50 Shades of Awful Writing

Arielle and I used to have a book review blog, back in the day. We stopped updating it years ago, but we still discuss books we read all the time and belong to the same book club… which hasn’t met since before Sadie was born… ooops. Anyway, we both read 50 Shades of Awfulness and couldn’t get over how poorly written it was. I don’t think Arielle even finished the book. We decided that we needed to bring back our book reviews and give our non-filtered opinions on this atrocity to fiction.

Yes, I read the dreck that is 50 Shades of Grey. And then I read the 2nd and 3rd books, because I NEEDED to know what happened. Stupid trilogy sucking me into your money pit. I’ll throw E.L. James a bone and say that the writing improved mildly, and I mean MILDLY between the first and third books. But please, PLEASE someone tell me how this became a national phenomenon? No really, how?

I know I can’t do justice to a review like Lorraine over at Snark Squad does, but here’s my bullet-pointed spin on it. All three books, if you will, because really, it could have been one book and I’d have wasted less of my life reading.

  • WHAT 21 YEAR OLD IN COLLEGE DOESN’T HAVE AN EMAIL ADDRESS OF THEIR OWN? I get not having a laptop, sure there are some students who can’t afford to. But not having an email address? HOW DID SHE GET THROUGH COLLEGE?
  • Why, Miss Steele, are you aware Jose/Paul/whoever else wanting you, but yet you’re so awkward/such an outsider/whatever? Pick some character traits that don’t contradict with themselves and stick with them, E.L.
  • E.L. has a bad habit of having Ana describe traits of Christian’s as “his”, when she just met him. As in, “He does such-and-such in that blankity-blank way of his”, or “He smiles in that psycho-stalker smiley way of his”. YOU JUST MET HIM, HOW CAN YOU KNOW WHAT HIS CHARACTERISTICS ARE?
  • And I’m sorry, when describing Jose at some point, “He smiles his dazzling toothy all-Hispanic-American smile, and I can’t be angry with him anymore.” WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? Do Hispanic-American’s smile differently than others? Sigh.
  • Her inner goddess pisses me off. And I think she needs some therapy to discuss a possible multiple-personality disorder between herself, her inner goddess and her subconscious. They all seem to be battling it out in there. Must have something to do with her equilibrium being out of whack. ๐Ÿ˜‰

I don’t want to ruin the rest of the series for anyone who hasn’t read (and still wants to) so if you don’t want some spoilers STOP READING NOW

  • If you agree to marry someone after only knowing them a few weeks, YOU ARE A MORON. MORON!
  • Your boyfriend buying out the company that you work for to protect you or whatever – totally weird/not okay.
  • WTF was with the lipstick map? I did NOT understand how that was drawn on him at all. And also why didn’t he wash it off for like, three days? Gross.
  • E.L. James tries to be all fancy with the dialogue and it falls short since NO ONE talks like that in real life. But then, at some point in book three she has Ana answer a question with “… something something my husband and me.” Nice E.L., nice.
  • Couldn’t someone have bought E.L. a thesaurus so she could have used descriptive words other than “growled”, “murmured” or “gasped”?
  • Ana needs a punch in the face. That’s all.
  • Why does she know so much about cars, but has never used Wikipedia before/calls Google “her friend Google” when referring to Kate using it?

So many unanswered questions. I can’t believe I wasted time reading this pile of word vomit. At least I can have solace in the fact that I’ve still never read the Twilight series. I’ll always have that!!

Make sure you check out Arielle’s review – she’s keeping a list of the other bloggers who slammed reviewed 50 Shades today too.


  1. Ha, love this. I’ve read excerpts of this series and it’s just not for me. Your review and questions pretty much sum it up for me ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I read the first book (a coworker loaned it to me) and thought it was ridiculous. What 21 year old will have sex for the first time but say something like “he touched me down there.” Seriously? I don’t see myself reading the other two books.

