Book Club: 10 Things I loved about “Fifty Shades of Grey”

I did not love Fifty Shades of Grey. In fact, I disliked it so much, I didn’t finish it. But I know a lot of people greatly enjoy this series — including my friend who loaned me her copy of the book — so rather than rain all over their parade (again), I’m going to tell you ten things I loved about Fifty Shades.

1. It’s totally hilarious. Whether intentional or not, the book made me laugh. I read passages aloud to Drew not because I found them sexy but because I found them riotously amusing. (Unfortunately, it was not amusing enough to carry the book several hundred pages, but I digress…).

2. Grey is a nice color. It’s very on trend right now.

3. …

4. Um.

5. Oh! I love that my friend and I now say, “I flush” to each other like a little inside joke because of the book.

6. You know how when you’re procrastinating doing something you don’t want to do, like study for an exam, you can get a lot of tedious shit done, like washing the dishes and making doctor appointments? Well, let’s just say I got a lot of tedious shit done this month.

7. …

8. hmm.

9. I’m thinking, I’m thinking…

10. You can skip over the middle 200 pages to the final chapter and not feel like you missed too much of the plot.

… So, that’s what I thought of the book, and since I skipped so much of it, I will leave the discussion to those of you who actually read the whole thing. What did you think? Are you going to read the other books in the series? Whom would you cast in the movie version?

Bonus Videos:
Dr. Ruth talks 50 Shades

Fifty Shades of Blue with Selena Gomez (on Funny or Die)


  1. lets_be_honest says:

    Haven’t read it. But I did hear about Selena Gomez reading it (the video you linked, haven’t watched). While I know I shouldn’t give too much of an opinion on something I haven’t read or a video I haven’t watched, but I find it really inappropriate that she’s got anything to do with this book. I guess she’s 18 now, so it makes it ok, but I really get sick thinking about all these Disney stars desperately trying to prove they are grownups while all they are really doing is providing more photos, videos, etc. for perverts around the world. Am I just very prude?

    1. bluesunday says:

      You should really watch the funny or die video. It’s hilarious and not exactly raunchy.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        You are probably right. I guess I’m coming from a Mom viewpoint on this one. And I know this girl didn’t sign up to be a role model or anything, but her fans are young girls, like my daughter for example. Why would she even do a spoof of reading such a raunchy book. Who will watch that besides the kids that are her fans (obviously the fact that its posted on here proves I’m wrong, but it still seems weird to me). I’m surprised anyone even knows who she is that isn’t a teenager or has a tween or child honestly. The only things she’s even appeared in (as far as I know) are children’s shows.

      2. 6napkinburger says:

        I’m not so sure — wound up reading the “Sleeping beauty” trilogy freshman year of high school, because my friend bought it accidentally (not knowing what it was). I think a little erotica goes a long way in teaching girls to be in touch with their sexuality — in a good way. Getting turned on from a book (and not a boy) teaches you a lot about where those feelings come from and how to handle them, with no risk of STD or pregnancy.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        I guess I should’ve been clearer in the ages I meant. The people that watch Disney shows, I assume, are not even close to teenagers. But I will acknowledge I may just be being a prude about this.

    2. its a pretty standard formula- tween girl gets fame, does cutesey disney stuff, gets to be JUST barely legal and BAM playboy-party-sex-drug crazy.

      ive heard its the whole striking out on your own that teens go through, but with celebrites its amplified like crazy- partially so that their fans will keep being their fans as they get older themselves because the celebrity is now “cool”. you can see it though on pretty much any teen-turned-adult star. britney did it. christina did it. miley is in the process…. its kinda funny, in a sad way.

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        It is sad, but at the same time I guess we all go through that breaking out of my childhood stage, we’re just not plastered all over the TV and magazines.
        Anyway, I’m just not comfortable with the idea of a child star reading porn books outloud. I can guarantee you more pervy old men are watching that than people like us.

