50 Shades Overrated

“My inner goddess:” an expression I hope never to encounter in a novel or anywhere again.

Also, “stop biting your lip.”

Top it off with “double crap” and “jeez.”

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you’ve somehow missed the word-of-mouth magic that turned the novel 50 Shades of Grey and its sequels into a major success. And I mean major.

It seems like everyone has read 50 Shades of Grey and its sequels, or is about to read it. Others, out of a general anti-pop culture sentiment, refuse to read it. Those are the same people who skipped the Harry Potter books, Hunger Games, The Help, and Twilight. Having somehow managed not to read Twilight, see the movies, or watch a single episode of The Real Housewives of any city, I suppose I reside in both camps. (I’m Hunger Games obsessed, a Harry Potter fanatic, and I loved The Help.)

But back to 50 Shades. I read the first book in the trilogy for the same reason as any other woman–word of mouth and the allure of something racy. I heard about it in early February from my best friend, who lives in New York City and likes to keep my quaint Minnesotan leanings up to speed. She insisted we read the book after all of her Upper East Side friends were telling her to get going already. She didn’t want to be left out of the conversation. And neither did I.

E.L. James forces the reader through several laborious chapters before arriving at the steamy scenes. By the time you’ve reached the section of the book everybody’s whispering about in corners of the preschool, you’ve already made a hefty investment in Ana and Christian’s unusual relationship. So despite James’s grating use of last names throughout the entire story, her overuse of Ana’s self talk (like the aforementioned “double crap”), and the formal dialogue and stiff prose (no pun intended), I soldiered on to the end of the first book.

I started the second book because the first practically ends mid-sentence. But one “inner goddess” mention too many made me stop around the 20% mark of the sequel. Even the sex scenes felt overly gratuitous by that point. I mean come on, she’s screaming and out of her mind every single time? Listen, I get why people like the books. What baffles me is why so many people like them. 

I honestly can’t stop thinking about the story’s massive popularity. Is this craze the result of some sort of mob mentality? Is it that nobody wants to be the lone voice in a group of friends saying, “What’s the big deal?” Are we witnessing old-school peer pressure like when I pretended to like Rusted Root my freshman year of college and somehow knew the words to numerous Phish songs?

I guess I’m coming out as a stick in the mud maximus. There are other reasons the writing annoyed me, but this post isn’t about tearing down the book in intense detail or delving into the Twilight rip-off problem–two issues you can find easily enough in a Google search. But on a related note: If erotic fan-fiction of popular books is going to become a mainstream publishing “thing” now, I’d like to see Harry Potter and Hermoine Granger get together. Or what about Harry Potter and Katniss from Hunger Games in the ultimate dirty mash up? Ginny Weasley and Peeta? Just saying.

Have you read the 50 Shades books? What did you think? If not, does the hype make you want to read it? 

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Nina is a columnist at The HerStories Project and a contributing writer at Kveller.com and Greatnewbooks.org. Her essays have appeared regularly at Brain, Child Magazine, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward and have been syndicated in Jewish newspapers across the country. Her short stories have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines, and she loved participating in the 2013 cast of Listen to Your Mother. Nina is a co-founder of The Twin Cities Writing Studio. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and four children.

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156 Responses to 50 Shades Overrated
  1. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson
    March 28, 2012 | 7:15 am

    I have not read this book or any in the series. I could barely get through The Fwilight Seies. I am an Enlish teacher. I want to read literature. This stuff is dreck. But Americans are known for loving things that aren’t good or us. That’s why Intervention was born. 😉

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:11 pm

      Well as you know, I WAS an English teacher . . . I still read plenty of “just for fun” stuff that I know won’t be particularly literary. Tons, actually. The writing in this one was just too much for me. Or too little, I guess.

    • M Locke
      March 21, 2015 | 2:38 pm

      I heard about 50 shades nearly two years ago. I never bothered picking it up because the same corner whispers echoed through the small cafes in town. Contrary to main stream, this is generic in comparison the an earlier take of James Spader’s character with Maggie Gyllenhaal in early 2000. People forget so easily that sado-masochism is not new and the Marquis De Sade must be squirming in his grave right now. Ultimately, without investing my valuable time on the alleged hard work of the author and laborious penning, I would much prefer the Harry Potter series. But I do agree that my fellow Americans do have a mob like behavior that suits the pallet of a control freak – they are easily enticed and lured…perhaps still quietly controlled by trickles of Puritanical blood and just itching to rebel. Hence, the obsession with gratuitous sex and always confused or “bored”. In the end, 50 Shades has nothing on the Kamasutra.

  2. Renée A. Schuls-Jacobson
    March 28, 2012 | 7:15 am


  3. Running from Hell with El
    March 28, 2012 | 7:20 am

    “I honestly can’t stop thinking about the story’s massive popularity. Is this craze the result of some sort of mob mentality? Is it that nobody wants to be the lone voice in a group of friends saying, ‘What’s the big deal?’” — yep, count me in there with the loners. It kills me (sometimes, when I let it) what is and is not popular. I love Harry Potter. Detest Twilight (of course without having read it). So there you have it. Glad to know I am not the only one riding the bus.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:14 pm

      I feel that way sometimes (frustrated by what is popular and what is not). HOWEVER, I’ve gone with the bandwagon on plenty of things like Downton Abbey, Hunger Games, The Help–just to name a few. I wouldn’t have found those things without the “craze” aspect and I’m so glad I did. So ultimately I feel bad about kind of mocking that piece of the 50 Shades phenom. Sigh.

  4. Amy Sue Nathan (@AmySueNathan)
    March 28, 2012 | 7:24 am

    I read the first book. My first thought was how the writing was/is not very good at all (to put it kindly). I kep reading because I wanted to see what the fuss was about — and I understand the erotic scenes are the reason, as well as a strange sympathy for the sick f*ck who is Christian Grey. How many times do we need to be told that his eyes are gray? And with the myriad if eye colors out there, could not the author have chosen hazel or blue for Grey? I’ll admit that the “vanilla” scenes are more to my taste (lol) than the BSDM scenes. I know it’s in the name of erotica but I read those quickly and with one eye closed. OUCH. But that’s me, and I think there are couples all over the world benefitting in some way from this. Most people don’t know the writing sucks (oh the puns) and the women at the hair salon were none too pleased when I pointed out how the author, from Lomdon, can’t write American at all. The verbiage, cadence and lingo is so often Brtisih that I backtracked once to see if Ana was a Brit in America. She is not.

    I downloaded book two…but I may just search for the steamy scenes. Someone who has the gumption to read them all can tell me the ending.

    (this is in no way sour grapes, as you know)

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:16 pm

      The bff I mentioned who “made me” read the books did not continue after the first one. She found out everything that happens and told me. I’m sure we both missed plenty though. I mean that. I’m thinking I should have read all three books before posting about this, but I couldn’t . . . just couldn’t.

  5. Kasey Mathews
    March 28, 2012 | 7:25 am

    Well, it’s official. I live under a rock up here in NH. Never heard of it, but I guess I’ll check out 50 Shades. It sounds like the mindless, intriguing something I need after a long winter of book editing. Thanks for your insight and honest review, Nina. XO

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:17 pm

      This is one of those cases where now you’ll hear about it all the time. That’s how it goes. Sorry to be the one to take you down the dark hole.

  6. Amy Sue Nathan (@AmySueNathan)
    March 28, 2012 | 7:25 am

    PS. Sorry for all the typos, I’m on my iPad!

