Fifty Shades of Grey – DRINKING GAME RULES

50 shades of greyThis book is so exuberantly, hilariously flawed that it requires a drinking game.

Drink every time:

  • Christian Grey acts like a stalker with poor impulse control.
  • Ana thinks, Oh my.
  • A stray Britishism pops up.
  • Ana’s subconscious [sic] or inner goddess requires slapping.
  • There’s gratuitous product placement.
  • You cringe on behalf of Christian’s servant-people.
  • Someone name-shouts during orgasm.

Chug when:

  • Someone’s mouth “forms a perfect O.”
  • A tampon is pulled.

Finish your drink when:

  • “Rectifying the situation” is used to refer to relieving someone of their virginity.
  • An actual, full-length legal contract appears in the text.

In a nutshell: Young, bookish Anastasia Steele meets 27-year-old business tycoon Christian Grey.  He has a dark past, majorly taut abs, a BDSM playroom in his fabulous penthouse, and a purported fear of intimacy that melts on contact with Ana’s magical vagina.

I was going to make a list of flaws, followed by a tally of the merits, but then I kept moving the flaws to the merit column because the flaws are so awesome, just like the pancake makeup in the Twilight movies.

–         The writing pulls the neat trick of setting the bar so low that I fist-pumped in triumph every time E.L. James did something right, such as understanding the distinction between “figuratively” and “literally.”

–         There are SO MANY ERRORS.  How can this e-book cost $9.99 when there’s well-written erotica available for $0.99?

–          Safe sex, yay!  James gets kind of Pavlovian with the ripping sound of a condom package, and I salute that.

–          Christian Grey, who probably owns a sweatshirt emblazoned “Byronic anti-hero,” is cold and distant but blows his game by saying dipshit things like “I’m like a moth to a flame” and “You beguile me.”  Not to mention, “I want you to meet my mother” right after they Do It for the first time.  HAHAHA HAHA HAHAHAHAHA, this book is awesome.

–          Despite the busload of flaws, I think the romance works.  Ana and Mr. Rochester Grey have very different neuroses, but of the same vector length, which is one of the keys to relationship success.  She’s judgmental and street stupid, he’s emo with a bad temper; they so totally deserve each other!  Win!

–          The meet-cute portion of the story is a delicious, delicious festival of cringe.  Remember how teen magazines used to have reader submissions where people would write in with tales of personal humiliation?  Ana is EPIC in her ability to fuck up in front of Christian.

–          Ana has two cartoon characters that provide windows into her interior life (because first-person narration isn’t enough, what?), which E.L. James refers to as Ana’s subconscious [sic] and Ana’s inner goddess.  Like the Microsoft paperclip that used to pop up in Word, they manifest for no reason and grow more irksome each time.  (Ana’s inner goddess mimes her feelings by doing a hula dance, hiding behind the sofa, or swooning onto a fainting couch.)

–          The British have invaded Seattle!  Although purportedly narrated by an American girl, this story is speckled all over with charmingly misplaced Britishisms.  It’s amateur night at the editing desk.  No, who are we kidding, this novel wasn’t edited by anyone.

–          I don’t know what’s less believable, that Ana has never masturbated or that she doesn’t have a laptop or email account in 2011.  See note above re: editing.

–          This dubious book has the dubious distinction of  having the most true-to-life contractual negotiation I’ve ever read in my fiction-reading career.  The Dom/sub contract appears in its entirety (except Schedule C – Food), including subsequent markup rounds.  Ana comments on legal drafts more astutely than most junior attorneys I have known, which just…I don’t know.  She didn’t catch the redlining errors, though, so I’ll have to mark that on her next performance review.

–          I don’t know much about the theory and practice of BDSM, but even I can tell E.L. James doesn’t know a damn thing.  Some people are rightly offended, but honestly I can’t take this fuckwittery seriously enough to be offended.  It’s like being upset about bad science in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.  Btw, it’s labeled BDSM, but the kink factor is totally mainstream, like the “spicy” Chinese food in the food court at the mall.