      2. bluesunday says:

        I can’t believe I’m going to take the time to defend Selena Gomez, but I don’t think she’s doing the Miley-esque sex/drugs/rock and roll thing. Mind you, I can’t say I know all that much about her, but I have a medium-strong appreciation for celebrity gossip and I never hear about her parading around the paparazzi without underwear or smoking weed or “accidentally” leaking nude pics. I guess her boyfriend just got in a bit of legal trouble, but overall I think Selena’s just a nice, normal 19 year old girl. Compare and contrast with Taylor Momsen.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Very, very true.

  2. I read the book only because I was prompted by the fact that it was on the Dear Wendy Book Club. Heck, I managed to finish the whole series. For Twilight fanfic, it’s not bad – it’s still better writing than Twilight. As quick, beachy-type reads go, it’s not that bad.

    For Erotica (can’t stand the label Mommy Porn), it is subpar compared to what I read before. Everything is “Hot” for Ms. Steele – how Mr. Gray looks, the wiki description of what Mr. Gray is suggesting, what Mr. Gray eventually does. Somewhere along the line, I started substituting image of the waify brunette described in the book with Paris Hilton – that’s not a good thing.

    So I’m glad I read it at least once. Yet is it worthy of a re-read? For my Erotica fix, I’d rather go to the Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, The Story of O or any of the erotic novels of Gael Greene (yes, the Top Chef critic – she wrote a few in the 70s: Doctor Love is ESPECIALLY good) or something that can be found online than the Fifty Shades again.

    As for who would be cast in the movie version? I don’t know of a legit actor who can handle the whimperishness of Ms. Steele seriously. Yet for Mr. Gray – James Deen, no questions asked.

    1. “Yet for Mr. Gray – James Deen, no questions asked.”

      Ew…I’m not sure who I think would fit that role, but not him. I’d like to see Josh Duhamel in that role, but I’m a bit biased. Maybe Natalie Portman for Anastasia – she can portray that innocence, yet the unknowing beauty and control that Anastasia has.

      1. I only picked him because that’s who I kept imagining as Mr. Gray as I was reading it. It made the reading more tolerable for me. I personally can’t think of a modern contemporary actor currently in that age range who would fit the role of Mr. Gray – there’s a certain dickishness/smarminess about that character that would need to be silently conveyed.

        Now if we went back to 1970s era Richard Gere – he’d be perfect. Mr. Gray has nothing on Tony Lo Porto from Looking for Mr. Goodbar. If anything, Fifty Shades reminded me that I wanted to read that book/find that movie (it has yet to be issued on DVD) so yay for that.

  3. Things I liked about 50 shades:

    1) Her name is Ana, obviously. 🙂

    2) Who doesn’t want to meet a hot millionaire who wants to buy you the entire world while giving you screaming orgasms?

    3) Some of the less corny sex scenes were pretty hot.

    4) I enjoy some of the same things Christian does, just not to the extend of actually controlling the woman

    5) Of course, she changes the unchangeable guy. He breaks all of his own rules as soon as he meets her.

    One thing that drove me crazy about it is how she always refers to her area down there as “my sex.” Worst wording ever. Any term would be better!

    1. I liked it, as well. It certainly wasn’t the best written book that I’ve ever read, but I liked the chemistry and attraction between Anastasia and Christian. There was sexual tension from the first moment they met, and it was hot.

      For all of the sexual tension and build-up, I didn’t think the non-BDSM sex scenes were that salacious. Disappointing, actually. She came about 10 seconds into it, and he was a mere .5 seconds behind her.

    2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Ugh, I found NOTHING attractive about that dufus millionaire. I’m kind of shocked the “author” couldn’t make him sexy. I mean, she could’ve just tried to describe George Clooney or something. Seriously, Christian Gray makes me vomit in my mouth. I knew he had nothing to offer when he bust out white wine for Miss Steele.

      1. *gasp* Are you anti-white wine AP? I love white wine!

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        It’s true. If I were stranded on a deserted island with nothing but white wine, … I’d be sober (and alone) forever. I’ve kind of started dating this guy and we were at his place drinking wine and he said “sorry, I have no white wine, just red – I hate white wine” and I decided then and there that I was ready to sleep with him. (Not really but you get my point.)

      3. Wow. To be honest, I haven’t met a wine I didn’t like. I love red and white. It depends on what I’m eating usually. So when you eat seafood or chicken you still pair it with red wine?

