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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty parody of the top-selling book this year
While I may request a fair amount of titles from NetGalley, there are few review copies for which I keep refreshing my email, hoping for approval. Andrew Shaffer/Fanny Merkin's Fifty Shames of Earl Grey was one of those titles. I'd read the three sample chapters Shaffer had posted earlier on his blog as "Fifty-One Shames" and I was eager to see if the wit he'd...
Published on July 10, 2012 by C. Aleo

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Parody? No, that would imply wit
Really? This is listed as a parody? This was really a sad excuse for someone to round up a bunch of one-liners (admittedly, a couple of them were funny) and make fun of another book. Nothing fresh or original in the book - very disappointing, I couldn't even slog my way thru the first three chapters without starting to skip paragraphs... a waste of money, thank goodness I...
Published 19 months ago by Tina


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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty parody of the top-selling book this year, July 10, 2012
By 
C. Aleo (Rochester, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
While I may request a fair amount of titles from NetGalley, there are few review copies for which I keep refreshing my email, hoping for approval. Andrew Shaffer/Fanny Merkin's Fifty Shames of Earl Grey was one of those titles. I'd read the three sample chapters Shaffer had posted earlier on his blog as "Fifty-One Shames" and I was eager to see if the wit he'd demonstrated in those early chapters could be sustained over the entirely of a book.

Ostensibly, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is a parody of the best-selling trilogy beginning with Fifty Shades of Grey. Fifty Shames stars Anna Steal and Earl Grey, a Walmart cashier and billionaire tycoon respectively who meet and inexplicably fall in love. Anna is dumb as a post and Grey -- well, Grey has his 50 shames, which he believes isolate him from the rest of the world.

Shaffer has filled the book with obvious plays on the book, but as someone who did no more than skim the story when it was in its original form as a Twilight fan fiction, I can assure you that you'll still find the book funny without it. More than a simple parody, it skewers American culture and the associated cult of idiocy that appears to have led to what most have admitted is a poorly written book sitting atop the best-seller charts for months.

I'm hard to please when it comes to comedy, but found myself laughing out loud frequently when reading Fifty Shames of Earl Grey . Shaffers's wit draws from pop culture far beyond the novels he's meant to be parodying, and the intelligence behind the gags and the research behind some of the plot points (I really don't want to spoil anything for potential readers) surprised me for a book written so quickly to take advantage of the other books' press.

Here's hoping Shaffer has a long career ahead of him in parody and satire, this generation's Jonathan Swift.

This review appeared previously on Goodreads.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!, July 10, 2012
By 
I'm guessing most folks know the basics of the Fifty Shades of Grey books, originally written as fan-fiction of the Twilight series: mousy Bella and control-freak Edward got a new setting and a hot sex life. Fifty Shades was eventually picked up by publishers, publishers who supposedly edited it, and history was made, although after reading it for myself, I'm reminded of The Emperor's New Clothes. Does everyone love these books because the hype says they're supposed to, or are they afraid to go against popular opinion? Say it ain't so.

With that kind of hoopla and a big fat movie deal in the works, you knew it just a matter of time before the spin-offs and spoofs started, didn't you? A book with characters *borrowed* from another best-selling series is just begging to have the tables turned on it (I would so love to see what the folks from the old Carol Burnett show could do with this material). There's a lengthy list of spoofs already on the market, but the one I wanted to get my hands on was Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Fanny Merkin AKA Andrew Shaffer (a big thanks to the kind folks at Net Galley and Perseus Books Group, Da Capo Press for giving me the chance to read this).

Anywho, the *lovers* this time around are (Bella) (Ana) Anna Steal and (Edward) (Christian) Earl Grey. (Bella) (Ana) Anna is still the klutzy college student and (Edward) (Christian) Earl Grey the gazillionaire business man. Instead of being fifty shades of messed up, (Edward) (Christian) Earl's got a list of fifty shames, including shopping at Wal-Mart on Saturdays and a bizarre fascination with Tom Cruise and his older movies (lol). Instead of constantly biting her lip, this time (Bella) (Ana) Anna is a compulsive nose-picker, which is a big turn-on for (Edward)(Christian) Earl. (Edward) (Christian) Earl doesn't stay at the Heathman Hotel, it's the Holiday Inn...

