Spoiler Alert: There aren’t enough red pens in the world

by Shauna on April 17, 2012

It’s not often that I do book reviews. Mostly because everyone has opinions about the books they read and therefore why would anyone want to know what I think. At least that’s how I see it. I don’t usually read a book based on someone’s review or suggestion, but rather if the title/cover catches my attention. It’s a highly advanced, complicated system you wouldn’t begin to understand. The world is lucky to have me.

I made an exception (in regards to choosing what book I would read next) and bought the book Fifty Shades of Grey–because everyone was talking about it. I think my friend Brittany’s exact quote to me was, “OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO READ IT, IT WILL MAKE YOU WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH EVERYONE.” Like *that’s* an offer I can refuse.

So Sunday night I sat in my little cozy spot on the sofa and dove in head first.

I will admit something to you right here, right now. The book is sexy, there’s no doubt about it. And yes, it does invite some really strong sexual urge-y feeling things in my girlie bits. And yes, I had a hard time putting it down. The dirty parts are really dirty. And I liked it. I’m sorry you have to read this, Dad.

But.

That’s only when I strained really hard not to critique the most horribly written book in the history of published works. There aren’t enough red pens in the entire world. And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous dialogue. And the overuse of exclamation points! Oh my god! The exclamation points! They run amok!

I have no idea how this book was signed off, as is, by the publisher. My guess is that the editor in charge of “editing” (I say “editing” in quotes because clearly it wasn’t “edited” by normal “editing” standards, or by anyone who knows anything about “editing” or even a chimpanzee who was taught how to “edit” after he mastered the skill of stacking cups) was in the midst of some post-coital coma and couldn’t be bothered.

There are several issues I take with a book that’s set in the USA in the year 2011.

1. The main character, Ana, is 21 years old and a senior in college. She is well educated and yet she doesn’t have an email address (!!!) or use the Internet (like at all), much less own a computer…OR A CELL PHONE. I find this to be completely unrealistic. How does one get through college without the use of a computer? Isn’t that how professors communicate with students, after all? And what’s with the no email address? My 9 year old has an email address. Hell, my cat has an email address–strictly for purposes of me opening up a credit card in his name–he has excellent credit–but that’s not important to the story. You know what I’m trying to say here.

2. The other main character, Christian, is 27 years old and a billionaire. He’s from America, like Ana, but his vocabulary is something out of a Thomas Hardy novel. It’s like the author scoured through English literature and picked out all the words she felt might impress the reader. And then she inserted the fancy words into impossibly unrealistic dialogue. She has him saying phrases that no west coast twenty-something HOT GUY would ever say. Ever.

3. I’m serious when I tell you that the book is laden (LADEN) with exclamation points! They’re everywhere and so noticeable that I began circling them but then had to stop because my pen ran out of ink!

4. The main character has this ongoing conflict with her subconscious and her inner goddess. This is outside the conflict she has with the actual “real” character in the story. It was so chaotic with these two “not real” characters (her subconscious and inner goddess) arguing and name calling and even sticking their tongues out at each other that I found myself just skimming over the non-sex scene parts and getting to the nitty gritty. I’m pretty sure that makes me some kind of sexual deviant, but I don’t even care. I just want to read about the sex, is that too much to ask?

I’m sorry if I’m ruining the book for you, but people, I’m doing you a favor by giving you the four-one-one. Trust me.

Look. I’m not saying not to read it. I’m just saying forget everything you learned in 7th grade English class. Pretend you’re living back in the time before modern language was invented. Go back to the days when early man was drawing genitals on the sides of cave walls. Not those cave walls, those cave walls.

Clearly, I’ve been reading too much porn.

Who wants my copy of Fifty Shades of Grey? It’s not signed by the author, but I can draw a picture of a naked girl inside the front cover if that makes you happy.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] April 17, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Even I’m not prudish enough about grammar to not read the sexytime books because of their short-fallings. I would think that you, especially, could overlook poor editing in favor of ladygasms.
Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing]´s last blog post ..I Am A Whole Lot Of Nothing!

