Back when Fifty Shades of Grey had its heyday, I heard enough about it to confirm my suspicion that it probably wasn’t worth my time.
I have no problem with romance and/or erotic novels in general. Like any genre fiction, it suffers rampant stereotyping: popular opinion (and your average book snob) maintains that romance/erotica is trashy, sexist, unrealistic, and so on. Undoubtedly some are, and others are not. Sure, there are conventions and tropes that appear on a regular basis (that’s why it’s called a genre), but as always, it’s unfair to generalize.
The rumor that stopped me from reading Fifty Shades of Grey was that it’s poorly written. Even my friends, family, and colleagues who tended to shy away from literary fiction admitted that Fifty Shades was poorly written—not your most persuasive recommendation as they come. If I’m going to buy and read erotica—or any kind of book, for that matter—I’d rather invest my time in something of quality.
Since then, I have come across many excerpts from E. L. James’s bestsellers proving all of them right. The writing isn’t just poor, but astoundingly, shockingly, hilariously, and distressingly so. Here’s a roundup of the best/worst examples:
“His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel… or something.”
“Double crap—me and my two left feet!”
“And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain—probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata near where my subconscious dwells—comes the thought: He’s here to see you.”
“The orange juice tastes divine. It’s thirst-quenching and refreshing.”
“I sit up and reach for the orange juice, drinking it down too quickly. It’s delicious, ice cold, and it makes my mouth a much better place.”
“I feel the color in my cheeks rising again. I must be the color of The Communist Manifesto.”
“Now I know what all the fuss is about. Two orgasms… coming apart at the seams, like the spin cycle on a washing machine, wow.”
“Oh, the many faces of Christian Grey. Will I ever be able to understand this mercurial man?”
Mocking Fifty Shades of Grey may be unoriginal, but somehow it never gets old.
Sources (with even more comically bad quotes and excerpts):