I had to see what the fuss was all about, so today while the family and I were at Costco, I picked up one of their several hundred copies of 50 Shades of Grey, opened to the middle, and read three pages (the end of chapter 18 and the beginning of chapter 19).
Wow. Everything I’ve heard about it seemed confirmed in just those three pages: an insecure, immature female narrator finds her security in submitting to a powerful man whose own stability is less than healthy.
So basically, it’s Twilight, except that the writing here is absolutely execrable. I know we all make fun of Twilight, but Stephanie Meyer’s writing really isn’t awful, just servicable–it’s a plain, dull instrument, but at least it’s competent.
But E.L. James’s writing is so bad it’s scary. I haven’t seen supposedly professional writing this bad since Eragon. I read plenty of labored narration and stilted dialogue in just those three pages (“Holy cow! I’m going to meet his parents!” sticks out in my memory right now), as well as botched metaphors and hilariously juvenile descriptions of sex.
It’s so wretched that I have to wonder if it’s on purpose. Here’s my theory: 50 Shades of Grey was actually written by a group of misogynistic 12-year-old boys. These jerks have a twisted plan: they want millions of women to fall in love with this stuff, identify with it, and publicly proclaim allegiance to it (a blockbuster movie is in the works).
Once stage one of the plot is complete, the boys will reveal their scheme to the world. They wrote the book to embarrass women everywhere. They want to confirm every pitiful anti-woman stereotype out there. Fans of the book will be exposed as emotionally damaged, and women’s public image will be set back half a century.
So far, their plan is coming off without a hitch.
Be suspicious, ladies. Be very suspicious. I smell a trap.