May 2 12

For a little context, I will admit this here right now: I read the entire Twilight series in 4 days. I basically ignored my children while ignoring the ridiculousness that was the series and enjoyed the entire damn thing. I was entertained by the whole thing, even though Bella Swan was insufferable and there was far too much murmuring for my tastes.

What I’m saying here, folks, is that I get the ENTERTAINMENT FACTOR. I get that some people will have read the 50 Shades of Grey series for entertainment purposes alone. They may have ignored the BELLA SWAN FACTOR (I did not) and they may have ignored the horrific attempt at WRITING (I did not) and they may have enjoyed the sex (I did not) and hey may have enjoyed the relationship between the principal characters, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele (I did not) and they may have found it exciting! (I did not) and they may have ignored all the things I am about to talk about, and they don’t care. And I respect that. I’m not judging you.

The only person I am judging here looks an awful lot like, well, ME.

Truth be told, I was ready to throw in the towel about 45 pages in. But, in the name of research, obviously, I made it all the way through the three books. I needed to read the entire series to give a thorough review. And now I am done. And I am celebrating the fact that I will never have to read the phrases FAIR POINT WELL MADE or LATERS, BABY ever ever ever ever ever again.


For those of you who have not read the books, here’s a little synopsis for you:

Meet Bella Swan. I mean, Anastasia Steele. Don’t let her life-on-the-pole name fool you, this chick is inexperienced. So inexperienced, in fact, that she spends an entire book telling you. Over and over and over again. Get used to this, though. Anastasia’s inner goddess is only slightly less annoying than her inner REPETITIVE LADY. Bella Swan Anastasia Steele is very clumsy and meets Christian Grey by falling down in front of him. Of course she does. She also, interestingly, is shocked that she has an email address.

Beware: Christian Grey is the most beautiful person on the face of the planet to ever exist ever. He is so beautiful, in fact, that Ana can only look at him THROUGH HER LASHES, as if that’s a thing. Also, he wears jeans a lot, and Ana makes sure to talk about his jeans. All the damn time. Especially the crushed and faded tight ones that hang on his hips. (what?) Christian, obviously, was in a boy band in a former life. In 1996.

Bella Swan Anastasia Steele reminds us this on every page. At least twice. Casting for the movie version of this is going to be a problem, methinks. Because guess what? People like this do not exist. Lest you think that Christian is perfect, alas, he is not. While women are fainting at his impossibly gorgeous feet and legs and arms and face and hair, Ana is aware of his deep, dark secret. HE IS A CRAZY LUNATIC.

He has had a rough childhood. Surprise! HE IS DEXTER, basically, only he doesn’t kill people, he just makes brown haired women SIGN NDAs AND CONTRACTS and join him in his “playroom” for some “kinky fuckery.” ooooooookay. So, Bella Swan Anastasia Steele isn’t down with being slapped so she sets out to CHANGE HIM, because that’s always a good idea, ladies.

Christian spends every page trying to feed Ana. NO I AM NOT KIDDING. “Have you eaten?” “What did you eat today?” “Dammit, Ana, why haven’t you eaten?””Let’s fuck…but first let’s eat peanut butter and jello sandwiches!”

Christian is rich. Very, very rich. Ana, apparently, doesn’t like money. Because Ana is stupid.

Also, just for fun, Ana refers to her special lady place as HER SEX. A lot. This gets old, quickly.

Instead of being able to change crazy controlling Christian, Ana spends three books trying to figure out how these two people can co-exist, even though I’m pretty sure this entire series spans over, like, six days. What happens, though, since they are both INSANE, is this:

Christian: I am so mad at you, Ana.

Ana: Don’t be mad at me. I want to work even though you make $100,000 an hour (WHAT?)

Christian: I am so mad at you.

Ana: Don’t be mad at me. And don’t buy me computers. I don’t want them. (I’LL TAKE THEM.)

Christian: I am so mad at you, I want to PUNISH YOU.

