I have to admit, parodies are hits and misses for me. One could make me cackle till the jackals showed up while another could make me DNF within five unfunny pages. FIFTY SHAMES OF EARL GREY is, of course, a parody of the massively successful FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, a book with popularity I cannot fathom. I went into this book expecting a much more palatable, humorous version of the story that made me rage repeatedly over the past year. I have to admit, once I surfaced from this one after the last page, I was left not raging, but not quite pleased either.For once, I found a parody book that firmly sat on the fence for me.This one came recommended by a few friends with exceptional taste who thought it was a laugh-out-loud-while-rioting-off-the-walls type of book. I did laugh out loud a few times, but not nearly as much as I expected. What mostly made me laugh were the times where the book got deeply into criticizing the source material, which makes it not so much a parody at these moments. What I really liked about this book was that it wasn’t afraid to pull punches against the source material. What I didn’t like was that it sometimes veered into the unfunny, with segments that weren’t so much funny as they were just weird. It’s like the opening set for a comedian you love, and the opening set has some jokes that leave the audience booing before finally being saved by the real comedian. “An attractive blonde behind the receptionist's desk smiles at me as I walk in. I assume she’s the receptionist, because I can’t think of any other reason she would be sitting behind the receptionist’s desk. Unless maybe she’s filling in for the real receptionist, who could be on her lunch break. But then I remember: it’s almost two, and I doubt anyone takes their lunch breaks that late. So this must be the actual receptionist.” I have to admit, that part just didn’t do it for me. But we get to parts like…“Are you ready for my love gun?” he says.Uh-oh. “What’s a love gun? Is that a sex toy?”“No,” he says. “I’m talking about my penis.”“Oh,” I say. “Then yes. Fire away.” (Yes, I stole quotes from Goodreads quotes. My copy of the book has managed to go missing in the black hole that is my room.)Parts like that just left me cracking up laughing. I love the interaction between Anna Steal and Earl Grey, the creepy, weird billionaire that has some very strange shames. But at the same time, I think Merkin/Shaffer missed out on some of the things that made FIFTY SHADES so horrible. Yes, everyone, I read 54% of FIFTY SHADES until I died a little inside and cried myself to sleep at the taste level of some people.This book was a hit and miss, but would I recommend it? Yes, with reservations. I am admittedly something of a weirdo when it comes to parody, but if you are much more into it, then yes, go buy a copy of this now. But if not, skip it and make up your own stories about Ana and Christian.VERDICT: A hit and miss on the comedy scale, FIFTY SHAMES OF EARL GREY is at times laugh out loud but also misses the mark at others. Recommended with reservations.