Fifty Shades of WTF Did I Just Read?

How’s this for a cliche?  Right after I turned 40 — and I mean, only about three days after — I pulled my back out.  I wasn’t exercising or lifting one of my kids.  No, I was unloading the dishwasher.  How sad is that?  So, despite what many people have said, I’m not sure that age is just a number at this point.  It seems more like a chiropractic adjustment and an Icy Hot addiction.

Now, there were a few benefits of having to remain relatively still for a couple of days.  I could relax about John Quinones catching me on camera in town — I was safe.  More importantly, I could also make some real progress on the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy while I sat on my couch, visibly aging and mumbling about lower back pain.

Thankfully, my back improved in a few days.  But by then, it was too late.  I was already hooked on the Fifty Shades books.  I was in too deep.  And so I kept reading.  In the pre-school parking lot.  In the pediatrician’s waiting room {“Is the air conditioning on?  It’s pretty warm in here“}.  And late at night.  Shamefully late at night.  Hanging on to Mr. Grey’s every word.

Sadly, my late nights with Mr. Grey resulted in a personal speed-reading record.  I’m not proud.

The reality is that these three books may be some of the worst writing I’ve ever encountered.  In fact, I would like to come back in my next life as the editor for this trilogy.  Because I’m fairly certain that she 1) did not lift a finger in the so-called “editing” process and 2) made a large fortune nonetheless.  Nice work if you can get it.

If you don’t have the time, or if you’re going to go all high-brow on me and pass on this trilogy to read Us Weekly, I get it.  I think we can still be friends (if you’ll have me — I’m the one reading the smut over here).  But I thought I’d just recap the highly intricate plot for those of you who feel you might be missing out.  Because, sooner or later, you’re going to get trapped between two or more suburban moms who will go all Fifty Shades on you.

Here it goes — the major plot points.  Try to stay with me.

  • Christian and Ana meet.
  • Tension builds.
  • They fight.
  • Dark secrets unfold.
  • They start having lots of sex.
  • More dark secrets unfold.
  • The relationship evolves.
  • They fight.
  • They have more outrageous sex.
  • The relationship evolves.
  • More sex.
  • More fighting.
  • More sex.
  • More sex.
  • More sex.
  • More dark secrets unfold.
  • More sex.
  • More fighting.
  • The relationship evolves.
  • More fighting.  Followed by more sex. And more dark secrets.
  • Encounters with psychopaths emerge.
  • More sex.

Got it?  I just saved you days of your life.  Not to mention embarrassment in the pediatrician’s waiting room.

Now.  For those of you who are like-minded souls and have read/are reading these books, let’s talk.  After all, we can’t get those hours of our lives back — and my book club is all, “We’re discussing real books,” so I need some friends who will indulge me in a bit of post-Fifty chatter.

As a discussion guide, I thought it would be fun to create a The Fifty Shades Bingo Companion Game.  I will include the most  overused/absurd/tired words and phrases from the trilogy (I’m keeping them PG, just in case you popped over to my blog thinking it was Family Day).  Every time you come across one of these words or phrases in the books, you get to cover that square of your Bingo card.  Until someone wins.  This should take all of three minutes.

{I know, Bingo enthusiasts, it’s not a regulation sized card, but work with me.}

What’s that?  You called Bingo within 12 pages of the first book?  All of you?

Well, if Bingo isn’t going to last long enough, I have another suggestion.  We could just make the Bingo words into a list and use them as a drinking game.  Oh wait, then we’d all need our stomachs pumped in short order.

So we’ll have to find another way to discuss all this sordid best-sellerness.

And I have to face the fact that my quality time with Mr. Grey has come to an end.  I’m somewhere between enlightened, educated, traumatized and — really, above all — wondering how they’re going to handle this as a movie.

But in the meantime, I have to go and catch up on real life.  I have a few terribly disappointing TV season finales to bash.  I have to emotionally prepare for pre-school graduation.  I have to find a new white wine at Trader Joe’s since they stopped carrying my favorite.  And I have a pile of neglected Us Weekly issues to read.

So, farewell, Christian Grey and all your baggage.  And your playroom.  And your chiseled chin.  And…well…oh, my.



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  1. Kristin says:

    Oh, my. I can see that you aim to please with this post, and my inner goddess was not errant in guiding me to read this surprisingly un-mercurial rendition.