Ana: Don’t be mad at me, you are scaring me.

Christian: Stop biting your lip. Stop biting your lip.

Ana: {bites lip}

Christian: Okay, let’s pretend we aren’t mad at each other and just have lots and lots of sex right now where you have the most amazing orgasm yet (It’s like straight out of The Bachelor. Up next: the most shocking rose ceremony yet!)

Ana: My sex forgives you, even though you are a crazy person.


So, here’s the thing. I know you are probably thinking, “Wow, Ali, just ignore all the stupid stuff and just sit back with your vibrator and just enjoy the sex.” Now, here’s where I tell you that I ENJOY porn and sex and I dig this kind of stuff on a regular basis. (Not really the whips and stuff that Christian likes, including describing PERIOD SEX IN DETAIL, but, you know, the garden variety stuff. In other words, my sex life is healthy.) I did not enjoy this. I didn’t find the scenes hot in any capacity. Not even a single one. I was pretty bored by them, actually, and thought there were far too many. WE GET IT, CHRISTIAN AND ANA—YOU DO IT A LOT. Every page, it seems. At least every chapter.

So, even though they threw a DRAMATIC PLOT POINT into the book, including missing helicoptersÂand kidnappings and blackmail, I was mostly bored to tears throughout the entire book.

Bonus thing that will make you laugh:

Easily the most unintentionally hilarious line in the book: I can tell from his accent that he’s British. Oh really? Amazing!

I am off to read something that doesn’t make me want to stab myself in my own eyeballs, which, incidentally, wasn’t in Christian’s contract.

  1. I read the first book in its entirety, and I’ve read good erotica. This is not good erotic literature. It’s not good anything. It’s just completely terrible. I couldn’t even bring myself to read the other two books before I wrote my parody of it.

    Comment by Avitable on May 2, 2012
  2. Honestly…it’s a lot of lather, rinse, repeat. You didn’t miss much…

    The sad thing is that this is what women think IS erotica. That worries me a little bit…

    Comment by ali on May 2, 2012
  3. Laurell K. Hamilton used to write supernatural erotica that was a mix between intrigue and action along with sex scenes. It was enjoyable and pretty good, until she gave up with plot and wrote a 900-page book that was nothing but sex.

    Comment by Avitable on May 2, 2012
  4. Yes! I actually enjoyed most of the Anita Blake books — not so sure about the other series (about Fairies I think?).

    Comment by Darcey on May 3, 2012
  5. At least you got through it, Adam! I’m at 1/4 through the book and I’m having trouble continuing. I read erotica. I write erotica. I don’t know what the hell this stuff is.

    Comment by Nenette on May 2, 2012
  6. Hahahahahahah! I love this so much! SO MUCH! My inner goddess kinda liked the sex part of it but my normal goddess wanted to red circle my iPad over and over. Plus? PERIOD SEX? That was nasty.

    Comment by Jana A (@jana0926) on May 2, 2012
  7. Oh! I also hated the email exchanges. So terribly written – who the fuck changes the subject line of every email they send back and forth to each other? It’s like E L James has never used email in her life.

    Comment by Avitable on May 2, 2012
  8. So I’ve a few pages so far and I was planning on reading the rest on the plane tomorrow, but maybe now I’ll just toss it and sleep instead? Also, I have a bad feeling I might start saying “Laters, Baby!” now. Please stop me! Love you Ali! xo

    Comment by Loukia on May 2, 2012
    Do not.

    Comment by ali on May 2, 2012
  10. I skimmed about 70 pages of 50 Shades, found it incredibly annoying. And also very un-hot. But I’m glad it exists, because I’m loving what people are saying about it. Rock on!

    Comment by See Elle Oh on May 2, 2012
  11. by far the best review. I’m giggling, even as I cringe when you remind me of the period sex. I’m curious how a 27 year old learned to pull a tampon out by the string. Didn’t you ever wonder how her vagina never fell off? Also, maybe the other residents in the apartment building might want to shine a little blue light in the elevator. But, i’m still one of those people who liked it. I’m starting to doubt my intellect, though.