      4. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Yup. I think red wine goes really well with all sorts of food: chicken, fish, pizza, burgers – of course. Mexican? Duh. Peanut butter sandwiches? Absolutely. Popcorn? Yes, please. Eggs? Why not.

        White wine makes me sick. Like, I get violently ill when I drink it. So now even thinking about white wine makes my stomach ache. I prefer a really, really dry red. The drier the better. And whites, even dry whites, are too yucky.

      5. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Confession: I judge people who drink white wine. Yes, I know, you drink it, Regina drinks it, Wendy probably drinks it. … And I still love you, but, like, I’m never gonna be in love with you. Eh, it’s hard to explain. … It’s a deal breaker. I mean, like, what if one day we met God at a bar and he said, hey, belly up, drinks on me, and then you go and order a white wine? God would judge me for associating with you, and I just can’t let that happen.

        I’ve been drinking so please don’t judge me for my judginess. Or for my made up words.

      6. The only white stuff I drink is champagne. Am I less Cool?

      7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        No, you’re still my girl.

      8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        But if I catch you with white, this love fest is over. O.V.E.R. If you drink it, I just don’t want to hear about it or see it. Put that in our relationship contract or whatever is the trend now.

  4. evanscr05 says:

    Oh, man, I read it, and just started book 2 last night. I liked it, but not in the “it’s literary genius!” sense, nor in the “I’m definitely reading this again!” kind of way, either. The writing is terrible, the scenes are completely unrealistic, and NOBODY talks like that. But, it was a good, trashy read, and it definitely is pretty hot at times. A friend of mine and I read it together the other day and we kept cracking up at the ridiculousness. It’s kind of a fun read with someone else reading at the same pace. I will say, though, it got pretty old, pretty fast reading the words “my inner gooddess”, and after awhile I actually got kind of bored of all the sex. But, it kept me entertained and intrigued. I finished book 1 and promptly bought book 2 and then read 200 pages of it last night. I’m pretty baffled how this will end up as a movie in the mainstream, and rated anything less than NC-17. There’s not a lot of substance, so it’s pretty much just porn.

  5. ReginaRey says:

    So I fell down a deep, dark whole during my time of funemployment and read all 3 of the “series.” I don’t know how to describe what kept me going. I think the fact that it’s loosely based off of Twilight (which isn’t exactly high praise) made me want to keep reading, because I knew she was going to get knocked up and I really wanted to see how the “author” would play that out.

    If any of you, which I doubt, were to actually desire to read the entire series, then I guess I should say *spoiler alert,* before I continue with my favorite things.

    Basically, I love that this girl is a really, REALLY terrible example of an extreme letter writer on this site. “Dear Wendy, I have no personality and no real confidence, but I just met this really controlling dude who I think I love! Even though he stalks me, and tells me what to wear, and gives me cars and stuff…he’s super hot! Oh, and it’s only been 6 weeks and he asked me to marry him. I said yes! Oh, and then a few weeks later, I found out I was pregnant and he got mad at me because ‘we’ve only known each other for two seconds’…then why did he marry me so quickly?? I don’t get it. Also, he sometimes shows up at my job unexpectedly trying to control whether or not I change my last name to HIS last name. Oh and when he didn’t like my boss, he just bought the company and fired him…but I guess that’s OK, because my boss was kinda pervy. So anyway, I really want my marriage to work! I know we’ve only known each other for 7 weeks, but I totally understand his 50 shades of fucked up and want to love him and change him for the better! My inner goddess and my subconscious agree with me on both accounts.”

    It’s a GREAT example of everything you SHOULD NEVER DO in a relationship, though!

    And, just for fun, if I were to cast it, I’d totally cast Lily Collins as Ana and Henry Cavill as Christian (imaging Henry Cavill naked probably got me through this book). Maybe Blake Lively as Katherine. I’m torn between wanting this movie to pan out and realllllly hoping it doesn’t. I don’t know which I’d rather do more…watch it in rapt horror or run away screaming.

