A Review- Fifty Shades Of Grey

Alice North tells us why the 50 Shades of Grey hype isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

If you haven’t heard of the “Fifty Shades…” trilogy then push aside that rock you have been living under and allow me to tell you what I make of it all.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James is an erotic novel featuring Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele as the main characters. The book has themes of dominance, child abuse and submission alongside a bog standard girl falls in love with boy plot.  Fifty Shades of Grey was originally developed from Twilight fan fiction and then later removed from the site due to its sexual content. Previously called ‘Master of the Universe’ , the series was later split into three parts by James to create the trilogy we know today. Many speculate into why the books have been renamed ‘Fifty Shades…’ but an educated guess would be that is because the female narrative frequently refers to Christian Grey as ‘fifty shades of fucked up.’

So why has all of this inspired me to write an article about it?

I read the trilogy back in March on my kindle and I have to say I initially loved it. The point of view style of dealing with the person you love dark place and pushing sexual boundaries is something I think is really refreshing as is allows people to think outside the box sexually and consequently (fingers crossed) become more accepting of others’ kinky fuckery. I really like Anastasia Steele’s ‘try everything once’ attitude which helped me get through her crippling self doubt, inner goddess (urgh) and awkward nature. Thankfully by the end of the trilogy she grows a back bone and her ‘hard limits’ are refined to a point in which her and Grey are able to have ‘normal’ relationship. I also like the way the book embraces the common female fantasy of dominance and allows women to not feel guilty doing so. As BDSM goes the book is not as crude it could be and most of the sex scenes are relevant to the plot.

I think the book fails in a few areas however; the writing is poor in my opinion and repeats itself to the point of frustration for the reader.

‘Did you just roll your eyes at me, Anastasia?’ he breathes. Oh fuck. ‘Possibly depends what your reaction is’. Same as always,’ he says, shaking his head slightly, his eyes alight with excitement.

This and other parts such as ‘cum for me Ana’ made me cringe and were so repeated in all three of the books that I found myself skimming over them. The phrase ‘cum for me’ annoyed me on a level I can’t even express as to any male reading the book would assume that all women need to achieve orgasm is to be told when  to do it and suddenly BLAM the lady climax is achieved. If only boys, if only.

I also feel that the books seem to connect childhood abuse with sexual dominance in later life. Grey is a controlling character not only in the bedroom and seems to want to restrict the female narrative to the point of choosing what she eats, who she sees and how she has her pubic hair. This is simply not reflective of victims of child abuse and the book does not offer an alternate point of view and for this could be considered offensive. It felt to me that Grey having been abused in his past was an easy way for James to shape his sexual desires rather than the making of him.

Finally the most annoying thing about this trilogy for me has been the reaction it has got from the public. I have seen many statuses along the lines of ‘reading 50 shades of grey ooo naughty xoxoxo’ and ‘I LOVE MR GREY’. This is annoying because it doesn’t appear measured. These books are about a victim of child abuse coming to terms with his sexual needs and love for a woman NOT a wet dream or sexual eye opener… that is if you are not a lie back and think of England kind of person. I feel the books (and movie *sigh*) will probably become as popular as the Twilight series which will consequently lead to a preteen audience reading about the ‘red room of pain’ and considering this normal sexual behavior. At the end of the first book Anastasia Steele leaves Christian Grey because he literally beats the shit out of her; yet the by first part of book two they are back together. This does not encourage the empowerment of women but teaches young girls that they should stand that sort of behavior. The female character also spends far too much time relying on Grey to save her (remind you of Bella anyone?). This in my mind removes all that is achieved by the frank sexual nature and as good as makes it Twilight minus the glittery vampire