Who doesn’t like a little titillation? Who doesn’t need a little naughtiness now and then? A little down-and-dirty? I was excited to check out this book series that had women all over America breathing heavily with the universal “Oh my!” I had heard some rumblings of bad writing and cheesiness but, like any good writer, I can’t just listen to the hype. I must check it out first-hand.

I was at the airport and sheepishly handed the book to the checkout girl who was much more interested in her own life than to speculate why I was buying this book. I decided that the plane was not the ideal setting for this intimate affair, so I waited till I was at home to begin my journey of sin. The husband went out of town, and I thought “Perfect” so I slipped into bed with vibrator at the ready for a scintillating night of me-on-me pleasure.

Well. What a disappointment. The book was so formulaic and unoriginal that I spent the time mostly sighing, annoyed by this drivel and skimming ahead to see when the action would happen. It never did. Perhaps I am difficult, I wondered. Perhaps I have too high standards. I know I am not easily entertained, but these books, ALL THREE, are on the bestseller lists. As Anastasia would say, (annoyingly, over and over again) “Holy crap!” Crap, indeed.

I am stumped as to what made these books bestsellers. The American public is a mystery to me. I suppose it is the same people who made Snooki’s book a bestseller or who watch “The Bachelor” with reckless abandon. Who knows. I read the first book, FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, or as I like to call it – FIFTY SHADES OF OY VEY. I cannot bear to read the other two. I may die of boredom or sheer frustration. Of COURSE the main character is a virgin. Of COURSE she doesn’t think she is pretty. Of COURSE she is painfully shy and has no self-confidence. Of COURSE she has never gotten drunk or has ever done anything exciting. Of COURSE she has never masturbated. And Of COURSE he is rich and handsome. Of COURSE he is powerful and wants a woman to obey him. And of COURSE, he winds up caring about her. How predictable can you get? Where are the female characters with some oomph and a little self-esteem? Why do we have to be swallowed up by these weak, shy and fearful women? Is this how most women are? Is the female race out there wandering around with no feeling of self-worth? God, I hope not.

Anastasia annoyed me to no end. I understand that EL James wrote this originally as homage to the “Twilight” characters, but her adolescent writing and conversation should have been upgraded once she decided to make this a “real” book (I use the term lightly). The writing just didn’t cut it for me. If she said “Holy crap!” or “Holy cow!” one more time, I was going to go burn the book in a ritualistic tribute of self-cleansing. Plus, the writing was extremely repetitive. How many times do we need to hear that Ana is in complete awe that this Adonis likes her? By the fifth time that she described his pants as hanging off his hips, I thought to myself “Someone should buy this guy a belt.” And her complete innocence about sex was not refreshing or cute. It was ridiculous. When she said things like “This is desire. This is what it feels like.” And “He’s the only man who has ever set the blood racing through my body.” And “I’ve never been kissed like this.” These statements are obvious and have been played out way too much in romance novels. Ana’s inner goddess is almost as annoying as Ana. She does cartwheels and lights up ecstatically. I don’t give a shit.

The fact that Ana bit her lip constantly and could not look a man in the eye, not only made me see her as a pathetic example of a female, but it also made me pity her immensely. How many times can she stare down at her hands? I can’t stand women who are so intimidated by a man. This is no heroine. This is no cool lady. Hell, she’s not even likeable. This is a child who needed a slap and some balls. And I guess she thought she could get that from Mr. Grey. She kept talking about Kate, her roommate and best friend and how beautiful and confident Kate was. You know what? Kate sounds terrific. At least she knows how to deal with men and could spot a creep when she saw one. I’d like to hear about Kate’s sexual escapades. I’m sure they would be much more interesting than the Disney-esque version of X-rated adventure that Ana provides.

It’s a nice thought to think that some rich man is going to come and save you from your pathetic little boring life. I suppose many women want this. I myself love the idea of a strong knight in shining armor (it’s my book title after all), but I also want to believe and trust that women today can have some power. The fact that Anastasia is a young, pretty woman with no self-esteem does not show any power. She is a toy, a doll for Christian. He gets what he wants and she succumbs. I know we are supposed to feel empowered when she wins small victories like having a trainer for only 3 days, instead of four or when she is allowed to touch his hair. I personally cannot rejoice in this nonsense.


Now, let’s address the sex part of the book. B-O-R-I-N-G. Spanking? Big whoop-dee-doo. Being tied up? Been there, done that. Sex in the bathtub? Yawn. Having sex when your parents are around? Umm…yeah did that in high school for Christ’s sake. And sex in an elevator? Oooh, how unique. Not. The descriptions of the electricity between them is unimaginative – “our fingers brush very briefly, and then the current is there again, zapping through me like I’ve touched an exposed wire.” Yeah, yeah. Whatever.

