Series: Fifty Shades #1
Published by: The Writer's Coffee Shop Publishing House on May 26, 2011
Genre: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
Buy on Amazon • Goodreads
When literature student Anastasia Steele is drafted to interview the successful young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, she finds him attractive, enigmatic and intimidating. Convinced their meeting went badly, she tries to put Grey out of her mind - until he happens to turn up at the out-of-town hardware store where she works part-time.
The unworldly, innocent Ana is shocked to realize she wants this man, and when he warns her to keep her distance it only makes her more desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana's quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her - but on his own terms.
Shocked yet thrilled by Grey's singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success â his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving adoptive family â Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a passionate, physical and daring affair, Ana learns more about her own dark desires, as well as the Christian Grey hidden away from public scrutiny.
Can their relationship transcend physical passion? Will Ana find it in herself to submit to the self-indulgent Master? And if she does, will she still love what she finds?
Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
“Why don’t you like to be touched?”
“Because I’m fifty shades of fucked up, Anastasia.”
Ladies and gentlemen, that’s what this book should have been titled: Fifty Shades of Fucked Up.
I literally feel like I could have written an entire novel of my feelings about this book. I tried my best to cut things back to just the core opinions in this review, but I apologize to my boyfriend who spent one brutal evening getting an earful from me about how fucked up this book is. 😛
When I bought this book, I thought it was a romance novel with a bit of dabbling into BDSM. After starting it, I realized that in reality it’s a book about BDSM, consensual slavery, abuse, and pathetic hopes of a romance that ultimately isn’t there.
When the book starts out, Anastasia is an innocent, insecure, virgin college student who has never been that into guys. She’s only been kissed twice and has never had a real boyfriend. But romance and love are things she sometimes daydreams about. Then she meets Christian. He’s handsome and mysterious, and for the first time, Ana feels sexual attraction.
The problem is that Ana looks at Christian and wants romantic relationship. She wants to “make love,” go on dates, go see movies, and fall in love. Christian isn’t into that and he makes it clear from the get go that he “[doesn’t] make love. [He] fuck[s]… Hard.” He’s not a “flowers and romance” kind of guy.
Despite that, Ana clings onto the possibility that one day a real, romantic relationship might be possible. She fears that if she doesn’t do what Christian wants (by basically becoming his sex slave), she’ll lose him and be alone forever. So despite her reluctance, she consents to becoming his sex slave, or his “submissive” as he calls it.
Christian draws up a contract for her that literally says stuff like this is for his pleasure, she must do whatever he wants — sexual or otherwise, she has to exercise 4 times a week, she must eat 3 meals a day (absolutely NO snacking in-between) and only from a list of pre-approved foods, she must always be shaven and waxed and attend a beauty salon of his choosing, etc. And then Christian has the right to punish her in any way he sees fit, should she misbehave or do anything he doesn’t like. He is not required to provide a reason.
Remember, Ana is completely inexperienced when it comes to sex.
So she signs away her free will (note: she doesn’t actually sign the contract, but she ends up doing basically everything that’s in the contract). She’s relatively open to playing with sex toys, being tied up, and she tries to obey his commands. But from the very beginning, she doesn’t like the idea of being punished — of being subjected to pain. But she decides to put up with it anyway (through her tears and cries of pain), because she’s still clinging onto the possibility that she’ll walk away with a ‘real’ or ‘normal’ relationship.
I’ll let this quote speak for itself:
And he hits me again and again. From somewhere deep inside, I want to beg him to stop. But I don’t. I don’t want to give him the satisfaction. He continues the unrelenting rhythm. I cry out six more times. Eighteen slaps in total.Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, page 275 and 277
I can’t say that I enjoyed the experience. In fact, I would still go a long way to avoid it.
This is her punishment for jokingly rolling her eyes at one of his comments.
To sum it up, I’m completely and utterly disgusted with this book. I have no problem with BDSM in general, but I don’t view Ana’s consent as “true” consent. I see her as an insecure and emotionally unstable girl who’s clinging onto any shred of a relationship. Ana is a woman who has never been exposed to the world of sex, and suddenly her inexperience and innocence is being abused. Her insecurities make her afraid of being left alone, afraid of being abandoned by Christian, and afraid of never having a real relationship. So she clings onto this abusive slavery contract in hope that it will become something more.
Even her flatmate Katie sees how damaging Christian is. She notes that Ana (who normally never cries) is constantly brought to tears by Christian’s behaviour. Katie doesn’t know the full extent of what’s going on, but she knows that Christian is creepy and that he is having a negative affect on Ana.
Side note: Ana constantly refers to her “inner goddess,” who I assume is basically her sexual side. But honestly, the constant remarks about her “inner goddess nodding in approval” or her “inner goddess spinning like a world-class ballerina” are just retarded. What the heck does that mean? Does she have some sort of multiple personality disorder that we weren’t made aware of? I’m just going to quote the awesome review by Novel Sounds to express how I feel about this:
“I do not know what exactly an inner goddess is but [Ana] WILL NOT SHUT THE FUCK UP about hers.”
I think this book sends a horrible message to the reader. It’s basically saying that it’s fine to tolerate horrible pain that makes you cry and want to run away and hide, because one day you might get a real relationship out of it. And on the plus side, the guy will occasionally reward you by cuddling you and will buy you expensive gifts.
These comments barely even scratch the surface of what I have to say about this book. At the end of the day, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. My mom showed an interest in reading it and while I’ll eventually leave the decision up to her, I’m making sure she knows my full thoughts before diving into it. I’m seriously horrified that people are praising and loving this book.
I personally was more interested in hearing about Katie (Ana’s flatmate) and Elliot’s (Christian’s brother) relationship, which seemed to be both loving and sexual.
And on that note, I’ll leave you with one final quote that really sums up what this book is about:
“How did you feel while I was hitting you and after?”Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, page 286-287
“I didn’t like it. I’d rather you didn’t do it again.”
“You weren’t meant to like it.”
“Are you going to hit me again?”
“No, not tonight.”
“Why do you like it?”
“I like the control it gives me, Anastasia. I want you to behave in a particular way, and if you don’t, I shall punish you, and you will learn to behave the way I desire. I enjoy punishing you. I’ve wanted to spank you since you asked me if I was gay.”