    And PS — Who EDITED this shit?!? I mean, how many times can you possibly say “inner goddess” and “my subconscious.” And saying “my subconscious” isn’t even accurate…your subconscious would be the shit you DON’T KNOW IS GOING ON IN YOUR HEAD. Perhaps she meant to say “I thought to myself” or even “my conscious mind” or “my conscience”….but SUBconscious makes zero sense. I don’t expect the “author” to know that, but I expect an editor to!

    1. Thank you! I read the first two books due to my “funemployment” as well. I could not wait to finish the second one because I was SO bored by it. I was confused by the last page or so but not intrigued enough to start the third and now I don’t have to because your brief synopsis just took care of whatever curiosity I had. The movie could be a good drinking game for those who like those sorts of things. For instance anytime Ana says “Oh my” or Christian says “Laters baby” you drink. 🙂

    2. evanscr05 says:

      Also, there are MANY omissions of words that are supposed to be in the sentence. Sometimes I find myself re-reading lines multiple times as I realize the editor forgot to include a word here and there.

    3. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Oh good, do I now not need to finish the first book? Please “spoil” anything else you think I need to know so I don’t have to finish it.

      1. ReginaRey says:

        They name their kid Theodore. I find that slightly off-putting. Oh, and Katherine ends up engaged to Christian’s brother Elliot. Annnnd Christian almost dies in a helicopter sabotage. They go on a tour of Europe for their honeymoon. And he won’t let her ride the jet ski by herself because it’s not safe. Some dude is trying to kill Christian because he’s mad that he’s not rich. That’s basically the 2nd and 3rd books for you.

  6. I read and reread the series, not because it was literary genius but becomes it was entertaining on a different level and totally spiced up my sex life!

    Ana is a moron and Christian is a stalking head case, I know but I still found it entertaining. I have to say during my reread I was more attune to the ridiculousness of it all and definitely laughed more.

    I could possibly see Rachel Bilson as Ana and Matt Boomer as Christian; but I think Henry Cavill would work as well!

  7. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    I knew Wendy couldn’t come up with 10 things! I love her for that. True love.

    1. Me too. I hated the book. Terrible, terrible, terrible. More annoying than sexy.

  8. lets_be_honest says:

    Got one of those e-readers recently (have yet to use it for anything other than soduko or magazines). Anyway when you go into the book “store” all the top ones are erotica books. Pretty funny all these people hiding behind their e-readers.

    1. kerrycontrary says:

      I would rather people read it on their e-reader. When people read the regular book on the metro I feel uncomfortable knowing that they are probably getting turned on. That’s just me though!

      1. lets_be_honest says:

        Good point!

  9. OMG I loved it. I’ve read a lot of really, really bad erotica, so it actually wasn’t terribly written by that standard. Plus it was hysterical to read out loud to my gf.

  10. I really think the reason this book has been such a hit is that you can read only the parts you want and skip the rest and you will not have missed a thing.

  11. Avatar photo caitie_didnt says:

    I read the “50 Shades of Suck” Tumblr, does that count?

    1. Me too (thanks to Christy), doesn´t looked like we missed out on much from the actual books. 🙂

  12. sarolabelle says:

    Please, Hollywood, don’t make a movie out of this crap. The last thing anyone wants to see is mainstream porn. Bring back Bridges of Madison County into the theatre for this generation. At least that movie has heart.

  13. Avatar photo Michelle.Lea says:

    alright. i have to find this in the cheap bin and read it. if nothing else, for the humour lol

    1. Oh that’s another reason I haven’t read it. The library doesn’t have it and I refuse to spend my money on something I’m sure I’ll hate. Now if someone lends it to me or I see it in book bin for REALLY cheap (.50-$1), then maybe I’ll give it a look!

