Dear E.L James
I’ve just finished reading your record-breaking bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey, and I’ve got a few things I’d like to talk about.
1. Well done for writing a novel. Oh no, wait – three novels. Well done. I haven’t written a novel. So well done, again. You’ve done something a lot of people haven’t. But please don’t write any more. Ever. Okay? Thanks.
2. Not that you’ll need one if you adhere to point 1, but please sack your editor. Did you have an editor for this book, E.L James? Because he didn’t cut the mustard. If you’d had an editor, why would he have let things like this go?
‘Saturdays at the store are a nightmare.We are besieged by do-it-yourselfers wanting to spruce up their homes. Mr. and Mrs. Clayton and John and Patrick – the other two part-timers – and I are besieged by customers.’
It’s a terrible bit of writing, E.L James. Why didn’t your editor say ‘Look, E.L James, you’ve used the word ‘besieged’ already. You can’t use it again. That’s twice in two sentences. Real, credible authors just don’t do that.’ But maybe he said ‘Actually, this is just one of a staggering number of instances in which you repeat yourself and use the same word, and I can’t be bothered to go through them all, so go ahead, do what you want.’ That’s probably what happened.
3. Find me a woman, E.L James, who had such a mind-blowingly beautiful, erotic and pleasurable experience as Ana does losing her virginity. Can’t find one? Well maybe that’s because there isn’t one. Anywhere. In the world. Losing one’s virginity – and I won’t dwell on this point, E.L James, because my mum reads this blog – is, as everyone knows, less like this:
and more like this:
It’s a fact, E.L James. A cold, hard fact. Real women are less likely to have an earth-shattering orgasm whilst losing their virginity, and more likely to realise that they’ve just entered a world that’s a bit messy, slightly uncomfortable, and ultimately a little disappointing, so there’ll be no shattering earths here. Which brings me neatly onto my next point.
4. Orgasms, E.L James. We need to talk about orgasms. If real women had as many earth-shattering orgasms as Ana does in any 24 hour period, they would be dead. If real women
only needed a bit of a stroke and a couple of thrusts in order to have an earth-shattering orgasm, the world would either be deafened by the sound of constantly climaxing couples, or in total silence, as couples sit around not talking to each other as they realise that the novelty has very quickly worn off and they’re actually both a bit tired.
5. People with a penchant for slightly dodgy, slightly outlandish pastimes, such as tying their naked girlfriends to giant crucifixes and hitting them with stuff, don’t necessarily have to be fucked up in order to justify said dodgy pastime. I know someone who really likes visiting model villages, and he’s not fucked up. He didn’t feel the need to justify his hobby. He just really likes small houses.
So if you want to write about a dude who’s into some kinky shit, E.L James, you don’t necessarily need to drop the worst bombshell in the history of terrible bombshells in order to explain why he’s into the kinky shit: ‘The woman who brought me into this world was a crack-whore.’ Wasn’t convinced by that, E.L James. Sorry.
6. Holy crap, E.L James, one of the first things I noticed when I started, holy shit, reading your novel, was – oh my – your tremendous, I mean, holy crap, tremendous amount of repetitive asides that, holy fuck, really, really, oh my holy crap holy shit really got on my wick. Oh my, E.L James, did those repetitive asides get on my wick. Why, E.L James? Apparently, Ana says ‘Oh my’ over 200 times throughout the whole book. It’s a 500 page book. That’s roughly one ‘Oh my’ every two and a half pages. That’s too much, E.L James. Just way, way too much.
Just a few pointers there, E.L James, in case you were ever thinking of writing another book (please see point 1). Unfortunately, reading your book made me want to do this to myself:
Sorry about that.
Anyway, enjoy the money, go on holiday, buy a car, a mansion, a nice watch. Whatever.
- Fifty shades of… amusing parodies of EL James’s erotic bestseller (standard.co.uk)
- Fifty Shades of Grey peddles the tired old fantasy of romance that keeps women in their place | Suzanne Moore (guardian.co.uk)