  7. Lisa Cynamon Mayers
    March 28, 2012 | 7:46 am

    I jumped on the bandwagon too. EVERYONE I know is talking about this book and I just didn’t want to be left out. Plus I’m still trying to read 50 books this year and these seemed like easy check marks. I’m about half way through book two. The writing is weak. I find the characters fairly annoying. And yet, I can’t turn away. I know I’ll read all three and then I think my next read is Tess of the D’Urbervilles. All of the references to that book plus I haven’t read it since AP English. So on the bright side I’ll return to some classic fiction. Oh, and my inner goddess (barf!) has some real feminist issues with these books. But that’s a whole other post….

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:19 pm

      Me too with the 50 books this year. I also thought these would be easy ones to check off 1-2-3. BUT, they are LONG. I felt like I’d read and read and still only be at like 14%. (Kindle speak). I’ll bet Josh liked have you read these though! 😉

  8. Julia Munroe Martin
    March 28, 2012 | 7:57 am

    I read a sample chapter on amazon.com and was immediately turned off by the writing style… or should I say lack of? Absolutely no interest in paying for these books — not when there are so many I already own and are available that are so much better. I honestly don’t understand the phenomenon, except that it is just that: a phenomenon.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:20 pm

      I still have The Good American close to the top of my TBR pile. Of course now I have a physical to-be-read pile and on Kindle. I’m drowning in books. A good problem, I guess.

      • crichardwriter
        March 29, 2012 | 3:05 pm

        I am drowning in books as well, and yes, I definitely think it is a good problem to have these days. Next on the list, THE PARIS WIFE. I have not read 50 SHADES OF GREY, and I am not sure I want to after hearing about the erotica. There is writing that is sexy, and there is writing that is pure pornography – this sounds like the former.

        Oh, by the way, I didn’t know you were an English teacher? I was an elementary teacher, and quickly learned I did not want to continue doing that job for the next 20 years. I wish I had been an English teacher to start – maybe I would still be teaching if I had started with students in higher grades and focused on a subject I love.

        • Nina Badzin
          March 29, 2012 | 10:23 pm

          Cindy–here’s the thing, even at the high school level it’s more about the kids than the subject. You have to REALLY love teaching and love teenagers. I really loved reading and writing . . . so being an English teacher seemed logical, except I didn’t have anyone tell me about the “love teaching and love teenagers” part of it. 😉

  9. tracyrhb
    March 28, 2012 | 8:05 am

    I’ve been wondering if I’m the only person (well, woman at least) in the blogosphere who doesn’t want to read 50 Shades. Thanks for affirming my inclination! I’m all for a good sex scene in a book, but like any scene, it’s got to serve the story. From what I’ve been hearing consistently, much of the sex here is gratuitous and the writing’s not good anyway. These descriptions don’t make me want to pick up the book(s) when my TBR stack is at least 50 books high!

    And Nina, I think we have similar tastes when it comes to the trend-setters: I’m also a Harry Potter fanatic, and I’m telling everyone I see to read The Hunger Games. But I still have no interest in reading Twilight.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:22 pm

      Maybe we just don’t like romance that much in books? I don’t think of myself as someone who doesn’t like romantic stories. I love romantic comedies in the movie genre. I guess those have humor in them where these are more melodramatic.

      • Roni Loren
        March 29, 2012 | 11:01 am

        Oh, please, please, please don’t use this book as a yardstick for judging the romance genre (or erotic genre for that matter). Most romance writers are cringing along with you over these books, as did I. And I write BDSM erotic romance so this should be right up my alley. I’ve tried to keep my mouth shut for the most part because since it’s my genre, it will come across like jealousy, but these books were poorly written, lacking plot, and honestly, not sexy. That may be because I read and write in the erotic genre and know there is so much fabulous stuff out there with beautiful characters and complex plots and smoking hot love scenes. These books are very “vanilla” to those familiar with BDSM (and don’t even get me started on that notion in 50 Shades that BDSM is something that needs to be “cured.”)

        So my guess is that the popularity is due to two things: 1) the fact that it was Twilight fan fiction and she brought over all those fans of her fanfic with her when she published which means tons of reviews, more Amazon algorithm love, and more visibility and 2) She’s exposing BDSM to people who haven’t ever read anything erotic and who probably aren’t romance readers so it seems so new and different and scandalous when in all actuality this genre has been around for a long time–hell, there are publishers who have whole arms dedicated just to this genre.

        • Nina Badzin
          March 29, 2012 | 2:20 pm

          Roni, this is such an excellent comment. I’m so glad you brought our perspective and writing/publishing experience here. You are of course, as one of my favorite authors on Twitter, on my to-be-read list and I can’t wait to see what’s inside that hot cover of yours. 😉 See! Twitter DOES sell books!

          Anyway, I see why it’s hard for you to talk about 50 Shades. Hey–I’m not even a novelist yet and I felt really funny expressing a negative opinion publicly. Thanks again for giving us your two cents.

          • Roni Loren
            March 29, 2012 | 8:55 pm

            Thanks for putting me on your TBR list, Nina! :) You’ll have to let me know what you think. And I agree that Twitter sells books. I have a stack of books by people I met on Twitter to prove it, lol. Now if I could just find time to READ them. :)

        • mommytanya23
          March 29, 2012 | 3:32 pm

          *insert deviant smile* I’ve now got you on my to read list! thanks!

          • Roni Loren
            March 29, 2012 | 8:56 pm

            Aww, thanks so much! 😀

  10. jorie Malk
    March 28, 2012 | 8:18 am

    Nina, I love you, but I could not disagree more. I started reading the series because you told me to. Three pages in, and I was hooked! I understand your critique of her repetitive writing and many times annoying word choices. (And I don’t feel that people are afraid to speak up – plenty of my friends have voiced those grievances.) However, I think sometimes you just need to relax and be entertained. I really don’t think this is a case of peer pressure. This was one of the most entrancing love stories I have ever read. Seriously. I wasn’t reading it for the sex. I was completely obsessed with these two people and the relationship between them. I finished reading the trilogy over a month ago and I still hear love songs on the radio and think of Christian and Anna. Oh…and I cannot wait for the movie!

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:24 pm

      I DO feel personally responsible for the sale of several digital and hard copies in the Twin Cities! After the first sex scene, I told EVERYONE to read the book ASAP so we could discuss it. And I think you’re responsible for many more Twin Cities sales. By the way, YOU were the one who got me into Hunger Games. So I appreciate that and I’m glad you liked these books so I at least returned the favor. :)

      Anyway, glad to have a voice of dissent here. I was hoping for some good conversation about the topic.

  11. mommytanya23
    March 28, 2012 | 8:30 am

    I’ve been WAITING for this post! And I must say I was not disappointed. I think with each post your write you get funnier. I hadn’t even heard of 50 Shades until you tweeted me. I was super gung-ho to read it until another author tweeted about the fanfic/plagiarism controversy. I’m torn at the present on whether or not I want to read it. Reading some of the articles about said controversy I was able to read bits and piece and even I – lover of the Twilight series and other horrendously written books – cringed at the writing. I love a good saucy sex scene but I do have a certain level of writing skill that must be met for me to read the book. Granted that level is not all that high but this book seems to fall below even my standards (as do the Brothers of the Black Daggerhood series which all my mommy friends insist I give another try.) Which brings me to my next point, how can you honestly criticize a book without even trying to read it? That bugs me. Say you have no desire to read it but you can’t honestly say it’s horribly written if you haven’t cracked the cover.
    My biggest hold up on reading this book is that I don’t want to support plagiarism… but how can I make the judgment that it honestly is stealing from Meyer’s if I don’t read it? Meyers doesn’t have a right to all vampire stories nor does she have a hold on stories inspired by her book, if that’s all it is then I’m ready to give it a try (I mean please, the similarities between Twilight and Sookie Stackhouse are clear and I enjoyed both series).

