Book Review: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ by E L James

Based on a fan fiction written about Bella Swan and Edward Cullen from “Twilight,” E L James takes the romance novel to a whole other level with “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

I’m torn if I enjoyed this novel or not. It was a quick read and definitely captivating, but also just too much sex. I guess that’s the point though.

The story is about a recent college grad Anastasia Steele and her love interest, the amazingly handsome Christian Grey, a 27-year-old company CEO.

Typical of a romance novel, there is an instant attraction between the two and they can’t stay away from one another, despite their, uh, differences. But luckily although this novel is being thrown in with the word “Twilight” there are no vampires or supernatural characters involved. But Christian’s idea of a good time in bed is … intense. He’s into some very kinky, disturbing stuff — and the need to be totally in control of a woman’s body and mind.

Which is probably what has given the book the term “mommy porn.” Because if picture-less lit can be porn, well this book definitely is. The explicitness of the sex scenes took me by surprise and left me cringing at some parts. Romance novels shouldn’t make one cringe like that, in my opinion.

But then I couldn’t put it down. The need to know if they end up together, if Christian can accept “vanilla” (simple, straight-forward) sex.

E L James has the potential to be a good, if not great, romance novelist. But she needs to tone it down and work on her writing. She   needs to work on character’s inner voice if she is going to continue with first-person novels.The book is written in the first person, so you’re stuck in Anastasia’s head the whole time. And damn can she be annoying. There’s also random use of italics, I guess to demonstrate Anastasia’s exact thoughts as they happen. But it’s mostly a lot of Whoas! and Oh mys. After a while it gets irritating and distracting. Anastasia also has an “inner goddess,” basically the little devil on her shoulder. In addition to the italics, it’s another annoying and superfluous detail. We know what Anastasia is thinking and feeling by understanding her character and being inside her head, we don’t need the added actions of her “inner goddess” to show us how she is reacting to situations.

If you’re looking for a romance that is a big leap up in eroticism from Nora Robert’s works, then this is the book for you. Just keep your scruples and feminism at the door.

Three stars out of five


2 thoughts on “Book Review: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ by E L James”

  1. Your review describes exactly my hesitations with the book, haha. Considering I find it nearly impossible to leave feminism at the door, do you still think it’s worth a read? Or do you recommend for someone like me, who despises female subordination, etc., skip it? Also, is the whole book about them figuring out their sex life? Seems strange. Thanks girl!

  2. OK, after reading a few other reviews, it is true that they are both on the same level. Christian never degrades Anastasia,and actually regards her as a very smart, witty, dependent woman. But his kind of bedroom behavior is degrading regardless of that. And yes, the book is about 80% sex scenes. I guess one of the pulls that keeps one reading is a horrific fascination of BDSM, I would say give it a try — everything is worth trying once. Just try not to go into it with any prior judgment.

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