly, oh my.” “He’s an insufferable douchenozzle, oh my!” (I’m just thankful that neither lions, tigers, nor bears were brought into this mess at any point.)

About halfway through, I wished I’d been keeping track of the word “crap” because Ana is constantly saying/thinking it. Crap, Holy Crap, Double and Triple Crap, Oh Crap, This Crap, That Crap, any and all Crap. Speaking of crap, if I ever, ever ever have to hear/read the words “inner goddess” again, I’m going to construct a pyre out of tampons and maxi pads, light it, and toss unsuspecting women into it. 



^My inner goddess will cap yours in the face if you don’t shut the fuck up^

I’m sorry, I just couldn’t take any of this seriously. His playroom. Hisplayroom? Really?

Or how about his weird-ass issues with food? He wants the girl slim and in shape, yet he won’t stop trying to force her to eat!

I simply love the attempt E.L. James made at giving these pathetic shells personalities. Ana wears Converse, drives a vintage car, and likes classic British lit. *Yawn* haven’t heard any of that before. And Christian; we know Christian’s super deep and sophisticated because he plays the piano and listens to obscure classical music. This is how we know Edward Christian is really just a lost soul in need of love; his love of music. Everyone knows that no one threatening listens to music. Music lovers just aren’t capable of doing anything bad.



^Surprise! Psychos like music, too.^

Since this is considered nothing more than “mommy porn”, I will attempt to pander to that particular demographic for a moment. Were the sex scenes well-written? Well, none of it was particularly well-written. The sex scenes could be kind of…honestly, they were kind of boring. I’ve had more exciting sex myself, so I guess reader response to the sex scenes is dependent on reader experience. There’s nothing revolutionary here, and a lot of it is just plain unrealistic. I mean, come on, he pretty much jackhammers her hymen and she walks away with nothing more than a passing, pleasant soreness? Riiiight. How about the time he gives her a handjob with a soapy washcloth? Hello? Apparently neither one of them has ever heard of a urinary tract infection. Oh, or we could talk about her first time giving Christian a blowjob, during which Ana established herself as some kind of Queen of Deepthroat.

Anyone wanna hear about the tampon scene? Oh, you’ve already heard about the tampon scene? Yeah, same here, although hearing about it and reading the actual scene are a bit different. For some reason, you imagine it being worse than it actually is, while at the same time, reading about it is more horrifying than you could possibly imagine. 

“He reaches between my legs and pulls on the blue string…what! And…gently pulls my tampon out and tosses it into the nearby toilet.” 

Look, I’m not against sex during menses, but a guy plucking out a girl’s tampon? Yeah, gross. I’m not a prude, but there are certain lines people just shouldn’t cross. What makes it worse is that Christian is just thrilled that Ana’s raggin’ because he hates using condoms.

Apparently, Mr. GinormoDick doesn’t know that a woman can get pregnant while on her period. Which is hilarious considering all the teaching and training he’s doing to remedy Ana’s sexual ignorance. 

Sexual dependence, thy name is Anastasia Steele. We’re supposed to believe that this girl has gone 21 years neither having had sex nor masturbating? Hm. Well, Christian’s supposed sexual prowess makes a bit more sense now, as does Ana’s assertion that he has a giant bologna wand. She has absolutelyzero experience, and she’s never once had anything “in there“. Thing could be the size of a baby carrot and she’d still be like, “Oh, my glob! How is it ever going to fit?!” 

It’s good that she stockpiled all those potential orgasms, though, because now she’s capable of having like, 15 a day or something. It’s ridiculous. Come to think of it, Christian’s obsession with her eating habits makes a bit more sense now. She was probably beginning to look like something out of a horror movie.

Seriously, though, are we going to take the word of a girl who is apparently so undersexed she’s never even masturbated? I guess I can sort of understand this obsession with some kind of an awakening, but…really? “Oh, he’s soooogood in bed!” How the hell would she know?! She has absolutely nothing with which to compare, not even her own damn hand! 

Now I’ll be totally honest, the biggest issue I have with Fifty Shades of Shit is neither the sex nor the horrible writing. It’s the plot. Thin as it is, it’s still there, its core message being that, given enough time, you can change someone. While I don’t have any problem with this if all you’re trying to do is help them to lose weight or quit smoking, when you’re talking about an emotionally and (dangerously close to) physically abusive relationship, sending that kind of message is ridiculous and irresponsible. Christian is controlling, possessive, condescending, and cruel. He doesn’t allow Ana to behave as she normally would, and Ana just puts up with it, insistent that if she can give him what he wants, when he wants, as often as he wants, she can eventually begin to pull his strings. Will it work? In the books, probably. In real life? No. Almost never. How many idiotic, weak women are going to waste their lives on some emotionally retarded prick because they’ve read shit like this and think this kind of fucked-up fairytale will come true for them? I’ve known women with this mentality. “Oh, he’s so dark and dangerous and threatening, but he’s got a sad, lonely side, and if I could just figure out what’s wrong, I could change him!” 

