Fifty Shades of Grey Chapter 01: My eyes are totally rolling in exasperation.

Lorraine picked up Fifty Shades of Grey, and, well, you try reading it with a straight face.  She hopes you will join her on her journey.

Lorraine: I knew precious little about the “Fifty Shades of Grey” series when I picked it up– mostly that it had been appearing all over my Goodreads timeline and that it seemed to have a polarizing effect on readers.

I probably should’ve paid more attention to the, you know, description.

It was the very first page of the book that convinced me that this story was begging to be snarked: it opened with a girl checking herself out in a mirror! Aw, E.L. James. Way to take a page out of 90% of all Sweet Valley High books ever written.

Said girl, Ana, is lamenting her looks. Her hair is being really disrespectful and she’s totally upset that God gave her big blue eyes. EW. WHO WANTS THOSE? After trying to beat her hair into submission (or something) she gives up and decides to wear a ponytail. DOUBLE EW. WHO DOES THAT?

We quickly learn that in addition to having very regrettable blue eyes and disrespectful hair, Ana is also a terrible human being. She’s complaining about some girl named Kate. See, Kate went out and got herself sick on the day that she was supposed to be interviewing super important Christian Grey. Ana says that she knows nothing about Grey, but then tells us that he’s CEO of Grey Enterprise Holdings, is an exceptional entrepreneur and a major benefactor of the university she attends and that his time is super important. So… what you’re saying is that you DO know something about him, right?

Anyways, Kate, that bitch, is the editor of the newspaper at WSU and has landed an interview with the elusive Grey. But, like I said, she’s ill and has begged Ana to please stop studying and go do this once in a lifetime interview in her stead. Ana’s monologue complains some more, not only about having to go, but about how sick Kate is still totally gorgeous, even though her eyes are red and runny. Ana sweetly tells Kate that of course she’ll go, and then she internally says that Kate is manipulative and very good at getting what she wants. Also, she’s beautiful, that bitch.

Oh, did I mention Kate is her best friend?

Ana is a doll.

Ana drives to wherever Grey is located for the interview. She introduces herself to the receptionist as “Anastasia Steele,” and I groan. You can ask my three year old niece. She looked at me funny when I was all “uuuugghwhatwhy.” Grey. Steele. And in that paragraph alone, the author uses the word steel three times. I can’t even.

Ana is super intimidated by everything in the office, but especially by blondes. Unfortunately, she meets three of them there and she starts thinking that obviously this means that Grey only hires blondes because he’s… Hitler? I’m not sure.

We interrupt her thinking about if it’s illegal to only hire blondes to finally meet Grey. Ana goes to walk into his office and trips over her own feet, so that she ends up on her hands and knees in front of Grey.

Grey is totally laughing at her on the inside. On the outside he smirks a lot and does weird things like pet his bottom lip? I think it’s supposed to be a sexy brushing, but I just get “pet” in my head.

Grey, by the way, is a plain looking 20-something. JUST KIDDING. He is perfect in every way. He hurts to look at. When they shake hands, Ana feels electricity pulse through her, and then blames it on static. I wish you could all hear me cracking up over here. Static. Hahaha.

The next few pages consist of Ana conducting the most awkward interview of all time. She is both horribly embarrassed by Grey’s Adonis-like good looks (the author says Adonis. Hahaha.) and also, completely irreverent. I’m not sure how this works. She’s supposed to be completely under his hotness spell, and yet she still manages to brashly question him at points. I just shrug in this book’s general direction.

The interview allows us to be info dumped on. Grey was adopted and loves his family, even though he doesn’t plan on expanding it. He isn’t gay. He’s very good at business because he knows how to read and invest in people. Etc.

Ana follows up his answers with really hard hitting questions like, “so you’re a control freak?” Grey does not in fact kick her in the teeth, which is of course what all of us would probably do.

We get tons of heavy handed tidbits for good measure, too, like the below:

“So you want to possess things?”
“I want to deserve to possess them, but yes, bottom line, I do.”