    • mommytanya23
      March 28, 2012 | 8:32 am

      Also that “double crap” and “jeez” is ohh so Bella Swan. That’s very typical of Meyer’s writing style.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:29 pm

      First, thank you! Now don’t think I’m crazy, but I think you SHOULD read them. I’ve found that most Twilight lovers really enjoyed the books. Don’t let me negativity take that from you. At least read the first one. As you know I haven’t read Twilight, but plagiarism seems a little strong. What about all those books that are a take on Jane Austen’s novels with actual use of characters like Mr. Darcy in the title? (I know you don’t like him.)

      Anyway, now I almost feel like you have to read at least the first book because I want to hear your opinion!

  12. jasaiah
    March 28, 2012 | 8:48 am

    Well what do you know? I never even HEARD of it until this post! Hah hah hah. I fall into both camps too though. I never read any Harry Potter books and only saw the first movie but that was just mostly because the subject matter alone bored me to tears. Reading the blurb about the book put me to sleep about three words into it so I saw little point in trying to read them. I’m sure they are fantastic though. Twilight was more of the same-anything having to do with vampires could not be more boring to me. Literally. I would rather sit in an empty room watching eggshell-colored paint dry for 72 straight hours than read or hear two words about anything involving vampires. Total snoozefest for me. Back in the day I couldn’t read the Ann Rice vampire books either. Vampires equal boring to me. I simply do not get the mass fascination with them. For me, there’s just no getting around that. Even with all the hoopla and peer pressure, there is just no transforming it for me. On the other hand, I absolutely LOVED The Help and The Hunger Games which I just finished 2 days ago. I’m already reading Book 2. I only read those books because of peer pressure and because the premise of both books was actually interesting to me. I am one of those people who typically wants to see what all the fuss is about but sometimes, it’s just not worth it!

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:31 pm

      “I am one of those people who typically wants to see what all the fuss is about” —YES, me too. That’s why when I bring up the peer pressure issue I don’t mean it in judgment. It’s absolutely why I choose certain books or watch certain shows. I won’t stick with it if I don’t like it, but I certainly begin after hearing friends rave. I think that’s just natural.

  13. Melissa Crytzer Fry (@CrytzerFry)
    March 28, 2012 | 8:58 am

    Haven’t read it, though am fascinated by its climb to success, as you are, Nina. Just your and Amy Sue’s comments about the writing is enough for me to not care a hoot about it. Bad writing will kill any book for me, whether it’s dubbed ‘steamy’ or not.

    But wouldn’t we all hope for the same fanaticism to abound about books that we write? Hmm…

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:32 pm

      Yes we would! I don’t deny that for a minute.

  14. erikarobuck
    March 28, 2012 | 9:05 am

    I’m trying to resist. I’m trying!! You are helping me.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:33 pm

      Oh my gosh, have we discussed the cover of your book? Gorgeous!

      • erikarobuck
        March 28, 2012 | 2:57 pm

        Thank you! I’m in love with it, too. Nice work, Penguin Art Dept. :)

  15. Linda Fiterman
    March 28, 2012 | 9:15 am

    Praise the Lord there is this blog to openly state what I’ve been harboring within me since I too wasted brain cells reading 50 Shades. WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Thank you Nina. I feel so much now having gotten that out of my system…….

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:34 pm

      Linda, I just love that you read my blog sometimes! Seriously, I’m so flattered. :)

      • Linda Fiterman
        March 28, 2012 | 5:55 pm

        Not sometimes, Nina! always! Love your blog!! Fun fun writer!!!

  16. hollynothollie
    March 28, 2012 | 9:16 am

    I’m actually on the third book right now. To me, the Fifty Shades trilogy is like watching a train-wreck: you know you shouldn’t be watching, but you can’t help but not. I agree with you that everything about this book is overdone, from the sex scenes to Ana’s self-speak, but, to me, that’s also what makes it so easy to read. It’s unrealistic and annoying at times, but after already investing the time into reading the first two, I pretty much have to finish it out.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:37 pm

      So true! Love the train wreck metaphor here.

  17. Melanie Gray
    March 28, 2012 | 9:20 am

    I agree, Nina. I could not get over the writing, the language, the repetition. The list goes on. I also found Ana to be beyond annoying. Yet I read all three. Primarily because when I start a series, I almost always finish. I found myself skipping entire sections and wishing it would go faster. But I’m sure I’ll see the movie!

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:38 pm

      We’ll have to get a bunch of us together to see the movie. Because OF COURSE I will see the movie.

      I agree about wishing it would go faster. So many people say it’s such an easy read. I didn’t find that to be true. It was slow! And long.

  18. ramblingsfromtheleft
    March 28, 2012 | 9:27 am

    Well said, Nina. I think all of this might fall into a generation gap that is becoming as wide as the Grand Canyon. Oh yes, I read God’s LIttle Acre several times and had a boxed set of Anais Nin. In the sixties my brother bought Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn in France since they were banned in the US at that time. Of course, he let his baby sister read them. My girlfriends and I hid Lady Chatterley’s Lover behind our American History book.

    I could nail my granny coffin and say some of those were done with style, charm and best of all GOOD grammar. Several of the aforemention works have become classics and continue to be.

    Language usage matters, the hint of delightful and insightful “stuff” matters. These days I am a lover of the entire Harry Potter series, but I equate Rowlings with Tolkein not Myers. The Help was delightful and “holy crap” was not uttered once. On Sunday evenings I prefer Masterpiece Theatre, not Despearate Housewives in any city, for any reason. Trends? Blockbusters? Cheap use of another’s work to exploit cheap thrills? They are all out there and our mission if we have the courage to accept it, is to peel the layers of hype down and see they are like the man behind the curtain … all affect and sadly no magic.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:41 pm

      Completely agree re: Rowling and Tolkien. Can you believe I haven’t read Lady Chatterly’s Lover or ANY of the books you mentioned??

  19. Shannon Pruitt from 'Mynewfavoriteday'
    March 28, 2012 | 9:56 am

    I too jumped on the band wagon and am currently reading book 2. I am laughing as I read the first few lines of your post as I am so over these lines in the book, especially the inner goddess and her acrobatics! But alas, I am invested so I must soldier on. As I just finished th “Hunger Games” the second book awaits but I have to fisnish what I start:). A great review as ever Nina.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:46 pm

      I’m jealous you still get to read Catching Fire. Love “acrobatics.” Yup.

  20. julie gardner
    March 28, 2012 | 10:56 am

    I was told I HAD to read 50 Shades (by someone who does not know me well) and have so far resisted; especially after I saw a *news* segment about book clubs across the country swooning over the series.

    The ladies being interviewed making statements like, “Finally someone knows what we want in the bedroom” and “These books fulfill me.” Huh.

    I sincerely hope their partners don’t see that particular interview. Or follow your blog.

    I’ll admit I wasn’t even slightly interested until seeing this post. Now I kind of want to read at least a portion of these books so I can nod along with you in agreement.

