Vapid, fifty shades of…

That’s what it should have been called. Some of you know my friend A-S passed me the book a week ago. We swap books a lot, but she did warn me this one might be a challenge. You see, I LIKE words and I LOVE books. All kinds of books. Romance novels, graphic novels, textbooks, manuals (yes, I always read them). I even love books in languages I can’t read yet. And now blogs. If I’m following you and commenting, I like your style. I like your words. Your words make me happy.

SPOILER ALERT! Scathing Review of Fifty Shades of Grey to follow…

I do NOT like EL James’ words. She has taken perfectly good words and turned them to mush. Drivel. She has scaled the heights of vapidity and won. I tried, dear reader, I tried. But gave up halfway through, because I wasn’t convinced it was going to get any better. The characters are unbelievable. The settings are odd and two-dimensional. And what *bleeps* me off the MOST is the fact that I seriously doubt she has been to the good old US of A, let alone Washington State. Her syntax and language are all off. Perhaps it’s my curse, being an expat, that I am especially sensitive to cadence, rhythm and the unique oddities that differentiate English across the globe. A doona in Australia is a comforter in America is a duvet in the UK. See? So why couldn’t she master these little details? I can’t believe she wrote two more. And there are movies! Eek. I’ll stop here because I think I’ve made my point. 

For a book to be good, it has to be real. I have to believe the characters, to love them, hate them, want to engage with them. So here are my recommendations for great alternatives to Fifty Shades: if you’re looking for a good sex scene, might I recommend Rhonda Nelson or Maya Rodale? If you want to feel intellectual about it, get Lady Chatterley’s Lover. If you want to read something truly erotic, try Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s book, Venus in Furs, first published in 1870. It was a pioneering achievement – exposing the world to female domination and SM activities and giving us, via his name, the term ‘masochism’.

And now I’m off to finish The Expat Partner’s Survival Guide by Clara Wiggins, fellow blogger at, and one who knows what to do with words.

15 thoughts on “Vapid, fifty shades of…

  1. Lucy Camp says:

    You are lovely and I wish I could verbalise my thoughts the way you do 🙂 I DID finish the book – only because I needed to know how it ended (should have read the last page and saved myself the trauma.) It certainly was one of the worst written books I’ve ever read. I’m just grateful that I don’t have an ‘inner goddess’ sharing my headspace – I’d have been locked up by now! Truly aweful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Petal and Mortar says:

      There’s nothing wrong with that. To each their own. But do it well! I have read some beautiful, inspiring Amish romances, with wonderful characters. EL James did not create anything worth following.


  2. Chantell says:

    I completely agree with you! I couldn’t even get through the first chapter of the first book, and seriously wondered what all the hype was about?! Very poorly written! Like you, I am a lover of books and words, and found this to be cringe-worthy! I won’t even bother with the movie, lol!

    Liked by 1 person

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