    What’s wrong? You were expecting me to flush scarlet and murmur something about my fifty reasons to stay away from this book? I can’t even say that I flush scarlet thinking about the nuzzling that you’ll receive from better commenters down there. Either way, please know that my sex will not be affected by this trilogy.


  2. I once tried to play high-stakes bingo at a casino, and those ladies were working 15 game boards at once while eating M&Ms and nachos. I imagine they’re doing the same with Fifty Shades of Grey.

  3. Erica says:

    I have a few friends who basically refuse to read the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy because it is basically “porn for housewives”, as one of my friends deemed it. I haven’t read it, but it sounds like such a waste of time! Classic love stories like Gone With the Wind, Anna Karenina, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover are better choices. : )

    • fordeville says:

      It’s definitely not for everyone. But I wouldn’t call it a total waste of time — chalk it up to an education about how the other half lives.

      • Erica says:

        I’m reading it now and it’s terrible! I’m only sticking with it because my cousin is interested in discussing it with me. And the sex isn’t even that hot!!!! In fact, I’m currently reading The Hunger Games as well, which is an amazing book!! I think I might write my own fan fiction in which Katniss Everdeen takes out Christian Grey & Anastasia Steele! ; )

  4. christine says:

    My current addiction is your friend Elizabeth’s blog – unbelievable and wonderful – heart her.

  5. Ellie says:

    Thanks for the cliff notes version. Am I the only mom who has NOT read 50 Shades? Here’s my take on the erotica craze:

    • fordeville says:

      You’re not the only one. But you may not be able to say that for much longer. I’ll see you at the movie theater 😉

  6. Raine says:

    I hadn’t noticed all of the murmurs in the book until someone pointed it out. Now it is all I see.

  7. I’m not above reading 50 Shades of Porn. Dude, I’m not going to read it for the PLOT, you know what I mean?

    • fordeville says:

      Seriously. If I wanted some heady literary plot, I could pull out my old Sweet Valley High books 😉

  8. sparkling74 says:

    I have not have the *pleasure* of reading this series, but the one thing that everyone says is why in the world does he use “my sex”??? Because, really, who says that in real life???? Found you at finding the funny.

    • fordeville says:

      Thanks for stopping by! And yes, the “my sex” thing is so, so out of place. I think her thesaurus malfunctioned.

  9. Jester Queen says:

    I refuse to read that book. Not because I’m a prude, but because Madame Syntax, who is my third alter ego, would jump out of my body and stab me to death then go hunting for the author #awkward. Let’s hope that if they make a movie, somebody proofreads the script, and if anybody plays that drinking game you proposed, nobody dies of alcohol poisoning on the way to the stomach pump!!

    • fordeville says:

      Madame Syntax will be none too pleased if you read this. I don’t have high hopes for the screenplay either — I mean, consider the source. But the ticket sales will, no doubt, be through the roof. I have my popcorn and Kit Kat combo at the ready for the premiere weekend.

  10. Alexandra says:

    Best damn write up ever.

    No interest in reading this, thanks for doing it for me.

    • fordeville says:

      I’m a giver, what can I say?
      Tough work, but someone had to endure all that trashy sex for those who took on more noble pursuits.

  11. lydia says:

    This is hilarious- and the best fifty shades review type thing Ever.My inner goddess can’t stop cracking up.
    Honestly though, I read the samples to all three and went ahead and re-read the sleeping beauty trilogy. I like my smut to be fairy tale themed…..wait that might be more disturbing. I probably never wrote this.

  12. Meredith says:

    Argh!!! THIS IS SO RIGHT! The “shouty caps” (did you get that reference to The Great Novel? 😉 ) Are b/c I basically spent all of Thurs. night trying to explain to my book club that no, this isn’t the next American classic, and yes, despite them trying to act otherwise, they really did all just read it for the porn…maybe should have just beat my head against a brick wall for an hour instead? Thanks for making me feel like I’m not the only woman who hasn’t drunk the Kool-Aid. Loved this post 🙂

    • fordeville says:

      Thanks Meredith — glad you stopped by! I think if I whipped (no pun intended) through all three books at all hours of the night, I might have at least sipped the Kool-Aid, though 😉

  13. Anna says:

    I just started reading two days ago. Thank GOD you included murmur in your bingo / drinking game. I’m already wasted! What about foil wrapper? that definitely deserves a spot on the bingo card.