    Either that or catch up on Downton Abbey…

  21. Annie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer)
    March 28, 2012 | 12:01 pm

    Yes, the hype has made me want to read it… but not enough to actually do so yet. But strangely, your post has made me want to read it more. I love a good debate over the merit of popular books, so I’m intrigued enough to want to see what my opinion is.

    As to what the fuss is about… dare I say that it’s just the novelty of the BDSM culture for people otherwise unexposed to it? Judging by even “sexperts’” shock at the “graphic nature” of the book (I’m looking at you, Dr. Drew), it seems that far more people are oblivious to that lifestyle than I would have guessed. Is the whole world really that naive? Maybe.

    Either way, this post was great and very funny. I, too, could do away with the phrase “inner goddess,” so maybe I won’t read the books after all…

    • mommytanya23
      March 29, 2012 | 9:54 am

      This has to be the number one reason I want to read it. I started Anne Rice’s Beauty series and couldn’t finish the first book. I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination and that book was WOW, just way too much for me. And I’ve been told that that is just the tip of the iceberg where BDSM is concerned. So I really want to see just how far James goes as compared to real BDSM. I have serious doubts as to it being any where NEAR the level of scary/intense as Beauty.

      • Sarah Boudreaux Ables
        March 29, 2012 | 10:24 am

        I finished the Beauty trilogy and I am pretty sure I blushed for a week. I think I finished it out of morbid curiousity more than anything. That and I hate not finishing a book, even a lousy book. I just heard about 50 Shades of Grey and I wasn’t really enticed. I didn’t even realize it was such a phenom until now. I think Beauty scared me away from this genre though, I’ll probably pass on this book.

        • Nina Badzin
          March 29, 2012 | 2:16 pm

          I’ve never heard of the Beauty series, but a few people have mentioned it in the comments. I’ll have to see what that’s all about.

          • mommytanya23
            March 29, 2012 | 7:46 pm

            If you read or start to read it I definitely want to hear what you think. I’m going to give it another try as I am, ahem, slightly more well read in that genre of literature now and so maybe it will be less traumatizing the second time around.

  22. Shary Hover
    March 28, 2012 | 1:21 pm

    Where have I been? I’m completely out of the loop on this one, but I think I’ll have to skip this fad. My TBR stack is in danger of toppling. If the book deserved the buzz it’s getting, I’d make space for it, but it sounds like it isn’t worth the time.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 28, 2012 | 2:47 pm

      You’re the only one. A few have commented that they hadn’t heard about the book. I think now that you’re aware you’ll start hearing about it more. Sorry.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 30, 2012 | 10:54 am

      Shary. Meant you’re NOT the only one!

  23. gojulesgo
    March 28, 2012 | 1:42 pm

    Renee over at Life in the Boomer Lane has had me in stitches over this series lately, and in fact just today convinced me to read it! I think there’s definitely a little mob mentality/leming thing going on with all of these things, and of course, sex sells.

    I am a shameless, tried and true leming. I’m reading The Help right now. Oh and? I TOTALLY want to see Hermoine and Harry hook up, LOL

  24. Stacy S. Jensen
    March 28, 2012 | 1:44 pm

    Pulling head out of sand. I’ve never heard of this series. I’m just now reading the final Harry Potter. Long story about the delay, but this is life. Thanks for the book. I’m sending my address.

  25. Lara Schiffbauer
    March 28, 2012 | 1:54 pm

    I have never heard of the books before your post today. I admit I read the Twilight series, but only because I kept waiting for it to get better, and then because I was going to finish the series, dang it! I don’t think I’d enjoy a Twilight fan fiction, erotic or not!

  26. brendamarroy
    March 28, 2012 | 1:58 pm

    I’ve never even heard of it, much less read it. I must lead a very sheltered life. :))

  27. Cynthia Robertson
    March 28, 2012 | 3:06 pm

    Never heard of this series, Nina. Hmm, does that make me weirdly out of it? Maybe. But I’ve never read Twilight either, although I did watch the movie and thought it was mindless teen drivel, and seriously find perplexing and amusing women my age who say they like it. (I’ve never actually met one of these women in person, mind you, but one sees them everywhere on the internet and TV.) I did read the first few Harry Potter novels with my kids back when they came out, and thought them wonderful, though we had had enough after the first three courses. (burp!)
    I find it odd what some folks like to read, but I also like that there’s a bench for every butt in this world of ours. It would be so boring if we all agreed on everything.
    Wonderful brave post, Nina.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 29, 2012 | 1:55 pm

      Okay, so maybe my “everybody’s reading or is about to read it” was a tad exaggerated. I swear that I’m constantly hearing about the book, seeing tweets, articles, etc.

      I love the “bench for every butt” idea. I don’t want to discourage people from reading any kind of book. People reading anything FANTASTIC! This book because so popular so quickly that I’ve been interested in that particular aspect of this whole thing.

  28. Frume Sarah
    March 28, 2012 | 4:34 pm

    No desire to read it. Nor the “Twilight” series. Tried “Hunger Games,” but couldn’t get into it.

    Not usually swayed by what “everyone” is reading.

    • Ruchi Koval
      March 29, 2012 | 11:04 pm

      Thank you! Me neither! It’s the reason I resisted teaching for so long – because everyone told me I would be a teacher. *I’ll show them…I’ll go into publishing.* Which is also why I refused to read Harry Potter for a long while. My kids finally convinced me to try it and I read the first two, then cheated and read the summary on wikipedia. Seriously, it’s a lot of book.

      Anyway, not into reading erotica. Don’t think it’s good for me.

  29. Paula, The Geeky Shopaholic
    March 28, 2012 | 6:12 pm

    I haven’t read it, and I don’t think I will be. This is the second review I’ve read, and neither make the book sound appealing. Besides, I think that Twilight cured me of the brooding, troubled guy gets the girl stories for a while. (I have to admit that I did enjoy the first three books, it was the fourth book that made me want to gouge my eyes out.) Give me something different! That was one of the things that I liked best about The Hunger Games – the sweet, likeable guy actually got the girl. :)

    • Nina Badzin
      March 29, 2012 | 1:53 pm

      I felt the same way about the Hunger Games. It was so completely different from anything I’d EVER read. By the third book in that series, however, I was getting ready for some straight-up fiction again though.

  30. Jess Witkins
    March 28, 2012 | 10:05 pm

    Wow, actually I hadn’t even heard of the book before. I must goodreads this now! I’ve never read any fan fiction before so this is kind of an interesting debate to me. Did you finish the series? How many books are there?

    • Nina Badzin
      March 29, 2012 | 1:56 pm

      You’ll find tons of info (fans and not-so-fans) on Goodreads. I read the first book and part of the second.

  31. Hallie Sawyer (@Hallie_Sawyer)
    March 28, 2012 | 10:53 pm

    A friend texted me to see if I had a copy of this book last week and I have to admit, I didn’t know the book so I checked it out on Goodreads. It has a 4.22 average rating with over 11,000 ratings. WTH? I am absolutely floored that people have taken to this. As Julia Munroe Martin commented, I have WAY too many great books waiting for me on my bookshelf; I would rather read the nutritional content of pink slime while eating a hamburger than read this drivel. Thank you so much for confirming my decision to stay far, far away.

    For a laugh, go on Goodreads and look at some of the reviews. One of my favorites: 50 Shades of Shit. :)

    • Nina Badzin
      March 29, 2012 | 1:57 pm

      Oy, I sort of hate to see mean-spirited reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, etc. I really didn’t want mine to “mean.” I hope it wasn’t. I don’t it wasn’t exactly nice . . . but . . . well, I hope it wasn’t nasty.

