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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

528 Pages of Garbage -- the most hilarious review EVER

Unless you've been living in a cave six feet underground with no access to any sort of media, you already know the story. Here's the gist: Bored, middle-aged wife and mother Erika Leonard decides it's time to unleash that novel that's been inside her all her life, the one that's going to change the world. How? By adding that bit of zing that will tingle the nether regions of the missionary-sex mommies out there -- kinky sex! BDSM! (gasp) Of course, Ms. Leonard has no personal experience with BDSM, its practices or lifestyle, etc., so she dutifully researches The Internet for information (because you know, everything you read on The Internet is true). And she writes, and she writes, and she writes -- not just one, but three booky-books. Renames herself E.L. James, and the rest is history, and another reason to fear for humanity.

Do I sound pissed off? Yeah, kinda. If I may be allowed to rant a bit here (and even if I'm not, screw it, it's my blog), it's not fair. I spent a year-and-a-half researching (and reliving) my own life in order to write a book about it, with plenty of real-life experience in kink, more than enough to scratch the Mommy Porn itch. I edited, re-edited and then edited some more, trying to make it a decent read, interesting and compelling without being overwrought or manipulative. And yet, as books go, it's barely a blip on the radar.

But then this woman comes along, and with her sole knowledge of BDSM gleaned from The Internet and other crap erotica (she patterned her writing after that Pulitzer-prize winning novelist, Stephanie Meyer, of the Twilight series), she pens this melodramatic, misinformed mish-mash. BOOM! She becomes a superstar and is rolling in the royalties. Her Amazon page alone has, at last count, 8,351 reviews. (Granted, nearly half of them are negative. But I doubt she's weeping into her piles of money over that.)

My book, by the way, has 16 reviews. All five-star, for which I am thankful. But come on.

I apparently went about this all wrong. Perhaps I should have fictionalized myself, first of all. Then I should have composed my book chock-full of cliches and repetitions, thrown in a whole lot of "holy crap" and other inwardly expressed phrases of shock and awe, and titled it "Fifty Shades of Red." And of course, renamed myself E.L. Scott.

Anyway... the review I mentioned in the title of this blog is not going to be mine. Because I will not read this dreck. I refuse. But now I don't have to, thanks to a blogger I discovered yesterday via a friend on Twitter.

She calls herself Amberance, and her blog is BizzyBiz. She has been blogging since 2005, but I haven't gone back to read earlier posts. If they are as brilliant as her "50" series, I am in for hours of entertainment.

What Amberance did was read "Fifty Shades of Grey," even though she didn't want to and knew she'd hate it, and she took her readers through the book, step by step, chapter by chapter, relating the story as it unfolds. But in this retelling, she added her own commentary.

Warning: Ms. Amberance is an outspoken young woman. And she didn't just dislike "Fifty Shades." She hated it, with all her heart and soul. She was furious with it. She is fond of four-letter words. And her angry rants throughout make Lewis Black sound like Little Mary Sunshine.

But oh my God, is she funny. Scathing. Freaking hysterical. I thought I would break a rib, I was laughing so hard.

The review is broken up into several posts, written as she progresses through the book. First up is 50 Heaves of Puke, in which she announces she's started the book and she will be reviewing it. Here's an excerpt:

I was entirely blindsided by how earth shatteringly awful this book actually is. I had a notebook on me to take notes so I could remember what I didn't like about it. After ONE chapter I had two pages of notes, largely written in all caps and containing insightful criticisms such as "I hate everyone in this book" and "Go die". After TWO chapters I was actually yelling. Out loud. At a book.

And this, folks, is just the beginning. Now, look to the blog archive on the right-hand side, under June, and you'll see 10 more blog entries starting with 50, with titles such as "50 Yawns of Boredom," "50 Sobs of Anguish," and my favorite, "50 Bags of Douche." Read from the bottom up.

But first, set aside some time. You'll need it. You'll want it. And do not consume any food or drink while you read. You will spew it all over your monitor.

Ms. Amberance skewers everything about the book -- the bad writing, the obvious cliches, how thoroughly unappealing the main characters are, and -- perhaps the most egregious -- the way the BDSM world is misrepresented. The most tired cliche of all: People into BDSM are fucked-up and disturbed. I am not sure whether or not Ms. Amberance is into TTWD, but she seems to know a hell of a lot more about it than E.L. James does.

I loved her asides. She'd quote bits and pieces of dialogue and scenes, and add her comments, often in angry CAPS. She accuses Ms. James of being far too intimately acquainted with a thesaurus (OK, she didn't put it that way, but I'll let you read for yourself). Later, when a particular phrase had been repeated over and over and over, Amberance muses that perhaps Ms. James lost her thesaurus, or maybe she just shoved it up her ass for the time being. I nearly fell off my chair.

Sometimes, she'd get so frustrated, she'd simply yell at the book. Shutupshutupshutup. Stop, stop, STOP. You did NOT just say that. Yes, we know. You've already told us that a hundred times.

I could keep on quoting, but I'll stop. Oh, OK, just one more. Toward the end, one of my favorite outbursts: "Fuck this dialogue with a deer antler." I love this woman's mind!

Anyway, y'all, I'd say this series is a must-read. Even if you liked the damn book, you'll laugh at this. I guarantee it. May I spend eternity in Hell with nothing to read but the Fifty Shades trilogy if I'm lying.


  1. First I had to retweet before I could comment.I rather burn my kindle than read this book. Reasons:I should really read it before I post my comment but my life its too short to worry about these things and when my friends started to comment how much they loved it I went back to War an Peace-nobody will comment on that

  2. I really hoped no one would post about this atrocious waste of time again but trust you, you did it and led me to such a good thing. She is brilliant and hysterical. Thank you.

