So, in addition to the review, I also kept a bit of a quote diary of phrases that just...irked me. Not enough to make it into the review, but enough to share. This kinda smacks of meanness—sorry—but people found it funny and the venting process enabled me to be able to get as far into the book as I did...for whatever that was worth.
At any rate, these are ACTUAL phrases from the book:
"Good-looking son of a bitch" (pg 18)
– Who talks like this? Is that a compliment? An insult?
“Katherine often teases me that I’m missing the need-a-boyfriend gene, but the truth is – I just haven’t met anyone who… well, whom I’m attracted to, even though part of me longs for those trembling knees, heart-in-my-mouth, butterflies-in-my-belly, sleepless nights. Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high. But in reality, nobody’s ever made me feel like that.” (pg 20)
– Oh dear god, she’s going to become the crazy cat lady. Then she will die alone, lonely, unlaid, bitter, and angry, and her cats will finally eat her face. There's nothing wrong with having fantasies or having certain standards. But, if no one is good enough, you are the common denominator.
"His voice is warm and husky like dark melted chocolate fudge caramel… or something." (pg 21)
– Wha? She has the weirdest way of describing things. And really doesn't have the best grasp on word placement–I think she means "melted dark chocolate, caramel fudge" but, while that is probably fairly warm, how is any of that husky?
"my voice is too high, like I’ve got my finger trapped in a door or something." (pg 22)
– Again, wha? What does this even mean? And, for the love of whatever god you subscribe to, STOP SAYING "or something"?!
"And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain – probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata where my subconscious dwells – comes the thought: he’s here to see you. No way! I dismiss it immediately. Why would this beautiful, powerful, urbane man want to see me? The idea is preposterous, and I kick it out of my head." (pg 22)
– Aw, that was one of the most awkward things I've ever read. Something tells me you don't really know what half those words mean, do you, James? You just hit Google hard, didn't you?
"Our fingers brush very briefly, and the current is there again, zapping through me like I’ve touched an exposed wire. I gasp involuntarily as I feel it, all the way down to somewhere dark and unexplored, deep in my belly." (pg 23)
– I’m sorry, Miss Steele, but it appears you have a brain condition to me. Or mistook an electrical socket for his hand. I understand the metaphor you're going for, James, so why don't you just use it?
“I’m on shifting tectonic plates.” (pg 23)
– Jesus Christ, lady, he just asked you what you were into and suddenly for no reason Pangaea erupted! Again, this doesn’t sound like a metaphor—like “then the earth moved” or “my world went upside-down,” which are common, if overused metaphors—this sounds too scientific, too clinical. It sounds like an actual earthquake is happening.
"I feel the color in my cheeks rising again. I must be the color of the communist manifesto." (pg 24)
– First Aryan Nation offices, now communists? What the hell, James? Where the hell does that come from? Her blush reminds you of Marx? How does this exist?! I'm tempted to check my copy against one of the store copies, just to be sure my IT guy who gave me his copy isn't messing with me. HOW WAS THIS PUBLISHED?! My head hurts.
By the way, the new safeword for "stop"—instead of the traditional "red"—is now "communist manifesto."
"Grey extends his hand, and I shake it, blinking rapidly. Oh my… he really is, quite… wow." (pg 29)
– James is just the laziest writer ever, isn't she? What does this even mean? You have a seven-word sentence that didn't say anything. "Wow" isn't an adjective. And, even if you want to bend the rules and just assume that it means "super-duper, hang-his-poster-in-my-locker, Teen-Beat-Worthy dreamy"..."wow" is not enough. Because my definition of "wow" and yours are going to be different—I can say that with pretty comfortable certainty, seeing as this is a Twilight fanfiction—so you need to actually tell me what your "wow" looks like or I'm just going to replace Grey with Christina Hendricks, because every time I look at her I think "Wow!"
"My subconscious is figuratively tutting and glaring at me over her half moon specs." (pg 47)
– Why is her subconscious school-marmishly farsighted?
"The drinking, oh no the drinking, the phone call, oh no the phone call, the vomiting, oh no the vomiting." (pg 49)
– I know I say that James is repetitive, but really? REALLY?!
"Christian Grey’s sweat, the notion does odd things to me." (pg 50)
– You would think that given a context this statement would seem less creepy. And you would be right. So why won't James give it some?
