A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


A Student Publication of Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA


Books on Blast: “Fifty Shades of Grey”

Fifty shades of greatly disappointing
Graphic by Leni Alexi Santos/SAC.Media.

When it comes to books, BDSM and fictional erotica, many women will recommend the fiery “Fifty Shades” series by E. L. James. I, however, am willing to step up on my little bookworm soapbox and scream, “If books were people, I would never tell this series to suck my ass because I don’t think it would be able to do it properly.”

For someone only a couple decades old, I have both written and read a frankly alarming amount of erotic literature. This being said, I believe I have enough exposure to say “Fifty Shades of Grey” might just be the absolute worst erotic piece of fiction that I have ever laid my eyes on.

One of the biggest reasons for my distaste is that it honestly doesn’t serve the purpose of an erotic novel for me. While there are mobs of women prepared to argue that their panties are positively soaked, I for one have never felt drier. It almost hurts. You never forget your first blowjob, but I’m sure it didn’t start with a guy telling you, “I want you to become well acquainted, on first name terms if you will, with my favorite and most cherished part of my body.”

It feels awkward and the whiplash transition with even Anastasia, the main character, feeling a bit of shock over seeing his erection does anything but get my mouth watering. How does one even “get acquainted on first name terms” with a penis? Then again, maybe James just has a kink for dialogue. It doesn’t have to be particularly good; she just needs a little more conversation and a little less action, please.

Then there’s all the bits about whatever her inner goddess is doing. Anastasia’s “inner goddess” is really her inner self who often plays an interactive role in placing an image to the repressed character’s wild thoughts. From “doing the merengue with some salsa moves” to “staring … open mouthed and drooling slightly,” it’s distracting and takes whatever mood had been building up away in a snap.

Sure, I’ve had moments where I could feel myself mentally bouncing up and down like puppy receiving a bone – no pun intended – but there’s no way in hell I’m going to word it like that if the intent is to express the feeling of desire. Even if we were to shift our focus to how she’s actually expressing her feelings, she’s pretty much just a series of reactions.

“Holy fuck. Sweet mother of all . . . Jeez. And then he’s inside me. . . ah!” This is an actual line from the book, and I cannot understand why. Maybe it’s realistic, and I happen to have an absolutely feral mind, but I’m fairly certain that people don’t actually react to surprise sex like this. Books are meant to bring readers in and step into a character’s shoes. A good writer should know how to make a reader feel what the characters feel. A good erotic novel writer should be able to take this to the next level with a beautiful thing called imagery. All this line made me feel was a brain-stomping level of cringe.

Granted, why would I like Anastasia’s inner goddess, if I don’t even like her. Like I said before, our main protagonist is pretty much just a series of reactions for the reader to take in. If I had to pin any descriptions to her, they would probably be naive, weak and far too pedestrian for a book known for being kinky as hell.

Yes, her role in the whole BDSM dynamic that put this novel on the map is the sub. However, she has to be the absolute weakest sub to have ever been written in the history of fictional BDSM relationships, not to mention any character she may have been developing is completely lost to me.

I should say, though, I never made it past book one, and I don’t plan on ever reading the other three. However, from what I can tell, you don’t really see a whole lot of development until “Fifty Shades Freed,” the third book in the series anyway. Not to mention how “Fifty Shades of Grey” was originally a “Twilight” fan fiction with Ana, of course, initially being Bella. How the hell you make a character with less character than the already bland one they were based off of is completely lost to me.

Then there’s our mysterious Edward – I mean, Christian Grey. But seriously, even without the sparkly vampire powers, this guy is a possessive creep. He appears out of nowhere multiple times. He’s the one meant to deliver the suave lines, but they all sound so … overwhelming, and not in the fun way.

The lines weren’t written well anyway, so I can’t completely blame the character himself, but I digress. I know lonely women tend to fall for the dark, mysterious strangers with tragic backstories, dominating personalities and secret soft sides, but come on, this guy is too much. It’s like James tried to take every seductive character out there and bumped up the charm and “alpha” attractiveness to alarming numbers. If the ex of your nightmares is the man of your dreams, he’s right here in this book.

Plus, for a dom, he doesn’t really seem to actually know much about BDSM culture. Once again, that’s mainly the author’s fault. It’s clear that she hasn’t done her research. Especially in the hardware store scene where Mr. Grey purchases items such as cable ties, masking tape and rope.

If you ever plan on getting into the wonderful world of leather and chains, I recommend that you never follow this man’s example. Regular rope and tape could cause serious damage and aren’t meant to “spice things up” in the bedroom. That’s why we have bondage rope and bondage tape for. I honestly want to know how many people have been injured trying to reenact their favorite scenes with their partners.

Along with this, the point of BDSM roleplay is that it’s a safe place to act on unusual desires, such as the pleasures of pain, with someone who respects you and someone you can trust. In this novel, Ana simply traps herself in a risky relationship under the guise of a risque one. Real BDSM practitioners recognize the abuse and are pretty fast to shut down the image this fictional dynamic has given the community.

For example, after asking to be punished, she realizes that she can’t even really take the beating and then almost seems to blame it on Christian even though she could have used the safe word they had agreed on at any moment. In a real dynamic, partners should trust each other enough to know when they need to slow down. That’s what makes it feel good instead of terrifying, Ana.

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is a novel under the genre “erotic romanance.” However, all I could find was an abusive relationship with an exaggerated sugar daddy, and the only thing erotic about it is the fact that Ana’s reactions to being penetrated are put in ink.

For those looking for a fantastic erotic novel with something outside of the ordinary, I highly recommend “The Sleeping Beauty Quartet” by Anne Rice. Based on the tale of “Sleeping Beauty,” it’s an amazing erotic take that is definitely not for the simple Disney fan, but most definitely for anyone and everyone willing to get down and dirty with some of the most descriptive, sweat-inducing, jaw-dropping smut in literature today. The imagery is incredibly vivid and plenty of scenes dispersed throughout the book will definitely get your heartbeat racing so hard you might actually have to put it down – only to pick it back up again because you have to know what happens next to Beauty. The best part is, the author did her fucking research.

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