Friday, July 6, 2012

Fifty Shames of Earl Grey - A parody by Fanny Merkin aka Andrew Shaffer

Fifty Shames of Earl GreyFifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew Shaffer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This satiric, snarky, sarcastic, over the top story based on the mega-bestselling Fifty Shades of Twilight Grey nails all the key points of absurdity of the book it parodies, as well as the Twilight saga from which it came. And then some.

The cover alone is hilarious, especially the hand holding the cup with the pointer, middle and pinkie finger extended. If you don't know what that hand gesture means, please look it up under "shocker" on Urbandictionary.com!

From the first few lines, I was laughing, giggle-snorting and crying (because I was laughing so hard).

"I'm Edward Cullen. I mean, Earl Grey." [quoted from the original chapters posted online.]

And it only gets better from there. The parody starts out much like the fanfiction/published novel by introducing us to Bella Swan Anastasia Steele Anna Steal (!!) who is preparing to interview bazillionaire enterprise mogul hot stud Edward Cullen Christian Grey Earl Grey as a favor to her sick friend Rosalie Hale Katherine Cavanaugh Kathleen Kraven (who in this parody is a 38 year old perpetual student-slash-journalist alcoholic pothead).

The author immediately reminds us of the origin of FSoG by casually and humorously mentioning the actress who portrayed Bella Swan in the Twilight movies. Bella Swan Anastasia Steele Anna Steal appears to be quite the airhead, naive and virginal, a notion that is nearly instantly invoked.

The parody follows along similar plot lines as the fanfiction-turned-published book, but continually makes the key scenes and themes ever more ridiculous. For example, Bella's Anastasia's annoying lip-biting habit in FSoG is turned into Anna constantly picking her nose. Instead of an inner goddess, she has an inner guidette. Thankfully, her subconscious is just that in this parody - sub-conscious.

Edward Cullen Christian Grey Earl Grey has a list of fifty shames instead of being fifty shades of effed up. And what a list it is. He shops at Wal-mart on Saturdays, likes bondage with handcuffs, and professes his love of BDSM (Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, and Magick). Pointy prosthetic elven ears included. He also has a fascination with Tom Cruise, and you just wait until you see who his adopted father is. I nearly choked from laughter when reading that.

All the main characters from the 'book' are present - Jacob Jose Jin (who is a Brony, wants Anna to be his and might even be offered a contract to publish his My Little Pony fanfiction as an original novel, via a small Australian vanity press *snickers*), Anna's mom and stepfather, her distant father as well as Earl Grey's biological mother.

The first sex scene, in which Anna loses her virginity, will have you howling with laughter.

And then there's the infamous tampon scene. Never have I laughed so hard and for so long as when I read that. Tears of laughter were running down my face.

Fanny Merkin aka Andrew Shaffer intelligently, with tongue firmly in cheek, uses perfectly timed zingers in almost every paragraph to not only poke fun of the ridiculousness of the 50 Shades book, but also to reference things that those who know the history of the fanfiction-turned-international-book-sensation hype will easily pick up.

I wish I could quote from the ARC but I'll have to wait until the final published version is available.

Just know, that if you loved FSoG, you will likely get a chuckle or five out of this parody. You should read it.

If, on the other hand, you hated the original book or the fanfiction from where it came, you'll be laughing your butt off, and this is definitely the book for you.

Very well done, Mr. Shaffer. Thanks for the hours of laughter from your utterly brilliant book.

I am one of the lucky ones who were provided with an ARC from the publisher (mine via NetGalley). Thank you, Perseus Book Groups and DaCapo Press.



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