And just wait until you find out who (Edward) (Christian) Earl's adopted father is :D

I think you've got the gist of it, and I'm not going to spoil by going further (the twist on the infamous tampon scene was hilarious). Wish I could quote, but unfortunately I can't until I get my hands on a finished copy. I can promise a belly full of laughs, and I strongly urge you not to read this one on the plane or the train - unless you want everyone looking at you funny when you start laughing your you-know-what off. But wait - there's more coming. There was a preview at the end for the next book in the series, Fifty Shames in Space. I can't wait :)
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tea bags, dinosaurs and Space Needles, July 22, 2012
By 
Regina W (Milwaukee, WI USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey: A Parody (Paperback)
I may be one of the few remaining people who have not read the book series that this book parodies. No matter, Fanny Merkin's (Andrew Shaffer) 50 Shames of Earl Grey stands alone. If you want a book to take with you to the beach while you lay in your beach chair wearing your cool sunglasses looking cool- this is not the one. This book will cause you to snort, guffaw, spit your cool drink in a spray all over whoevers near and choke on your ice cream cone. Seriously it's that funny.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Absolute Skewering Of 50 Shades... Which Makes It All The Better, December 8, 2012
By 
William Kendall (Ottawa Valley, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey: A Parody (Paperback)
I started laughing early on reading this book, and kept right on throughout. The author Andrew Shaffer, aka Fanny Merkin, thoroughly parodies the horrible writing style of E.L. James and her barely disguised Twilight fanfic 50 Shades trilogy, bringing together two shallow, incredibly stupid people. The billionaire Earl Grey and the college student Anna Steal start out on a twisted relationship of depravity and lunacy, both of them growing more clueless by the page. The writing is deliberately bad (whereas James' writing wasn't meant to be, but turned out that way), completely throwing facts and continuity out the window for laughs, and in that, it succeeds wildly. Twilight and 50 Shades are deserving targets, but Shaffer/Merkin also goes after Tom Cruise, Titanic, and much, much more.

I have rolled my eyes frequently at any mention of 50 Shades; I have heard enough about the horrendous writing of the author to not even bother wasting my time reading it. There is plenty of good erotica out there by competent writers, so why bother with her? That said, however, 50 Shades certainly brings out the best in parody writing. This book had me falling about laughing. If you have a sense of humour in the slightest, it'll have you laughing too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious!, July 21, 2012
I haven't read the original, and never, ever will, but I know enough to be able to greatly appreciate this parody. In fact, it's most likely better written. I may not have gotten all the subtle references, but I think I'm okay with that. It does manage to highlight the ridiculousness of it all so very well.

The traits of the characters are of course exaggerated, but not overly so. I could still see Edward, I mean Christian, in Earl Grey very well. Ana/Bella/Anna seems like an idiot but then has these strange moments of clarity and self-awareness. I never knew what was going to happen next.

I laughed out loud a lot and wanted to quote almost everything. Very well done.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully, a job well done., July 10, 2012
Reviewed by Angela & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog

This is my first read from Fanny Merkin AKA Andrew Shaffer and my first parody book. I must say it was definitely entertaining and a great fun book to read.

Mr. Shaffer had written a wonderful parody of Fifty Shades series, if you did not already know. It covered most memorable points of the original story. From the airhead heroine and her "inner guidette", the bazillionaire hero and his obsession with BDSM, friends, maternal/paternal history of the H/h, certain obsessions down to the romance bit. The striking similarities had me craving for the original Mr. Grey but the inside jokes had me laughing at the absurdity of all the extremes about him, among everything else.

This book definitely had me LMFAO from cover to cover. There is a couple of things you need to pay attention to that I missed until I scan through the book the second time.

I listed a few that I thought are easy to miss. Please note that there may be some spoilers to this list:
1. Pay attention to the cover, specifically to the hand gesture (this is called a shocker).
2a.The names of the characters and the references to Fifty Shades and Twilight Books
2b.References to family backgrounds, companies mentioned (Jin's job history)
3. The List of 50 Shames
4. The Index
5. Acknowledgements

I recommend this book anyone who is familiar with the Fifty Shades series or you will miss a lot of the "inside jokes" that had me laughing. I also have to warn you that there are plenty of PUN intentions but I advise an open mind and accept this book for what it is. If you can do that, Fifty Shades fan or not, you will enjoy this book.

With any popular or hyped up subject such as song, book, movies, political issues etc, there will always be a parody, IMO. Mr. Shaffer did just that and delightfully, a job well done.

*Print ARC provided by Publisher in exchange for honest review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Laugh, August 15, 2012
By 
Celine (The Netherlands) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey: A Parody (Paperback)
This is the first parody book that I've trusted myself to read. At least, unless you count Pride, Prejudice & Zombies a parody. I've passed up the Twilight ones, the Hunger Games ones, and one or two lesser known ones, just because I figured it wouldn't be for me. Until I encountered Fifty Shames of Earl Grey.

I hate the idea of Fifty Shades of Grey. I don't hate the book itself, I just hate the idea of the book. It's mommy Edward-Bella porn. A middle-aged woman just sat at home and thought, man, that boy Robert Pattinson is so hot with his tousled hair and I'm-stoned look that I want to write copious sex scenes about him, even though he is probably half my age. If this was written by a man, he would be called a pervert. The fact that this book is essentially fan-fiction just rubs me the wrong way. EL James didn't invent new characters; she just took them, altered them a bit so they fit her story, and that's it. In my opinion, Fifty Shades should have just stayed fan-fic.