  14. blue skies says:

    I actually enjoyed parts of this book. It’s mostly mindless and fluffy, with some spanking sex scenes thrown in for good measure.
    Like the other people have commented…the “inner goddess” stuff was so annoying. As was the obsession with FOOD. This book had so much focus on getting Ana to eat, and how she was always not hungry at all….I found it so weird.
    And the fact that she can have tons of orgasms from Christian merely caressing her nipples??? Odd. Imagine what happens to her if she were to ride the city bus! Embarrassing. 😉
    My last point would be that I found it disappointing that the book sort of promotes the tired approach of “young virginal woman, who doesn’t really want to do anything kinky and needs to be tricked into it.” Some people enjoy kinky stuff! It’s okay! But society tells us that we’re messed up if we like anything more than the missionary position on Saturday night at 11pm.
    End Rant. 🙂

    1. OMG thank you for mentioning the food aspect! Good lord all this book did was make me hungry because I was all like, omg chicken salad DOES sound good right now. Thanks Christian. And good lord I always had a glass of wine ready when I was reading it. I needed to take large sips when I got too annoyed.

      I think on some sick level, it was also about how Christian ‘nourishes’ her, because she’s too helpless to take care of herself and remember to feed herself properly. Like, he’s THAT dominant. Frankly, when it gets into ‘controlling’ food like that, I get bothered because it almost makes anorexia appealing. The right man will care for you so much, he’ll even remind you to eat. BLAH. go to therapy Ana. That is all.

    2. “And the fact that she can have tons of orgasms from Christian merely caressing her nipples??? Odd. Imagine what happens to her if she were to ride the city bus! Embarrassing. ;)”

      LOL – I knowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

  15. I pretty much totally fail at DW book club despite being initially excited about it. I haven’t read 50 Shades, and while I want to read it just so I can hate on it, I just can’t muster up the desire to follow through with that. Seeing this discussion, and the texts from my friend who read it recently, makes me certain that I’d be in the middle of chapter two and suddenly feel bored enough to not only scoop my own cat’s litter, but offer to scoop Miles’ and Simone’s as well so Wendy can go clip Jackson’s toenails!

    That said, I did finally read Henrietta Lacks and This is Where I Leave You (I’m on my own schedule, I guess!) and I LOVED both. So thanks for those suggestions!

  16. The_Yellow_Dart says:

    The continual references to Ana’s “inner goddess” should have made the top 10! (Just kidding…) I found the book (and the other two) to be gripping – in a very trashy way – but the sex scenes got repetitive really quickly. Did anyone else find them to be completely interchangeable (with maybe a couple of exceptions)?

  17. I liked their emails back and forth, they made me chuckle. I didn’t expect much from the books, and was totally entertained by them. I was amused by their parallels to the Twilight series (spoiler alert, she has a hot brown friend who it totally into her, but no match for Edward, uh, Christian. They end up settling down by a gorgeous meadow! There’s a chapter at the end of book three that describes their first meeting from HIS perspective!)

    Wendy, I have a suggestion for book club the next time it’s something light – have you read the Parasol Protectorate series? Supernatural Jane Austin-esque stuff, but a really happy read.

  18. Ok, I read it, and reread it, and reread it again (all three of them). I’ve probably gone through more in the last few months than I care to admit. The more I read through, the more and more mistakes I pick up, which has made it lose some of it’s intrigue the first time around.
    I hate that the author tried so damn hard to use “big words” just our idiot Ana worked in publishing. Fine some people may talk like that, but this was beyond forced. Also, a few times I lost track of who was saying what. Like they’d be going back and forth, and then somehow it’d switch and I wasn’t sure who said what. It was weird.
    And if I don’t hear “mouth” or “hard line” used to describe someone again, I won’t complain.
    For once in the books it’d be nice for her to say vagina, or clit, or something remotely close to actual words for sexual organs. “Apex of my thighs” and “sex” get old after 900 pages. I’m not looking for vulgar (I read penthouse letters for that), but more realistic would be nice.

    Now, complaints aside…
    I did think Christian was a dbag, however, I’d hit that any day. And Ana seemed like an idiot. Like when he explains something to her, like “anal sex is enjoyable” or “nipple clamps are for both nipples” she can’t possibly fathom how he knows that, like duh you idiot.
    The ending of the first book was pretty cliche, but still made me want to pick up the next. And the last bit of plotline in the third was kind of a stretch.
    As I reread it, I would either skip to the dramatic scenes (when she leaves him, or tells him she’s pregnant) or the sex scenes (which were a lot, but eventually seemed somewhat repetitive). Also, there were some scenes where she’d say be rough/rude things/whatever and he would do something, I and felt like it didn’t live up to rough/rude/whatever. Maybe I’m desensitized or something, but some of it I was like, if that’s “rough” I want, I want!