    I hate it and wish it would go away but everything happens for a reason, yes?
    My best little beyond vanilla gf had to read it for her bookclub. I asked what she thought and she thought it was bullshit. She said that wasn't real kink. Where is the good kink? I sent her "The Story of O". No reply yet. :)

  3. Margita -- I admit, I've never read War and Peace. But I suppose comparing that to "Fifty Shades" is like comparing "Citizen Kane" to "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle."

    Emen -- you're welcome. I knew my readers would love her!

  4. Hi Erica -- I don't know how that woman can get 3 thousand and some review's when what she wrote is all made up.Your book is the BEST you should get all those review's :-( I am annoyed cause thing's are not fair UGH this disgust's me to no end.The other young lady doe's sound hilarious hehehe LOL.At least what you wrote in your book is all true :-)it is not garbage like that BDSM book is.I Love you my very dear friend,big hug's alway's from your naughty girl Jade xoxo

  5. Jade -- it's OK if a book is fiction. But it needs to be good fiction. :-)

  6. Ok, #1. "And her angry rants throughout make Lewis Black sound like Little Mary Sunshine." This is the best thing anyone has ever said about me. Ever.

    #2. Am I a part of the lifestyle? A bit. I would consider myself a novice at this point. There's another (secret) blog out there somewhere where I write my own erotic semi-fiction that sometimes has some rope/spanking/other. I have certainly done more than look up BDSM on Wikipedia though, so I win all competitions vs. E. L. James.

    #3. My older blog posts aren't as funny. I mostly get far too excited about my birthday and Christmas, say insane things about spiders trying to get me, and get yelled at for eating candy for dinner. That said, I have a best of page with some stuff you might like, including one where I yell at television commercials. Apparently I am funniest when I'm yelling.

    #4. You are awesome. Imma go buy your book now, to reward myself for after I finish reading the other two volumes of this crime against humanity.

  7. Amberance -- if you will indulge me for a moment, I am going to have a juvenile moment -- SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE! :-) Thank you for dropping by, and I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I bow to you and your humor!

  8. I've been trying to convince the women at work that the books suck, but there are five of them who like them. The two I've been trying to convince agreed that Christian might be a little stalky, but they aren't even past Chapter 8 yet! I told them that if they want to read GOOD book, try the Beauty series.

  9. Jen -- yeah, that's another point. Christian may have a voice like "melted chocolate caramel" (rolling eyes), but he's a freaking stalker! I guess psycho is the new sexy.

  10. I havn't read them and don't plan on it unless they are free and I've read every book I own in paper and on Kindle. I refuse to assist in this woman getting rich when there are so many good writers in the scene that actually know what they are talking about.

    I look forward to reading the Fifty Bags of Crap series. (I'm sure that's gotta be one of the titles)

  11. Kaki -- you will love it. :-)

  12. Erica, two books, controversial books, "The Holy Bible", and Charles Darwin's "The Origin's of the Species", have been called masterpieces of literature, or trash. (See the movie "Inherit the Wind". with Spencer Tracy). So will "The 50 Shades of Grey", or "Late Bloomer", be judged.

  13. Erica, I'm so glad you posted about this book again, because I wanted to retract my former statements. I think you are totally right about not wanting to read these books. The series was a waste of my money...The first book was okay. The rest went downhill. The dialogue is pretty bad and the mental/emotional part of BDSM comes across as wrong and only for those who are fucked up. I am looking forward to reading Amberance's review! :)

  14. Six -- that was a great movie, filled with talent. I am going to be prudent and keep my comments about the Bible to myself. :-)

    Bonnie-jo -- good to see you! Honestly, I wasn't going to say another word about this damn book, but after discovering Amberance's slice-and-dice, I just had to spread the word. From what I've heard, Parts 2 and 3 of the trilogy are simply more of the same, plus butt plugs. :-)

  15. I do like her style, and with that in common, I'm betting you two could become fast friends!

    The appeal of "Fifty Shades of Dreck" has to be its riding on the "Twilight" coattails, which itself is dreary and derivative dung.

    I'm sure that if this undernourished crowd discovered "Late Bloomer" you'd leave that Erika with the misspelled name way behind.

  16. Wolfie -- perhaps I should take a course called "Writing for Dummies." Literally, writing for dummies to read. (sigh)

  17. The reviews sound hilarious! I will have to read all those posts when I get a little time this weekend. And all I can say about E.L. James is it's a shame she didn't stumble across your blog when doing her research. The world might have a decent book to read in addition to Late Bloomer.

  18. Lea -- oh, you'll love them. You will howl.

  19. Now I know what I'm going to do this weekend. Amberance's blog sounds like a hoot! I still haven't gotten past the first few chapters of 50 Shades. Maybe if I force myself to read it first, A's blog posts will be more meaningful.


  20. Erica,

    I'm really fed up with Fifty Shades of Grey, (not read it myself and it's all the talk in our office building) think we've heard enough but saying that I will definitely pop over and read Amberance's review - sounds hilarious.

    Am I right she based her two characters on Edward and Bella from Twilight which I haven't read either.

    Have a lovely weekend and I hope John is well.


  21. Hermione -- you don't need to read any more of that dreck. A's blogs will give you a blow-by-blow (no pun intended) description of all that happens, chapter by chapter.

    Ronnie -- I don't know about the Edward/Bella-Christian/Ana connection. Other than both series are crap, of course.

  22. It's nice--every now and again--when you can get truly entertained and feel vindicated all at the same time. Sounds like that review did it for you.

  23. Craig -- it did. And since then, I have discovered similar reviews. I really can't stand that this book is so detested by many, and yet it's still making $$$$$$$.