  14. Anna says:

    You were one of the most clicked links at last week’s Finding the Funny party. We’re featuring you tomorrow, and I pinned this! 🙂

    (And you’re right – foil wrappers are now gone. 🙂

    • fordeville says:

      Thanks for the Pinterest love and the feature! Glad you are past the foil wrappers. Come back and talk to me when you are done with the last book!

  15. Jessica says:

    Oh goodness–(finding the funny sent me by the way) but I am expecting these books on Friday 🙂 my husband has been deployed for 2.5 years now and still has some time to go– he’s been R&R for only a total of 2 weeks over that time…. Now I’ve been told wait to read until right before he gets home OR. Warn him of steamy letters he will most likely receive lol

    • fordeville says:

      Thanks for stopping by! If I were you, I’d speed read them for a week before he gets home. Don’t waste it on the letters 🙂

  16. Hysterical! Thanks for the synopsis, now maybe I can pass and move on to the rest of the pile of books I don’t have time to read., although, the Bingo game is enticing…(came from FindingtheFunny)

  17. Eva Gallant says:

    What a great post! I love your sense of humor!!!!

    • fordeville says:

      How nice — thank you! Glad you liked it.
      As Christian Grey would say, “We aim to please.”

  18. Keesha says:

    God, I am always the last to do everything – Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, indoor plumbing…
    Seriously, I think I just have to read this after your post – to see what all the buzz is about (yes, that buzz I’m referring to), to read some bad writing, and to cry about how some terrible writer managed to take his sad skill set all the way to riches. Great post!

    • fordeville says:

      Don’t tell anyone, but I didn’t read any of the Harry Potter books or The Hunger Games. Shhhh.
      And yes, it’s a crime that the 50 Shades author made such a fortune off of these books {translation: Why did I not profit from my dirty mind all this time??}.

      So go print out your Bingo/drinking game card and have a read. After you get that indoor plumbing 😉
      Thanks for stopping by!

  19. erica says:

    Well I guess that sums it up. I keep hearing all about this book…online, while in line at the grocery store (yup seriously) and even overheard some murmurs about it from the next table while dining out with Hubs.

    I keep hearing “it’s porn for women” disguised (thinly) as a “novel” or trilogy of novels from what I hear…or short stories? I don’t know…I haven’t read it. Don’t plan to. It isn’t that I’m prude or don’t think women would like a whole new genre of reading but if your aim is for more sex….

    well tell your hubs to unload the dishwasher, clean the bathrooms and sweep and mop the floors for you….THAT is girl porn!!!

    • fordeville says:

      Ah yes, I think you’re referring to the much-discussed concept of Choreplay. Someday, the men will understand this.

  20. Kandiwolf says:

    I made it to chaper 8 (about the time the cherry was popped) before the over use of murmur mumbles and whisper made me want to rip my eyes out… Instead I went to the store bought some lighter fluid and watched this book burn so no other soul would have to endure the agony I did attempting to read this book… More power to you for being able to make it to the end of the trilogy I’m not sure how you did it… I’m also questioning all house moms.. A best seller? Really? This garbage makes new moon serious look like Shakespeare!

  21. I freaking HATED this book. I finally gave in to the fervor expecting to at least be titillated a bit.
    “Oh Katherine Kavanagh,” she said to her inner goddess, “terrible writing is the TRUE torture!”

  22. kworthmom says:

    You forgot “clambor” (the girl clambors everywhere) and “she looked at him through her lashes”, how the HECK does one do this anyway? I, too, thought a thesaurus would have been an asset to Ms James. The books are repetitive and juvenile……see you at the theater on Premier Night!

  23. Kim G says:

    Too funny!!!!!
    You forgot “Laters, Baby”
    Not gonna lie, read the 3 in about 3 days. Enjoyed my Mom porn. Thing is….. that”s why I read it. Not for some amazing literary work! I read it because it was super hyped up. I read Laurell K Hamilton…. the sub/dom world isn’t new.
    I am seriously concerned about this becoming a movie though….. we all saw what happened with the Twilight series……
    Kim- you rule! So glad PIWTPITT pimped you today!! You have been added to the list!!

    • fordeville says:

      I KNOW! I can’t believe, of all things, I forgot Laters, Baby. Probably one of the worst offenders.
      Thanks for adding me to the list!

  24. DoctorDiva says:

    Who bites their lower lip as much as this chick? And really, is it that sexy? And writing this in present tense? Who’s idea was that? I have to say that is what drove me the most nuts.
    That said, I couldn’t put the stupid things down.


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