Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew Shaffer (pub date 7/31/12)
You know you’ve really made it when people are mocking you. And this Fifty Shades of Grey parody is merciless when it comes to making fun of its source material. But you know what? EL James is still laughing all the way to the bank!
Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is not the only parody written since James’ infamous trilogy exploded into pop culture. But it does seem to be the one most hyped about. It was featured at this year’s BEA, and author Andrew Shaffer even made an appearance to sign advance copies. Sadly, I was unable to attend the day he was there, but I did get to download a copy of the book from NetGalley.
Fifty Shames tells the story of Anna Steal, a college senior who falls in love with the handsome and obscenely wealthy Earl Grey. After interviewing him for Boardroom Hotties Magazine, Anna becomes infatuated with him. In turn, Earl shows his affection for Anna by purchasing the company she works for so she can have the day off, buying the house she lives in and having it fitted with surveillance equipment, and saving her time and again from her unfortunate clumsiness. Eventually, Earl tells Anna about his fifty shames, one of which is BDSM…and no, it’s not what you think! Despite the warnings from her inner guidette, Anna begins a strange affair with the mysterious Earl.
My description can’t even do it justice. As a parody, Fifty Shames is spot-on. Its humor is completely suited to its source material, and it brutally lampoons the sillier aspects of the original Fifty Shades trilogy. Among other things, it mainly pokes fun at Ana’s naïveté, her contstant pining for Christian, and also Christian’s wealth, tempestuous nature, and never-ending supply of condoms. It also mocks some of the more unrealistic plot points in Fifty Shades; my favorite line is about how Anna gets a job at the Amazon warehouse but hopes to work her way up to editor. The first few chapters closely mirror the first few chapters of the original Fifty Shades, but after that, the book goes off in its own crazy direction, and will crack you up the whole way through.
Unlike the original books, Fifty Shames is super short; you can breeze through it in one day. It’s totally hilarious, but I will say that you should only read it if you have a sense of humor about the real Fifty Shades trilogy. If you’re like me and loved the books but can admit that they’re pretty ridiculous, then you’ll definitely enjoy Shaffer’s parody.