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Grand Valley State University's Beacon Since 1963, Allendale, MI
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Fifty Shades of Garbage

Erotic fiction isn’t exactly new, but the novel Fifty Shades of Grey seems to have thrust (pun intended) the salacious genre into the limelight. These days you can hardly go anywhere on campus without hearing girls giggling over the domineering “Christian Grey” (the male lead in the Fifty Shades series). It’s like Twilight fans on crack.

The Fifty Shades storyline could masquerade as your average fairytale- if Prince Charming were suddenly into bondage, domination and submission. Sounds twisted? We’re just getting started.

Good ol’ Prince Charming, Christian Grey, is a thirty-something business man with mass amounts of money, plenty of charisma, and sex appeal for days. In contrast, our heroine, the virginal, fresh-faced Anastasia Steele is just out of college. She’s super shy and extremely awkward, so naturally Grey becomes entirely infatuated with her. Okay, so realism isn’t the novel’s strong point… (if only my awkwardness left men in a state of total admiration instead of utter confusion).

Yet I digress. I am a sucker for a love story, so with much encouragement from friends I decided it was time to give Fifty Shades a go. How did I like it? Let’s just say I haven’t been this disappointed since they discontinued crispy M&Ms in ‘05.

Problem number one: the book is plot-less. There is virtually no climax (well, of the literary sense), and the entire story is spent in “should I or shouldn’t I?” musings made by Anastasia Steele in regards to Grey’s need for sexual domination. By the end of the book I felt like slapping her, but I remembered Grey had done that already- which leads to the next issue.

Problem number two: Fifty Shades is chock-full of abuse scenarios. It is disturbing that a book filled with acts of domestic violence has been accepted into pop culture and, subsequently, our society as a whole. Why are we going to let people (especially younger boys and girls) think that this type of behavior is normal?

Problem number three: Poor writing. Nobody’s perfect, that’s why there are editors. Apparently these ones got a little distracted. Can’t say I blame them, the graphic scenes were almost enough to keep me from noticing the missing words. Almost.

Problem number four: Nearly every other paragraph ended with the eloquent phrase “holy shit.” Okay, I am exaggerating. It was like every fourth paragraph, and sometimes it was “holy crap” or “holy (other unmentionable words).”

I mean, if you want to read a book that could have been written in magic marker by a twelve year old (aside from the whole domination and submission stuff) then Fifty Shades of Grey is for you. It’s not the erotica that makes it awful- it’s everything else. Honestly, at this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if simply looking at the cover killed brain cells.

I know I referenced the book as “Fifty Shades of Garbage,” but the best thing that you can do for society and the environment is toss this book in the recycling bin.



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