I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
June 8, 2012
A fascinating blog post has been circulating on Facebook over the last few days, written by a Good Christian Woman who lists all the reasons why other Good Christian Women should not read the erotic mega-bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey. “I wouldn’t drive my Envoy into the front of an oncoming semi-truck any more than I would open the pages of Fifty Shades of Grey,” declares the author of the post. “I love my marriage, my God, and myself too much.”
What follows in the comment section is a deliciously sanctimonious catfight over whether you can truly call yourself a Christian if you read such a sinful, sinful book.
Well, Mediocre Christian that I am, it will probably surprise none of you that I have read the book. (On my Nook, of course! An authentic Mediocre Christian will only read Fifty Shades of Grey on an e-reader, while carefully assuming the facial expressions of a woman intent on The Purpose Driven Life.) And now that I’ve read it, I have to say that I agree with the basic premise of Mrs. Gresh’s blog post– I, too, believe that God does not want you to read Fifty Shades of Grey. But my reasoning is a little different from hers.
“What is your life?” reads James 4:14. “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James is trying to say that in the face of eternity, life is short. Like, really, really short. I’m pretty sure that God doesn’t want us to waste the miniscule amount of time we have here on earth doing silly stuff like ironing bedsheets, looking at pictures of kittens on the Internet, or reading really bad erotica.
That’s right, girls. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Fifty Shades of Grey is a true horror of bad writing. Right off the bat, the Britishims will drive you insane. British author E.L. James has created a fantasy world of American characters who are all “keen on” carrying a “smart rucksack,” and who say things like “Miss Kavanagh is indisposed,” rather than “Dudes. Katherine’s sick.”
To put this in perspective, it would be sort of like me writing “As she left the gates of Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth waved at the guards and said, “Bye, y’all! I’m fixing to get me some collards at the Piggly Wiggly! Any of you boys want to help me push the buggy?”
Add to this the fact that the author repeats words and phrases like a parrot that lives in a brothel and you’ve got another excellent reason to leave this book on the hold shelf at the library. Check out this research one helpful Amazon reviewer did:
According to my Kindle search function, characters roll their eyes 41 times, Ana bites her lip 35 times, Christian’s lips “quirk up” 16 times, Christian “cocks his head to one side” 17 times, characters “purse” their lips 15 times, and characters raise their eyebrows a whopping 50 times. Add to that 80 references to Ana’s anthropomorphic “subconscious” (which also rolls its eyes and purses its lips, by the way), 58 references to Ana’s “inner goddess,” and 92 repetitions of Ana saying some form of “oh crap” (which, depending on the severity of the circumstances, can be intensified to “holy crap,” “double crap,” or the ultimate “triple crap”).
…Ana says “Jeez” 81 times and “oh my” 72 times. She “blushes” or “flushes” 125 times, including 13 that are “scarlet,” 6 that are “crimson,” and one that is “stars and stripes red.” (I can’t even imagine.) Ana “peeks up” at Christian 13 times, and there are 9 references to Christian’s “hooded eyes,” 7 to his “long index finger,” and 25 to how “hot” he is (including four recurrences of the epic declarative sentence “He’s so freaking hot.”). Christian’s “mouth presses into a hard line” 10 times. Characters “murmur” 199 times, “mutter” 49 times, and “whisper” 195 times (doesn’t anyone just talk?), “clamber” on/in/out of things 21 times, and “smirk” 34 times. Christian and Ana also “gasp” 46 times and experience 18 “breath hitches,” suggesting a need for prompt intervention by paramedics. Finally, in a remarkable bit of symmetry, our hero and heroine exchange 124 “grins” and 124 “frowns”… which, by the way, seems an awful lot of frowning for a woman who experiences “intense,” “body-shattering,” “delicious,” “violent,” “all-consuming,” “turbulent,” “agonizing” and “exhausting” orgasms on just about every page.
This goes on for nearly 400 pages. Reading Fifty Shades of Grey requires a fairly significant time investment, and I’m just sure that God doesn’t want that for you.
That is hours of your mist that you’ll NEVER GET BACK.
Perhaps a woman who
asked demanded to remain nameless (and who is definitely, absolutely, unquestionably not my mom) put it best as we reviewed the various deficiencies of Fifty Shades of Grey on the phone yesterday.
“I’m not reading the sequels,” she told me. “Once you’ve read Fifty Ways to Do It, what more is there to know?”
Learn from those who’ve already traveled the road of really bad erotica, dear readers. I read Fifty Shades of Grey and I deeply regret it. In the time I wasted on this sad excuse for a novel, I could very possibly have achieved world peace, cleaned my entire house, or hand-stitched one of Kanye West’s Tweets.
Thank God you don’t have to make the same mistake.
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And here we have it: the last word on “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Love it! Haven’t read it and don’t want to. Your reasoning is perfection!
Wonderfully said, Lindsey. I completely agree. I always look forward to your writings.
I am one of the sad followers who not only read all three books once…but twice! I jayed to think it but really…how much hot sex in a day can you have? I did get tired of the lip biting and blushing. There were several words that I had to highlight and look up the meaning(because I, too, was reading it on my Kindle). Brain rot? Yes! But I enjoyed it. 🙂
Even as a total heathen, I have stayed far, far away from this book and plan to continue doing so. Bad writing is not worth wasting your time!
I sucked down the first two books like Gatorade. The third one is redundant and unnecessary. Yes, the writing is weak and the sex is repetitious and the Britishisms are annoying and frequent. But I read all three books in a week. David Copperfield took me three months and was far more agonizing. At least these books had a plot, sort of.
