50 Shades of Pre-1999

50 Shades


Warnings: The Fifty Shades series is extremely sexually explicit and involves BDSM. Because of that, and because they are not exactly well-researched or high-quality literature, I will mention things such as abuse, rape, rape culture, male dominance, sexism, relationship violence, and consensual BDSM. Also, the books began as Twilight fanfic, so I will be mentioning Twilight (which is a major squick for a lot of people just by itself).

Reading through this book is painful.  Every time I pick it up, I think, Maybe the writing will have improved since I last tried to read.  I’m learning to embrace the disappointment.

In today’s installment, we discover that Ana, who is about to graduate from college, not only doesn’t have a computer, she doesn’t even have an email address. Really, Ana?  Really?  What kind of sheltered life did this poor young woman have?  I went to a very small, Christian private college in the mid-90s, and even I had an email address, assigned to me by the college.  I find it very hard to believe that someone at least fifteen years younger than I am wouldn’t at minimum have electronic communication.

I’m also puzzled by the fact that Ana has no idea how to set up a computer.  Because we homeschool, our daughter has her own laptop.  You know what I did?  I went down to the store, picked out a computer in our price range, and brought it home.  You know how I set it up?  I plugged it in.  Yes, that’s right—I put the little prongs on the end of the power cord into the wall outlet.  The end.  It wasn’t terribly difficult.  Poor Ana apparently didn’t learn much from borrowing her roommate’s laptop.  She has to have a guy come in and do it for her.  Or, at least, Christian thinks she does; which may or may not be quite the same thing.

Due to the “sensitive” (read: secret) nature of the contract Christian has given Ana, she apparently can’t use Kate’s computer to look up what he means.  This is why she needs her man to bribe her take charge and make sure she has her very own laptop.  That way, she can make sure she’s clear on all the terms and conditions in the contract, right?

Wrong.  Ana doesn’t seem to know how to use Google, either.  Honestly, no wonder Christian wants her to be his submissive.  She freakin’ lives like she’s been sheltered from the real world by overly protective parents.  She supposedly types “submissive” into the search engine and comes up with…not what I came up with.  This is what I got (I like how the fourth entry pertains to this awful book).  Ana apparently found Internet porn.  I didn’t feel particularly aroused by the rather clinical definitions of submissive; she, on the other hand, was getting worked up just by reading about submission.  That right there should tell you something.

Ana also doesn’t bother reading anything about the things in the contract that she doesn’t understand or that make her uncomfortable.  One would think that if she isn’t allowed to talk to anyone about this stuff, she should at least make herself informed through reading as much as she can get her hands on.  One has to wonder if she actually does not want to know.

Another cringe-worthy part of this whole section is Ana’s back-and-forth emailing with Christian.  The emails are the worst.  They read like bad text messages, without the textspeak, or possibly Facebook chat, rather than emails.  The tone is juvenile; there are no adults on the planet who send emails like the ones Ana and Christian exchange.  Of course, we should have expect as much from the person who didn’t even have her own email address until this very scene.  Like everything else in this section of the book, it would have made a lot more sense if it had been set twenty years in the past.

Once again, this is a fine example of the horrible writing.  This whole chapter could probably have been eliminated and it wouldn’t have affected the story at all.  Better yet, the whole book could have been eliminated and it wouldn’t have affected life as we know it at all.


2 thoughts on “50 Shades of Pre-1999

  1. Amy, you really should hold back on your opinion 🙂

    I can’t believe you forced yourself through that book…topic and poor writing included.

    I heard a tiny bit about the book and was like…I don’t get all the hype and now we have to suffer through every tv show or movie referencing their own version of 50 shades of fill in the blank.



    • I would not even have bothered with this terrible book if it hadn’t been for several people requesting my opinion. I’m not even embarrassed by the smutty parts, because they are so awful! The whole thing makes me want to claw my eyes out. Thankfully, I have much better books both on the Kindle app on my phone and on my bookshelf. Every time I read a chapter of 50 Shades, I can make up for it with something that’s well-written.

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