Title: Fifty Shades of Grey
Author: E.L. James
Series: Book 1 in Fifty Shades
Release Date: May 25, 2011
Summary: 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.
This book is intended for mature audiences.(via Goodreads)
There are so many reviews that sing this books praise, and just as many scathing reviews that tear it apart at the seams. This is neither of those. I did not enjoy this book, so much that it took me 5 years to work up the willpower to finish it. It was not the sex scenes that made this hard. I am not squeamish. I just had trouble with the astoundingly poor writing. I went into this book with high expectations, having been recommended to me by a huge number of people. I was very excited because many of those people were inspired to read (something that they do not normally do much of at all) by this book. I spent a few months picking away at it until I eventually filed it way on my long term hold shelf. 5 years later, rejuvenated, I picked it back up determined to finish it and get it off my currently reading! I did find it easier to stomach the second time around. Perhaps it was because I went in with realistic expectations, or maybe it just gets better as you go, but I finally finished the book. The verdict is in: it was better than I originally thought. I found myself interested in Christian Grey, the broody millionaire (billionaire?) and his thinly veiled past. I can understand the reason that many readers found this book alarming, fantasizing an over controlling significant other. I do think that this story walked the line of choice and abuse, but I think that at the end of the day it was honest in walking that line, because many of us find ourselves walking that same (or similar) line. I have never experienced a BDSM relationship, and would not disrespect that lifestyle in making judgments about the, excuse the pun, shades of gray that entails (or doesn't). I had much more of a problem justifying the terrifying fastness and intensity that these people fell into this story, the vast number of 'oh my's and the impossibility of ignoring the fact that this is a published Twilight fanfiction.
Overall I gave this book a 2 star. While I did not like this book, in fact I disliked it, it is not the worst book I have ever read, and I think that it says something about it's merit as a book that it inspired people who have never read a book in their life to power through three of them in a week!
I also, being a crazy person, finished second and third book in this series (never leave a series hanging!). This series defiantly peaked in the second book. I think that I defiantly had a real interest in the story, maybe not 532 pages interested, but a solid 150 pages. There was a more realistic balance of story and sex scenes, and the characters became more 3D, and grew out past blow up sex dolls that E.L. mashed together. I think that the entirety of the third book could have been summed up in a few chapters in book 2. E.L. was defiantly feeling pressure to deliver sex scenes with now fully flushed out characters, which resulted in a truly horrifying group of chapters. I ended up rating book 2 with 2 stars and book 3 with only 1.
Do you think this book walked the line or crossed it? How do you feel about books that inspire people to read, even if they may not be your favorite book?