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The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

The student news site of Diablo Valley College.

The Inquirer

“Fifty Shades” of Garbage

There are certain elements to good literature. They include well rounded characters, an interesting conflict, and good writing.

These elements are missing from “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

“Fifty Shades of Grey” is the best-selling novel from a British TV producer who goes by the name EL James. It is also an interesting business story since “Grey” enjoyed great success as an e-book before being published as a physical novel.

Another thing to note is that it is also an unusually successful erotic romance. Yes, there are lots of graphic sex scenes so this is definitely a book for mature audience.
“Grey” focuses on narrator Anastasia Steele, a recent college graduate who is so naïve and virginal that she does not own a computer. She falls madly in love with a rich and sexy CEO named Christian Grey, but trouble arises when she discovers that Christian is into BDSM and is obsessed with being in control.

However, “Grey” is a rewrite of a piece of “Twilight” fanfiction also written by James. This is easily apparent in the first hundred pages when Ana exhibits Bella-style clumsiness or when Christian urges Ana to stay away in a similar way to Edward urging Bella to stay away.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, James affirms her love for “Twilight,” saying, “In five days I sat down and escaped into the wonderful world that Stephanie [Meyer] had created, and I absolutely loved it. I’m a huge Twi-hard. And I sat down and [started writing]. No other books have ever inspired me. She just flipped a switch.”

This probably explains why every problem I had with “Twilight” is repeated in “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Let’s go over the list, shall we?

First, the narration is overly ornate and far too descriptive. The novel would have been a lot better if James left the description to the sex scenes. She doesn’t need to have a Hemingway style conservation of detail but she should stop and ask herself if the audiences really care to know exactly what articles of clothing Christian was ripping off of Ana.

Also, much like “Twilight” having references to “Wuthering Heights” and “Romeo and Juliet” in an attempt to add depth to the storyline, “Grey” matches this by referencing “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy. It doesn’t work.

Second, the characters are incredibly dull. Ana seems to be characterized solely by her sexual inexperience and her lack of interest in participating in Christian’s BDSM fantasies. Christian is rich, dominating and sexually experienced.

James attempts to rectify the shallowness of their characters by mentioning their musical tastes but this does nothing for me. Surprisingly, Christian has an eclectic taste that includes a lot of obscure classical music while Ana listens to popular rock.

Finally, the conflict is incredibly boring. Ana is physically attracted to Christian but doesn’t like his desire to control her. On the flip side, it seems as though Christian is physically attracted to Ana as well but doesn’t like her tendency to defy him.

This conflict is drawn out for over 400 pages yet every time it comes up, and it comes up a lot, Ana is irritated at Christian’s abusive personality but forgives him since he’s hot and good in bed. Every. Single. Time. It’s like the opposite of a Lifetime movie.

I would absolutely not recommend “Fifty Shades of Grey” to anyone. It’s a poorly written disaster that stretches out for 515 pages. What a waste of time.

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About the Contributor
John Kesler
John Kesler, Opinion editor
Opinion editor, spring 2012. Staff member, fall 2011.

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“Fifty Shades” of Garbage