Over the last few months I have read so many about the Fifty Shades books that I feel like I have read the book itself. I must have read at least a quarter of the book, just from all the quotes. I refuse to buy it; not going to reward writing paid fan-fiction. But, having a good laugh at the expense of it.. That seems like my thing!

And it was. It really really was.

I thoroughly enjoyed Fifty Shames of Earl Grey. It mocks the bizarreness of the original, and adds a fine dash of surrealism to the story. Where many parodies always strike me as petty and condescending, for me Fifty Shames stayed far clear of that. It doesn't take itself too seriously. I admit that I have chuckled out loud at certain passages, something that rarely happens for me when reading a book.

I would definitely recommend Fifty Shames of Earl Grey for everyone that isn't completely blown away by the Fifty Shades of Grey hype, or those that are but do enjoy parodies. If you don't at least have a rudimentary awareness of what happens in the Fifty Shades books, this might not be for you.

For your enjoyment I have added a few quotes:

"With his tousled brown hair and brilliant gray eyes, he's the kind of guy you want to write fanfic about."

"Would you like a tour of the building? Perhaps a peek inside my sex dungeon?"

"Hello, Miss Steal," he says, gazing at me gazingly with his gazing gray eyes.

"I've already seen him at what I figured was the depth of his shame, buying a Nickelback CD. Do I want to know how deep his perversions go?"
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not good for a one-handed read, but it is good for a ton of laughs!, July 20, 2012
This review is from: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey: A Parody (Paperback)
-- A Romantic Book Affairs Review

Rating: B ... Heat: Warm (although, really, none if it is actually sexy...)

In order to fully enjoy and appreciate this book, I think it's neccessary to at least be somewhat familiar with the book it's parodying. If, like me, you couldn't get past the first few chapters of said book - go ahead and read this review (it's on Goodreads, has the most likes and a ton of gifs, easy to find). It contains everything you'll need to know.

For instance, the original's (I'm using that term loosely...) main character refers to the voice inside her head as her "inner goddess" - eye roll - while Anna Steal refers to hers as an "inner guidette." And, truly, who doesn't want a Snooki or a JWoww chattering away in their brain? A Jersey accent and a penchant for hair poofing - sign me up!

Another example of some of the comedic gold found in this book is the varied and plentiful usage of euphemisms. Who knew there were so many different ways to NOT say vagina or penis? Mister Shaffer makes it practically an art form. A few of my personal favorites (of the feminine persuasion): Pink palace, Panini, and Carnal Cave.

In the original (wink) there is a scene... its existence is well known... infamous, really... said scene involves a tampon. I'm not quite sure if it was intended to be sexy or not, but it definitely falls on the NOT sexy side for me. Anyway, in Fifty Shames it is transformed into something still unsexy but also seriously silly and laugh-worthy... You might even call it a magic act.

My only real complaint is that it did feel as though it ran a bit long. But, as it is an unabridged parody, I can't really put the blame on Fifty Shames. I can only assume that had I tried to read that other book, it would've felt akin to trying to read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (which clocks in at 565,223 words). Or maybe Mission Earth by L. Ron Hubbard would be a more appropriate comparison (it contains a measly 1.2 million words)?

So, while Fifty Shames might not be good for a one-handed read, as its predecessor is said to be, it is good for a ton of laughs (and a few snorts too). If you want to make your face hurt and give your abs a workout - then this book is for you!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So funny, nails the absurdity of the Fifty series, LOL!, July 10, 2012
4.5 stars. I listened to the audio book version, and loved it!

This was a HILARIOUS parody of Fifty Shades of Grey, it nailed so much of the absurdity of that story!

In Fifty Shames of Earl Grey, Anna Steele is an airhead virgin college student who meets the bazillionaire stalker Earl Grey, and soon gets pulled into his sick and twisted world of BDSM - erotic role playing for Bards, Dragons, Sorcery and Magick.

This story pokes so much fun at all the whacked out parts of Fifty, including Ana's lip biting problem (now a nose picking problem that turns him on, lol!), the many over used phrases like his long fingers and eye gazing, the infamous 'contract' and tampon scenes, and of course the erotic sex he likes rough and kinky. It also pokes fun at fan-fiction, Dr Drew, E.L.James, and Twilight!!

OMG, I busted a gut listening to this book. (Thanks Tantor for the audiobook ARC!!) The laughs come so fast, I will need to re-listen to this as I am sure I missed a few while I was laughing so hard.

The audio book narration was also AWESOME. Allyson Ryan has a great voice and was able to pull of this kind of humor and parody. Her Anna was spot-on as a nitwit heroine, and her male voice for Grey sounded sooooo stalker-ish, LOL.

Highly recommended for a great laugh. :-) If you've read Fifty, and know a bit about the books history as Twilight fan-fic, you can't go wrong.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh my God, June 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This was a hilarious read 10/10 would totally recommend. Best funny book I've read cause wow. You won't regret it!
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Fifty Shames of Earl Grey: A Parody
Fifty Shames of Earl Grey: A Parody by Andrew Shaffer (Paperback - July 31, 2012)
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