Not sure what to think of this thread. I feel like we need to see some images.
It sounds like a client who can't be pleased no matter what. It also sounds like a photographer who did a below average job. I've heard this same story from both sides before.
On one hand, it sounds like the photog left you with unrealistic expectations. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that you can't find photos you like out of the 54 given. 54 sounds like a good number. Also, not EVERY single photo is going to be the breath-taking photo you imagined. I think you would be lucky to get 4-5 AMAZING photos out of that with the rest just being good. You don't think ALL of those AMAZING photos on his site are all from the same session do you? Did you point out the photos from the site that you liked before hand? This would give the photog a good idea of your expectations. At the same time, the photog should have asked if there is anything in particular that you really liked. Ask you what made you choose them. He should have also managed your level of expectation.
I always ask clients why they chose me and what photos they really enjoyed and some of them come right out without me asking and tell me the photos they loved. Then I make sure I do some similar shots for them. And sometimes, I have to lower their expectations. For instance, I had a client who said hired me because he REALLY loved a particular fall photo I did with all of the colors. Well, at the time he said that, there were NO leaves and everything was dead in the middle of winter with no snow. So, I had to manage his expectations in that case. Another client said she really loved my macro, so I made sure we spent extra time on here ring shots.
In any case, I believe it is the photog's responsibility to think ahead and manage clients' expectations. It's the photog's job to make YOU happy, but clients should also be reasonable (not saying you aren't). Hard to tell without seeing any photos.
Hands down the best post of an interestingly odd thread that I have been sucked into returning to...