Grey soon turns the tables on Ana and starts asking her questions. She admits that she is just there to fill in for her best friend Kate, who is sick. She also says she doesn’t have plans for after she graduates college. Grey mentions interning at his company but Ana thinks she won’t fit in, since she’s not, you know, blonde. Grey doesn’t catch on to what she’s insinuating, mostly because it’s ridiculous.

Thankfully, the interview is finally over and Grey makes a crack about helping Ana out of the office so she won’t fall again. Ana sort of snaps at him and so clearly they are going to fall in love. I mean, he was condescending and she goes into cardiac arrest when she sees him which is the only recipe for love I know.

Now, that was a pretty ordinarily bad chapter, but what makes this book really, really bad? Why, the writing of course.

Firstly, EL James is the queen of clunky phrasing: “I scowl with frustration,” “I roll my eyes in exasperation,” “the elevator whisks me away with terminal velocity” and probably my favorite in the first chapter, “floor the pedal to the metal.

LOL. I would ask what college student would ever say “pedal to the metal” but Ana also says “double crap” totally seriously. Like, she falls in front of this CEO and her thought is “double crap,” where as most of us would’ve probably gone with, “mother fuck.” Also, I’m pretty sure “floor it” and “pedal to the metal” are two separate expressions that should never be married.

Secondly, James shares entirely way too much trivial information. It gets the plot nowhere, but also, nobody cares. Example: “She hands me a security pass that has VISITOR very firmly stamped on the front.” Oh, very firmly stamped? Thank God we know that! Thank God we also know that the blonde receptionist is an intern and that Kate prefers Nyquil over Tylenol. Every single detail and every interaction is recounted when a simple phrase would suffice.

I’d say more about Ana being kind of a bitch and hating pretty people, but it’s only the first chapter, you know? I’ll pace myself.


Next time on Fifty Shades of Grey: What’s the most kidnap-y combination of items you could possibly buy at a hardware store? Find out in  Chapter 2 .


Marines (all posts)

I'm a 20-something south Floridan who loves the beach but cannot swim. Such is my life, full of small contradictions and little trivialities. My main life goals are never to take life too seriously, but to do everything I attempt seriously well. After that, my life goals devolve into things like not wearing pants and eating all of the Zebra Cakes in the world. THE WORLD.

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  • This post is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

  • Hahahahha wow. I LOVE that bird picture. It's amazing.

  • And this is why you are my best friend. <3

  • Isn't it? I keep it on hand for very special occasions.

  • "I mean, he was condescending and she goes into cardiac arrest when she sees him which is the only recipe for love I know." <---Love this line! I'm in this for the entire book! Thanks for doing these posts.

  • It's the way of these books right? The jerk always gets the hyperventilating girl. 😉

    Thank you, thank you! I appreciate you reading all of these.

  • Exactly. It's like the TV version of jocks and cheerleaders of the 90's; The 2000's seem to be full of jerks and girls with brain injuries due to lack of oxygen. 😉

  • Anonymous

    Just because you don't like the book doesn't mean everybody won't like it! Jeezcalm down it's just a book let the author be maybe they were on crack or something! 😛

  • Oh, come off it. It's not that serious. I mean, look at the title of our blog! Maybe look up snark in the dictionary. It's not the end of the world if someone chooses to poke fun at any book. It'll be okay, I promise.

  • I know other people like it! Trust me, I know. I'm just informing the entire Internet of why *I* don't like it and hopefully making people laugh along the way. Plus, I'm perfectly calm. I mean, except for when there is toothbrush sharing, blood, inner goddesses or blatant anti-feminism involved. But otherwise, I'm calm. Pretty calm. Marginally calm. There are moments when I'm calm.

    Sorry, this book just really sucks.

  • Guest here is the Escala, where Christian lives. It actually exists. i am slogging through this horror show of a book as part of an informal book club . but omg, the eye rolling, the lower lip biting, the ten year old child dialogue, and no follow through on the promised hot sex. orgasms every time, right on time, together on time. you did an excellent take on it, Lorraine. you have said it all, so far. i was ROLLING MY EYES, just kidding, really roflmao as i read your blog.

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  • Hah! This is great! I still feel like subjecting myself to it. Probably will.

    • You must let me know how that goes. I like to think I’m not being harsh. Just honest.

