Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess (A Journal) by E.L. James

Terrible

This is a semi-blank journal, meant to be written in, based on the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY books. Love them or hate them, one thing all readers agree on is that the FIFTY SHADES books are poorly written. Even the most passionate fans will admit this, claiming that the superior storytelling makes up for the bad prose. I can’t imagine why the publishers of this journal would choose to highlight the worst aspect of FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, but that’s what they’ve done.

The journal opens with three pages of “writing advice” from E.L. James. It’s really self-praise disguised as advice. She goes into great detail about how imaginative she is, always thinking up new stories. She brags about her playlists and her wall of visuals and her notebooks, but offers little to the budding writer. Next is the journal itself, where each page is stuffed with quotes from FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, interspersed with widely-spaced lines. There’s not much room to actually write in it.

Quotes like “Stop biting your lip,” and “Holy crap!” are given entire pages of their own. If I didn’t know better, I’d think this journal was a parody of its parent book. However, press releases from the publisher say it’s meant to be sincere. They’re pretending that phrases like “oh my!” and “twitchy palms” and “laters, baby” aren’t the accidental repetition of an unskilled writer who didn’t copyedit her fan fiction. They are being passed off as catch phrases, or, if you’re feeling literary, motifs.

No serious writer would be interested in this journal. But writers are not its market. Stamped on the back of the plastic cover are the words, “Fifty Shades of Grey ™ Official Collection.” This journal is a knickknack, like the Christian Grey t-shirts or the handcuff earrings that can be bought everywhere from Etsy to the local mall. But unlike collectibles that help fans identify with a beloved character, this one is meant to help fans identify with the author.

Themed journals can be fun. And yes, a pretty package might make me want to write more. However, a writer would be far better served by an attractive, blank notebook.

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FIFTY SHADES OF GREY: INNER GODDESS (A JOURNAL) can be found here.

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rating: 1 star

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I recommend Take Joy by Jane Yolen or Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott instead of this book.

13 thoughts on “Fifty Shades of Grey: Inner Goddess (A Journal) by E.L. James

  1. Oh. My. God. Like… Whoa! I’ve been waiting for this! You’re right, it’s a souvenir, nothing more – like buying an action figure which is probably in the works. Shudder.
    Yeah, not for would-be authors. For fans of the books. Again, shudder…
    You know, this reminds me of the youtube parody! Hang on, let me see if I can find it for you.
    youtu.be/y3qZLrC7Ot4

    • As much as we might not like her writing (and I don’t, though admittedly that’s based on a few pages of the sample), this journal has nothing to do with E.L. James except for the very small percentage of the cover price that will end up in her bank account. Having licensed her publishing rights in the series to Random House, it’s now the publisher’s job to milk this series for every penny with cheesy kitsch. And they just proved they’re on the job!

      • I agree, Bridget. This travesty was thought up by the good folks at Random House. They knew exactly how to package this to appeal to the proper demographic (not writers!). Judging from the Amazon rankings, they did their job beautifully and this “journal” is actually selling well. I weep for the future of literature.

  2. Bless this post, especially this line: “They’re pretending that phrases like “oh my!” and “twitchy palms” and “laters, baby” aren’t the accidental repetition of an unskilled writer who didn’t copyedit her fan fiction.”

  3. THANKYOUTHANKYOUTHANKYOU for this honest, refreshing review!!! I am disgusted, appalled, yet utterly unsurprised by this journal. I am proud to say I am one of many who are working to show women how damaging this entire enterprise is (TROUT NATION, BABY!!!!), not only for the world of BDSM, but for people as a whole. Yet we are being thwarted at every turn by this shallow, temperamental, money-grabbing excuse for a writer and woman. Shame on everyone involved for perpetuating this illusion that abuse is sexy and acceptable.

  4. I read the book. I’m not sure what it says about readers’ taste. I kept gasping while reading and my husband kept asking me what dirty part am I reading and I had to tell him the writing is just. That. Bad. I mean, it’s funny to poke fun at the sexcapade FAN FICTION of Twilight but had it been well written, we’d applaud her for a better alternative, possibly a sexual parody.

    I no longer trust people who say, “Speaking as someone who reads a lot…” or “And I read a lot, so I know what I’m talking about…” Quality over quantity.

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