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Fifty Shades of Zane Grey Kindle Edition
|Length: 176 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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If you know the movie based on the book based on the fanfic of other movies based on the other books, or know someone who does, then you probably know enough to get most of the jokes, or at least recognize them as jokes. Me, I'm as ignorant of the 50 Shades series as the Kultursmog allows, which means I know more than I want to. I've seen Gilbert Gottfried read excerpts for a couple of minutes, which was plenty. If this book gets a narrator, it should be Minnie Pearl. Or Tress MacNeille, as Minnie Pearl.
It's a quick read - about 100 pages. I read as much of it aloud as my wife would allow; total read time was maybe four hours. It's all there: the lip biting and other facial tics, the mumbling, the stumbling, the hyperactive Inner Voices, the girlish imprecations unique to young virgins in the thrall of crinkly man lips. All set in a Zane-y Old West and its million ways to suffer.
If you like The Funny, JP Mac brings it. I laughed several times per page. If you have a taste for good Bad Writing, this is a feast.
One note of caution: JP Mac is a first-rate literary impressionist. In his previous book, The Little Book of Big Enlightenment, he channeled spirituality gurus and PR shills to perfection. Here, he's sending up a story that, stripped of even the pretense of romance or eros, is (and should be) hard to stomach. I laughed a lot early on when the Darker Nature of "Lash" Grey is alluded to, but I laughed and cringed once The Contract is signed and the gloves come off. JP Mac doesn't write the scenes graphically, but the humor and the Old West patter intensified my revulsion over Grey's abusive behavior. I felt a bit like a crowd member hearing an ankle-deep-in-blood Gladiator yell at me, "are you not entertained?!" Gratefully, these scenes are brief, and the story ends on a hopeful note. (Disclosure: I'm a relative prude - even Animaniacs could make me blush - so your mileage may vary.)
But that's what takes this story past simple slapstick parody. He doesn't call a spade a spade; he spanks you with the dang shovel. Frankly, if it were a straight parody in a similar setting, I don't think I'd have made it through the book, funny as it was. Making it a western made it a more interesting story in its own right. It's a funny, fun, well-written book.
The characters are fleshed out and endearing, the satire is incisive and on point--skewering the histrionics of the original, and every fight between Anna's Inner Spinster and Inner Bawdy Woman is brilliant. I devoured this book in one sitting because it was such a compelling read. I highly recommend this book.
Since I didn't read the original story, I don't know the outcome. But I cheered on the heroine in this version; when she FINALLY gets the point, that the posh Mr. L. Grey isn't the right man for her, or any other woman with an ounce of self respect , I cheered!
That reminds me. I wanna read it again. I'll start tonight. A fun filled smut fest.
Setting it in the Old West with the most clichéd bits of penny –dreadful purple prose is inspired. We follow our murmuring and lip-biting protagonist, Anna, whose inner dialogues cause any number of physical pratfalls, as she is buffeted by circumstances (like obsessing on Crinkly Man Lips) that appear whirl beyond her control. It is also filled with well-developed, albeit strange, characters, from the enigmatic, odd-eyed Lash Grey – the wealthy man of weird carnal desires and well-equipped Pullman car - to Anna’s BFF Eileen, western journalist bouncing back from one wounding or another. Add in marauding Indians, a roguish bandit, not-keen-on-hygiene cowboys and railway workers and the action in the story is intense, both inside and outside of The Trap Room.
It runs about 100 pages, the pacing is fast (but don’t read so fast you miss some laugh-out-loud zingers) and not a word is wasted in a tightly written story that will leave you wondering who is next on Mac’s parody list.
You might even feel sorry for them. Well, not really. Too much fun.