50 Shades of Gay by Jeffery Self
When in a bind, it is always easy to find a book to read from my ever growing to-read list, audiobooks; however, are not as simple to find. I came across the odd situation where I had finished my ebook and my audiobook at the same time. With limited time and an even shorter list of options for audiobooks I happen to come across this little gem. Scoffing at the title I thought to myself “No! You couldn’t possibly?” Then having seen that it is only 4 hrs and 12 minutes long I realized, it was very possible and one that happen to fit perfectly. A nonsense, no commitment to a series, mini break to fill the inbetween. All thanks to the wonders of technology and an oddly placed gay erotic novel through a library app, we embark down a yellow brick road in ruby red stilettos and a matching ball gag.
Meeting his celebrity crush was one thing, but even Hollywood could not have written what happened next. Inspired by E.L. James’ international phenomenon, 50 Shades of Grey, Jeffery Self’s 50 Shades of Gay tells the story of a young celebrity blogger, Alex Kirby, who interviews Taylor Grayson, a superstar leading man in Hollywood blockbuster films. Grayson also happens to be a closeted gay man with a passion for BDSM.
When Grayson draws the younger man into his private orbit and initiates him into his sexual world, the younger man can tell that kinky sex has shielded Grayson from having a real emotional connection with another man. But he is head over heels in love with the older, powerful, gorgeous man who has selected him for the pleasures of submission.
Ultimately, Alex decides to experiment with the power differential between them, and see if he can break through the armor that Grayson and his layers of Hollywood handlers have imprisoned him in. Will he be able to open Grayson up to real intimacy, or will he cause Grayson to end the relationship and cut himself off yet again? 1
The stereotypes run rampant in this book, which probably makes it more relatable for its target audience. Although I got the gist of the majority of the references and kitschy comments, there were a few that went over my head. Alex Kirby is the stay at home, couch potatoe writer type, but with a few oddities mixed in. His roommate, Matty, is the overtly flamboyant guy who has a new love every few minutes and is compared to the character of Jack from Will and Grace. Taking cue from Shades of Grey, Matty works at a media outlet called the Star Report and is unable to make it to his scheduled interview. Alex must take his place where he comes face to face with none other than Taylor Grayson, heartthrob movie star and Alex’s dream guy. Distracted by his good looks and erotic day dreaming, Alex only manages to ask one question before his time is up. Taylor doesn’t seem to mind, seemingly pleased with Alex and even winking at him. Confused about the signals he is getting from Taylor, Alex fears he is delusional… until they kiss. Is Alex prepared for the crazy world of Taylor Grayson? And is only having a taste going to be enough?
50 Shades of Gay loosely follows Shades of Grey with the obvious similiarities, but with its even more obvious differences. I didn’t want to get too deep into the storyline or characters just yet, as I wanted to touch on these and also leave something to the imagination. The character of Alex was confusing. I felt like I could picture him and build the puzzle with what pieces we are given, but his actions and comments seemed to conflict at times. He is the quiet guy who stays at home and watches tv and eats ice cream, yet he flawlessly slips into TV reporter mode with barely a stumble. His dream job is a writing position in New York, yet moves to L.A. doing cater waiter gigs and other unrelated jobs with few attempts to pursue his real interest. Taylor Grayson is our Christian Grey; however, he relies on the title of movie star and muscles to paint the picture of his character, ultimately leaving us with a depthless wannabe. Sure he is hot and likes to spank people but Jeffery Self kept things pretty G rated.
As with Shades of Grey you can’t over analyze these types of books and instead take them with a light spank. Shades of Gay is humorous and as mentioned fairly short at 4 hrs and 12 minutes. It’s a quick laugh and break before moving onto something more serious. Despite all this I was disappointed with how the story was hastily thrown together and sealed with a quirky band aid. The story was made for fun, when it could have had such potential. Looking for a quick ha ha, then this one is for you. I imagine the title itself is all you need to know to decide.
1. Book summary courtesy of Goodreads book page.