    Comment by mara on May 2, 2012
  12. Ali, your posts and comments on this are killing me. KILLING me. I want to read it to join in, but oy, I don’t know if I could slog through it. The Twilight books damn near did me in – though, yes, I did read them. I’m astounded that you made it through the whole series.

    Comment by Jen @littlemissmocha on May 2, 2012
  13. It was all for this blog post, obviously. In the name of research!

    Comment by ali on May 2, 2012
  14. Well, of course it was. Filthier things have been done in the name of good journalism. Thanks for taking that grenade for us, Ali. lol!

    Comment by Jen @littlemissmocha on May 2, 2012
  15. I got so sick of Christian running his hands through his just fucked hair that I wanted to suggest he go to the hair salon Mrs. Pedo Robinson operated and have it all shaved off. Of course, he’d have to ‘find his release’ 15 times before ever getting to the salon… Good lord, I got so worried about him finding his release! Put a leash on that thing! Consider building a fence around it! Why are you always looking for your release!


    (I sell these books to women who have driven HOURS TO GET TO THE BOOKSTORE every day, and they gush to me – or the equivalent of finding their release – about how great they are. I smile and think thanks for purchasing ‘Fifty Shades of Payroll.’)

    Comment by foradifferentkindofgirl (fadkog) on May 2, 2012
  16. I was going to review this book too, but it would sound exactly like yours, Ali. As I told Adam above, I’m only 1/4 way through the first book, and I just can’t go on.
    I read a lot of erotica, and this cannot be considered erotica in the very least.

    A girlfriend of mine suggested I read it… I’m going to have to lend her an erotic novel from my collection so she can learn what the good stuff is made of.

    Comment by Nenette on May 2, 2012
  17. Could you please send me a title what you think is the best erotic literature because I really liked 50 Shades

    Comment by Eva Maria Chapman on June 5, 2012
  18. One of my favourites is Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy. It came highly recommended to me (by many people actually) many years ago, and it’s become a favourite of many to whom I’ve recommended it. 🙂
    Also, the short stories of Thea Devine are a fun romp in the sack. Plus, she has a fascinating writing style. 🙂

    Comment by Nenette on June 5, 2012
  19. Yes! This sums up my feelings exactly. Mind numbing, horrible dialogue, laughably shallow. I read the first one on vacation – it seemed like a good vacation read, lots of sex & little thinking – but I couldn’t stand the thought of reading the rest.

    Comment by Barb on May 2, 2012
  20. OH GOD.

    Like you, I plodded through the whole series. I want the last two weeks of my life back. It’s bad when you start skimmming through the sex scenes because you simply can’t stand reading about Ana’s orgasm one more time. Or about how good Christian tastes. Because reading it once wasn’t enough.

    Mommas, don’t let your babies grow up to write bad fan-fic disguised as erotica.

    Comment by Brooke on May 2, 2012
  21. Thank you! You just saved me a lot of time and 3 credits!

    Comment by Corey Feldman on May 2, 2012
  22. Jeez – don’t you think you’re being a tad rough on poor Bella? Barf. I read them all, they got progressively worse – it is Twilight without the vampires.

    Comment by Erin on May 2, 2012
  23. I have to admit I liked Twilight for the entertainment value. Bella and Edward annoyed me at times, but I was able to enjoy the series.

    Comment by Corey Feldman on May 2, 2012
  24. Goddamn you for making me want to read this now. *shakes fist*

    Comment by Sweetney on May 2, 2012
  25. It’s almost worth it…for the comedy porn. *GRINS*

    Comment by alimartell on May 2, 2012
  26. Bahaha! “Comedy Porn”!

    Comment by Nenette on June 5, 2012
  27. “Ana, apparently, doesn’t like money. Because Ana is stupid.”

    Vapid is more like it.