  32. Hillary Manaster
    March 29, 2012 | 1:07 am

    I have to admit that when I heard it referred to as “mommy porn,” it piqued my interest. I’m so glad I read your review…I may still get around to reading this, but the sense of urgency has faded. Preschool mom peer pressure is really something 😉

    • Nina Badzin
      March 29, 2012 | 1:59 pm

      I DO think people should read at least the first book and form their own opinions. Lots of people have loved it, after all.

  33. Hilary LeveyFriedman (@hleveyfriedman)
    March 29, 2012 | 8:56 am

    I don’t plan to read it. I tried Twilight and because I pathologically can’t NOT finish a book I start, I soldiered through– even though it was SO painful (this coming from Potter/Hunger Games fan like yourself). Given what I have read about this book, including your assessment, I know it will drive me nuts. Too many other good things to read out there!

    • Nina Badzin
      March 29, 2012 | 2:00 pm

      Hilary–I feel like you should read it for the research aspect . . . somehow you’re social science mind will make some sense of it all for us. Consider it an assignment! 😉

  34. russelllindsey
    March 29, 2012 | 9:15 am

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a Misguided Blonde and commented:
    This sounds so good! Like the author, I suppose I reside in both camps too (read the article). I haven’t read the Twilight series or watched any of the movies. Yet I loved “The Help,” both book and movie, and The Hunger Games Trilogy (yet to see the movie).

  35. mommytanya23
    March 29, 2012 | 9:58 am

    I’m back and I want to comment on the fact that you and others are surprised that so many people like the book. Just think of the number of adult women swooning over Twilight, take that crowd plus the Anita Blake fans and you’ve got a LARGE LARGE majority of american women who would devour these books. I’ve stated this in book reviews and in my book club but I can thoroughly enjoy a poorly writen book just as easily as I can acknowledge a beautifuly writen book that bored me to tears. The great books are those that bring the two aspects together (Harry Potter, Neil Gaiman, etc).

    • Nina Badzin
      March 30, 2012 | 10:55 am

      Good points, Tanya. I have not read any Neil Gaiman by the way, but I know that people are obsessed with his work.

  36. erikamarks
    March 29, 2012 | 10:01 am

    Nina, I’m so glad I’m late to the party so I could read all the wonderful comments! I always look forward to your thoughts–and your readers responses to them.

    Oh, Nina, call me hopelessly UNsexy but I have no patience for the bad/damaged boy seduces girl scenario. I found this concept sexy for about a day after seeing 9 1/2 Weeks at 22. Now the whole idea kind of makes my skin crawl. What can I say? You want to get me hot and bothered? Write a story about a good guy, a good husband, a good friend, a good father. That to me is sexy. 😉

    • Nina Badzin
      March 29, 2012 | 2:04 pm

      Of course my favorite part of the book was the SEX. 😉 Thanks for chiming in, Erika.

  37. Jackie Cangro
    March 29, 2012 | 12:17 pm

    I’m all for reading popular fan fiction, but I still want it to be well written. (I felt myself getting bothered by all that self talk of the main character in the examples you’ve written – a personal pet peeve of mine.) It’s hard for me to see past a poorly written book enough to enjoy the storyline. There are so many great books out there that I really don’t want to spend my time on something that’s so-so.

    I commend you for getting through as much of the books as you did.

    • Nina Badzin
      March 29, 2012 | 10:19 pm

      Completely off subject, but I saw that your class at The Loft starts. You should visit sometime!

      • Jackie Cangro
        March 30, 2012 | 9:37 am

        Wouldn’t that be fun? My class is online and I wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to adjust to an online teaching environment, but it turns out that I love it!

  38. Galit Breen
    March 29, 2012 | 8:29 pm

    Okay Nina, I have to totally out myself here – I’ve *never* heard of this one!

    (Doesn’t sound like I’m missing anything, though? Not even a non-example?)

    Oh well, at least I’ll be in the know if/when it does come up in convo, as I’m sure it will now! So, thanks for that! :)

    • Nina Badzin
      March 29, 2012 | 10:24 pm

      The media is calling it “mommy porn.” You will FOR SURE come across it at some point.

  39. katharineowens
    March 30, 2012 | 5:04 am

    Oh Nina, you are cracking me up big time. My book club is reading it right now, and it has been interesting. This has gotten even our reluctant readers interested. (Yes, there are reluctant readers in my book club. :0) That’s how I roll). We all agree it’s poorly written, we roll our eyes over the excessive lip biting and constantly-orgasmic interludes, we think it’s not even that sexy when it comes down to it. But we also have a heck of a time talking about it and laughing about it. Some folks say it has revolutionized their marriages. Now, I assume that does NOT mean they have their own red rooms of pain, but… who knows for sure?
    I think there are many women in our society who consider themselves “romance novel readers”– but a lot of baggage comes along with that descriptor. Others might look down their nose at a “bodice ripper”, but really have never read one. I think they’re hitting THAT market. Several friends have told me that they were bored with the sex by the end of the first book, but interested in the plot (there’s one down there somewhere)– mainly in learning about Christian and what made him who he is. I’m only in book two, and having trouble hanging on– but it is a surprisingly quick read. I’ll probably get through all three by book club, if only to dish on the ending.
    This article was sent to me by a member last night- -about how the premise is more similar to a classic novel than we might imagine. Great post, as always!

    • Nina Badzin
      March 30, 2012 | 10:57 am

      So interesting, Katharine. Thanks for sharing that article here. My book club is made up of women of all ages in my neighborhood. Don’t think we could stomach a 50 Shades discussion.

  40. StoriesAndSweetPotatoes
    March 30, 2012 | 6:57 pm

    I first heard about this book from you on Twitter and then it went crazy in the media. I was thinking about reading it but now what I’m hearing from everyone is that it’s average but somehow a sensation…as if it’s the only erotic novel ever written. Hype is a strange thing.

  41. Fiona Ingram (@FionaRobyn)
    March 31, 2012 | 9:02 am

    I have not read 50SOG and I do not want to. I am simply fascinated by the phenomenon of a less-than-gifted writer managing to get all this media and reader attention. Here is my question: everyone mentions how bad the writing is, how weak the characters are etc. If the only thing to recommend this series is touching on a subject which will possibly lose popularity once the 15 minutes of fame are up … what will E.L. James write next? Will her publishers send her to writing school? Will they get a team of ghost writers behind her (as I suspect is the case with many ‘top’ authors)? Where to from here if a ‘writer’ is dependent on reader popularity and not actual skill? People will ulitmately get bored with a monotonous set-up. I ask BSDM writers to correct me here – how many different types of scenarios can two people get into without running out of ideas? It’s like any relationship: once the sex and passion settles down they have to talk (gasp!) to each other. Can an author sustain more books if that author has no idea of how to create deep, meaningful characters and real plots. Hey, maybe I am too demanding and secretly readers just want to read the bits about whips ‘n’ pain…

  42. Sarah Baughman
    March 31, 2012 | 2:28 pm

    I’ve never heard of these books, but this post has saved me a lot of time, Nina! They don’t really sound like my “inner goddess'” cup of tea…

  43. Fern Chasida Rabinovitz
    March 31, 2012 | 4:44 pm

    I get curious when a book is getting so much hype, so I read 50 shades of grey (I also read the first Twilight book – ugh. I do love Harry Potter). I thought 50 shades was poorly written, the sex scenes were not so racy, and there wasn’t that many of them. I’m kind of torn about books 2 and 3 because I’m wondering if I’m right in predicting what happens but don’t really want to waste my time reading them to find out. I guess Google will come in handy.

