Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James

Just finished reading Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James.  This book, and in fact the next two of the series, have been given to me by a friend.  We share books quite often and when she brought these books in for me she was totally over the moon with them and couldn’t wait for me to read them.  I must admit that I wasn’t really all that taken with the idea but as they seem to be taking the nation by storm (and seem to be quite literally sold out in most bookshops) I thought maybe I should give them a shot.

Well, to be honest, these books are not really for me.  That being said I can understand why this series is proving so popular because it’s like reading some sort of female fantasy but personally, and I wouldn’t say that I’m prudish, there is just too much sex and too little story!  What we have here is loosely based on the Twilight story (with a bit of Pretty Woman thrown in for good measure) but whilst Bella and Edward could barely share a kiss this has gone to the absolute other extreme and Christian and Ana seem to barely share a conversation (as they’re too busy going at it like a pair of rabbits).  I mean, it’s not like I’ve never read a book with sex in it before but I just felt it was too much.

So, the characters, we have Christian.  Who is apparently the most gorgeous man on the face of the planet.  Women are rendered speechless in his presence, dumbstruck and with jaws dropped appropriately.  Not only is he gorgeous but he’s successful and owns some sort of multi-million pound company.  He’s powerful and a little bit intimidating but he’s absolutely bowled over by Ana – no obvious reason as to why – but he just is.  But Christian is flawed by events in his past.  He is unable to attach himself emotionally to anybody in fact he doesn’t even like to be touched and his sexual proclivity is to domineer!  Of course Ana is completely innocent of such things being a very late developer to the whole area of sex – in fact, she’s a virgin (yes, a 21 year old, drop dead gorgeous virgin – stop scoffing, it can happen – look at that beautiful virgin living with her three fairy godmothers deep in a forest – see!!)  So, whilst he’s not a vampire and Ana is in no immediate danger of having her blood drained, Christian is bad for her.  He can’t give her the type of relationship she wants and she’s in danger of a good spanking at every turn.

The problem for me with this book comes in a few guises.  Firstly, I don’t need this much explanation about sex – I have an imagination after all and I’m not afraid to use it so basically I got bored and found myself skimming.  A lot.  I just would have liked more story thrown in with the rampant sex.  Secondly, you have this basically really successful guy who seems to never spend any time working – other than an odd phone call here and there.  The majority of the book he spends flying around the country in pursuit of Ana or turning up in her bedroom because she’s sent him an email that he doesn’t understand (btw – stalker at all?)!  Wtf is that about – I would love to know the secret of his success so that I can spend all my time flitting about the country and basically doing sweet fa. Thirdly, Ana and Christian are basically fairly young people but they read much older.  They can’t get enough classical music and piano playing, the books they read are classics – lots of reference to Thomas Hardy, etc, etc, I mean, I pretty much like that sort of thing myself and I read and enjoyed a fair few classics when I was a teenager – but I also wasn’t shy about reading pulp and listening to music that my parents described as ‘that bloody racket’!  Come on – these two are like twenty going on one hundre and twenty.  There is, literally, nothing young about them.  But, and fourthly, I think my biggest problem with the book is the relationship itself – it has it’s moments which are okay – but, mostly it’s just plain irritating.  I find it difficult to believe that a modern young woman would be prepared to put up with such b/s just because a good looking guy shows her some attention.  It’s not like he’s the only drop dead gorgeous one after all.  I mean, he’s like totally bossy, tells her what to eat, chooses her clothes, tells her who she can see (alright, Edward was old fashioned but that was because he WAS OLD).  She’s not allowed to drive her own car because it might be dangerous – she’s survived this long you big moron!   He says ‘kneel on the floor’ and she just does it.  Why?  Just no.  Sorry.  In fact, I’m not sorry it was goddamn irritating and I couldn’t help thinking ‘for goodness sake woman, strap on a pair and tell this bossy f**ker to do one!’  But no, oh, he’s so gorgeous so I’ll just do whatever he says.  Could you be any more shallow?  And, if there was any more eye rolling or lip biting I think I would have vomited.

Okay, rant (and bad language) over! Like I said, I could see why women would maybe enjoy this novel, the very thought of this man who could basically choose anybody but wants Ana, etc, etc, (your basic dream come true) but I found it just too irritating and also a bit uncomfortable to read because it was like reading somebody’s fantasy – which all feels a bit too personal.  Not judging anybody else for liking this but it’s not really my ideal book.  I’ve heard this described as ‘mummy porn’ and I can see why.  Also it’s described as Marmite – and again, I can understand that  because opinion seems to be deeply divided between love and hate.  Personally, I didn’t hate it.  I certainly didn’t love it but it was entertaining and I have to hand it to the author for being able to make me blush!

