My (Now Not) Secret Shame: 50 Shades of Grey

Hello, my name is Rebecca and I’m reading Fifty Shades of Grey.

I’ll pause while you gaze downward, hesitant to make eye contact with me for fear of association with someone reading something so awful.

But the thing is, you’re probably reading it too or it’s on your list to read next. Because it feels like everyone I talk to is reading it. If you’re considering it, please … don’t. Save your $14.95 in print or your $8.80 on Kindle for something else.

I’m not suggesting that we all pick up Finnegan’s Wake or Moby Dick for poolside reading, but if you want trashy, why not go old school with a little Jackie Collins, maybe some Flowers in the Attic—now there’s a compelling storyline: locked-in-the-attic incest with arsenic-covered doughnuts! Nice work, V.C. Andrews!—or even The Hunger Games, the books for freakin’ tweens that I couldn’t put down.

But this. No. It’s like reading 300 pages of copy for a Venus razor commercial. The mention of the character’s “inner goddess” occurs so often, if you made a drinking game out of taking a sip every time she says it, you’d be hammered and puking in 20 pages.

And seriously? Women of the world, tell me: the first time you had sex, even the first few or more times, did you have a “I fall apart in his hands, my body convulsing and shattering into a thousand pieces” kind of experience? You know what I’m asking, right? Don’t make me type it out. Good for you if you did, but most of the women I know were a little like “WTF JUST HAPPENED HERE” the first time. Unicorns were not jumping over rainbows. Body parts were quivering, but not from spent pleasure.

What’s worse, the book is supposed to feel racy, but I’m not remotely turned on or even mildly intrigued by the sub/dom thing, at least not in the context of this book. I’m 88 percent of the way through according to my Kindle and the “dirtiest” thing that’s happened is she’s been spanked, hit with a riding crop, shimmied his tie between her legs with her panties off, and they had sex in a bathtub while she was on her period. Really??? That’s the best you can do, E.L. James?? HAVE YOU BEEN ON THE INTERNET LATELY??? It’s brimming with seedy inspiration and yet you give us he-pulled-the-tampon-out period sex in a bubble bath?

So why am I still reading this book? I hate the characters. I hate the dialogue. The supposedly racy parts would bore middle schoolers. I guess chalk it up to my belief in seeing things through. I finish books. I sit through movies. I clean my plate. I respond and keep talking to the weird guy on the bus picking the corn on his baby toe. That’s me, for better or worse.

I can’t quit you, Fifty Shades. I want to, but I just can’t. Somebody hit me with a riding crop when I’m done with this book. Please.