Re-read Review: Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1)

Author: E.L. James

Publisher: Vintage

Rating: 5 stars

Buy Links: Amazon

Type: Novel in a Series

Purchased by Reviewer


Blurb:    When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

This book is intended for mature audiences.

This review may contain spoilers.


Review:   Well, here I am again, still stuck in Ana and Christian’s story, rereading this book for the umpteenth time.  There are a few books I’ve read this often, but this one has to rank in my top ten most often read books.  I love the story.  There has been so much written about this book over the years that another review is unwarranted, but after all this time they remain a huge topic of controversy.  So, this “review” will probably be more of a commentary than a review.

Many readers and reviewers have said that Christian Grey is a stalker and an abuser, and others have said that the book is a terrible mis-representation of the BDSM lifestyle.  I can’t argue with that assessment.  It’s true…if you missed some clues.  I said in my recent review of Grey: 50 Shades Of Grey From Christian’s POV, that it was obvious to me from very early in this book that Christian was not a Dom.  Why was it so obvious to me?  Of the 15 subs he had under contract, 11 were short term and left because of “incompatibility”.  Clue!  They were experienced subs who knew what they wanted and weren’t willing to put up with his control issues and anger.  Did no one pick that clue up?  And his Playroom?  He admitted to Ana that he had trained at a club, so why did he stop going to clubs?  Anyone who has read any books that are truer to BDSM knows that many self proclaimed Doms are banned from clubs because of control and anger issues.  It’s simply not allowed.  Clue!  If you missed those two important clues in book one, I understand why you didn’t like the book.  He told these things to Ana, and through Ana’s point of view, we know these things.  Ana didn’t really understand what she was hearing because of her own sexual inexperience, but any voracious reader learns to read between the lines of any story.  Many of us challenge ourselves to solve the “mystery” in a mystery story long before the protagonist in a book has figured it out.  And there is no romance in a romance novel without conflict…and this one is a doozy.  So, even if you read this book, but didn’t read between the lines, I think you missed the point, although, if all you saw was an abusive relationship and bad BDSM, I can’t argue.  We see what we see.

But what did Ana see?  Ana was naive in so many ways..totally absorbed in 18th and 19th century English literature.  She’s bright and beautiful and completely unaware of her own beauty.  She is thunderstruck by all that is Christian Grey.  Totally immersed in the romanticism of the past, she is stunned that this beautiful, insanely wealthy man would have any interest in her at all, and she can’t help but fall under his spell when he begins his pursuit.  Pursuit?  Or stalking?  Well, he pursued Ana like any “merger and acquisition” in his business.  He called his people and had her investigated.  Every time the phrase “mergers and acquisitions” was used I smiled.  That was such a clever way of blending his voracious appetite for new businesses with the theme of the story.  Clue!  Christian was pursuing a new acquisition and all Ana saw was the possibility of a merger.  That still makes me smile.  Christian is a business genius, but a “merger” with a real, live human, non-submissive girl throws him one curve after another.  She throws me a few, too.  When she finds out about Christian’s “singular” tastes on his D/s contract, the first thing she makes a “hard limit” is his rule about eating regular, healthy meals.  Now, there were a lot of thing in that contract that she could have, and did eventually, make hard limits.  But why was food the first thing that she overruled?  Clue!  Possible eating disorder?  And at one point, Christian tells Ana that he is so concerned about her lack of self-confidence that he’s thinking of making an appointment for her with his psychiatrist, Dr. Flynn.  Clue!  Are the food and self-confidence issues tied together?  Who or what made her feel this way?  Will we ever know for sure?  I hope so.

We have a control freak, pseudo Dom, sex God trying to “acquire” Ana as his next contracted sub.  We have a bright and beautiful, naive young woman looking for a “merger” with an amazing man.  Conflict!  And a lot of fun, too.  There are some amazing sex scenes, both in and out of “The Red Room Of Pain”, Ana’s term for Christian’s playroom.  There are some hilariously funny e-mails between the two, and I was tickled by Ana’s “inner-Goddess” wanting to come out and play with Christian while her sub-conscience keeps telling her to run.

But the greatest conflict of all remains.  Christian likes inflicting pain…he says he needs it.  Ana is not even submissive and is certainly not masochistic.  How far can each one go to compromise?  Can Christian leave some of his darkness behind and move into Ana’s paler shade of grey?  The answer isn’t in this first book, just questions and clues.

That leaves us with one more criticism of the book…the writing.  A few people didn’t like “the writing”.  Okay.  Well, there is no controversy there, to me.  We all like what we like in our books.  I was so caught up in the story that I found nothing wrong.  Was it the first person point-of-view?  I have many friends who refuse to read first person stories, and frankly it’s my favorite. They all seem like little mystery stories because we only know what the protagonist lets us know.  But our preferences of “style” are personal, so I can’t argue that.  I will say that several million readers and I loved it.  If you’ve read this review to this point, you may have noticed that I don’t have a lot of “style” either, so maybe that’s the difference.

That’s all I have to say about a book that has had more written about it than the stories themselves.  I just wanted to add one note…just as I wrote that last line, my own old, overweight, sleepy Inner Goddess rolled over on her chaise lounge, stretched, gave me a wink and turned to the first page of Fifty Shades Darker.  **grin**

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