"I flush at the waywardness of my subconscious - she’s doing her happy dance in a bright red hula skirt at the thought of being his." (pg 51)
– Wha...? No. No. I refuse to accept this. James, please—I beg of you—tell me you're messing with me. Ana's subconscious is a half-moon specs and bright red hula skirt wearing, happy dancing being? ::throws hands up:: I don't understand how this sold one copy, much less millions.
" 'Well the next time he gets out of line, maybe someone should teach him some manners.' ” (pg 51)
– Says the stalker who somehow tracked her through her cell phone and took her pants off without permission.
"My heartbeat has picked up, and my medulla oblongata has neglected to fire any synapses to make me breathe." (pg 51)
– One day, Ana will take too long to remember how to breathe. Then I will know peace again. Really, James, you couldn't just say that Grey's smile took her breath away? I understand that cliches are to be avoided as much as possible, but not to the extent that you just butcher them in translation, making them much more complicated and foreign than they should be. It's like reading something that was written in a different language that got translated horribly wrong.
"I feel like squirming with a needy, achy… discomfort. I don’t understand this reaction. Hmm… Desire. This is desire. This is what it feels like." (pg 51)
– This is erotica, right?! This is supposed to turn readers on, right?! That is the weirdest, most awkward, most unstimulating description of arousal I've ever read. And I read clinical, academic papers on the scientific and anthropological expression of mammalian arousal as a hobby!
"I was holding you and you were looking up at me – all kiss me, kiss me, Christian" (pg 54)
– He's 27 years old, why does he talk like a junior high girl?
"The mouth-to-brain filter is broken again." (pg 54)
– More like the brain-to-spinal-cord connection.
"The Christian Grey Inquisition is almost as irritating as the Katherine Kavanagh Inquisition." (pg 55)
– What is with James taking terribly tragedies in history and re-appropriating them in to the most trivial aspects of Ana's life?
"I’m too excited to eat, Christian. Don’t you understand? My subconscious explains." (pg 56)
– Dear god, it's like she has dissociative identity disorder, as if her subconscious is a separate entity than her. A literal voice in her head.
" 'Not having… sex.' There – I said the word. I blush – of course." (pg 57)
– If you're not old enough to say it, you're not old enough to have it. She's 21 years old and she has trouble saying the word "sex." How she the star of an erotic novel?
"I eye Christian’s toothbrush. It would be like having him in my mouth. Hmm… Glancing guiltily over my shoulder at the door, I feel the bristles on the toothbrush. They are damp. He must have used it already. Grabbing it quickly, I squirt toothpaste on it and brush my teeth in double quick time. I feel so naughty. It’s such a thrill." (pg 57)
– Ugh, that was disgusting. Isn't this novel supposed to be turning me on? I feel as frigid as I did watching Contagion. I don't want to touch or be touched by anyone or anything for a good long while after reading that. Ugh.
"And to think I slept with him last night and, after all the tequila and the throwing up, he’s still here. What’s more, he wants to take me to Seattle. Why me? I don’t understand it. I head out the door recalling his words – There’s something about you" (pg 57)
– Believe me, Ana, no one else understands it either. She's honestly written to be thoroughly unlikable, uninteresting, and unappealing. Seriously—honest question here—I may not like Grey, but what does he see in Ana?
"His other hand grabs my ponytail and yanks down, bringing my face up, and his lips are on mine. It’s only just not painful." (pg 58)
– I know how that last bit is SUPPOSED to be read, but it's still so awkwardly written I don't know how anyone isn't taken completely out of the scene by it. I had to read it a couple of times to get the emphasis just right enough for it to make any sense at all. Couldn't she have said that the hair-pulling was "almost painful" or that he'd "pulled just short of pain?" Isn't that easier to understand?
"my very small inner goddess sways in a gentle victorious samba" (pg 58)
– Oh deity, I've been warned of Ana's inner goddess. And so it begins. Yet another crazy voice in Ana's mental menagerie.
"I struggle to keep pace with him because my wits have been thoroughly, royally, scattered all over the floor and walls of elevator three in the Heathman Hotel." (pg 58)
– Please tell me that I'm not the only one who sees her brains splattered gun-shot-style all over the elevator. Please—please, please, please—tell me that I'm not the only one smiling at this. I'm a terribly human being.