Book Review: I Cannot Relate To "Fifty Shades of Grey"

Book reviews are a good way to share our opinions with others.
Book reviews are a good way to share our opinions with others.

I enjoy reading books and writing reviews because the comment section is often like a virtual book club anyone can join in, and even comment on even years later. This has been the case with many books I have reviewed such as The Thorn Birds, which is a great book that I highly recommend. Recently there has been a lot of buzz about the novel Fifty Shades of Grey, but sometimes I feel like I am the only one turned off by Ana's choice in men, but for different reasons than some might suspect. Thankfully, I read the reviews on other sites, and found out I am not the only one who is disturbed by the wacky noodle Christian, and I am not the only person who will not finish the series because of it.

I just searched Google to find out how this series ends, so do not read this hub if you think I might spoil that for you. If you want to marry a rich guy and go jet setting, well more power to you, but what sort of fazes me about this book is people who post blogs about how bad the economy is on one hand, but then so many who are captivated by fiction like this on the other hand. I am not here to criticize E.L. James because I do think she is a talented writer, and I think if the characters made other choices I might not be so irritated with this book Fifty Shades of Grey. No I am not at all shocked by the sex scenes in this book, and anyone with an Internet connection knows there is content out there of a more suggestive nature. People are fascinated by this book because for the first time bondage has made its way into a mainstream novel, but some of the themes in it are not that far removed from many of the Harlequin novels I read as a teen.

The One-Percenter Hunk Phenomenon

I do not think this novel set out to advocate that women seek out rich men, but this novel is not all that different than all novels with formulaic heroes and heroines. Be forewarned, I might give away some of what happens in the Shades of Grey series in this synopsis, so you might want to stop reading now. E.L. James does have an engaging writing style, and I liked the way she described the characters, but I really hate Ana's motivations. Things would have been fine if Ana had stopped being interested in Christian after he came to "her rescue" when she was at a club, but the fact he tracked her cell phone down with computer software is creepy, stalkerish, and made me want to throw down the book and stop reading.

To be fair to the book I did read a little bit further to find out about her first "vanilla encounter" with Christian, and then skimmed a little bit farther into the book, but I was off put his dominating behavior. Okay, so maybe some people enjoy this submissive thing in the bedroom, but this novel takes it to other areas that are just weird. For instance, Christian is obsessed with how much Ana eats, and wants her to work out and dress to his specifications. Does this not sound like an exclusive escort to you, because it sounds that way to me! What woman would want to be in that situation, and does it have anything to do with his wealth? Oh boy, what a new twist to a romance novel!

Twilight had these same undertones with Bella being drawn to Edward who drives fancy cars, wears designers clothes, and oh his family just happens to have a swanky house in the secluded woods. I mostly just read the Twilight series to find out what all the fuss was about, and I would not say I was on team Jacob, but this guy was much more appealing than the brooding Edward. Perhaps my prejudice for Edward is because I am part Native American, but honestly the entire vampire thing is just creepy-weepy. Jacob was there for Bella when she needed him, and he was a sweet guy who did not brag about his toys. Edward is not overly boastful about his possessions, but Christian Grey makes snarky remarks about how thousands of people would not be able to make his mortgage payments if it were not for him. Oh great, we have another "job creator" on our hands.

Sure it would be nice to win the lottery and go to Tahiti tomorrow, but is that realistic? There is nothing wrong with reading novels about rich hunks that offer women that lifestyle, if that is truly your cup of tea, but I feel it is unrealistic because people always yearn for what they do not have. These type of novels are also unfair to men, and often justify the gold digging phenomenon where women are constantly looking for a man who can provide better for them. What about writing a novel where the woman is drawn to a guy with a small business, and who can jet set without going on a private jet? He might even enjoy walking or taking public transportation, oh my! Romance novels are not meant to be political statements, but how can so many women decry Wall Street's practices and the 1% paying less and less taxes, and then be drawn to characters like Christian in Fifty Shades of Grey. Maybe I am the only one who analyzes things like this?

Ultimately, what turned me off finishing this book was that the treatment of the character Jose. He is very similar to Jacob in Twilight, in that he is a sweet guy who is easily rebuffed just because he tries to kiss Ana. Oh my goodness! Ana and Jacob are out drinking at a club after graduation, and he kisses her, call the brigade immediately! However, we are only supposed to be mildly concerned that Christian has access to online software that tracks the location of Ana's cell phone, and that he can come and get her at the drop of a hat. That is not supposed to be overly creepy?

A sweet and artistic photography major like Jose incenses Ana just because he kisses her, after years of putting up with the mixed signals she was sending him. To be clear: I am not supporting guys who kiss girls who are not interested in them, but it seems the creep factor is being transferred to the wrong person in this situation. Admittedly Christian tells Ana he is broken and she should stay away, but she is drawn to this project like a magnet. Oh goody, I love stories where people try to change other people, even thought we know it does not work that way in real life.

This is the theme in many romance novels with the nice but not so rich guy playing second fiddle to the wealthy hunk, and the woman going off with him into the sunset on his helicopter. Of course according to Christian Grey: people who can afford to spend millions on their hobbies have more engrossing ones, because painting, drawing, or music done on a budget cannot be engrossing? Do not expect me to feel sorry for the 1% who want to pay less tax than ever under the proposed Ryan plans, but who have no problem with middle class and working class people getting social security and medicare cuts, and having to pay more payroll tax. I am not saying we can never read fun novels, and I do too, but why is it the hero is always a rich guy like Christian? Ana eventually marries him at the end of the trilogy, so despite all the kinky bondage in this novel, it is pretty much just a formulaic romance in many ways. What about a woman holding out for a guy who is not rich, who does not like to drive, or maybe just deciding she wants to be single for life? Some how I doubt a book like that would be a best seller, but I have to be honest about themes that annoy me in novels the mainstream seems to love at the moment.

