Fifty Shades of Grey: One person's review
50 Shades of Grey
I am not the Danielle Steele type, I prefer Isaac Asimov or Stephen King, maybe a little Mary Higgins Clark, and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but with all the hoopla about this book I had to read it.
If you know anything about this book you'll know I have to be very careful in my review. There is much I cannot address so I will call some of those things 'happenings' or this hub will be booted off. This is a book marked for mature audiences because of it's content and writing about some of the particulars of that content will get this hub banned. Have I got your interest yet?
Fifty Shades of Grey is the first in a trilogy and was released in May 2011. It began as an ebook and became so big it was finally published. Princeton professor April Alliston wrote, "Though no literary masterpiece, 'Fifty Shades' is more than parasitic fan fiction based on the recent 'Twilight' vampire series." Whoa if it is that why was it such a bestseller that you couldn't even buy it in a bookstore...it was sold out everywhere! It was also on The New York Times Bestseller List. In case you're interested, yes, they are making a film. It seems Universal has bought the rights.
It seems much of the criticism is due to the fact this book and trilogy is purportedly based on the Twilight Series. Domination may be why. I must admit that domination is probably where the comparison comes in but I will discuss that later.
It has also been likened to a Cinderella story where the pretty poor girl meets, falls in love with and winds up with the very rich and good looking 'prince' in this story but no former Cinderella story has been called soft porn or more affectionately "Mommy porn". FYI, the book has sold over two million copies! There is definitely an abundance of "happenings" in this book.
The main characters are Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Anastasia, sometimes referred to as Ana, is a college student about to graduate. She does a favor for her best college friend Katherine Kavanagh usually called Kate, and interviews the mulit-billionaire Christian Grey. What Ana doesn't know is that Christian is only 27 years old and quite the bachelor-catch. Ana doesn't handle the interview well, wavering between embarrassed and annoyed with Mr. Grey who she thinks is "very, very good looking". As she leaves she realizes this man has affected her like no man ever before.
Ana has worked at Clayton's hardware store since she started attending WSU in Portland and is happy to get back and go to work there after her disconcerting meeting with Mr. Grey. We are briefly introduced to her mother, stepfather and friend Jose Rodriguez. On Saturday morning at work at Clayton's, Ana is shocked to find "the bold gray gaze of Christian Grey" staring at her from across the counter. It is obvious to everyone but Ana that he has come to see her. After their brief encounter she admits to herself that she likes him though she won't admit it to Kate just yet.
He gave Ana his card with his private cell phone number and Kate suggests she call him to set up a photo shoot. No genius needed here to figure out that is just what happens. After the photo shoot Grey asks Ana to go for coffee with him and yes, this is the beginning.
Comments about Christian Grey include; gorgeous, dangerous, tall, broad shouldered, graceful fingers, disorderly hair, at ease with his body, control freak, gray eyes, overbearing, a courtly knight, the white knight, the dark knight, a classic romantic hero....It's hard for the reader not to like Christian Grey right from his introduction in the book. Everywhere Christian goes he turns women's heads, they are drawn to him by his ultra good looks. Of course, we find out later he is 'kinky' and is very into Dominance and Submission.
Ana, is a twenty-one year old virgin. In addition, she is insecure about her looksg curly hair and her sometimes clumsiness. She doesn't realize that she is good looking and has a great peronality. All she sees is the curly-haired, not so graceful Ana that pales compared to her friend Kate. She doesn't realize how attractive she is and why her friend Jose is in love with her, or Paul Clayton at the hardware store, or Kate's brother or even the remote possibility that Christian Grey could be in love with her!
“I am going to have coffee with Christian Grey... and I hate coffee.” (Ana)
"Men aren't really complicated, Ana, honey. They are very simple, literal creatures. They usually mean what they say. And we spend hours trying to analyze what they've said - when really it's obvious. If I were you, I'd take him literally. That might help.” (Ana's mother)
“[Ana] “You’re a sadist?”
“I’m a Dominant.” His eyes are a scorching gray, intense.
“What does that mean?” I whisper.
“It means I want you to willingly surrender yourself to me, in all things.”