  44. Rivki
    April 1, 2012 | 1:24 pm

    I tend to wait before reading anything which seems to be super-trending. I don’t think I read any of the Harry Potter books until they were almost all out (loved them, btw). Anyways, the whole “erotic” thing was pretty much a deal breaker for me. Not exactly my thing. It’s nice to hear that the writing itself wasn’t even that good; now I *really* don’t mind skipping this series.

  45. Julie Nilson
    April 1, 2012 | 1:37 pm

    The fact that it was derived from Twilight fanfic is enough to make me run, screaming, in the opposite direction! But I also haven’t read any good reviews. I’ve read that lots of people love it, supposedly, but of the people I know personally who have read it, not one of them thought it was good. Also, a friend who is involved in the BDSM scene thought it was utterly ridiculous and unrealistic.

    So all that is to say: No, I’m probably not going to bother.

  46. jolinapetersheim
    April 2, 2012 | 4:12 pm

    Living in a place even more backwoods than Minnesota, I have never heard of this book, and now I don’t want to waste my brain cells or my time. Thanks for the heads up, Nina! : )

  47. chickymara
    April 2, 2012 | 4:13 pm

    The whole point of the books WAS the sex scenes-they aren’t gratuitous. The story was secondary. The dialogue was weirdly formal, the odd use of Mr & Mrs. instead of first names, and Ana’s contrasting multiple personalities as well as Christians over bearing single one are all secondary. And that is why everyone is reading, and why its so popular. I like me some good literature. But, sometimes I just like some junk. But, the conundrum is due to my predilection for well-written prose, I have trouble with most of the crappy light stuff that’s out there-its like reading torture. However, when couched in the smut EL James intersperses amongst her smattering of storyline, somehow the junk becomes palatable, or rather, ignorable. The whole point of the books is to drop any sense of intellect, and just escape. Maybe they’re not for everyone, but seriously, just like going to see an American Pie movie, when you have no expectations of excellence,you might just have a great time.

  48. Lenka Katin
    April 5, 2012 | 10:58 am

    Glorified fanfic, that is all this is. She wiped all traces of it’s original Master Of The Universe and cntrl + F’d out the Twilight names. How effing original. If you want good erotica read The Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, seeing as 3/4’s of what EJ wrote is a rip-off of that series. Not a fan of EJ as a person, she should have stuck to role playing Twilight on Twitter instead of writing crap like this.

  49. Jane Eyre
    April 6, 2012 | 2:05 am

    I will admit that I couldn’t stomach the story enough to read the whole thing. BUT: I read most of the first and last book and thought 50 was absolutely awful. A lot of things really bug me about this series. 1) I’m bothered by the fact that someone can make a half-hearted attempt at fanfic based off of someone else’s original story and become a multi-millionaire, now known as a NYT best selling author. Meanwhile, writers creating thoughtfully crafted prose can’t even get an agent. I know publishers are in business to make a profit but it saddens me that this is what sells so well, especially since many people equate sales/genpop enthusiasm with quality. (Honestly this isn’t sour grapes – I’m not a writer!) 2) James took all the most annoying aspects of Twilight and fetishized them (or attempted to) as if they were her own character creations. I thought there was a lot of Twilight in the books, which is fine if it had stayed fanfic, but when you’re going to publish with a legitimate publishing house you need to produce original work. 3) IMO, anyone who claims 50 supports and promotes women’s sexual independence is reading the story backwards. Ana may physically consent to be a sub, but her complete inexperience with men and lack of self respect make her easy prey to be psychologically coerced into subjugation by a dominant man who wants to control every aspect of her life – food, clothing, sleep, etc. I know the BDSM powerplay people use to defend this and just don’t buy into it. Books don’t just randomly become this popular in any given time; it’s not a coincidence that 50 is resonating with readers now. The story of a young woman being sexually controlled by a man (the only man she’s ever with!)? Christian should have been a Teaparty senator.

    I will admit that I instantly get skeptical when something becomes hugely popular. I fell in love with Downton Abbey before the hype really took off, I begrudgingly started Harry Potter after GoF came out and love it more than I can say. No interest in reading The Help; Hunger Games passed me by. Read (and for a briefly fevered time liked) the first three Twilight books until the horrifying last installment ruined it. I do like the early Black Dagger Brotherhood books and some other romance books.

    • Nina Badzin
      April 8, 2012 | 3:30 pm

      Very interesting, analysis! Thank you for sharing here. I haven’t read much about the feminist take on it, but I do know there have been discussions on both sides (that it’s pro and anti).

  50. Koala Bear Writer
    April 8, 2012 | 7:45 pm

    I first heard about 50 Shades in my writing class, when a fellow student brought it up as an example of what writers can do with eBooks these days (and self-publishing). I wasn’t that interested in reading it (I tend to stay away from things that get a lot of hype – I’ve never read Harry Potter or Twilight, but I don’t like vampires) and now I really don’t want to read it. What you described doesn’t sound like anything I’d want to read. I do find it interesting the way that some books do get this sort of hype and word-of-mouth promotion, even when they are poorly written or lack originality. Is the author just riding on the popularity of Twilight – and are people so desperate for anything Twilight that they’ll even read crap like this? I watched The Help not because of the hype but because I was interested in the story (and really enjoyed it).

  51. Maria
    April 19, 2012 | 12:08 am

    50 Shades of Gray shows how misogynistic a female writer can be. It sets women back 100 years. If we’re going to accept S&M, we need books about women dominating men and the men enjoying it.

    • Jamie
      July 18, 2012 | 12:05 pm

      “If we’re going to accept S&M, we need books about women dominating men and the men enjoying it.”

      I have read some stories in which that occurs. I personally don’t agree with your suggestion of the writers misogyny, she probably just liked being dominated herself in fantasised BDSM relationships.

      Don’t forget that DSM is regulated, consensual, harmless role-playing in which dominant roles are freely applicable to BOTH sexes (and in which both sexes can indisputably enjoy.)

  52. Renstar
    April 26, 2012 | 6:50 am

    I have to agree. Read all 3 books last week and was so relieved to finish because it just dragged too much for me. The repetition in the series was too much in the end. Christian grey was sexy to begin with, but too much of a contradiction in a “roll your eyes” kinda way. Will see the movie, but hope its only one movie and not 3.

    • Nina Badzin
      May 3, 2012 | 8:52 am

      Now I’m wondering if I should at least finish #2 and read #3. It seems like I need to know for myself what happens.

      • Philip Irwin
        August 2, 2012 | 4:46 pm

        Hi Nina, I just googled “el james” and “mob mentality” and your blog was the first thing that came up. Thank goodness it’s not the entire world that’s gone mad! Phew!!

        Phil, UK

        • Nina Badzin
          August 3, 2012 | 3:22 pm

          My little blog comes up first? I love it! Hysterical. Well, I guess I can and should thank E.L. James for THAT. 😉 Thanks for letting me know!