Book Reviews

If you disagree with me about Fifty Shades of Grey, then you should write your own review about it. If you are curious about the book, you can always read it and decide for yourself.

Why were you annoyed with Fifty Shades of Grey?

  • I was not shocked by the sexual content of this book, so I do not get the buzz.
  • I wanted Ana to pick Jose instead.
  • Christian Grey is just a jerk with more expensive toys.
  • I do not read romance novels, so this is not for me.
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Why were you entranced with Fifty Shades of Grey

  • I never knew that people did this bondage thing, my church friends would be totally shocked if they knew I was interested in this.
  • I totally dig a guy who can spend thousands of dollars on lingerie and vintage books.
  • Why is my husband just a middle class dude, when I could have a rich guy like Christian.
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Comments 14 comments

Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 4 years ago from San Francisco

Good review, thank you


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Glad you enjoyed it Mhatter99!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks

I have not read the book, but I did find your review interesting.

In talking about wealthy leading men, you don't distinguish between ill-gotten wealth or undeserved wealth on the one hand, and the sort of hero who actually does create value. In Atlas Shrugged, the character Cheryl is working in a drugstore when millionaire James Taggart comes in to buy some tissues. She hero worships him and eventually marries him, and people accuse her of being a gold-digger. Then she finds out that he was not the hero she supposed -- it was his sister Dagny!

That is a very good book to read to understand the difference between gold diggers who are looking for money, prestige and social rank and those like Cheryl, who are looking for a noble soul and merit!

I feel the distinction is important.


galaxy1000 profile image

galaxy1000 4 years ago from Spokane, WA

I liked your review and the and how you summarized it. Most of us would like to be in a meaningful relationship but there is nothing wrong with being single. People are single for a variety of reasons and the discrimination against them needs to stop.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Aya,

I do not believe the character Christian has received his wealth in a dispicable way, but it is mostly just the formulaic nature of these romances that turn me off. There is a nice and sweet guy that always like the girl, but he is just never exciting enough because he has a ho-hum job. The girl is not interested in this guy, but then all of a sudden this formulaic rich hunk comes on the scene, and she is smitten by him. The hunk is often abrasive, controlling, and not that far removed from being a control freak in some ways. The heroine might be feisty, but I many times she is more complacent than not.

Honestly I do need to read Atlas Shrugged because everyone is talking about it, and I am sure I would like it much better than this novel.

Since I know a few women that built their own very successful businesses, I sort of admire women who can do things like that, without needing a man to be leading the ship.

On the other hand, if some women want to marry a rich controlling guy like Christian, it is a free society, but there are just way too many stories out there about women who just want to marry a guy who will buy them stuff. Formulaic and boring at this point for me.

Galaxy,

Well more and more there are a lot of single people, and a recent article put the percentage around 43% of people under eighteen. It is not that relationships are the problem, it is just that the way these are portrayed in novels that annoys me. I did not get on the Shade of Grey bandwagon, so I suppose I just am not part of those who are mesmerized by it.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Another thing that I wanted to add about the Christian guy is he is in his late twenties running a corporation, but actually spends little time working. Most of his time is spent following Ana around, and on their bondage thing. Utterly realistic, and just not very alluring to me.

Also, the above comment I meant to say 43% of people over eighteen are single in the US, but got that backwards in the initial comment.


galaxy1000 profile image

galaxy1000 4 years ago from Spokane, WA

I understood:)


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I just wanted to clarify because I hate that I do not edit my comments before posting :).


one2get2no profile image

one2get2no 4 years ago from Olney

Good review......thanks.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

Glad you liked it, one2get2no.


kj force profile image

kj force 3 years ago from Florida

SweetiePie...Great review...Did not read the book and have NO desire..Society is depraved enough and this just confirmed it by the % of book sales. E L James got exactly what she set out to do, " Fame, Notoriety, Buzz " and $..and society bought it !!! smart woman.

Rich guy, Poor guy..If that is what it takes to have a relationship, I'd rather not. Giving in to another person who is controlling and demeaning as this

" Christian " guy was, what was she thinking ? So I don't think much of her...and I am no man's "chattle "...by the way I am no prude...just choose to respect myself. nice job on the write.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 3 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

This book appeals to people who claim they do not usually like to read, and when I hear people say they do not like to read, but love this book, it is usually a red flag for me. To each his own I guess, but this book has nothing of interest or value in it for me. I am glad people can make money writing, but I am also glad we all have the free choice to say: just because a book is popular does not mean we have to like it. The guy's name is Christian Grey.


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 2 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

I began book one and still have not finished it. I began reading it yonks ago. For me it was just crass. It was like Mills and Boon romance with too much sex thrown in. And none of it shocked me which was a shame I guess lol


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 2 years ago from Southern California, USA Author

I think there is nothing romantic about this book, and I thought that was the point of romance novels. I admit as a teen I thought some of Harlequin ones were fun, but at least the women in those were allowed to have an opinion, and were a bit feisty. The heroine in this one is supposed to do everything according to the specifications of the Christian Grey dude. I do not think BDMS is sexy, I find it kind of comical. I think the episode of Designing Women that poked fun at BDSM did it best.

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