Book Review #33: Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

14 May

I felt compelled to read this after it became a pop culture phenomenon.  In case you missed the story of this trilogy, E L James is an Australian writer who originally published the books as one, epic novel online. And the novel is a “re-imagining” of the Twilight love story…so Twilight fan fiction.  The novels spread like wildfire – as the New York Times noted, they were impossible to find in print so women were discreetly downloading copies to their Kindles.

This is the love story (sex adventures?) of Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey. Christian, a twenty seven year old billionaire play boy with firmly established BDSM tendencies.  Anastasia, a young, awkward, sexually inexperienced college student goes to interview Christian. Sparks fly, Christian introduces Ana to his lifestyle, and they embark on a dominant/submissive relationship.

It’s hard for me to review this because there is so little plot. Or character development. There’s pretty much nothing in this book except for sex.  A lot of sex – that takes place in all kinds of places, including Christian’s Red Room.

Ana seemed incredibly unrealistic. She’s 22, but she felt more like a young teenager. She bites her lip. She doesn’t know how to talk to boys. She has a crazy fantasy about meeting prince charming – it seemed childish, and emotionally stunted.  She constantly talks about her “inner Goddess,” or her libido – any girl I know would mercilessly make fun of someone for talking, or thinking, about their inner Goddess. And she was completely incapable of talking about sex – with anyone – in frank terms. Maybe it’s just my friends, but our conversations about sex are blunt, honest, and funny. We ask each other questions. We talk about our sex lives, or lack thereof. All of this is really to say that Ana seems afraid of and uneducated about sex – thus, it seems unlikely she’d embark on this intense sexual relationship with Christian after meeting him once or twice.

What I loved about this book was that they addressed birth control! It was refreshing. In most movies, and books, birth control is imaginary. When was the last time you saw a movie where a character stopped to get a condom mid sex act? Or read a book that described someone going to the gynecologist to get the pill, or buying a box of condoms, or putting a condom on?  Or discussed multiple methods of birth control? The sex in this book is safe – every time.

I’ve never read an erotic novel before, as as Vulture aptly points out – this is not a new phenomenon. There’s a billion dollar industry built around erotic literature. And some of it is probably of a much higher quality than Fifty Shades of Gray .  But it’s just not my thing – I need actual characters, and a plot I care about.

Also, this SNL skit is so spot on. It’s fantastic.



4 Responses to “Book Review #33: Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James”

  1. bookgirl1987 May 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    Reblogged this on Readage (bookgirl1987).

  2. Alfonzo April 23, 2013 at 3:50 am #

    It’s going to be end of mine day, except before finish I am reading this fantastic post to improve my experience.


  1. HelloKatieO’s #CBR4 Review #33: Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James « Cannonball Read IV - May 26, 2012

    […] And there’s more… Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by HelloKatieO in 1 star – a book you didn't like and tagged BDSM, CBR4, erotica, fiction, hellokatieo, Popular culture, Twilight […]

  2. 50 Shades of Pink « The truth be told - May 29, 2012

    […] Book Review #33: Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James ( Share this:ShareFacebookTwitterRedditStumbleUponEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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