        • North
          August 3, 2012 | 5:53 pm

          No, the ENTIRE world hasn’t gone mad – just those who read and praised this drivel. As a member of an on-line writing group that has completed one on-line novel & is working on the sequel, it’s made us feel REALLY good about our writing. So there is SOMETHING positive to come out of it, LOL

  53. mollyspring
    May 2, 2012 | 7:21 pm

    I still can’t quite wrap my head around it either. But I totally be down for some Harry Potter and Katniss! That would be a fun crossover.

  54. […] in the bedroom, but luckily lots and lots of people called them on that. Some chalk it up to the mob mentality. But in my opinion, it’s really more about the Cinderella story than the sex. In fact, I […]

  55. Maria
    May 25, 2012 | 12:18 pm

    The first book hooked me, but the repetative “inner goddess” “lipi-biting”, etc. and overall bad writing, character development, character believability in general has forced me to stop halfway through the second. Now I can’t stand and don’t care what happens to the charaters, they’re always jealous of anyone that looks at the other and, incidently, it seems like everyone is attracted to both of them for no particular reason? They’re both horribly written, everyone keeps telling Ana she’s so “brave” etc…brave, how? Her inner dialogue is that of a thirteen year old girl infatuated with her boyfriend, and in love with being in love. There’s no depth, nothing to attach yourself to. The BDSM, sexual aspect of the book in the beginning, when you could un-fault her for her naiveity, was hot, but as time went on and I moved on to the second book, her insecurity and “does he love me even though he buys me cars and says he does”, etc. was such a turn-off that it became hard to enjoy even that aspect of the writing. Hard, but not impossible:) If it weren’t for the sex in the book it would not be popular at all-it’s a blatent twilight rip-off with the gratification of sex-scenes included, and frankly there’s much better erotica out there.

    • Nina Badzin
      May 29, 2012 | 10:30 pm

      Great commentary! People often ask me if it’s the sex that bothered me about the book. On the contrary! Without the sex it would have been completely unreadable. 😉

    • Lisa
      July 19, 2012 | 12:18 pm

      AMEN to both of you!!! Couldn’t agree more. I’m so sick of hearing about how great it is – obviously coming from people who rarely read.

  56. britt
    May 29, 2012 | 8:17 pm

    omg! i said the same exact thing in a facebook post the other day! and today in barnes in nobels i told a women who was holding it that it was overrated and her friend said “no its not! have you red it” haha i said yes it is and yes i have.

    • Nina Badzin
      May 29, 2012 | 10:41 pm

      Doesn’t that enormous spread in Barnes and Noble kind of depress you? I feel bad for all the authors with books releasing right now. They kind of don’t stand a chance of getting noticed.

  57. Ksquirt
    May 31, 2012 | 3:26 pm

    I would like to see more character development and less sex! Yes, I said it, LESS! When they can’t keep their hands off each other long enough to have a real conversation about the babies they may or may not have one day, it’s just too much. It’s not even turning me on anymore and I’m on the third book. By all means, continue to read it… I just want to know how it ends at this point! Will she get pregnant and move into their multi-million dollar house or will some jealous ex off him in a moment of passion?

    • Nina Badzin
      June 4, 2012 | 3:43 pm

      I am so with you! “Less is more” certainly could have applied well here. 😉

    • Lisa
      July 19, 2012 | 12:21 pm

      Again, ITA! My friend’s husband read it and said “You know it’s bad when I think – ‘enough sex already! How about some more story?'”

  58. Lynn
    June 24, 2012 | 1:40 pm

    I am sorry to say but say but I don’t agree with any of these posts. Yes all that sex every five minutes is not really believable and truthfully could have delt with less of that. I really liked the book. I thought it had everything love, mystery, romance. I loved all the flirting and emails and text messages between them and all the playfulness. You saw Christian change over the 3 books and it was exciting to see the change. Not for nothing, as far as Anna having immature thoughts in her head you have to remember she is only 21 and never had a relationship before and her self image wasn’t the best so I thought that was completely expected along with the jealousy over Christian. As for Christian, he was emotionally under developed and was so messed up so early in life he had all kinds of issues with love and trust and always had control in relationships that did NOT involve love so the jealousy on his part was expected as well . I just love the way the relationship between Anna and Christian evolved. I felt like I spent so much time with them and got to know them and was sad to see it end.

    • Nina Badzin
      June 24, 2012 | 4:10 pm

      Lynn, You’re not alone! Most of my friends loved the series and would absolutely agree with you over me. 😉

  59. mummymishy
    June 25, 2012 | 7:21 am

    FINALLY someone who agrees with me. Maybe the big fuss is because this is the first time erotic fiction has been introduced into the mainstream. The naughtiness of it is the pull. For me, not so much. (Maybe I’m too naughty, myself? haha) I found myself cringing at her ‘little girl’ speak and descriptions of ‘down there.’ It’s like the writer wanted to push the boundaries but stopped short and got embarrassed. I, however have NOT sold gajillions of books and am NOT at the top of any bestseller list, so what do I know? Nice blog :)

    • Nina Badzin
      June 26, 2012 | 9:29 pm

      I love that I’m not alone! I just heard her husband sold a book. Not sure if it’s true!

      • mummymishy
        June 26, 2012 | 10:49 pm

        Nina, you and I are good writers, maybe we should turn to erotica – seems like we could make a bundle ;p

  60. thisgirlthat
    July 5, 2012 | 12:17 am

    Could not agree more! I just finished the last book (Thank the Lord!) I held on under the mentality of “I am not a quitter”, but geez louis it got down right boring midway through book 2 and all of book three. I was on board for the majority of book one, they should have added 1/2 a chapter to the end of it and called it a day. The longer it went on the more it felt like the publisher kept calling the author saying – “it’s doing so well, can’t you squeeze out just one more novel??” Monotonous and pointless.

    • TJ
      July 7, 2012 | 11:59 am

      You could not have summed it up any better. The first half of book two was interesting. Now I’m on a downward spiral again. How on earth did this book get so popular??

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 6:58 am

      And IO *heard* that her husband got a book deal, but I don’t know if it’s true. Wouldn’t surprise me though!

  61. North
    July 10, 2012 | 3:14 pm

    First of all, let me just go on record as saying that I think the Twilight books are some of the most inept, trashy writing in history.

    Whew! I feel better, like I’ve sicked up something rotten.

    As for Shades of Gray… I’ve only read a few excerpts – but those reminded me that nothing is new. If you want steamy, kinky, bondage/S-M fantasy sex, go to the Anne Rice Sleeping Beauty trilogy that she wrote under the pseudonym, A. N. Roquelaure.

    Now THERE’s some kinky stuff!

    • Nina Badzin
      July 10, 2012 | 11:25 pm

      I keep hearing about those Anne Rice books! Don’t know if I can handle them . . . 😉

  62. Anna
    July 19, 2012 | 7:49 am

    The book was totally overrated. It was basically a sexual version of Twilight. It’s the Twilight crap all over again. Dominating sexy man swoops in on a shy little average girl blah blah. I cringed when reading those emails between them. And the sex scenes? Not buying it. You could find better sex stories on those porn stories websites.
    I finished the first book and have no desire at all to read on.
    And the movies? They know they’ll earn a lot less money of it’s rated R. But dumbing it down to PG 13? Not working either. It’s twilight all over again.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 20, 2012 | 2:58 pm

      I know . . . a few emails would have been more than enough to get the idea. Re: the movie . . . are they making it PG 13??? I can’t imagine that.

