E.L. James – 50 Shades of Grey

50 Shades of GreyYes, I tried to read it.

Yes, I failed.

Here’s my review:

The (in)famous novel everyone’s talking about. Written initially as a fan fiction to Twilight, which I had started, but gave up on after two chapters, because basically, it was boring. I must admit I had a bad opinion about 50 Shades of Grey before I started reading solely because of its connection to Twilight, but I can’t be making judgments about anything without even trying to get to know it. That’s why I reluctantly started reading. Besides, I was simply curious, cause after all, “everyone’s talking about it.”

This is a kind of love story between an English literature student and a millionaire. The student, Anastasia Steele, is a shy, sweet and innocent twenty-one-year-old girl, while the millionaire, Christian Grey, is older than her, but not 30 yet; and a mysterious cynic, obsessed with being in control. They meet and are attracted to each other immediately, but the innocent – or rather ignorant – Anastasia has no idea what Mr. Grey wants to get her involved in. Very quickly – too quickly for my taste – they being their specific relationship and she learns about the world of sex – and the world of BDSM.

What can I say? Another book I’m going to review that I haven’t finished reading. I read about ¾ of it and was seriously and honestly going to complete this time, but it got to a point that it was truly unbearable. I don’t care if there is going to be a big secret of Grey revealed later on; secret that would explain his behavior. I don’t care if he was beaten up, starved, molested, abused or whatever. I just don’t like his behavior. Period.

Also, this is a piece of really bad writing. Simple as that. All the repetitions, descriptions of weather or driving a car; sentences that lead nowhere and have no impact on the action. Besides, the book is so freaking unrealistic that it made me either laugh at some moments that were NOT supposed to be funny AT ALL; or roll my eyes, or simply skip some sentences. Then, the beginning itself. Anastasia’s roommate had been waiting for nine months for the interview of the VIP Christian Grey, yet she sends her ignorant friend Ana to do the job and gives her NO background to Grey. Which ends with Ana having an interview with INSANELY handsome Christian – and having no idea who she was.

Most of all, though, the main characters – both Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey – annoyed me to no end.

Let’s look at Anastasia Steele. Innocent virgin, inexperienced, in love with her books, almost living in the world of her favorite novels. Never even masturbates. Yet, when she starts having intercourse, she climaxes right away – and numerous times. In fact, EVERY freaking time she has sex, including her first time. Okay, it’s kind of a pornography book, so I guess it should be this way, but how am I supposed to believe that the girl with such a huge libido has NEVER before showed the slightest interest even in masturbation? I just don’t. Plus, apparently she has no idea she’s beautiful, and has extremely low opinion about herself. And behaves like a child.

Then, Christian Grey. The mysterious, extremely and unrealistically handsome Christian, who’s main concern in life is to have CONTROL over EVERYTHING, including – or especially – Anastasia. And I’m not talking about BDSM now, cause that’s a different subject, but about everyday life. If that was me, I would have run from him far, far away. I mean, this guy is a freaking stalker – he tracks Anastasia through her phone. Except for that, he is insanely rich – oh, but obviously – and has an annoying habit of showing off his wealth by buying endless expensive gifts for Ana.

Seriously, what is up with that? I could come to terms with his gift of old books worth a few thousand dollars, cause that’s sentimental and romantic. But then he buys her a laptop, a phone (blackberry was it? I’m not good at that) and a car. And she always says, no I won’t accept, I can’t – and then she accepts it. My point is, what is up with the material world nowadays? They don’t even know each other very well, and yet he spends so much money on her – because he can. And she agrees. Over and over again. Apparently, deep inside she cares about material things as much as he does. Or am I the only one who would rather have her boyfriend buy dog food for the shelter than give her the car? Yeah, that might be it – after all, we live in material world, as Madonna sang once, and who cares about animals in the shelter nowadays? Apparently, nor Anastasia nor Christian. Oh, but he cares about feeding the world. So, he has that going on for him. Too bad he spends money he could give to the poor to buy his new girlfriend a fancy car.

Okay, I’m complaining about something that isn’t really that important about the book. But I just don’t like it when the expensive things and the richness of a character is so obnoxiously present in a book. I prefer humble people. People more down-to-earth. More realistic.

Now, the BDSM issue. I first heard about this fetishism while watching Desperate Housewives and found a lot of freaky stories on the subject on the net . Maybe in the 1/4 of Grey I have left unread there are more intense scenes, but those that I read were truly moderate. What was between Anastasia and Christian is just a walk in the park compared to what I read in my days. Other than that, I can’t say much about the subject. It’s a matter of preference, I’d say. For me – wasn’t shocking at all.

And last but not least – this book is simply boring. Nothing ever happens. Let me enumerate what can be found in the book, instead of action:

  1. Anastasia biting her lip.
  2. Descriptions of how handsome and mysterious Christian is. And how grey his eyes are.
  3. Some sex scenes that don’t begin too soon.
  4. Some silly dialogues that can start about sex, and then for no reason at all, turn into talking about cheese.
  5. Anastasia wanting to keep away from Christian, and then coming back to him.
  6. Anastasia crying.
  7. Christian buying things for Ana and telling her to “eat her food”
  8. Anastasia being completely under Christian’s charms, because he’s so FASCINATING.

On a side note, I do like the name Anastasia 🙂

There’s another issue, though, I feel I should deal with here – Why is this book so freaking popular? I can see a few reasons:

  1. Some people might have read it out of curiosity, like I did – or rather tried – and then just stuck with it “for the sake of it.” After all, “everyone’s talking about it.”
  2. Some people like to still believe in a world where an innocent girl gets the heart of a withdrawn, hard guy, who’s afraid of commitment – and changes him with her sweetness.
  3. Some people may just truly enjoy the sex scenes; maybe their own sexual life is not that great, so they actually are grateful they can read about someone who has numerous orgasms and never fails to have one (at least for the first ¾ of the book, but I have a feeling it goes on like this for the rest of the books).
  4. Maybe some women are tired of the way of life of modern woman, tired of having to be strong and independent, and deep inside they want to be taken care of. They want to have their decisions made for them and they do want to be controlled.
  5. Or maybe some read it for the same reason my friend reads fantasy. She says that fantasy books are so unreal and unexpected that it allows her to be transferred into a different world, therefore to take a rest from the one we have to live in. I mean – 50 Shades of Freaking Grey is a little fantasy world in a way. Plus, it’s light reading.

Man, that was long – and this is a review of a book I haven’t even finished reading. Maybe I’m unfair, maybe I’ve read too much of Margaret Atwood and Jose Saramago? Maybe I’ve just become too critical and too cynical. Maybe it is a nice, light story about “true love” and making compromises for the sake of a relationship, and changing for the better under someone else’s influence? Maybe I’m just too demanding. The only thing I am sure of it is this – I am definitely done with Grey.

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