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Landrie April 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

That’s hilarious. I haven’t read it because I heard somewhere that the book could “awaken desires that cannot be realistically fulfilled” or something like that, which doesn’t really seem like fun to me. Curious, but not standing in line for the bandwagon quite yet. I totally appreciate your review however, because I think I’d have read it like you did, red pen and all :)

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Rachel April 17, 2012 at 2:00 pm

This. Is. Awesome! My mom and I were just talking about this book last night and whether we should read it, “because everyone else was talking about it.”

I decided that I’d instead finish reading my “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series of books first (yeah, I know, I’m behind – my problem). My mother, on the other hand, jumped online and purchased the 50 Shades books after reading just a couple of comments and reviews. Anyway, my point is, thank you for telling me about the horrible grammar and ridiculous speech patterns, because I, too, have an overwhelming need to edit everything I read (it’s what I get paid to do.)

Besides when reading porn, that is labeled as porn, you know what you’re getting. Less disappointing that way!! Perhaps this is one of those books I’ll just wait to see when it comes out in the movie theaters!
Rachel´s last blog post ..If Days had 27 Hours Instead of 24

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Val/wowiee April 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Worse than “The Hunger Games” grammar? Because that was bad too. But if there are no takers, I’ll take your book. Complete with red marks and naked girl drawings. I’m far too lazy to get up and get myself a copy.

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Bobbi April 17, 2012 at 3:24 pm

I just read The Hunger Games, and for someone who has as much trouble with grammar as I do. I noticed how bad it was.
Bobbi´s last blog post ..Avoiding

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Adria April 17, 2012 at 2:24 pm

I’m torn. I *REALLY* want to read the book for the sexy time, but I fear I won’t be able to get through it due to the grammar. Nothing ruins a lady boner like bad grammar. That’s right, I said it. Either way, I’d love a copy! I think.

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Jana A (@jana0926) April 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Best review ever! Sexy book. HORRID EDITING! My inner goddess wants Christian to use his twitchy palm to smack her into not calling her girly bits her “sex.” GRR. But hot stuff. :)
Jana A (@jana0926)´s last blog post ..The Limb 2.0

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Shauna April 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm

OH MY GOD, I didn’t even mention that part. Who calls their vagina their sex? This is too weird.

Call it twat it is, for christ’s sake.

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Jenna April 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm

This comment, and the reply made me laugh out loud at my desk at work. I love these books, well cause I’m single and I like the tantalizing sexiness. I did however cringe at the horrible editing. Thank God it didn’t get in the way of me and my battery operated friend!

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Jana A (@jana0926) April 19, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Right? Every respectable person calls it their twat. Or hooha. I mean, ugh. ::rolls her eyes, gets caught by christian and tied up in the red room of pain::
Jana A (@jana0926)´s last blog post ..{Wordless Wednesday} Priceless

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Becky April 17, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I have vacation on the beach in a month and would LOVE a good sexy, sleazy, poorly-written novel to read! Pick me! Pick me!
Becky´s last blog post ..Spoiler Alert: There aren’t enough red pens in the world

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Grumble Girl April 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Oh, girl. I know. I KNOW!!

That is some TERRIBLE writing, it’s true – the dirty bits are rather fun though. And indeed, if I had to read, “Oh, my!” one more time, I would have *almost* thrown the whole book in the trash.

It’s porny in a surprising way, kinda. (I have a collection of reading material that would make most ladies blush, I reckon.) I hate the term “my sex” but far worse is “manhood” which was spared here. Thank god. But the need for this much red ink makes my palm twitchy – who was the editor? Ack. Job badly done.
Grumble Girl´s last blog post ..Still Here

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Bobbi April 17, 2012 at 3:22 pm

I have not read this yet, I wanted to since everyone was raving about it but since money is tight I will pass and beg my husband to buy me Jenny’s book instead.
Bobbi´s last blog post ..Avoiding

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Amy April 17, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Thank You, I so agree with you about the horid writing and Ana calling her girly parts her sex was annoying, BUT I read all 3books in 8days. I guess I am just a boring mom and loved a little bit of excitement. I was hoping for a more xrated review coming from you, but then again you are a writer so I can see where your editing skills would come into play before your dirty mind..hee hee.