    Comment by Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] on May 2, 2012
  28. Thanks Ali. I was curious, but you saved me HOURS of my life 🙂

    Comment by Heather on May 2, 2012
  29. I just used the book to remind myself of my own good sex scenes 🙂

    Comment by Louise on May 2, 2012
  30. Thank you. This review makes me want to read it even less than I wanted to before. Which was not at all.

    Comment by Kristabella on May 2, 2012
  31. I’ve heard about this book making the rounds and had already decided not to read it and this pretty much puts the nails right into this particular coffin. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good trashy read because I sure do! Candace Bushnell, Sophie Kinsella, I still love you! I loved the first Twilight book and it went downhill at a very steep incline after that, and although I made it through all of the million bajillion pages of hissing, wincing, gracefully dancing, granite-skinned, achingly beautiful people whose laughter sounded like the pealing of silvery bells I decided I was done after that. DONE. So I won’t be reading Fifty Shades. Thank you Ali Martell.

    Comment by Jen on May 2, 2012
  32. […] between my friend Ali and a handful of other women all discussing the book Fifty Shades of Grey. Ali hated it and I love it. I love it so so so much. Even though when I read the facebook string (the last string […]

    Pingback by This Is Not My Christian Grey Either | on May 2, 2012
  33. Thank you for doing the research for me so I don’t have to do it for myself. Nothing worse than awful boring porn. Now good porn is a totally different subject.

    Laters, Baby.

    Comment by gorillabuns on May 2, 2012
  34. I wasn’t planning to read this book at all – then the reviews started coming out and made me almost want to read it because it sounds hilarious. Thankfully means I don’t have to read it, but I’ll still get to enjoy the ridiculousness.

    I’m off to practice looking at things through my lashes. I’ve tried, but I just end up cross eyed or looking at the ceiling.

    Laters, Baby.
    (You know that’s gonna be a thing now, right?)

    Comment by Jessica on May 2, 2012
  35. Thank you. I thought I was the only one. I’m at chapter 12 in the first book. I want to give up. And based on this – I will give up. Off to find new books again 🙂

    Comment by Cindy on May 2, 2012
  36. I am just over 1/2 way through the first book. I come at it from a slightly different angle. Bear with me…

    Yes, it is horribly written. Yes, Ana needs to be beaten up side the head with a large, wet fish. Yes it is repetitive to the point of agony. But, this is not what disturbs me.

    What disturbs me is this apparent glorification of mental and physical abuse. Oh sure, lots of folks are turned in by a playful smack on the ass by their partner or a little nipple twisting. That’s fine. Whatever. The true danger of this sort of book going viral is people attempting to implement some of the corporal stuff in their own sex lives. My wife has decided she likes pain, being used and taking on a submissive role. That means I get to beat her ass, with her urging me to the point I cause bruises. That means I get asked to…ummmm…initiate her gag reflex during certain acts. I have tell you, this shit is HORRIFYING!!!! It sickens me. I have no interest in physically harming anyone, but this is what I am “roped” into. It has gotten so bad that she is having an affair now in the hopes of getting what I cannot provide and we’re getting divorced. Yes, there ate other factors involved but this was the catalyst. Everything else we could have been worked on, but not this.

    So I counsel extreme caution to anyone looking to explore these fantasies. You could get physically hurt and your partner may be emotionally and mentally scarred by it, like I am.

    Comment by Steve on May 2, 2012
  37. I’ve had no desire to read them after reading so many quotes (and the 50 Shades of Suck blog), and you’ve just confirmed it. While cracking me up. 🙂

    Comment by Angella on May 3, 2012
  38. I read/am reading, because I don’t give up on anything – but all I have to say is “Hell yes!!” to all of this.

    OH, and not to spoil anything readers may have read a million times. But she has an English degree and wants to travel to England to see the homes of Bronte and Shakespeare and … Didn’t Danielle Steel already write this seven thousand times without the whips and chains and red room of pain?