I was looking forward to being whisked away to a dirty, nasty place. I was waiting for a heat wave that would come at me like a Tsunami. Instead, I felt a slight tingle once and then it was gone, fast. Kind of like being with a hot guy who you think will be amazing in bed, only to find that he has a tiny penis or is a jackhammer lover. And speaking of jackhammers, how many times did we have to hear the story of Christian fucking her so hard that it hurt and that she loved it – “he pounds on and on..”? This is exciting? Does anyone remember the scene in “Sex and the City” where Carrie can’t stand a guy because all he does is jackhammer? Ummm, yeah. Ladies, if you want your guy to screw you hard, you just ask. Most will gladly do that. I perked up when the Playroom was explained in rich detail. Now THIS could be fun. But the ordinary tying up and a little paddling did not get my juices flowing. I thought I was pretty regular in my sexual experience. Like most of my friends, I have tried stuff like a little bondage, a cock ring or two, maybe a blindfold and some casual spanking. Just find a scarf or a tie at home and give the bondage thing a whirl. It’s not that racy. The fact that Christian hits her harder than is acceptable did not get me hot, and certainly got me bothered. I wanted to reach into the book and grab the paddle and say to Christian “My turn big boy!”

Oh, and of COURSE, Ana was amazing at her very first attempt at oral sex…and swallowed. How many of you ladies, like me, were laughing so hard at that? Come on! It was at that moment that I thought this book was actually more of a guy’s fantasy than a woman’s. And when Christian screams her name while he climaxes “Oh Ana!” I laugh so hard. Like out loud hard. It’s not supposed to be funny, but I find it hilarious. Oh, and how about when Ana mentions her tingling “down there.” Can’t she just say “Vagina,” “or coochie” or something normal? She can’t even talk about it. I am beyond miffed.

 “9 ½ Weeks” was 900 times more exciting and dark than this stupid book. Maybe this book is jaw-dropping if you’re, say, a nun. Or maybe a 13-year old. I remember reading “Wifey” on the bus with my friends and finding that pretty damn hot. Judy Blume was a badass.

I can think of a ton of scenarios that would be so much more exciting and inventive that would surely be a better read than this. How about sex on Christian’s yacht where he ties her up with boat rope and does perfect sailor knots while the help is in the other room preparing dinner? How about sex in the horse stalls where he keeps his prize stallion? He can mount her like the stud he is and well, that could be hot. I have done that one. It’s fun. Or how about he goes down on her while he is on a conference call with a major deal going on. They could be in a massive boardroom and she has to keep VERY quiet while he listens in on his call? I picture the boardroom on the 35th floor of a building with giant windows and views of the city. How about she goes down on him while he flies his helicopter and they have to keep from crashing? Am I the only one with a dirty and fun imagination? Come on ladies! I know you can think of better stuff than this generic, average entertainment that EL James is offering.

I also really hate the message that this sends to younger women, who might actually see this book as a good example of a romance. Ladies, you should never EVER do something you are uncomfortable with. Sure, some handcuffs and melted wax could seem naughty and be a bit scary, but that is not going to necessarily hurt your self-esteem or go against who you are and what you believe in. If a guy wants to hit you, or be rough in bed, you can say No. I like when a guy pulls my hair a bit during sex, but one time, a guy pulled my hair very hard and I jumped up and said “OW! Stop that.” He did, and that was the end of that. The message this sends to women is that you have to do things that you might not like in order to get the guy. Christian treats her like a child. “Eat.” “Go to sleep.” “Stop talking.” “Good girl.” Is this the 1940s or what??!! When he says things like “In very simple terms, I want you to please me,” and “The more you submit, the greater my joy,” and “I will punish you when you require it, and it will be painful.” I get so angry, every feminist bone in my body is in revolt.

And don’t try to argue that Christian changed his ways because she was “ different” and that she challenged him. Please. He still got his way, and then some. If the other two books in the trilogy find Ana and Christian falling in love and him calling it “making love” instead of “fucking,” well, good for her. Maybe he will stop hitting her and inflicting pain. Maybe she will grow to like it. I really don’t give a shit either way. I don’t need to suffer through them to figure out that I can find much better literature and movies to fill my time. Just watch “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” if you want to get aroused. They are both badasses and Angelina Jolie doesn’t lie down and let Brad dominate her. No way. And neither should you.