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Stacey April 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I thought I was the only one who couldn’t get through this book! Sure it had some good sex, but I could not get past the horrible writing. Thank you.

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Joe April 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Ok, so I haven’t read it, probably won’t, BUT you state that the book is kind of “porny.” Well, having watched a few “porny” movies, its sounds like it was written to be a script for a porny movie? How does one critique the “acting,” the “plot” and the “script” in a porn movie. Pretty much the same way you did the book! (oops…exclamation point.)
You crack me up Shauna…and I always love your stuff. Keep it up (umm, in light of the book review, maybe “good job” is a better term)

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Nikki Mohamed April 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Eh, I used to read all the sexy novels back in high school. Now that I’m in my 40′s, I view pornographic novels the same as pornographic anything else: I’d rather be HAVING sex than reading or watching someone else having sex. Perhaps this was published by the same folks that published that numbnuts’ Keanu Reeves “book.”
Nikki Mohamed´s last blog post ..Pick Up Games in the Living Room

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Dawn April 17, 2012 at 5:23 pm

I just had the same experience with the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. It wasn’t until I was half way through the first book that I could get past the characters names (Wrath, Tohrment, Phury, etc.), the horrible grammar and the fact that a womans clitoris is her core and the only name she knows for male genitalia is cock. However, it turns out I love me a vampire who likes to eat at the Y and the story itself is interesting enough that I’m currently reading the 10th one.

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Becky Mochaface April 17, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I am taking a pass on 50 Shades of Grey. I couldn’t get past the terrible writing no matter how dirty the dirty parts.
Becky Mochaface´s last blog post ..Tuesday Trivia: Money

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heather... April 17, 2012 at 8:25 pm

This is my favorite review of the series, by far. Probably because I agree with every word of it. I can’t get past the horrible grammar, the British writer trying to write American dialogue, and the fact that it started as Twilight FanFic. It has sexy parts, but ugh. It’s bad.

There is much better erotica out there.
heather…´s last blog post ..Don’t Take My Advice

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shana April 17, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Congratulations; you made me want to read the book. Honestly, I had never heard of it prior to reading this post (your blog is, in fact, my primary source of information about current events), but I don’t think I own a book in which I haven’t circled at least one (read: a dozen) editing oversights, so this will be fun. :)

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Leslie H April 17, 2012 at 9:49 pm

I do! I could use some excitement in my life these days -even if it comes in the form of fictional characters and stories. Dry spell from hell. :(

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erika April 18, 2012 at 12:30 am

thank you, i’m skipping it now. :) (or should i say ‘thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’)

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Klady April 18, 2012 at 1:41 am

I’ll take your copy of THE book. (After reading your critique, I don’t want to waste my money to purchase it.) However, it may be a book that I will find on a thrift shop shelf someday. Occasionally I find cheap books at a cheap priice there.

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Crystal April 18, 2012 at 2:20 am

I was gonna ask if I could have your copy just because I want to see the circled exclamation points. I just don’t think I can read it. Its kinda been spoiled for me because you literally cannot go on the internet without seeing spoilers.
Crystal´s last blog post ..Easiest. Recipe. EVER. Chicken tacos

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BreAnn April 18, 2012 at 9:45 am

Haha! Great book review. I was laughing out loud. And now I want to read this book – but I think the exclamation points would drive me crazy.

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Jessica April 18, 2012 at 11:10 am

THANK YOU for saying everything I was thinkin about this book. I actually don’t understand why everyone is going nuts about it. The sex parts are good, I get it. The rest of the book drives me insane. I find Ana to be a completely unbelievable character. No cellphone or email at her age, how about the first time he goes near “her sex” (gag) And in her head she’s trying to figure out what he’s doing…she’s 22 and doesn’t even have a clue? Or how he has to explain to her “don’t worry you expand too”. Someone get this girl to a sex ed class. The other thing that made me cringe was how she says “oh my” every 5 lines. Ugh. I’m not even going to try to read the next two.