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey


31 Responses to “Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James”

  1. Booky Pony

    I’m on the waiting list for the library (number 28/57 or something, yay!) and I’m kind of looking forward to it now. xD I like reading bad literature every once in a while – makes you thankful you have read so many good books!
    Would you define this one as PWP? (Just so I know more precisely what to expect when I eventually get the book.)

  2. lynnsbooks

    You should read it – it definitely is entertaining. Ahem, what is PWP? I mean, It’s not like I hated this. In fact given the way that the book ends I almost feel like I should continue reading because i hate leaving things unfinished! You’ve got a bit of a wait still!
    Lynn 😀

  3. Grace

    I kind of want to read this, mostly because I’ve got a copy of the parody (Fifty Shames of Earl Grey) and feel like it wouldn’t be quite fair if I didn’t read the original first, even though the parody sounds better than the book itself… 😛

    • lynnsbooks

      Actually Grace, the more I think about it the more I would like to know what you think! I think you and TBM should both get to grips with it and let me know what you think. I know I went on a bit of a rant there, but, I’ve mellowed over the past couple of days and also I’ve had so many people in work telling me that I have to read book No.2 so that I can start to understand what’s going on. I would actually love to know what you think. We may not share the same opinions about this particular book because opinion has definitely been divided (even in my own book circle) but it is interesing.
      Lynn 😀

  4. lynnsbooks

    Hey Grace, I recommend it! I think you should definitely read it, you might skim bits here and there like I did, but even so! I’d love to hear your comments.
    Lynn 😀

  5. sarah3289

    I agree that some of the phrases in the book were used way to much. I also thought the plot was way better than all of the x-rated action going on. I really haven’t been able to figure out why all of the other women are drooling over it…it didn’t do much for me. I liked the idea of the story though and it really made me think about how I would react if my life were like that. My mind has been drifting back to the trilogy for a few days now.

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, obviously this appeals to a lot of people. It’s practically sold out and unavailable! I actually met my friend today and returned her copy – she practically took my hand off – I swear there was a strange glint in her eye! LOL
      Lynn 😀

  6. TBM

    Huh…I would like to know what all the fuss is about, but this seems to be too much for me. Maybe I could skim it as well. We might go on a beach trip later this year, so maybe I’ll consider. But I’m not sure I want to buy a copy either and then have to carry it through airport security. Would that warrant a strip search 🙂 I’d rather avoid that.

    • lynnsbooks

      Actually, I think you should read it – everybody else is! And, I’d be interested to know what you think. To be honest, it’s entertaining. Annoying and exasperating – but entertaining.
      Lynn 😀

    • lynnsbooks

      And, definitely let me know if you read this – I would love to know what you think – even if you totally disagree with me (which seems to be the rather strong and heated opinion of everyone else I know and work with! – talk about swimming upstream!!)
      Lynn 😀

  7. jessicabookworm

    The more reviews I read of this book the more I think it definitely isn’t for me.

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, the good thing about this book is that it provokes you. Some books, you read and it’s just ‘meh’. Not this one. And, it definitely gives you something to think about! In my case it provoked me no end but now on reflection it makes me laugh.
      Lynn 😀

  8. "Auntie"

    Thank you for a reasonable, adult critique of this *hot* book!!!

    • lynnsbooks

      Lol – have you read it?? I went on a bit of a rant there. Funnily enough I didn’t actually dislike the book but just certain things left me annoyed!
      Lynn 😀

  9. Michael

    I’m guessing since this was written originally as Twilight fan-fic, that may explain how quickly Edward…er I mean Christian can appear to Bella…er I mean, Ana.

    I am intrigued more by the reaction of people to these books than the books themselves.

    • lynnsbooks

      Well, the thing is, I found it quite annoying! But, in a strange way I prefer some sort of emotion when I read a book to just plain ‘meh’ indifference. So, I suppose in terms of entertainment value it’s pretty good. I was talking to a couple of women in work who just loved it – they were gushing about how romantic it was and I was saying ‘no, not romantic’. It just takes all sorts I suppose. I’ve now been in told I must read book No.2 so that I can gain an understanding of why Edward /Christian is the way he is. I may just read it – just to see if I don’t like that one!
      We’ll see.
      Lynn :/

  10. bridgetnerdyjones
    haha I wonder if I actually enjoyed the books or just the hype??
    I have blogged on it quite a bit. Let me know what you think

