If You Are My Grandmother, Quit Reading Now

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Gentle Reader,

I feel like I can be honest with you.  Can I?  I mean, I’ve blogged about my teeth, so clearly either we are close or I have no shame.  Also-my entire existence right now revolves around monitoring the business end of two Labradors.  I’ve gotten a little bit weird.  (Side note:  WHEN DO THEY FIGURE OUT WHERE TO TINKLE????)

Anyway-yesterday mama kept the puppies so I could drive my cousin S back to the airport so she could go back home and to the lucrative life of a grad student.  After dropping her off, I went over to my friend Candace’s house.  They are getting ready to move somewhere that IS NOT HERE.  And frankly I’m a little crabby about this.  So I needed to say goodbye and have one more session of talking about inappropriate things and then fixing all of the world’s problems.  We took the boys to the pool and had a good wallow (to borrow a Jen Lancaster term…) and then went to lunch where two of us ate and two of us negotiated how much to eat and then drank lemonade and played some kind of game involving sharks and forgot to eat.  (I’ll let you guess to which group I belonged…)

On the “totally inappropriate things” front, we were discussing my recent summer reading.  And because I have no desire for my blog to come up in anybody’s search results for this book, I’ll go with rhyming here.  The series’ name rhymes with “Nifty Grades of May”.  (I am hip, edgy, and obviously au courant as evidenced by the fact that I am just now reading the salacious material of three summers ago.)

I should back up here and explain that this entire foray into the lower (lowest) echelons of literary merit is my cousin Laura’s fault:  Late last week, I had finished with the latest Jen Lancaster and was about to get back into a nonfiction read (I alternate–one funny/fiction and then one serious/important read)–this time I was going to read a history of the eradication of smallpox, and I just wasn’t in the mood.  I had just seen a (totally unflattering) review of…to borrow my rhyming scheme again…”Fray”, the apparently-much anticipated sequel to the series.  Remembering that Laura had read the original series, and knowing that Laura is every bit as cultured and educated as I, I thought I’d check out the original series and then read the sequel to see if it is as bad as the reviewer thought.  (SPOILER ALERT:  Yes.)

I downloaded them onto the Kindle, and off I went.  (I have more time for reading right now, since I spend a lot of time outside with puppies in order to try to spare the floors inside the house.)  It is with no small amount of shame that I admit that I have read all of the original trilogy.  And am now working on the follow-up.  In my defense, they aren’t exactly intellectual readings replete with abundant original source material.  They are fast reads.

Here’s where it gets confusing.  I HAD to finish these things.  They aren’t good.  But I HAD to know what happened next.  I don’t feel they are as scandalous and sinful as some folks seem to think, but this does not good literature make.  The male character resides in that dead-zone between realistic and completely fantastical (a 27 year-old billionaire who has time to drop everything and pursue a 22 year-old twit for three books worth of material?) (I use that term loosely here.).  But whatever.  I really could not put this junk down.  I am completely baffled myself.

I’m not at all worried/concerned/upset/bothered by any social problems or ramifications in the book.  The books aren’t good enough to further depress social mores.  (I promise.)  My main problems with the books are twofold.  One:  Unsupervised thesaurus-ing is a DANGEROUS thing.  I’m not totally convinced that she didn’t take a One L student and hand him the manuscript and a thesaurus and have him do a find and replace for a few key words.  (I LOVED my damn thesaurus my One L year.  My LRW professor HATED my damn thesaurus.)  Part B to this problem is that she DIDN’T use her thesaurus for a few other key words.  Good grief it got old.  And my second problem:  If we’re being generous, there are only three books worth of material here.  The fourth book is merely a retelling of the first book from the male character’s perspective.  As such it has all of the same richness and nuance and thesaurus-ing of the first book with the added benefit of changed narration.  And that narrator makes me wonder if this author has ever met a male.  Any male.  (Apparently this author has children which would lead to the probable assumption, but believe me, this latest oeuvre brings that fully into question.)

And I guess I lied-my problems are threefold.  Because my third problem is that I’m really waiting for the fifth and sixth iterations of this bubblegum to come out.  It’s terrible.  Awful.  I read it and KNOW that it’s awful.  It’s a train wreck, and like a puppy to a pile of freshly folded laundry, I am drawn.  It is Bravo, in book form.  But less intellectual.

Sigh.  I’ll just go ahead and pack up my degrees and mail them back now.



2 thoughts on “If You Are My Grandmother, Quit Reading Now

  1. You crack me up! I have not read any of the books, but I did read this insightful journalistic review of the most recent one: http://www.buzzfeed.com/scottybryan/i-read-the-new-50-shades-book-and-it-is-absolutely-batshit#.wcwOGkEZv . (Caution–link leads to adult language.) And it occurred to me at the end of it that the book seems like a series of mad libs, except they’re all made from the same basic sentence. “I’m going to (unlikely physical contortion) her over (item of furniture) and (expletive) her (adverb).” The thesaurus issue probably wouldn’t have been so awful if there’d been a little more variation on that end.

    • This was the review that I read, too. And agreed. There was very little variation. On any end. (ba dum dum)

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