I frown at him as I try to assimilate this idea.
“Why would I do that?”
“To please me,” he whispers as he cocks his head to one side, and I see a ghost of a smile.
Please him! He wants me to please him! I think my mouth drops open. Please Christian Grey. And I realize, in that moment, that yes, that’s exactly what I want to do. I want him to be damned delighted with me. It’s a revelation.”
The reader realizes early on that Christian is smitten with Ana but wonders about his admonition that he's not the man for her. As their relationship begins he seems to appear wherever she needs him, like at the bar the night she gets drunk with her college friends. The reader can almost watch him falling in love with her but...and there's a big but. He will not get further involved with her unless she signs his contracts. He takes her to his Red Room of Pain which he calls his playroom and explains, "I do this to women who want me." He explains he is not a Sadist but a Dominant. He further explains that he has rules and that he will not hurt her. However, she must sign a Non Disclosure Agreement whereby she agrees not to tell anyone anything about this part of their relationship, and that means anything! And, she must also sign a contract saying what they will do and what they won't.
The contract takes up about one quarter of the book. The entire contract, in detail is their for the reader to see. It includes rules along with Hard Limits and Soft Limits. Before signing the contract they have their first "happening" with a small taste of the Dominance/Submissive scenario (more than once this first time) and afterwards he admits to her he has never had a happening in his bed, never slept with anyone, never introduced anyone to his mother, and never flown anyone in his helicopter. All firsts for him.
She is upset by the lavish gifts he gives her - a first edition of Thomas Hardy, a Mac laptop, a Blackberry and later a car as a graduation present. She feels she is being bought but he sees the's gifts as helping her stay in contact with him and the car -as a way of keeping her safe as her old 'beetle' is by no means safe to drive.
Ana tries to talk to her best friend Kate about her relationship with Christian without violating the NDA which she has already signed She explains he is intense and let's it go with that. They have other conversations and Kate is aware Ana is mad about Christian but she still has doubt about him. Ana's problem is with signing the contract. She wants to but she's afraid.
Christian explains to Ana that the ownership thing is just to get her in the right frame of mind. He claims he will take it slowly because she is new to this, that there is a very fine line between pleasure and pain. Ana's conscience and inner goddess offer relief and humor for some of the situations. The emails Christian and Ana exchange are thought provoking and sometimes humorous as well since it seems emails and texts are the only way Ana can honestly open up with Christian. For the most part, though the story is fairly predictable it is written with a light and easy to read style.
Interesting Internet Links
- The Internet’s Best and Worst Fifty Shades of Grey Casting Suggestions | Blogs | Vanity Fair
From world affairs to entertainment, business to fashion, crime to society, Vanity Fair is a cultural catalyst that drives the popular dialogue globally.
- ‘50 Shades of Grey’ Speed Read: 14 Naughtiest Bits - The Daily Beast
Read the most shocking parts of E.L. James’s bestselling erotic novel. By Lizzie Crocker.
I must admit my feather ruffled a bit when Ana was going for her job interview and was explaining the woman who was calling her in for the second interview, and I quote, "She could be in her late thirties, maybe in her forties, It's so difficult to tell with older women." If she thinks they're older women I'm afraid she'd be carbon dating me!
Throughout the book it is Ana's hope that she can bring Christian out of his darkness. She realizes that not only is she madly in love with him, but he is in love with her.
I won't divulge anything more because I don't want to ruin it for you. If you're into this type of fiction, you need to read it. All in all it was an easy read, fairly entertaining, and yes, I would recommend it.
Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey?
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Other Hubs I've Written About This Trilogy
- Fifty Shades Darker
"Do you want a regular vanilla relationship..." Christian asks Ana. What happens in book two of the Fifty Shades Trilogy? Desire for Christian brings Ana back to him. Their romance takes on a new direction in Fifty Shades Darker as Ana learns about C
- Fifty Shades Freed
The last book in the Fifty Shades Trilogy and not a disappointment. Christian saying, "Ana this is what I do. I'm not usually motivated by revenge, but I cannot let him get away with this." Curious? Read more in my hub.