Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Disclaimer:  The following review is not in a genre I normally review.  It is a novel filled with adult-only content and is not suited for the under 18 crowd.
And an added disclaimer, this review contains a little bit of snark and sarcasm.  Be warned, this was not my favorite book.

I know this is a couple of days late, but I know that you will understand when I say to you:  the Olympics are on!  Haha.  And I know you won’t mind so much, because I am bringing you a review of the most talked about book everywhere right now.

Oh yes, I jumped on that Fifty Shades bandwagon.  =)

So without further ado, and the last review of Adult Fiction July, here is my review of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey!

Title/Author:  Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
(Fifty Shades #1)

Genre:  Adult Fiction, Erotica Romance

Published:  January 1st, 2011 by Vintage

Paperback, 514 pages.

How I Got This Book:  One of my very good friends bought the trilogy and read them, and because I let her borrow my books all the time, she let me borrow hers.

Why I Picked It Up?:  When I first saw reviews of this series at the beginning of my blogging career, I seriously thought it was a story about a convict!  Then I found out it was an erotica romance! SURPRISE!  And everyone was reading it, and I was just too curious to pass up the opportunity to read it for myself!

Book Jacket 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.”

My Review of this Work:

Well, I did it.  I read Fifty Shades of Grey.  I have never read a romance novel.  I have definitely never read an erotica novel.  And yet, curiousity killed the cat and made this blogger pick up this best-selling novel that has EVERYONE talking, even though I had no real desire to read it!  But I read it, so I suppose you’d like to know what I thought!

Here’s the skinny version:  This novel is poorly written and the characters are not that likeable.  And yet, I still kept reading.  There were multiple times while reading where I almost put it down, but something about this less than stellar novel made me keep reading.

I will go ahead and state it out front:  I know nothing about this genre.  Nothing.  Which is why my opinions of this book might be attributed to the fact that I just wouldn’t like the romance/erotica romance genre even if I read another book.  So I really do not know if the things that I do not like about this novel are “normal” details found in other novels in this genre or not.  But I will just tell you my opinion like it is.

Fifty Shades was originally written as a Twilight fan-fiction, an online form of writing with installments.  When this was “converted” to become a published novel, I feel like some of the editing didn’t happen, especially in the first couple of chapters.  There were just a lot of transitions between scenes that were just really awkward and unnecessary to add such obsolete details.  Not to mention the awkward phrasing and silly sentences that were included.  Many times I laughed out loud at just how poorly written this novel was.  But yet, there was something about it that kept me reading.

People may get angry for what I am about to say next, but I honestly have no idea what makes Christian Grey so attractive.  He’s kind of a jerk.  Snarky and sarcastic, but still a jerk.  Yeah, he is “willing to try to change” for Ana, that he has “demons in his past” that haunt him and made him that way, but it’s really no excuse to literally stalk a woman like she is prey, and then expect her to be okay with it.  Ana herself is a nice girl that is driven by her academic aspirations, who has never found a man that she was attracted to or wanted to pursue a relationship with, and yet the second she stumbles into that office she becomes unwound by Christian Grey.  Now, I understand being so attracted to someone physically that you want to see what happens, but I don’t understand what is so irresistible about Christian Grey that Ana would become that obsessed with him.  And that she would stay with him hoping that he would change for her is just stupid.  She wanted more from a man who clearly and up front told her what he wanted her for, yet she still stuck around with hope.  Not real.

I had no problem with the overall sexual content of this novel.  I know that there is controversy and curiosity that surrounds BSDM content, but that really didn’t bother me.  As someone who has studied human sexuality, I am well aware that different people like different things.  I am of the opinion that “Whatever floats your boat” is fine, as long as you are comfortable with it.  But there was one MAJOR thing about this novel that really irked me, and honestly it is not something I feel super comfortable going into detail about, so I will keep this paragraph short and to the point.  This novel is full of unrealistic scenes.  UNREALISTIC, I tell you!  And yeah, maybe it makes for a great selling point for a book, but things DO NOT happen like that in real life.  No, they do not.  And I had a real issue with those scenes portraying unrealistic encounters just because this was an erotica novel, especially given the circumstances of the characters in this novel.  Yes, I know that this is adult-only material, and yes, I understand that this book is pretty much porn for women.  But still, a little realism (physical and emotional) would really add a little more quality to this novel (but I don’t think know that was not what this novel was intended for).

With that said, this was originally written as a Twilight fan-fiction, so going into this I was expecting some similarities.  Though they take place in different worlds, you can definitely tell while reading that E.L. James wrote being inspired by Twilight.  This novel is set in Washington state (though not in the rainy city), and we have Ana and Christian who directly mirror Bella and Edward.  Ana is clumsy and awkward, and Christian is super controlling and unobtainable.  I saw similarities in Ana’s family (mom and dad separated, she lives closer to her dad, her mother is a little bubbly).  Christian loves classical music, which was something in this book I could actually appreciate.

Having to read 500 pages to get to this horrible cliff-hanger ending (that was not so shocking, don’t worry).  I hate useless cliffhangers.  With that said, I will probably pick up the second book (though I am not in that big a rush) simply because I have heard that the second book is much better than the first and I hate an unfinished story if I can help it.  But I honestly think I am just not a fan of the genre, even if I would pick up a better book.  So you will probably see a review on Fifty Shades Darker, but I probably will not be reviewing another romance/erotica romance novel here.

This review ends my Adult Fiction July!  I know it got cut short due to life, but I hope that you enjoyed it nonetheless.  I will be doing more themes (week and month) so be on the lookout!

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Second Shelf Book.

Honestly, I can and I can’t see why this book is the #1 Best Seller in the country right now.  While the writing and development is sub-par at best, James still finds a way to make her story addicting, so she’s doing something right.  But I still couldn’t get over the writing.  Two stars, but I will probably read the second book pretty soon simply because I do not like unfinished stories, and this book ends without a story conclusion.

Love and Team Gold for the FabFive!,


9 thoughts on “Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

  1. kimbacaffeinate says:

    I haven't read this and really have no desire to do so..although it has gotten people to read books and I am amazed at the different generations it has reached. My almost 70ish mother called me and asked me if I was going to read it and proceeded to tell me how much she loved it and shared details..OMG! I like you share the whatever floats your boat opinion but sadly have found from my own personal experience that this genre typical lacks depth to its plots. Kudos to you for stepping out of your genre comfort zone on this one.

  2. Angela says:

    I really enjoyed reading your review. I probably won't read this series. The subject matter makes me uncomfortable. At least now I know I'm not missing a ton. My neighbor, on the other hand just finished it and loved it.

  3. Laura Ashlee says:

    My feelings exactly. I've been trying to figure out what is so amazing about Christian Grey. He just sounds like a jerk and a control freak. Also, in defense of one of my favorite genres, I just want to say that this a poor representation of the romance genre and even the erotic romance genre. Great review!

  4. April says:

    I'm so glad you shared your experience with this book. So many of my friends have said I just HAVE to read it and I really have no desire to waste my reading time on it. I know it isn't my thing (no romance or erotica for me either) and the one time I picked up a copy in Target and flipped to a random page, I couldn't help but think How Ridiculous. I'm glad other people like it and as you said, "whatever floats your boat," but none for me, thanks. …April @

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