In conclusion, this book is optimized for drinking games, preferably in conjunction with a dramatic reading with friends.  I mentioned the name-shouting during sex, right?  It would only take 5 people to do a full-cast rendition (Christian, Ana, Ana as narrator, Ana’s subconscious [sic], and someone to mime Ana’s inner goddess).


15 responses to “Fifty Shades of Grey – DRINKING GAME RULES

  1. There’s an actual contract? Are the subsequent markup rounds clean or redline? I may have to read it for the sake of the contract…

  2. Yes, an actual contract, with redlining in subsequent discussions! And issues lists via email, for reals.

    Be warned that this novel costs a ludicrous $9.99 as a self-published ebook. Despite that fact, it’s the top seller in the erotica genre by a large margin. You’ll need to instruct your brain to be mildly drunk to get past the hideous editing errors.

  3. Pingback: Kyriacities » Blog Archive » Yet more thoughts on fanfiction: E. L. James and Fifty Shades of Grey

  4. Pingback: Lists & Procrastination: 5 Things I’m into for the Moment « Early Nerd Special

  5. Add to the drinking list… every time you read the words “mutter” “murmur” “whisper”
    Hello over-usage of words. Its actually quite maddening. And I thought the same thing – no way was this “novel” edited. Can’t believe a division of Random House actually published it. Its got potential, but there are just so so many obvious flaws that get in the way. Nevermind the internal game of calling bullshit (or boredom) at almost every sex scene. I don’t think I’ll be able to stomach the 2nd and 3rd books. But like one person has said, if you look at it like simple junk food for the brain, you’ll get through it.
    Very amusing, funny write-up. Thank you!

  6. I had to reread this post because of the news that Emma Watson may play Ana in a movie version. Can we have a dramatic reading night for reals? I can provide cocktails and couches.

  7. It’s really very difficult in this full of activity life to listen news on Television, so I just use the web for that purpose, and get the newest news.

  8. Ehm, just about the contract. I know it’s said elsewhere but giving a contract about BDSM to someone who never EVER tried it, neither has he (or she in this case) had ANY sexual experience to that point, is downright offending to anyone with any knowledge about BDSM or sexual intercourse at all.

    Not to mention that his lists are hilarious. Always going through a full list of sexual practices/ types of “hurting/ toys to be used, which the author thought were “kinky” (and considering how he describes their use, he probably only saw them on TV and never tried any of them in real-life) he ALWAYS includes “and other types” basically saying: “and anything I come up with on my whim, without the need for you to know about it beforehand!” which is wrong on way more levels than the mentaly retarded author comprehends…

    So yeah, it’s a bad and offensive book. I’m sure that if vampires were presented the way that BDSM is in this book, all the emo/goth kids would rise up and swarm the iternet with their remarks on how unjust and wrong the presentation of vampires is in this book. But since it’s only BDSM nobody cares. Those who like it and understand it have a good laugh with their friends about how dumb the author is, those who don’t just scratch their heads not knowing if this was really meant to be taken seriously.

  9. Reblogged this on Fifty Shades of Tribute – Sasha Cameron and commented:
    I really like this sort of critique. As you all know it won’t change the way I feel about the books but the wrongs addressed here are beautifully highlighted. Now, where is my tequila? I’m off to get completely hammered playing the drinking game!

  10. Where was this game when all of my friends and myself were reading it? I loved the books so maybe I can challenge my friends to a “Re-read Party”.
    Off to the liquor store!

  11. Pingback: So, Uh, I Gave in to Fifty Shades of Grey (Insert Sub Joke Here… or Not) | Stressing Out College

  12. Apart from using the paperback version of the book to prop the door open, the ebook version is merely taking up space on your Kindle or eReader that would be better occupied by something better written, isn’t an obvious knock off of two Twilight characters and something that actually has a plot and a decent storyline. There are plenty of that type of book out there.

    Or, you can use it as a drinking game, which seems like it’s probably the ONLY decent usage anyone will ever get out of it. Now, where’s my bottle of wine?


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