Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James


Fifty Shades of Grey.

...Where do I even start?

This trilogy has sold over 100 million copies over the world and has been translated to 52 languages. It set the record as the fastest selling paperback of all time. Of. All. Time.

If this was the only information I’d have of the trilogy, I’d probably die of excitement and jumped over the books at once. But there’s more to this trilogy than it’s massive number of sales, and I think the whole world knows why that is.

Porn. You can try as much as you like to deny this, but it is the fact. It’s funny how much this is discussed. One of the arguments I’ve heard the most is that “it’s not porn if you have to read it”, but everyone who’s ever picked up a book in their life knows that a big point (maybe the biggest) of reading it, is to imagine it in your head. You can’t read this book without playing a porn-movie inside your head. It’s just not possible.

The fifty shades-series became so popular because, for the first time ever, everyone could have an interest in the sexual side of life without hiding it, or feeling weird about it. People can read fifty shades on the bus, at the local cafe, on their lunch-break on their job, and it would be okay. Put them in your bookshelf in the living room so that everyone can see that you are up to date and vulgar. In Norway, one of our biggest politician “came out” and told that she read the first book in two days (read about it here). It’s socially accepted. However, I tried to read it on the bus and I’ve never felt so awkward in my life. It was even on my phone, so no one could see the cover, or at any way notice that I was reading fifty shades. Expect for my tomato red face. Maybe it’s me there’s something wrong about…

But, between all this pornographic text, there is an actual story about young Anastasia Steele and the rich Christian Grey. And of course, never forget, about her inner goddess and her consciousness. After reading the first book, it strikes me that these two are probably mentioned more than every other character (do I categorize them as characters?) in the book.

So, what is this book? And why in the world would we read it?

Fifty shades of grey is the first book in the trilogy about Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. It is written by E.L James and was published the 20th of June in 2011. The genre is, as you may have guessed: erotic romance. Or "Mommy Porn" if you like.

In the first book you meet Anastasia Steele, a 21-year-old college senior. She lives together with her best friend Katherine Kavanagh, who writes for their student newspaper. One day, she is sick and persuade Anastasia into taking her place and interview the wealthy, successful entrepreneur Christian Grey. Anastasia does this, and meet this incredible, gorgeous, intimidating man who she finds attractive at first sight. After the interview has been done, he just happens to randomly come by the store she works in. Total coincidence there. Without Anastasia knowing it, this is the beginning of a series of events that will lead the two of them into a sort of relation to one another. But, there lies many secrets behind the intimidating look of Christian Grey. Will Anastasia be able to handle all of his secrets and mysteries?

This is the second time I’ve read this book (only because I felt I had to read it again to be able to write about it) and to be honest, It’s actually hard to talk about my opinion of it.

I get why people like it, and it came at a perfect time where the world tried to change into a more accepting society. This includes being able to talk about the things we’ve never talked about before, and being more open about the things that is “taboo” and not accepted. Including sex. This is a part of changing society that I support with all my heart. That’s why I without doubt can tell that I love the fact that a trilogy about alternative, “kinky” sex actually made it to over 100 million copies. Not necessarily because I like to read this kind of genre, but because of the meaning of taking this theme into debate and discussion. Because of all the discussions about the role of women that came up after the series came out. Discussion is one of the most important thing in the world, and I praise this books for making it easier for everyone to discuss the things we never discuss. If we now get a book-series where the Christian Grey-character is a woman, I’ll be forever happy.

With this being said, and now I’m being harsh on purpose, WHY did this excellent idea that would bring thousands of discussions into our world have to be so incredibly poorly written?

It’s weird. In one way, I would actually say that this is perfect for the targeting group. It’s supposed to be easy to read and it is easy enough to both understand and picture the surroundings and the main character Anastasia Steele. When they first met at the interview, I felt intimidated by Christian Grey as well. I actually giggled a little. But, throughout the book you grow tired of hearing about Anastasia’s inner goddess and Grey’s demanding way of telling Anastasia why she shouldn’t bite her lip. The last one is even supposed to be sexy. It is not when you’ve read it for the 20th time. And some of Christian Grey’s ways to…. get what he wants, would without doubt scare a normal person to death. Not make you more interested. And without trying to spoil anything, I just can’t believe that throughout the whole book, her best friend, the roommate, does not take more action. She lives with Anastasia, for Christs sake. She is described and otherwise acts in a way that makes it unbelievable for me to understand why she acts the way she does towards all of this. There is also too much cliché in the whole book. Some people like that, and I even get why. But I don’t like it at all. At some point I laughed when I obviously was not supposed to, because the whole thing just became too goofy and awkward to take seriously. Want some examples? Here you go:

“Suddenly he sits up and tugs my panties off and throws them on the floor. Pulling of his boxer briefs, his erection springs free. Holy cow! He kneels up and pulls a condom onto his considerable length. Oh no...Will it? How?”

“I pull him deeper into my mouth so I can feel him at the back of my throat and then to the front again. My tongue swirls around the end. He’s my very own Christian Grey flavored Popsicle. I suck harder and harder… My inner goddess is doing the Merengue with some salsa moves.”

So yeah. This book had potential. And as mentioned, I love the fact that books about this exists. But I’ve certainly read better books than this, without in any way being able to call that a big achievement. It’s not exactly hard. For the sake of a review and for being able to tell an honest opinion when the discussion of these books come up, I will read the whole trilogy. But even with the drama, with the usually so thrilling wonder of “what will happen in the next book?”, I really don’t care that much. I just don’t.

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