Puma's Reviews > Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
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U 50x66
's review
Nov 14, 2011

did not like it
I own a copy

I only bought this on Kindle because I was curious to see whether a professional edit made it any better than the original fanfic (which I abandoned once I realized the plot wasn't original enough for me to suffer through the cut-rate writing). Paging through this "published" version makes me more embarrassed for the author than I was when it was in the fanfic domain, and it DEFINITELY made me lose respect for The Writer's Coffee Shop.

Most distracting is the schizophrenic voice of the main character, Ana. In one paragraph, Ana's words sound like those of a quasi-literate teenager; in the next paragraph she uses uber-literate words like "gamine". Are we supposed to believe that she's naive or sophisticated? Un-self-aware or articulate?

Add in culture confusion: Ana is supposed to be American, but the author (who is from the U.K.) keeps having Ana use Britishisms! Her roommate isn't "sick" like American people are, she's "ill"; Ana doesn't "grab her bag" before going out the door, she "gathers her satchel". Ana's voice fails to consistently ring true for an American girl.

Yet, the worst literary crime is the outright misuse of language. Says Ana at one point: "The elevator whisks me with terminal velocity to the twentieth floor." Um...terminal velocity occurs when the downward force of gravity equals the upward force of drag, and it can't be reached by a controlled-speed mechanism that draws an object upward (such as an elevator). Even if the author didn't know this, the editor should have caught it.

The problems don't end there. From cliches (without a lick of irony or humor, Ana is described as putting the "pedal to the metal" as she drives), to awkward sentences, to nonsensical metaphors, this work is amateurish. There's nothing wrong with being an amateur, but there IS something wrong with charging people money for something that hasn't been professionally edited. If this author wants to be taken seriously, she should take the time to learn about writing craft and align herself with an editing house that will turn her writing into serious work.
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Reading Progress

02/12/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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message 1: by rameau (new) - added it

rameau Editor... what editor?


Ceilidh I've only read excerpts but I have to ask this to confirm a nagging feeling - how many times does the heroine bite her lip throughout the book?


message 3: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Her husband 'edited' the fanfic. I mean book.


message 4: by Jilly (new)

Jilly That was the biggest issues I had with the book - I just didn't buy that a 22 year old American speaks like that. I didn't buy for a second that she ever lived in the south.


Kathy How many different characters "died a thousand deaths"? Seriously, who talks like that????


Jessica The language in the book was distracting for me and I hate to admit, I had to grab a dictionary one two occasions.


Kathy Yes! Well, I used that app on my kindle but I know what you mean. It's like she wrote with a thesaurus.


message 8: by Sharon (new)

Sharon As someone from the Seattle area, just the setting problems alone drove me crazy. And the fact that she was at WSU Vancouver makes ZERO sense. It's an extension campus for evening classes and the sorts, not a traditional campus that you find someone like this character is supposed to be.


La Petite Américaine Sharon wrote: "As someone from the Seattle area, just the setting problems alone drove me crazy. And the fact that she was at WSU Vancouver makes ZERO sense. It's an extension campus for evening classes and the s..."

You mean we don't call it The I-5 either? (I'm from Seattle too). These knds of mistakes, along with the others mentioned in the above review, are really sloppy editing.

Piss poor book. Great review.


message 10: by Rachel (new) - added it

Rachel I had issues with the language too, but it was the setting that firsthand me scratching my head. It's been almost 20 years since I lived in the Seattle area, but I didn't even know there was a WSU campus in Vancouver, so at the first reference to Washington State I had to go to google. If she needed a university a few hours outside a big city, surely there are others that would have made more sense, and been a little more recognizable?


Kathy I suppose since it's Twilight fan fiction (still a difficult concept for me to get....basically you're leaching on to someone else's creativity) she was stuck with the locale. I really disliked the books (although I'll admit to a morbid curiosity about the characters) and it was surprising to me to find out that they were fanfic. I'm red-faced to admit I read the Twilight books as well and just didn't see the similarities or catch the references. I really need to upgrade my book list!!!


Desireedenato I am laughing so hard at some of these reviews. Wonderful. Try The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher. No fan fiction, no lip biting and excessive blushing, no creepy abuse.


La Petite Américaine Sweeeeet. I'm there, dude. :)


message 14: by Kevin (new)

Kevin I thought I'd read it just to see what all the hubbub was about. Winced at "pedal to the metal" and put it down at "terminal velocity." I figured, "How good could an author be who's too stupid to know what terminal velocity is?"

I guess I've just been further confirmed in my belief that popular is putrid.


Bethany The writing leaves much to be desired. But the story is intriguing, particular Grey's past. Enough to keep me reading. I also loved Twilight though I accept it for what it is. In other news, Gatsby, Poe, and The Sound and the Fury are other favorites. So there that. Variety. Good stuff.


message 16: by Emily (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily Considering this started out as a Twilight fanfic, I don't really have high hopes for it, I haven't read it only seen it in my college bookstore. And the last time I'd heard of an elevator "whisking" anyone anywhere was in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.


ErOtic_SCiFi_CHick haha schizo voices...that was classic hahaha


Cakes I am currently still reading the book but I am already annoyed by the writing! Most of it sounds like simplistic YA writing, and then she adds a word every couple of pages that I have to use my Kindle dictionary for! It throws off the entire flow of reading when you throw in some 'big word' that sounds nothing like anything the characters have said before!


Monica Powell Great review. I agree on all levels. Sloppy and sophomoric. Where would this get "wives" to have more sex? Really!!? I was turned off and only read to finish the damn thing.


Melissa The only subject matter that kept me going were the emails between Ana and Gray. I never thought I would say this, but there was too much " repeat " sex.


Sparrowlicious This was yet another fanfic? omg xD


Jasmin Ceilidh wrote: "I've only read excerpts but I have to ask this to confirm a nagging feeling - how many times does the heroine bite her lip throughout the book?"

A LOT! lol


Renee Alexis lucky I didn't bought in mine.


Heather Prescott I didn't realize an editor actually read this. Are you sure??? Lol


message 25: by Kelly (new) - rated it 1 star

Kelly Couldn't agree more...poorly written...NO PLOT...I quit reading about the time he made her sign a contract!! Are you kidding me?!? What's worse is all of the women who love this book. If erotica and S&M is your thing, great; but shouldn't women expect more, like a PLOT!! And maybe even some talent with the writing. Whoever gets the fun of writing the screenplay for this movie is going to have to actually write a story line!! Maybe I should have written my own review...(;


message 26: by Kayla (new)

Kayla I can't for the life of me see why this series is so popular.


Bridget Ana doesn't sound like a British girl either. Nobody over here ever says "gathers her satchel", unless they're from the 1940s.


message 28: by Natalia (new)

Natalia I find this book is good if you're having a bad day, it certainly makes me laugh when I'm down.
I mean, it is filled with purple prose patches and bits with rather infantile narrative, then again what can you expect from a self published, Twilight fanfic writer?


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