How To Read 50 Shades of Grey

Alice of Alice at Wonderland has been slogging through the literary anal dribblings of E.L. James for what feels like an eternity. There is only so much “Fair point, well made Miss Steele/Mrs. Grey” and “Laters baby” one can read before one feels as if they’ve been sucked into a Groundhog-Day-like reality of which there is no escape.

If after reading the above paragraph, you still desire to pore through the monotonous ramblings of an author who knows neither plot or character development, then Alice has prepared a handy how-to on how to slog through this pile o’crap.


Have you wondered what all the fuss was about with 50 Shades, but been scared to read it?  Of course you have!  With this simple guide, you can read 50 Shades of Grey and possibly keep your sanity.

How To Read 50 Shades

  1. Download it to your e-reader.  Then if someone asks what you are reading, you can say “Well it certainly isn’t 50 Shades!”
Still not reading 50 Shades!

Still not reading 50 Shades!

  1. Skip directly to chapter eight.  This is the one with the sexy times.  Nothing happens before then, trust me.
Nothing really happens after that either, but I digress . . .

Nothing really happens after that either, but I digress . . .

  1. Try not to get aroused by the references to “down there” and the frequent exclamations of “oh shit!”, “oh my!” and “oh, jeez!”
Cross the Beav with Desperate Housewives and you'll get the idea

Cross the Beav with Desperate Housewives and you’ll get the idea

  1. Move on to chapter nine.  Get introduced to Christian’s penis.  We now know all the important characters.
I don't believe you two have met . . .

I don’t believe you two have met . . .

  1. Skip to chapter eleven, appropriately the chapter with the sex contract copied directly off of some internet site.  First use of the fascinating email plot device.
So fire play is NOT a hard limit for you, hmm . . .

So fire play is NOT a hard limit for you, hmm . . .

  1. Begin drinking game.  Start reading every fifth page (this will not break continuity) and take a drink every time Christian and Ana 1) have sex 2) email 3) say something idiotic.
You'd better stock up.

You’d better stock up.

  1. Stop and read chapter eighteen, if you want to see Ana get a vaginal exam.  If you’re sane, move on to chapter twenty-three.  It’s safe, I promise.
Ana wants to know!

Ana wants to know!

  1. I lied.  This is the chapter of the infamous “tampon scene.”  You’re welcome.  Good thing you’re totally wasted, huh?
You will never be able to go down this aisle again without PTSD.

You will never be able to go down this aisle again without PTSD.

  1. Skim through scenes of Christian beating up Ana.  We don’t want anything to tarnish the momentum of this romantic novel.
Ah, the romance!

Ah, the romance!

  1. Last chapter: watch Ana sort of grow a spine, leave Christian, and “surrender to her grief”.  Stop now.  Pretend it’s the last book.  You’ll be glad you did.
Only bad things lie in store for our heroine.

Only bad things lie in store for our heroine.


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73 thoughts on “How To Read 50 Shades of Grey

  1. I can’t remember if the metal ball in Ana’s “woohoo” was in the first book or second. I was busy vomiting vodka, so I can’t quite recall.

  2. Thank GOD someone else has identified the “tampon scene” as being ridiculous. You’ve no idea how many women I’ve talked to who believe that scene is EROTIC.

    Alice, you totally nailed this. Get it? Nailed it? Okay, I’m leaving now…

    • What? Seriously? They think – ugh, I figured even the fans I figured just looked over that one. Grosssssss. That scene still haunts me. And yeah, everything I say now sounds dirty thanks to this book.

  3. I haven’t read the book and I am torn (and not in THAT way). I feel culturally illiterate because I don’t know what everybody is talking about. But I’d feel plain old illiterate if I DID read it. Thanks for putting together this Cliffs Notes version for me.

  4. I wish I had seen this before I bowed to the hype! Read all 3 (although only perseverance made me read 2 and 3…I just hate leaving a book unfinished and I am an optimistic person, always think it will get better…surely, it will….no? darn!) Luckily I got a bundle deal for the 3 so only paid for one…thank you ebook for saving me the shame as well of having people looking at me on the train…It was pants.

  5. Huh. I must say I gave 50 shades half an hour of my time, but in the skim read I somehow missed the reference to tampons and vaginal exams… can I have an extract please?!

    Also, it’s interesting to see Speaker7 is not the only expert on 50 shades 😉

  6. A reader compared me to E.L. James the other day . . . . and I didn’t get the reference. Ooops! Now after reading your wonderfully snarky post, I don’t know if I should be pleased or angered by the comparison.

  7. Why why why didn’t I read this blog before putting myself through the agony of reading the book?! You shouldn’t just blog it. It needs to be pasted to every copy of the book as a warning the same as the warnings on cigarette packets.

  8. I only read a few pages of the first book (about 10, probably) and I was extremely bored and annoyed by Ana and the poor writing technique of the author. Than, I browsed through the book to see if something interesting happens and I almost vomited at the sex scenes and was seriously terrified by the contract the girl signed. I gave up on it without giving it a second thought, to the real dissapointment of my manager, who had lent me the book after reading it all during a flight from Las Vegas (that’s passion and determination, I’m telling you). I am just glad I am not the only one who sees beyond the buzz and there are other people like me. Fortunately, I did not encounter tampon or vaginal exams when I browsed it :).

    • Very fortunate. There are people who have read this not once, but multiple times. I’m currently covering the 3rd book (almost through Hallelujah) and . . . it’s just . . . it should not be possible, but each book, each page, each sentence is progressively worse than the last one. I don’t know how she does it.

  9. Pingback: 50 Shades of Pointless « NYLon Living

  10. I walked down the aisle at SAM’s club. the end cap was filled with all three books. I found myself asking out loud “Since when is SM a household word?” I chucked as I watched the grey haired women flipping through pages; reading right there. I then stepped over and picked one up. I happened to open to the contract, read a few paragraphs, shook my head at what has happened to feminism and put it down. Right them I realized I WAS the grey haired woman standing their reading. I have a friend who’s 86 year old mom read it. I am lost in the draw. I still don’t get it. But, if that can get published there is hope for me? READ THE BOOK? I barely got through your summary! 🙂

  11. Very funny, dear. I haven’t read this particular book myself but as with any book that makes such a big splash I am fascinated with all the fuss. I find it odd that, considering the amount of copies this book has apparently sold I have yet to come across a single compliment for it.
    In fact, every person who has bothered to write a review of any sort has been rather critical.
    The author must be thinking she’s the goose that laid the golden egg. At least something got laid, I suppose?

  12. Thank you for writimg this enlightening post about an unenlightening book. I tried to read it last year and it felt like I was pouring acid on my brain.

    And not the good-trip-balls-acid…the bad stuff.

  13. The IN2G show has reviewed Fifty Shades of Grey in a little video. Do you reckon it’s 50 Shades of porn? Our two Christian presenters have divided opinions…

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