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50 Shades of Suck: Real Talk Tuesday

I’m not typically one to follow the crowd, nor am I one who would attempt to read a romantic novel, but curiosity got the best of me when it came to this book.

I first heard about it on a local radio show when one of the DJs lost a best and had to read it and report back about it on the show along the way.

Then I saw a Saturday Night Live skit about Amazon and 50 Shades of Grey. I haven’t even read the book but I had heard enough hype to understand the joke.

Then I heard it was Twilight fan-fiction and got REALLY confused. What? It’s another vampire book? No.

A friend of mine scooped up the series and texted me for an entire week about the spicy book. But I was not going to give in.

Finally, during my trip to Atlanta, the novel came up yet again at the dinner table. Everyone who had read it was raving about how good it was.

I had to ask the question: Why?

Some call it a love story, but admit it’s got a kinky spicy side. Others read it for that side and claim their husbands appreciate the… Uh, inspiration?

I was morally torn about this dang book, but a bit of peer pressure, a couple nights alone in a hotel, and my innate desire to get to the bottom of things got the best of me, and I bought the book on my iPad.

Mind you, this was after I read about 15 1-star reviews on Amazon, all saying how much the writing sucked and how there’s no real storyline. I had nothing to lose… Ok, well just $10. Other than that I had nothing to lose.

Typically my style of book is historical fiction, or any kind of fiction really. Currently I had been reading the second Percy Jackson series–Heroes of Olympus. Sure, it’s written for 13-year-olds, but it’s written dang well, and it’s captivating and exciting. I set that book aside to pick up 50 Shades… An entirely different kind of book.

I sped through the first five chapters trying to understand the story yet get to the good part. Immediately I noticed the inferior writing compared to what I’m used to reading. Words like “murmur” and “medulla oblongata” shouldn’t be used more than once in a book, much less in the first seven chapters. I didn’t think “bad writing” would annoy me so much but it annoyed me to the point of being unable to enjoy the story.

Some people say Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books weren’t written well… They haven’t seen nothin’ yet.

On the flight back home the pregnant woman next to me pulled out noise cancellation headphones, and 50 Shades of Grey. I saw she was getting toward the end and couldn’t help but ask her if it gets better.

Nope.

“Same story different chapter” is what she told me.

I forced myself to make it through the first “hot” scene, but eight chapters in I was less than thrilled and decided to hang it up.

Maybe I’m giving the book a hard time. Perhaps if I wasn’t thinking about it as being a professionally edited and written book–if I read it thinking of it as fan-fiction or a blog, I could enjoy it more. Either way, I decided to go back to my middle-school books involving Greek mythology and demigods because I’d rather read a good book for kids than a sucky book that reads like it was written by a kid.

I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t get the hype, but it seems I’m in the minority. Every day I come across Facebook posts about the it, and SomeCards on Pinterest that giggle at their own obsession over these books. It seems as though everyone and their cousin loves it. To me it just felt like 50 shades of suck. Edited to add: For those who haven’t read it, the first 7/8 chapters I read were boring compared to what I’ve heard was coming. I didn’t make it far enough to get to any kinky stuff and the one steamy part I did read wasn’t much of anything you wouldn’t find in another adult book with a love story… Except with lame writing. Also, the fact that I’m semi-prudish may have affected my opinion. But trut me, from what I read, you ain’t missin nothin.


Chantel says:

I think people have been reading it for the spice. I haven’t read it, and have no intention to. I like my book to be good, not just full of good sex.

People are reading it for the weird sex. Or, they are like you, wanting to figure out what all the fuss is about.

I don’t feel like it’s something that’s going to uplift or educate me so I’m choosing not to read it.

That’s another thing. If people are into reading about the weird sex, why this book? It sucks. I just don’t get it. Lol.

I haven’t given it a chance yet but I’m ok passing it up. I have too much else I want to read! 😉

Kim says:

I think women are searching for that strong man, one who takes control and takes care of them. Stinking rich, handsome, flawed (so we can “fix” him), and he buys expensive gifts. Isn’t that the stuff of women’s fantasies?

And maybe some of them do like the kinky sex stuff.

I read the entire series, and my blog review, I called it ’50 Shades of Down There’.