    • lynnsbooks

      I’ll call over and have a look. Funnily enough now I’ve had a chance to stop reading I can see that the book had it’s good points. I feel like I’m definitely in the minority group with this one though – so many people in work (because they know I read a lot) have come to me and sort of whispered (not sure if they’re embarassed or not) that they’ve read it and have I. And then, when I’ve sort of gone on a bit of rant about it they’re all gushing and loving it and thinking it’s romantic! Beginning to think there’s something wrong with me.
      Anyway, I’m going to come and check out your thoughts.
      Thanks for stopping by.
      Lynn 😀

  11. Redhead

    Ha ha! Lynn, your review was wonderful!! a friend of mind is blogging this,chapter by chapter, and his comments pretty much mirror yours. there is nothing wrong with you if this book isn’t your thing, i mean come on, the book is pretty much pr0n with a teeny bit of plot tossed in.

    i don’t know that the book is so much romantic, as it is just a ton of really hot (if you’re into that sort of thing) sex scenes. Jeez, just pick up an erotic anthology and you’d be all set!

    • lynnsbooks

      Nothing wrong with a good bit of sex in books but it would be nice to have a bit more plot as well! I don’t think anyone would accuse Christine Feehan of writing ‘tame’ books and Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander have got it goin on as well! People in work are so funny – they sort of sneak up to me and whisper ‘have you read 50 Shades of Grey’ – like they’re going to get arrested or something! It’s quite funny. Plus a few of them, after I went on a bit of a rant, insisted that I read the rest of the series because otherwise I ‘won’t understand what Christian is all about’. LOL
      Lynn 😀
      P.S. I may read the other two, just for research purposes of course! 😉

  12. Novel Girl

    Lynn, I think I’m like you. I was a shy girl growing up, so I don’t like reading much about S-E-X either. I do lurveee romance, though. The difference? The writing needs to be sensual and loving and HOT, but I don’t want those bodily parts mentioned. The fun is the lead-up, anyway; not the actual act.

    Plus, I’m not for books that are craply written or plotted/structured just ’cause they’ve sold 40 or 100 million copies. I want quality, not to waste my time on a trend.

    Wonderful review. Thanks! I’m definitely not reading it. I can grab my romance elsewhere.

    • lynnsbooks

      Perhaps you should read it just so you can let us all know your thoughts? I must admit I’m interested in other people’s opinions. I’m clearly in a minority. I didn’t hate it or anything and I sort of almost respect this book for making me have some sort of feeling other than ‘meh’.
      Have you read The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simon (sorry if I’ve spelt her name wrong, I’m sure I have) – that’s a good book! Yes, there’s a bit of sex here and there, but it’s a story set during the siege of Leningrad and it’s a romance. The setting is great, it’s romantic and it’s very good! Highly recommend.
      Lynn 😀

      • Novel Girl

        Sorry, no can do. I don’t have time gor a book everyone thinks is badly written.

        I’ve heard of The Bronze Horseman but haven’t read it. I’ll look it up though. Thanks for the suggestion! I like books with just a but of sex.

      • lynnsbooks

        Lol – who thinks your book is badly writen?? Give me their names, grrr… Your book is a wip, and, after all, if a thing is worth doing it’s worth doing well, etc, etc, or another little saying, there is nothing in this world that is ‘quite so bad’ as something that is ‘not so bad’. So, in other words – aim high!
        Chin up and all that 😀

      • Novel Girl

        Aw, I feel embarrassed now, Lynn… I meant FSoG. Don’t have time for it coz almost everyone complains about the bad writing quality, even if they enjoyed aspects.

      • lynnsbooks

        Ha ha, LOL. Thank heavens for that. I thought you meant you were rewriting your ms because somebody had been mean to you!!!!
        Lynn 😀

  13. Genki Jason

    So this is that ‘Mommy porn’ the BBC and newspapers are constantly reporting about… I enjoyed the review. Now I know what’s in the book ‘everybody’ is buying. When I saw E. L. James I thought M.R. James and was expecting something supernatural.

    • lynnsbooks

      Funnily enough a lot of people are buying this and havent got the first notion of what it’s about! I didn’t really know what to expect although I was aware that it started as fanfic following Twilight and obviously the story line is mirrored. The difference here however is that the danger is not from a sparkly vampire who might fall off the vegetarian wagon but a bloke who’s into S&M and is scared of being in a relationship.
      Lynn 😀

      • Genki Jason

        Hmm, a bloke into sex and scared of being in a relationship… That sounds a lot like Shame. Fifty Shade of Grey clearly doesn’t compare artistically and it doesn’t have Carey Mulligan in a shower, so I’ll pass.

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