It’s rare that I don’t finish a book, but I just couldn’t make it through the latest sensation 50 Shades of Grey.
Before I get into my review of a book I didn’t finish, let me tell you that I’m a sucker for a good, steamy romance. After a day of pouring over political articles and listening to pundits I love to be swept away in romantic fantasy. There. That’s my confession… and guilty pleasure.
Moving on… I heard about the book from my mother (who hasn’t read it, but had heard about the hoopla) who knew I indulged in the genre. Out of curiosity I downloaded the book to my Kindle. I tried to read it, and in my defense I don’t expect romance novels to be great literature, but… Oh. My. God. What I read of this book was terrible. Poorly written, poorly edited, and with a heroine no one but Twilight fans could relate to.
I push open the door and stumble through, tripping over my own feet and falling headfirst into the office.
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.
“Miss Kavanagh.” He extends a long-fingered hand to me once I’m upright. “I’m Christian Grey. Are you all right? Would you like to sit?”
So young—and attractive, very attractive. He’s tall, dressed in a fine gray suit, white shirt, and black tie with unruly dark copper-colored hair and intense, bright gray eyes that regard me shrewdly. It takes a moment for me to find my voice.
“Um. Actually—” I mutter. If this guy is over thirty, then I’m a monkey’s uncle. In a daze, I place my hand in his and we shake. As our fingers touch, I feel an odd exhilarating shiver run through me. I withdraw my hand hastily, embarrassed. Must be static. I blink rapidly, my eyelids matching my heart rate.
“Miss Kavanagh is indisposed, so she sent me. I hope you don’t mind, Mr. Grey.”
“And you are?” His voice is warm, possibly amused, but it’s difficult to tell from his impassive expression. He looks mildly interested but, above all, polite.
“Anastasia Steele. I’m studying English literature with Kate, um . . . Katherine . . . um . . . Miss Kavanagh, at WSU Vancouver.”
“I see,” he says simply. I think I see the ghost of a smile in his expression, but I’m not sure.
“Would you like to sit?” He waves me toward an L-shaped white leather couch.
Are you crying yet? If you ever wondered what an editor did, wonder no more.
Anastasia Steele is an unsympathetic mess of a character, and since the book is written in her point of view there’s no escaping her constant, endless navel gazing. Add to that that the woman is always flushing, blushing, biting her lip and saying “crap” and “double crap” and you end up with a woman no one could be attracted to. I don’t demand much from the genre, but a heroine I don’t want hit by a bus by chapter 3 surely isn’t too much to ask?
Basically, the relationship between the hero and heroine is unbalanced. They aren’t equals… but maybe they are, since Christian Grey, our hero, displays the emotionally maturity of a sixteen year old boy. Oh, but he’s a young – and I mean young – billionaire who employs 40,000 people and wants to feed the world. Take that, Ayn Rand!
And I think that’s what bothered me the most. The lack of maturity, not only of the characters, but of the author who created them. Look, this book is billed as erotica (BDSM) – erotica in which the writer has her heroine constantly refer to her genitalia as “down there.” Seriously? Double crap.
* All that said… if this book works for you, far be it for me to hold a woman back! But if it doesn’t… I can make some recommendations!