Friday, August 10, 2012

Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin (a.k.a. Andrew Shaffer)

Young, arrogant, tycoon Earl Grey seduces the naïve coed Anna Steal with his overpowering good looks and staggering amounts of money, but will she be able to get past his fifty shames, including shopping at Walmart on Saturdays, bondage with handcuffs, and his love of BDSM (Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, and Magick)? Or will his dark secrets and constant smirking drive her over the edge.

Nat's Review

Bel and I have both read the Fifty Shades trilogy.  It’s not the type of book you will see us review on Bibliojunkies so you don’t have to worry about being bored to death by my very mixed feelings.  Let’s just say I both enjoyed it and had major issues with it.  But those mixed feeling really left me quite open to appreciating a parody.  When I saw this book highlighted on a few blogs I was intrigued and told Bel about it.  She quickly suggested we both read and review it.  And all I have to say is that I am so happy we decided to do this.  

I was pretty afraid of how this book would read.  It could be funny or it could just be painfully embarrassing.  In the end, it was so ridiculous that I couldn’t put it down.  I think this would be a funny read for anyone regardless of their Fifty Shades knowledge.  But if you DID read Fifty Shades of Grey, you probably won’t stop laughing.  

To give you some spoiler-free info on this hilarious parody, Anna picks her nose instead of bites her lip and Earl Grey finds it a major turn on.  And the very naughty Earl Grey tries to make everything a sexual innuendo.  And I mean EVERYTHING.  Oh and did I mention that he practices BDSM?  Bards, Dragons, Sorcery and Magic – An erotic role playing game where he dresses up as an elf and punishes faeries. 

But one of my absolutely favorite things about this parody was Earl Grey’s ability to do anything.  One of things that I found both amusing and frustrating about Fifty Shades of Grey was Christian’s numerous hobbies.  He is only 27 yet he runs a multi-billion dollar corporation that he built from the ground up.  He is an expert in everything he does which includes kickboxing, piano playing and speaking French. Oh, and he can also fly a helicopter, sail a boat and fly a glider.  Yeah, I was never able to buy it.  That is just too much to MASTER at that young of an age while working a ridiculous number of hours building a Trump-like empire.  And apparently Andrew Shaffer – ahem, I mean Fanny Merkin – felt the same way.  Because Earl Grey can do everything too.  Including bartending (he learned from watching Cocktail), jet flying (he learned from watching Top Gun) and emptying the Pacific Ocean (which he learned from….I really have no idea where he learned that one). 

If you enjoy a light read and a good parody, I highly recommend this book. 


Bel's Review
Okay, parodies can be iffy. When you’re spoofing a very much talked about book, it’s even riskier. I’d read a parody of the Twilight series called Nightlight a while back. It started out fine but ended up being just meh. So when Nat told me that there was a Fifty Shades parody, I was both curious and slightly mortified.

Let’s start off by saying that I consider the Fifty Shades trilogy to be fun, unsettling and “educational”. That last part depends on your perspective and where you fall on the open-minded and curious spectrum going from Amish to Lady Gaga. Just as the Twilight series isn’t the greatest writing in the world but still tells a compelling enough story, Fifty Shades is much the same way which is why so many of us were hooked. So when I started reading Fifty Shames I had to give the writer props for spoofing not only the story but the writing as well.

Anna Steal and Earl Grey are outrageous caricatures of the original characters. I don’t think I was able to get through a single page without rolling my eyes, shaking my head or laughing uncontrollably. Anna relies on her "inner guidette" as opposed to the other Anna's constant reference to her "inner goddess". Christian Grey’s stalking tendencies are taken to the extreme when Earl Grey shows up everywhere including appearing from under Anna's bed. His extravagant wealth and influence are ridiculed to the max e.g. when he drains an ocean for her. Seriously, that happened. These people are definitely not bright which makes them exceptionally comical.
Fifty Shames picks its way through various scenes in the book, highlighting the iconic moments and incorporating the endless Twilight comparisons. It’s non-stop from one sensational situation to another. I have two favorite scenes in the book. The first is the breakfast scene after Anna wakes up from her drunken stupor at the nightclub Eclipse (see? I wasn’t joking about the Twilight references). Fans of the Fifty Shades series will appreciate how this very awkward scene is turned into something of a National Lampoon sequence as Anna and Earl take on a conversation about his perversity while eating pretty much everything from lobster tail, to asparagus (rude gestures included) to a McRib. If this becomes a movie, I picture someone with Steve Carrell’s comedic timing to pull this off.

My other favorite scene – when they finally role play, the costumes are more ComiCon than kinky. I was in hysterics! I'll leave it at that.

So should you read it? HELL YES! It's quick, it's entertaining and it's harmless. It'll certainly brighten up your day .

~ Bel


  1. When I first heard about this book, I was laughing really hard at it. The cover and title alone crack me up. I still haven't read it though because if it was anything like Nightlight or Hunger Pains, then I knew I couldn't read it. Glad to hear this is a good parody and the situations you described from the book already had me laughing. I'll definitely have to pick this up.

  2. I MUST read this book!!!!
    I am currently reading Fifty Shades Freed, and like you Nat, I have had my up and down feelings about this series. I am definitely one who is open for parodies (ex, I LOVED Twilight, yet still laughed my a** off during "Vampire Sucks"!) so this one will definitely be added to my TBR list! :) Thanks!

  3. Fifty Shames is one of the better parodies I've come across and you should definitely read it. Enjoy! ~ Bel