Jan 04

Book Review – Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew Shaffer

WHAT’S PLAYING: Bo Durham “High School Party” (Yep, it’s that kind of book.)

This week’s book is Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew Shaffer a.k.a. Fanny Merkin.

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?

Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is a parody of E.L. James’s series, Fifty Shades of Grey. For those of you unfamiliar with FSOG, James’s book started off as Twilight fan fiction and morphed into a story about a captain of industry (Christian Grey) who lures an unsuspecting college co-ed named Anastasia Steele into the world of BDSM.

The good news is that you don’t need to read Fifty Shades of Grey to enjoy Fifty Shames of Earl Grey.

I seriously could not stop laughing at the barrage of one-liners, irreverent jokes, and hilarious Twilight references throughout the book. Shaffer’s writing is fast-paced, fresh, and entertaining. His ability to comment on the clichés of erotic and romantic literature without seeming pretentious is nothing short of brilliant. He creates a hysterical mood that shatters the illusion of romance by overusing clichéd words. The word “gaze” appears to be one of his favorites.

From his man crush on Tom Cruise to his propensity for wearing a silver thong with pink crocs, Earl’s antics are hilarious and entertaining, and Anna Steele is the perfect straight woman.

Let me be clear, this is not an erotic novel. The magick themed sex scene in which Earl Grey pulls multi-colored hankies and a dove out of Anna’s lady parts will have you giggling nonstop.

Shaffer hits all the right notes in this parody. Can’t wait to see what he does next.

Favorite Line: “Ew,” I say. “Was that supposed to be sexy?”

“It was supposed to be. My dirty talk doesn’t turn you on?”

I shake my head. “Sometimes. But comparing a woman’s vagina to a fish is unacceptable.”

“What if I said ‘goldfish’? Goldfish are colorful and uniquely beautiful. Like you, my dearest Anna.”

I shake my head again. “Just stop. No fish.”

“Okay, then what did you have in mind?”

“Drop the double entendres and let’s move on to another F-word.”

“Oh, Anna,” he says. “I thought you’d never ask. Food it is, then! Let’s go eat in the dining hall.”

It wasn’t the F-word I had in mind, of course (it was actually two F-words: friending and Facebook), but it works. I’m hungry. Plus, I don’t even have a Facebook account.

Bottom Line: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is relentless and shameless, in a good way.

Coming up next: The Innkeeper’s Song by Peter S. Beagle

Permanent link to this article: http://www.jacquitalbot.com/2013/01/book-review-fifty-shames-of-earl-grey-by-andrew-shaffer/


  1. Marsha H.

    Didn’t know Shaffer’s book exists, but glad it does. I was given the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy for Xmas, and just finished the first book. I didn’t realize FSOG started as Twilight fan fiction. That news makes my reaction to the FSOG book make so much more sense now! Just like I disliked the Bella character in the Twilight series for her stupidity, I was equally annoyed at the Anastasia character. And just like with Edward, Christian is too implausible–too rich, too handsome, too talented (company running, piano playing, piloting, sexing). And while I’m complaining, Anastasia is implausible too (for reasons related to the sex stuff that I won’t put in this comment). Also, it’s funny you mention in your review that Shaffer repeated words. I was going crazy reading FSOG #1, not because of the sex, but because of the use/overuse of the word “clamber”. Who even uses that word? Did the author forget that the words “climb” or “get” existed? Thanks for letting me vent, and thanks for the review of the parody book–I’m sure it will be entertaining after having read James’s. The crazy part is that, against my better judgment, I finished the Twilight series, and I’ll probably finish FSOG. I can always hope it gets better, right? 🙂

    1. JacquiTalbot

      You’re a braver woman than I! I couldn’t get past the first chapter of FSOG, and I stopped reading TWILIGHT after the first sparkly vampire scene. Freedom to walk away from bad writing is one of the reasons I write these reviews as a consumer and not a critic.

      I think you’ll enjoy FIFTY SHAMES OF EARL GREY. I imagine Shaffer wrote the whole book with his tongue planted firmly in cheek.

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