Friday, June 1, 2012

The Blah And The Grey -- Part 1

If you have ever read site before, you know about my liveblogs. They're not actually liveblogs, of course, but that's what I called them when I first came up with the concept and I'm too lazy to change the tag on the posts but none of this is your problem. Anyway, the liveblog is me watching bad movies and writing down rude, MST3K style comments as I do so. Today, however, the time has come to shake things up. I won't be watching a movie today. I'll be reading, and making real-time comments about, a book. Oh, not a whole book. Just the sample that Amazon lets me read for free as there's no way in hell I would actually pay for it. You've heard of this book and can probably guess from this post's title what it is. Amazon assures it is, "Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving," and that it, "will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever." Something tells me it won't but, just in case it does, let me say goodbye now to friends and loved ones before I am forever obsessed with and possessed by E.L. James' 50 Shades of Grey.

All rightie, let's get moving. There's always a chance I could die by heart attack or wolverine attack or whatever and I don't want my family finding this in my Kindle, thinking it's my favorite book and having some sort of 50 Shades-themed funeral. My doubts about this book's quality are not calmed when I see it's being narrated by the lead character, a girl named Ana. First person narration doesn't work as well as authors think it does. That's my opinion anyway. Still, I guess I have no reason to think that this self published book by an inexperienced author won't be the exception to my opinion and I can't wait until it moves me to buy the whole book. Anyway, Ana is bitching that her roommate, Kate, is sick and forcing her to conduct an interview on her behalf. They are both students at a university in Vancouver, Washington ad Kate, a journalism major, has scored a rare interview with elusive gazillionaire Charles Grey but she's sick and Ana must do it for her. Why English Lit major Ana has to do it even though she doesn't want to instead of one of Kate's fellow student journalists who would almost certainly jump at the chance is not entirely clear. Oh wait, I figured out that Kate probably still wants to write the article herself at the same time I realized it's probably not at all important and I shouldn't give a damn. After an exciting moment when we wonder whether Kate will take Nyquil or Tylenol to treat her cold (it was Nyquil)(sorry if you considered that a spoiler), Ana begins the long drive to Seattle to meet with Grey and I begin to think that the four pages I've read so far could have had been easily condensed to a few paragraphs although then we would have missed the exciting "Nyquil or Tylenol" moment and that, so far, has been the most exciting thing that has happened.

The first thing Ana learns when she arrives at Grey's corporate headquarters is that all of Grey's employees are extensively trained in condescending and mildly dickish behavior. Hey, wait a minute, Ana just gave her full name to the receptionist. Ana's full name is Anastasia Steele? Anastasia Steele is a name you have when you're battling the Justice League, not when you're an English Lit major. Why are women in books like this never named Myrtle Groggins? Anyway, Grey's employees, all of whom seem to be attractive blond women but he's rich so I guess he can afford the discrimination suits, go out of their way to passive/aggressively let Ana know that they are two or possibly three times better than she is and Ana has a self-esteem problem so she's pretty much in agreement. She assumes Grey is in his 40s. She assumes this because she's incredibly ignorant and has done zero research to prepare for this interview. Yes, she's doing this as a favor but she doesn't even skim the guy's Wikipedia entry? Anyway, it turns out Christian Grey is 27 and so handsome that Ana will look back on this moment with pride because she was able to restrain from fingering herself and lunging at his pants with her mouth wide open. Either of those would have been more dignified than what she actually did though. First, she completely forgets how to hold onto her digital recorder then she starts asking her friend's questions without reading them. After a few banal questions about how he achieved his success (his answers basically boil down to "I'm just awesome"), she asks him if he's gay. She puts 100% of the blame for this on her friend Kate and none of it on the fact that she lacked the basic competence and common sense required to at least read these questions ahead of time and not just blurt them out. For some reason though, Grey finds her fascinating despite the fact that she comes off as an uncoordinated dumbass who tripped when she first entered his office and didn't even bother to dress up for the interview. Despite all this, he does seem enamored with her and said he looks forward to meeting her again. This means Grey realizes he's in some sort of wish fulfillment romance novel and wants to play to his audience.

So, there you go. For some reason, chapter one has not made me want to hit the "Buy this with 1 Click" button on Amazon despite the promise that, by now, it would possess me forever. There is a second chapter available that, for some reason, I'm not at all inclined to read despite the fact that I really want to know if the Nyquil made Kate better or if she should have taken the Tylenol. I'm not sure if it's the clunky dialogue, unbelievable situations or the stupid names that turned me off but hey, why can't it be all three? Perhaps if the sample chapter had included some of the infamous dirty, dirty sex that everyone who mentions the book talks about, I may have been more inclined to buy or at least less inclined to trash it. The story that this book started off as Twilight fan fiction does not surprise me since once again I have been exposed to a story about an incredibly handsome, dynamic and powerful young man inexplicably falling for an average looking girl who is depressed, mumbles a lot and seems so uncomfortable in her own skin that you'd think her skin was made of itchy wool. Despite all this, the American reading public has once again taken this crap and made it a publishing phenomenon that's already destined for the big screen. Oh well, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Here is my Twilight fan fiction which I will rewrite as a novel.

Bella swooned as Edward read some dull, pretentious poetry. They then went out and did some vampire stuff then came home and dry humped for six solid minutes, an experience Bella enjoyed despite Edward smacking her head into a wall.

 I will now take that and turn it into a best seller called Six Minutes of Dry in which a girl named Katrina Romanov only spends six minutes with gorgeous billionaire Alexander Dry before falling madly in love with him. Look for it next year. You won't like it but you will buy it anyway and that is all that counts.