A few weeks ago, I was told that I had no business criticizing something that I wasn’t familiar with. I had to agree, and so I took up the challenge to read Fifty Shades of Grey and report back. I only made it to chapter twelve before my brain threatened to go on a shutdown strike and I had to cease.
One major criticism I had was the writing is abysmal. After enduring almost three hours of E.L. James shoving the English language through a meat grinder, I think I’m justified in that opinion. I also can no longer use the word “inner”.
Let’s look at the protagonist. Anastasia Steele is so unrealistically naive and sheltered, I wonder how she managed to get through four years of college without curling into a permanent fetal position and going catatonic at the horrors she would have witnessed for the first time. Unless, of course, she was attending a university peopled entirely by asexual teetotalers.
Never had an email address? In this day and age, it’s pretty much mandatory that all students get on their college’s email system, not to mention that a great deal of coursework is now on-line.
Never kissed someone? Never held hands? And yet, in the next chapter, she’s apparently an instant master of fellatio. Millions of people bought into this character and suspended their disbelieve, hoisting it into the stratosphere where it expired from lack of oxygen.
Then there’s the rape scene, perpetuating the myth that most women fantasize about being brutally taken like that. Perpetuated, of course, by people (and some are, indeed, woman) who have never actually been brutally taken like that.
“You’re just jealous,” said an acquaintance of mine after reading the rant I posted on facebook. Of COURSE I’m jealous! I’d be up to my neck in denial if I claimed I wasn’t. Here’s a woman who slapped together three books with cardboard characters and aggressively bad writing and she’s rolling in riches now! Meanwhile, I labor over every damned adjective and phrase, agonize over every character, obsess about Oxford commas and dangling participles, and can only gaze at a best-selling list from afar.
So, yeah. I am jealous and I am dismayed. I’m also sorely tempted to throw everything I know about grammar, and character and plot development, out the window and slap together a few two-dimensional tomes of my own.