    Comment by Chantal on May 6, 2012
  39. UGH, trying to make my way through it now. So obviously written by a British author, and it’s driving me crazy. Who talks like that??? And what Portland-swelling college student in modern times doesn’t OWN A COMPUTER?!

    Comment by Jessica on May 31, 2012
  40. LOVE your review, Ali!

    I do question, however, the lack of comments (on a global level) about the quickness of Christian and Ana’s *ahem* sessions. By my standards, Grey would be a “One Minute Man,” if you know what I mean. This “concept”obviously would n-e-v-e-r register with poor little virgin Ana. She’s just thrilled to be having sex, forget that it’s with the most perfectly beautiful man on earth who also just happens to be a billionaire . . . at the old age of 27.

    Is it even worth mentioning my worry about Christian’s rather bland orgasm-inducing imperatives? “Let me hear you, baby.” “Give it up for me, Ana.” (Applause?) Really? Did. He. Just Say. That?

    And the way he is always pulling her hair and she fisting his . . . I am a touch worried about alopecia for the two of them. 😮 /

    jake {the girl}

    Comment by jake {the girl} on June 3, 2012
  41. LOL RIGHT!!! This 27 year old is a millionaire,almost a Billionaire I would say! This is RARE!!! Sure there were the computer tech heads in Northern Calif that were young and became millionaires but REALLY………27 and this boy has all this? PLEASE. This USUALLY doesn’t happen unless youre a trust fund kid or by the time your 47 perhaps!

    Comment by Trudy on August 26, 2012
  42. I have so many inappropriate comments to make, but I’ll just stick with: thanks for reading it so I don’t have to.

    Comment by Alexandria on June 5, 2012
  43. I’m a giver, really….


    Comment by ali on June 5, 2012
  44. Excellent review. You echoed my thoughts about it almost exactly.
    Side note: (because frankly you’ve said it all with this lousy series) I was watching the new Hell’s Kitchen the other night and texting the hubs about it because he’s in the states right now and he said the repetitive nature of that show combined with the humiliation he puts the competitors through every season makes it 50 shades of food. LOL I laughed so hard I spit out my drink. Just thought you’d enjoy that.

    Comment by Nuala Reilly on June 5, 2012
  45. I almost died with that sentence.

    Comment by Maya on June 5, 2012
  46. Which one?

    Comment by ali on June 5, 2012
  47. […] I am not a fan of 50 Shades of Grey. You can like it—doesn’t bother me if you do. […]

    Pingback by » The Five-Minute Guide to Alimartell Cheaper Than Therapy on August 1, 2012
  48. “Also, just for fun, Ana refers to her special lady place as HER SEX. A lot. This gets old, quickly.” LOL THANK GOD i was not the only person who found this insufferably annoying! These were terrible books that were poorly written…it is pretty much Bella post Edward lets have lots of sex….going to read something of substance now!

    Comment by MiaLeigh09 on August 25, 2012
  49. OMG LOL Your review was nice compared to some on line.

    My friend has read all three and wants me to “hurry up” (I’ve never had to be told to hurry and read a GOOD book”) I can barely finish the second one. I got through the first because I was told 2 and 3 are “just amazing” most of my friends won’t even bother readin this stuff,except the one who wants me to hurry! LOL This is so painful trying to get through these. I’mnow skipping over the sex scenes because they’re allso predictable! Bored to tears by the sex.

    Ana has to be the most annoying character.If I hear “inner goddess” one more time I’ll scream. Her character seems to go back and forth and contradict herself! She doesn’t want his gifts then she’s okay with it,she goes from a meak, insecure,young woman ,who’s suppose to be eduacated and smart to brave,bold and getting all gangster on Mrs R in the end!! This is the most inconsistant boring and annoying character I’ve ever read! I have tried for book one and half of two to like her but can’t