Faith says:

Yeah, i didn’t like it either. at all. not interested in finishing the triology at all. it just didn’t really engage me and the writing was just plain horrible. 50 shades of suck is right.

Jenny says:

I heard a lot about it too so I read the sample on amazon. That was enough. I was still a little curious but after reading some reviews I decided my.time was better spend elsewhere. I didnt even realize it was erotica when I started but then I read a review where someone used their ipad to search how many times she used “down there” and other silly things and was totally put off.

Olusola says:

You’re not in a minority. I decided to skip the book after reading all the negative reviews on Amazon. I’m an avid reader and yes, I read a lot of “spicy” fiction but I totally abhor poor writing and editing. A pet peeve from being a magazine editor all through high school and college.

YUMMommy says:

I’m currently reading it and I have to say that I like it. Sure it’s not Jane Eyre or The Great Gasby, but I don’t think it’s bad writing. I think that a lot of women are drawn to this book because of the ‘bad boy’ element and not necessarily the sex per say. Honestly, speaking I think the sex scenes I’ve come across thus far very mild in comparison to let’s say a Zane or Eric Jerome Dickey novel.

Again this isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but it’s not the worst either. I think for James’ first attempt as a writer, she’s done a good job. She’s a mom who followed her dream to become an author. Also, I think British authors have a different writing style.

Kira says:

I haven’t heard anything about this book, but just based off the Amazon description and your review.. Ill STAY faaaaar away. I couldn’t even get through the first couple chapters of twilight and you’re saying this is worse? Ugh.

Entertainment has gone down hill these days. Music, movies, and even books are all poorly written, played, acted for a quick buck! It’s not all about special effects, sex, violence that make something awesome. Since when does Quantity make it better then Quality? It doesn’t. People are getting so lazy now too, stealing the same ideas and making them into their own.

I do agree with the other peeps that I think it’s the whole “bad boy/rebel” that someone might find appealing..But that’s only appealing for like a total of Oh 5 seconds. No one wants a guy to control them if were being honest. That’s why I have a problem with these “fantasy” books. That’s exactly what they are. A fantasy that’s not believable or relate-able.

Jennifer.. if you DO find something noteworthy of reading. Please post about it. Lets start a trend of some good reading material.

Thanks for letting me rant!

mk says:

Seriously. Stephenie Meyer is Proust compared to the author of that book! The writing was so laughingly bad. I think it’s so popular because it mainstreams a kink some people would like to explore but not feel like they’re weird.

I am even worst off than anyone that heard, thought of, or read the book. Why, I kept on hearing about it and thought nothing to it, didn’t even read on, and always happened to change channels when the book came up, so needless to say I had NO idea what it was about, but on hearing the title, I thought it was a home decor book. Yup. You read that correctly. Until I heard it one too many times and googled it. Quite of the loop as you can see. Don’t plan on reading it either. Not because I am prudish, but it just doesn’t interest me.

emily says:

Thanks for this! I’ve heard a lot about this book but have too many other (good) books on my list to get to it…now I won’t worry about not reading it! 🙂

Quiana says:

Just reading your line about the writing being worse than Twilight is enough to keep me away from it (I’m halfway through the Breaking Dawn due to peer pressure and it’s taken me over 2 years to finish the series). I’ve heard Anne Rice’s pseudonym erotic fiction is much, much better if it really is “about the sex” as everyone is saying. I hardly can stomach any kind of fiction anyway so I will definitely pass on this.

Ashley Smith says:

The one thing that pissed me off is when the character Ana Orgasms during her first time…idk many women how even really enjoyed their first time much less orgasm! and the “He cocked his head to the side” and “A ghost of a smile” really bugged me, but its one of those time waster books so it hasnt really bothered me too much. I didn’t buy it hoping to compare it to Jane Austen lol.

melifaif says:

I’ve heard more bad things than good…just sayin!

Gerri says:

I am so glad you posted this. I have been trying to decide if I wanted to jump on this bandwagon. The only thing that’s kept me away is the fact that I’m too cheap to cough up the $10 — which will eventually lead to me purchasing the next two for a total of $30 –and the fact that I’m like number 250,000,000 on the Kindle version waitlist at my library. It’s hard not to get it NOW since everyone’s talking about it, but I think I’ll wait my turn. Thanks for your “review.” 🙂

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget

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I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.



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