Wake the fuck up, he may be hot, he may have a huge dick, he may even be rich, that doesn’t make him a good person. It doesn’t even make him apotentially good person. Quit.Being.A.Fucking.Idiot. (Look, I can make my words Staccato like Christian. Now hold still while I choke you until you pass out…)



^Ana and Christian^ – “I said don’t roll your eyes at me!!”

Christian stalks Ana (which she turns into a fucking joke), and whispers things to her “threateningly”. She’s constantly afraid he’s going to beat the crap out of her, and with good reason as he, on more than one occasion, tells her he’s going to/wants to.

Potential rape is downplayed. Ana’s friend, Jake Jose, starts pushing himself on her rather vehemently when they’re both drunk. Ana repeatedly says no, but Jose just keeps trying to go in for the kill. Admiral Chaps busts on up with his riding crop, however, and saves her. Ana (understandably) avoids Jose for a while after that, and when her other friend asks her why, all Ana says is, “He made a pass at me.” Later on, she and Jose are friends again, the “attempted kiss” forgotten. *Sigh*

Rapists appear to be a theme. Christian tells Ana that he gets off on having complete and total control over another person. This is not just in the bedroom, but in Ana’s overall life. On several occasions, he fails to yield when Ana says no, plunging on regardless, assured she’ll like whatever he does, anyway, so why bother stopping?



And there are women out there who think this is romantic.

I wish you the best of luck, ladies. May you get everything your hearts desire And when your dreamboats start giving you black eyes and pushing you down stairs, don’t come crying to me.

By the way, for all you ladies bustin’ out your toys while daydreaming about Hunky Mr. Grey, I want you to do something for me. It’ll only take a moment. Close your eyes. Think about all the things Christian Grey does in the book. Not just those supposed sweet things, but really, everything. His condescension, his control, his insane jealousy, his threats…..and now….imagine he looks like this:

Still turned on? 

The end of the book was absolutely hilarious, with Ana fleeing in emotional tumult because Christian can’t give her what she needs (love! *sniff*).

And we’re treated to her alternately being angry about the pain and humiliation she faced at Christian’s hands, and chastising herself for being a failure and for being mean to Christian. It really is classic abuse mentality. She’s pathetic. And I hate her. A lot.

It’s this kind of ignorant trash that sets feminism back decades. Women who defend this book are, however unwittingly, participating in some of the most blatant misogyny I’ve ever witnessed, giving the impression that some women enjoy being debased, abused, and controlled (outside of a consensual dom/sub relationship). This is not a book about BDSM, this is a book about one sick, abusive man and his obsession with a young, naive invertebrate. It’s a book about a girl who has absolutely no sense of self, who sacrifices any pretense of individuality in order to hold onto a man who doesn’t even show her the faintest glimmer of respect. It’s about two attention-starved individuals with the emotional maturity of toilet paper convincing themselves that their relationship is ‘like, the best thing ever, OMG’. It’s trite, insulting, and dangerous. I fear for any impressionable young women who read this and think that this is how an ideal relationship should operate. If nothing else, it should be issued as a guidebook to mothers around the world to show their daughters the kind of man to avoid at all costs. This book doesgood men (and indeed, all of humanity) a disservice. 

*Sigh*

A bestseller. They’re thinking of turning it into a movie….I can’t….

Word Count: 
“Oh My” – 79
“Crap” – 101
“Jeez” – 82
“Holy (shit/fuck/crap/hell/cow/moses)” – 172
“Whoa” – 13
“Gasp” – 34
“Gasps” – 11
“Sharp Intake of Breath” – 4
“Murmur” – 68
“Murmurs” – 139
“Whisper” – 96
“Whispers” – 103
“Mutter” – 28
“Mutters” – 23
“Fifty” – 16
“Lip” – 71
“Inner goddess” – 58
“Subconscious” – 82

 

THANKS SO MUCH TO KATRINA FOR ALLOWING US TO POST HER REVIEW HERE ON PURE TEXTUALITY.  

KATRINA IS NOT A REVIEWER BY TRADE, JUST AN EXTREMELY DISSATISFIED READER WHO MANAGED TO MAKE IT THROUGH 50 SHADES WITHOUT DRINKING THE KOOL-AID.

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT KATRINA’S PHOTOGRAPHY, GO TO http://www.katrina-lumsden.smugmug.com  AND YOU CAN ALSO READ HER ORIGINAL REVIEW ON GOODREADS.COM HERE:  http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/340987215?auto_login_attempted=true

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12 thoughts on “GUEST REVIEW by Katrina Lumsden: Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James

  1. Having read about 100 pages so far.. I have just read this review in a public place and am laughing out loud. Spot on!!

  2. This review should be placed on the cover as part of a public health warning! Seriously…worst book ever. The way women wax lyrical about this crap makes me ashamed of my sex. At least it’s given sensible people fodder for a good laugh!

  3. Pingback: Book Review: Fifty Shades of Bullshit – romanticizing the dysfunctional man « The Argopelter

  4. Pingback: Update on TDYK Progress and the Dreaded What-Ifs | J.M. Gregoire

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