Since reading this book for our last episode (listen here), Kait and Renata have found themselves at odds with most of the internet on the subject of whether Fifty Shades of Grey is harmful to women. Below are their thoughts–written by Kait, but co-signed by Renata.
Fifty Shades of Grey is not a good book.
I’m not talking about the the things you might think I’m talking about. I don’t have a problem with the sex or the BDSM portrayal or the relationship itself. At its core, as a work of fiction, Fifty Shades is just poorly written. The narrative is weak, the characters are barely more than cardboard cutouts, the text is littered with repetition, and the plot is merely transparent connective tissue that links the sex scenes and doesn’t even come to an actual climax (pun intended). Fifty Shades is a book you read out loud to your friends, laughing at the awkwardly paced writing and doing a shot every time Ana says “jeez” or “oh my,” which is roughly once a page. Its origin as Twilight fanfiction isn’t just noticeable, it’s crucial knowledge if you want any of the character motivations and relationships to make any sense. EL James did a terrible job of filing the serial numbers off and it’s all to the book’s detriment. If someone asked me if I thought they should read this book, I would probably tell them not to waste their time–there’s better porn for free on the internet.
All that being said, I have spent the past two weeks since I read this book defending Fifty Shades against 90% of it’s detractors. Because it’s garbage, yes, but it’s not “abuse,” and I’m sick of people on the internet using that as an excuse to police and shame women’s reading habits.