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Fifty Shames of Earl Grey: A Parody Paperback – July 31, 2012

3.9 out of 5 stars 113 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Fifty Shames Series

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Editorial Reviews


Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Next Best Thing 
"This was a filthy, disgusting piece of perversion and I loved every word." 
Craig Wilson in USAToday 
"Parodies of best sellers are hot items these days, and E. L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey erotic trilogy was just begging for a spoof."

Paul Bogaards in the New York Times
“Erotica is hard. . . . Comedy is harder. If anyone can pull this off, it’s Andrew Shaffer.”

Valerie Frankel, author of Four of a Kind
“Nose picking, vagina scarf tricks, and erect space needles. What more can you ask of an erotic novel?”

Diana Rodriguez Wallach, author of Adios to All the Drama
“[Fanny Merkin is] the Weird Al of erotica.”
PW Show Daily, 6/6/12
“It had to happen: a parody of the bestselling 50 Shades of Grey. And who better to pull it off than author Andrew Shaffer.”

Publishers Weekly, 7/9/12
“Laugh out loud…If you are looking for a funny book to share with friends, look no further…If Austin Powers and Ace Ventura had a love child, it would be Earl Grey.”

Kirkus Reviews, August 2012
“[Shaffer] skewers both E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey and Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight in his debut novel.”

Blogcritics.org, 7/28/12
“Shaffer persuades his readers to notice the flaws in our current society. He challenges us to question who we are idolizing and what the effects of such adoration could be…Shaffer’s writing is fast-paced, fresh, and entertaining…[It] will have you giggling until the conclusion.”

Bookriot.com, 8/1/12
“There is SO MUCH FUNNY!...Folks who read Fifty Shades will recognize that Shaffer’s plot loosely follows the same plot that dragged Ana and Christian along, but there’s still plenty of fun to be had here if you haven’t read that awful novel.”

The Hollywood Reporter
, 8/09/12
“Unlike so many Fifty Shades parodies that are no more than quickie one-joke cheap ebooks, Earl Grey is a complete book from a traditional publisher. This is a full-length and thought-out piece of work…[Schaffer] captures the rhythms of the original but exaggerates E.L. James' literary ticks to great effect…Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is the literary equivalent of a good Saturday Night Live skit and the perfect gag gift for anyone a little to obsessed (pro or con) with Fifty Shades.”

The Daily Beast, 8/09/12
“At first glance, some of us might be dumb enough to think Fifty Shames of Earl Grey is just another clone of the original successful series and buy it for that reason alone. Others will howl at the witty ploys Fifty Shames evokes to poke fun at E.L. James’s series.”

Cedar Rapids Gazette, 8/12/12
“[Shaffer] steeps the trilogy’s signature elements in a boiling pot of wacky water, straining it into a brew that slides warmly down your throat, only to bubble back up in spurts of laughter.”

Hudson Valley News
“Give this one to someone who’s read Fifty Shades of Grey.”

National Post (Canada), 8/11/12
“We’re giggling as we read Fifty Shames of Earl Grey…It’s hackneyed, glib, goofy and LOL ridiculous but even so, like all of Weird Al’s shtick, it’s still better than the original.”

New York Post,8/19/12
“Shaffer skewers the S&M god of the original.”

CNBC.com, 8/23/12
“The funniest take on a best seller since Harvard Lampoon’s Bored of the Rings.”

VH1.com, 8/24/12
“Kind of the perfect beach read for the end of summer and the end of your obsession.”

Alternative Press, October 2012
“An LOL parody of that creepy book your aunts have been tryin’ to get your mom to read.”

Bookviews blog, September 2012
“It probably helps if you read James’ book, but it doesn’t matter because Shaffer’s is a madcap piece of fun.”

Seattle Times
, 9/16/12
“Perhaps the greatest homage.”

“Just what the doctor ordered for fans of the uber-successful trilogy…Laugh-out-loud funny…Such a fun read.”

Sacramento Book Review, October 2012
“Broad enough to appeal to people that have never read Fifty Shades…Funny, but also thoughtful. There is some great social commentary hiding between the words.”

Book Review, 9/21/12
“A ridiculously funny parody…This book may make you laugh until you cry.”

, 11/7/12
“In a market that seems clotted with mashups and parodies, Fifty Shames of Earl Grey actually exceeds all expectations. This is due entirely to the rapier wit of author Andrew Shaffer…The writing is sharp and seemingly effortless…Shaffer has done a splendid job.”

Allure,February 2013
“Just like the original but intentionally funny."

About the Author

Fanny Merkin lives in a Beverly Hills mansion purchased using the embarrassingly large advance she received for Fifty Shames of Earl Grey. She is a former Walmart employee who writes under the pseudonym, "Andrew Shaffer," for publications as diverse as Mental Floss and Maxim. Andrew Shaffer is the author of Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love. He reviews romance, erotica, and women's fiction for RT Book Reviews magazine.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press; 1St Edition edition (July 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306821990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306821998
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (113 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #727,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition
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).
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Format: Kindle Edition
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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Format: 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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