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.
rating: 1 star