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1) Horribly Written.
Okay that one's not a shocker to anyone. And at the risk of sounding redundant, that'll be the last time I mention the word inarticulate. Oops, I did it again. My twin sister read the book and loved it, but as for the writing, she bluntly said "it was awful; it sucked." Let me provide a few examples.
"Double Crap" - Anastasia thinks as she falls into Mr. Grey's office. Double crap? That's the best you could think of? The last time I heard someone say double crap was when I was in third grade and my friend Ben got caught chewing gum. The writing style reminds me of some corny Focus on the Family video. Well..save for some BDSM stuff.
|Doesn't Christian Bale remind you|
of Christian Grey?
If you want reasons to avoid the book, check out this blog. If you want more examples, including awful quotes, check out this blog. It even includes the abhorrent line about Anastasia's "Christian Grey-flavored popsicle." There is so much immaturity, corniness, and just plain weirdness in that line, but at this point you have to give E.L James a merit star for using a three syllable word.
In fact, most voices out there agree that Fifty Shades reads at about a 5th to 6th grade reading level. This should, one, speak volumes about the state of literacy in our country. As recently as 2010, US students ranked 14th in reading out of 34 countries, and it appears that our reading abilities don't rank much better as we get older. Which is sad, and actually detrimental because of the connection between vocabulary and intelligence. And while it takes quite a few steps to get to literacy levels from erotic fiction, I would argue that the sex and bondage isn't the most important issue with Fifty Shades. Rather, the horrid writing and lack of analysis are the real problem.
2) Some women call it "empowering."
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3) Trashy Erotica is exploding with popularity.
While it may be redundant to call something "trashy erotica," I'm sure somewhere out there lies a decently written piece of erotica. The closest thing I've ever read to actual erotica was probably Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, but it wasn't as much erotic as it was blatantly obscene. But anyways, I happened to be walking through a grocery store the other day when I passed a bookshelf full of blatant knock-offs of Fifty Shades. Granted, a grocery store bookshelf isn't a place to look for any sort of stimulating literature, but I was still taken aback. The new arrivals were clear cut attempts to capitalize off the success of E.L. James book, and lacked the creativity to even change font set and cover color. Namely, Harlequin Mills & Boon has re-issued twelve erotic short stories. Separately, of course, to make more money. Tara Benson, Head of Marketing at Harlequin, was quoted in Digital Spy as saying the twelve books "are a selection of the best editorial from our finest writers, re-jacketed to speak to fans of Fifty Shades who are looking for their next erotic read." So they re-issued and re-jacketed all the books. In other words, the folks at Harlequin are really hoping you do judge a book by it's cover. In fact, they're banking on it.
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In conclusion, if you're looking for an intellectually stimulating book, Fifty Shades offers a different kind of stimulation. In fact, you'll probably feel pretty unintelligent. And ladies, you won't feel empowered either. But on the bright side, as long as you can read at a 5th grade level, you too can write erotica.