    And I think the main thing I got out of this was my inexplicable desire to read more of this trashy sex book stuff. So I’ve now read “Bared to You” and “Belong to Me” which are both more explicit with the descriptors, unlike Ana. And are better written that Fifty, not literary genius, but better. Anyone have any recommendations to satisfy my new-found like of these kinds of books?

    1. A friend told me that “Submission Therapy” by Anna Cundell was an enjoyable example of the genre. (though apparently it’s pretty much wall-to-wall sex and has a bdsm theme, so don’t say you weren’t warned)

  19. Wendy, I’ll put this as delicately as I can.
    Maybe trashy sex novels have nothing to offer you because…. you’re satisfied and fulfilled?
    Maybe books like 50 Shades are for people who want, but don’t have. Like lottery tickets.

    1. Ouch! I was one of those who liked the book.

      However, my husband was out of town when I was reading it, so maybe you’re on to something…who am I kidding, I always like trashy sex novels! It’s not because I don’t have, but it’s because I always want.

      1. That wasn’t meant to be an ouch. Just an observation that our fantasy needs differ, depending on what our reality is like.

  20. Witchmom3 says:

    Ugh! I gave in and got the 50 Shades Series. I kept reading, hoping it would get better, but alas, it didn’t happen. The 3rd book was the worst and completely UNNECESSARY! Christian was just f’n annoying at times. OK be dominant in the bedroom, but outside of the bedroom back-off! And MAKING her change her last name, WTF? I totally believe in choice and he did NOT give her one. Go to hell Christian!! And Anastacia – can we say wishy-washy!!!!

    I’d heard Chris Pine’s name was being thrown around for the Christian character so I pictured him throughout the novel. And for some reason I thought of Emma Stone as Anastacia. But I cringe at the thought of this book being turned into a movie. Some things should just be left to the imagination.

    I’m still at a loss as to why sooooooo many women went crazy for this book. No thanks, if I want to read sexy stuff, I’ll stick with Shannon McKenna (Behind Closed Doors) series with intrigue, espionage and HOT sex thrown in.

  21. This is the first time I’ve ever commented here, but I had to join in the fun – I read all three of these books in about 3 days because it was the dumbest, trashiest read I’ve had in a while. I wanted to find it hot, I really did, but the entire time I kept thinking they were both idiots and I couldn’t get into it. Did Mr.Grey ever get to go up Ms. Steele’s butt? By the third one, I was so bored with the sex and the ridiculous scenes with guns in them that I would just fly through to get the gist. And I never saw anything up the butt! Bummer.

    1. tbrucemom says:

      I kept waiting for the butt sex part too, lol. Honestly the contract was the most hard core part of the book. The stuff they actually did wasn’t all that taboo, but maybe I’m just kinky, lol.

  22. tbrucemom says:

    I read all 3 books and found them addictive. They’re not great literature by any means, but they held my attention and were a quick read. I think you have to take it for what it is, which is FICTION. Some of the sex scenes were pretty hot, even though some of it was also ridiculous. I liked the love story between Christian and Ana and the psychological aspects of why Christian is the way he is.

  23. fast eddie says:

    Haven’t finished it (and I may never do so) but this is the worst example of writing I’ve encountered. The dialogue is unrealistic, unintelligent and adolescent. I’m not inexperienced to erotic literature but this isn’t stimulating. The bondage/dominance thing is extremely unappealing to me which ironically adds to the agony. I’ll read a bit more but if the whips and chains get used the delete button on the Kindle will be applied with vigor. I have my limits.

  24. So to be honest I got the trilogy from my daughter for Mother’s Day – I made it through the 1st one fine, choked through the 2nd & having a hard time making myself read the 3rd. I went into this thinking it was maybe going to be like Anne Rice’s books that she wrote under the pseudonym of A. N. Roquelathey. Maybe the movie would be entertaining. But the fact that my daughter made her boyfriend hand me the books on Mother’s Day in front of the whole family & he was mortified & called them my Twilight Porn Books makes it worth it.

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