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  • EJ

    I am just now finishing the book, and was about to write a blog about my “adventures” with Gray and Ana, but this is way more fun. I will continue to chapter 2. I am so glad I read this book now, only because it enabled me to read this. Thank you!

    • You are most welcome. 🙂

      I’m really proud of you for reading the book. I think everyone who survived it should wear a badge of honor, or something. Maybe.

      • EJ

        let me know if you make a badge of honor.. I’ll put it on my blog as a button or something. if I can figure out how to even do that. I will ONLY read the second one if you all make more chapter by chapter blow-by-blows (pun intended?). until then, I can’t read another one. I just can’t.

        • OH A BUTTON. I’m not the artsy one around here, but maybe I can get Sweeney to make buttons for our end of the book special wrap up week. YEAH.

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  • Nikki

    I am so happy to have found people who truly feel the same way I do about this monstrosity of unerotic, bad writing. I’m all for people reading & whatever floats their boat…but REALLY this is what people think is sexy these days? The ideas in the book aren’t even plausible! He’s a billionaire and she’s a lonely college student. Don’t buy it – sorry…(and the sex scenes aren’t even that good, mainly because these shitty characters don’t have chemistry.) I’ll stop now.

    • I hate the characters so why would I want to read about sex between them? And beyond that, E.L. James sucks at writing them. She basically copy and pastes the same thing over and over again. It’s really freakin’ ridiculous and you are right- people can read whatever they want.

      Except this. Because then I will laugh at them. 😉

  • I can’t believe I didn’t read this sooner. DYING.

  • This is killing me!!!

  • Writer206

    Thank YOU!! People are judging my tastes because I refuse to read this. WTF? How are people getting published writing things like “floor pedal to the metal.” For the love of all that is literary. Love this post, thank you funny writer.

    • Thank you for reading! You put your foot down, girl. Reading this is something like torture.

      “Floor the pedal to the metal” is still one of my favorite things that has happened in this book, though.

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  • Baldarnold

    *snigger* It’s shit, but I am still reading it to see how much shitter it can get. Natch.

    • Mark those words, friend. Trust me.

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  • neverreadthebookbutimhooked

    I haven’t read the book. I started w/ the reviews and they were all negative, but so so funny, and then one linked this site. And you are so incredibly funny w/ this. I can’t imagine reading the book ever, but I’m so in this til you get done reading that book or burn it, which ever comes first lol.

    • Oh, man, I’ve thought “burn it” several times along the way. As it stands, we’re like two chapters from the end. Sweeney and I are currently having chats about whether we’ll go to book 2 aka whether we’ll put our sanity or the blog first. (Hint: probably the blog.)

      Thank you for sticking with us!

  • Emmy

    I also found this site from a negative Amazon review. Thank you! Thank you! Prior to reading these blogs, the book just pissed me off, but now I’m laughing at it. And laughter is totally healthier than anger…haha! Now I just have to figure out how to not dislike people who love this abomination!

    • Let me know if you have any tips. The more I read the more I cannot understand anyone who likes it. But, yay for laughing. Someone should be enjoying this! 😉

      Thanks for reading <3

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  • These blogs of yours are so intelligent and motivating (to finally go out into the book world and try to find another Orson Scott Card novel or ‘Dune’/’Lord of the Rings’ that will refuel my love of books). Plus, they are super hilarious- they literally make me laugh so hard that tears leak outta my faccccce! I’m not usually one to rant about female empowerment, but this book makes me feel icky and powerless…when really it’s just Ana that is being stupid and weakkkkk! UGH. Yeah, I just said ‘ugh’. This book makes me want to vomit all over Christian Grey’s elegant pants. Thank you so much for this awesome blog! It makes my day.

    • Thank you! 🙂

      I’m not usually all “rah rah females!” either but reading this just brings it out of you. The way that James depicts Ana… well you either see it as wrong or you are as old as Edward the vampire and are wondering what this whole Internet thing is about anyways.

      I say “ugh” a lot.

      Thanks for reading! I’m glad it makes your day and I hope you keep visiting our little space.

