I think most readers know the bare bones of this book and its main characters – supposedly written as fanfic based on the Twilight books (never read them, and don’t intend to), and was eventually picked up by a big publishing house. I could have sworn big publishing houses had things called editors, but the version I read was filled with geographical errors (more on that later), along with endless repetition (I was ready to kill that “inner goddess” just to shut her up). I’ve noticed some reviewers comment on British-isms being used, but I really didn’t pick up much on the Kindle version I got from my library.

Anastasia (Ana) is a young college student in Vancouver Washington who meets Seattle billionaire Christian Grey during an interview for the school paper. Why sophisticated Grey is hot for clumsy Ana (she falls right into his office), is a mystery, but he’s hot for her and she’s not exactly unwilling – but Christian has a dark side and first she’s got to sign a lengthy contract agreeing to his terms and conditions.

15.21 The Submissive shall accept whippings, floggings, spankings, canings, paddlings, or any other discipline the Dominant should decide to administer, without hesitation, inquiry, or complaint.

This is what’s being published and promoted as romance? Ana and Christian have SEX (with the emphasis on the “F” word), they do not make love. Supposedly there’s a dark secret from Christian’s past that has brought about his sexual tastes and controlling nature, but that is still no excuse for abusing others. Erotica is a genre I don’t typically read, but all the online chatter got me curious, and since the library had copies on kindle I just couldn’t resist taking a look when my turn came up, especially because of the Seattle setting – my hometown. It’s always fun to see how the locale is portrayed by those who’ve never been here. How did James do? You be the judge.

Written in the first person narrative, the story begins as Ana tells us about her big day heading to Seattle from Vancouver to interview the mysterious Christian Grey:

ROADS ARE CLEAR as I set off from Vancouver, Washington, toward Interstate 5.

First off, no one but no one says “Interstate 5″. It’s I-5. Second, if someone is driving from the Portland/Vancouver area the only practical route is I-5, so it isn’t necessary to mention the road one is travelling on – just tell the inner goddess that you’re hopping on the freeway. Jeez (another word Ana uses to death).

Beyond that, there is a floor-to-ceiling window with a view of the Seattle skyline that looks out through the city toward the Sound. It’s a stunning vista, and I’m momentarily paralyzed by the view. Wow.

So, look up skyline in the dictionary and/or images of the Seattle skyline (here’s a cool spot to see what it looks like from the Columbia Tower). Just how do you think you are going to see that from the window of one of many tall buildings in the downtown core? I’m sure Grey had a lovely view of Mount Rainier or Puget Sound and the Olympic range, but the skyline? I think not.

Now we have Ana leaving Seattle after her interview with Grey:

AS I LEAVE THE city limits behind…While cruising toward Interstate 5…

Ummm, I-5 (not Interstate 5) runs right through the city. While is it possible to get out of the city limits heading south on secondary roads, it’s not very practical time-wise and those not familiar with the industrial/port area would be hopelessly lost. One would get on I-5 (not Interstate 5) right from downtown, and trust me, one does not “cruise” in downtown. One sits at one red light after another trying to negotiate turns after the hordes of pedestrians have cleared the sidewalks.

I can’t remember the address. It’s in the Pike Market District.

Sigh. That would be Pike Place Market.

Portland disappears in front of us as we head into U.S. airspace.

Portland, Oregon has a different airspace than the rest of the country?

I think we’re moving from Portland’s airspace to Seattle International Airport’s.

It is simply Sea-Tac. Everyone knows it’s an airport and everyone knows it’s an effing international airport. I’m not even going to touch on flying the helicopter amidst the downtown skyscrapers…

We speed up Interstate 5…as Taylor whisks us into the night toward Bellevue.

Grey’s condo is supposedly in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. Google maps and see which direction on I-5 (not Interstate 5) you need to drive to catch I-90 to Bellevue.

In the end, this was definitely not the book for me. I don’t mind a bit of sex, although I’m in the less is more camp, but I prefer it when there’s some real love and chemistry between a pair and not just sex for sex’s sake. Top that off with one of the most annoying narrators ever (seriously, she talked like a young, vapid teenager and not a college grad), I really can’t find much of anything good to say about this. Except that at times it was so bad it was funny 😀

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