Title: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey (A Parody)
Author: Fanny Merkin aka Andrew Shaffer
224 pages, Available July 31st from Da Capo Press
Buy The Book: Amazon
Warning: There is some explicit language in this review.
Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin (aka Andrew Shaffer) is a parody of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. For those of you unfamiliar with Fifty Shades of Grey, James’s book started off as Twilight fan fiction and morphed into a story about a captain of industry (Christian Grey
aka Edward) who lures an unsuspecting college co-ed named Bella Anastasia Steele into the world of BDSM. You do not need to read Fifty Shades of Grey first to enjoy Fifty Shames of Earl Grey. Fifty Shames of Earl Grey obviously has a similar plot to Fifty Shades of Grey. In Fifty Shames, Anna Steal Bella Swan a naive, college co-ed meets Earl Grey Edward Cullen when she is sent to interview Earl for an issue of Boardroom Hotties magazine (think Teen Beat but about billionaires instead of Justin Bieber) in place of her slacker roommate. From that point on Anna’s life is forever changed as she is introduced to Earl Grey’s twisted brand of BDSM (Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, and Magick) and to his fifty shames.
Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is not an erotic novel. It is a “one hand read” only in the sense that you may need to hold your tum tum, because you will laugh so hard at the barrage of one liners, irreverent jokes, and hilarious Twilight references throughout the book. Not that there aren’t a couple of sex scenes in the book. The magick themed sex scene involves Earl Grey pulling multi-colored hankies and a dove out of Anna’s lady bits. I was laughing so hard at this point I think I left a stain on the couch.
My husband now wants to know why I laugh when we get busy. I just say, “I’m picturing Doug Henning pulling a dove out of my tampon tunnel.” He just looks at me like what the “H” is wrong with you?
The laughs literally do. not. stop. I started underlining the jokes and funny references throughout the book and quickly realized I was marking up the entire book. Despite his initial similarities to Christian Grey, Earl Grey is a character in his own right. Merkin takes the concept, parodies it, and in the end makes it her own. From the Tom Cruise man crush Earl Grey harbors to his propensity for wearing a silver thong with pink crocs all the way to the running start he needs to get all up in Anna Steele like she’s a pummel horse and he’s an Olympian, Earl’s antics are hilarious and entertaining. Did I mention Data from Star Trek Next Generation is Earl Grey’s butler? Well, he pays Brent Spiner to be his “android butler.”
Anna Steele is equally hilarious. She is the perfect straight woman to Earl’s foreboding and ultimately hilarious fifty shames. Not that she doesn’t have her funny moments as well. Anastasia Steele is reprimanded for biting her lip over and over again in Fifty Shades, because it turns Christian Grey on. In Fifty Shames Anna picks her nose and the banter back and forth about it between Anna and Earl is hysterical. Throughout the book Anna relies on her “inner guidette” to guide her.
Here is a picture of me depicting Anna’s “inner guidette.” I am truly a chameleon.
There is so much funny going on in this book that it is impossible to write about all of the many minor plot points and jokes that run throughout Fifty Shames. For example, I haven’t even mentioned the Triassic Safari or the F-14 fighter jet sequences, two of the funniest in the book. Simply put, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is the funniest book I’ve read since The Shroud of the Thwacker by Chris Elliott. Fifty Shames now replaces that one as the funniest book in my library.
At the end of the book there is a list of Earl Grey’s fifty shames which includes shames such as “Nickelback, 16 and Pregnant, and thinks Jeff Foxworthy is hilarious.” Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is one super, f*cking, hilarious book, and later in the week in honor of Earl Grey’s list of fifty shames, I am going to post my own list of fifty shames. (I think this would be a fun meme for people who have read the book. Maybe Andrew or someone can do a linky…) Below is the official announcement for the posting of my fifty shames at some unspecified date and time later this week:
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