You have a good point. The battle scenes in War and Peace were far, far worse than anything in Fifty Shades of Grey. And more time consuming.
Okay, it’s official. God doesn’t want you to read War and Peace, either. Sorry, Leo.
Hilarious!!! The Queen saying “Bye, y’all! I’m fixing to get me some collards at the Piggly Wiggly! Any of you boys want to help me push the buggy?” and the “parrot that lives in a brothel” parts made me laugh! Thank you for this post. It made my day 🙂
Oh, and “That is hours of your mist that you’ll NEVER GET BACK” part too. You are hilarious 🙂
I’m more than halfway through the first one now and the bad writing has not become any less distracting. I’m wondering how this could possibly be a trilogy! I’ll finish this one, and I don’t think I’ll regret it, but I don’t think I’ll read the other two either. Because really, when was the last time you clambered anywhere??
I have no desire to read it, not because I’m a Good Christian woman, but because I don’t want to waste my time. I *have* been enjoying the Fifty Shades of Suck Tumblr account, though.
Not that I was planning to read it, but thank you for yet another reason not to!
Even with the bad writing, which is hard to ignore, I enjoyed the first two books. Kinda forcing my way thru the third at the moment, but it’s a much slower process…
You have a very good point. While the erotica was “eh”, the writing was just plain awful. Why is this book getting so much attention?
God does not want us wasting energy on bad literature!
I have Facebook friends who have raved about it, but everything I have seen on blogs is about the horrible writing. I do know that having British phrases in a book set in America would drive me insane!
Thanks. I’m waiting for the movie. Good Christian that I am, and all.
I kind of got the impression that it was poorly written on purpose. Being fanfic, based on the Twilight series, I just figured James was exaggerating everything that was terrible about Twilight. In doing so, she was trying to make a point. Sort of like, “Hey! Are you people complete duh-heads? Can you not see what crap this is? here, let me show you.”
I agree with kboyle, I have a feeling it was written badly on purpose, especially in reference to the repeated phrases. I say this because as my mom was reading Twilight, she noticed that “rolled his/her eyes” was used ALL the time. So often that she wished she had started keeping a list!
I haven’t read it, and I don’t plan either. I’m not saying that I’m the best model for Christianity, but there is a line. I think the thing that is wrong with our world is that sex has become a circus. It is no longer a sacred thing. Yuck.
LOL! I agree wholeheartedly and as a Goddess worshiping pagan I have to say I don’t think She wants you to read it either for the same exact reason. 🙂
I picked it up in Kroger yesterday and opened it to the middle and started reading. Just two sentences of tweaked nipples and groans was enough. I value myself two much to dwell in that valley. It was just plain creepy.
So weird thinking about reading that book in KROGER! ;D
Seems more appropriate for Pubix.
Er, Publix, that’s what I meant.
Thank you so much for posting. I read that same article and then felt guilty as I waited through 180 spots at the Nashville Public Library to get the book. I read through page 150 and stopped.
I was on that same hold list…
Well put, Lindsay.
I agree, it’s terrible, and I read all three of them. I don’t know what came over me. I even live in Seattle, and she gets Seattle wrong too. So, so awful.
Your comment cracked me up!
I am laughing my head off! I heard that it was really poor writing. It’s only popular because it’s dirty. Kinda like Erica Jong. (Only she gets credit for being a “feminist”. Whatever. I’m a Feminist too, but that doesn’t make me a great writer).
I read all sorts of things that “Christians” aren’t supposed to read. Harry Potter was one of them. And Harry Potter is not anti-Christian in the least. I read The DaVinci Code, which apparently made many people question their Catholicism. It’s a page turner, but the history is so off, that anyone who knows Church History at ALL can see right through it.
Anyway — READ. But read something good.
I have to say, I read Erica Jong’s books in college and LOVED them. And I don’t even remember the sexy parts- well, except for this one really disgusting scene… But I loved how confident her characters were, and i thought she was a really good writer. So there you have it, I guess. Well-written erotica!
Read all 3 books in 4 days… Starved myself when forgetting to eat dinner because I was reading… all in all yes it was horrible writing but the storyline is a hook! Once you read a bit of it you have to read what’s next! I kinda liked the 3rd book. Starts off slow but there is much more to the end. 🙂
[…] all started when I got a message from Petra who read God Doesn’t Want You to Read Fifty Shades of Grey, and came across a sentence that reminded her of me, and made her laugh a lot. For the record, I […]
I read them all after reading the original fanfic, Master of the Universe. Not being a big fan of the Twilight Saga books, which I believe were written specifically to appeal to emo tweenie cutters and 30-something fat chicks with back acne, I was tickled to imagine Bella and Edward at least having a little bit of fun. Because really, has there ever been a more pathetic and sorry set of teenage lovers ever?
The books are horribly written for sure but the laugh factor is just too hard to resist. I mean, come on, 20 pages of sex for every 5 pages of story line requires a certain level of creativity, don’t you think?
The only thing about these books that disturbs me is reading various book-related boards wherein an alarming number of grown women wish for a man like Christian/Edward who is the textbook definition of spousal abuser. That’s a little, OK, a lot, disturbing. Knowing that ninety percent of those women wish for that type of man makes me look at members of my own sex with more than a little disgust.
I read them….quickly. I’m a skimmer so if i got annoyed i’d move on. I like to find out how things end. Even before i knew it was Twilight fanfic i caught on to the similarities rather quickly.
Hey, she’s making a ton of money and people are still discussing it. Good for her. I’m past it, but i do want to smack the morons that want kristen and rob as christian and ana. Good Lord! Twilight is a train wreck…let’s not repeat that horror!
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