  3. Oh my gosh, I hated these books. And like you, I read all three because I had to see if it got worse. And it did.

  4. I didn’t even make it all the way through the first one. I kept wanting to grab my red pen…

  5. I have not read any of these books… Part of me is intrigued since so many people have been talking about them (both good and bad) but every time I read a review like yours, I think otherwise. I might be better off spending my time doing something else…

  6. I LOVE YOU FOR WRITING THIS. This were my thoughts within just starting the first book. I read the first two and have no interest in reading the third. People have GOT to stop reading this stupid book. I can’t even begin to figure out why it’s such a hit. BARF.

  7. I read the first two books and hated them both, totally unrealistic (having sex that often just sounds painful) and I thought Christian Grey was an asshole. Not sure why women get all hot and bothered over him.

  8. Hahah we totally did write about some of the same stuff. WE ARE AWESOME. These books are not. I’m on the waiting list for 2 and 3 but I’m kind of not enthused about reading them.

  9. I’ll admit, I read all 3 of these books. LARGELY because I feel like I’m super late to the game on ALL “trendy” book/movie/TV series experiences, and for ONCE I didn’t want to be late to the party (and I had some extra time on my hands).. Still never got around to reading/watching Twilight, or the Hunger Games.

    That being said, I’m a 25 year old recent law graduate with a B.A. in English. I’ve done a fair amount of reading. I can get on the “this is not great writing” train, because quite frankly, it’s not. What I can’t get down with is (and I’m not even necessarily saying you are doing this, because I don’t get this vibe from the post) is people who berate, humiliate, and INSULT others for reading these books. I have spent all day every day of the last 3 years during law school reading verrryyy complex and wordy shit. It’s exhausting. It’s a nice change of pace to read drivel. Could I have picked better written drivel? Sure. I freely admit by the third book every time Ana “murmured” I rolled my eyes, I started skimming the sex scenes, and it kind of seemed like the whole thing was written in a time warp: she had no email, computer, cell phone, he wore BLACK DENIM JEANS (wut?) among other things. I also got sucked into the storyline, and I’m such a type-A compulsive person there is no possible way I could have NOT finished all 3.

    If nothing else, I at least feel moderately educated about WTF people are talking about with “laters baby” and “50 shades of fucked up”…etc.

    If nothing else, through the whole thing, I learned to modify my attitude. I realize how it must have sounded if I made scoffing remarks about Twilight to others, way back when that FIRST came out before the apathy kicked in. Insinuating that I am somehow (or anyone) is better than someone else based on what entertainment I choose is dumb.

    end long ranty? post. peace. haha.

    • I TOTALLY agree with you. The writing sucks, but I’d never bash someone for reading it. It was an easy read, I can see why people continue to read it, but if someone told me they LOVED the writing, then maybe I’d have a problem. And YES the black jeans! WHO WEARS BLACK JEANS UNLESS YOU’RE A HIPSTER?

  10. upon reflection, I think the largest draw for me is this: isn’t it every girl’s dream (at some point) to have some uber hot sexy rich person say “I want YOU”..? just me? Ryan Gosling, anyone? Of course the fact that he was a ginger (Christian) was definitely a head scratcher.

  11. Wait, THEY GET MARRIED? Oh, God. So glad I opted not to read on.

  12. My sister-in-law, her mom, and her grandmother were all reading 50 Shades together at the beach. I haven’t read any of them but based on the excerpts I’ve seen, that seems…troubling?

  13. 1.) Thanks for the shout-out. ๐Ÿ™‚
    2.) Isn’t it so easy to get super SHOUTY and ANGRY at some of what she does here? It’s just such a combination of things. It’s not ONLY bad writing, but bad characterization and terrible plot points. The trifecta of “shit this book sucks.”
    3.) Sorry. I’m a lot harsher than you are. It’s the result of chapter. by. chapter. recaps. It makes you a little mean and a little dead inside. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    4.) I applaud you for reading on. I have not kept on and even though people are all “you have to read the second book!!!!!!” I don’t actually think that I can.


  14. Hahahah – I know it’s the worst writing I’ve ever seen I can’t even believe it! I skipped the second half of this post because I haven’t reluctantly read #2 and #3 for the sole purpose of finding out what happens in the end.


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