  63. mrspowell
    July 25, 2012 | 2:05 pm

    I think that it is over rated. I cant wait to finish the third one but it is taking me forever because im bored of it. The story is too far fetched, Christian Grey is a controlling stalker who scares the life out of Anna, shes always worried that he will react bad to anything she says or that he will hit her with his ‘twitchy palm’ after hes ‘cocked his head to one side’ and ‘pressed his lips into a hard thin line’ and that’s all the book is about really. the sex scenes are unbelievably boring i skip through them because they’re all the same. I wish i never succumbed to the peer pressure what a waste of time and money.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 26, 2012 | 11:00 pm

      You know things are going south when you’re skipping the sex scenes!

      Thanks for visiting and stopping to add your two cents. :)

  64. […] to state clearly that I have never claimed to write reviews on my blog. Okay, I wrote one called 50 Shades Overrated in March, but that was an exception. What I do instead is keep track of the books I’ve read […]

  65. aint3113
    August 8, 2012 | 12:01 pm

    Hi Nina, I just found your blog and got sucked in to the Twitter advice, but had to be the one, some what, descending voice on the Fifty Shades bashing. I agree 100% with everything that’s been said so far – the books were terrible. Completely unrealistic, annoyingly repetitive, full of editing errors and don’t even get me started on the dialogue. With all that said, I read them in 4 days. The whole time, I was grimacing at the inept nature of the books, but I could not put them down. After the first few, i did skim the sex scenes – could she really be “ready” for him every single time? But here’s the big confession; after I finished and was left feeling really cheap for, so veraciously, reading that worthless trash, I re-read them. I needed to understand why I got addicted. In the end, I liked the books even less the second time, but the conclusion I came to is there was a vulnerability and sweetness in the chemistry between Christian and Ana that is every teenage girl’s image of what romance is. Realistic, no. A little creepy, yes. Some rich man sweeping me off my feet and thinking geeky me is amazing? Hell yes. For me, it was an escape to a world with no laundry piled on the couch, no doctors appointments and baby’s oxygen monitor beeping at me and no 3 year old with skid marks in his pants. In that context, I’ve come to terms with the fact that it’s not a literary masterpiece and openly swoon over Christian Grey (although he’s much closer to George Clooney, in my mind)

    • Nina Badzin
      August 8, 2012 | 3:09 pm


      You bring up an excellent point about zipping through the books. There must be a reason!! I love that you went back to “study” it. I’ve done that too with certain books. Every reading experience is a learning one if you’re a writer!

  66. […] do not write reviews on my blog. Okay, I wrote one called “50 Shades Overrated” in March, but that was an exception. What I do instead is keep track of the books I’ve […]

  67. Sharmin
    August 13, 2012 | 1:38 pm

    I wonder if the recent popularity in ereaders has given this book more space to be a success? I mean I’ve seen people read it on the trains on their kindles and nooks. I guess what I’m saying is with a book like this, I’m betting it’s a lot easier to read it on a device than out in the open with the glaring cover! Obviously, I could be wrong. I have no intention of even picking these books up.

  68. […] to state clearly that I have never claimed to write reviews on my blog. Okay, I wrote one called 50 Shades Overrated in March, but that was an exception. What I do instead is keep track of the books I’ve read […]

  69. […] will say that I agree with Nina Badzin on this: if I never hear the phrase “my inner goddess” again, I will die a happy woman. James was going […]

  70. RhyChi
    October 9, 2012 | 2:52 am

    Don’t forget “Oh my”
    Which I can’t stand anymore.

    • Nina (@NinaBadzin)
      October 13, 2012 | 10:14 pm

      Yes–good call! That one drove me crazy, too.

  71. Melindah
    March 8, 2013 | 2:18 am

    I’m a bit appalled by people who are hating 50 Shades of Grey just because it became mainstream. People forget at the end of the day, it’s all about entertainment, and each has a liberty on what materials would make them ‘entertained.’

    Reading 50 Shades of Grey was fun. Just don’t take it seriously. Geez, people.

  72. Ducky
    May 3, 2013 | 5:28 pm

    I’m also baffled by the popularity of this series. From the hype you hear about this book you’d think it would be the best of the best…

    So why this book? There’s a lot of low-brow smut out there, particularly Twilight fanfic. It can’t just be that the author tapped into powerful characters someone else developed(although that does cheapen the book considerably at the get-go…) I wonder if the title was just catchy for people? Sex sells…

    Either way I’m deeply bothered that such a horrible writer has made so much fame and money polluting people’s heads.

    • Nina (@NinaBadzin)
      May 7, 2013 | 9:52 pm

      Loved reading your thoughts on this OLD post! Really! It was fun to revisit.

  73. Tanmayi Marepalli
    December 21, 2013 | 2:56 pm

    I think this 50 Shades is quite overrated. I read it recently just because my friends blabbered abt it.. I just dont understand that just bcuz Christian Grey had sex at 15 nd with an older woman doesnt mean he becomes mentally ill and gains control over a virgin or whatever. It not possible for a ’27 yr something’ person to be a billionaire. He has to look wierd if he ever was and not with ‘overwhelming looks’.
    But I did get addicted to this foolish book. I liked the storyline though…. But it lacks evident facts.. Too much use of ‘inner goddess,’ lip biting’, rolling eyes’, ‘head cocked to one side,’ etc… BDSM was not so strong…
    The author did make an effort though!

  74. Anna
    March 26, 2014 | 3:55 am

    So I was kind of reading it because of, you could say, peer pressure- well that and the hunky Christian Grey. But when I started reading it, I was liking it and then bam!- suddenly I am just not in the mood you know? The whole romantic formulation in my mind wipes out because of the writing style in the forthcoming chapters. I thought something was wrong with me but this post confirms the fact that I am not the only one. I feel so relieved. Lol.

  75. Taylor Zukowski
    July 28, 2014 | 7:39 pm

    I figured I would read it and follow mob mentality. After a couple of pages I thought to myself “This is way too boring. I’ll just read the racy parts.” But even that wasn’t good enough. I gave up after a couple of sex scenes. That was maybe one or two years ago and I haven’t even given it a second try I just couldn’t stand reading it.

    • Nina Badzin
      July 29, 2014 | 3:40 pm

      I definitely think it was overrated. That won’t stop me from seeing the movie though! 😉

  76. Gargi
    August 7, 2014 | 2:04 am

    I finally read the first book this year and…I didn’t mind it! I neither loved it as much as the fans nor despised it as much as the haters seem to. Though I have to say, however bad the writing is, I thought it was better than Twilight!

  77. Sharon Bially
    February 10, 2015 | 6:56 am

    I’m reading 50 Shades of Gray now, and half of me wants to put it down — or more accurately, throw it against the wall. On top of ‘my inner goddess’ etc., how about, “Oh my.” Look out wall. Plus, honestly, there’s just too much sex and not enough story. It’s actually making me feel a little seasick and queasy. Like when you watch bad TV and keep thinking of all the better ways you could be using your time, but still can’t turn it off. Will I see the movie? Yeah. It’s too much of a ‘thing’ not to. But will I read the other 2 books? Nah.

    • Nina Badzin
      February 11, 2015 | 7:57 am

      I love that you happened on this old post! Yeah, I could not read the 2nd two. But yes, I will see the movie even if I have to roll my eyes the whole time.

  78. Jennifer Wolfe
    February 15, 2015 | 11:00 am

    Couldn’t agree more…I haven’t read the book or seen the movie, an I don’t plan to. Frustrating that this kind of writing can make so much money…
    Jennifer Wolfe recently posted..A Long-Ago Valentine’s DayMy Profile

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