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Jennifer April 22, 2012 at 8:09 am

Sounds like someone needs to read some smut on LiveJournal. Now THOSE ladies and gent know how to write sex scenes WITH believable storylines and characters.

The character really said “oh my” that much? Christ.

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Tara April 18, 2012 at 5:35 pm

Howdy! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!
Tara´s last blog post ..How To Handle Exercise And Asthma

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Jodi April 19, 2012 at 11:00 am

Amen Sista – couldn’t agree more. Worst writing ever!!!!!!

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bellawriter (Nuala Reilly) April 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm

If you’re really giving it away, I’m putting my hand in the air to volunteer for the copy. As a writer like you are, I am sure, SURE the exclmation points are going to make me nuts as is the horrendous writing I’ve heard tell about, but…
Well, honestly I just want to read the sexy stuff. You know, to see how it differ’s from mine.
And I have never refered to lady parts as “her sex”. Eeew

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Kelly April 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Great! Book! Review! I had a feeling it was awful, becaipuse people are talking about it like they talked about The Shack (shich was unreadable after the first couple of chapters. Not because of the subject matter, but because it was so painfully bad.).
Kelly´s last blog post ..Q is for Quite All Right

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Jane April 20, 2012 at 9:42 am

Horrible grammer in a book tics me off – ta no end. How do theese peeple git published? its beeond me! ;)
Jane´s last blog post ..You Mean There’s Never Going To Be A Doughnut Diet? Rats. Life Isn’t Worth Living.

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Jennifer April 22, 2012 at 8:06 am

I was watching 20/20 Friday night and one of the anchors interviewed the author. And, honestly, the way it was described made it sound like the next holy bible for women or something so I’m very glad someone has the guts to say that this book is crap. I mean, I heard that this book was originally a TWILIGHT FANFICTION. That alone causes me to shudder.

As far as editing…I read a book last summer that was so horribly edited that I literally took a red pen to the book and corrected every single mistake in it. Do editors not do their job anymore? Or are the little things being passed over for a “good story”? (Though don’t even get me started on the good story vs. horrid writing because I will talk your ear off.)

Thanks for the heads up, Shauna. And apologies for the long comment.

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Nicole @ Three 31 April 23, 2012 at 12:25 am

Oh Shauna, Shauna, Shauna ……. I just spent the weekend reading ALL THREE books of “Grey.” I couldn’t put them down. Yes, one needs to excuse the poor dialogue (who needs dialogue anyway? Make your girly parts happy!), incorrect grammar (laters, baby.) and, of course, the excessive use of exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Sorry, excuse my excitement. I’ve been giggling like a schoolgirl since Mr. Grey stepped out of the dark to save Ms. Steele from her drunken kiss with Jose.)

I’ll say this and shut my dirty, filthy mouth: My inner goddess has been doing back flips, cart wheels, and waving her pom-poms this weekend. Husband Dearest doesn’t give a rat’s a$$ about the books I read, but he’s sure not complaining. “Laters, baby.”

Have a great week,
Nicole
Nicole @ Three 31´s last blog post ..New Life at Our Place

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Rachele April 26, 2012 at 11:01 am

I’m into the kinky sex books, (the Sleeping Beauty series by Anne Rice under pen name Roquelare is a fave) but I don’t think I could get past the Twilight origins or the crappy writing. I can get my steamy sex somewhere else. I am also not into the shallow unbelievable characters. Twenty-something virgin with no technology? Was she ousted from her Amish community? Or did she run away from the Morman compound?

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Danielle May 7, 2012 at 12:49 pm

THANK YOU! I was complaining today about my inability to get through this book. I am on Chapter 9 and I don’t feel compelled to read it further and I do not find any of the main characters appealing or even likable. I thought I was just being a crab-ass because, what the hell do I know? I don’t have a published book. But a friend of mine told me about your book review. My attitude is now justified. I feel like I’ve been granted permission to stop reading. Sweet, sweet freedom. Thank you.

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