I’ve finished the first book out of three and if I had to sum it up in one word, I would go with frustrating. For the few of you that haven’t read it, I’ll briefly summarize the plot. Fifty Shades of Grey begins with Anastasia Steele, a college student on the brink of graduation, going to interview Christian Grey for her college newspaper. Christian becomes enamored with Anastasia and the two begin a romance that focuses almost entirely on sexual encounters. Their romance is complicated by Christian’s taste for BDSM, which Anastasia doesn’t share. That’s the premise really. You read their email exchanges, you gain access to Anastasia’s “inner goddess” and her “conscience”, and you learn that Christian is a stalker with many talents.
While I have a laundry list of grievances when it comes to Fifty Shades, the blatant repetition throughout the novel definitely tops it. Words and phrases are constantly reused. Plus in my opinion, many of the offending phrases are obnoxious in the first place. Eighty one instances of Anastasia saying “jeez” and seventy two instances of “oh my”. Really? Characters “clamber” in and out of things on twenty one occasions. The author should utilize a thesaurus.
Then there is just the writing itself, which is also simplistic at best. If the two main characters weren’t constantly having sex, I imagine most fifth graders could breeze through it. On the other hand, the fact that it was a quick and easy read could also be considered a plus. The lack of quality writing also allows the book to appeal to a broader audience than something more challenging would.
Another major issue is that the characters are far too unbelievable. Though Anastasia Steele could be considered slightly realistic, her whiny and naive nature makes her very unlikable. Plus her propensity to orgasm on the drop of a hat is laughable. Christian Grey, on the other hand, is just a fairy tale prince for adult women. He is excessively wealthy, impossibly good looking, amazing in bed, an impressive pianist, an expert pilot... you get the idea.
Still E.L. James has received a lot of attention for Fifty Shades, which has been extremely popular especially among teenagers and housewives. The abrupt ending (which I also found superbly obnoxious) does leave the reader wondering what’s going to happen next, and therefore was very smart from a marketing perspective. I’m already reading Fifty Shades Darker so stay tuned next week for another snarky review. Though Fifty Shades isn’t my cup of tea, I would love to hear from anyone who disagrees and really did enjoy it. Or anyone who agrees and has something to add. Comment and let me know!