Love it or hate it, the 50 Shades trilogy is (still) what everyone seems to be talking about. And for once, I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the subject.
As an English student I kind of feel like I should be joining the throngs condemning E.L. James for ‘bad writing’. But I did read all three books in the space of a week, so wouldn’t that make me a hypocrite?
In all honesty, I don’t think 50 Shades is awful. I can see good and bad here.
- I love the front covers.
- The conversational tone is really easy to get along with- I think this is what has made so many people across the globe empathize with Ana.
- There are some pretty decent villains- evil cougar, mental ex, demented editor…
- The ridiculous British stereotypes; the one English character using cricket references just to prove he’s not American. Right, well, why don’t we go and eat some cucumber sandwiches and shoot some foxes while we’re at it?
- At the core there’s a pretty good story, I just feel like it’s a bit unbalanced. The sex scenes are put in the foreground waaaay too much; it was novel to start with, but started to get a bit old by book three. And there were far too many orgasms in each chapter; that aspect started to get a bit monotonous. I think if she had devoted a bit more space to character development and the dramatic climax (excuse the pun) I would have enjoyed it more.
- The narrator uses the word ‘sex’ (excessively) to describe her lady-parts. I find that a bit cringey. There a lot of other instances of phrases being repeated in close proximity, but to me this screams ‘bad editor’ rather than ‘bad writer’. I know when I’m in the flow of writing, I repeat myself constantly, and it’s only during the editing process that I even notice.
- The ‘flashback’ style of book three wasn’t really to my taste- it didn’t seem completely organic but I do think it would work much better on-screen.
Having said what may seem like a lot of criticism, I did enjoy reading them; they made great bus books (easy to get into, easy to pick up/put down), and I’ve read so many reviews that seem unnecessarily harsh… I can’t help but wonder if people write these things just to prove they’re not like ‘everyone else’ (which in actual fact seems to do the complete opposite). There are fair and honest reviews and then there’s uncensored viciousness, I know which one I’d rather write!