50 Shades of Grey Book Review
This book has been mentioned on the news, radio stations, and captured by the SNL team with a hilarious sketch. All the media attention towards the book though has stimulated negative attention to the book as well. My father who does not read knows the books as a "porn book." I had my doubts when I borrowed it from my cousin, but the curiosity was intense so I gave it a try. Just like most of the people who "gave it a try" I got myself addicted to this trilogy and hoping for a spin-off. Just like all great books, no matter how raunchy, there is a story taking place.
The book follows the main character Anastasia Steele, a college literature student in her last months before graduation. When her roommate Katherine Kavanaugh becomes ill, she asks Ana to fill in for her to do an interview with the powerful "multi-bagillionaire" Christian Grey for the college newspaper. Christian Grey was to be the commencement speaker at the graduation and after much persistence from Katherine, he agreed to the interview. When Ana first meets Mr. Grey, she is nervous. Ana enters by literally falling through the door. She avoids eye contact. She was being anything, but herself. The only thing of hers that was in the interview was her sharp tongue. Interested in Ana, Mr. Grey agrees to a photo shoot with Ana's friend Jose Rodriguez, who happens to have a crush on Ana.
The story continues of the building relationship between Mr. Grey and Ana. The two are so infatuated with each other that what they usually would see as "turn offs" are just obstacles in the relationship. How far would either of them go for this relationship?
*SPOILERS* (not that bad)
Fifty Shades of Grey originated as Twilight Fan fiction. With this knowledge before hand, you can see the comparison between Bella Swan and Anastasia Steele as well as the elusive Christian Grey to the elusive Edward Cullen.
Anastasia is portrayed as terribly clumsy and tends to nibble on her lip, trademarks of Bella Swan in the movies. As the book continues, the clumsy traits seem to disappear as they did in the books and movies with a couple references to it. Anastasia is immature in relationships and not very confident in herself. She does not see the appeal that her suitors see in her, and trust me Christian Grey is not the only one being looked at it. The references to Ana's beauty is seen when a guy tries to flirt with her or through Christian's jealousy.
Just like Edward Cullen, Christian Grey is the elusive, rich stalker. He appears in her workplace hours away from his home. He has a background check put on her. Christian is very protective of her, but just like Edward afraid to hurt her. Unlike Edward though, he is not afraid to kiss her and more. Unknowingly though, he is hurting Ana mentally and sometimes physically is his "Red Room of Pain."
I admit I could not put the book down. I would get anxious to borrow the second book from my cousin who was reading faster than I was. The insecurities that Ana has I can relate to, but once I start to see her many suitors, I start to disconnect with the character. She is beautiful, but does not know it. When put into rich clothes that are made to fit her, they highlight her beauty even more. But worse, after losing her virginity, she seems to feel more secure in her body.
The message of this book, just like Twilight, is awful. First off, Christian is interested in Ana because of how she looks. Second, extremely self-conscious girls should wait for a guy to tell them the truths that they push away.
For teenagers, these messages are uplifting and hopeful, but most just wait in their towers for their prince to come. Since this book is aimed for adults, the message is not too bad. Still, I continued with the book entranced by the intensity of the relationship.
I really liked Ana revealing herself to Christian. She stood up to him, something he is not used to. His first impressions of her were so, so wrong, and yet, he is still with her because she is different than his other "girlfriends."
Christian. What can we say about him without expletives? He is seriously messed up. His life is just so messed up. The sex, while graphic, is part of who Christian is. Without all the sex, Christian would not be him. Sex is his therapy and without it, he would be institutionalized. It was very interesting his revealing small parts of his life to Ana, as well as her reaction to it.
Sex: It was graphic. After all, this novel originated from fan fiction. It was kinky and weird. My face was crimson during these scenes, but it was these scenes you saw different parts of the characters. Ana became willing to do whatever Christian wanted for him. She knew he needed the sex weird, and she admitted she liked some of it. With Christian you saw him in control, something he desperately needs. He is always trying to remain calm with Ana who defies him in public, but when she is in that room, she is his. After the sex, you can see how much he cares because he asks her how she is feeling.
The best part of the entire series is the honesty that Christian demands. For their relationship to safe and healthy, Ana has to be honest with Christian. He does not want to hurt her or make her feel uncomfortable. Without honesty, there is no trust because Ana has to trust Christian that he will not hurt her on purpose. She needs to trust Christian that the experience would be as pleasurable for her as it is for him.
Thoughts: As I was reading the book, the one thought that crossed my mind as much as comparing with Twilight was "Does the author do these things with her husband?" or "Did the author do research with her husband?" It was not an answer I wanted. I want to remain naive to that, since I am no longer naive about sex unfortunately.
I had to have this section highlighted because this is very important to the story. It is not a "porn" book. This book was not written so people can relieve themselves of their sexual frustrations. This book is only a "porn" book if the reader makes it into that.
For me, I enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the context and the love story. There was a lot of sex, but for me to not be embarrassed by the context, I had to approach it as character development.
Future of 50 Shades
Like all books with a strong fan base, Fifty Shades of Grey has been given Universal Pictures and Focus Features the film rights to make the movie. Actors Ian Somerhalder (Vampire Diaries, Lost) and Ashley Benson (Pretty Little Liars) have expressed interest in being in the movie. Ian Somerhalder has gotten the best fan reception to this and I personally think he will be great at it. This will also give him a push toward a more mature audience and movies. This goal shared with Ashley Benson, who I do not like for the part...just my opinion.
Recently, Angelina Jolie has expressed interest in directing the movie adaptation. As well as American Psycho writer Bret Easton Ellis publicly announced his desire to write the screenplay.
So we will definitely be seeing a film in the upcoming year. I am very fascinated with the approach of the studios.