    Comment by Trudy on August 26, 2012
  50. I am so glad I wasn’t the only one to drag myself through these predictable smut books! By book three (Hiding the red room of pain from our toddler? Housekeeper watches the tots while mommy is bound and gagged and daddy decorates her with clothes pins?) I was skipping pages to be done. Nora Roberts could have done this 10,000 x better. Then again, several authors already have. I think the women who loved these maybe don’t read much beyond what everyonene else is reading. I’m amazed people want their own Christian Grey. Beyond the money and lavish gifts that come with it, he is a self-admitted sadist who chose Anastasia because beating women who look like his mom turns him on. So sick of the weak, deer in the headlights, pure as snow women in these books who only have eyes for the most messed up head cases on the planet (who are always jaw-droppingly hot. *yawn*). Can’t we build women up instead of turning them into vampires or beating them with belts? The tons of money thing….not enough in my opinion. Just means he can pay both to hide his “kinky fuckery” and have fancie torture devices. To beat and make her cry with.

    Comment by Katherine K. on September 9, 2012
  51. LOL Brilliant and well said!!

    In reality,these two would have their child taken away if any of that came to light. Spinesless pathetic mother controlled by her hormones and,a masogynist daddy with unresolved deep seeded emotional and rage issues for his mommy!! What a way to make your little girl feel comfortable,now be a responsible father and get some REAL therapy!!! LMAO That would be the real life reaction!! These two are annoying!

    Comment by Trudy on September 9, 2012
  52. […] They get this from me, obviously, since their father has read exactly one book in 2012. Granted, it was 11/22/63 by Stephen King, which is no small feat, but still. I’m disappointed that I won’t reach my goal of 62 books read this year (one more book than I read in 2011). I will probably finish the year having read about 50, which I can blame on the fact that I don’t spend 2.5 hours on the subway every day anymore and on the fact that it took me way, way, way to long to get through some of the books this year. After all, this was the year that I read the Fifty Shades of Grey series. […]

    Pingback by On Books to Read. On Books Not to Read. | Cheaper Than Therapy on December 20, 2012
  53. […] went on to become the second most shared post on Cheaper Than Therapy. (The first belongs to a post I wrote about my unwise decision to take precious time to read the entire 50 Shades of Grey s…—it’s time I’ll never get back, unfortunately.) Had I known that this post was going […]

    Pingback by The Jewish Day School Elephant: One Year Later | Cheaper Than Therapy on July 12, 2013
  54. […] I have more important things to worry about than this whole Ben Affleck is Batman ohmyheavenlydays how can such a travesty occur the superhero world is coming to an end. I mean, settle down, friends. Just remember that it Twitter was around in 1988, people would have been all, WTFBBQ MICHAEL KEATON? Really? Mr. Mom can’t pull off Batman! We are talking about Beetlejuice here. And you know what Michael Keaton went and did? He was Batman. So, let’s give Ben Affleck a little break and focus our attention to the rumors that the lovely, lovely, lovely Charlie Hunnam (the one who sits prominently at #2 on my list) is in talks to play Christian Grey in the 50 Shades of Grey movie which would just be a real-life problem for me because I was really hoping to never have to engage with anything 50 shades ever again—I have already lost too many hours of my life on that. […]

    Pingback by Celebrating Important Milestones Around Here—I Hope There’s, Uh, Candy | Cheaper Than Therapy on August 23, 2013
  55. […] As a writer, especially, reading is what fuels me. I started this love affair young and plowed my way right through the entire Babysitters Club series and The Little House on The Prairie series. I read Little Women until the pages quite literally fell apart in my hands—and it was different every single time. I didn’t have enough, uh, patience to get through The English Patient and I’m still kicking myself over it. I’ve written before about giving up on books, and needing to learn to do that. And I have! I have given up on several books this year alone, because my to-read list is long and vast, and there’s no room in my life for a mediocre book that might possibly get better. I learned my lesson with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo—not worth sticking it out. And, well, that entire 50 Shades of Grey situation. […]

    Pingback by Ten Books In Ten Minutes | Cheaper Than Therapy on December 18, 2013

Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>