Review: Lighter Shades of Grey

Lighter Shades of Grey
Lighter Shades of Grey by Cassandra Parkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have resisted the urge to experience the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon – if I want to read porn I know a good site that does what I need it to do without having to buy an ebook 😉 – but I did come across Cassandra Parkin’s blog post “50 things that annoy me about 50 Shades of Grey” and found it very entertaining. In the article Parkin basically rips apart EL James’ writing style, proving that (a) this is a really badly written book (b) her characters are about as unrealistic as they could possibly be and (c) she’s doing a great job of pushing feminism back 50 years!

At the end of the blog post Parkin mentioned that she’d been commissioned to write a book along the same lines so I was really excited to discover it was available. Lighter Shades of grey is indeed very entertaining – some of the extracts from the original book, accompanied by Parkin’s dry commentary, made me laugh out loud. For example:

Ana finally takes an interest in her personal safety

“I find two welcome hair ties at the same time in my bag and quickly tie my hair in pigtails. Yes! The more girly I look perhaps the safer I’ll be from Bluebeard. I take my iPod out of the bag and plug my headphones in.” (p126)

Hairstyles, however well-chosen, are rarely a successful protection against a determined assailant. If you feel threatened, you may want to consider a Taser, a can of Mace, or using the power of physical movement to transport yourself out of the apartment before he wakes up. On the other hand, you could just plug your iPod in and set the volume to loud. That way, you won’t have to endure the unpleasantness of hearing him creeping up behind you before he slices off your head and puts it in the fridge for a little snack later.

The problem was the book was just too short. The first few chapters are just a repeat of the blog post and yes, there are a couple of appendices that are interesting but I read this in under an hour and felt short-changed, to be honest. I’m sure there’s a lot more that could be written about the book – for example, Parkin actually makes virtually no mention of the sex scenes that I believe take place, leaving me to wonder if actually they are quite good and that’s why millions of women are able to overlook the other criticisms of the book!

I still don’t want to read the original – if I did, it would only be to take the piss out of it – but I would recommend everyone to read this, whether you’re a fan or not! Entertainment-wise this would have been five stars but it loses one (or one and a half really) for being too short. That said, I sincerely hope the author gives the same treatment to the other books ion the series!

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