  • SF

    I read the books, and they were good for a laugh. I agree; they were incredibly repetitive. Someone should have counted the times she said “clambered.” Also British/American language differences should have been checked and changed before publishing as well. Rucksack, envisaged, and redundancies are not words Americans use. Americans don’t come home and say, “Honey, my boss just made me redundant.” Ana was whiny, foolish, and passive. Christian was misogynistic, controlling, and downright creepy. Everyone talked about how hot the sex was, but I frankly didn’t see it.
    when someone refers to their vagina as “down there” it’s kind of hard to take things seriously. Your little rant made me laugh, so thanks for that. I have a little tidbit for you. The feminine is blonde. If you are talking about a man and a woman who both happen share that hair color you would simply use blond.

    • Clambered! That wasn’t a repetition I noticed until Sweeney pointed it out in our latest (chapter 24) recap. The language difference are NUTS though. She really was clueless when it came to writing a young American. I mean, that’s just the beginning because this entire book can be summarized with “E.L. James is clueless.”

      Thank you for the blond/blonde thing. Even though it’s taken me a while to reply to this comment, I read it when you published it and I’ve had this tip in my head now.

      And lastly: all this sex is NOT hot. I stand by that.

      Thank you so much for reading and please do stick around. 🙂

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  • I had to read the novel only because of the sales. The desire to understand what would make so many buy this was to great to deny. Your comments are dead on and echo my thoughts gather while reading the novel.

    • Yay a neighbor!! I love finding Floridians online in a way that speaks volumes of how much I live in the Internet, because uh, there are tons of Floridians outside. In the real world. ANYHOW.

      Thank you. I’m glad you are enjoying the recaps. Curiosity got the better of me too, even though I managed to avoid Twilight. Somehow, though, I thought reading Twilight fanfiction would be faaaantastic. -_-

      Thanks for reading! Hope you keep visiting us. 😉

  • The only thing I remember about Chapter 1 is when Ana tells Kate she made her some soup. I was thinking, “So… you… opened a can?” I mean, she doesn’t exactly seem like a “soup from scratch” kind or gal.

    • This is awesome. I’ll one up it and say that opening a can was probably too much effort to waste on Kate, that bitch. She probably heated up a Cup-o-Noodles.


  • Renee V.

    I heart your blog and you crack me up! 50 Shades of Hilarious!

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  • Brielle Foster

    The Movie fifty shades is now release on valentine day and i am very exited for this movie.

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  • Jennie M. Lacy

    Your recaps are the only wonderful thing to ever come from this travesty of a series.

    I know that compared to all the all the all the ALL THE other examples of why EL James is the worst writer (or human) ever, this very much pales in comparison, but am I the only one annoyed by books that are narrated in the present tense? Like, instead of “I went somewhere, I looked at stuff, I saw someone” it’s “I go somewhere, I look at stuff, I see someone”? It just has this weird vibe to me of, instead of someone telling me a story that happened to them, they’re just kinda wandering through life saying out loud everything they’re doing.

    I type a comment on a funny blog.

    I take a sip of coffee.

    I wonder if I’m using too many examples to make my point.

    • I never really noticed the tense, but as soon as you said that it seemed like someone wandering around their own story, I was like, “yes. That’s exactly what this book is like.”

  • Sage

    I decided to re-read your snark reviews (namely because I can’t be bothered to read the book), and I’m already at the stage where your mind is numb while you wondering if everyone who has said they liked this book lied.

    • Bless you and good luck on this journey, my friend.

  • Miss Krys

    Because you still and ever will deserve it for going on this soul-crushing yet utterly magical (for us, the readers) journey. Please know that I still go back and reread these whenever I need to laugh really hard.

    • I loooooove when people comment on these old posts. 1- it’s funny to revisit and see what we wrote and how we’ve grown and remember some of the jokes and stuff. 2- We spent so long doing it that if people are still reading and getting something out of it? SO COOL.

  • Charlie

    I would say that the intern thing is important, because it’s distinguishing between the assistant Andrea and the intern Olivia. That said, I agree with everything else, especially with the fact that ELJ is just crap at writing. We don’t need our hands held every other sentence, ELJ.