Friday, 8 March 2013

Fifty Shades of Grey - A review.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet"
Fifty Shades of Grey. Erotic, huh?
 Oh Mr Shakespeare, that line from Rom and Jule always seemed so apposite, so poignant, in noting the relative insignificance of a something so superficial as a name. That is, until I discovered E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey. The title is a perfect insight to the book's content. I was perplexed when I first heard of the book; what is it, some sort of Dulux paint chart?! As we are currently decorating our house, and I've spent many a happy hour pouring over paint charts, I can tell you that I couldn't have been further from the mark. While one is a gripping page turner, fast-paced and eloquent with apt descriptions and an impeccable structure, the other is the mind-numbing disappointment that is E L James' Fifty Shades of Grey. After a gruelling, mentally exhausting, intellectually demeaning battle, I finally read to the end of page 514. I put the book slowly down beside me, and sat for several minutes in perfectly still, silent, confounded, incredulous contemplation.


Now that's what I call gripping
I want to go back to school: I need to learn how to think again. One page into the book and academically I had regressed to Key Stage 1. Except even now, when reading Biff and Chip and Horrid Henry with the year 1s and 2s, I find these literary works more challenging, and less predictable than the maundering jumble of words that somehow make up FIVE HUNDRED PAGES of this bollocksy drivel.

*and breathe*

Ladies and Gentlemen, please fasten your safety harnesses, CaptainFunTimes' Rant Rollercoaster will shortly be departing on another whirlwind adventure. Behold! Here is my brief summary of Fifty Shags a Day...

Anastasia 'Call Me Ana' Steele goes to interview multi-trazillionaire Christian Grey for her University magazine, in place of her fit friend who has the 'flu. They share a bit of a mo'.  100 pages later and she's losing her V-Plates to him. 400 mind-numbingly boring pages after that, during which time they do a bit of kinky shit and ride in light aircrafts, the book finishes.

Obviously there's a bit more to it than that, for example the shocking revelation that he's a domineering, manipulative, violent arse who changes mood more frequently than Call Me Ana changes her underwear, because he has an abused, troubled past. NO FRICKING WAY! It doesn't take a degree in Psychology to work that one out, love.  

Deep flaws permeate the book from start to finish. In the entire tortuous, terrible tome, there was not one page that I found remotely credible...
- For a start, it was set in America, yet the only efforts E L James went to to make the narrative seem as though it was seen through the eyes of one of our cousins from across The Pond, was to drop the 'u's out of words like 'favourite'. Gosh, how clever. The narrative couldn't have sounded more English if it had occasionally deviated from the "plot" to have a jolly good, buck-toothed, tea-fuelled knees up around the Old Joanna - which, incidentally, Call Me Ana did when she was about to do the dirty with Crazy Chris on his piano. 
- Secondly, Call Me Ana starts out as an inexperienced virgin, who's never shown any interest in men, and has never touched herself 'down there'. It seems unlikely, therefore, that given Mr Grey is apparently hung like a viagra-filled donkey, her first time would be virtually painless, and 'astounding'. She can't even say vagina for Christ's sake! Given she's never seen a willy before, I'm not sure how qualified she can be to talk about the impressiveness of Mr Grey's trouser-snake. He could have a runner bean down his trousers and she'd probably still think, 'gosh, that's a large one matron.'
- Thirdly, one spends much of the book questioning whether or not E L James is actually a real woman with a real vajayjay, as 'she' apparently understands so little of the female anatomy. I was led to believe that the book was ram-packed full of totally shocking sex, yet I'm pretty sure even an abstinent virgin brought up in a nunnery would find it boring, unimaginative and repetitive. The sex scenes closely resemble the Hokey Cokey: In out, in out, you shake it all about...that's what it's all about. 
"I am fucking him. I am in charge. He's mine, and I'm his. The thought pushes me, weighted with concrete, over the edge, and I climax around him...shouting incoherently."
They're a bit like Jamie Oliver's cooking commentaries, all 'lovely, just bish bash bosh, and you're done. Pukka. Quality. Job done. Beeeautiful.' How very sensual and romantic.
Mr Grey ain't got nuffin' on my carrot.
- While the point of Crazy Chris having a troubled childhood and consequently being an emotional fuckwit is made laboriously throughout the novel, E L James does not even bring into question the fact that Call Me Ana clearly has some sort of split personality disorder, spending the entirety of the story having disagreements with her two chums, 'my subconscious' and 'my inner Goddess'.
- E L James has some serious vocabulary issues. For someone who seemingly turns into such a wanton sex Goddess, it beggars belief that Ana still refers to her downbelows as '...there' and her 'sex'. She uses the word 'crap' and variants of it 'crapola' (how eloquent) 101 times, which is a hell of a lot for such a crap word. And OH MY GOD, HOW MANY TIMES DO YOU NEED TO USE THE WORD 'DELICIOUS' AND 'EXQUISITE'?! For all that the sex scenes resonate with Jamie Oliver's television commentaries, you do NOT need to use the words multiple times in every single chapter. Come on now Ms James, you've earned your millions, can't you invest in a decent thesaurus? 
- The final, most damaging, flaw to the book is the brutal kicking that E L James gives to feminism. Don't worry if he makes you do things you're not comfortable with, girls, if you really like him, you should prioritise pleasing him above all else. And if that involves your arse having a jolly good belting, then so be it. If you endorse his misogynistic, violent, controlling behaviour for long enough, then maybe he'll change. Of course, it's not his fault, he had an abusive childhood. There were problems at home. He was trained as a submissive from the age of fifteen. So what would be a good idea to deter his wicked acts, Ana? Tying your hair in pigtails to make you look more girlish? For a man who seemingly has no problems with fifteen year olds being fucked by grown adults, I'm not sure that'd work actually, love. Maybe the fact that he traces your mobile phone and stalks you two and a half thousand miles across the continent is a sign of his affection, and isn't weird and terrifying after all. But then again, maybe PIGS CAN FUCKING FLY AND THE POPE ISN'T A DRESS-WEARING CATHOLIC.

You may have realised that I'm not a fan of this book. And that I've just made the shortlist for the World's Greatest Understatement contest. It's difficult to like a book when you hold a sincere disdain for both of the main characters. When there's no trace of a positive role-model in either of them. When the objectification of women as punchbags is made totally acceptable as long as it's pleasing some mind fucky mind fucker.
I hear they're making a film of Fifty Shades of Fucking Ridiculous. If it's even half as tiresome as the book, I wonder whether the spotty adolescent boy who usually hands out 3D specs at the cinema will instead hand out match-sticks to keep the audience's eyes open, thus preventing them from having an enjoyable snooze to shut out Call Me Ana from talking incessantly about her 'sex'. If, after reading this, you're still curious to read the book - perhaps you're giving up sex and are in need of some un-erotic literature as a massive turn-off - then Good Luck, and God Speed! BUT DON'T SAY CAPTAINFUNTIMES DIDN'T WARN YOU. Until next time kids, stay safe, and don't trust anyone who - like Crazy Christian Grey, some sort of knowledgeable, worldly, 'trust-worthy', Sex-God - thinks you can't get up the duff if you do it while you're on the blob. 

I will leave you with the wise words of Coach Carr, "Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant, and die. Don't have sex in the missionary position, don't have sex standing up. Just, don't do it, promise?"

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