Review – 50 Shades of Grey


I love to read and it is a welcome distraction from blogging, kids and design work. I don’t read as often as I used to due to time constraints but it is still a pleasure to settle down with a good book. My Kindle library features a whole wealth of books including classics like pride and prejudice, literary gems like Birdsong and now EL James’s Fifty Shades of Grey. Of course pretty much every female on the planet has heard of James’s 50 Shades of Grey.

Originally started as Twilight fan fiction it charts the romance between main characters Anastasia Steele (a 21 year old student who is obsessed with English Literature and Twining’s Tea) and Christian Grey (a 27 year old Billionaire Businessman with a strange predilection for BDSM). A new term has been created for this book – Mummyporn, due to it’s frankly steamy, explicit content.

Here’s a brief overview of the book (via Wikipedia)

The plot traces the relationship between recent college graduate Anastasia Steele and manipulative billionaire Christian Grey. Steele is required by Grey to sign a contract allowing him complete control over her life as well as a non-disclosure agreement, something that he has required from all of his previous submissives. Upon learning that she is a virgin, Grey agrees to have sex with her in order to prepare her for later encounters, fully intending that the contract would be signed. As she gets to know him, she learns that his sexual tastes involve bondage, domination, and sadism, and that childhood abuse left him a deeply damaged individual. In order to be his partner, she agrees to experiment with BDSM, but she struggles to reconcile who she is (a virgin who has never previously had a boyfriend) with whom Christian wants her to be, his submissive and a to-do-with-as-he-pleases partner in his “Red Room of Pain”

So what are my thoughts on this rather unusual choice of reading material?

The language used is universally awful and at times grammatically incorrect. It seems the author has a few favourite words that she has decided to use as often as possible. Was there a drunken bet with a friend to see how many times she could fit particular words into the book It seems so. This is a book of contradictions. The main female Anastasia is touted as being highly intelligent, quick witted and the type to not suffer fools gladly but her behaviour makes The Only Way is Essex girls look like MENSA members. How the character of Christian Grey finds her ‘fascinating’ is beyond me – she is the most flat, lacklustre character I’ve ever seen in print.

So what about the sex? To many they may seem very steamy and blush worthy but I’m no prude. I actually found the sex ‘scenes’ laughable and almost comedic. The author’s description of the sex was repetitive (like most of the rest of the book) and sounded clichéd. Obviously the BDSM sex within the book will shock many and maybe that is what the author was after but I don’t shock easily and found this content laughable and tame.

As for the main female character Anastasia Steele, I found her to be the most annoying female character I’ve ever had the misfortune to come across. This girl has obviously never heard of respecting yourself. The way the character is willing to humiliate herself to keep a man must have feminists everywhere recoiling in horror. She is whiny, petulant and overly child like. Apologising to Christian Grey over pretty much everything even when he was at fault made me dislike the character even more.

The character of Christian Grey is a flawed sadistic individual but it is hard to despise him. His sexual proclivities are frankly very weird and odd. But we hear a lot about his past and early upbringing that explains this behaviour. I found myself drawn to this character despite his freaky sexual habits and throughout the book we start to discover more and more about this flawed individual. You can’t help but to feel sorry for him in a way that frankly shocked me.

Let’s admit it. This book is no great work of fiction and even the sex scenes are lame compared to other to other Erotica fiction out there. I would hardly describe it as MummyPorn – more like slightly raunchier Mills and Boons but less well written. But I couldn’t help being hooked. I read the whole 500+ pages in less than 1 day. The bad writing and lame sex scenes are actually what make it addictive in much the same way that Dynasty was addictive viewing despite the bad acting. Now I’m off to read 50 Shades Darker! Have you read 50 Shades of Grey? What were your thoughts on it?

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  1. I absolutely agree Anastasia is the most annoying protagonist and the plot is very repetitive. Also she is said to be so smart and witty yet she is so naive I find it very hard to believe that a woman so learned and well read would not know a single thing about sex or the world of bdsm she would have to have across it in her life, it also makes me shudder at the portrayal of her as so weak and easily mislead by alcohol and a few carefully thought out words. It’s so contradictory

  2. Casee Marie says:

    Loved reading your thoughts on Fifty Shades! I haven’t read the series yet, and though I probably will someday it’s not high on my list of priorities. I love romance novels, but dominant male characters always make me more an angry feminist than a swoony reader. To each their own, really. It’s especially difficult to want to read a book that’s partly famous for how inexorably BAD it is, the writing and such. Would love to know your thoughts on the rest of the series as you read it!

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