by Danielle Belton aka The Black Snob
E. L. James’ extremely successful, widely read and popular novel “Fifty Shades of Grey” is not a good book. It is not well-written or constructed. It is not deep or transformative. It is pages upon pages of overwrought masturbatory prose, warped into ever more turgid passages of prose that you can’t even take pleasure in “hate reading.”
“Hate reading” is when you read something and relish in the schadenfruede (the misfortune of others) in how so-bad-it’s-good a crappy book can be. Like say, hate reading anything related or written by a member of the Palin family. Or my very first Hate Read as a teen – LaToya Jackson’s tawdry memoirs. But E.L. James’ book – which started out as Twilight fan-fiction you could read for free online – is so bad it is just bad and unlike the time I groaned my way through “Great Expectations” as a child, lamenting how it was so painfully obvious that Dickens got paid by the word, I was aware that “Great Expectations” was a “classic” and I was to learn something from it, even if I despised Dickens’ overwrought writing style.
But there’s nothing to learn from James’ work other than Edward and Bella “do it” this time, and the do it bondage-style. They do it everywhere and anytime and Fake Bella at first is confused/humiliated/disturbed by it but she’s oh-so-turned-on so … sigh … I guess she’ll just have to take in all this guy’s wealth, time and attention and capacity for giving her endless orgasms even in the most bizarre or confusing situations. Oh, ho hum. It’s a tough life, but someone has to bang the 28-year-old business tycoon.
Which is such a paradox.
I used to be 28 a few scant years ago. I’ve dated men who are 28. They’re all unemployed lawyers working as DJs playing Call of Duty at all hours of the night. Not captains of freakin’ industry. Even if you stretched your imagination and said, “Well, Mark Zuckerberg the Facebook guy is like worth a-kabillion dollars and is young,” I’d counter with, “That nerd?”
E.L. James was not pleasuring herself with thoughts of Silicon Valley’s Aspie-seeming, hoodie-wearing Geek prince. Because even if you’re 28 and a self-made man, you probably still act like a 28 year old, which is that confused place where you know you’re an adult and you have adult responsibilities and expectations, but like hell if you feel “grown,” whatever that is.
Nobody ever feels grown. But you definitely don’t feel like that at 28.
But all of this criticism is for naught because E.L. James is now richer than I’ll ever be for writing this crap I read on a lark. Even though I despised every moment of this book, I can understand why it’s popular. In fact, there are five very clear reasons why.